Live-bearers or toothcarps are some of the easiest aquarium fish to keep. Indeed, they are relatively easy to look after and feel well even in smaller aquariums.

“Livebearers” get their name because unlike most other fish, they don’t spawn but rather bring their young to the world when they are fully developed. There are at least 200 members in this family, including swordtails and sailfins, but also guppies, platies and mollies, some of the best known and most popular of all aquarium fish.

Toothcarps are common fish for beginners

Fish enthusiasts find these three fascinating not only for their reproductive behavioural patterns; they are especially popular because they are considered easy “beginners fish”. With their pretty shapes and magnificent colours they brighten up large aquariums in the office just as nicely as a small one in the kids’ bedroom. They also have an amicable temperament and coexist easily with other fish species. In fact, as they are often kept together they even create mixed groups.

Livebearers prefer to live in groups, with at least five of each type of fish. The livebearers’ aquarium needs to hold a minimum of 54 litres – better still 100 litres – depending on the type and quantity of fish. That’s not a lot compared to other species, but it gives the fish enough space to move about and still leaves plenty of room for attractive planting, which should be dense in places, as well as underwater decoration.

These top 3 favourites will tolerate a wider range of water parameters than other fish. Guppies, platies and mollies love medium hard water with a neutral pH value between 7 and 8, and temperatures of 22 to 26 degrees Celsius. You don’t need a lot to create an environment where your fish will feel at home: heating, lighting that can be regulated via a timer switch and a filter that’s the right size for the aquarium volume. A lot of complete aquariums already have exactly what these three species need.

What to do when your fish have babies

When fish feel well, your aquarium population is likely to increase quickly. Those who hope to experience the birth will be disappointed, as these fish are often born under cover of darkness. It’s usually only when you come to give them their breakfast that you will notice the tiny, yet fully developed, baby fish. Most of the time, your new fish will stay hidden away as, unfortunately, hungry livebearers are likely to eat their own young. To protect the new fish, it’s important that you provide dense vegetation for them to hide in, or else put a spawning box in the tank. Happily, a lot of the young fish will grow up and become a part of the group.

You should keep a maximum of one male per species, particularly with swordtails, to avoid rivalry in the small aquarium and to ensure that the females aren’t overwhelmed. It is easy to identify the gender of an adult fish: The males are usually half the size of the females, are much slimmer, have a “mating fin” (gonopodium) on the lower abdomen and are generally more brightly coloured. The females can be identified by their gestation spot.

Ask around in advance to see if anyone is interested in having the new fish. Because if your fish feel truly well, they’ll multiply in leaps and bounds. So be sure to find other fish enthusiasts in good time who are willing to take your surplus fish off your hands. You don’t want your aquarium to get too full!

Call into your local store today to discuss your fish’s personal needs with our Maxi Zoo Pet Experts