Fundulopanchax Gardneri Stats InfographicThe Fundulopanchax gardneri is a peaceful freshwater fish patterned with vibrant colors. These small fish are perfect for aquarists who enjoy nano or planted aquariums.

This eye-catching species, also known as the blue lyretail or Gardner’s Killi, are relatively hardy, and they are happy in an aquarium with a gentle water flow.

If you are thinking about getting the beautiful Fundulopanchax gardneri for your home tank, read on to help you decide if they are the right fish for your aquarium.

Stats about Fundulopanchax gardneri

Scientific name: Fundulopanchax gardneri
Common name: Blue lyretail or Gardner’s Killi
Habitat: Nigeria and Cameroon
Min Tank Size: 10 gallons for a pair or trio
Diet: Carnivore; appropriately sized meaty live and frozen foods; dry foods; vegetable matter such as spirulina
Behavior: Peaceful, schooling
Water parameters: pH of the water should be between 6.0 – 7.5
Water temperature: 68 – 79 F
Care: Easy
Communities: Doesn’t like to live with other species in one aquarium

– What Is So Unusual About This Fish?

Killifish careFundulopanchax gardneri or ‘killie’ is sometimes hard to find in pet shops. Maybe it’s the name that frightens people? These tiny fish are not dangerous! On the contrary, they are friendly creatures.

The Dutch word “killi” means a small stream or creek. Hence “killifish” are fish from small streams or creeks. “Killie” is the short form of the name “killifish.”

Fundulopanchax gardneri are fish with personalities. They are curious and outgoing. Killifish enthusiasts say these fish are fearless and like to be in the spotlight. They’re always out in the front of the tank, seeking attention.

This species is very lively and social. Fundulopanchax gardneri learn to recognize their owners as the ones who provide food and new water. They will beg for food when they see you near their tank.

These fish will stay around to explore when you change the water in the tank. They will jump into the water stream to swim in it.

– Habitat

Fundulopanchax gardneri are native to Nigeria and Cameroon. These fish, named in honor of R. D. Gardner, the first person to collect it, are found in rainforest areas. They live in the forested, open, humid savannah in small streams, creeks, stagnant swamps, and pools of water.

Surprisingly, they are the only Fundulopanchax species living in their particular stream, as you can generally find two or more Killie species living together in the same area.

While Fundulopanchax gardneri inhabits shallow water, you will find the Fundulopanchax gardneri lacustris in lakes.

You will often find these fish in water that is merely 1 inch deep. They can move from puddle to puddle by crawling or flipping over. Jumping is part of their natural behavior, so you must keep their tank tightly closed as they can get through the tiniest opening.

– Fundulopanchax Gardneri Variety

Fundulopanchax gardneri gardneri has several strains. You can readily obtain Lafia and Nsukka species from pet suppliers. Of these two varieties, Lafia is the more spectacular in its coloring.

Fundulopanchax gardneri nigerianus is the most widespread subspecies, and there are several regional types commonly available to hobbyists.

Fundulopanchax gardneri innidere is very popular right now and is even available sometimes in better fish stores. They are colorful, easy to keep and breed, and tiny, measuring just under 3 inches. These fish are outgoing and spend their time at the front of the tank. They will readily eat pellet, flake, frozen, and live foods.

– Description

Fundulopanchax gardneri is a very colorful species. Although there are differences in appearance, they all have brilliant coloring with vivid patterns.

Most males have a bright yellow or red edging on the outer rays of their caudal fin, developing into a beautiful lyretail as the fish mature. There are deep red spots on their iridescent blue flanks, and generally, the outer border on their caudal fin is the same on the dorsal and anal fins.

Female Gardneri killifish are drab in comparison to the male. They are slightly smaller and are olive to tan colored with a few red spots. Their fins are transparent, but as you get closer, you can see the brown spots. The abdomen is silver to light brown.

The male fish are much brighter than the females, and their dorsal fin is towards the back half of their bodies. In most species, males also have more prominent dorsal and anal fins.

Fundulopanchax gardneri are small fish measuring 2 to 3 inches.

Caring for Your Fundulopanchax Gardneri

Fundulopanchax gardneri inhabit a vast range of places in the wild, so they are pretty hardy and can adapt to many water conditions. Since they are not too demanding, it isn’t tricky to mimic their natural settings in the tank.

This species should be kept in a long shallow aquarium with very gentle or no water movement. You should select the size of the tank according to the number of fish you want to keep. A 20-gallon tank is perfect for a regular pair of killifish.

Gardneri killifish prefer a heavily planted tank and softer water on the acidic side. So your tank should have plenty of natural aquatic plants. You should also use rocks or Bogwood to create shaded hiding places for your Killies.

Be sure to add many floating plants to the aquarium. Cryptocoryne, Java moss, and Java fern are suitable plants because they do well with low lighting levels.

You can keep the aquarium floor bare. It isn’t necessary to add a substrate, though most people like to cover it with dark gravel. If you decide to use gravel, then make sure to choose the type that will not make the water hard.

Gardneri killifish stay in the shade, away from direct sunlight, so they are comfortable in aquariums with low lighting.

