Watch your golden wonder killifish as it can make a high jump in the water tank to catch the prey.

This is a small-sized kill machine that is harmless to humans. Indian farmers usually employ it in the paddy waters to catch the flies, insects, and mosquitos before damaging the vegetation.

With years of perfection in hunting, this fish has developed tremendous senses where the cephalic lateral lines located over its head help to recognize water wave frequency.

The killifish prefers to stay on the surface and quickly detect the prey’s presence with a slight disorder in water movements.

Note: Studies led by researchers have proved that the predation efficacy of killifish was more than 56%, which increased 83% under laboratory conditions when injected with sub-lethal doses of flower extract of AuNP.

Although it paves potential risks to other fishes in the tank, this golden killifish, commonly known as strange panchax, has always attracted a lot of aquarists due to its vibrant yellowish skin.

Find below some interesting facts with a complete care guide about the golden killifish.

Species Brief

Fish Specification Sheet
Scientific Name Aplocheiluslineatus
Other Common Names Stripped Panchax, Malabar Panchax, Malabar Killi
Family Aphocheilidae
Origin India and Srilanka
Max. Life 3 to 4 years 
Size 3 to 5 inches
Type Freshwater
Fish Dwelling Mostly at the Top
Poisonous No
Breeding Difficulty Easy

Origin and Habitat

The killifish faced human recognition many centuries ago. Now it was time to get a stable species when in 1846, a new fish variant was developed by the scientists.

These fishes were initially found in parts of peninsular India and Sri Lanka, but now it is breeding in almost every tropical and sub-tropical region of the world.

The Golden wonder killifish dwell in the grasslands’ freshwater bodies, saline waterways, rice paddies, wetlands, and streams at higher elevations.

They prefer to stay around surface plants that not just become a place to hide and attract small insects, which is a regular feed for them.

Maximum Size

The golden killifish are small fishes with an average size of around 3 inches, and even in the wild habitation, they do not grow more than 4 inches in length.

This makes them comfortable for small aquariums or may stand fit full with a group of fishes.

Color & Appearance

The new variant of this species came to be known as golden wonder killifish, as it displays brilliant golden tint over its hardy scales and beautiful watery eyes.

The golden color is often in combination with a shiny green or bluish shade, which makes it look glamourous, and gives your living room’s aquarium an ornamental showpiece

The fish looks medium to trim with a thin body structure, and average-sized fins, while the mouth is aligned upwards since it is a typical surface feeder.

Golden Wonder Killifish Size Color Care
Image Credit: Reddit – User Cinder1977

Maximum Life Expectancy

The total lifespan of a killifish living in its ideal wild conditions is not very high, as it does not stay alive more than 5 or 6 years.

But in captivity of the localized fish tanks, their life reduces to some extent. However, they can handle adverse situations of the freshwaters, unable to survive the homely artificial environment.

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Whether due to neglect in care, or chronic aquatic diseases, the fish usually stays 3 to 4 years in the aquariums.

Gender Identification of Wonder Killifish

The killifish do not show any distinctive feature in their body that helps identify their gender; however, the experts have found some reasonable differences that aren’t very difficult to establish.

Both male and female golden wonder killifish look stunning, but the noticeable fact is that the males in the group appear brighter in coloration than the females.

The male fishes pertain a slight blue or green shade on the corners of the gold skin, and in addition to that, there are dark yellow stripes over the body with enlarged fins.

All these formations are absent in females keeping them on low profile in terms of presentation and distinguishing the gender.

Selling Price and Availability

From the times of its breed upgrade, the golden killifish has increasingly adapted to the varying climatic conditions around the world.

Once only a part of the Indian subcontinent, it is now available globally in the freshwaters, except Australia and Antarctica.

Due to high availability and average demand, the fish is priced around $2 to $4 in the international market. The price varies depending upon the location, fish age, etc.

Comprehensive Care Guide

Care Sheet
Care Level Simple
Social Grouping Gentle
Temperament Cordial
Diet Carnivores
Feeds per day Several times
Breeding Egg Layer

Food & Diet

Killifish is a habitual hunter for food and loves to eat almost anything that fits into its mouth while following a carnivore (primarily insectivore) diet.

Note: With the ability to swallow all the living organisms that are smaller in size than this fish, the golden killifish can be dangerous to its aquarium mates. To fulfill the stomach needs, it can consume 3 to 4 inches of fish (which is the average size of this panchax.)

