Metallic Livebearer (Girardinus metallicus)

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Metallic Livebearer

Girardinus metallicus3563.jpg
Metallic Livebearer

Girardinus metallicus

38 Litres (10 US G.)

4-6 cm (1.6-2.4")


1 - 1.005


7.0 - 8.0

22 -25 °C (71.6-77°F)

9-19 °d

1:3 M:F

Pellet Foods
Flake Foods
Live Foods
Other (See article)

3-5 years



This animal is available captive bred

Additional names

Metallic Livebearer, Metallic Topminnow

Additional scientific names

Girardinus garmani, Girardinus pygmaeus, Heterandria cubensis, Heterandria metallica, Poecilia metallica


Originates from Cuba, where they are found in shallow, frequently stagnant and brackish waters.


Males have a large gonopodium and a striking black line that extends down most of the underside and gonopodium of the fish. Mature females will be larger than males, lack a gonopodium, and have little or no black.
Note that if there are multiple males, the non-dominant individuals might not acquire the color and smaller size of a traditional male, and thus could only be distinguished by their gonopodium in such a scenario.

Tank compatibility[edit]

Metallic Livebearers will do well with other livebearing species and most community fish provided that they tolerate the hard water these fish require, and will not eat or harass the Girardinus. They should be kept in groups of their own kind, in the typical livebearer ratio of 1 male per 2-3 females to prevent excess female harassment.


In their natural habitat, they will eat diatoms, algae and detritus. In captivity, they should accept most foods, including small pellet and flake food, as well as live/frozen foods like brine shrimp and daphnia.

Feeding regime[edit]

Feed once or twice a day, as with most fish.

Environment specifics[edit]

This fish strongly prefers hard, alkaline water and is a good candidate for a lightly brackish tank, preferably a heavily planted one so as to promote fry survival. As one would expect from their wild habitat, this is a tropical fish that should be kept in tropical temperatures. Unlike many livebearers, they are somewhat sensitive to nitrogenous waste, so weekly water changes should be strictly adhered to.


Girardinus metallicus is a typical, peaceful livebearer that goes well with most fish not large enough to eat it, although mixing it with other members of its genus is not advised due to a risk of hybridization.
Males have a distinctive courtship display, in which they tilt their bodies at an angle and chase the females until they consent to mating. Pregnancy is typical for livebearers, and these fish will predate their young when given the chance, so a good deal of cover should be given for this species.


A small, livebearing fish with a golden sheen that looks metallic under the right light, hence some of the common names and the species name. The mature males are the only ones with the distinctive black belly and lower part of the head, and they also have a very long gonopodium. Females have some iridescence as do the males, but lack the black colour.



External links[edit]