Golden Wonder Killifish Overview, Care & Breeding Guide

The golden wonder killifish is a peaceful freshwater species popular for its robust nature and high activity in captivity.

The carnivorous fish makes no fuss during mealtime and is pretty adaptable. With all that, it is quite easy for a beginner aquarist to raise.

So, if you’re curious about the fish, keep reading!

What is a Golden Wonder Killifish?

Golder wonder killifish is a carnivorous fish that is kept in a freshwater aquarium.

OriginIndia and Sri Lanka
Scientific NameAplocheilus lineatus
Common NamesGolden wonder killifish, striped panchax, Malabar killie, piki, Malabar killi, gold killifish, golden panchax killifish and yellow killifish
IUCN Red List StatusLeast Concern
AppearanceGolden shimmery body, flat head, upturned mouth with no barbels
Size7.6-10 cm (3-4 in)
Lifespan3-4 years, max 6 years
TemperamentPeaceful, robust, aggression, and territorial fights among males
Tank LevelTop-dweller
Water Temperature72-77 °F (22-25 °C)
pH Level6-7.8
Water Hardness6-20 dGH
Care LevelBeginner
Minimum Tank Size20 gallon for 4
Tank EnvironmentModerately lit, well planted, many hiding spots
DietCarnivorous, insectivorous
Tank MatesOwn small group, other peaceful freshwater fish of similar size

Where do you find Golden Wonder Killifish?

The golden wonder killifish is found naturally in the streams, rivers, paddy fields, and swamps of India and Sri Lanka. It prefers the slow-moving freshwater bodies of high altitudes. The fish is also spotted in some brackish waters.

It has been used for mosquito control in many areas of India.

According to The IUCN Red List Status of Threatened Species assessment of 2009, this fish was marked Least Concern.

Which family does Golden Wonder Killifish belong?

The fish belongs to the Aplocheilidae family under the Cyprinodontiformes order and is scientifically known as Aplocheilus lineatus.

It is also known worldwide by a few common names like striped panchax, Malabar killie, golden wonder killifish, piki, Malabar killi, gold killifish, golden panchax killifish, and yellow killifish.

Fun Fact: The golden wonder killifish hides under plants for long periods of time. When prey comes close, it curls its tail, straightens, and then attacks – much like the northern pike.

How does Golden Wonder Killifish look?

Golden wonder killi looking at camera

Now, if you’re wondering about what this fish looks like, here is all you need to know to recognize it!

What is the size of Golden Wonder Killifish?

The adult golden wonder killifish grows up to around 7.6-10 cm (3-4 in) in captivity.

What Color is Golden Wonder Killifish?

The golden wonder killifish is a beautiful golden-scaled species that can also show hints of copper color. Its body has a sparkling sheen, which makes it a treat to the eye.

The females and juveniles show 4-6 broad vertical bars near the rear side of their bodies that end at the base of the tail fin.

The fins of the fish are of similar color or sometimes paler. The tail and anal fins are black-edged of varying color intensities.

There are a few color variants of this fish, like one with a red tail, another with a red tail and white outer lobes, and a yellow variant called “Gold.”

Whcih Features do Golden Wonder Killifish have?

This killifish species has a slim and elongated body with an arched back. The dorsal fin is placed further back on the body, and its scales are rounded. It has a flat head but a pointed mouth with no barbels.

Interestingly, it has a parietal eye, which helps it to see prey insects, and predators on the surface above it.

How is a Male Golden Wonder Killifish different from a Female one?

The male and female sexes of this fish can be identified by using a few markers like size, shape, color, and behavior.

The males have more vibrant coloration, longer fins, and a slimmer body shape. These are slightly larger than the females and might become aggressive or territorial at times.

The females have paler coloration, shorter and rounder bodies, and are generally less territorial.

What is the Behavior & Temperament of Golden Wonder Killifish in the tank?

Generally, the golden wonder killifish is a peaceful species, but it is quite active. The males can be territorial and aggressive towards other males during breeding season.

You can either keep one male in one tank or provide a harem of one male with 2-3 females. Otherwise, serious fights may break out among males, leading to the loss of fish.