Naturally inhibiting in shallow swampy areas among the bushy plants, it efficiently captures live insects or flies that sit on the water surface or plant leaves.

It can even make a few inches of leap out of the water surface and grab the flying insect with a high success ratio.

This fish can catch its prey in darkness with the help of its hydrodynamic sensory antenna, which is in the form of ridges over its head. It captures the stimulus energy caused by capillary wave movements of the flies over the water surface to analyze the exact location.

So while petting them in an aquarium, you need to focus on providing various food items that include vitamin-rich frozen and live meat.

Some of the preferred meals for golden wonder killifish are:

  • Larva (Mosquito)
  • Insects
  • Shrimp (Brine & Mysis)
  • Microrasboras
  • Daphnia
  • Small Tetras or Danios
  • Bloodworms
  • Flakes
  • Pellets

Pro Tip: Green vegetables or plants are not a choice of these fishes, and though keeping an open mouth for every creature, the killifish avoids snails, catfishes, cichlids, rams, and many such tank mates.

Feeding once or twice a day is more than sufficient for this fish while ensuring healthy live worms from a reliable source. There are chances of untreated worms suffering from parasitic diseases and eventually corrupting tank’s water.

General Behavior

The killifish species has a high tolerance level, and there are hardly any recorded cases when it has behaved aggressively towards other mates.

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This fish stays busy finding its prey and rarely interferes in other mates’ movements. It prefers to stay alone or in a small bunch and swims over the middle or top surface to catch the insects & mosquitos.

The only thing to keep in mind is to take care of its regular diet, as a hungry killifish can behave irrationally by eating other fishes or even accidentally making a jump outside the tank as an attempt to feed itself.

Golden Wonder Killifish - Tank Mates
Image Credit: Reddit u/suprheroc

Mating and Breeding

The breeders worldwide show deep interest in breeding the golden wonder killifish. They are easy to reproduce in captivity and are in demand due to their tinting beauty and being useful as an insect killer.

Although there is no factual data, one of their recommended usage is in wet rice fields where they can easily thrive and eat insects.

Tank Setup for Breeding

You may begin with a single pair of healthy fish in a 15 to 20-gallon tank with a large base for freely fish movements.

You should fill the tank with regular warm water and put some natural plants in it. If the plants are not available, you can also use artificial mops designed to capture scattered eggs.

Installing algae growth over the substrates of the aquarium instigates the fishes and is an excellent alternate to handle the eggs safely.

Quick Tip: Monitor the behavior of the male killifish, as it can go aggressive in the mating season. If it does not find an eligible pair, it may follow other species like pearl gourami for the crossbreed.

Spawning of Eggs

Once the tank is ready with all the accessories, it’s time to introduce the pair into it to complete the mating procedure. After each spawning, the female fish scatters eggs all around, settling over the plants or substrate.

More than 100 eggs are produced in a single spawning. Once the eggs are visible in the tank, you can remove the adult fish to protect the eggs from being eaten up.

Eggs Hatching

The fertilized eggs take a longer time to hatch, and you will have to wait up to 2 weeks to see the fry coming out from the eggs. The egg sac stays stuck to the stomach part for some time, and once it gets detached after a few days, the fry is free to eat & swim.

Common Diseases in Golden Killifish

This fish is not prone to illnesses as it stays swimming robustly in the aquarium waters. It comfortably adjusts to the local surroundings and does not demand a high level of hygiene protection.

The only thing to keep in mind is to provide healthy food in the tank since the fish may get infected through food infection.

Velvet disease or infection through bacteria are commonly observed among these fishes, usually caused by infected live worms or other such items.

So preventing them from such foods will keep the fish in good health for a long time.

Tank Recommendations

Quick Tank Details
Tank Size 25 Gallons 
Water Temperature 20 to 24 degrees Celsius
Water Hardness 4 to 8 dGH
Lighting Not Required
Water Ph Level 6 to 7.5
Types of Substrate Little gravels
Brackish Yes, it Sustains
Water Movement Slow Movement

Minimum Tank Size

The wild killifish has a natural ability to stay and adjust in any open water body.

But aquariums cannot have unlimited space, as in this case a tank of approx. 20 to 25 gallons tank is ideal for these fishes as they can move around freely.

