Steel Blue Killifish (Fundulopanchax gardneri)

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Steel Blue Killifish

Fundulopanchax gardneri.jpg
Steel Blue Killfish

Fundulopanchax gardneri

95 Litres (25 US G.)

6-7 cm (2.4-2.8")




6.0 - 7.0

22 -25 °C (71.6-77°F)

5-8 °d

1:1 M:F

Pellet Foods
Flake Foods
Live Foods

5-8 years



Additional names

Blue Lyretail, Steel Blue Killifish

Additional scientific names

Fundulopanchax gardneri gardneri, Aphyosemion gardneri


These Killis are native to Cameroon and Nigeria.


Females are less decorated and golden coloured while males have red, blue and yellow patterning across golden body. Females have enlarged abdomens compared to males.


Hardy and easy to breed, a pair in top condition will lay a clutch of about ten eggs daily. A non-annual, it spawns on aquatic plants, with eggs hatching after 14-21 days. Even so, the eggs can tolerate up to one year dormant period.

Tank compatibility

Best kept in a species tank. Either keep one male or a group of males (3 or more) among a larger number of females. Two males by themselves will result in a dominant and subdominant male, resulting in continuous harassment. Eventually, the subdominant male will have his fins ripped apart and succumb to injuries. Multiple males however changes the dynamic, and allows the dominant male to change targets.

Suggested Options

If a community tank is desired, then peaceful and unassuming fishes would make the best tank mates. Such fish include Corydoras, Otocinclus, and Plecos. If the tank is large enough (50 gallons or more), then one could venture to keep nimble and hardy Characins and Cyprinids such as Neon Tetra, Cardinal Tetra, and Espe's rasbora. In addition, keep them in large schools, so that the large number will confuse the aggressive killies.
Delicate and colorful fish would best be avoided. These fish include Guppies and Pencilfish. Also small freshwater shrimp can be prone to constant nipping, especially if the fish think they resemble prey. Examples of vulnerable shrimp species include Red Cherry Shrimp, and Bee shrimp, and Amano shrimp.


Omnivore. Living or frozen foods, such as Daphnia, Tubifex Worms, Enchytrae, and Brine Shrimp. Will also accept Pellet foods and can be weaned on Flake Food.

Feeding regime

Feed once or twice a day.

Environment Specifics

A heavy planted tank with roots and rocks to provide plenty of hiding spaces. Peat moss would provide best substrate to make the water slightly acidic and soft.

Native Habitats

Tropical Congo Habitat


Usually peaceful fish that are easy to spawn. However, males can exert aggressive tendencies, especially when hungry.


Males and females can be identified through their upturned mouth and eye in close proximity to the mouth. Males further have colorful bodies and elongated fins. Body colors can vary. Most common are greenish blue that gradually shades into steel blue as the body terminates in the caudal peduncle. Red or purple dots further speckle the entire length of the body, dorsal, anal, and caudal fins. The abdominal, dorsal, anal, and caudal fins may be outlined yellow and orange.
Females, on the other hand appear grey. Through breeding, more colorful versions may exist too, but are not the norm. Unlike the males, females will have short and rounded fins.


External links