Common Lyretail
Aphyosemion australe


The Common Lyretail, which becomes about six cm (about 2,4 inch) long, is probably the most common killifish in the aquariumhobby. Any aquarist can keep and breed the Common Lyretail.

Killifishes (also called killis or egglaying toothcarps) is a large group of fishes. Many of them live for only a few months during the rainy season, and die when the dry season comes. Because of this they have eveolved eggs that can lie and wait for the next rain to fall. For the aquarist this means that you can breed the fishes, pick up the eggs and send them trough the snailmail in an envelope or package to an other aquarist. The other aquarist can then put the eggs in water, hatch them and get fry!

One way of obtaining killis is to join a killi society (for example Skandinaviska Killi Sällskapet for people in Scandinavia) which provides a good connection between different killi breeders. Killifish enthusiast stay in contact with eachother all over the world and trade eggs trough the snailmail. Killies are seldom found in aquarium stores, so these contacts are often the only way of getting a rare species. Because the import of killies is quite small, ordinary killi enthusiasts travel and catch killies in the wild. A few journeys are usually performed every year. Through these journeys, about 15 new species are discovered every year.

The aquarum to keep killies, like the Common Lyretail, can be any aquarium of about twelve Liters (about 2,6 US Gallons) or larger. They can be cept in a normal community aquarium together with non agressive fishes. If you keep them in a species aquarium, you can arrange it in the following manner: Some normal aquarium gravel on the bottom, one or two handfuls of peat above the gravel and a large bunch of java moss (to fill up about 80 % of the watervolume).

To breed the Common Lyretail you don't need to make that much preparations. In an aquarium of about ten Liters (about 2,2 US Gallons) you put some peat on the bottom and preferably a yarn mop. (A bunch of artificial wool.) You let the aquarium stand without fish for a few days and then you put in the breeder fish. It is appropriate to use one male and a femele, or one male and two females. The fish will hopefully start to breed within a few hours.

The male swims close to the female and show his fins. If the female is willing to spawn, she follows the male until he chooses a spawningsite. Then the pair stand side by side and tremble with force. The eggs and sperm are released. When the breeding fish have been in the aquarium for about one week, it's time to move them back to their ordinary aquarium. The eggs hatch after about two weeks (if you let the eggs stay in the aquarium) and the fries can eat artemia naupli from the start. Raising them is no problem and the fish are ready to spawn when they are about three months old.

You can also breed the Common Lyretail with the "natural method". A species tank (which I have already described) works as a permanent breeding aquarium and some of the fries usually survive to adult age.

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© Copyright Max Strandberg