Top 5 Colorful Killifish That Every Fish Keeper Should Try
Killifish are one of the most colorful fish in the freshwater aquarium hobby, but with such an amazing array of hues and patterns, why aren’t they as popular as livebearers or African cichlids? Most fishkeepers are familiar with the fact that killifish love jumping out of the water. You should have a tight fitting lid and cover any holes to stop them. Annual killifish, which only live for a few more months, can be difficult to keep. Not all species live such short lives. We have put together a list of our favourite killies to help you get started.
1. Clown Killifish
Coming in at a mere 1.4 inches (3.5 cm), the clown killi is the most petite killifish on our list and can live in nano tanks as small as 5 gallons. The “banded Panchax” is their distinctive vertical bands of dark brown, tannishyellow and dark brown. They are also known as the “rocket Killifish” due to the striking flame-like tail and the fact that the males are so large. Like most killifish, they prefer cooler waters, between 67-79degF (19-25 degC), and may not require an aquarium heater.
We prefer to have six clown killies, preferably two males and four women, so we can breed them. You can place a DIY spawning mop inside the aquarium. Condition them for spawning with lots of tiny foods such as frozen cyclops and baby brine shrimps. To prevent adults from eating the eggs, you can place them in a separate grow-out or breeding box. For more details, read our full care guide.
2. Orange Australe Killifish
This color variant of the lyretail panax is known for its bright orange body and red spotting. It also has a tail with long tips. They grow up to 2.5 inches (6 cm) long, which means a pair of them can live in a 10- to 20-gallon aquarium. With a larger fish tank, multiple pairs and trios can be kept together. They are able to eat Vibrabites, bloodworms, frozen brine shrimps, and other meaty fish food because of their larger mouths.
To hatch your eggs, you can use a spawning mop if you intend to keep your killies together in a community tank. However, if you put a colony of them in a species-only setup, just add some dense aquarium plants (e.g., floating water sprite and Pogostemon stellatus ‘octopus’) to hide the fry, and their numbers should naturally increase over time.
3. Gardneri Killifish
It’s difficult to describe the kaleidoscope of colors embodied in this 2.5-inch (6 cm) fish because the males can range from a pale pink to blue-green to purple sheen with prominent red dots all over. They are one of the easiest species to spawn, provided they are kept in cool temperatures and protected from predators. They have bigger mouths than you think and may even eat tiny fish, so don’t put them with smaller nano species. Males can be very aggressive, so keep them away from other fish and use taller decorations and lots of aquarium plants. The extra shelter will also help more babies to survive. You can feed the fry lots of baby brine shrimp to ensure that they grow large and healthy. Then, you will be able to sell these beautiful killies to your local fish shop or other hobbyists.
4. Blue Gularis Killifish
The largest killi on our list grows to 4-5 inches (10-13 cm) in length, and they come with a big, ornery personality to match their size. The males are predominantly bluish with dense clusters and vertical stripes of red dots. The tails feature an attractive orange band that runs down the middle. To make sure the male does not bother the female too much, give a pair of these killies a 29-gallon aquarium or larger with plenty of aquatic plants and ornaments for cover. Much like the garderni killifish, this species is quite the meat lover and will happily consume bloodworms, brine shrimp, and even smaller nano fish. They may be a little harder to find, so trying sourcing them from fish stores, your local aquarium society, online retailers, and online auction sites like AquaBid.
5. Golden Wonder Killifish
This beautiful, yellow-colored fish can grow to 3-4 inches (8-10cm) in length. They are lively and inexpensive. They can also live with small tank mates like blood parrots cichlids and bala sharks. They are popular pets in big pet shops due to their ability to survive in all water conditions. As with the other larger killies, they enjoy a mostly carnivorous diet and will go after your nano fish and dwarf shrimp if they fit in their mouths.
Killifish are extremely colorful and rival the vibrancy of saltwater fish. Just be aware that they tend to live for about 2-5 years, depending on the species, so lower the temperature to extend their life span and keep passively breeding them to enjoy them for as long as possible. While we do not ship live fish, you can check out our list of preferred online retailers to see the latest fish they have in stock.