Endler Guppy – All You Need To Know About Endler Guppies - "Endler Guppy 'Yellow Top Sword'" by Dornenwolf is licensed under CC BY 2.0.
Endler Guppy – All You Need To Know About Endler Guppies - "Endler Guppy 'Yellow Top Sword'" by Dornenwolf is licensed under CC BY 2.0.


Endler guppies, with their vivid colors and lively personalities, have captivated the hearts of aquarium enthusiasts around the globe. Originating from the warm, freshwater lagoons of Venezuela, these small yet vibrant fish offer a glimpse into the rich biodiversity of their native habitat. As members of the Poecilia wingei species, Endler guppies distinguish themselves from their close relatives through their unique color patterns and behaviors. This article aims to provide a comprehensive guide for hobbyists looking to create the ideal environment for their Endler guppy, covering essential aspects from tank setup and maintenance to diet, feeding practices, and selecting compatible tank mates. By closely mimicking their natural conditions and understanding their specific needs, enthusiasts can ensure these enchanting creatures thrive in the home aquarium.

About Endler Guppies

Endler guppies (Poecilia wingei), named after the scientist John Endler who discovered them in the late 1970s, are a distinct species of guppy that have captivated aquarium enthusiasts worldwide. Unlike their close relative, the common guppy (Poecilia reticulata), Endler guppies are known for their more vibrant colors and smaller size. Originating from the warm, freshwater lagoons of Venezuela, these fish have a unique set of characteristics that distinguish them from other guppy species. Their discovery brought a new dimension to the aquarium hobby, offering a fresh palette of colors and behaviors to explore.

Natural Habitat

Endler guppies are native to Venezuela, specifically found in a few locations including the Laguna de Patos in the Cumaná region. Their natural habitat is characterized by warm, clear waters with abundant vegetation. The water temperature in these habitats typically ranges from 24°C to 28°C (75°F to 82°F), with a pH level that is slightly acidic to neutral. These conditions are ideal for the lush growth of aquatic plants and algae, providing Endler guppies with ample hiding spots and breeding grounds. The environmental factors of their habitat play a significant role in their behavior and physiological adaptations, influencing everything from their coloration to their reproductive strategies.

Physical Appearance and Varieties

What truly sets Endler guppies apart is their striking appearance. Males are especially notable for their vibrant colors and intricate patterns, which can include a mix of iridescent blues, greens, oranges, and reds. Females are generally less colorful, displaying subdued hues and smaller sizes. 

Males typically grow to size around 1 inch (2.5 cm) and females up to around 1.5 inches (4 cm).

Behavior and Social Structure

Endler guppies exhibit fascinating behaviors that are both a product of their evolutionary adaptations and their social interactions. In the wild, they form loose groups, with males constantly displaying their bright colors to attract females and deter rivals. Their social structure is relatively simple, with dominance often established through non-violent displays rather than aggressive confrontations.

In both natural and aquarium settings, Endler guppies are known for their active and curious nature. Males frequently engage in elaborate courtship displays, showcasing their colors and patterns to woo females. They are livebearers, meaning they give birth to free-swimming young rather than laying eggs. This reproductive strategy has implications for their social behavior and population dynamics, as they can rapidly increase in number under optimal conditions.

Their interaction with other fish species is generally peaceful, making them excellent candidates for community aquariums. However, care should be taken to house them with other non-aggressive species that do not view them as prey due to their small size.

Understanding the unique aspects of Endler guppies—from their discovery and natural habitat to their dazzling appearance and social behaviors—provides a solid foundation for appreciating these fascinating creatures in both a scientific and aquarium hobbyist context.

Endler Guppy Aquarium Setup

Setting up an aquarium for the Endler guppy requires attention to their natural habitat conditions to ensure they thrive in captivity. Here’s a guide to creating a suitable environment for your Endler guppies:

  • Minimum Size: A 10-gallon (about 38 liters) tank is the minimum recommended size for a small group of Endler guppies. Larger tanks are preferable if you plan to keep a community or expect the guppies to breed, as they reproduce prolifically.
  • Temperature: Maintain water temperatures between 24°C to 28°C (75°F to 82°F) to mimic their natural tropical habitat.
  • pH Level: Aim for a pH range of 6.7 to 8.0, with 7.0-7.5 being ideal for most community aquariums.
  • Hardness: Endler guppies are adaptable but prefer slightly hard water.
  • Filtration: Use a gentle filtration system that keeps the water clean without creating strong currents, as Endler guppies prefer relatively calm water. Sponge filters are a good choice for their safety and effectiveness.
  • Lighting: Provide moderate lighting to support plant growth without causing excessive algae. LED aquarium lights on a 12-hour cycle mimic natural daylight patterns and are energy-efficient.
  • Plants: Mimic their natural environment with plenty of live plants like Java Fern, Anubias, and water sprite to provide hiding spots and breeding areas. Include floating plants to diffuse light and create shadow areas, which helps mimic their natural habitat and reduce stress.
  • Decorations: Add driftwood, rocks, and caves to provide additional hiding spaces and enrich the environment.
  • Water Changes: Perform regular water changes (20-25% weekly) to maintain water quality, especially in smaller tanks or densely stocked aquariums.

Creating an aquarium that closely mirrors the natural habitat of Endler guppies not only ensures their health and happiness but also makes for a vibrant and lively aquarium display. Remember, the key to a successful aquarium lies in consistent maintenance and monitoring of the aquatic environment.

