The Hump-Backed Limia
by Bob Berdoulay
From Gravel Gossip, Diamond State Aquarium Society, Delaware City
Limia nigrofasciata is native to Hispanola (Dominican Republic and Haiti). In
their native habitat these livebearers are found in areas that are fairly shallow and
heavy with vegetation. The scientific name translates as muddy black-striped
one. The waters are slightly alkaline (pH=7.5) and have a medium hardness (above 10 dGH).
The Hump-Backed Limia does not do well in soft water and since they are found in both
fresh and brackish water it is recommended that a half teaspoon of salt be added for every
gallon of water. Tank temperature should be kept between 72F. and 79F. (22-26C.).
The male Limia nigrofasciata is a yellow-gray color on the dorsal and sides of
the body with black stripes running vertically down the body. The belly is a brighter
yellow from the mouth to the caudal peduncle. The male has a pronounced hump in its back
that is caused by an accumulation of fatty tissue and is not a spinal deformity. The
dorsal fin shows stripes and black spots with a yellow tinge. The female is a bit more
drab in appearance in that the ventral area is white, not yellow as in the male. As in
most livebearers the female is larger than the male at about 2-1/4" (6cm.) whereas
the male usually is about 2" (5cm.). The over-all appearance of the species is not
impressive but it does have an appealing quality.
I bought a trio of these fish at a monthly auction of the DSAS. I have no idea what
possessed me to bid on these fish since I usually do not raise livebearers. I guess their
being different from the usual gamut of livebearers attracted me. When I got them home I
put them in their own 10-gallon tank. The next day I set up the tank with a lot of plants,
mostly Java Fern, Water sprite and Java Moss. This is what the texts recommended for
breeding these fish, as it gives the fry places to hide, the parents being voracious baby
eaters. Filtration was a corner box filter, the temperature 75F. (22C.) and the pH about
7.3. I added four teaspoons of aquarium salt to the water to increase the hardness. I kept
the light on for 12 hours.
I fed them a variety of flake foods, frozen brine shrimp and live brine shrimp nauplii.
The Limia are omnivores according to the books so I included portions of
spirulina flake in my feedings. My trio was all young adults (breeder assured me!) and I
read that the females carry the developing fry for 4-6 weeks, so I expected young within a
month. Actually the first female dropped her first brood at eight weeks. There were 14
young. I remove the 10 I could easily catch to raise separately. After the first fry were
dropped the females produced fry at approximately 6-8 week cycles. I left all the
subsequent fry in the tank with the adults. It may have been that all were well fed but
the adults did not seem to go after the fry with any particular delight. As the original
females got older they produced more fry each time. The average seemed to be around 25
fry. Im sure some of the young were eaten by the adults but there were always enough
in the tank to give a great many away. With the diet provided, the young grow rapidly and
reach adult size in approximately four months.
The Humped-Backed Limia is an interesting little fish that does well in a community
tank as well as a tank of its own. If you see any for sale, give them a try. Im sure
you will be pleased with the change of pace.