Designed around upon the FBAS comprehensive list of commonly-kept species, these Care Sheets are categorised as those found in FBAS Show Classes.

Details of all species referred to in these Fish Care Sheets can be found in the FBAS Booklet No 6 - National Show Fish Sizes. Click HERE for information.


                          Cultivated Livebearers

This group of fishes could be referred to as The 'Big Four' comprising as they do the popular genera of Guppies, Platies, Swordtails and Mollies.
The willingness to breed make them firm favourites - but also difficult if you are trying to maintain (or establish) a particular colour strain!

Genera: Poecilia, Xiphophorus.

Family: Poeciliinae

Geographic Origin: Central America.

Common Names: Guppy, Swordtail, Platy, Molly.

Compatibility: With similar sized fish, they are not a problem.
                      They can be aggressive with smaller tankmates.

Minimum Aquarium Size: For these 'cultivated' livebearers, an aquarium of
                                    600mm x 300mm x 300mm (24 x 12 x 12) is the
                                    minimum. They will benefit from having a larger

Temperature: Can be kept at quite low temperatures 18oC/65oF, but are best
                     at 24o/27oC 75o/80oF. Some can be kept in outdoor ponds
                     in summer.

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

Water Parameters: Prefer hard alkaline water. It should be well filtered with
                             a partial water change each week of around 25%.

Health: Not especially prone to diseases, but White Spot, Mouth Fungus and
            Finrot (particularly if water conditions are poor) can be found in
            these fishes. Treat sick fish in a separate container. Do not dispose of
            dead fish down the toilet. Place in dustbin or incinerate.

Diet: Omnivorous. Benefit from the addition of green stuff to their diet e.g.
         Peas, lettuce etc. Will eat all dried, frozen and live foods.

Plants: All tropical plants are suitable for the aquarium.

Breeding Notes : All cultivated livebearers are very promiscuous, mating
                          regardless of colour pattern or strain. Always isolate
                          colour strains when line-breeding to protect the quality of
                          the strain. Females can store sperm from previous matings so
                          make sure any breeding partners are correctly chosen.

Availability: Swordtails, Mollies, Guppies and Platies are all very readily

Show Classes: Male Guppy Oa,       Swordtail (X.helleri)                 )
                     Female Guppy Ob    Mollies (Poecilia sphenops)         ) Class P
                                                   Platies (X.maculatus, X.variatus) )

© FBAS 2002. PWC/RDE.                                        Fish Care Sheet 24 1/1

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Last updated October 2016