Freshwater and Marine Aquarium, 27: 18-19 (1979)
The Albino Aphyosemion Gardneri*
David R. Suffia

*Fundulopanchax gardneri (Boulenger, 1911)

Over the years the hobby has produced a number of albino strains of tropical fish, which usually have become quite popular. Now another albino has been discovered and stabilized as an aquarium breed. and it is a striking beauty— the albino Aphyosemion gardneri.

Since A. gardneri is one of the more commonly kept killifishes, it is not too surprising that it should eventually produce an albino mutation in captivity. The larger the numbers of a particular species kept in home aquariums, the higher the chance that one day an albino form will show up. The new albino is of the common strain of A. gardneri that is most often seen in hobbyists' tanks, the form referred to as Akure, from its supposed habitat in Nigeria, West Africa. The male of the normal strain of Akure gardneri has an olive back with pale blue iridescent sides. The sides are sprinkled with bright red dots and streaks. The dorsal and anal fins also are blue at the base, but with height yellow edges separated from the blue by a red line. The caudal fin has a blue center with yellow edges top and bottom, again separated by two red lines. The blue center of the caudal usually has a few red dots The eye is black. The normal female is, of course, a dull brown without much color.

In the new albino form, the eye is red, the distinguishing sign of a true albino. The back of the male is rather pinkish instead of the usual brown, and the sides have a translucent appearance, pink overlaid by blue iridescence, making the fish fairly glow. The red dots, very bright on any male A. gardneri, are especially brilliant in the albino form. The fish is extremely beautiful, perhaps more beautiful than the original Akure strain because of the more vivid, saturated reds, yellows and blues against the basic pink body color.

The females shows less difference because she is rather dull to begin with. The albino female is basically pink with the glowing red eye.

*JAKA 11(1): 34 (Jan/Feb 1978)
A. gardneri (Albino) by Gary Hass

The albino mutation apparently first appeared in the tanks of Gary Hass, a member of the American Killifish Association, in 1976. Hass wrote about the discovery in the January-February, 1978 issue of the Journal of the American Killifish Association*, saying the albino form appeared spontaneously among a hatch of about 60 fry from parents of normal appearance.

Hass reported that about 40% of the offspring were "funny looking," pale with eyes that were difficult to see. As the fish grew, he discovered three 1/2" fry that were light pink in color instead of the normal olive coloration of young A. gardneri. From those, Hass said, he raised two albino males. One of the males was then bred hack to a normal appearing sister in hopes of establishing a pure albino strain.

He reported serious problems, however, because the eggs produced had a high incidence of fungus. Although he managed to obtain some albino young. Hass reported great difficulty in establishing a strong albino strain

Then, in May of 1977, at the A. K. A. Annual Convention in San Francisco. Hass entered the albino A. gardneri. At the group's annual auction following the show and convention, the fish were purchased by Tom Parker, one of the most prolific hobbyists and breeders of killies and cichlids in the Pacific Northwest.

Parker returned the albino A. gardneri to his Seattle fish studio — rented space to hold his hundreds of tanks since his hobby long ago outgrew his apartment — and set about trying to stabilize and improve the breed. The albinos had caused a stir at the San Francisco convention because of their obvious oddity, but few hobbyists there saw the possibilities because the fish were weak looking and with a poor body shape. They looked listless and without much potential

However, Parker used selective breeding techniques and, from offspring of the convention fish, he selected only the strongest and most colorful of the succeeding generations for continued breeding. Within a short time, he established a robust strain of the albino A. gardneri with a proper shape, vigor and outstandingly bright coloration. Parker recently began distributing the unusual albino strain to other hobbyists through the New and Rare Species Committee of the A.K.A., and the fish has become an instant success among killie keepers.

The albino A. gardneri is bred and cared for in the same fashion as the normal strain, which is among the most hardy of killies. About 2.5" long, it prefers water in the high 60's to low 70's. with neutral to acid pH. However, it is very undemanding, and is kept by hobbyists around the world in widely varying water conditions. It breeds in plants, artificial floating spawning mops made of nylon, or even in bottom gravel.

A pair will spawn a dozen or more eggs a day, one at a time. The eggs require two to three weeks to hatch, and fry will survive in the same tank with the parents if there is plant cover in which they can hide. The fry eat infusoria and newly hatched brine shrimp and grow quickly, maturing in a few months.

Fish Heredity