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The tank size may increase depending on the number of species added and if other mates are available.

What to Include in the Tank?

The golden wonder killifish is a community fish that stays comfortable with other fishes in the tank. These fishes are mostly seen moving here n there in small groups or usually around the green leafy plants. Here are some necessities you can put in while setting up a tank.


Plants are pretty critical to establish in the tanks setting for this fish. The killifish has zero interest in eating vegetations, but these give the tank a natural look and feel at home.

The plants stay intact, and fish swims around it, while it also works as a filtration system.


These fishes generally stay on top of the water surface while hiding in the leaves to avoid lights. They specifically do not require a lighting system, but a dull setup will do the job.

The light will attract insects and hence become prey to the fish.


A nice layer of substrate material that includes pebbles, driftwood, rocky stones kept in a manner that creates a cave for the fish is suitable for the tank.

Water Parameters

With high survival capacity and adaptability to a wide range of conditions, this fish requires lesser attention than other fishes.

Regular water checks are still necessary, with replacements at set intervals. An excellent water filter would also work the same.

The water temperature between 22 to 25 degrees Celsius is optimum, while pH of 6 to 7.5 and water hardness is between 4 to 8.


Golden killifish are among the calm and peaceful fishes you can put in your home fish tanks, and these fishes easily share the living space with other fishes.

Other than the mating season, these fishes are never seen in struggle or tangles, and varieties of the same size and higher are entirely safe to stay in the same tank.

Here are a few fishes that can stay with the killifish.

  • Banjo Catfish
  • Rams
  • Large-sized Tetras (Congo Tetras, Bleeding Heart Tetras, Diamond Tetras)
  • Otocinclus
  • Corydoras Catfish
  • Vampire Shrimps

Frequently Asked Questions        

Are gold wonder killifish hardy?

Yes, these fishes are naturally quite tough to get affected by the surroundings and can easily co-exist in a fish tank with multiple fishes.

At what age can they produce eggs?

Killifish are fast-growing fishes, and they mature at an early age to reproduce. The study conducted by researchers over aging models on short lifespan found that the fish takes between 3 to 10 weeks for full maturity.

It can produce eggs almost ten months after its birth.

Will gold wonder killifish eat other fish in the tank?

Yes, the fish possesses a greater risk to all the shorter mates in length to its size. It is seen that when hungry, this fish can eat everything or animal which can fit in its mouth, although there are few exceptions such as snails, etc.

How many gold wonder killifish can I keep in an aquarium?

These fishes prefer to stay in solitude or are occasionally seen wandering in pairs or groups. If they are feeding well in the space, then the fish stays peaceful.

Hence if needed, you can keep around 4 to 5 of these species in the same tank.

Can they be kept alone in the fish tank?

Yes, as a fishkeeper or an enthusiast, you can keep a single fish in a tank. They are not a schooling species and are pretty complacent in their own space.

Final Word – Should You Get Them Home

The golden wonder killifish are undoubtedly a colorful decoration in your aquarium at the most affordable price.

This fish is readily available at a low price, and being hardy, they require little care & maintenance from the keeper.

It significantly adjusts in any environment and is excellent in combatting diseases, favorable for petting.

Being a strict carnivore, it does stand risky to other fishes in the tank, but a well-fed fish rarely attacks its tank mates.

About the Author

Shelby Crosby

Shelby is a passionate fishkeeper who has been writing about fish for over 5 years. She is a pro aquarist and holds a BSc Honors Degree in Wildlife and Fisheries. She creates her own beautiful aquarium layouts and loves to share her knowledge of tropical fish with other hobbyists.

Career Highlights:

  • Has worked with several aquarium manufacturers as a consultant
  • Organized and hosted workshops on freshwater fish keeping at retail stores, educational facilities, and libraries
  • Released content for the amphibian community through her writings

Educational Highlights:

  • BSc Honors in Wildlife and Fisheries in 2011 (University of Northern British Columbia)
  • Completed her undergraduate thesis on the effects of zoochlorella supplementation on the growth and health of fish.

Writing Experience

Miss Crosby is a Freelance blogger; many of her articles are posted online on various blogs. She has also written a few short articles for "Tropical Fish Hobbyist Magazine" in the past. She is a regular contributor to Her education, first-hand experience with fishkeeping, and in-depth knowledge in aquaculture make her one of the most competent writers in the industry.

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