How do I Care for Killifish fry?

Breeding killifish was easy. There was not a lot that I had to do. However, I was deeply concerned about the care I ought to provide to the killifish fry. I certainly did not want to be responsible for the death of the young ones. Therefore, I decided that I needed a crash course in how to take care of killifish fry. I am now going to share what I learned.

How to take care of the killifish fry? There are two main aspects that you need to give attention to. Provide them with proper diet and make sure that the tank conditions are suitable for them.

You will also have to make sure that the fry is not in any danger from its fellow tank inhabitants.

Let us now offer you some information about how you can take care of killifish fry to make sure they thrive.

Care of the killifish fry

Killifish are considered to be among the easiest fishes to breed. However, while you might find breeding them easy: taking care of the fry can be tricky if you do not know what to do.

Mainly, there are three main factors that you will need to pay heed to:

  • Removing the fry from the area of danger
  • Proper diet
  • Suitable tank conditions

Removing the fry from the area of risk

The first thing that you need to do once the killifish lay their eggs is to remove the eggs from the area of danger. The eggs are at a threat of being eaten by their parents. Furthermore, other species present in the tank can also feast on the eggs or fry.

Therefore, once you get the eggs, separate them in a small breeding tank. You will then need to provide them with suitable conditions for hatching.

This depends on which species of killifish you have. For instance, annual killifish need to be kept dry for three months. Non-annual fish incubate in water.

Even after the eggs are hatched, the fry is too little to protect itself. Therefore, give the fry some time to gain strength before putting it in the tank with other fishes.

The growing time varies according to species.

Proper diet

Newly-hatched killifish fry will need a suitable diet to thrive.

Newly hatched brine shrimp is among the first choices that you have. The fry can eat these with ease. Start with the shrimp and introduce other food items after around two weeks.

Microworms also prove to be an excellent option. Vinegar eels, Infusoria, and grindal worms are among the other options that you have.

You need to make sure that the nutritional requirements of the fry are fulfilled. This will ensure that the fry grows optimally.

Tank conditions

Fry should be kept in a small tank. Killifish fry tends to prefer a slightly warmer temperature. Therefore, maintain the temperature of the water within the range of 68° and 75° F. 6.6 to 7.2 is the ph.  the range you should opt for.

The water level of the tank should be increased gradually as the fish grows. The fry can be transferred to the aquarium once it is three weeks old.

How to hatch killifish eggs?

Once you separate the eggs from the parents and keep it in a separate tank; you need to worry about how it hatches.

The killifish is easy to breed. However, the eggs do require some specific conditions for hatching. Therefore, if you do not want the egg to go bad, you will need to learn more about which species of killifish you have.

Two main types of reproductive killifish are there.

Annual killifish

They prefer to bury their eggs in the sand. As soon as you notice that the eggs have been laid, put the eggs in a separate tank. The tank needs to be dry. Leave the egg moist and warm for around three months before pouring water again. The eggs would then hatch.

Non-annual Killifish

The eggs of these fishes do not need to be kept in a dry environment for incubation. Put them in a tank of water, and they will hatch when the time is right.

What do adult killifish look like?

One of the primary reasons that aquarists prefer killifish is their bright color. These fishes have vivid patterns on their body and are quite brightly colored. The males are brighter as compared to females.

Their head is flattened at the top. Their mouth is present near the tip of their face. Their teeth are curved and pointed which ensures that they can easily consume their food. They also have round scales on their body. These slender fishes have a cylindrical body.

Killifish reach maturity when they acquire the size of around 4 inches. However, some species of killifish can also measure approximately 10 inches.

The killifish have a dorsal fin which can be useful in sexing them. These fins in males are larger as compared to female killifish.

What should I feed adult killifish?

Once killifish are grown, you need to diversify their diet to meet their nutritional requirements. Keep in mind that killifish are carnivores. Their diet mainly comprises live food.

If you think that supplying them with live food is not possible for you, find some other species for your aquarium.

There are various options that you have for adult killifish. Apart from brine shrimp, you can feed them with daphnia, mosquito larvae, Tubifex worm, black worms, and white worms. Paste foods and fruit flies can also be given to the killifish.

Some killifish also like to feed on algae.

While putting the food in the tank, you need to make sure that the tank does not become polluted. Killifish are usually kept in small tanks which become polluted easily. Putting the food in via sieve and installing a filter can make things easier for you.

How many killifish should I keep in a tank?

This depends on your interest. Are you setting up an aquarium just for aesthetics? Are you excited about breeding killifish? The answer to these questions should decide how many killifish you ought to purchase

The size of your tank is a significant contributing factor. If a species tank is what you want to set up; a tank with the capacity of 5 to 10 gallons of water would suffice for three killifishes. It would be a good idea to ensure that two out of these three fishes are female.

If you are interested in community setups and breeding, a larger tank will be required. In this case, the water capacity of 20 gallons or more should be present in the tank. The tank needs to be filled with up to 70% with water.

Related questions

Do killifish turn aggressive to one another? Killifish are quite calm and peaceful fishes. Thus, they tend to gel well with other fishes when put in a community tank.

However, there are some exceptions. If you keep multiple male killifish in a single tank, there are high chances of them turning aggressive against one another. This is because males have a habit of marking their territory. Males also tend to get competitive.

Thus, if you do not want any aggressive behavior in your aquarium, a single pair of killifish would be a good idea. If you do opt for a group, ensure that the tank is thickly planted so that the fishes have plenty of hiding spaces.

Keeping one killifish in a single aquarium might also do the trick. However, you will have to make sure that you do not put in any other similar looking male fish species in the tank.

How long do killifish live? The life expectancy of killifish varies depending on the species you have. If you provide them with optimal care and adequate diet, some species can live up to five years. Others have a lifespan of about three months.

  • How long your killifish is likely to survive depends on a lot of factors.
  • How clean you keep the tank
  • The diet you provide the fishes
  • Companions that you have picked out for the killifish

How should I set up the tank for the killifish? Killifish need a shallow tank, as their natural habitat is shallow water bodies. It is also vital that the water movement in the tank is negligible.

These fishes prefer to stay in shaded areas. Their natural habitat comprises overhanging branches to a large extent. This limits their exposure to light. Therefore, ensure that the tank has minimum lighting.

Opt for a dark substrate for the tank. Dark gravel mixed with fine sand will prove to be a suitable option. However, make sure that the gravel you use does not harden the water.

The hardness of the water needs to be within the range of 120 and 160ppm. A bit of research might be required to make sure that you get the right type of gravel.

It would be a good idea to have cave-like structures in the tank. Rocks can be useful for the purpose.

The tank should be thickly planted. It is advisable to opt for floating plants since rooted plants do not last long.


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