Can Killifish Live in Freshwater?

Killifish are a particularly hardy kind of fish and most of these aquarium varieties can adapt to different kinds of water conditions.

Can Killifish live in freshwater? Killifish are a rather enormous family of freshwater fish that comprise of more than a thousand different species. They live in streams, pools, swamps and hence fare extremely well in freshwater conditions.

It can be very stressful for new fish owners to understand how to keep their fish happy and healthy. This article will teach you how to provide your Killifish with the optimum freshwater conditions.

Natural Habitat for Killifish

Killifish can be found in subtropical as well as tropical waters on each and every one of the continents except Antarctica and Australia.

The Killifish inhabit:

  • Temporary creeks
  • Swamps
  • Pools
  • Shallow streams
  • Some of the species of Killifish are even known to venture into the brackish estuary habitats

Most of the Killifish are found in areas that are covered with shrubs and hanging trees which create cooler temperatures and subdued light.

A few species of Killifish such as the pupfish that can be found in southwestern areas of the United States of America, inhabit pools in the desert where the water temperatures are known to exceed 90 degrees Fahrenheit on average.

Killifish Aquarium requirements

As mentioned above, most of the species of Killifish are very hardy and inhabit a vast range of regions. So, it is not very difficult to replicate and reproduce their natural settings into the settings of their tank.

The tank set up as well as the tank size will actually depend on the number of Killifish that you are looking to keep and what are the real reasons behind your choice of keeping those Killifish as pets.

Killifish can be kept in:

freshwater or saltwater tank. This will all depend on the species of fish that you want to keep.

Water requirements for Killifish

In the wild, the Killifish actually live in soft acidic waters, but the captive bred strains are more inclined towards, and used to, local water conditions.

The best thing to do as a fish owner is to first research the fish carefully before you buy it and find out what water conditions are suitable for the fish. The water conditions vary in accordance with the species.

Most Killifish prefer:

  • pH of 7
  • Temperature between 68 degrees and 78 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Total hardness between 3 to 10 DH

Many of the seasoned Killifish owners do not even use any filters but they do carry out a lot of water changes. But for hobbyists, it is better to stick to a sponge filter.

In order to maintain the optimum temperature, try using an aquarium heater and for the best filtration results, carry out about 10 percent weekly water changes or about 25 percent water changes every other week.

Remember to always treat the tap water before you refill your fish tank. Killifish are even known to survive in 100 percent rain water as it has a pH of almost 7. So, you can go ahead and even use rainwater to keep your Killifish.

Some Killifish owners use presoaked Irish peat as a substrate for the fish, but if the water of the tank is at pH 7 or below, then the peat can actually make the water too acidic for the fish. In such a case, the fish owners keep presoaked coir as it is considered to be inert and does not alter the chemistry of the tank water.

How to properly conduct a water change in an aquarium

Changing the water from your fish tank helps you get rid of toxins and debris.

In order to carry out a water change you will need to:

  • Get the fresh water ready
  • Siphon out the dirty water
  • Clean up the algae and the gravel in the tank
  • Gently add back water into the fish tank
  • Create a sparkling tank

Prepare a bucket of tap water

Get a large clean bucket and then fill it with tap water from the faucet. Pre-treat the water prior to cleaning and carefully read the instructions on your water conditioning product.

The conditioner will help to make the water safe for your fish and will remove any harmful metal residue or dangerous chemicals from the tap water.

You should just go ahead and keep two buckets just for filling up your aquarium. Write fish on the side of the buckets for your own ease.

Many fish owners just go ahead and fill the tank directly from the faucet. This is a little risky as the fish might get exposed to hazardous chemicals. To be on the safe side, you should just allow the tap water to run for a few minutes and then fill the bucket.

Unplug the:

  • Lighting
  • And heating of the tank

Fish Tank adjustments

You will be working on the exterior of the tank so it is much safer for everyone involved that you minimize the presence of electricity.

Just go ahead and remove any attached electrical equipment as well as the tank lid. Also, unplug any exposed heating elements present in the tank to be extra safe.

Most of the filters are not very efficient until or unless they have full water coverage, so the best thing would be to remove the filter as soon as your start the cleaning procedure.

It is not necessary to remove the sponge, cartridge or any other media from the filter whenever you clean the tank. Instead, you should first see how the filter is holding up and then run it through cold water. If needed, you should definitely fully replace it.

If you change your filter too often:

It can have disastrous effects on your tank as it might remove the good bacteria.

In order to counterbalance the filter change, you should invest in sand and gravel in which bacterial cultures have already been added.

Removal of dirty plants and decorations

You do not need to clean the accessories every time you conduct a water change. Doing this too frequently can even disrupt the good bacteria that are present in your fish tank.

However, if the artificial items in the fish tank seem dirty, slimy and have a sludgy appearance, then just take out the items and then place them in a plant cleaning solution.

Never use:

Soap on the décor or the plants.

The residue of the chemical can make your fish very sick and may even lead to an outburst of algae inside your tank. Just go ahead and soak the décor as well as the plants in a mixture of chlorine bleach and water. Add 2 tablespoons of bleach to one bucket of water.

Every time that you conduct a water change, remember to take a close look on the condition of the tank. See if the tank needs scrubbing. Look for brown or green films on the sides of the tank.

While the film is still inside the tank, take a scraper or an algae sponge and gently scrub the inside of the tank and remove any residue.

Make use of a water changer

Using a water changer is the most efficient way to perform a water change in tanks, especially in the larger aquariums.

Start by attaching the device directly to the faucet and then insert the siphon attachments as well as the connected hoses into the fish tank that you want to clean. The device will easily suck out the water for you until you switch if off.

After the tank is empty you should flip the switch again so the device can refill your fish tank.

This method is great for:

People who are unable to carry multiple buckets of water around.

The water changes also minimize the potential watery mess that is created by hauling water-filled buckets around.  Just ensure that the water you are adding to the tank has similar water conditions like temperature, pH, and hardness as the previous water in the tank. You should check before the automatic suctioning process begins.

Take a detailed look at the interior of your tank. You should spend a significant amount of time doing that. Even if you do not choose to remove the decorations from the tank, just pick them up to see if anyone of them has been damaged. Also, ensure that the filtration and heating systems are in order.

Related Questions

Will boiling tap water remove chlorine? No, the fact is that the chlorine evaporates by itself and that heavy metals and the chloramines do not evaporate. So, to combat this issue, just invest in a good water conditioner.

How hot should a Killifish tank be in the spring? The temperature of your fish tank should remain constant throughout the year. Just make use of a heater to ensure this. For Killifish the temperature should be kept between 68 degrees Fahrenheit to 78 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on the type of killi that you have.


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