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Critically Endangered Fish

Hello my fellow fish people! Today we have something that crosses every fish keeper’s mind at some point, “Can I save them all?”


The answer is unfortunately, no…But with a database of endangered fish updated regularly we can make an informative decision on what fish to buy and which to stay away from.



You see, some fish are endangered due to over “collecting” for sale in the aquarium hobby. We don’t want to support that. And some are endangered due to agricultural, industrial, or invasive species that threaten their habitat or well being.

Today, we are going to focus on The Butterfly Splitfin (Ameca Splendens). In 2018 The Butterfly Splitfin was assessed by the IUCN and was listed as critically endangered.



The Butterfly Splitfin is native to the wetlands near Guadalajara, Mexico. It’s habitat is currently threatened by contamination from waste water, agriculture pollution, and sedimentation. They are also under attack by non-native fish species which is why we should not let our aquarium fish loose in rivers or streams. Instead, we should donate these fish to other hobbyist or fish stores.



The Butterfly Splitfin is a freshwater fish that grows to a max of 3-4 inches in length! So, they get a decent size but not too big to be able to be housed by most hobbyist. They are very assertive and tend to be very greedy when it comes to feeding time. (I currently do not own this fish but in my research this is what other hobbyist, stores, or research articles show). They are livebears and are therefore very prolific!

There are 3 main non-native fish that have invaded the area that are out competing The Butterfly Splitfin for food and therefore leading to a significant decrease in population. You may even recognize these non-native fish and probably have or had them in your tank at some point, they are:

The Shortfin Molly



The Two Spot Livebearer



The Green Sword Tail



So, what’s being done to save these fish?

Well according to the IUCN, Michoacan University in Mexico started a reintroduction project focusing on a spring area and certain river sections near their native habitat. As part of the reintroduction, they are also scheduling a complete extraction of non-native fish species from these sections and build a long term species control (what the controls are, I am not sure). According to the IUCN this should have a significant impact for The Butterfly Splitfin and recovery should be underway in the few years after reintroduction.

If you own the Butterfly Splitfin, leave a comment with your experience with this fish!

I will also be dedicating 1 article a month to a different endangered fish to review!

Product of the week!


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