Neoheterandia elegans

Written by Rick Borstein. Posted in Featured Fish Archive

Female Neoheterandria elegans

Female Neoheterandia elegans Henn 1916

Common Name: Tiger Teddy
Synonyms: None

Meaning of Name

Genus- Neoheterandria = New Heterandria
Species- elegans= Elegant

Introduction

Neoheterndria elegans is a tiny livebearer native to Columbia. Although not a common fish in the hobby, this fish is undergoing an increase in demand because its dimunitive size makes it a good choice for Nano aquariums, tiny desktop aquarium ecosystems. The common name of this fish (Tiger Teddy) is an apt description of eight or nine tiger-like stripes present on the fish. The overall base color is tan to olive with a nice gold spot on the center of the flank.

Distribution

Neoheterndria elegans is not widely distributed. It is believed that this fish is only found in the Rio Truando, a tributary of the Rio Atrato in Colombia. Conditions 

Size, Maturity, and Sexual Dimorphism

Size: Males- .75 inch, Females- 1 inch
Maturity: .5 inch
Sexual Dimorphism: Males are much smaller than females and less rotund. Males have a gonopodium.

Care

Tiger Teddies aren't difficult to keep, but the fish do not tolerate poor water quality. A 25% weekly water change is recommended. A big tank is not necessary and a five or ten gallon tank provides an ample amount of room for three to four pairs and a bunch of babies.

Furnish the tank with an abundance of live or plastic plants. A gently bubbling sponge filter is a good choice for filtration as these little fish (and their fry, especially) are not very strong swimmers. I've heard conflicting reports about water parameters for these fish. I had success using neutral water with only minimla hardness, but others have reported that these fish tolerate hard water.

Diet

Neoheterandria elegans is a predator, although the prey has to be pretty small! Provide a meat-based diet of finely crushed quality flakes, baby brine shrimp and microworms. I believe that having a live food supplementing flake is essential for this fish.

Breeding

I obtained three pairs of Neoheterandria elegans from Dr. Stephan Tanner when I visited his fishroom on Columbus, OH. Dr. Tanner had a robust colony of these fish in a heavily planted 20-gallon long tank that was a site to behold. In case you don't know it, Dr. Tanner is the distributor of Poret sponge filters on his SwissTropicals website.

Tiger Teddies breed lke other Poeciliids, with the male giving chase to the female, using his gonopodium to transfer sperm packets. The males are determined and may spend a lot of time chasing females, so a heavily planted tank (as mentioned above) is recommended.

Neoheterandria elegans is superfetaceous meaning that a smal number of fry are released througout the breeding cycle. My experience has been that females will drop 2-5 fry after a weekly 25% water change. The fry are very tiny and will not take flake food during the first week or so. If you've been feeding live baby brine shrimp to the adults, no worries, but otherwise you will have to hatch some.

Conclusion

Tiger Teddies are small, but interesting fish and deserve a place in more fishrooms. A pair can be easily kept in a well-planted Nano tank, but care should be taken to ensure good water quality.

References

Print