Golden Wonder Killifish – Habitat, Care, Feeding, Tank Size, Breeding

The Golden Wonder Killifish, also known as the Striped Panchax Killifish or Malabar Killifish, is a gorgeous, striped fish. These fish have greenish flanks, bronze back, and scales that have a metallic gold appearance.

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Some of them are completely golden. Besides their shiny emerald eyes and elongated body, Golden killifish enjoy an active lifestyle. In their natural settings, these fish can reach up to 4 inches.

The males are brightly colored featuring blue to yellow bodies with some orange stripes and spots, while the females are more subdued in form and color.  

The ancestors of Golden Wonder Killifish are traced to Africa, but they can survive in aquariums all over the world.

These fish are ideal for community aquariums, as they will add activity and some color to these aquariums. Read on to learn more about this species, including breeding requirements.    

Golden Wonder Killifish Natural Habitat

These fish are usually found throughout Peninsular India and Srilanka. In their natural habitat, the Striped Panchax Killifish prefer streams, slow-moving rivers, swamps, and lakes in high altitude.

It is uncommon for them to move into paddy fields, silty swamps, and even slightly brackish waters. Farmers in India use these fish to keep away annoying insects in their paddy fields. Thankfully, this killifish is not among the list of the endogenous species. 

In captivity, they thrive in aquariums that mimic their wild habitat. It means that the aquarium should have plenty of plants, including even the floating varieties.

In this environment, the fish will find several hiding spots and territories. Aquarists can also include tangles of driftwood to provide additional shelter. 

Golden Wonder Killifish Tank Requirements

Golden Wonder Killifish are easy to care in home aquariums, as they don’t demand too much. They prefer a flocking lifestyle. But you should set up at least a 20-gallon tank to provide enough room to swim around.

The bigger it is, the better. Since these fish are accomplished jumpers and will spend most of the time near the top of the tank, your aquarium should have a tight fighting lid to prevent escapes.  

Besides this, provide a good filtration system and a lot of plants. Floating plants like dwarf water lettuce add flavor to your aquarium. Live plants are not only beautiful, but they also improve water quality.

In any case, you will rarely worry about your Golden Wonder Killifish destroying the plant, as they are primarily carnivorous. You can also include a few rocky outcrops, driftwood, and caves to provide hiding spots and additional shelter.  

For your fish to display their bright colors, try to include a contrasting substrate, probably a darker substrate. You can complement this with a dimly-lit setup. 

Golden Wonder Killifish Water Conditions

The Golden Wonder Killifish seem to be a hardy species, so it can adapt to a variety of water conditions. They do not get upset too easily with changes in conditions. In fact, these fish can survive in a wide range of temperatures.

Having said that, you still need to maintain the same pristine water just like for other killifish. Golden Wonder Killifish usually thrive in water with temperatures between 720 and 770 Fahrenheit. 

Besides temperature, you should also take care of water hardness. Neutral water with a hardness of between 5 and 20dGH is ideal. The right pH for these fish is about 7 (6.0 – 7.5).

pH levels above 8 make them uncomfortable. The good thing is that most water in the US seems moderate, so you might not need to adjust the hardness or the pH of the water. 

Golden Wonder Killifish are more tolerant to changing water conditions, but it is still necessary to mimic their natural habitat, which ranges from streams to swamps and lakes. This means they can do well in freshwater or even brackish tanks.

If you got your killifish in brackish environments, you can add about 5 teaspoons of salt to every 5 gallons of water to make the aquarium brackish. To keep the water fresh at all times, a high-quality filter is needed, and you should change the aquarium water bi-weekly.

As mentioned earlier, these fish prefer slow-moving water, so you can adjust the filtration system accordingly. Alternatively, you can include a dense planting or rocky outcrops to act as a buffer. 

Another thing that you should note is that Golden Wonder Killifish are extremely sensitive to water conditions, so you should put them through an acclimation process, and you should not rush the process.

When you first introduce them into a new tank, put off the light for the first four hours, and don’t feed them in the first 24 hours. 

There are two main methods you can acclimate these fish: the drip method and the floating method. 

