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Killifish / Aplocheilinae / Lyretail

Lyretail, Orange Lyretail, Cape Lopez Lyretail, Lyre-tailed Panchax
Aphyosemion australe

Synonyms: Haplochilus calliurus, H. calliurus var. australe, Panchax australe, P. polychromus
Physical description: An elongated fish with elaborate fins.   The tips of the anal, caudal, and dorsal fins are elongated and pointed.  The outer rays of the caudal fin form a 'lyre-tail' shape.   The background body coloration of males is brownish-yellow to brownish orange.  The body is marked with numerous red spots.   The fins are orange with a broad yellow and red border.  The tips of the fins are white.  The females are brown in color with a scattering of red spots.
Size/Length: To 2.4" (6 cm)
Similar species: None
Habitat: Inhabits shallow shore areas of slow-flowing rivers above a leafy substrate.   Western Africa, the rainforests of Gabon.
S: middle, top
Aquarium: A tank measuring 16" (41 cm) with a capacity of 5.5 gallons (21 L) can be used for a pair.  Use wood, roots, and Java Moss to serve as hiding places.   Use a dark substrate, preferably peat moss.  The tank should be densely planted and a cover of floating plants is suggested.   Use a tight-fitting cover as this species may leap.  This species prefers peat filtration.
Water chemistry: pH 5.5-7 (6.2), 2-10 dH (4), 70-75°F (21-24°C)
Social behavior: A fine community fish to combine with other small, peaceful species.   Keep this species in pairs.    
Suggested companions: Aphyosemion, hatchetfish, pencilfish, Corydoras, Loricarids Trichopsis, Pangio, Puntius titteya, small African characins, and some Mormyrids.
FOOD: Live; flying insects, insect larvae, Brine Shrimp, other crustaceans, Tubifex worms; flakes.
Sexual differences: Males are more colorful, have more elongated fins, and are slightly larger.
Breeding techniques: A breeding tank measuring 12" (30 cm) with a capacity of 2.4 gallons (9 L) is sufficient.   The water should have a pH from 6.2-6.8, a water hardness from 2-6 dH, and a temperature from 73 to 77°F (23-25°C).   Keep one female with two or three females.  Use a spawning mop or fine leafed planted along with a peat moss substrate, if possible.  The eggs are hung from plants around the tank.   Each day, 10-20 eggs are produced, for a period of 10-12 days.  The peat (containing eggs) should be removed and placed in a separate rearing tank.   Replace the peat moss in the spawning tank.  The eggs hatch 10-12 days and once their eggs sacs are consumed, they can be fed on roftiers and small nauplii.
Breeding potential: 5.  An easily bred fish.
Remarks: A bright gold-orange morph is available.   Wild stock are brownish in color.   Some aquariasts recommend a 0.5% addition of salt.  This can be accomplished by adding 4 TSP. of salt for every 10 gallons of water (5 g/10 L).  A long-lived Killifish (3 years).   A. australe belongs to the large sub-genus Mesoaphyosemion, which includes a number of Aphyosemion species of Cameroon, Gabon, and the Congo Republic.
Difficulty of care: 4.  A good fish for a beginner wanting to keep Killifish.   Frequent partial water changes are recommended.


By Rhett Butler   Mongabay.com