Killifish are known as one of the most beautiful and colorful types of fish of the world. There are approximately 2000 species around the world and around two dozen in the United States. Due to their name, Killifish are often presumed to be killer fish but their name is derived from Dutch where “Killy” means channel or ditch. Their name comes from their ability to survive in different habitats and range of environments. They can range from easy maintenance to very difficult to keep due to the specific needs of some species. As each type has its own set of requirements, they are often housed in species specific tanks. In general most of these fish are best kept by very dedicated aquarists who are prepared to research the individual species and provide them with excellent tank conditions and high quality food. When their needs are met in captivity, most will spawn in the right conditions.
They are small fish with most species being between 2 to 4 inches (5 – 10 cm). There are just a few species that go beyond these sizes. On the smaller side there are some dwarf Killifish. The Dwarf Medaka Oryzias minutillus and the Hummingbird Lampeye Poropanchax myersi are both less than an inch whereas larger Killifish such as the Orestias cuvieri can grow to 10 and a 1/2 inches which is around 27 cm.
Killifish Origins and Geography
Killifish are found all over the world except from Australia, Antarctica and northern Europe. Specifically, they are found in the Americas, from Argentina to north up to southern Ontario. You will also find some species in the southern parts of Europe, Africa, South Afice and the Middle East and Vietnam.
Buy Live Killifish
eBay is one of the best places to buy killifish online. They have the widest array of killifish for sale which provides a great selection for anyone looking to add them to their freshwater tank. Take a look below:
Killifish are egg laying toothcarps, as opposed to livebearing toothcarps (i.e. Mollies, Platies, Guppies etc). They are known to breed often will be fine with non aggressive fish such as guppies. However, if you are placing in a large community tank, it’s best to do some research on the types of fish they are compatible with.
Although, they thrive in many different habitats, it’s best to provide an easy means for them to breed in your fish tank. The most important factor is the alkalinity of the water and they require a water ph of 6.4 to 6.8. One way fish owners do this is by putting some peat moss (available from pet stores and online) at the bottom of an empty tank and letting it age in water. This will reduce the ph and total and total and total alkalinity, however will give the water a light brown color which is fine as long as the water is clean.
Killifish should also be given a spacious tank for breeding. Another tip is to have two females for one male to increase the chances of breeding. This will also reduce the damage to the female as they can be quite rough. Do not put more two males together with two females as the males will end up fighting.
Their lifespan is comparable to betta fish – averaging just 2 years. They are among the aquarium fish with the shortest lifespan. They generally only live a year or two. There are case where they have lived for over 5 years but this is very rare. Livebearing fish such as Mollies and Swordtails normally live under five years.
This short lifespan makes them very rare and special fish for your aquarium. If you do not have any Killifish in your tank at the moment, why not add them? They are the most colorful fish in the world and will definitely surprise you.