Aphyosemion primigenium

The Aphyosemion primigenium is one of the small colorful killi fish. They are also relatively easy to breed!


Aphyosemion primigenium

Males and females are clearly distinguishable. The males are brightly colored while the females are a somewhat duller pale yellow / gray. They both have a slender elongated body that is built to move in shallow, densely planted water. The males have a light ground color with rows of red dots on the flank that form a number of horizontal lines. The back is yellow which becomes clearer in the dorsal fin and towards the tail. The back and tail fin have a red and blue hem. There is a blue border around the males eye.

There are different variants of this beautifully colored species that look slightly different. The location where they originate is often indicated with a code, 2 examples of this species are Aphyosemion primigenium GEB94 / 21 and Aphyosemion primigenium GEB88 / 10. The code after the species name indicates where and when these fish (or their ancestors) were caught. This makes it easier to keep the different strains apart.

This specie was first described in 1977 by Radda and Huber.


Aphyosemion primigenium comes from the South West of Gabon where they live in small streams in the area around the Nyanga and Dole-N ‘Gounie rivers between Mouila and Bdede-Lebamba.


Aphyosemion primigenium usually swims in the upper water layer where they like to seek shelter between the aquatic plants. So make sure you have a densely planted aquarium with fine leaves. Floating plants such as Riccia or duckweed are also appreciated. They like some dim light.


Temperature: 18 to 22 degrees Celsius
pH: 6,5 – 7,5
GH: 8 – 10


You can feed Aphyosemion primigenium with flakes but make sure to supplement it with live or frozen food such artemia, grindal worms and daphnia.


This species is fairly peaceful and can be kept together with other peaceful and not too large species such as pencil fish and tetra’s.

Breeding Aphyosemion primigenium

At an age of around 7-8 months you can see the difference between males and females, at around a year you can make the first careful attempt to breed with the Aphyosemion. The first times that will probably not be successful. If the fish are 13 to 15 months old, you can set the females apart from the males for a week or two so that the female can prepare to lay eggs.

To breed with the Aphyosemion primigenium you can leave them in the community aquarium and hope that the eggs that are laid will hatch and the fry will survive. If you want to keep your fry more successful, it is best to set the parents apart, just as the breeders do. For this, take an aquarium of no larger than 10 to 20 liters. Put a sponge or small filter in here to keep the water clean. Fill the aquarium with a large amount of plants, Java Moss is excellent because it provides a place to lay the eggs and because there is enough small life between the Java Moss for the fry. You can also opt for a spawn mop from which you can collect the eggs every day.

There are several methods for hatching the eggs. In the aquarium, the eggs will hatch after about 12 days. After the eggs have been laid, you can keep the parents in the breeding aquarium, provided that they are fed enough. The parents usually leave the eggs and fry alone. This gives them the chance to lay more eggs. You can remove the fry as soon as they are an inch or you will not get new fry anymore (they will be eaten). The second option is to collect the eggs from the spawn mop and store them in slightly moist peat. After 20 days you pour some aquarium water on the eggs after which they hatch.

The first few days they still live on their egg sac. After that you can feed them with newly hatched brine shrimp and infusoria. You can also try to grow adult dapnia in the aquarium where you grow the fry. The adult daphnia are too large for the but but produce a large flow of young daphnia that the fry can eat.



Bob Thie – J. de Lange

Copyright images

J. de Lange
Hristo Hristov

Additional information





Social Behaviour

Breeding behaviour





Minimum aquarium length in cm

Length maximum in cm

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