Breeding Habits of Killifish

Killifish are a common order of fish among fish breeders, with well over 1,200 different species.  They range from one inch to as long as half a foot in some rarer cases, and portray many diverse colors and patterns. They tend to live in small creeks or other undersized bodies of water that may not last all year.

Killifish (Aphyosemion australe)

A breeder must know the species of fish he is trying to breed, because there is a large variety of eating and breeding habits among them.

In the wild, most killies survive for less than a year, which may help explain their somewhat unusual breeding tendencies.  They mate and lay eggs often, however, usually only a few eggs at a time are produced and as with any wild animal, even the ones that hatch may or may not survive.  Depending on what part of the world a particular species hails from, killifish eggs may be laid during a dry season that can often survive with a very minimal amount of water available.  This is convenient for breeders because some eggs can be sent by mail or stored in dry containers for a period of time.

The goal of a breeder is to produce as many live and well fish as possible.  Killifish eggs, although they may have been laid at the same time, do not always hatch together which can pose a slight problem for breeders.  Large and small fry cannot be mixed, so a breeder often has to separate many different batches of fish into many different containers.  In addition, differing species should not be mixed either, which leads to even more containers of killies.  Apart from their exasperating breeding habits, however, killifish are usually quite durable and are not hard to take care of.

Killies make great pets with their sometimes breath-taking colors and easy maintenance, and while they cannot often be found in pet stores, there is an abundance of breeders and fish societies from which killifish can be obtained.  Some carnivorous killies will eat other fish that may be as big as themselves, but overall they are good pets and an often intriguing conversation starter among other killifish lovers.
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