Name: Fundulopanchax sjostedti
Origin: West Africa
Fundulopanchax sjoestedti, otherwise known as the blue gularis, is part of the American Killifish Association's logo and one of the best known killifish in the hobby. It is large, colorful, and not particularly shy. The fish's most distinctive mark (but not present in all fish) is the 3 forked tail. In some fish almost nonexistent, and others sport long streamers from the tail. The fish is so markedly patterned and colored it is hard to describe but the picture above is adequate representation. The male I have has a blue back, orangey flanks marked with dark reddish brown stripes. The sides are a purplish color overlayed with white spots. The head has lots of these white spots and also red markings. The three pronged tail is a icy white blue with black striations and spots. In the centre there is a section outlined in black that is a fiery poppy orange, which is framed nicely by the other colors. Dorsal fin has a similar pattern to the caudal fin. The large pectoral are spotted with brown and have attractive white trimmed edges which are very noticeable, as the pectoral fins are always in motion. However, the color varies considerably between fish and strains. Unfortunately the female sports little of the color that the male has and is no match for her gaudy mate. She is drab mouse-grey and the only markings she has are faint black spots on her median fins, stripes, plus faint reddish spots and the bars behind the eye of the male.
Blue gularis are for the most part easy to please. They accept a wide range of water conditions and, if the water quality feed and other enviromental factors are good, should thrive. They seldom take prepared foods, and if so without enthusiasm. They will, however, take frozen and live foods. My pair loves frozen bloodworms, blackworms, and a particular favorite chopped redworms. They should take pretty much anything of this sort. I'm in the proccess of setting up a worm bin to grow these worms to satisfy their appetites. They are greedy, but care must be taken not to allow them to gorge, as this can cause health problems. Also, unless you don't mind disappearances, do not house these killifish with small fish such as guppies as they will be stalked and eaten. Larger fish may occasionally be nipped, but nothing too serious should happen. Despite the fact they occasionally pick on tankmates, they should not be kept with other aggresive fish. In fact, they do best by themselves. A breeding pair can be kept in a 40 L tank providing you keep them separate by a divider. Even in large tanks it is best to keep the male and female separate, as the male is an aggressive driver.
Blue gularis are simple to breed, but it is difficult to get fry. The largest obstacle for many (which I haven't been able to overcome yet either) is infertile and fungusing eggs. Young pairs tend to give infertile eggs and some say that fertility is best in soft water and when kept warm at around 24°C. There are as many ways of handling these eggs as there are people who keep them. Some find that keeping the eggs in water gives the best results, and may add methylene blue or do other special things to try to ensure the eggs hatch. Others, after leaving the eggs in the water for a few days and discarding white eggs, put the eggs on top of or in moist peat to incubate for around 6 weeks. Fry are reported easy to raise on a diet of baby brine shrimp and larger foods as they grow. I have bred my pair, but have yet to get fertile eggs from them.
I have the dwarf red strain of this fish. As noted, females lay lots of eggs but at least a quarter are infertile. Feed the females worms to keep up egg production. This killie is large enough to eat chopped redworms. It is a mop spawner, but the mop has to be on the bottom of the tank. A well fed female can lay up to 10 eggs a day. After egg collection, I place them in water with methylene blue and acriflavine. After a week all the bad eggs have turned white and can be discarded. I place the remainder on moist peat and incubate 6 weeks. The fry are large enough to take baby brine shrimp. They grow rapidly and are mature in around 4 months. This fish is a jumper and will find its way out of any uncovered area of the tank.
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