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Aphanius mento (Persian Killifish)

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One of the most spectacular killifish on the market. Mature males are stockier than the females with a distinctly arched back. They are dark blue with numerous metallic blue spangles. The fins dark blue to black and marked with concentric metallic blue arcs. Females pale brown and more slender in shape.

Fish information (behaviour and breeding):

A very aggressive species not suitable for the community tank. Not an annual killifish; lifespan in aquaria is around 2-3 years.

An omnivore. Needs a mixed diet including algae, cooked spinach, and small invertebrates such as bloodworms and daphnia. Wild fish feed extensively on mosquito larvae. Soft-leaved plants may be pecked, but otherwise these fish are not destructive of healthy plants.

In keeping with the extreme seasonal variations typical of their native habitat, these fish do well across a broad range of temperatures. Subtropical conditions, around 18 to 22 degrees Celsius is the ideal. Wild fish are predominantly found in hard, alkaline freshwater but also tolerate slightly brackish conditions to around SG 1.003.

Males are extremely aggressive and actively defend quite large territories centred around caves. In small tanks territory-holding males will kill rival males and potentially other tankmates as well. Best kept in a single-species aquarium with plenty of plants (plastic or real) and rocky caves. Keep one male for every two to three females but take care not to overcrowd the males; allow at least 30-40 litres per male, and keep some clear swimming space away from the rocky caves where the females can school safely.

Spawning is relatively straightforward, but the adults are notorious egg-eaters. Eggs are deposited on feathery plants, including Java moss and the roots of floating plants. Plastic plants and mops are also suitable. Eggs hatch within two weeks. Once free-swimming they can be easily reared on brine shrimp nauplii, algae, and liquid fry foods. Growth is relatively slow compared with other killifish.

Family Group: Killifish
Distribution Turkey and Levant east to Iran
Temperature Very adaptable: 10 to 25 C
Size Around 5 cm
Water Parameters Hard, alkaline water preferred; tolerates slightly brackish water well
Water PH 7.0-8.0
Water Chemistry Adaptable
Diet Adaptable
Sociability Aggressive
Care Level Easy
Schooling Fish No