27 July 2012

The Wonderful Fish Called Endlers

Endlers are one of the most liveliest tropical fish in the aquarist domain. They cultivate like mad and their over excited exuberance in the aquarium makes for an immense landscaping effect for the home. They require very little care and are extremely sociable. After a few feeding rituals they can quickly acclimate to such times and will congregate towards the individual. One can trace a finger up and down the tank surface and the endler will equally follow. They can be kept in a species only tank and will generally adapt to most small to large high to low tech environments. Generally, they have a preference for bog wood and a well planted tank with other peaceful individuals. It is always recommended to not keep endlers with guppies or any other type of livebearer and even predatory fish. This is because Guppies and Endlers can often interbreed which is not favorable. A livebearer, incidentally, is a type of fish that retains most of the eggs and tends to give birth to live  fry. Endlers appear in variety of types in the aquarist trade. However, in wild habitat they may be rarely seen. The males are often smaller in size measuring to about 1.5 inches with mixture of colors. The females are often larger measuring to about 2.5 inches and generally more dull in color. Keeping females and endlers in same tank over time can lead to a pretty rapid cultivation of a growing community. One of the major drawbacks to keeping endlers is that they have a very short lifespan. Females often can die of over stimulation from males. Therefore, it is preferable to keep them in a ratio of two females to every male. In general, a male and female endlers could live to a maximum of 2 years. As is often the case, the lifespan of a fish is dictated by the size of the tank, the food diet, and the quality of filtering tank water as well as the environment. Feeding them once a day or even every other day is sufficient. Otherwise, a feeding twice daily with proportionately less food will also suffice. They usually require a variety of food supplements from flakes, to frozen and even live. As they are omnivores, a rich vegetable and sprinkling of protein diet will do. If one starts to over feed them with a protein diet they do tend to become more edgy and aggressive in the tank even going so far as to try eating their own fry or nipping at fins of other fish. In wild, they do tend to live more on algae and plankton.

Types of food:
Quality and variety of foods given is important to fish to keep them continuously healthy and also is economical as most packages can last to up to a year which is less expensive then having to keep buying new fish. 
  • Sera GVG Mix (crushed)
  • Sera Mixpur (crushed)
  • Sera Artemia Brine Shrimp (Freeze Dried)
  • Sera Flora (crushed)
  • Sera Vipan Tropical Flakes (crushed)
  • Sera Plankton (size depending on amount of fish in tank)
  • Sera Daphnia (Freeze Dried)
  • Hikari Tropical Algae Wafers (size depending on amount of fish in tank)
  • Cyclops
  • JBL Spirulina Flakes (crushed)
  • JBL Guppy Flakes (crushed)
One can also feed them live proteins instead of freeze dried. However, live feeds do come at a risk and extra maintenance. Over indulgence is bad for fish which can start to dissipate their livers and can also lead to constipation and other effects. It is often advisable to side on less rather than more when feeding.

A Daily Diet:
Generally, GVG Mix with Flora can work on a daily basis giving a high iodine support. Freeze dried and live bits can be kept as a variety in a differentially smaller amounts. Most foods will be too big for them to eat so crushing the food not only makes it more efficient but also more palatable. Try to avoid excessive hand contact with fish food to minimize any chance of contamination and to maintain freshness keep the food sealed in the original package. Also, best to wash hands before and after feeding. 

Minimum Tank Sizes:
A 30-40L Tank is usually sufficient for them. However, larger tanks are usually advisable as they can reproduce every 30 days.

Habitat:
Plants are often a good edition to the tank. They really like green leafy ones for plenty of hiding, providing spaces, and navigation. Among some of their favourites are Anubias Barti, Anubias Nana, Water Wisteria, Java Moss, Java Fern, and a variety of small carpet foreground plants. A variety of scattered bog wood and plants not only provide for plenty of hiding places for females but also add interesting dynamic elements to the tank. They also tend to prefer a bit of dissolved aquarium salt in tank as well as regulated water temperature of between 24-28 degrees Celsius. With an active filter and dechlorinater, this is sufficient usually for a low tech tank. But to go further, regulated CO2 may also be needed. Endlers also enjoy aeration bubbles. Fish stress very easily and when they do they become more susceptible to diseases. Endlers like livebearers can have a tendency of constipating themselves with food. Pea supplements, vegetable matter, and even aquarium salt can cure a lot of the ailments without requiring significant levels of quarantine. When a fish becomes infected it is best to quarantine and to provide appropriate treatment. Do not over populate the tank. A specific tank size can only hold so much water, and that water over time can only hold so much oxygen. More fish one has in a tank the more the stress on the filter, the more food they eat, the more mess they produce, and more oxygen is consumed which all equals to more water changes and a higher maintenance. Conversely, excessive amount of oxygen can also cause fish to inhibit bubbles around the gills and gasp more frequently above the surface. This can be caused by having a lot of aeration and plants in the tank while feeding. At times they may also show fungi on their skin or fins, this is often down to stress or as a result of touching against gravel, or containing objects in the aquarium. To avoid this one should frequently conduct water tests, do once or twice a week water changes of 20%, periodically cleanse the gravel and surrounding surfaces, and clean filter. Do not over clean as this will reduce the good bacteria in the tank. At times adding just a bit of aquarium salt can do the trick or just not feeding them for a whole day can sort the issue out. Always treat the introduction of external chemicals and quarantine as the last resort unless the natural options do not sort the issue out themselves. It is always best to use common sense and not to keep more fish then the tank can accommodate i.e. do not keep 30 endlers in a 30L tank. Being a responsible aquarist and knowing one is looking after a living thing should be kept in mind.

Where to get them?
In London (UK), some good stores to get pure endlers are Tropicals and Marines or Design Aquatics. Otherwise, they can also be obtained online via delivery but that is not a recommended option. When buying one should usually tend to go for the fish that appears to be the most active and healthy as well as less aggressive. Also, as they have a short lifespan it is also advisable to seek the ones with more affluent color formations as older endlers tend to recede into darker and more faded coloring. In stores one may also notice a variety of different types of endlers. Snakeskins are not pure endlers they are a hybrid between guppy and endler. Attached below are a couple of links for further reference. Mix breeds may not usually share the same characteristics of an endler. One should not keep pure endlers with hybrids or guppies. A lot of this is because the pure endler stock is very few and far between in numbers both in the aquarist trade as well as in wild. Hybridizing can often lead to fish being also more susceptible to diseases as it is now often the case with platies.

male endler

male endler display often made towards a female

female endler

snakeskin (hybrids)