Maximum size : 5 cm

Gabon Killifish - Aphyosemion gabunense : Complete Fish Profile & Care Guide

Table of contents


The Gabon Killifish (Aphyosemion gabunense), known for its striking appearance and tranquil nature, possesses a commendable level of resilience. It is a suitable choice for both novice and experienced hobbyists alike. Ideally, the Gabon Killifish thrives in a dedicated species tank, yet it can coexist harmoniously with other small to medium-sized peaceful fish within a community aquarium. Compatible tankmates may include smaller Barbs, Tetras, Rasboras, Dwarf Cichlids, Dwarf Gouramis, as well as Corydoras and smaller Plecos. It is important, however, to exercise caution and refrain from housing these fish with larger, aggressive, or vigorous species, as they may easily outcompete them for food resources.

To ensure optimal conditions for the Gabon Killifish, it is recommended to maintain a soft water aquarium adorned with abundant plant life and bogwood. Employing peat filtration is highly advised, while gentle water movement is essential to replicate the slow-moving waters that these fish inhabit in their natural habitat. Providing some surface coverage with floating plants is greatly appreciated by these fish, and it is imperative to secure the aquarium with a snug-fitting lid, as Gabon Killifish have a propensity for jumping.

Distinguishing characteristics between male and female Gabon Killifish are evident in their appearance. Male specimens exhibit a silvery bluish-green body adorned with red spots, complemented by red facial markings and an orange pectoral fin. Notably, males also possess yellow fins embellished with red fleck patterning and deep red edges on all their unpaired fins. Conversely, female Gabon Killifish showcase a silvery body devoid of any patterns, and their fins are transparent in nature.

Gabon Killifish Photos

Sexual Dimorphism

Distinguishing between male and female Gabon Killifish is a relatively straightforward task. Males exhibit a more vibrant colouration compared to females, accompanied by elongated dorsal, anal, and caudal fins. Conversely, females possess a paler hue and lack the intricate patterning observed in males.

Quick Facts

Scientific NameAphyosemion gabunense
Year Described1975
Other NamesNone
Max Size5 cm
Aquarium LevelMiddle - Top
DifficultyBeginner - Intermediate
Best kept asGroups 5+
Diet & FeedingOmnivore
ReproductionEgg Depositor
LifespanUp to 2 Years

Water Parameters

Water TypeFreshwater
pH 6.5 - 7.5
GH 5 - 15
Ideal Temperature
72 - 79
22 - 26

Natural Habitat

Nestled within the enchanting landscape of western Gabon in Africa, the Gabon Killifish call the Lower Ogowe River and the Lower Ngounié River their home. These captivating fish can be found meandering through a tapestry of diverse aquatic realms. From swamps to gentle streams, from shimmering pools to brooks, the Gabon Killifish gracefully navigates these vibrant habitats adorned with lush vegetation, paying homage to the lush coastal rainforest that surrounds them.


The breeding of Gabon Killifish can be accomplished with relative ease. While a pair can be spawned in an aquarium, it is advisable to breed them in trios, even though the yield may be slightly lower due to the potential consumption of eggs by non-spawning individuals. In killifish breeding setups, many breeders opt to exclude filtration, although incorporating a small, air-powered sponge filter is recommended to prevent stagnation. Maintaining a slightly acidic water environment with moderately elevated temperature and subdued lighting is optimal. Prior to breeding, it is crucial to condition the fish on a varied diet consisting of live and frozen foods while segregating the sexes in separate tanks. From there, the selection of the best male and most robust female should be undertaken before introducing them to the spawning tank. This method allows for the recovery of females between spawnings.

Spawning of Gabon Killifish occurs near the water's surface, with females depositing eggs individually on spawning mops or vegetation using a sticky thread. A female may lay anywhere between 20 to 50 eggs daily, spanning several weeks. As long as the adults are well-fed, they will not prey on the eggs, allowing them to remain in the breeding tank until removal becomes necessary. However, if the intention is to transfer the eggs to a separate rearing tank, they can be gently hand-picked from the mops and plants. For added protection against fungal growth, the incorporation of methylene blue in the rearing tank is recommended. In the event that any eggs exhibit signs of fungus, prompt removal using a pipette is crucial to prevent the spread to unaffected eggs.

Given appropriate water conditions and adequate conditioning of the fish, spawning should occur without significant issues. While leaving the eggs in the aquarium to hatch alongside their parents is possible, some may fall victim to predation. To maximize fry yield, it is advisable to remove the eggs. Typically, around ten to twenty eggs are deposited daily over a period of two weeks, necessitating gentle removal as soon as they are observed. Breeding pairs should only be allowed to spawn for approximately a week before being returned to the conditioning tank, as the spawning process can be physically demanding, particularly for the female.

For incubation, the eggs can either be placed on a moist layer of peat moss in a small container or left in the water. If water incubation is chosen, transferring the eggs to a small aquarium or a container filled with water from the spawning tank is recommended. Adding a few drops of methylene blue helps maintain optimal egg condition. Keeping the incubation container in darkness is essential, as light can negatively impact the eggs. Daily examination for fungal eggs is necessary, with prompt removal using a pipette if detected.

Under appropriate temperature conditions, the eggs will hatch in approximately 12 days. If peat moss incubation is preferred, the container should be placed in a warm, dark location for about 18 days, after which the eggs will be ready to hatch. Placing the eggs in the rearing aquarium after 18 days typically induces hatching through the wetting of the eggs. In case this method proves unsuccessful, gently blowing air into the water through a piece of airline or straw can trigger hatching.

Diet & feeding

Gabon Killifish demonstrates a versatile feeding behaviour and readily consumes high-quality dry foods, such as flakes and granules. However, to optimize their colouration and overall well-being, it is recommended to complement their diet with small portions of live, frozen, and freeze-dried foods, such as bloodworms, mosquito larvae, brine shrimp, and daphnia. By incorporating this diverse range of nourishment, the Gabon Killifish can thrive and exhibit their most vibrant colours and optimal condition.

Other Killifish of interest