Paradise fish tank mates - Endlers

Endler Tank Mates: 10 Perfect Companions

Keeping Endler’s Livebearers as pets can be an exciting and rewarding experience. These vibrant and active fish are known for their striking colors and playful behavior. However, creating a well-balanced community aquarium requires careful consideration when choosing Endler tank mates. This guide will explore various compatible fish species, ensuring a peaceful and enjoyable environment for your Endlers. So, let’s dive in and discover the perfect companions for your Endler tank!

Background of Endler’s Livebearers

Discovery and Classification

Endler’s Livebearers, scientifically known as Poecilia wingei, are small freshwater fish from the Poeciliidae family. These fascinating fish were first discovered in 1937 by Franklyn F. Bond in Laguna de Patos, a small body of water in Venezuela. However, it was not until the late 1970s that Endler’s Livebearers gained significant attention and recognition within the aquarium hobby.

Distinct Species

Endlers are closely related to guppies (Poecilia reticulata) and share several similarities in appearance and behavior. However, they are considered a distinct species due to notable characteristics and genetic differences. These fish are native to the northern coastal plains of Venezuela and are endemic to the region, meaning they are naturally found only in specific geographic areas.

John Endler and Popularity

Endler’s Livebearers are named after John Endler, an American scientist who played a pivotal role in the 1970s by extensively studying their genetics and behavior. His research efforts were instrumental in popularizing Endler’s Livebearers among aquarium enthusiasts. These captivating fish quickly gained popularity due to their stunning colors and patterns, ease of care, and active nature.

Natural Habitat and Characteristics

In the wild, Endler’s Livebearers inhabit calm, slow-moving bodies of water, such as rivers, streams, and lagoons. They are commonly found in areas abundant with dense vegetation, as it provides them with shelter and protection. The natural habitat of Endler’s Livebearers is characterized by warm water temperatures ranging from around 72°F to 82°F (22°C to 28°C) and slightly alkaline to neutral pH levels.

Coloration and Sexual Dimorphism

Endler’s Livebearers are renowned for their vibrant and intricate coloration, which varies among different populations and individual specimens. Male Endlers often display a dazzling array of colors, including shades of red, orange, yellow, blue, green, and black, adorned with striking patterns and spots. In contrast, females typically exhibit a more subdued appearance, a mix of silver, yellow, and brown tones.

Reproductive Strategy

One fascinating aspect of Endler’s Livebearers is their reproductive strategy. Like other livebearers such as guppies, mollies, and platies, Endlers give birth to fully-formed fry rather than laying eggs. This adaptability and reproductive efficiency contribute to their ability to thrive in various environments.

Selective Breeding and Strains

In recent years, selective breeding efforts have led to the development of various Endler’s Livebearer strains, each exhibiting unique colors and patterns. These strains, commonly called “Endler hybrids,” have gained popularity among hobbyists, showcasing various vibrant and visually striking variations.

Care Requirements

Endler’s Livebearers are highly adaptable and relatively easy to care for. They thrive in a well-maintained aquarium with appropriate water parameters, including a temperature range of 72°F to 82°F (22°C to 28°C) and a pH level between 6.5 and 8.0. Providing ample hiding places, dense vegetation, and a balanced diet of quality flakes, pellets, and occasional live or frozen foods supports their overall health and well-being.

Are Endlers a type of Guppies?

No, Endlers and guppies are not the same, despite the common practice of referring to Endlers as Endlers’ guppies. While both fish belong to the same family, Poeciliidae, they are distinct species with unique characteristics. Endlers, scientifically known as Poecilia wingei, were initially discovered in the freshwater rivers of Venezuela. These captivating fish have gained popularity among aquarium enthusiasts due to their vibrant colors, playful behavior, and relatively small size.

In contrast, guppies, scientifically called Poecilia reticulata, originated in northeastern South America. These beautiful livebearers have long been cherished in the aquarium hobby for their adaptability, ease of care, and stunning array of colors and patterns. Guppies are known for their ability to thrive in a wide range of water conditions, making them a favorite choice for beginner aquarists.

Although Endlers and guppies share some similarities, such as their livebearing nature and belonging to the same family, and might be an obvious choice as Endler tank mates. But there are several notable differences between the two species. One noticeable distinction lies in their patterns and coloration. Endlers are renowned for their striking and intricate patterns, often displaying a mosaic of colors, including vibrant shades of red, orange, yellow, blue, and green. On the other hand, guppies exhibit a wide range of color variations and patterns, including solid colors, spotted patterns, and intricate tail designs.