If you wish to keep your fish in a small tank, you will need to use a filter unless you want to make small, frequent changes to the water. Small tanks get polluted faster than larger ones as waste products build up.

Installation of a filter will break down the pollutants and keep the fish safe from toxins. A simple box filter with filter wool or a filter sponge is most suitable for a small tank. If your aquarium is large, another option for you is to use under-gravel filters.

Nowadays, beautifully planted “plug and play” 10 to 20-gallon tanks that seem to be tailor-made for Fundulopanchax gardneri are available in every shop.

– Water Parameters

Fundulopanchax gardneri aren’t overly fussy about water since they come from a wide range of water bodies in their natural habitat. However, you need to be careful about extreme ranges.

The water in the aquarium should be slightly soft and acidic, and temperatures in the 72 – 75 F range KH 5 – 8 and 6.0 – 7.5 pH will suit Gardneri killifish fine. It is also vital to keep the water in the aquarium clean.

Suitable Tank Mates

Fundulopanchax gardneri careFundulopanchax gardneri are robust fish. They are compatible with fish that thrive in gentle water flow.

These fish will get along with freshwater community fish of similar nature and size. However, their brightly colored fins will attract attention from more aggressive fin nippers.

If you aren’t keen on breeding your Gardneri killifish, they are perfect residents for the peaceful community tank. While males do sometimes display aggressiveness towards one another, they are okay with other species.

Here’s a list of suitable tank mates for Gardneri killifish:

What Should You Feed the Fundulopanchax Gardneri?

Fundulopanchax gardneri is a micro predator and mainly eats insect larvae, worms, and small crustaceans at the top of the water. They feed well and readily eat flakes, pellets, and dry carnivorous foods.

The flakes and pellets you feed these fish should be high-quality flakes designed for carnivorous fishes. It is sufficient to provide your fish with food once a day.

We suggest a varied diet of meaty foods supplemented with some microfauna and algae. You should provide regular meals of small live or frozen fares such as Daphnia or Artemia.

Live foods are excellent for the Gardneri killifish.

  • Blackworms
  • White worms
  • Beef Brine shrimp
  • bloodworms
  • fruit flies
  • Tubifex Worms
  • Beef heart

Breeding Fundulopanchax Gardneri

Fundulopanchax gardneri spawn continuously in the wild where rainfall is high, and water levels are constant throughout the year. In other areas, they are considered annual spawners.

They lay eggs in dry mud. The eggs hatch when it rains, and the water levels rise.

In aquariums, these fish are continuous spawners and lay eggs almost every day. Gardneri killifish lay their eggs in sinking or floating mops, on the substrate, or among fine-leaved plants.

– Preparing the Spawning Tank

Fundulopanchax gardneri is a beautiful killie that is easy to breed. It would be best if you prepared a spawning aquarium. Add a Mattenfilter or a small sponge filter, a large clump of Java moss attached to a rock, and several potted Cryptocoryne on the bottom.

  1. Cover a large area of the surface with hornwort or water sprite.
  2. Ensure that there are no shrimps or snails in the spawning tank as many snail species and some shrimp species eat eggs.
  3. Spread an inch-thick substrate of sand or fine quartz gravel on the bottom and keep the tank brightly lit.
  4. Introduce a pair of killifish to the breeding tank. Feed live foods for a week or two as it stimulates spawning. You can feed them fruit flies, flour beetles, newly hatched or adult brine shrimp, daphnia, blackworms, Grindal worms, and white worms.
  5. Remove the adults from the tank in two weeks. In a few days, you can see the fry darting around the tank. At this time, you can add freshly- hatched brine shrimp and microworms.
  6. Feed young killifish with Walter worms, potato worms, banana worms at one meal. The second feed could be newly hatched brine shrimp.
  7. After the first month, start to add finely crushed flakes with one of the feedings. Gradually change over to one feeding of flakes and one of the live foods.

You can feed your newly hatched Killifish Fry these foods for their optimal health:

  • Newly-Hatched Brine Shrimp
  • Microworms
  • Vinegar Eels are also an excellent starting food for fry as they stay suspended in the water
  • Infusoria
  • Grindal worms are an excellent food for young fish that are partially grown fry.


If you wish to add some color to your Freshwater Tropical Fish tank, look no further than the beautiful Fundulopanchax gardneri. Read through our complete care guide to help you rear this active and social fish.

  • Gardneri killifish is a stunning, vividly patterned freshwater fish
  • They are hardy and adapt to a range of water situations
  • They are friendly creatures with personality
  • Fundulopanchax gardneri learn to recognize their owners
  • They are easy to breed in the aquarium
  • These fish prefer to stay at the top of the aquarium
  • Gardneri killifish will not bother ornamental plants
  • A tight-fitting glass cover or lid for the tank is essential
  • Fundulopanchax gardneri are carnivores

Fundulopanchax gardneri fishYou have to see Fundulopanchax gardneri personally as photographs don’t do justice to this unique fish species. If you love tropical fish and are looking for something new and exciting for your planted aquarium, we hope you decide to buy some of these fish for your home aquarium.

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