20 Gallon High Killifish Build

tuggerlake26
  • #1
I decided to set up another tank after my final black phantom tetras in this tank passed away a few weeks ago. I've been eyeing killifish for a while now, and have only kept them once. I decided to build a killifish set-up from this tank. My plans:
  • 20 gallon high
  • Using existing driftwood. I have about two large pieces in there already. I also have a few random sticks that I'm going to boil.
  • Substrate: currently sand, but I hate it because it always looks messy. I'm going to re-cycle and add in Fluval Stratum instead.
  • Plants- I just ordered the following online:
  • Fish:
    • Gardneri Rayfield
    • Fundulopanchax Sheeli
The plants are coming next week, and the substrate comes tomorrow. I'll take a few pics tomorrow once I start building it out.
 
AquaticQueen
  • #2
Following!
 
Joshaeus
  • #3
Cool! Just keep in mind that aquasoils like fluval stratum usually leach ammonia, so I would recommend cycling the tank again for a while after adding it. Also, killies tend to jump, so it may be a good idea to keep the water level a few inches below the top of the tank to make it harder for them to jump in the event you leave the cover off by mistake.

PS...some killie hobbyists would take serious issue with mixing different strains of the same species...they really prefer to keep separate populations (and closely related species) separate so that they can breed pure lines in the event those populations later go extinct in the wild (a real threat for many killifish species, which tend to have small ranges in the wild). If you are just keeping them and not breeding them, that is less of an issue.
 
tuggerlake26
  • Thread Starter
  • #4
Cool! Just keep in mind that aquasoils like fluval stratum usually leach ammonia, so I would recommend cycling the tank again for a while after adding it. Also, killies tend to jump, so it may be a good idea to keep the water level a few inches below the top of the tank to make it harder for them to jump in the event you leave the cover off by mistake.

PS...some killie hobbyists would take serious issue with mixing different strains of the same species...they really prefer to keep separate populations (and closely related species) separate so that they can breed pure lines in the event those populations later go extinct in the wild (a real threat for many killifish species, which tend to have small ranges in the wild). If you are just keeping them and not breeding them, that is less of an issue.

Yup, planning to re-cycle the tank again with the substrate replacement. I also have a full mesh top so nothing will be jumping out!

Noted on the cross-breeding. I don't plan to raise or breed and sell them. The ones I plan on purchasing are from a friend who captive breeds them.
 
chromedome52
  • #5
First, those are two different species. F. scheeli is a distinct species related to gardneri. It stays smaller, and IME is easier to keep. However, the two species have been known to hybridize. If you do decide to do some breeding, just pull a pair into a gallon drum bowl with a spawning mop or some Java Moss for about a week, then remove the adults and wait for the fry to hatch. Hoever, you may have trouble telling the females of the two species apart.

Second, as noted, the scheeli is smaller, and gardneri males can sometimes be bullies. You might get lucky but I'd keep an eye on them.
 
tuggerlake26
  • Thread Starter
  • #6
First, those are two different species. F. scheeli is a distinct species related to gardneri. It stays smaller, and IME is easier to keep. However, the two species have been known to hybridize. If you do decide to do some breeding, just pull a pair into a gallon drum bowl with a spawning mop or some Java Moss for about a week, then remove the adults and wait for the fry to hatch. Hoever, you may have trouble telling the females of the two species apart.

Second, as noted, the scheeli is smaller, and gardneri males can sometimes be bullies. You might get lucky but I'd keep an eye on them.
Thanks! This is super helpful. Would it be better to just keep the Scheeli as a species only tank? Or are there other smaller killis that would get along better with them?
 
Joshaeus
  • #7
First, those are two different species. F. scheeli is a distinct species related to gardneri. It stays smaller, and IME is easier to keep. However, the two species have been known to hybridize. If you do decide to do some breeding, just pull a pair into a gallon drum bowl with a spawning mop or some Java Moss for about a week, then remove the adults and wait for the fry to hatch. Hoever, you may have trouble telling the females of the two species apart.

Second, as noted, the scheeli is smaller, and gardneri males can sometimes be bullies. You might get lucky but I'd keep an eye on them.
Thanks! This is super helpful. Would it be better to just keep the Scheeli as a species only tank? Or are there other smaller killis that would get along better with them?
I have never kept any Fundulopanchax species...but I have kept Nothobranchius guentheri and Aphyosemion striatum, and both proved to be completely incompatible with other species (they're both awful fin nippers in my experience...even danios and white cloud minnows got their fins shredded, sometimes with fatal results. Trying to mix the nothos with the aphyosemions resulted in all the aphyosemions jumping out of the tank to escape the nothos). I would not mix both killie species even ignoring the potential for hybridization.
 
chromedome52
  • #8
There are many killifish that would easily co-exist with scheeli. Most of the Lampeyes would work, as they are surface schoolers, and generally nonaggressive. You might find some Epiplatys (other than annulatus) that would be another option, again because they stay closer to the surface. E. sexfasciatus is a colorful favorite of mine.

