XNP project annual report – year 1

The Xiphophorus – Northern Platyfish project has reached one year of its duration. Let's take this opportunity to look at what we have achieved and where we are heading.


Our project covers six populations of northern platyfish – three well defined species (one of them in two genetic strains), one different local form (possible subspecies?) and one „mysterious“ fish of unknown identity. Out of these six populations, we have managed to find, get and breed all! Some of these forms are kept in very low numbers, and we are still trying hard and patiently to increase their numbers to at least dozens, if not hundreds. But at least we have them in our hands and can take the responsibility to breed them further. This is a very important step and result of enthusiasm and effort of several people.


After one year, we have a network of eighteen members from seven countries. Some of our members met personally, others communicate via e-mail, but the result is very positive anyway. Getting together these people is a very valuable achievement. Our members have understood the need to perform species conservation even at hobbyist level, breeding endangered species and cooperating with others without any monetary reward. We get interest from many livebearer keepers in Europe and USA, but they often withdraw their application when they learn about our guidelines. We do not offer fish with the intention to spread them, our goal is to keep them. Breeding fishes extinct in the wild for selling them is not the right option for us, we want a more responsible and collaborative approach. This is what we are trying to explain to other aquarists.


Information about the XNP project has been published on two conferences (Herbsttagung VDA-Arbeitskreises Lebendgebärende Aquarienfische, Würzburg, Germany; Akvakongres, Zdár nad Sázavou, Czech Republic) and in several magazines, among others: Akvárium (Czech Republic), Akvárium Magazin (Hungary), Le Vivipare (France), Livebearer News (UK), Poecilia Bladet (Netherlands), Poecilia Nieuws (Scandinavia). Often these articles included also extensive information about the northern platyfish, their requirements, and current state of their (former) biotopes. It has raised the interest in this group of fish, but also the awareness of the alarming situation of many other fish – and the existence of species conservation projects open for participation by hobbyists.


From the position of the project manager, I can say that cooperation with the ÖVVÖ and between all members is very good. Our finance sheet is clear so far – we have covered all costs of fish transfers from our own sources. I want to thank all members for their active participation and willingness to help.

Future plans

The fundamentals of our mission are already there: we have all northern platyfish and a group of people who want to take care of them and save them for years to come. But we still have very low numbers of most populations, so our main goal for the second year is to strenghten our stock and secure it. We need to have each population in more than one tank, and have all our fish healthy and breeding. It means that we will need to make some fish transfers again and even find new members – especially to allow cooperation of those breeders who live in a great distance from next member, so their chance to exchange fish and get support is not limited.

We will continue to publish articles about northern platyfish, their biotopes and the XNP project. We hope to get more aquarists involved in species conservation and also spread the idea of endangered aquatic biotopes to a more general audience.

Our plan is also to share even more of our experience of best husbandry of northern platyfish – the idea of „easy livebearers“ is very much wrong and we need to cooperate and share not only fish, but also information.


I want to thank once again all members of the XNP project, the ÖVVÖ for initiating this great idea, and Ostrava Zoo for support and care given to northern platyfish.


Markéta Rejlková

8.3.2019, Ostrava, Czech Republic

ÖVVÖ Conservation Projects