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Norman's Lampeye Killifish Care And Diet

Norman's Lampeye Killifish (Poropanchax normani, Aplocheilichthys normani)

It's weird that you don't see this fish offered for sale far more often since they possess all the traits one looks for in a fish--good looks, robust health and a great personality. You'll hear it said over and over again, that pictures don't do them justice and it's true! Pictures are incapable of capturing their wonderfully glowing eyes which can be seen literally, from across the room.
  • Lifespan: up to 3 years (these are not an annual* killifish)
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Size: 1 1/2 inches (max)
  • Native Habitat: Small rivers, streams and swamps throughout much of Africa
  • Hangs out: Top levels of the tank
  • Omnivore
Water Conditions
Killifish like clean, stable, water, so do not put them into an uncycled tank.
  • Temperature: 72-78 degrees
  • pH 6.5-7.2 (but is adaptable to other conditions)
  • gH 3-6
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Tank Layout
Lampeye killies, look stunning in a planted aquarium over a dark substrate--the combination really brings out their colors and makes them feel more secure. Plant heavily along the back and side walls of the tank, but leave plenty of open space in the middle because they're quite active and need room to roam. We'd classify them as a shoaling, rather than a schooling fish. A minimum of 6 killies is fine, but more will allow them to really strut their stuff! The larger the school, the better you'll be able to see, and appreciate their beauty. Do not buy one or two, and expect them to be happy. Due to their active and social nature, we would not put them in anything smaller than a ten gallon tank. Our killies, enjoy a good bit of current--more than you'd think for one so small. They tend to swim at the top to mid regions of the water column. Sort of an aside--when first introduced, they hang out at the very tip top of the tank, but as they become more accustomed to their surroundings, they'll swim deeper.

The lampeye killifish is a good candidate for certain community tanks. No, they don't belong in with angelfish, large gouramis, etc., but they will do quite well with fish of a similar size and nature. Fish such as celestial pearl danios, scarlet badis, and peacock gobies, come to mind since they occupy the bottom regions of the tank and would not compete with the lampeye for food or space. Another option might be dwarf cichlids. We think they'd look gorgeous with a pair of electric blue rams. Of course, you could have a killi species tank and put them in with other killies--ones that occupied different regions of the aquarium.

They don't appear to be picky and have eaten everything we've given them. These fish are very small, so be sure to feed them the appropriate sized food--micropellets, daphnia, baby brine shrimp, small live blackworms, shaved bloodworms, rotifers and cyclops.

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Before purchasing the lampeye killi, we did quite a bit of research, and most of the information we found on them was incorrect (at least as it pertains to our fish). They were listed as shy and retiring; a fish that would practically jump out of the tank if you looked at them funny. It would appear that quite the opposite it true. We put the killies in with fish we knew to be peaceful and good natured, but they were/are quite a bit larger (dwarf neon and threadfin rainbowfish, pencil fish, and some rummy nose tetras). Right from the start, the little guys were out and about, swimming with "the big boys." We've also observed them in a planted tank at the fish store where they have exhibited the same sort of behavior. We have not noticed any jumpy or jittery nerves with this fish.

Male lampeyes, will have longer and more pointed fins than the female; her fins are shorter, and more rounded looking.

We have seen some chasing between the lampeyes, but nothing that would be considered aggressive and there has been no fin nipping. It looks more like sport than anything else. They do not bother other tank occupants and that includes the shrimp.

If the tank is cycled, then we would list these as a beginner's fish. They're very hardy, and when it comes to food, they're undemanding.

We have been so impressed by this fish! Absolutely love their personalities, their looks and they way they liven up a tank. Hopefully, they will become more readily available and won't be nearly as hard to find.

*An annual killifish is one that is born, breeds and dies all within a year.

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Lampeye Killifish with some Pingu Guppies--they do nicely together.

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