Nothos, by their nature, cannot be community fish. In the wild they hatch out of the dried mud when the rains come, and they have a limited time to eat, grow, and breed. Anything swimming in their water is potential food, including their siblings.

I would never consider mixing New World and Old World species. Behaviorwise, they just tend to be too different. North American fish tend to need moderately hard, alkaline water. There are other combinations that simply haven't been tested because logic says their behaviors are going to be incompatible. Of course, that requires knowledge of the species.
 
tuggerlake26
  • Thread Starter
  • #9
I added the new substrate earlier this week to start getting the tank re-cycled.

My plants came last night. I added those in this morning and picked up some brown thread to attach the moss to the rocks.

Overall, a little less natural looking than I was hoping for, but I think mostly from the substrate. I just don't think I'll ever go back to sand.

I added a few leaves and twigs this afternoon. Hoping that can tint the water a bit. It looks too clean now.
 

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tuggerlake26
  • Thread Starter
  • #10
The fish have been in a few weeks now. So hard to take a pic of them. They have grown quite a bit already and are coloring up. I'll try taking a clearer pic if I can get them to calm down.


VideoCapture_20200930-160414.jpg
 
tuggerlake26
  • Thread Starter
  • #11
Had a bit of an algae bloom the last week, but it's finally settling down. Three two males that I have are getting really colourful. They don't fight at all, and actually the females quite that I have nip at each other.

I can't quite figure out how to upload original resolution.


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tuggerlake26
  • Thread Starter
  • #12
My algae bloom cleared up and the plants are doing great. The moss is really filling out.


20201026_200731.jpg
 
veggieshark
  • #13
I kept Gardneri in community tanks and they were fine (disclaimer: didn't keep with fancy guppies). I would not mix such closely related species because I don't want to close the door for breeding them one day, but it is your decision. As different species, an epiplatys type killi may be a suitable mix with aphyosemions (or F. Gardneri).
 
AquaticQueen
  • #14
Ta
My algae bloom cleared up and the plants are doing great. The moss is really filling out.

View attachment 740392
The tank looks awesome now that the plants are filling out (not that it didn't look good before lol).
 
Kribensis27
  • #15
My algae bloom cleared up and the plants are doing great. The moss is really filling out.

View attachment 740392
What’s the tall bushy one in the left corner? It’s gorgeous and would look perfect in my angel tank.
 
tuggerlake26
  • Thread Starter
  • #16
Ta

The tank looks awesome now that the plants are filling out (not that it didn't look good before lol).

Thank you! I think the fish like it better now, too.

What’s the tall bushy one in the left corner? It’s gorgeous and would look perfect in my angel tank.

It is LUDWIGIA INCLINATA VAR. VERTICILLATA 'CUBA'. Honestly it is one of my favorite plants. I have it in both of my freshwater tanks. I run DIY yeast with it and it grows like a weed. The coloring is great on it!
 
Kribensis27
  • #17
Thank you! I think the fish like it better now, too.



It is LUDWIGIA INCLINATA VAR. VERTICILLATA 'CUBA'. Honestly it is one of my favorite plants. I have it in both of my freshwater tanks. I run DIY yeast with it and it grows like a weed. The coloring is great on it!
Thank you! I’m definitely buying some of that for one of my tanks.
 
tuggerlake26
  • Thread Starter
  • #18
The killifish finally kept still long enough for me to get a somewhat clear pic. They've gotten so big!


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20201205_181701.jpg
 
tuggerlake26
  • Thread Starter
  • #19
I did a water change today, so my tank is kind of cloudy, but I wanted to show the growth I've had so far.

Tuesday I'm going to cut back the Ludwigia by about three inches and probably take out one of the shoots.

My dwarf hairgrass is growing like crazy! My goal is for it to reach the front right corner. Once it does, I'll give it about a one inch trim. I've never had any spread like this before, so I'm hoping that doesn't kill it off.


20201206_202619.jpg
I'm thinking of adding a canister filter. I currently have a HOB filter with peat, so no filter media. I notice my water stays pretty dirty for about a day after changing the water.
 
Kribensis27
  • #20
I did a water change today, so my tank is kind of cloudy, but I wanted to show the growth I've had so far.

Tuesday I'm going to cut back the Ludwigia by about three inches and probably take out one of the shoots.

My dwarf hairgrass is growing like crazy! My goal is for it to reach the front right corner. Once it does, I'll give it about a one inch trim. I've never had any spread like this before, so I'm hoping that doesn't kill it off.

View attachment 748866
I'm thinking of adding a canister filter. I currently have a HOB filter with peat, so no filter media. I notice my water stays pretty dirty for about a day after changing the water.
Wow! That thin leaf plant looks amazing!
 

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