9 Types Of Livebearer For Your Tank & What They Need

Livebearers, just like their name suggests, give birth to live babies instead of laying eggs. From the graceful Guppies to the colorful Swordtails, these fish bring so much beauty and excitement to your aquarium!

In this article, we’ll discuss different types of livebearers that are perfect for you whether you’re new or experienced in fish keeping. As well as how to setup the perfect tank and care for them! So keep reading to find out everything you want to know!

Types Of Livebearers

Let’s go over some of the most popular livebearers, learn what makes each of them special, and what you can do to give them the best care possible!

Guppies

Guppy Care Sheet

Guppies are known for their incredible array of colors and flowing fins. Hailing from South America, their natural habitats are often in slow-moving streams and ponds, showing off their adaptability. Also, Guppies are omnivores and will be happy to eat flakes, live food, and even nibble on algae. 

Guppies’ live-bearing nature makes them a favorite among hobbyists, giving birth to tiny fry that can swim right after being born. From their dazzling colors to their ability to reproduce in a tank, guppies never fail to bring life to any aquarium.

NameGuppies
pH6.8-7.8
Temperature74-82°F
Tank Size5 Gallons
Size1.5-2.4″
Lifespan2-3 Years

Endler’s Livebearer 

Endler's Livebearers Care Sheet

Endler’s Livebearers are like nature’s tiny masterpieces. Originally from Venezuela, these fish boast a vivid palette of colors and intricate patterns. Their habitats include slow-moving waters and shallow ponds. 

With a diet of small insects, algae, and even some plant matter, they’re true omnivores. These fish are known for their peaceful nature, making them great tank mates. A close relative of the guppy, Endler’s Livebearers have a unique blend of vibrant beauty and gentle temperament, making them a delight to observe in any aquarium setting.

NameEndler’s Livebearer’s
pH6.5-8.5
Temperature68-82°F
Tank Size10 Gallons
Size1.5″
Lifespan5-8 Years

Mollies

Molly Fish Care Sheet

Mollies are sociable swimmers from Mexico and Central America and are known for their versatility and lively personalities. They thrive in various environments, from freshwater to slightly brackish waters. Mollies are omnivores, indulging in a mix of plant matter and smaller creatures. 

And as livebearers,  their fry can quickly become a playful addition to the tank. Mollies come in a wide range of colors and patterns, making them like little aquatic canvases that add vibrancy to any aquarium setting.

NameMollies
pH7.5-8.5
Temperature71-82°F
Tank Size20 Gallons
Size4-5″
Lifespan3-5 Years

Platies

Platy care sheet

Platies are charming swimmers from Central America that bring a splash of color and energy to any tank. Their natural habitat often includes calm rivers and streams, where they enjoy exploring plants and hiding spots. 

Platies are omnivores with a taste for both live and plant-based foods. Their playful nature and distinctive colors, including a variety of shades like orange, red, and blue, make them a popular choice among aquarium enthusiasts. 

NamePlaties
pH6.8-8.5
Temperature70-80°F
Tank Size10 Gallons
Size2-3″
Lifespan2-3 Years

Swordtails

Swordtails Care Sheet

Meet the dashing Swordtail, also from the waters of Central America, and known for the distinct extension on the lower part of their tails. Their habitats often include calm streams and rivers with dense vegetation.

Swordtails are omnivores, and they love a menu of plant matter and small aquatic creatures. The male’s elongated tail, resembling a sword, is a striking feature used for courtship and display. 

These livebearers give birth to well-developed fry, showcasing their innate survival skills from birth. With their graceful appearance and lively movements, Swordtails bring a touch of elegance to any community tank.

NameSwordtails
pH7.0-8.0
Temperature72-79°F
Tank Size20 Gallons
Size5.5″
Lifespan3-5 Years

Least Killifish

Least Killifish Care Sheet

Native to the southern United States, these tiny fish call ditches, ponds, and streams their homes. Despite their name, they’re peace-loving and prefer a calm environment. Their diet is a mix of small insects and plant matter, making them true omnivores. 

Although, they’re one of the smallest livebearers, don’t let their size fool you;  they’re fascinating to watch as they explore their surroundings, bringing a touch of the wild to your tank.

