I have put together another general care and maintenance information on Fundulopanchax gar. Nig. sp. This his a highly coloured Killifish from many locations in and around Nigeria in West Africa. It is one of the more common killifish sp. available sometimes from your LFS. Its care and breeding habits is shown in detail below taken from personal accounts within my breeding notes. It is quite easy to breed and anyone interested in killifish will encounter this species early on in their love affair for this niche sector within the hobby.
Fundulopanchax gardneri Nigerianum sp.. (Steel Blue Aphyosemion)
This species alone is one of the most amazing and highly colourful species of Killifish that the novice will first encounter. They are periodically available in your local aquarist establishments. IMO this species has generated a great deal of interest in this niche side of our hobby. It will probably be your introdction to Killifish, the first Killi you will have in your tank, mainly due to availability. This was the first Killifish sp. I kept.
This species, as with may highly coloured Killifish originates from West/Central Africa namely Nigeria and a little beyond. Gardneri is a fairly large group containing many Subspecies (sp and spp) that are seperated only by geographical location and colour variants. It is a species that is quite easy to breed and rear and in certain situations can be incorporated into the community aquarium. As with most killifish they shun bright lighting and light coloured substrates (washes out the colouration) So to see these beauties at their best then utilise floating plant material and choose a dark natural substrate. As for water conditions they arn't overly fussy but extremes should be avoided. For sucessful breeding these extremes will need to be narrowed somewhat. Their water should be slightly soft and acidic with a temperature range anywhere around 72-78'F will suit them fine. They attain a size of around 65mm, males being slightl larger than females, they can be quite boisterous at times but nothing to be alarmed about. Again they will accept a wide range of foodstuffs including flake, frozen and live. But you should always endevour to include as many different types of the latter for good overall fish health.
As I said earlier there are many subspecies of Gardneri from various geographical locations within Nigeria slightly beyond, all are predominately distinguished by their coulouration and finnage. Essentially the males flanks is an irridesence steel blue subfused with dark red blotches, its back is light brown and its belly region is silver in colour. The unpaired fins usually have a yellow trailing edge with a red stripe ( I use this discription loosly as I re-itterate that different locations have different fin colouration) The paired fins are usually a semi transparent bluish colour with red blotches.
The female as with most killifish species is drab by comparison taking on a brownish colour with dark brown spots. Her fins are clear with brown spots as you get closer to the body. Her abdomen area is lighter brown to silver
Sex & Breeding
As mentioned above the males are more strikingly coloured than the females so they are very easy to sex, I like to give Fp.gardneri a little more tank space when breeding and I use tanks aroung 18x8x8 for that purpose. (These are just for breeding purposes and not long term setups) A tight fitting lid is essential as I have found that apart from Rivulus, Fp gardneri are the best jumpers around, especially the females.
As is usually the case I condition males and females seperately bit in tanks that are next to each other. For breeding purposes I feed them mostly live foods (the usual suspects) and only a little bit of flake here and there. I condition the fish for one week.
I like to use a ratio of one male to two females and as they are an egghanging species I would afford them three fairly large floating spawning mops
In most of my non annual breeding tanks I would utilise small air driven sponge filters set to a slow trickle and for Gardneri that is the case. As for their water for breeding the temperature should be maintained around 74'F, it should be mildly acidic, pH6.8 and be slightly soft.
The males will avidly chase the females in and out of the mops, performing spawining actions on most occasions and in one day you can expect to pick 60 eggs or more from well conditioned fish. I collect the eggs twice daily, morning and evening as this means that the fish themselves dont get the chance to eat too many. Depending on how many fry I would wish to rear at a particular time, the breeding trio would be kept together for roughly one week, after such time they are returned to much larger quarters.
Eggs & Fry Rearing
The eggs from Fp.gardneri are fairly large as killifish eggs go, they are opaque in colour, any which are totally white or fungussed I discard immediately, so as not to contaminate the rest of the batch. I place the eggs into small margarine tubs (no more than a 12-15 to a tub) in an inch of water and a small piece of Salvinia natans is provided probably to supply some infusorians. The eggs of .gar will go through many processes until they hatch usually around 16-18 days can be a little longer though.
They are free swimming almost immediately and are fed the usual foods consisting of newly hatched brineshrimp and microworm. The get small feedings three times a day. All ways remember to remove any uneated, dead or decaying food immediately so as not to foul the fry containers this will keep fatalities to a minimum. I perform daily waterchanges to the fry tubs using water from the parent tank. I gradually increase the water in the fry tubs over a period of time as the fry grow until they are large enough to move onto rearing tanks of 12x8x8. As the grow they can be introduced to larger foods such as grindalworms and small whiteworms and also trying to introduce a little staple flake food. Fundulopanchax gardneri fry will take around 6-8 weeks before they show signs of colouration. I look at the fins and in the males you will see slight hues of colour. I dont seperate the sexes until any excessive signs of bullying become apparent. They should be sexually mature after a three to four months.
Fundulopanchax gardneri will be many folks introduction into the world of killifish mainly due to availability, they are a stunning fish in their own right and should be part of any avid entusiasts collection at some stage. They are relatively easy to breed and rear posing little or no problems to their owners.
I would have no hesitation in recommending this species to anyone starting out with killifish, as this is how I started.
So if your into tropical fish and looking for something new and exciting to breed and rear then why not give Fp. gardneri a go. You wont regret it!
Tank size: 18"x8"x8"
Decor: Adults - bare tank with floating mops, Fry - Java Moss
Water: slightly acidic pH 6.8 and soft
Temperature: 74 F
Waterchanges: Bi Daily (10%) for breeders and Daily (30%) for fry.
Filtration: Air driven sponge filters set to a trickle.
Feeding: little and often especially fry, remember to syphon off uneaten food.
Lighting: no artificial lighting.
A tight fitting lid or coverglass is essential.
Thank you for taking the time to read through this long and informative article, I hope it will help someone starting out to keep killifish and also hobbyists who are having difficulity with this species.