Butterfly splitfin

Aquarium fish: Butterfly splitfin (Ameca splendens)
Size: 10 cm
Origin: North America
Water temperature: 20-30 ° C
Aquarium volume: 100 l

Butterfly splitfin (Ameca splendens ) – freshwater aquarium fish, the only representative of the genus Ameca, from the viviparous family.


South America . Considered endemic for many years and found only in the Rio Ameca River basin in the state of Jalisco, in Midwest Mexico, including its tributary Rio Teuchitlan. Species incorrectly listed in the International Red Book as extinct. Several populations have now been discovered in the neighboring Sayula Valley.

It lives in transparent springs and streams with rich vegetation.

Characteristics and disposition

Adult specimens grow up to 8-9 cm in length. Slightly protruding, silvery-gray body with irregularly distributed dark blue and black spots. Fins gray with bright rays. Males are smaller and more colored.

Their caudal fin is edged with a yellow or orange stripe, preceded by a black, wide stripe. Anal, pectoral and abdominal fins also brightly colored. The dorsal fin is mostly dark with a hint of yellow color. The scales on the sides of the body glisten with a metallic blue or turquoise color. Olive brown back.

They also have an external reproductive organ, the so-called andropodium – formed from shortened rays of the anal fin. The females are greenish yellow, the scales on the sides of the body glisten with a pale blue color. No bright colors on the fins. Very active fish, feeding in the upper and middle parts of the water. Males can be a bit aggressive.

Visible hierarchy. In the herd, they constantly compete with each other, but this rarely affects their health. The alpha male shows the greatest activity and is the most beautifully colored.

Nutrition and feeding

Omnivorous and greedy, they do not eat in moderation. They will eat most of the food they serve.

In the natural environment, algae constitute a large part of their diet, therefore the aquarium should be dominated by plant foods, e.g. flakes with spirulina, chopped spinach, dried seaweed supplemented with animal foods, e.g. copepods, mosquito larvae.


A spacious aquarium with a length of min. 90 cm, in places densely planted with vegetation.

They look best on a dark surface. For decoration, you can use stones, dry roots or pieces of wood. Sensitive to pollutants, which, with their high appetite, quickly produce. They require efficient filtration, well-oxygenated water with moderate movement, and substantial weekly (50%) changes. By staying longer in temperatures above 24 ° C, they will get sick more often and live shorter lives.

They will not be a good choice for a social aquarium. They can be a bit aggressive, especially males, and nibble at other species’ fins. They are also quite dominant during feeding. Strong, agile and similar sized fish with similar environmental requirements will be a good company. The best choice for them will be a species tank.


Very easy to reproduce. Fish can be bred in larger groups, in a species aquarium or in pairs. The spawning tank should contain a large number of small-leaved plants. Magnificent amecs reproduce slightly differently from other viviparous species. Females do not store dandelion and must be fertilized each time.

During pregnancy, they also do not have a characteristic dark spot, just behind the anal fin. The female begins courtship, swims sideways to the male and presents trembling movements that become more and more intense with time. The male acquires intense coloration and spawns. Gestation lasts about 55-60 days and after this period 5 to 30 pups are released. The fry after birth are relatively large, approx.

1-1.5 cm. Sometimes it seems that the fish have threads attached, something like an umbilical cord, this is perfectly normal and will disappear after 2-3 days. From the beginning, they are quite bold and compete with adults for food. Parents are reluctant to pursue the young, and in dense vegetation, most of the litter should survive.


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