Max Size: up to 6 cm

Steel Blue Lyretail Killifish (Fundulopanchax gardneri) Species Profile & Care Guide

The Steel Blue Killifish is a robust killi that can be housed with other fish. However, they are not suitable for the general community aquarium as they can be very aggressive with small, slow-moving fish and has a surprisingly large mouth for its size. These Killifish are also known to be aggressive towards one another, so make sure you provide sufficient space and hiding places; that way, you can maintain a group together.

The Steel Blue Killifish has a gorgeous blue-steel colouration and a variable red-spotted patterning along the length of the body. The outer margins of the anal, dorsal and caudal fins are fringed with bright yellow.

The female has brown dots on its flanks and a duller colouration on the fins.

Several ornamental strains have also been line-bred by aquarists including gold and albino colours.

These fish have been known to live in very shallow waters and can jump from stream to stream so you will need to keep a very tight lid on your aquarium as they can escape through the smallest gap.

Quick Facts
Scientific NameFundulopanchax gardneri
Other NamesBlue Lyretail, Steel-blue Aphyosemion, Gardner's killi, Gardneri Panchax Killifish
Aquarium LevelBottom - Middle
DifficultyBeginner - Intermediate
Best kept asGroups 5+
Lifespanup to 3 years
Water Conditions
Water TypeFreshwater
Temperature72 - 77 ℉ (22.2 - 25 ℃)
PH6.0 - 7.5
GH5 - 12
KH5 - 8
TDS18 - 179
Steel blue lyretail killifish
Steel blue lyretail killifish
Steel blue lyretail killifish
Steel blue lyretail killifish
Steel blue lyretail killifish
Steel blue lyretail killifish
Steel blue lyretail killifish

Natural Habitat of the Steel Blue Lyretail Killifish

The Steel Blue Killifish is native to Okwoga a small tributary of the Cross River system in southeastern Nigeria and western Cameroon as well as the Benue River drainage in central Nigeria in Africa.

These fish inhabit creeks, brooks swamps, marshes, streams and pools in humid, forested, highland savannah and areas of rainforest. Some such habitats annually dry out, but in many cases, this is not a regular, annual event and they may preserve water year-round.

Other Killifish of interest

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Splendid Killifish(Aphyosemion splendopleure)


In the home aquarium, Steel Blue Killifish will accept high quality dried flake and pellet foods as well as algae wafers. Still, it would be best if you also offered frequent meals of small live or frozen fares such as daphnia, mosquito larvae, Cyclops, bloodworm and artemia.

These fish can be shy at feeding times, so make sure that their tankmates are not too boisterous, so they don't get outcompeted for food and receive their fair share.

Sexing the Steel Blue Lyretail Killifish

Sexing the Steel Blue Killifish is relatively easy. The males are larger, more colourful and have larger, more extended fins than the females. In comparison, females are smaller and less brightly coloured than males.

Breeding the Steel Blue Lyretail Killifish

The unexpected nature of many of these species natural habitats has resulted in it advancing what's regularly alluded to as a 'switch' or 'semi-yearly' reproducing system whereby the eggs are in a position to face up to a length of drying. However, they will also incubate and hatch when completely submerged in water.

If conditions are to there liking, the Steel Blue Killifish are not difficult to breed with eggs being deposited amongst live plants, aquatic mosses, spawning mops and suchlike. Some breeders prefer to use a small bowl of peat which is removed and dried post-spawning.

It would be better to remove the eggs daily as the adults will consume any they find if given a chance.

Underwater they usually hatch around 14-21 days later depending on temperature. In contrast, it will take 3-4 weeks for the eggs to hatch when using the drying method.

The fry becomes free-swimming almost immediately after hatching and can be offered foods like Artemia nauplii, microworm and similar.

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Date Added: 04/11/2020 - Updated: 04/11/2020 14:24:40