Usually, it doesn’t bully other species unless they are small enough to be considered prey.

What is the Lifespan of Golden Wonder Killifish?

The golden wonder killifish is known to live for 3-4 years. But if given the proper care, it can live up to 5-6 years maximum.

Author’s Note: In my experience, this fish is a very good jumper, so make sure you have a well-fitted lid on your aquarium!

How to take care of Golden Wonder Killifish?

Female striped panchax feeding

If you bring this killifish home, it’s your duty to give your fish the best possible care. For that, just follow the things we have said next.

What is the Tank Size for Golden Wonder Killifish?

This golden wonder killifish can be housed alone in a 5 or 10-gallon tank. You can keep a harem of 1 male and 3 females in a 20-gallon tank.

If you want to create a community tank with other species, you must at least go for a 40-gallon tank. Upgrade further based on the number of tank mates and comfort requirements.

What is the Water Chemistry for Golden Wonder Killifish?

The lifespan of the golden wonder killifish might be short. But you must always make sure your pet lives well and for the longest time possible. So, strictly maintain these water conditions.

  • pH Levels: 6-7.8
  • Water Temperature: 72-77 °F (22-25 °C)
  • Water Hardness: 6-20 dGH
  • Ammonia: 0 ppm
  • Nitrite: 0 ppm
  • Nitrate: Less than 20 ppm

What is the Tank Environment for Golden Wonder Killifish?

To make your pet fish even happier, you must give it a comfortable home and environment. Let us tell you how to do this!

Is Substrate needed for Golden Wonder Killifish?

Use a substrate of small gravel or sand that is small enough to not choke your fish. You can use a darker substrate to bring out the colors of this fish better. Make sure the substrate is smoothened and soft so as to not hurt your fish’s body.

Which Plants are needed for Golden Wonder Killifish?

This fish likes to hide among plants, waiting for prey. Floating plants will be great. You can also get tall plants and substrate-based plants like Cryptocoryne and Vallisneria for this tank.

What type of Lighting is needed for Golden Wonder Killifish?

Use moderate lighting for this fish tank to replicate its natural environment and avoid causing stress.

What is the Décor needed for Golden Wonder Killifish?

You can use any décor for this tank that provides good hiding spots, like rocks, caves, driftwood, and so on.

Which filter is required for Golden Wonder Killifish?

A high-quality filter that will keep the water oxygenated is recommended.

What is the Water Flow Rate for Golden Wonder Killifish?

A light current is good for this tank. It’s ideal to mimic it using a filter of 2-3 times the tank volume per hour. It will simulate the fish’s natural habitat and set off its hunting instincts.

Fish Care Tip: Change 30% of the tank’s water every two weeks to keep optimal conditions.

What is the food that Golden Wonder Killifish eat?

The golden wonder killifish is primarily a carnivorous and insectivorous fish. To keep it healthy, feed it a combination of the following foods:

  • High-quality dried food
  • Flakes
  • Pellets
  • Freeze-dried food
  • Brine shrimp
  • Bloodworms
  • Mosquito larvae
  • Daphnia
  • Tubifex
  • Artemia
  • Flies
  • Insects

Feed it several times a day, but don’t overfeed it. When food falls past it, it doesn’t eat from the bottom, so clean out the substrate after feeding.

A varied and balanced diet will help the fish stay colorful.

What are the Tank Mates for Golden Wonder Killifish?

The male golden wonder killifish fights amongst itself, especially during breeding seasons. So keep a small group of its own kind of one male and three females.

The species makes good tankmates for other moderately peaceful freshwater fish. While choosing tankmates, you can consider these:

Which Tank Mates to Avoid with Golden Wonder Killifish?

To keep all fish healthy and stress-free, avoid these kinds of species in a tank of golden wonder killifish:

  • Smaller species – these may get eaten
  • Aggressive species – these may bully the killifish


  • Betta
  • Freshwater angelfish
  • Oscar fish
  • Jaguar cichlid
  • Gold barb
  • Tiny shrimps, snails, and crabs
  • Zebra danio
  • Celestial pearl danio
  • Neon tetra
  • Cardinal tetra
  • Dwarf pencilfish
  • Endler guppy
  • Fancy guppy
  • Cherry barb

What are the Common Diseases in Golden Wonder Killifish?