Additionally, the body shapes of Endlers and guppies differ slightly. Endlers typically possess a streamlined and slender body shape, with males displaying a gonopodium, a modified anal fin used for reproduction. Conversely, guppies tend to have a slightly more robust body structure, and males showcase a distinct fan-shaped caudal fin, commonly known as a tail.

While Endlers and guppies may share a common lineage and have overlapping care requirements, it is essential to appreciate their individuality as separate species. Both fish allow aquarists to observe and enjoy their captivating colors and lively behaviors. Whether you choose Endlers or Guppies, creating a suitable habitat and providing proper care will ensure a thriving and visually appealing aquarium.

In conclusion, while Endlers and guppies are often referred to interchangeably, they are distinct species within the Poeciliidae family. Endlers, with their vibrant colors and active nature, captivate enthusiasts, while guppies, known for their adaptability and stunning color variations, have remained popular for many years. So, whether you’re intrigued by the captivating patterns of Endlers or the diverse color palette of guppies, both fish species offer a rewarding and visually stunning addition to any aquarium.

Endler Tank Mates: Top 10 Fishes

Having the right tank mates is crucial for maintaining a harmonious aquarium ecosystem. Some of the recommended fishes would include Guppies, Tetras, Cory Catfish, and even Cherry shrimp. Let’s go into some details for each of the Endler tank mates:

1. Guppies: A Splash of Color

Endler Tank Mates - Guppies

Guppies, with their vibrant colors and active nature, will be one of the top choices for Endler tank mates. They are similar in size and temperament, making them a perfect match. Their playful interactions and elegant displays will add beauty and liveliness to your aquarium.

2. Corydoras Catfish: Bottom-Dwelling Companions

Endler Tank Mates - Cory Catfish

Corydoras catfish, known for their peaceful nature and unique appearance, make excellent bottom-dwelling tank mates for Endler’s Livebearers. These small catfish help clean the substrate and are skilled scavengers, ensuring a healthy and balanced aquarium ecosystem.

3. Neon Tetras: A School of Elegance

Endler Tank Mates - Neon Tetras

Neon Tetras, with their striking blue and red colors, is a popular choice for community aquariums. They are peaceful, non-aggressive fish that thrive in schools. The gentle nature of Neon Tetras makes them ideal Endler tank mates, creating a visually stunning and tranquil environment.

4. Harlequin Rasboras: Peaceful Coexistence

Endler Tank Mates - Harlequin Rasboras

Harlequin Rasboras are peaceful and friendly fish and are a popular choice as Endler tank mates. With their shimmering silver bodies and distinctive triangular black patches, they add a touch of elegance to any aquarium. These Rasboras are active swimmers and enjoy shoaling, making them a delightful addition to your community tank.

5. Cherry Shrimp: Aquatic Cleanup Crew

Endler Tank Mates - Cherry Shrimp

Cherry Shrimp are fascinating to observe and serve a practical purpose in your aquarium. They help maintain water quality by consuming algae and detritus. These small, peaceful crustaceans make excellent tank mates for Endler’s Livebearers and contribute to a balanced ecosystem.

6. Dwarf Gouramis: A Splash of Personality

Endler Tank Mates - Dwarf Gourami

Dwarf Gouramis are known for their vibrant colors and unique personalities. These small labyrinth fish are generally peaceful and make good tank mates for Endler’s Livebearers. Their elaborate finnage and interesting behaviors will add a touch of charisma to your aquarium.

7. Swordtails: Energetic Swimmers

Endler Tank Mates - Swordtail Fish

Swordtails, with their elongated, sword-like tails, are active and energetic swimmers. They are compatible with Endler’s Livebearers and thrive in similar water conditions. The colorful and lively presence of Swordtails will enhance the visual appeal of your aquarium.

8. Otocinclus Catfish: Algae Control Experts

Otocinclus Catfish

Otocinclus catfish are renowned for their excellent algae-eating abilities. These small, peaceful fish are perfect for maintaining a clean and healthy aquarium. They are a great combination of Endler tank mates and can help keep the tank free from excessive algae growth.

9. Celestial Pearl Danios: A Mesmerizing Species

Endler Tank Mates - Celestial Pearl Danios

Celestial Pearl Danios, or Galaxy Rasboras, are captivating fish with shimmering bodies adorned with colorful spots. They are peaceful, schooling fish that make great companions as Endler tank mates. Combining these two beautiful fish species will create a captivating aquatic display.

