Mr. Gerry Hawksby is a much respected Yorkshire aquarist, and
Honorary Member of Ryedale A.S., who recently accepted the honour
of writing the opening page for the new Y.A.A.S. web-site.
Mr. Gerry Hawksby at home among 'all
POECILIA SPECIES 'ENDLERS'
Text by Gerry Hawksby
Photographs by David Marshall
On a recent visit to my home, David Marshall asked if I would
write an article for his Ryedale Reporter (the monthly magazine
of the Ryedale Aquarist Society) on my experiences with the
'Endlers' (Englers) livebearer. I suppose David's request was
understandable as I had not kept them previously and it was
he who provided me with my initial stock. I could tell that
David was interested to record my thoughts on and experiences
with these particular fish so hope the following will suffice.
I have to admit to knowing very little about this specie beforehand
as I had never seen them for sale in any aquatic retail outlet
or found any reference to them in any of my textbooks so assumed
that, more than likely, they were either a newly discovered
specie with any published material yet to catch up with the
publishing community or some form of Double Tailed Guppy hybrid.
David assured me that the latter was not the case as this fish
was a specie in its own right and one that bred true to type.
That been so the hybrid theory could be disregarded.
Any lingering doubts I had were dispersed when I subsequently
read a very informative article on this fish, entitled 'Three
Unusual Livebearers', which was written by Mr. Howard Norfolk
for the Aquarticles web-site (which you can find on the links
page of the Ryedale A.S. web-site) and then downloaded by David
for use in the January 2003 issue of Ryedale Reporter. I now
had all the background history of this colourful little gem.
Howard's article informed readers that Poecilia sp. 'Endlers'
was first collected in 1937. That being so why hadn't any reference
to its existence been included in any textbooks or magazine
I had in my possession and why had it taken a lifetime before
it appeared locally? Maybe it had been looked upon as being
one of the poorer examples of the known populations of the Guppy
as I suggested earlier and, as such, a fish which would be overlooked
by most fishkeepers visiting their local dealer. If we reach
a situation where there is no demand for any specie then dealers
will not stock the specie in question thus the average aquarist
will not be aware of its existence. It is the stalwarts, and
species specialists, of our hobby who keep the lesser-fancied
So what of my experiences? During the several years I have
now kept this specie, I have found them to be one of the most
undemanding aquarium fish ever to grace my tanks. They appear
happy in the more usual aquarium conditions i.e. gravel base,
plants either plastic or live and normal tap water with simple
filtration. Because of their size they should only be kept with
smaller growing species otherwise their larger cousins will
look upon them as a quick snack. Under no circumstances should
they be mixed with Guppies or any other Poecilia species otherwise
they will interbreed thus the true specie will be lost.
Personally I've found them sufficiently rewarding as to warrant
a tank of their own. From my original three pairs I have gone
on to fill 2 two feet and 1 three feet tanks with these charming
little ovoviviparous fish, they are so prolific.
A reverse trio.
A male Endlers displaying to a female.
Obviously not all fishkeepers have the space or desire to accommodate
such numbers of fish, but any surplus can easily be disposed
of amongst society members or sold at open show auctions. Most
of the aquatic retailers I have come in contact with have been
willing to come to some 'swap' arrangement as homebred fish
are often much sought after.
An interesting feature appeared in one brood of fry when I
noticed that 3 males stood out from the rest as they developed.
Instead of them sporting the usual black spot, centrally placed
on each side of the body, these spots virtually became a black
lateral line extending into the caudal peduncle. I was in two
minds as whether I should segregate these males or not. Two
factors presented themselves:
1. Was I already too late for perhaps one or more of these
males had already impregnated some of the females?
2. Could the females from the brood be carrying the genes for
the anomaly, which would show through in future offspring? I
would, therefore, have to attempt the impossible by isolating
the whole brood. This presented me with another problem - I
did not have a suitably sized tank in which to house 30 or so
In the end I did nothing and to my surprise, and I suppose
relief, none of the subsequent offspring have shown these characteristics
which prompts me to suspect that the genes which prompted the
abnormality were in fact recessive.
I can truly say that my experiences with this particular specie
have been productive and, more importantly, most interesting.
Finally, I have heard this fish referred to as the 'Endless'
livebearer by some aquarists' who obviously misheard the common
pronunciation. In one respect they are absolutely correct for
mature females will produce substantial broods of fry at regular
intervals, in all other respects they couldn't be further from
the truth as they do sport a colourful and attractive caudal
In late March 2007 David Marshall gave a small colony of Endlers
Livebearers to his friend and renowned aquatic photographer
Mr. Iggy Travares. Iggy sent to David five beautiful portraits,
three males and two females which we have the great pleasure
of presenting as follows.