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Lampeye Killifish Overview, Tank Setup & Care Guide

If you have been looking for a great choice of tropical fish for your community tank, the lampeye could be a great choice for you. This tropical fish species has such a unique appearance and behavior, which indeed adds more excitement to your aquarium.

These warm-water fish can be a great choice for both beginners and intermediate aquarists.

It is also easy to take care of the fish and tag them along with the other peaceful tank mates.

Read this guide until the end to find out more about how to care for the fish and other relevant tips.

Species Overview

Level of CareBeginner – Intermediate
Life Expectancy3 years
Size4cm (1.6″)
Tank Size20 gallons
Tank EnvironmentSimulate their natural habitat with a dark substrate
Tank MatesSmall non-aggressive tank mates

But before going further, let me tell you a little bit about the fish.

There are some reasons why you must consider the lampeye fish (Scientific name: Poropanchax Normani) as your next tankmate in your community tank.

Top Reasons to Add Them to Your Aquarium

The lampeye pets are very hardy and easy to take care of. These fish are flexible in terms of surviving in many different conditions. As long as you keep the parameters for supporting their wellness, they will thrive for a long time.

This species is also a great option for those who want to build a peaceful community. It is peaceful towards the other tank mates, including the bottom, middle, and top dwellers. They can even live together with their invertebrate’s tank mates.

The fish buddies are also easy to breed in your aquarium. Breeding the lampeye species does not require such a complex procedure or approach. Even the early beginners of aquarists can also do it with easy methods.

Many beginners have been happy with the results of their breeding. Now it is your turn to share the joy.

Behavior & Temperament

These fun panchax fish are shoaling species. Thanks to their tiny size, you can add them to your nano, micro, and small fish tanks. As long as they have adequate space for swimming and doing their activities, they will thrive. These panchax fish love the shade and hiding places. Therefore, it is sensible to put them in heavily planted aquariums.

You can also take a look at many examples of nano-tanks on the internet that are shared by other owners. Many of the nano-tank dwellers are befriended by these panchax fish in the small and peaceful community tank.

The Poeciliidae Family

The lampeye is included in the Poeciliidae family. It explains why they look like Guppies and Mollies. But they are different since they lay their eggs. Despite its appearance, the closest category to this fish is the killifish. There are several species of fish that have different families that have Panchax, while in fact, they are killifish as well.

The lampeye panchax turned out to be a different fish after all.

Suitable for Beginners & Experts

The fish is very peaceful and easy to take care of, making it a great option for both beginners and experts. Not to mention that it is also a great tankmate for the planted aquarium community.

If you already have a nano aquarium at home, the lampeye can be a great addition to add. The small size of the fish makes it a great option for planted aquariums as well.

Despite the shades that are covered in your nano aquarium, they will look glowing under the aquarium light. Every time you see them in action in the tank, you will be thankful that you decided to add this fish to your tank.

The Top Part Dwellers

Your Norman’s panchax killifish are the top-level dwellers. You will see they often explore the middle and top parts of your community aquarium. They are also natural jumpers. So, make sure you have a tight-fitting lid on top of your aquarium to prevent them from escaping your aquarium.

Some people do not want to add a canopy because it affects the lighting in the tank. If you think that the lid could disrupt the lighting, you could use the lower water level instead. Make sure, though, that each group of fish has space for their activities. Do not make your tank overcrowded if you don’t want to distress your fish.

Your panchax killifish buddies will appreciate the natural cover that comes from the floating plants. Therefore, the heavily planted aquarium can bring perks for these little friends.

Tank Setup

The best way to care for your little fish is by maintaining the water conditions and the tank environment which replicates their natural habitat.

Water Conditions

Make sure you prepare your tank first. Has the water tested before picking up your panchax fish from the market? These tiny fish are very sensitive to water conditions and fluctuations. It is imperative to remove ammonia and nitrites from the water.

If you have a new aquarium at home, you will want to make it mature first so that it will be ready to host your lampeye fish. The heavily planted tank must also have good quality water to make sure that your fish are healthy and well all the time.

To maintain the quality of the water, make sure to stick to these variables:

  • pH: 6.0–7.5
  • Hardness: 18-215 ppm
  • Water Temperature: 24–28 °C


The shoaling fish need a lot of vegetation and dense plants with slower water flow. It is the best aquarium characteristic that can mimic the natural habitat of the particular fish.

Since their sizes are small, they tend to be shy and afraid when looking at other big creatures (inside and outside the tank). That’s why they need vegetation to provide them with shade and cover to hide and rest.

The heavily planted aquarium is pretty much similar to your panchax, with tiny fish habitats such as brooks, streams, as well as small rivers.

Many people state that they are hardy fish simply because it is easy to care for them. But it is a delicate fish that demands good water conditions. They can tolerate small changes in the water. But when the ammonia and nitrate increase, they will be sick. Consider changing the large portion of tank water at least once a week to keep the water quality level up.

Besides the dense plants for cover, you can also add driftwood to their community tank. You can also go the extra mile to stick some tall plants in the driftwood.

The flow of water should be slow. Too strong currents will make the fish more agitated to live.

When it comes to the bottom part, you will want to consider adding a dark substrate. The good thing about the dark-colored sand is that it can provide contrast to the fish so that they glow in the middle of the night. It is easy to see the beautiful, vibrant blue coloration of this buddy.


The lighting should be dimmer to provide a calm and cool environment for the fish. They are easily intimidated by the brightness of the light. The floating plants and dense vegetation will also help to provide shade and make the light dim.

Lampeye Killifish Tank Mates

Since it comes in a small size, consider pairing the lampeye fish with other peaceful small fish like shrimp, tetra, and corydoras.

This fish won’t strive alone. So, you could add a group of at least 10 specimens of the same lampeye species. They love to do everything in a group.

Many aquarists also provide a dedicated tank for these lampeye fish so that the setup and maintenance will be much better. If you want to keep your fish for a long time in the future, you could use this idea too.

However, your aquascape does not have to be lonely. You can also pair them with other tiny species. Besides the latter options that I’ve mentioned before, you could also add some other species, like pencilfish, boards, and other tiny anabantoids.

Do not add larger fish since they might bully your lampeye fish.

Food & Diet

The lampeye tiny buddies are not so picky when it comes to food. They will take everything you add to their tank and they will be glad for it.

The expert recommends tropical fish flake. But you can mix the diets with live or frozen foods as routine treats, like brine shrimp, cyclops, mini bloodworms, mosquito larvae, and so on.

Even so, they will need healthy variations in their diets. Focus only on high-quality foods to keep them healthy.

Breeding Guidelines

Breeding this fish is very easy. You don’t need to set up your tank in special conditions to trigger the spawning. They will naturally spawn and you will see that the fry will come from time to time. But if you have other tank mates who are carnivorous, be careful that the fry could be eaten by them.

It is a great idea to set up a dedicated aquarium for lampeye breeding. It is easy to set it up. You could just set up a setup similar to the main tank. After the fry grows to the size of adults, you could then move them back to the main aquarium.