Tank Mates

Choosing Endler guppy tank mates requires careful consideration to ensure a harmonious and stress-free aquarium environment. Here are key factors to consider when selecting companions for your Endler guppies:

  • Peaceful Nature: Select tank mates that have a peaceful temperament to avoid aggression towards the Endler guppies. Aggressive or territorial fish can cause stress, injury, or even death to Endler guppies due to their small size and peaceful nature.
  • Appropriate Size: Choose fish that are similar in size or only slightly larger than Endler guppies. Large or predatory fish may see Endler guppies as prey, especially the fry.
  • Non-Predatory: Avoid fish known for their predatory behaviors or tendencies to nip fins, as this can harm the Endler guppies.
  • Water Parameters: Ensure that the selected tank mates thrive in the same water conditions as Endler guppies, including temperature, pH, and hardness levels. This compatibility is crucial for the health and well-being of all fish in the aquarium.
  • Balanced Activity Levels: Choose fish with activity levels that match or complement the Endler guppies. Highly energetic fish might outcompete Endler guppies for food, while too docile species might get stressed by the guppies’ activity.
  • Swimming Space Considerations: Ensure the tank is spacious enough to accommodate the swimming needs of all species. Dense plantings and decorations can help provide separate territories and hiding spots, reducing potential stress and aggression.
  • Diet: Select tank mates with similar dietary needs to make feeding simpler and ensure all fish receive appropriate nutrition. Endler guppies are omnivorous and thrive on a varied diet, so compatible tank mates should have no special feeding requirements that drastically differ from this.
  • Compatible Species: Small tetras, such as neon tetras or cardinal tetras, small rasboras, Corydoras catfish, small plecos, and other livebearers (like mollies and platies) can be good companions due to their peaceful nature and similar size.
  • Invertebrates: Shrimp (e.g., Cherry Shrimp) and snails (e.g., Nerite Snails) can also coexist well with Endler guppies, adding variety to the tank without increasing the risk of aggression.
  • Species to Avoid: Large, aggressive cichlids, certain barbs known for fin nipping, and larger predatory fish should be avoided as tank mates for Endler guppies.

By carefully selecting tank mates that match the Endler guppies’ peaceful demeanor, environmental needs, and dietary habits, you can create a diverse, vibrant, and harmonious aquarium community.

Endler Guppy – All You Need To Know About Endler Guppies - "Endler Guppy 'Yellow Top Sword'" by Dornenwolf is licensed under CC BY 2.0.
Endler Guppy – All You Need To Know About Endler Guppies – “Endler Guppy ‘Yellow Top Sword’” by Dornenwolf is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Diet and Feeding

When considering the diet and feeding of your Endler guppy, it’s crucial to replicate their natural feeding behaviors as closely as possible to ensure they receive the necessary nutrients for growth, color vibrancy, and overall health. Here are some key considerations:

Diversity in Diet

Endler guppies thrive on a varied diet that includes both plant-based and protein-rich foods. In the wild, they consume a mix of algae, small invertebrates, and detritus. To mimic this in captivity, you should provide:

  • High-quality flake food: Choose flakes that are specially formulated for small tropical fish or livebearers. These flakes often contain a mix of essential vitamins and minerals.
  • Live foods: Supplement their diet with live foods such as brine shrimp, daphnia, and bloodworms. Live foods are excellent for encouraging natural hunting behaviors and are particularly beneficial during breeding.
  • Frozen or freeze-dried foods: If live foods are not readily available, frozen or freeze-dried alternatives are a good substitute. They provide similar nutritional value without the risk of introducing diseases.
  • Vegetable matter: Include spirulina or blanched vegetables like zucchini, spinach, or lettuce to add plant-based nutrients to their diet.

Feeding Frequency

Endler guppies have small stomachs and a fast metabolism, making them prone to overeating if given the chance. It’s best to feed them small amounts 2-3 times a day, only as much as they can consume in a few minutes. This approach reduces waste and mimics their natural grazing behavior.

Avoiding Overfeeding

Overfeeding can lead to poor water quality by increasing ammonia and nitrate levels, which can stress and harm the fish. Monitor the amount of uneaten food and adjust the feeding amount accordingly. Regular maintenance, including water changes and substrate vacuuming, is essential to remove any uneaten food and debris.

Special Considerations for Fry

Endler guppy fry are tiny and require appropriately sized food. Infusoria, baby brine shrimp, or commercially available fry food are excellent choices. Feeding fry several times a day supports their rapid growth and development.

Observation and Adjustment

Observe your Endler guppy during and after feeding to ensure all fish are getting their share and to gauge their health and activity levels. Adjustments to diet types, feeding frequencies, and amounts may be necessary as the fish grow or as environmental conditions within the tank change.

By providing a balanced and varied diet, you’ll not only promote the health and longevity of your Endler guppies but also enhance their vibrant colors and active behaviors, making your aquarium a more dynamic and interesting ecosystem.


Endler guppies are more than just colorful additions to the aquarium; they are a testament to the intricate balance of nature and the importance of detailed care in the aquatic hobby. Setting up the perfect habitat for these fish involves a blend of science and art, requiring attention to detail in water quality, tank conditions, diet, and community dynamics. By following the guidelines outlined for tank setup, water parameters, feeding, and companion selection, hobbyists can create a thriving ecosystem that mirrors the natural world of these fascinating fish. Furthermore, the care of Endler guppies offers a rewarding experience, allowing enthusiasts to observe the beauty and complexity of aquatic life up close. Whether you are a seasoned aquarist or a newcomer to the hobby, the vibrant world of the Endler guppy opens up a realm of discovery and delight, fostering a deeper appreciation for the delicate underwater ecosystems they represent.