Ameca splendens

I received three of these in February from a good friend of mine who is always on the lookout for unusual fish. They are also called “Butterfly Goodeid” or Butterfly Splitfin”. I hadn’t seen these before but he described them as a live bearer. The male is quite handsome. The tail has with a bright yellow band on the outer edge with a black band next to it and blue iridescent spots on the flanks. The female is similar in size and shape but without the colors.

I looked them up in the Red List and found very little information except the note that it is extinct in the wild. Other web sites claim that small populations have been found near the Ameca River in Western Mexico.

 The Chicago Livebearer Society has information on this fish that looks complete. Chicago Livebearer Also the Goodeid Working Group,  GWG has some nice information on the habitat where it was collected and shows a lot of pictures of the different color variations.

The three I have are one male and two females. They are all around 2 inches long. I have seen them described as between 2.5 to 4 inches in length so I am assuming these are young fish. I put them in a small tank with a lot of floating plants and waited for baby fish to appear…and waited….and waited. 

The Chicago web site says that they are primarily vegetarians so I mainly feed them veggie type food with a small amount of dried mysis in case I am wrong. Yesterday, (3/23/14), some babies appeared in the tank. They were HUGE! At first, I thought that these were a month old and I had missed seeing them. They are ¾” long and the parents seem to be ignoring them. There were only five of them but given the size of them, it must have been like giving birth to watermelons. Those females gotta be tough!

I don’t know how important the water quality is to them but their water is;
  • pH = 6.8 to 7.0
  • Total Alkalinity = 80
  • Total hardness between 25 and 50
  • Nitrate and nitrite both 0.

They don’t act like they would be a problem in a community tank with moderately peaceful fish such as swordtails, platys etc. and given the size of the babies, it’s reasonable to expect them to survive as long as there are some places to hide and the other fish are around 2” or so. I had them housed with some; swordtails, Fundulopanchax gardneri, and quarter sized angelfish for a while and didn’t observe any fin nipping problems. They are now in a separate tank by themselves so the survival of the babies in a community tank is only my opinion. I put some shrimp in the same tank a month ago and they totally ignore them. The shrimp population seems to be increasing in that tank so possibly they are a good match with shrimp but that may only hold when they are well feed.

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