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    Species: Aphanius mento

Killifish Available To Order Online

30 October 2021


Killifish is a term that relates to fish of the order cyprinidontiformes. In total there are around 1,300 species of killifish. They are popular in the aquarium trade for their brilliant colouration along with their ease of care and breeding.

Taxonomy and Distribution

All species of Killifish belong to the order cyprinidontifomes and the families Aplocheilidae, Cyprinodontidae, Fundulidae, Nothobranchiidae, Profundulidae, Rivulidae and Valenciidae. The biggest family of these is Rivulidae, which contains more than 320 species.

For the most part, killifish species are native to the Americas, with their distribution ranging from Argentina in South America to as far north as Ontario. Other species can also be found in southern Europe, Africa (as far south as South Africa), Asia and the Middle East. They tend to inhabit permanent lakes, streams and rivers, although some species are known to populate floodplains and temporary ponds.

General Care

For the most part, Killifish are hardy, adaptable fish and fairly easy to care for. Many species do not reach particularly large sizes, making them suitable for smaller aquaria. Most species will do best in well-planted aquaria with lots of hiding places. Killifish tend to jump so a tight-fitting hood is a must whilst they will prefer fairly shallow water with some floating vegetation for cover. Live food is preferable for this species, with bloodworm, daphnia and small crustaceans all being good choices. They will accept flake foods but a varied diet is a must. Killifish mix well with other small peaceful fish, although males show aggression towards one another.

Species to Consider

There a variety of species of killifish to chose from in the aquatic trade, of which Sims Tropical Fish stock a good selection.

Aphyosemion australe, Lyretail Killi

The Lyretail Killi, endemic to Gabon and Southern Congo in Western Africa, is one of the most popular species in the aquarium trade. At approximately 5cm in length, this attractive species is also available in ‘gold’ along with the natural ‘chocolate’ variety. This species prefers cooler waters at a maximum temperature of around 25C. Anything warmer will make this fish become lethargic and place it under stress. Although suitable for the community aquarium if stocked with other similarly sized species, it tends to nip long fins of other fish, whilst males tend to fight, so it is best to keep only one male per one to two females. These fish will not usually take flake foods, instead preferring foods such as artemia, lobster eggs or bloodworm. They may take frozen foods. This species is currently available from Sims Tropical Fish.

Aplocheilichthys normani, Norman's Lampeye

Not listed online currently with Sims Tropical Fish, but email or message on facebook to enquire as we may be able to order them in. The Norman’s Lampeye is a small fish around 4cm in length native to the waters of West Africa. With a pale body and bright, blue eyes, this species looks best in a shady, quiet aquarium where a large group will make a striking centrepiece. Its colour tends to appear washed out under bright lighting. It is intolerant of poor water quality so efficient filtration and maintenance are essential. Although peaceful, this species is likely to be bullied by more active fish or eaten by larger fish, making it most suited to a species tank. This species is adaptable when it comes to feeding, but as with any fish, it will do best when offered a varied diet containing live and dried food.

Aplocheilus lineatus, Golden Wonder

The golden wonder (another killifish available from Sims Tropical Fish) is a highly attractive species originating from Southern India. At 15cm long, it is somewhat larger than many killifish species and is highly predatory. Water at a neutral pH is ideal for this species, although water quality is not critical. This species will eat any fish small enough to fit into its mouth and will nip long flowing fins, and as such should only be kept with other large fish with small fins. This species will readily accept a variety of foods including flake food, insects and live and frozen foods such as bloodworm. This species is notorious for jumping out of aquaria and so a tight fitting lid is a must.

Fundulopanchax scheeli

F. scheeli is arguably one of the most attractive killifish species available in the aquarium trade. Endemic to Cameroon and Nigeria, males of this 6cm long species have a pale blue body covered in small crimson blotches whilst the fins are yellow with crimson blotches. Females are somewhat drabber, with a brownish body and darker blotches and bright yellow fins. The tank should provide plenty of cover in the form of dense planting (including floating vegetation) to help diffuse the light into the aquarium. This species may be kept in an aquarium provided tankmates are chosen with care. It is extremely shy and will be easily outcompeted by more active species. Ideal species include small rasboras, dwarf cichlids and small characins. Small live or frozen foods such as bloodworm or daphnia are the preferred choices for feeding this fish, although it will also take high quality flake foods. Email us for availability on this species.

Aphanius mento, Persian Killifsh

The Persian killifish is endemic to eastern Mediterranean and Middle Eastern countries. It is a stunning species whose males have a dark body covered in electric blue markings whilst females are dark brown with blue spots. This species does best at temperatures between 10 and 20C coupled with the addition of 3-6g of marine salt per litre of water. Males are highly territorial and can be aggressive, particularly towards other males. As such a large set up similar to that used for African cichlids is preferable with plenty of space and hiding places to enable each male to claim his own territory. Feed regular doses of small frozen or live food coupled with regular feeds of Spirulina.

Jordanella floridae, Florida Flagfish

The Florida flagfish is a rather attractive killifish and one of the mainstays of the aquarium industry. It is endemic to the ponds and slow-moving streams and swamps of the USA; its distribution ranging from the Yucatan Peninsula to Florida. At 6cm long this species will do best in a densely planted tank with little water movement, preferably with slightly alkaline water. Although it is a peaceful species, it is quite shy and will be outcompeted by more boisterous species. Most commercial and frozen foods are readily accepted and should be combined with regular feedings of plant matter to see this species at its best.

Aplocheilus panchax Blue Panchax

The blue panchax is a particularly striking Southeast Asian species capable of reaching around 9cm in length. This species will appreciate slower water flows and floating vegetation to hide amongst. It is highly predatory that will eat anything smaller than itself and as such should only be housed with larger fish. It will accept most commercial food, but should also be provided live and frozen feeds such as bloodworm and brine shrimp.

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