Austrolebias nigripinnis

Austrolebias nigripinnis
07 March

Austrolebias nigripinnis originates from temporary pools of the Lower Paraná and Uruguay River basins in South America.

For breeding purposes the aquarium size should be at least 10 – 15 litres for a pair or trio (1 male and 2 females). This fish is not aggressive, although there might be an occasional aggressive male that might need to be separated from the group. Austrolebias nigripinnis are quite prolific spawners if conditioned and fed well. These species tend to be more of a diver type of spawner than a plough type. Coir or peat moss is the preferred medium but any other suitable type of spawning substrate can be used. A spawning container can be used inside the breeding tank if desired. In case of breeding with more than one male you also should provide more than one spawning container. Every male must have one and you will see they show nice territorial behaviour to attract females into their own spawning place.

The eggs are small in size, from 0.9 to 1.0 mm, and can withstand much abuse. The eggs are a little bit adhesive and can be seen in a peat moss with some effort. Please note that the eggs incubation period of Austrolebias nigripinnis can be as long as 3 - 5 months and even longer, depending on temperature, peat moisture, and other factors. You need to be patient and to check the eggs every 2 - 3 weeks for the embryo development. You may need to re-wet them several times in a few week periods. You may have some eggs of this species with incubation period much longer than listed in the table below with a good hatch rate thereafter. Wet the eggs only when they are fully developed. Eyed-up eggs are a sure indication that the eggs are fully developed. When you hatch the eggs do frequent water changes for increased fry growth rates. The fry are medium in size and can be fed with BBS or Microworms at birth. If you maintain the water as recommended and diversify fry’s food, they can be sexed out in about 4 to 5 weeks, and ready to breed at 5 – 7 weeks. This species can be easily bred and maintained as long as you act in accordance with all the recommendations.

This is a cold-water annual killifish. They can live well at really low temperatures at 8°C - 10°C. They will do just perfectly well in a little pond or a simple plastic container in your garden during summer months, at such conditions their colours will be amazing, they will be perfectly healthy, they will be very prolific spawners. The optimal temperature to keep and breed Austrolebias nigripinnis is from 18°C to 21°C. A few hours of indirect natural sunlight each day is beneficial in any case. Don’t keep them in water warmer than 21°C as it will short their lifespan. Always make sure the fish is in clean water, always boil peat very well before using it for spawning. Austrolebias species are very sensitive to water quality.

Species Summary:

Scientific Name:

Austrolebias nigripinnis (C. T. Regan, 1912)



Clade (Species Group):

Clade A3 (Austrolebias Alexandri Species Group)

Original Name:

Cynolebias nigripinnis





Origin or Distribution:

Lower Paraná and Uruguay River Basins in South America


Peaceful and Timid

Total Length: 

30 - 50 mm

Spawning Method:

Substrate (Coir or Peat Moss) Divers

Breeding Proportion:

1M : 1F or 1M : 2 F

Breeding Difficulty:

Less Demanding

Incubation Period:

12 - 18 Weeks at 18°C - 22°C

Peat Wetness:


Fry Size:

Medium (baby brine shrimps can be fed right after hatching)

Sexual Maturity:

5 - 7 Weeks

Life Span:

12 - 18 Months (depends on food and keeping conditions)


Moderate (Very Low Current)

Water Changes:

1/3 Weekly (Important!)

General Hardness:

0 - 5 dGH


6.5 - 7.0

Temperature Range:

18°C - 22°C


Moderate Light


Live Food (Bloodworm, Tubifex, Artemia, Daphnia, Grindal or White Worms, etc.)

Keeping Difficulty:

Less Demanding