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A pregnant female H. formosa can carry up to nine simultaneous broods, giving birth every one to
four days over the course of a month.
(some mollies, platies, and most Poeciliopsis
do this as well).
These two reproductive tricks allow the
fish to give birth to larger (albeit fewer) fry,
thus increasing their chances of survival
and the perpetuation of their species.
Females can carry up to nine simultaneous
broods—quite a feat for a tiny fish! About
one to six fry are produced every one to
four days depending on the size of the
female, for about a month (this can range
from a couple of weeks to over two months
depending on season and maturity).
Therefore, removing the female for
birthing is pointless. Contrary to most
accounts, however, they do cannibalize
their fry to some extent; good feeding,
hiding places, and maximizing tank size
mitigate this behavior.
In nature, H. formosa enjoys autumn and
winter reproductive resting periods (like
goodeid livebearers). Interestingly, it has
been documented in both the field and
in the laboratory that the primary driver
here is not temperature (as with other
livebearers), but photoperiod. A lighted
aquarium may help continue reproduction
through winter. If your fishroom has some
windows (which many veteran fish heads
like me swear by as a tool to help with
breeding), you may observe a decrease
or ceasing of reproduction in the fall,
followed by resumption in the spring. The
fish’s lifespan is about one to two years
depending on maintenance temperatures.
The first foods for the fry must be micro
in size, such as commercial powdered
foods, cyclops, and rotifers. The Java moss
and other plants in a well-established tank
will provide a grazing area to assist with
New ALA Website Debuts
The American Livebearer Association
(ALA) is pleased to announce a revamped
and updated website at www.livebearers.org.
Included is a message forum with multiple
livebearer topics for posting and reading. Log
on to learn more about the ALA and its annual
convention, including becoming a member and
receiving the informative Livebearers Bulletin
and valuable Trader publications.
New IFGA Forum Debuts
The International Fancy Guppy Association
(IFGA) has created a new message forum
where members can post and read messages on
a variety of topics and threads. Log on to the
IFGA website at www.ifga.org to learn more
about IFGA membership and its offerings.
this diet, but frozen and dry products
should be provided in tiny amounts. Adult
and juvenile fish do fine on this diet as
well, supplemented by finely crumbled
flake food with live, frozen, and/or freeze-dried daphnia and baby brine shrimp.
Ensure there are some algae in these foods
for best health.
H. formosa has been a favorite of livebearer
enthusiasts since it was first introduced
at the dawn of the tropical fish hobby
nearly 100 years ago. Its shy demeanor
masks a wonderfully complex but efficient
reproductive strategy, while its small size
makes it perfect for a desktop tank or
small water feature. With hardiness for
both outdoor and indoor living, this fish is
definitely worth the effort.
Just watch that sunburn thing if you
collect your own…and don’t drink the