Breeding lyretail killifish

Breeding lyretail killi (Aphyosemion Australe)

What you will need.

  • golden lyretail killifish adult male
    golden lyretail killifish adult male

    24 inch tank and an 18inch tank

  • heater – stat
  • floating plants
  • fineleaved plants
  • dark gravel
  • 2xsponge filters
  • peat in a cloth bag
  • Spawning mops made out of dark green nylon wool
  • 1 adult male and 1 adult female

General Care

The lyretail killi grows to 2.2 inches, the male being slightly larger and more colourful than the female. Females are usually brownish. They are long lived because they are not strictly an annual. They can live for 3 years.
Raise them in a 24 inch long tank. Use dark gravel. Have dense pockets of plants near the back of the aquarium and include floating plants that will diffuse the aquarium lighting. The water should be about 6.0ph, hardness of 9dh and a temperature about 71F. Feed with small live foods. Daphnia, mosquito larvae, blood worms, etc and some dry fish food. Have two sponge filters in this tank.

Breeding preparation

Unlike ground spawners placing 1 male with several females will not work because any non-breeding fish will just eat the eggs as they are being laid. This is because the eggs will not be hidden in the peat substrate.

killifish breeding tank
Killifish breeding tank with spawning mops

Place a pair that look ready to breed in the 18inch breeding tank. Place the spawning mops all ove the aquarium. To stop the spawning mops sinking use an elastic band round a cork. Again diffuse lighting is achieved by way of floating plants. Move one of the sponge filters to the breeding tank. It is better to not have a bare bottom tank. This will encourage them to spawn on the spawning mops. The tank temperature of 75F is ideal. A water softness of 5dh should be aimed for, possibly by adding rain water to the aquarium. A ph of 6.5 is ideal. Place some peat in a nylon sock so that it can seap into the water. Add a little salt to the water 5ml to every 10 litres. Feed well with live food at least 3 times a day until they start spawning. Blood worms and mosquito larvae are ideal for this.





They will spawn by spreading fins and doing fluttering dances, darting about with snaking movements. They spawn by swimming close to each other and squeezing themselves together side to side. The females lays one egg that is fertilised by the male. The egg floats down and onto the spawning mop or they dive into it and breed. It takes 12 days to complete spawning. They will lay 10-20 eggs per day. Remove the eggs daily. Change spawning mops for new ones. Place the spawning mop in a rearing tank containing water from the breeding tank.

Raising the fry

Move an established sponge filter to the rearing tank. The rearing tank must be without a light, ie relatively dark. Put an appropriate amount of methylene blue to reduce fungal infection in the eggs. After 14 days the first of the eggs will start to hatch. When they become free swimming they are quite large and can start off with baby brineshrimp.

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