Sam Borstein's Cichlid Page

Gambusia vittata
Hubbs, 1926

Gulf Gambusia
Synonyms: Flexipenis vittatus

Gambusia vittata
Above: Gambusia vittata male. Photo by Sam Borstein.


Genus- Gambusia= From Cuban word Gambusino, translating to mean nothing (Spanish).
Species- vittata= striped (Latin).


Gambusia vittata is an attractive little livebearer from the waterways along the Gulf Mexico. This small growing mosquitofish is slightly colorful with a blue sheen and some yellow coloration in the fins.

The Gulf Gambusia was formerly in the genus Flexipenis, named after the flexible gonopodium of the males. Who says ichthyologists don't have a sense of humor.


Gambusia vittata is found the waterways of the Rio Panuco on the Atlantic side of Mexico.

Size, Maturity, and Sexual Dimorphism:

Size: Males- 1 inch, Females- 2 inches
Maturity: 1 inch
Sexual Dimorphism: Males are smaller than females and less rotund. Males also have a gonopodium and tend to be more colorful.

Gambusia vittata female
Above: Female Gambusia vittata. Photo by Sam Borstein.


Gulf Gambusia are easy to care for. They are not a demanding fish and a group of 10-15 can easily be kept in a 10. Gulf Gambusia, being small and non-aggressive, can be hard to mix, but will do fine in a mild mannered community tank.


Gambusia vittata feeds primarily on algae in the wild. In aquaria they are not fussy eaters. This fish loves a good mixed flake and small live foods.


This fish is very easy to breed. Males use their gonopodium to fertilize the females. Females will swell up with the babies inside them and after about 3-4 weeks, give birth. The fry are quite small and will be harassed by other Gulf Gambusia, so it's best to take them out and raise them separately until they are large enough to go back into the tank with the adults. If you don't plan on moving the fry, plant the tank heavily and some fry should survive. The fry are easy to raise and will gladly eat baby brine shrimp and crushed flake as first foods.

The fry do have umbilical cords, but lose them after birth. Fry grow fast and by a month are sexually mature!


Gulf Gambusia are nice little livebearers. Personally I like them a lot. They are colorful compared to other mosquitofish. This is not a fish you will find at a pet shop but is relatively popular among livebearer enthusiasts.