We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is a Mosquitofish?

By Lisa Mohr
Updated Jun 04, 2024
Our promise to you
All Things Nature is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At All Things Nature, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Mosquitofish are small freshwater fish most commonly used throughout the United States to control mosquito populations in place of potentially harmful insecticides. The fish readily feed on the aquatic larval and pupal stages of mosquitoes, which is where their name comes from. It is estimated that large female mosquitofish can eat from 100 to 200 mosquito larvae a day, making the species an obvious choice for mosquito control.

Physically, the fish are short and rather thin, and are usually a dull gray color. They are related to the common guppy and resemble the fish physically in many ways. Female fish reach a maximum of 2.8 inches (7 cm) while males reach 1.6 inches (4 cm). Females and males can be differentiated not only by their size but by their rear fins. The males’ fins are pointed, while the females’ fins are round.

While the names "mosquitofish" generally refers to the species Gambusia affinis, there are also many subspecies of the fish. They are thought to be one of the most widespread freshwater fish in the world because of their remarkable ability to survive in poor and extreme water conditions. The lifespan of a normal mosquitofish is short, and they normally live from one to three years. The fish have very successful breeding habits, giving the mosquitofish an astounding ability to multiply their species rapidly. Female fish often birth three or four broods a season, with broods reaching up to 100 fish at a time.

The use of these fish to control mosquito populations is referred to as biological control, and it is practiced around the world. Not only are these fish well known for their famously insect-centered diet, but they are also popular for their tendency to eat algae. Their well-known eating habits mean many public ponds and lakes are stocked with these fish; the species is also popular with backyard pond and water garden owners.

Although the fish thrive in natural environments that host the necessary insects to feed their appetite, some aquarium enthusiasts have been known to keep the species, as well. For those who wish to keep the fish in smaller, artificial habitats, the fish will need to be placed in at least a 20-gallon (76 liter) tank. Water temperatures will need to range from 65° to 75°F (18.3° to 23.9°C) and the fish will need plenty of plants in which to hide. For those keeping the fish indoors, live bugs, algae, and food flakes can supplement their diet in the absence of mosquitoes.

All Things Nature is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
All Things Nature, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

All Things Nature, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.