Max Size: 6cm

Lyretail Killifish (Aphyosemion australe)

Lyretail Killifish are stunning, somewhat shy, peaceful fish that are suitable for a community aquarium and the beginner aquarist. These fish are among the most widespread Killifish species available in the hobby, and they come in two colours' the wild types, which are brown and called 'chocolate', and the artificially bred 'gold' form that is bright orange.

Lyretail Killifish is best maintained as a single male and female pair in a small soft water aquarium with plenty of plants and some bogwood. Peat filtration is highly recommended, and the water movement should be gentle to simulate the slow-moving waters that these fish inhabit in the wild. These fish will also appreciate some surface cover from floating plants, and you must make sure your aquarium has a tight-fitting lid as these fish are remarkable jumpers.

Tankmates for the Lyretail Killifish should be chosen with care due to their timid nature. Ideal tankmates could include smaller Tetras, Micro Rasboras, Dwarf Gouramis, Dwarf Cichlids, Catfish, and smaller Loaches. However, you should avoid housing these fish with much more significant, aggressive or more boisterous species; otherwise, they will easily outcompete them for food.

The body colour of the male Lyretail Killifish is brown, and lots of red dots and markings contrast it. The area behind their head is a bright pearlescent green, and the anal, caudal, and dorsal fins are pale brown with red dots. The fin rays on their dorsal and anal fins are often expanded on more aged males, but the attractive Lyre-shaped caudal fin gives the fish its name of Lyretail; the white fin extensions can extend by 6 mm or more. Like most killifishes, the females are dull compared, being a darker brown with fewer red dots on their body, and the caudal fin is rounded and doesn't show the long extensions seen in the males.

There is also a golden-orange colour variation of this species which is simply a mutation of the chocolate form. Here the chocolate brown colours on the body are replaced by bright orange. This variant was described in 1953 by Meinken as Aphyosemion australe hjerreseni after the breeder Hjerresen, who discovered the first orange variant in his collection; however, that name is not accurate. Nevertheless, these fish are undoubtedly more attractive than the original chocolate strain, and some breeders breed tremendous strains of this variant.


Lyretail Killifish
Lyretail Killifish
Quick Facts
Scientific NameAphyosemion australe
Year Described1921
Other NamesLyretail Panchax, Golden Panchax, Cape Lopez Lyretail
Aquarium LevelMiddle - Top
DifficultyBeginner - Intermediate
Best kept asPairs
Lifespanup to 3 years
Water Parameters
Water TypeFreshwater
PH5.5 - 7.0
GH3 - 12
TDS18 - 179
69 - 89℉
20.6 - 31.7℃


In the home aquarium, the Lyretail Killifish will readily accept most good quality dried foods such as granules, flakes and sinking pellets. These modern food products have been developed to provide all adequate nutrition to maintain your fish's health and dietary requirements.

Providing additional foodstuffs such as live, frozen, and freeze-dried meals such as bloodworm, daphnia, and tubifex once or twice a week will provide additional benefits to your fish's health and well-being but is not a must for this fish.

It should be noted that bloodworms should only be given as an occasional treat and should not be used as the staple diet as they are difficult for fish to digest and can potentially cause blockages.

This fish is an omnivore in the wild, meaning it will consume some vegetable matter. Although most modern fish foods take this into account and include them in their products, you can still supplement your fish's diet with blanched vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, and zucchini. Ensure you do not overfeed your fish and remove any leftovers the following day.

Sexual Dimorphism

It is simple to differentiate between the male and female Lyretail Killifish. The males are usually larger, more vibrantly coloured and have extensions to their anal, caudal and dorsal fins. In contrast, the females are smaller, duller in colour and much more rounder in their belly. Females also have rounder fins than males.

Other Killifish of interest

American Flagfish(Jordanella floridae)
Blackfin Pearl Killifish(Austrolebias nigripinnis)
Blue Striped Rivulus Killifish(Rivulus Xiphidius, Laimosemion xiphidius)
Bluefin Killifish(Lucania goodei)
Bluefin Notho(Nothobranchius rachovii)
Chevaliers Epiplatys Killifish(Epiplatys chevalieri)
View all Killifish
Date Added: 19/05/2022 15:07:35 - Updated: 10/08/2022 11:20:51