A basic guide to keeping Livebearers.

Common names

•    The Bishop
•    Knife Livebearer
•    Hump-backed Limia
•    Pike-to minnow

Countries of origin

Central America

Livebearers’ aquarium condition requirements

Minimum aquarium size - like the ‘Cultivated’ Livebearers,  Livebearers require an aquarium of 600mm x 300mm x 300mm (24” x 12” x 12”) is the minimum. They will benefit from having a larger aquarium.

Temperature - depends on the Livebearer’s species’ area of natural distribution; highland waters are cooler than those on the plains. A range of between 18oC/65oF and 24o/27oC 75o/80oF may be typical for the whole group.

Water parameters - Livebearers generally prefer hard alkaline water. Some species may inhabit brackish water in nature. It should be well filtered with a partial water change each week of around 25%.

Habitat - Livebearers are found in rivers, lakes and ponds. Best kept in a well planted aquarium with water movement provided by either external or internal filter.

Plants: all tropical plants are suitable for the aquarium containing this group.

Livebearers’ behaviour with other fish

With similar sized fish, mostly Livebearers are not a problem although some can be very aggressive with smaller tank mates.

Livebearers’ diet

Omnivorous with the accent on ‘animal’ foods for the more predatory varieties. They will eat all dried, frozen and live foods.

Livebearers’ health

Not especially prone to diseases, but White Spot, Mouth Fungus and Finrot (particularly if water conditions are poor) can be found in these varieties of fish.

Habitat - freshwater tropical aquarium

Sociability - good with fish of their own size

Care - fairly easy

The Pet Owners Association are grateful to the Federation of British Aquatic Societies for the above information and image.