10. Bristlenose Plecos: Nature’s Cleanup Crew

Endler Tank Mates - Pleco

Bristlenose Plecos, with their unique appearance and peaceful demeanor, is an excellent choice as Endler tank mates. These algae-eating catfish help keep the aquarium clean and can become an attractive focal point with their distinctive bristles.

Fish Species to Avoid Keeping with Endlers

When creating a community aquarium, it’s essential to consider the compatibility of fish species. While Endler’s Livebearers are generally peaceful and sociable, certain fish species may not be suitable tank mates. To ensure a harmonious environment and the well-being of your Endlers, here are some fish species to avoid keeping with them:

1. Aggressive Cichlids

Cichlids, known for their territorial behavior and aggression, should be avoided as tank mates for Endler’s Livebearers. Species such as Jack Dempseys, Oscars, or Red Devils may threaten the smaller and more peaceful Endlers, leading to stress and potential harm.

2. Fin-Nippers

Fish species with a tendency to nip or bite the fins of other fish can cause significant stress and injury to Endler’s Livebearers. Avoid keeping fin-nipping species like Tiger Barbs or Serpae Tetras, as they may target the delicate fins of the Endlers, leading to health problems and a hostile environment.

3. Large Predatory Fish

Large predatory fish, such as Oscars, Arowanas, or Pike Cichlids, should not be housed with Endler’s Livebearers due to their size and aggressive nature. These predators may view the smaller Endlers as potential prey, causing constant stress and high predation risk.

4. Fast-Moving Active Swimmers

Fish species that are extremely fast-moving or highly active swimmers can create a stressful environment for Endler’s Livebearers, generally more peaceful and prefer calmer waters. Avoid housing species like Danios or Rainbowfish, as their constant movement may disrupt the Endlers’ behavior and cause unnecessary stress.

5. Bottom-Dwelling Aggressive Fish

Some bottom-dwelling fish species, such as some types of Loaches or territorial catfish like Red-Tailed or Striped Raphael Catfish, should be avoided as tank mates for Endler’s Livebearers. These fish are known to defend their territories fiercely and may create an environment of constant conflict and stress.

6. Large Herbivorous Fish

Endler’s Livebearers have a primarily carnivorous diet, feeding on small insects and invertebrates. Therefore, it is advisable to avoid keeping large herbivorous fish species, such as Silver Dollars or Pacus, with them. These herbivores may compete for the same food sources, leading to malnutrition or starvation for the Endlers.

By avoiding these fish species as tank mates for your Endler’s Livebearers, you can ensure a more harmonious and stress-free environment for your fish. It is crucial to prioritize compatibility regarding size, temperament, and dietary requirements to create a thriving and balanced community aquarium.


Can Endler’s Livebearers be kept with other fish species?

Absolutely! Endler’s Livebearers are generally peaceful and can coexist with various fish species. However, choosing compatible Endler tank mates with similar water parameters and temperament is important.

Are Endler’s Livebearers aggressive toward other fish?

No, Endler’s Livebearers are not known to be aggressive. They are peaceful fish that prefer a harmonious environment. However, as with any fish, individual temperament may vary, and some may display territorial behavior.

What is the ideal tank size for housing Endler’s Livebearers and their tank mates?

For a community tank with Endler’s Livebearers and their tank mates, a minimum tank size of 10 gallons is recommended. Larger tanks provide more swimming space and help prevent overcrowding.

Can Endler’s Livebearers be kept with aggressive fish species?

Keeping Endler’s Livebearers with aggressive fish species is generally not recommended. Aggressive fish may stress or harm the Endlers, creating a hostile environment. It’s important to prioritize compatibility and peaceful coexistence.

How many tank mates can I keep with my Endler’s Livebearers?

The number of tank mates you can keep with your Endler’s Livebearers depends on the tank size and the specific needs of the fish species. It’s crucial to avoid overcrowding to maintain a healthy and balanced aquarium ecosystem.

Can Endler’s Livebearers be kept with invertebrates like snails and shrimp?

Endler’s Livebearers can be kept with compatible invertebrates such as snails and shrimp. They generally coexist peacefully and can even contribute to the overall health of the aquarium.


Choosing the right Endlers tank mates is essential for creating a vibrant and harmonious community aquarium. You can ensure a peaceful and visually captivating environment by selecting compatible fish species with similar care requirements and temperaments. Remember to provide adequate space and resources for all the inhabitants and closely monitor the interactions between the species. Your Endler tank will become a thriving aquatic paradise with the right companions.

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