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Girardinus metallicus (The Girardinus, Metallic Livebearer)

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Small, shimmering fish that prefer to swim close to the surface around floating plants.

Sexual dimorphism is strong. Males are smaller, somewhat yellowy in colour, and has a very long anal fin modified into a gonopodium. The female is bigger and paler. Both sexes have black spots on the bottom of the dorsal fin.

Artificial varieties may be more yellowy or bear more pronounced black markings than the wild-type fish. Often overshadowed by the "fancy" livebearers like guppies, but attractive fish nonetheless.

Fish information (behaviour and breeding):

A peaceful livebearing fish found in sluggish waters, often in brackish water areas. Prefers a tank with only gentle water movement and lots of floating plants. As with other livebearers, it feeds on algae and small invertebrates, and needs a mixed diet to do well.

Breeding is similar to guppies. Maintain them in groups containing more females than males to minimise aggression. Gestation lasts about three weeks, and up to 60 fry, though more commonly 30 fry, are produced. These are easy to rear on algae, finely powdered flake food, and small live foods such as brine shrimp nauplii. The parents are quite predatory and will eat the fry unless separated.

Family Group: Livebearers
Distribution Caribbean: Cuba and Costa Rica
Temperature 22-25 C
Size Females to 8 cm, males to 5 cm
Water Parameters Hard and alkaline water essential; salt is optional but perhaps beneficial
Water PH 7.5-8.0
Diet Adaptable
Care Level Easy
Water Chemistry More than pH 7 - Alkaline
Sociability Peaceful
Schooling Fish Yes