Max Size: 6cm

Splendid Killifish (Aphyosemion splendopleure)

Splendid Killifish are a very peaceful and hardy species of fish that prefers to be kept in pairs. This fish is not advised for the community aquarium as these fish are very shy and does not compete well with other species. Male Splendid Killifish may be territorial to each other, but rarely any damage is done.

The Splendid Killifish's colours and characteristics depend on the region they originated. The most outstanding feature of the males is the fins. The long fins are often patterned with spots, and the tips often look like they've been dipped in yellow paint. On mature males, these may eventually form long streamers.

The sides of the fish are a mix of colours and usually consists of yellows, greens, blues and reds covered with shimmery luminosity. The females, while they, without a doubt, can't match the males, are nonetheless quite attractive fish. The two lines running along the sides are much more apparent in the females. Apart from faint patterning on the dorsal fin, they share little of the males colour. However, they are still a beautiful fish, and of course necessary for breeding.

Quick Facts
Scientific NameAphyosemion splendopleure
Other NamesNone
OriginsCameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon
Aquarium LevelMiddle
DifficultyBeginner - Intermediate
Best kept asPairs
Lifespan3 - 5 years
Water Parameters
Water TypeFreshwater
PH6.0 - 7.5
GH5 - 15
TDS54 - 268
71 - 79℉
21.7 - 26.1℃

Photos of the Splendid Killifish

Splendid killifish
Splendid killifish

Natural Habitat

Splendid Killifish are endemic to Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon in western and central Africa. They inhabit slow-moving lowland streams, brooks and coastal areas with moderate lighting and some dense vegetation.

What to feed the Splendid Killifish

Splendid Killifish can be a bit fussy about which foods they will accept. However, most will take high-quality flakes or small granules, but they do prefer and require little live or frozen fares such as bloodworm, Daphnia, grindal worms and black worms. However, care must be taken, to not overfeed them and should not be fed live and frozen food solely, because they are very rich foods.

How to sex the Splendid Killifish

It is very straightforward to distinguish male and female Splendid Killifish. Males are usually much more colourful and have elongated caudal, dorsal and anal fins compared to the females.

How to breed the Splendid Killifish

It is relatively easy to breed Splendid Killifish. You can quickly spawn a pair in an aquarium. It is recommended that it be spawned in trios, but yield tends to be lower when it's bred this way, probably because the fish that is not spawning are consuming some of the eggs.

Many breeders do not use filtration in killifish breeding setups, but using a small, air-driven sponge filter to prevent stagnation is a good idea. Water should be slightly acidic with a somewhat higher temperature. Keep the tank unlit, and remember peat filtration is beneficial.

It would be best if you condition the fish on a varied diet of live and frozen foods and keep the two sexes apart in separate conditioning tanks.

Choose the best male and fattest female before placing them in the spawning tank. This method will allow females to recover between spawnings.

These Killifish will deposit their eggs either in clumps of vegetation or in the substrate and the spawning medium can either be clumps of fine-leaved plants such as spawning mops or java moss or a layer of peat moss on the bottom of the tank. You can also have a bare-bottomed tank with the spawning mediums. This setup will make egg collection or maintenance a lot easier.

If water conditions are right and the fish are well conditioned, spawning should exhibit no specific problems. The eggs can be left in the aquarium to hatch with their parents; however, some may get eaten.

If you want to increase the yield of fry, you should remove the eggs.

Ten to twenty eggs are usually deposited daily for around two weeks, and you should remove these gently as soon as you notice them.

It would be best if you only allowed breeding pairs to spawn for about a week or so before returning them into the conditioning tank as the spawning process is challenging on the fish, especially the female. They can become weak and tired if left for too long.

Once removed, you can incubate the eggs either by placing them on a damp layer of peat moss in a small container or leave them in the water. Fewer eggs tend to fungus if you keep them in the water, although you should still remove these fungus eggs as they are noticed.

If incubating in water, you can transfer the eggs to a small aquarium or a container containing water from the spawning tank. A few drops of methylene blue is advisable as this helps to keep the eggs in good condition. It would be best if you kept the aquarium or container under darkness as the eggs are susceptible to light and you will need to check the eggs daily for fungus eggs, which should be removed with a pipette.

The eggs will hatch in around 12 days, depending on the temperature.

If incubating on peat moss, place the container in a warm, dark place and leave it for 18 days, after which the eggs will be ready to hatch.

If you are spawning various offspring, it is a great idea to label each container with the date, hatching date, species and the number of eggs to limit any disasters.

Hatching can usually be induced by simply placing the eggs in the raising aquarium after 18 days, where the wetting of the eggs stimulates hatching. If this is unsuccessful, blowing gently into the water through a piece of airline or straw can trigger hatching.

The fry is tiny, and you should initially feed them with infusoria. If using the peat moss incubation method, the rearing tank can be 'seeded' a few days before hatching by adding a couple of drops of green water or liquifry. Alternatively, add small amounts as required.

After about two days you can feed them on microworm or brine shrimp nauplii, introducing larger live and frozen varieties about two weeks after that.

You should initially keep the water very shallow, but as they grow, you can increase the level. Ultimate care must be taken regarding water quality in the rearing tank as the fry are very susceptible to velvet disease, so small water changes every 2-3 days is ideal for the best condition and growth.

Other Killifish of interest

American Flagfish(Jordanella floridae)
Blue Striped Rivulus Killifish(Rivulus Xiphidius, Laimosemion xiphidius)
Bluefin Notho(Nothobranchius rachovii)
Clown Killifish(Epiplatys annulatus)
Eggers Killifish(Nothobranchius eggersi)
Lyretail Killifish(Aphyosemion australe)
View all Killifish
Date Added: 11/11/2020 - Updated: 19/01/2022 14:37:28