Do Endler’s Livebearers School? {Or Do They Shoal?}

Do you want to find out if Endler’s Livebearers school together? Do they need to be kept in groups or will they end up stressed when they are alone? In this article, we’ll discuss the topic of whether or not Endlger’s Livebearers are schooling fish.

Do Endler’s Livebearers School? No. Endler’s Livebearers are social fish that will shoal together in times of percieved fear, threat or stress. They feel safe in a group of 5 or more, but they won’t stay together to mimic the same swimming patterns all day long. 

Do Endlers do Shoal?

Endler’s livebearers belong to the Poecilia species. They have the natural tendency to be social and would like to be kept in groups. A school of endlers will not be seen in tight uniform formations. They will actively enjoy your tank without sticking together and mimicking each other.

It’s more likely that the behavior you are seeing is shoaling rather than schooling. The general rule of strength in numbers applies to endlers that come together when they feel nervous or threatened.

Other times, they can be seen playfully interacting, establishing a hierarchy (pecking order) or the males are actively pursuing the females for the chance to mate with them.

Should I Keep A Pair Of Endlers Together?

You may find that some local fish shops sell endlers in pairs. They breed often and multiply quickly. If you keep only one male with one female, she will be harassed too often and will become stressed.

The male may unknowingly kill her as a result of constant chasing or harassing. It’s best to keep 2 females to 1 male to calm things down. Always outnumber the males with more females if you plan to keep a larger group of 3, 6 or more endlers together.

Why Are My Endlers Schooling?

The behavior you are seeing is mostly the result of stress. Endlers will form a tighter school, but do not remain in this formation throughout the day. This is better represented by the term shoaling.

Endler stick together under these conditions:

  • Poor water quality 
  • Fear of attack
  • Strength in numbers to scare potential predators
  • Feeding
  • Establishing hierarchical order
  • Mating rituals

Water Quality

Sometimes your endlers will swim erratically and dart in opposite directions to hide when the water quality is off or if they are sick. Slight changes in water quality may cause them to stay together and calm each other down until conditions are improved.

Fear of Attack and Group Defense

The fear of a predator attacking them will trigger the innate response to get together and look bigger. Their confidence will grow and they will stay together in solidarity to thwart any possible attack.

Feeding Time!

When it’s time to feed your endlers, you can do so in one location and they will come together for a family meal. The larger endlers may try to be more aggressive during this time to show dominance, but there should be enough food to go around.

The Hierarchical Order

The pecking order is reached when a dominant male is acknowledged and not challenged. If the dominant male doesn’t actively bully the rest of the endlers in the group, they will peacefully interact as social fish.

Mating Rituals

When it’s time to mate, the males may start their dance or chase females. These fish mate often will find a way to do so peacefully once they determine the right to mate with the females who should be outnumbering the males to keep things calmer.

YouTube video

How Many Endlers Should I Keep Together?

There are instances of a single male endler living alone as a showpiece. If this male is eating well and continues to show off his vibrant colors without constantly hiding, then you have a healthy and independent endler.

More often than not, you will receive the advice to keep endlers in groups of at least 3, but 6 or more would be best. A pair of males could become aggressive. A single male will chase around a single female too often.

2 gallons of space per endler would be best. You can add as many as you like, but try to keep more females than males to control the harassment involved in mating. Endler males usually have only one thing on their mind!

Can I Keep Only Male Endlers?

Male endlers without any females will not be able to pursue their natural instinct to mate. Female endlers sometimes fight back because they are larger and don’t wish to be constantly bothered when they are not interested in mating or when the timing is not right.

Males alone will still need to establish their pecking order. This may involve chasing, nipping or bullying. The entire process should end in 1-3 days.

Once they establish their hierarchy, peace will ensue as long as there is 2 gallons or more space for each male with plenty of planted areas for increased comfort.


You will always be the boss of the ecosystem that you manage. Your Endler’s Livebearers will let you know if they are uncomfortable or nervous by getting together in a shoaling fashion that resembles schooling, but it’s only temporary.

They will return to socially interacting or mating without the need to constantly stay in a school. You may wish to try keeping one male only or a group of males.

If you notice too much stress, aggression, discoloration or lack of appetite, it’s time to add more females to males and increase their numbers to 3, 6 or more.


Thanks for visiting for another article on Endler’s Livebearers that we greatly enjoy taking care of in our aquariums. Check out more of our articles on the variety of marine life we research and keep. Bye for now!

Brian Arial

Brian Arial has kept fish for leisure and worked with fish stores for most of his life. He enjoys writing and caring for aquariums and ponds.