NameLeast Killifish
pH7.0-8.0
Temperature68-78°F
Tank Size5 Gallons
Size1.2″
Lifespan3 Years

Redtail Splitfin

Redtail Splitfin Care Sheet

The Redtail Splitfin, found in the waters of Mexico and Central America, is a mesmerizing sight with its split tail and fiery red markings. They often inhabit slow-moving waters and prefer densely vegetated areas. These fish have an omnivorous diet, enjoying both animal and plant foods. 

One of their standout features is their courtship behavior – males display their stunning colors to win the affection of females. As livebearers, Redtail Splitfins give birth to live fry, bringing an extra layer of life to your tank. With their striking appearance and interesting behaviors, these fish add a touch of tropical flair to any aquatic setup.

NameRedtail Splitfin
pH6.5-8.0
Temperature59-86°F
Tank Size15 Gallons
Size2.8″
Lifespan3-5 Years

Mosquito Fish

Mosquito Fish Care Sheet

Nature’s mosquito hunters, Mosquito Fish, are small but mighty. Native to North and Central America, they’re a natural choice for controlling pesky insects in backyard ponds. These fish can tolerate a range of environments, from brackish waters to freshwater. 

Their diet is primarily insect-based, with a special liking for mosquito larvae, hence their name. Beyond their pest-control abilities.

NameMosquito Fish
pH6.5-8.0
Temperature33-104°F
Tank Size10 Gallons
Size3″
Lifespan1.5 Years

Limia Fish

Limia Fish Care Sheet

Limia Fish, originating from the Caribbean, bring a touch of the tropical to your aquarium. These fish often inhabit freshwater streams and pools with plenty of hiding spots. Limia Fish are omnivores, enjoying both plant matter and small insects. 

They’re known for their peaceful nature, making them great additions to community tanks. One interesting feature is their method of reproduction – females carry their eggs internally until they give birth to live fry. Their vibrant colors and engaging behaviors make Limia Fish a delightful presence in any aquatic setup.

NameLimia Fish
pH7.5-8.5
Temperature72-79°F
Tank Size20 Gallons
Size2″
Lifespan3-5 Years
9 TYPES OF LIVEBEARER FOR YOUR TANK

How To Setup A Tank For Livebearers

Now here’s a step-by-step guide on how you can set up a tank for your lovely livebearers:

1. Picking The Tank

First of all, you need to make sure you’re picking the right tank. Generally most of these fish are going to be able to fit in a tank which is between 5-10 gallons, however, some like mollies and platies will be happiest in 20 gallons.

2. Adding the Heater

Before introducing your livebearing fish, ensure the water temperature matches their requirements. Install a reliable aquarium heater and set it to the appropriate temperature range for its type. This ensures your fish are comfortable and their metabolic processes function optimally.

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  • Fully submersible, easy to use electronic aquarium heater

3. Adding the Filter

A crucial component of any aquarium setup is the filter. Install an efficient filter to maintain water quality by removing debris and harmful substances. The filter will help establish a healthy environment for your livebearers by promoting beneficial bacterial growth.

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4. Adding the Substrate

Choose a suitable substrate for your livebearer tank, such as gravel, aquarium soil or sand. Spread it evenly at the bottom of the tank to mimic the natural environment. A well-chosen substrate provides a foundation for live plants and encourages natural behaviors.

5. Using a Water Conditioner

Before filling the tank, add a water conditioner to remove chlorine and chloramines from tap water, which are extremely harmful to fish. Follow the product’s instructions for the correct dosage to make the water safe for your livebearers.If you’re not sure what water conditioner to use, seachem prime is recommended by most aquarists, however, I do prefer API Stress Coat

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Seachem Prime Fresh and Saltwater Conditioner – Chemical Remover and Detoxifier 250 ml
  • POWERFUL TREATMENT: Seachem Prime is a complete and concentrated conditioner for both freshwater and saltwater fish tanks, working hard to remove chlorine and chloramine.

6. Testing the Water

Regularly test the water parameters using a reliable aquarium test kit. Monitor parameters like ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and pH. Monitoring these will help you make sure that the environment is safe for your fish!

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7. Introducing Your Livebearers

Once the tank is fully set up and the water parameters are stable, introduce your livebearers. Acclimate them to the tank temperature gradually to prevent temperature shock. Carefully release them into their new home and observe their behavior.