The golden wonder killifish is quite a hardy species. But beware of some common freshwater fish diseases so that you can provide your pet some relief ASAP if they get sick.

Disease NameCausesSymptomsTreatment
IchProtozoan Parasitic InfectionFlashing, white spots, inactivity, appetite lossRaise water temperature, add aquarium salts or ich medication
Fin rotBacterial InfectionFin discoloration or redness, inactivity, appetite loss, fin disintegration, fin fraying,Improve water quality, remove any object that may hurt the fish, add antibiotics
ColumnarisBacterial InfectionInactivity, appetite loss, fin fraying, white patches,Reduce stress, add antibiotics, enhance water quality,
Velvet diseaseParasitic infectionFish becomes a dusty brownish-gold color, rapid breathing, clamped fin against the body, fatigueAdd salt to the water, elevate water temperature

Quick Tip: Avoid temperatures as high as 82 °F (28 °C) in the tank.

How to Breed Golden Wonder Killifish in an Aquarium?

If the conditions are right, it is quite easy to breed golden wonder killifish. In fact, sometimes, they also spontaneously breed in community tanks.

But to get the best quality of fry, take a look at what we have to say next.

What Tank Preparation is needed for Golden Wonder Killifish?

Set up a breeding tank of 15-20 gallons. The tank should have a lot of spawning mops for the female to lay eggs. Add lots of floating plants and roots.

Maintain the following water conditions:

  • Water Temperature: 75 °F (24 °C)
  • pH Levels: 6-7

What does Pair Obtaining & Conditioning look like for Golden Wonder Killifish?

Place the male with the brightest female in its tank. Or, notice if it has already chosen a mate.

Introduce the mature pair into the breeding tank with clean water. Provide nutritional carnivorous food to condition them to breed.

What is the Mating Process for Golden Wonder Killifish?

The male engages in a courtship dance to entice the female. If she is ready, she will follow the male to lay eggs in a chosen spawning spot.

The female can lay about 50-300 eggs daily. These are deposited in the mops or leafy plants, and the male comes and externally fertilizes them.

How to retrieve the eggs for Golden Wonder Killifish?

Replace the mops on a daily basis with fresh ones if they lay eggs on them.

If the pair lays eggs on the leafy plants or roots, relocate the parents to another tank. Then, retrieve all eggs slowly and only then return the pair to the breeding tank.

Keep the eggs in a tank or container with water of about 1 cm (0.4 in) height.

Incubation & Fry Development

The incubation period for the eggs is around two weeks. After which, the fry will hatch, but these will have an egg sack attached to their bellies. It will absorb the nutrients from the sac, after which it will be gone.

Feed the fry nauplii, infusoria, microworms, or powdered dry food.

Be careful, as some fry may grow faster than others, and eat the smaller fry. Keep backup tanks to sort and relocate the larger fry. This will help you get the maximum amount of healthy juveniles.

Breeding Tip: If the female fish is having difficulty laying eggs, then seek help from experienced fish breeders or vets to ensure her well-being.

Which Golden Wonder Killifish to Buy?

Always choose specimens that are lively and show their best colors.

A word from FishInAquarium

Golden wonder killifish is bound to keep you mesmerized for hours with its shimmery body. The fish is pretty expressive and curious. It will also keep you entertained with its unique hunting stances.

So, if this article has helped you with everything you need to know to bring them home, share it with other fish enthusiasts. Let them also find out how easy it can be to own this fish.

And if you have any more doubts, make sure to drop us an email, and we will sort it all out for you.

Minnie B Miller - Professional aquarist and owner of FishInAquarium

About Minnie B Miller

Minnie B. Miller, a professional aquarist and owner of FishInAquarium, has over 8 years of expertise in fish breeding and care, gained through her roles at AquaticTX and Sea Lion Landing. Having honed her skills with various aquatic species, she is dedicated to empowering fellow enthusiasts by sharing her knowledge and experience.