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Aphanius Mento, The Persian Killifish

Home Forums Fresh and Brackish Water Fishes Aphanius Mento, The Persian Killifish

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    N0body Of The Goat

    Hi folks,
    I went along to the Festival Of Fishkeeping this last weekend, based in Hayling Island, Hampshire (UK). There were some great fish on display and in hindsight, I wish I had got there much sooner than 1400 on Sunday afternoon!

    However, arriving late did have some benefits, as a TDC Aquatics stall had a last gasp 50% sale reduction on their excess breeding stock, where for £20 I picked up 11 Pangio doriae and 12 Aphanus mento!

    These killifish fry, 1-1.5cm SL, are temporarily sharing a ~100l plastic tub with a “wife-beating” Steatocranus casuarius (“dad” is hopefully going to gradually re-introduced to “mum” and their 13 fry within the next few weeks). The temp is ~21C (a bit low for “dad” but hopefully he will be ok for a few days until I get a small heater) and I have a Koralia 1 powerhead offering some decent water movement, which I believe these fish appreciate along with my hard (gH 14) alkaline (pH 8.2) water.

    From what I know about these killifish so far, a few things concern me…

      At what sort of size is the fiesty nature of the males likely to begin?
      Would I be right in thinking that any more than three males in the group of twelve is likely to spell trouble (read “a bloodbath”)?
      Even though I have added numerous bunches of Java Fern; plant pot caves; bogwood with natural cave spots, I’m concerned about how big a footprint each male will need. Neale Monks, a resident guru at another forum I’m active in, has suggested 12 sqaure inches per male (which basically means I need to find homes for any males in excess of two in the group). Neale did say that I should contact Matt here for a more definitive answer


    Hi Steve,

    There are others here with more experience of this fish than me but I’ve been keeping it for a couple of years now. I have mine in a half-filled 80 l plastic tub and at one point had 5 males in there so I wouldn’t worry too much about the space, more the amount of cover provided. The males only form temporary territories and I’ve found that as long as there are plenty of broken lines of sight then aggression isn’t a huge problem.

    To achieve that I literally stuff the container with nylon spawning mops which seems to work a treat. I guess that caves will prove less useful than mops or plants in this respect but have never tried using them to be honest. I also wouldn’t add a heater until Spring – my fish are outdoors now and will stay there over winter, and like most Aphanius these do best when offered a cool overwintering period. Keeping them at a constant temperature seems to interfere with breeding behaviour/egg production/longevity which is maybe why they have a reputation as being difficult?

    Your water sounds fine but do you have any idea on where your fish are from? Most populations do best with a little marine salt in the water. As far as keeping this species in a community is concerned you can try it if you like but personally I’d question the wisdom of attempting to keep endangered species such as A. splendens in a community, and the Aphanius are also best kept alone if you want to really enjoy, and breed, them. Also reckon the Ameca might prove to be bullies…

    At 1-1.5 cm SL your fish should be sexable or very close to it – aggressive behaviour increases exponentially with temperature and is basically non-existent when they’re not breeding.

    Feel free to fire away with any other questions and good luck with them! Here’s a species profile with some nice habitat images and additional info.

    Finally a male of the ‘Kirkgöz’ form at around 1 cm TL – females lack the iridescent markings on the flanks.

    Attached files



    Hi Steve
    The Mento are probably Zengen population.I got some eggs from TDC earlier in the year they were hatched in plain hampshire tap water,these are now breeding and aggression doesn’t seem to be a problem.they are in a 50ltr tank with loads of mops.
    I also keep Goodeids and would recommend species tanks for both.


    N0body Of The Goat

    Thanks for the input guys!

    The original trio that TDC used for their breeding program in the 6-footer were at the show, the male was a gorgeous bluey purple, even under the stress of the show and having already been bagged for the journey home. The male was ~5-6cm TL.

    Its great to hear there is a chance of all 12 living together without me needing to find new homes, but I guess the real “pudding proof” will be next spring and summer, when their breeding hormones may start to kick in!

    As for the caves (small plant pots), my bunch do like using them at times and I think Dave from TDC said the 6-footer has numerous caves dotted around for the males to use as a territory point.

    I do want to get some artificial mops sorted out though and there is someone selling mops at what seems a good price…

    I will e-mail TDC ([email protected]) to confirm which variety these A. mento are, the tank label mentioned Turkey but I’ve no ide if this narrows things down enough. They may well be Zengens, like yours, ricefish.

    As for mixing A. mento with A. splendens, I promised Neale I would ask for opinions on such a mix, as he suggested the surprising community and I think we both liked the idea of giving it a try if Matt felt it was a reasonable idea!



    Not a good idea imo.



    And i thought i was the only one doing pastel colours,more eggs recovered in the light mops bit harder on the eyes though


    Graham Ramsay

    Just to add to the above – my A. mento were murderous. I probably had too few fish though. I had a Turkish strain.

    I ended up with a single fish per tank and introduced a pair only for a couple of hours at a time to collect a few eggs. Needless to say I didn’t have them long. “Interesting” fish though.

    Attached files

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