The beneficial Mosquito Fish can consume large quantities of insect larvae in your pond. Most backyard water garden enthusiasts use this species of Gambusia to control, as its name suggests, mosquitoes. However, this voracious feeder will also consume other insect larvae and algae to benefit your pond in numerous ways. First, the Mosquito Fish helps prevent your pond from becoming a backyard breeding ground for potentially disease-carrying mosquitoes. Secondly, it helps keep your pond beautiful by feeding on algae and hatching insects that can damage pond plants and the overall aesthetics of your pond or water garden.
Native to the backwaters and freshwater ponds of North and Central America, Gambusia sp. is related to the common guppy and very similar in characteristics. The body is long and slender and pale in color. Most Mosquito Fish have a tail of moderate size, void of any coloration. Varieties of Mosquito Fish can be found naturally as far north as Central Illinois and most survive harsh, freezing winters as long as the pond is deep enough and well aerated throughout the cold season.
For best care, the Mosquito Fish requires a pond of at least 20 gallons with moderate water temperature and plenty of plants for hiding. If insufficient natural foods are present, supplement their diet with a quality flake food.
You can differentiate the male and females easily. The males are smaller in size, have a pointed anal fin and are much thinner than the female. The females are larger in size, have a rounded anal fin, as well as a pregnancy patch on the lower portion of the body. Ideally, the environment should have a covering of floating plants or a breeding mop to protect the fry. Adults may eat the fry if left to fend for themselves without a safe nursery area.