  • Floating Method:This method involves turning off the aquarium lights while the room lights are kept dim. In this condition, introduce the bag of fish into the surface of the water to float. Leave it for about 15 minutes to adjust to the water in the aquarium. Thereafter, add about a cup of the aquarium water every 4 minutes until the bag is full, then discard some of the water in the bag and add more aquarium water. 
  • Drip Method:It is almost similar to the floating method, only that drip method involves pouring the bag content into a bucket. From here, set up siphon using airline tubing and let a drip line run from the main tank to the bucket. You can tie loose knots in the airline tubing to stimulate flow. Start a siphon by sucking the end of the airline tube, then regulate the flow to about 2 – 4 drips per second. Discard half the water in the bucket when it doubles. Leave the drips to run and then replace the water once it doubles again.   

Golden Wonder Killifish Diet and Feeding

These fish are carnivorous by nature. In their natural habitat, they feed on crustaceans, insects, and worms. In aquariums, they feed on pellets, flakes, and occasionally live or frozen foods, as they have developed jaws. 

As with most predator fish, Malabar Killifish will consume any animals that fit in their mouth. While not a picky eater, these fish will thrive on a varied diet of meaty foods.

White mosquito larvae, shredded dry plants, and bloodworm are their ideal diet, but they can also enjoy vitamin-enriched daphnia and brine shrimp. Live food is important to them because it helps fish maintain their bright colors and bring them into a breeding mood. 

Make sure to provide them food constantly, as they will start to feed on other minute creatures, including their fry. If you release fry into the tank with no food, the adults will feed on them.

To keep them active and healthy, try feeding your fish two or three small meals per day. 

Golden Wonder Killifish Tank Mates

Golden Wonder Killifish are an amazing community fish that hovers at the water’s surface. Males Killifish are sometimes semi-aggressive, especially when competing for females.

That is the time they seem to quarrel with each other. Other than this, Golden Wonder Killifish are generally peaceful. So, they can get along with most of their kind.

They can also coexist with other friendly catfish like Pleco, community fish, or other moderately-peaceful varieties that thrive in freshwater or brackish water.  

Other suitable tank mates include larger tetras, rams, Banjo Catfish, Otocinclus, other dwarf cichlids, and most Corydoras Catfish. Peaceful crustaceans such as Vampire Shrimp and snails can also coexist with Golden Wonder Killifish.

But you should avoid keeping this species with tiny fish like zebra danios and tetras because they will become food for your killifish. 

Golden Wonder Killifish Breeding 

The spawning process of the Golden Wonder Killifish is almost the same as with other similar species. Generally, they are easy to breed even in captivity. Moreover, it is not an annual species, as their eggs need not be removed from the water after spawning. 

The best breeding environment is a soft water aquarium with floating plants and large clumps of leafy plants. Some hobbyists prefer to condition the female and male killifish in separate tanks before introducing them into the breeding aquarium. 

If you provide them with a suitable substrate, the Golden Wonder Killifish will willingly lay eggs. Usually, mating takes place in plants. Thereafter, the fertilized female lays eggs on algae or any suitable surface.

With favorable conditions, a female killifish can lay about 90 eggs in a week. The fertilized eggs usually hatch within 12 – 14 days. 

For safety reasons, it is recommended to transfer the substrate with laid eggs to a pre-prepared incubator or a separate aquarium because adult fish can eat their fry.

The fry thrive well in warm water with temperatures of 25 – 27 degrees and usually feed on shredded plants. For faster growth, you can feed them with crushed bloodworms or other small insects.

Within a month or so, your fry will grow to a decent size. At this stage, they will be about 1.5 cm. 


To this point, we hope we have provided you with enough information to decide on whether or not you want to keep the Golden Wonder Killifish.

These colorful fish are awesome not only because of the beautiful golden flecks along the sides but also because of their easy-going nature. Moreover, they can thrive in a variety of aquarium environments due to their resilience.

Being resilient fish also means that disease is not usually a problem as long as you keep them in a clean aquarium. That is why they are very popular among both beginner and experienced aquarium hobbyists.

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