The Blue Lyretail — Fish Guide For This Elegant Beauty

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Introducing the stunning Blue Lyretail, a freshwater marvel that adds a touch of elegance to any aquarium. With its vibrant hues and distinctive lyre-shaped tail, this species is a true standout in the aquatic world.

Blue Lyretail (Aphyosemion Australe)
Blue Lyretail (Aphyosemion Australe)


The Blue Lyretail, often referred to as Aphyosemion Australe, is an attractive freshwater fish that has become more popular among aquarium hobbyists for its eye-catching colors and unique lyre-shaped tail.

In this comprehensive guide, we will study various aspects of Blue Lyretail also called Gardener’s killifish care, its characteristics, and its origins to breeding and beyond, providing valuable information for hobbyists.


The Blue Lyretail is a small-sized fish with a slim body and elongated fins, particularly its notable lyre-shaped caudal fin, from which it obtains its name. 

These fish species generally exhibit vivid blue coloration, although variations with shades of turquoise and green are also frequently observed. Moreover, males boast prominent vertical stripes along their bodies, enhancing their visual attractiveness.

Scientific NameAphyosemion Australe
Common Name Blue Lyretail
Origin West Africa
Life expectance 2-3 years in captivity 
Size 5-6 centimeters 
Color and markingVivid Blue
Tank size Nano to small-sized aquarium
Temperament Peaceful

Origin and Scientific Name

Blue Lyretail in its wild natural habitat
Blue Lyretail in its wild natural habitat

The Blue Killifish are indigenous to the coastal areas of West Africa, particularly in countries like Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, and Cameroon. The lyretail dwells in shallow, slow-moving waters, including streams, rivers, and marshes, where it sustains itself by consuming small insects, crustaceans, and plant matter.

Its scientific name, Aphyosemion Australe, reflects its genus (Aphyosemion) and species designation (Australe), indicating its southern African origin.


Blue Lyretails are relatively small fish, typically attaining lengths of approximately 5 to 6 centimeters (2 to 2.5 inches) when fully grown. Due to their petite size, these creatures are well-suited for nano and small-sized aquarium setups, allowing hobbyists an opportunity to showcase their aesthetic beauty in confined spaces.

Colors and Markings

As their name suggests, Blue Lyretails are distinguished predominantly by their striking blue coloration, which covers their body and fins. Males often display iridescent hues and intricate patterns, whereas females tend to have more subdued colors with a silver or yellowish tint.

The dorsal and anal fins of male Blue Lyretails may also feature elongated filaments, which serve to increase their visual allure and differentiate them from females.

Blue Lyretail in a planted aquarium


When selecting tankmates for Gardneri killifish, it’s essential to consider their tiny size and tranquil temperament. They thrive in community aquariums alongside similarly sized, non-aggressive species that share their water parameters and habitat preferences.

Appropriate companions for the tank may include small tetras, rasboras, dwarf cichlids, and bottom-dwellers like Corydoras catfish and small shrimp. It is advisable to refrain from housing them with larger or more aggressive fish as this potentially intimidates or outcompetes them for resources.

Life Expectancy

Lyretails have a lifespan of around two to three years when kept in captivity if they receive adequate care and maintenance. Factors such as water quality, diet, and environmental enrichment play significant roles in determining their longevity and overall well-being.


Lyretail killifish are relatively hardy fish with easy maintenance making them suitable for novice and experienced aquarists alike. However, providing optimal care is essential to ensure their health and vitality.

Vibrantly  colored Lyretail Killifish
Vibrantly colored Lyretail Killifish
  • Aquarium Setup: Set up a well-filtered aquarium with ample swimming space and natural decorations like driftwood, rocks, and live plants. Mirroring their native habitat, it is important to keep their pH level within a range of 6.0 to 7.5 and regulate the temperature level between 72°F to 78°F (22°C to 26°C).
  • Water Quality: Blue Lyretails are sensitive to fluctuations in water parameters, so consistency is key to their health and well-being.
  • Social Behavior: Blue Lyretails are peaceful fish that thrive in community settings. Keep them in small groups of at least three to five individuals to prevent aggression and encourage natural behaviors.

