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May 24, 2013

Hello all! Are you as excited about this weekend as much as I am? Wait, you haven’t heard? The NorthWest Killies have brought the American Killifish Association Convention back to Portland once again. Today through Monday you can come learn from the experts on collecting, preservation, and keeping of all sorts of Killifish. It sounds to me like you need a little bit of encouragement to attend…

Pseudepiplatys annulatus male

Where do I begin? Hmmm… let’s see, Killifish contain over 1200 different species within the family Cyprinodontidae. The name, Killifish, is derived from the Dutch word “kilde”, meaning small creek or puddle. The vast majority of the family is found in rivers, streams, and lakes, and will typically live around 2 to 3 years of age. Some family members can be found in temporary ponds or floodplains, and are known as “annuals”. These ephemeral waters will eventually dry up – which shortens the life span of the fish to as little as only a few months. You may think that this would be the end of the species found in this area, but the members of these Killifish have adapted a technique that ensures their survival when the dry season comes. The eggs of Killifish can survive partial dry spells. When the rain comes the following year, the eggs dormancy unveils, and tiny fish will soon start the whole process their parents leftover to them.

Nothobranchius guentheri

What do these fish find to eat? This really depends on the area where they are from. Most of them will feed on insects or insect larvae that they come across. Some, like the South American Killies, will feed on plankton. Others, like the Florida Flagfish (Jordanella floridae), find their food source from the algae growing on the rocks and wood. The genus Cynolebias and Megalebias will feed mainly on small fish. This predatory diet needs to be replicated in an aquarium. Aquarists will often feed frozen bloodworms, or daphnia to their pets.

Foerschichthys flavipinnis

How big will Killifish get? The laws of nature usually imply that if the bigger fish is eating the smaller fish than they’ll grow larger. The bigger members of the family will max out less than 6”, while typically most fish are only an inch or two like the brightly colored and very popular males of the genus Nothobranchius. For instance, Nothobranchius guentheri occurs in the country of Africa, and are typically found on the west side of the continent. Their behavior is a bit on the territorial side, and usually do not make the best community members. Most of this genus is an annual fish, which is another reason to be concerned with housing them with your tetras. A resident that I would highly recommend for nano-tanks is Epiplatys annulatus “Clown Killi”. Their name may fool you into thinking it’s an annual fish, but annulus actually means rings, in reference to the bold stripes on the body. I know that I just mentioned Procatopus abberrans “Blue Green Killi” a few weeks ago, but these another mid-sized Killi that would make a wonderful addition to your aquarium. You could keep always try your luck at the dainty Foershichthys flavipinnis “Amber Finned Lampeye” if you’re feeling a little on the experienced side.

Procatopus abberans

The world of Killifish indeed is an intriguing place to venture, if you’d like to learn more about them than please join us this weekend. You can find all the information for registration, speakers, and banquets at For those of you who can’t make it, but still want to order some fish, please have a look at our list at This week we brought in some great looking Killies just for the convention. As always, be sure to inquire about other items you may be interested in!

See you all at the convention!

Anthony Perry
Sales Manager