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Phallichthys amates pittieri

By: Neil Hinckley
Common Name: Olomina, Iridescent Widow
Latin Name: Phallichthys amates pittieri
Origin: Central America
Temperature: 72-80º F
Ease Of Keeping: Easy
Aggressivness: Not Aggressive
Lighting: Any
Adult Size: 1.5" for both males and females.
Minimum Tank Size: 5 gallon
Feeding: Will eat commercial foods, but like a bit of vegetation from now and then. Won't bother healthy aquarium plants.
Spawning Method: A hardy livebearer, probably quite easy to breed.
Phallichthys amates pittieri is a fairly small and good looking livebearer. They are not as elongated as some livebearers, such as guppies or the Brachys, having instead a shorter, stouter body shape, much like a platy but even more so. They are native to much of central america, living in inland streams typically. They also go by a variety of common names, probably since they are a bit more visually interesting than many of the fish from their area. They go by Olomina, Merry Widow livebearer, Iridescent Widow, and the rather unimaginative Orange-dorsal Livebearer.

Iridescent Widow © Neil Hinckley

They are not brightly colored, but there is a slight orange or yellow cast to their main fins (dorsal, caudal). They also have a slight iridescent sheen to their silvery bodies, and a few strong vertical stripes starting at about their dorsal fin, and going to their caudal fin. There are two subspecies to Phallichthys amates, pittieri and amates. While pittieri has the orange fins and strong vertical stripes, amates typically lacks both of these features, having instead a strong black line on the top edge of it's dorsal fin. It is this stripe that gave the amates subspecies the common name "Merry Widow livebearer" when F. H. Stoye used the name to describe it. Pittieri have this stripe as well, but it is generally quite unobtrusive. They also all have a slight vertical bar that runs through their eyes.

They seem to bee quite hardy so far, and despite being mixed with a few different species out of the nippy Brachy genus, have no signs of nipped fins or any other damage. They are good eaters, gladly taking baby brine shrimp as well as commercial flake food.
I have not yet gotten any fry from these fish, though I have noticed that they are breeding. I expect to have fry in about a month, and at that time I will update this care sheet.


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