Diet and Feeding

Blue Lyretails are omnivorous fish that feed mainly on small insects, oysters, and plant matter in their natural habitat. When kept in a confined space, they easily consume a diverse diet consisting of top-notch flakes, pellets, and frozen or live foods.

  • Feeding Frequency: Provide small, frequent meals throughout the day to accommodate their small stomach capacity and fast metabolism. Prevent overfeeding, as it can lead to obesity and health problems.
  • Dietary Variety: Supplement their diet with live or frozen foods like bloodworms, brine shrimp, and daphnia to provide essential nutrients and stimulate natural feeding behaviors.
  • Vegetable Matter: Incorporate vegetable matter into their diet, such as blanched spinach or zucchini, to ensure a balanced nutritional profile and promote digestive health.

Gender Differences

Gender differences between Blue Lyretails
Gender differences between Blue Lyretails

It is quite easy to differentiate between male and female Blue Lyretails, particularly during the breeding season when the visible differences between the sexes become more distinct.

  • Male Characteristics: Male Blue Lyretails typically show brighter colors, longer fins, and more intricate patterns in contrast to their female counterparts. They also develop elongated filaments on their dorsal and anal fins, enhancing their overall appearance.
  • Female Characteristics: Female Blue Lyretails tend to have duller colors and shorter fins compared to males. They may also display a rounder belly, particularly when gravid with eggs.


Breeding Blue Lyretails is a semi-annual breeding type that can be a satisfying experience for hobbyists who are keen on observing innate behaviors and increasing their population through reproduction.

  • Breeding Setup: Create a separate breeding tank equipped with fine-leaved plants like Java moss or spawning mops to provide suitable spawning sites and refuge for the eggs. It is important to set up the aquarium and manage all the parameters for semi-annual breeding.
  • Pairing: Introduce a compatible breeding pair into the breeding tank, guaranteeing that both male and female are in optimal condition and displaying breeding colors. Observe their behavior for indication of courtship and semi-annual breeding activity.
  • Spawning Behavior: During courtship, males display bright colors and perform elaborate mating displays to attract females. Once the female is receptive, the pair will engage in a brief spawning ritual, during which the female releases eggs while the male fertilizes them externally.
  • Egg Collection: After spawning, carefully remove the adult fish from the breeding tank to prevent egg predation. Gather the sticky eggs by employing a soft-bristled brush or carefully cut sections of the spawning substrate and transfer them to a separate rearing tank filled with aged water.
  • Fry Rearing: Blue Lyretail fry is relatively independent and can be raised on a diet of newly hatched brine shrimp or commercial fry food. Maintain excellent water quality and provide gentle aeration to ensure optimal growth and development.


Beautiful Blue Lyretail aka Gardeneer's Killifish
Beautiful Blue Lyretail aka Gardeneer’s Killifish – Image by tomansky

Blue Lyretail is a captivating and relatively low-maintenance fish species that adds color and elegance to freshwater aquariums. By understanding their unique characteristics, habitat requirements, and breeding behavior, hobbyists can create thriving aquatic environments and enjoy the beauty of these enchanting fish for years to come. 

With proper care and attention to detail, the Blue Lyretail will undoubtedly continue to enchant and inspire aquarists worldwide.

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Dr. Dilber Hussain

Dr. Dilber Hussain is a qualified veterinarian, who studied veterinary medicine at the Sindh Agriculture University Tandojam. After completing the degree, he worked as a veterinary surgeon in different vet hospitals and clinics in Pakistan. Dr Hussain also works for Animal Welfare and Animal Rights in Pakistan. As an expert and animal rights activist, he often has to be at courts of justice to support lawsuits regarding animal welfare. Besides this, he is a speaker on various national and international platforms that are working for aquatic species protection. Dr Hussain also gives lectures at the University of animal sciences, Lahore, and publishes articles about pet health, aquaculture, nutrition, diseases, and animal welfare issues.

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