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General Care for Livebearers


Left to right, Red Eye Red Lyre Tail Swordtail, Endler's Livebearer, and Black Sailfin Molly.

By Tony Griffitts

What are Livebearers?

Livebearers fish that give live birth to their fry.  The most common livebearers come from North, Central, and South America.

List of livebearer fish that are commonly sold:

Guppy, Platty, Swordtail, Variatus, Molly, Endler's Livebearer.


70° to 85° F (21° to 29° C)


7.2 to 8.3

Habitat/Proper Aquarium Set up:

Aquarium should be decorated with lots of live plants.  Water Sprite and Java Moss are excellent plants for the livebearer aquarium.  Livebearers are very prolific.  Many will give birth once a month or more often.  Having lots of hiding places for the new born fry will increase the chances of the fry surviving to adulthood.  The aquarium can be as small as a 2 gallons for guppies.


Most livebearers will eat frozen brine shrimp and dry foods.  Most livebearers like to eat algae, so providing them with flake, pellets, or algae wafers that has spirulina as part of the formula is a good idea. 

Special Note:

Mollies require very hard water, and often do better if they are kept as brackish water fish.  To keep Mollies healthy, Aquaworld recommends that you add at a minimum one tablespoon of salt per gallon of water.  Molly species can also be kept in Marine (Saltwater) aquariums.  Some Marine hobbyists use Mollies to cycle their new saltwater aquariums. 

Most livebearers are short lived and will often live only 1 to 2 years.

Published - 2003

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