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Gambusia affinis | Mosquitofish | Home Fish Aquarium Guide

Home Fish Aquarium Guide

Fishkeeping Information and Resources for the Home Aquarium



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Gambusia affinis | Mosquitofish

The Mosquitofish or Gambusia affinis can be kept in the home fish aquarium. It is more traditionally used in ponds and other waterways as a means of controlling mosquitos. Gambusia affinis feeds heavily on the mosquito larvae in water and they also reproduce freely. They are livebearers and it has been claimed that they could live in a small puddle needing a very, very minimal amount of water to travel in (one inch or less to swim in.) The mosquitofish is also cold hardy and if given several feet of depth could overwinter in areas where the surface freezes in the winter.

The Gambusia affinis is a controversial fish in many ways. Many parts of the world have made use of this fish to control mosquitos (and the diseases they can spread). The control measures have caused this fish to be introduced well beyond it’s native range (the Mississippi river basin). It has been proven that the mosquitofish can be aggressive towards the fry of other fish and in many areas is considered an invasive pest. It is recommended not to introduce any gambusia affinis into the wild for this reason. (In some areas it’s not just fish, but frogs that are threatened by the mosquitofish.)

I’ve found many references to the use of mosquitofish to control mosquito larvae and have considered purchasing some for the control of mosquitos in rain collection barrels, perhaps overwintering some in an indoor aquarium for the purposes of reseeding the rain collection barrels in the following year.

I have not yet acquired any Gambusia affinis. (In some forums it’s been suggested that they should be called damnbusia affinis or dambusia afinis for their aggressive, invasive qualities.)

I have read that they can be quite aggressive towards not only the fry of other fish, but can be fin-nippers and some people even describe them as homicidal. I don’t think this species would be a good species for a peaceful community tank. If you are going to keep this species in an aquarium you might want to seriously consider a species only tank.

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    July 24, 2009 - 10:14 PM