Neoheterandria elegans

Aquarium fish: Neoheterandria elegans (Neoheterandria elegans)
Size: 2.5 cm
Origin: South America
Water temperature: 22-26 ° C
Aquarium volume: 20 l

Neoheterandria elegans (Neoheterandria elegans ) – a miniature, attractively colored aquarium fish from the Piękniczkowate family .


South America. The species is endemic only in the Rio Atrato River in the Choco and Antioquia departments of northwest Colombia. It lives in shallow and overgrown areas.

Characteristics and disposition

Fusiform body, olive green with a pale belly, tinged with an orange-copper color in some places.

Dark transverse stripes run along the body, the middle of which is clearly thicker and darker. Mouth opening in the upper position. Transparent, dorsal and caudal fins colored orange, and all odd fins are edged with an iridescent blue color, which is especially noticeable in adult females. Sexual dimorphism is clearly marked. The female has a barrel-shaped belly, it is clearly larger, stocky, up to 2.5 cm long.

The smaller, slender male grows up to 1.5 cm, and his anal fin is transformed into a pointed gonopodium. The sex can be distinguished in the fry after they reach approx. 1 cm. The female will have two dark spots – in the central part of the body and in the area of ​​the later pregnancy spot, The species is mild-mannered, calm, but at the same time quite mobile. The fish stay most of the time in the upper and middle parts of the aquarium.

They move slowly and often stop in place. In an aquarium, they should be kept in a small colony. Males show little aggression towards rivals, they attack, flap their fins and chase each other away without hurting each other. During breeding, they can also be quite insistent towards females, so the aquarium should have a broken line of sight, e.g. with floating vegetation.

Nutrition and feeding

Indiscriminate and omnivores, they accept most of the shredded foods offered. They especially like small, live and frozen foods such as Artemia, Oczlik or Dafnia, but they will also like dry foods. In the aquarium, they will be happy to nibble on algae, and if there is no such algae, you can give them food with spirulina.


They do not have high requirements, for a couple you can try even a 20-liter aquarium, preferably a larger one. For a group, a 30-liter aquarium, locally densely planted with gentle water movement, will be sufficient.

They like to be close to the water surface, among floating vegetation. The water should be of good quality, it is recommended to change about 40-50% at least once a week. They accept a wide range of water parameters, but they feel best in medium-hard water (10-15dGH), from neutral to slightly alkaline (6.8-8.0 pH) with a temperature of 22-26 ° C. They can be kept at lower temperatures of 18-21 ° C, they live a bit longer then, but they grow much slower and reproduce less frequently. Interestingly, unlike other beekeepers, they also tolerate soft water.

Due to their small size, they do not fit into typical social aquariums. They are probably more skittish than the related species Heterandria formosa and are best kept in a species aquarium or with dwarf shrimps.


The main problem with reproduction of the Grumble Mill is the size of the fry, which is about 2-3 mm in size and unable to ingest micro nematodes, freshly hatched Artemia larvae and other similar foods for the first few days. The fry initially require micro-food, but they grow relatively quickly and can reproduce after 3 months of life. Gestation lasts about 30 days.

This species has a slightly different method of producing eggs, called superfetation, compared to other beekeepers. This process is defined as the simultaneous development of embryos at several different stages of development. In addition, the yolk sac in this species is poor in nutrients, and the developing fry draws a significant amount of substance from the mother’s body through the alveolar bed, which functions in a similar way to that of mammals. According to some researchers, in the early stages of development, food is also absorbed through the epithelium that covers the entire body of the embryo. As a result of this process, the female releases a small amount of fry on a regular basis at certain intervals, rather than spending the entire litter in one birthing process.

Depending on the prevailing environmental conditions (predation, food availability, drought, etc.), 1-2 fry may appear every day, but usually every 2-3 days. The entire delivery of a given batch of a litter usually takes about a week and may include from a few to 20 fry. Well-fed adult fish, in a well-groomed aquarium with lots of vegetation, usually do not eat offspring.


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