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Setting up a killifish tank


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  • Regular Member

I have a spare 20 gal long that isn't set up yet and lately I've been thinking a lot about trying killifish, but I don't know too much about them. I'm planning on planting the 20 gallon and I like the look of a few different species 

of killifish I've seen but I'm not sure which ones are the easiest to keep. Can anyone here give advice about good species, stocking levels and sex ratios? I kind of like the Golden Wonder Killifish and I was thinking maybe 1 male with 2-3 females in the 20 gallon, but maybe I should do fewer? Also, could I keep them with a school of white cloud minnows?

Any other easy to keep beginner killifish species? I think it would be fun to try and breed them as well, so if they're easy to breed that's a bonus in my eyes. 

Finally, what are the best places to find killifish? I can't find anything online really except eggs and a few species on aquabid.

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I happen to really like australe killifish. That seems a reasonable m:f ratio. I have read that males can be territorial, so i would keep just the one set in a 20g. Other than that, i have nothing to add. Send pics our way when it happens!

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I happen to really like australe killifish. That seems a reasonable m:f ratio. I have read that males can be territorial, so i would keep just the one set in a 20g. Other than that, i have nothing to add. Send pics our way when it happens!

I was looking at that species too! I really like red/orange/yellow fish so I'm drawn to anything that's mostly those colors. Thanks! Hopefully it wont take me too long to get everything I need together. 

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I'm kind of bad because I couldn't stop myself from getting the killifish before I had the tank setup... [emoji30]

They've had two males and a bunch of females at petco for the past month and seeing them is what made me interested in keeping some killifish in the first place. I go to petco probably once a week or so and each time I visited them they were just looking worse and worse. When they first came in the males were so bright and vibrant looking, and now all of their fins are ripped and have black edges and the males looked so washed out in the tank I could barely tell them from the females. I don't think most people have even heard of killifish before so it seems likely they don't sell well and I would hate to watch them die off in the petco tanks. Or at least that's how I am justifying it to myself! Lol

When I told the employee I wanted a trio of the killifish he didn't have any idea what I was talking about. So I brought him to the balloon Molly tank and pointed to the pale sticks floating at the top and he said, "oh yeah those Kill Fish!" Lol

They obviously have to be QT'd anyway and I would much rather do the QT in a simple 10 gallon than in a fully planted aquarium so that's where they are now. They're looking a lot better only 24 hours after being in the tank. They mostly stay at the surface but I have some silk plants in the tank that they like to hide in as well.

I also picked up supplies to start in on the 20 gallon tank - so far I have some Eco complete substrate, a new fluval LED light, and a new aquaclear filter. I keep several sponge filters going off of one big air pump in my goldfish aquarium too so that I'm able to just grab one and plop it in QT tanks or whatever I need it for even when I get a fish spur-of-the-moment.

That's pretty much my update. I'm going to try feeding them some frozen bloodworms later today. bea43dc21d967e8d767917ac6e8b7de8.jpg

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As for difficulty they're all pretty easy, and you can hold 5-10 in a twenty gallon if they are your only species. Best place to find them is by searching for a breeder or whatever you have locally unless you're willing to hatch eggs.

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How are the killies doing?

IMO I'd not house them with white clouds, I find my white clouds really appreciate a colder tank 965-67), and gold wonder killies prefer 72-75-ish range.

Make sure you have a secure lid with no gaps! Killies are known jumpers.

If you wanted to find more non sold-as-egg killie species I know someone on another forum who knows a man who breeds a lot of interesting killies (not the shipped-as-eggs-shorted-lived varieties).  I can contact and ask for email info for you if you'd like.

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How are the killies doing?

IMO I'd not house them with white clouds, I find my white clouds really appreciate a colder tank 965-67), and gold wonder killies prefer 72-75-ish range.

Make sure you have a secure lid with no gaps! Killies are known jumpers.

If you wanted to find more non sold-as-egg killie species I know someone on another forum who knows a man who breeds a lot of interesting killies (not the shipped-as-eggs-shorted-lived varieties).  I can contact and ask for email info for you if you'd like.

Thanks for all of the info! They're doing really well :) Coloring up a lot still and most of the black edges and fraying on the fins is healed up. That makes sense about the white clouds, I'll probably skip them then. And I have every little crack and opening in the lid covered securely with plastic wrap so we shouldn't have any jumping casualties. 

The killies have been eating big meals of frozen blood worms, and I'm currently working on raising some brine shrimp up to adult size so all of my fish can eat those and enjoy hunting them down in the tank. 

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  • 1 month later...
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A little update on the killifish... they're all doing great :) the 20 gallon long ended up not working so I went with a standard 20 tall instead. The killifish trio now share a home with a small group of false juli cory catfish and a trio of twin bar platies (and 2 amano shrimp). Adding the other fish has really brought the killifish to life! Now they actually swim about the tank a bit instead of staying glued to the surface of the water :) I think they're patrolling their space because they don't really like the platies, but everyone in the tank is super placid and calm despite their differences. The lights are off for the night but I wanted to post this update before I forgot to. I'll add some better pictures of the tank lit up soon! 5c7ffedf86aed5085ae22cfd39013981.jpg793f3f4dd9ecd99952365ce7266bdf3e.jpg

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