8. Providing Suitable Lighting

Choose appropriate lighting for your tank, ensuring it mimics the natural light cycle. Provide around 8-10 hours of light per day, allowing your livebearers to exhibit their natural behaviors and showcase their colors.

9. Regular Maintenance

Perform regular water changes, usually around 20% every 1-2 weeks, to maintain water quality. Keep an eye on your livebearers’ behavior and appearance, as any changes might indicate health issues that require attention.

What Fish Can Live With Livebearers

Creating a harmonious aquarium community for your live-bearing fish begins with selecting compatible tankmates. So, here are 10 excellent choices that coexist well with your livebearers.

Fortunately, though, you are spoilt for choice. Most livebearers are peaceful which means you can just add any fish that isn’t aggressive!

1. Corydoras Catfish

These bottom-dwellers are peaceful and playful companions for livebearers. Corydoras help keep the tank clean by scavenging for leftover food, contributing to a cleaner environment.

2. Cherry Barbs

Cherry Barbs add vibrant color and activity to the tank. Their peaceful nature makes them wonderful companions for livebearers, and their swimming patterns add an extra layer of visual interest.

3. Neon Tetras

Known for their striking colors and gentle behavior, Neon Tetras make great tankmates for livebearers. They add a dash of elegance to the tank and thrive in similar water conditions.

4. Otocinclus Catfish

Otocinclus in planted aquarium

Otocinclus are small, algae-eating fish that are perfect for keeping your tank clean and algae-free. They are peaceful and unobtrusive, making them great companions for your livebearers. Their unique appearance, with their black and white stripes, makes them a joy to watch.

5. Dwarf Gouramis

These smaller Gourami species bring a burst of color and charisma to the tank. Their peaceful temperament and compatibility with livebearers create a harmonious community.

6. Harlequin Rasboras

Harlequin Rasbora

Harlequin Rasboras are peaceful and active swimmers that complement livebearers’ lively behavior. Their striking patterns add visual appeal to the aquarium.

7. Bristlenose Plecos

bristlenose pleco

These adorable algae-eaters help maintain a clean tank while adding a unique touch with their bristle-like appendages. They’re generally peaceful and fit well with livebearers.

8. Ember Tetras

ember tetra

Ember Tetras bring a warm glow to the tank with their fiery colors. Their small size and peaceful nature make them delightful companions for livebearers.

9. Kuhli Loaches

Kuhli_loaches

Kuhli Loaches are quirky and charming bottom-dwellers that add an extra layer of activity to the tank. Their unique appearance and behavior make them intriguing tankmates for livebearers.

10. Celestial Pearl Danios

celestial pearl danio

These have to be some of the coolest looking fish, and if you’re looking for new tank mates, then you should definitely consider them. Just be looking at their patterned and colorful bodies, you know they’re going to steal the show in any aquarium.

FAQ

Here are some frequently asked questions that people have about the different types of livebearers for their tank!

Which Livebearers Breed The Most?

Among livebearing fish, guppies are notorious for their prolific breeding habits. Female guppies can give birth to batches of fry every 4 to 6 weeks, making them one of the most prolific livebearing fish. 

What Are The Best Livebearers For Aquariums?

Several livebearing fish species make fantastic choices for aquariums due to their vibrant colors, peaceful behavior, and ease of care. Some of the best options include Endler’s Livebearers, Platies, Swordtails, and Mollies.

What Are The Smallest Livebearers?

The smallest livebearer fish species is the Least Killifish, but other small livebearers include Endler’s Livebearers, Least Topminnow, Least Rivulus, Pygmy Halfbeaks, and Least Chub Minnow.

Conclusion

With their vibrant colors and unique behaviors, Livebearers can surely make your aquarium come alive. Whether you like the playful Platies or the fancy Swordtails, there’s a livebearer for everyone. Just make sure to apply all the care guidelines, and you’ll be a happy fish keeper with the happiest livebearers! 

Tropical Fish A-Z
About the author

Hey! I'm Antonio!

Betta fish keeper for over 6 years now! Since owning a betta I've also housed all kinds of tropical fish, and have seen all manner of problems and how to look after them!

If you need any advice you can always message me or better yet join the Facebook group where a community can answer your questions!

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