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Blue Gularis Strains

Notable strains of Fundulopanchax sjostedti

BKA-80 strain of Blue Gularis

"Form circulating in the 1980s in the UK"

These had the same properties as Mikkelsen's fish in the 1970s in the US and Canada - the very definite margin in the anal fin, very wide caudal and irregular barring are my memories of that fish at the time exactly. Note the big eye indicating a young fish bit but with great color already. Al had won the AKA gularis class after displacing Paul Hoppe's 10 year run in 1976; Al sold a lot of gularis after that.


Commercial import, 2012.

Peter DeSouza's strain of Blue Gularis.
2015 -  2016 -  2017 -
2018 -  2019 -  2024

Peter's contemporary (as of 2016) strain is (at least in my opinion) at least as good as any of the great US strains throughout history, as bred by Hoppe, Mikkelson, Schwiengerath and Epperson and others.

Fundulopanchax sjoestedti 'DKG Blue''
Goldstein Vaka

There was a form bred in Germany that was smaller but more colorful than the American blue gularis. They had more blue coloration and looked in some light like it was full on blue, in other lights it looked icy light blue. But they were noticeably different than other blue gularis. Paul Hoppe popularized these with his 1974 article in Innes' Aquarium magazine article entitled "King of the Killies".

Fundulopanchax sjoestedti 'Dwarf Red' Byron Thornton's strain out of Szafreneck fish.
Lotsoffish -   Jack -
Szafreneck -   Sexton -

Also known as "Dwarf Orange" and "Orange" Gularis; nobody knows where this form originates having said to be found in a pet shop there is zero evidence it's wild caught or tank bred, we simply know nothing. It may be a naturally occurring population - somewhere or it might be line bred in aquaria.

It appeared in the 1960s and was available thorough AKA in the early 1970s and found in AKA conventions up until around the early 1990s, when Szafreneck remained the sole exhibitor of the strain. Since the mid 1990s what we see as "dwarf red" is a different fish, the "old" dwarf rd has rounded caudal fin tips, the "new" one commonly found, is larger and has pointed fin tops. I've heard people crossed Szafreneck's strain (referring to is as "German Dwarf Red") with Niger Deltas with orange pecs and this perhaps represents a "US Dwarf Orange" as counterpoint to the German one.

Feb. 2021 update: Byron Thornton has pointed out he has been maintaining Szafreneck's magnificent strain since the 1970s.

Not any particular strain I just have lots of photos of these.

I took a lot of photos of one fish that was the result of a cross between Szaferencks's strain of Dwarf Red and whoever won the AKA gularis class in 1988, Mike Epperson if I recall. The fish displayed four of five phenotypes, small and dark blue, big and light green and this one.

Tank bred random mutation photographed by David Ramsey

Aquarium mutations and hybrids. While frowned on, hybridization helps us to understand the genetic relationships with other killifish. Scheel reported successful crossings with AUS and GAR although could not keep these fish alive past three generations.

Tank bred random mutation photographed by David Ramsey that appeared randomly from his own stock around 2012.


In Europe "US Blue Gularis" are recognized as a strain of SJO much in the same way in the US the German dwarf red strain is recognized.

It's always been true that in the US certain strains are known to have above average size, color and finnage. It would be a rare fish indeed from the wild that lucked out and got genes this a good and was able to grow them fully out.

Yet it is possible, and much more so likely in a fishtank than in the coastal waters of Nigeria or in a small stream in Cameroon. That is, the selective breeding if the US blue strain preserves the best of what a Nigerian SJO can be in a strain that breeds true.

I would not really say it's an artificial tank bred man made creation of something that does not exist in nature, but rather it's a strain, tank bred, to represent the ideal Nigerian SJO.

The names of people in the US involved in this will be familiar to many: Paul Hoppe, Mikkelson, Bob Schwiegerath, Mike Epperson, Rosario LaCorte.

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Richard J. Sexton