The pages in this section are reference the family Poeciliidae. These are the live-bearing, so-called “tooth carps” that include freshwater to brackish water aquarium staples such as guppies and endlers, swordtails, platys and mollies. Although many of these now occur globally in warmer water systems, having been released by hobbyists or introduced as a means of mosquito control, the distribution of these adaptable, fresh to brackish water fish was originally throughout South, and Central America, the Caribbean, parts of the Southern United States, with at least one genus occurring naturally in tropical West Africa.
Sexual dimorphism can be striking in this family of fishes, with males of some species (namely guppies, endlers and swordtails) being much more colorful and/or exhibiting dramatic finnage compared to the females. Another distinctive feature of male Poeciliidae is the presence of a stick-like anal fin called a gonopodium, modified for use for mating.
Some of the live-bearing species are relatively undemanding in terms of their care, and can make great starter fish for beginning aquarists. They are omnivorous, and will accept just about any commercially available tropical fish, and can adapt to a wide variety of water conditions. Neutral to fairly hard water, with temperatures ranging between 68-80 degrees F, and a ph. of around 7.0-8.2, with water are fine. Since many of poeciliads, like mollies, have original distributions that extend into brackish or even salt waters, the addition of a bit of salt to the aquarium water is beneficial. More details about this and other specifics will be provided in the species descriptions.