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Clown Killifish

Clown Killifish

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Epiplatys annulatus

Note: Due
to variations within species, your item may not look identical to the image


Aplocheilus annulatus, Haplochilus annulatus,
Panchax annulatus, Pseudepiplatys annulatus.


West Africa: Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Sexual Dimorphism

Male fish attain a larger size, are more
colourful, and develop extended finnage.

Maximum Size

4cm (1.6?)

Water Parameters

Soft, acidic water is essential. pH: 4.5-6.5, dH:
up to 8 degrees.


23-25 deg C (73-77 deg F)


Species only aquarium; Specialist community of
tiny peaceful fish only.





Clown Killifish are known from coastal swamps and shallow,
slow-moving waters of forest creeks and rivulets. These diminutive killifish
are gregarious and are found in loose shoals living amongst the dense marginal
vegetation. The home aquarium should be biologically mature with high standards
of water quality maintained at all times. Clown Killifish are delicate fish and
require very soft, acidic water with plenty of cover in the form of driftwood
and plants. Peat filtration would be very beneficial in helping to create the
ideal conditions, and this can be further enhanced with the addition of dried
Indian almond leaves (Terminalia catappa) or alder cones. Water movement must
be kept as gentle as possible, and dark substrate and d?cor choices will help
to bring out the vibrant colour of these tiny fish. Lighting should be fairly
dim, although brighter lighting can be employed if there is plenty of surface
cover in the form of floating plants such as Azolla, Ceratopteris, or Pistia
species. Always maintain this peaceful top-dweller in good sized groups of at
least 10 specimens. Many aquarists like to keep them in a dedicated
species-only set-up that is tailored specifically to their needs, but they can
be kept alongside other tiny peaceable species such as African Jellybean Tetras
(Ladigesia roloffi), Ember Tetras (Hyphessobrycon amandae), pencilfish, Pygmy
Corydoras, Boraras spp., and some of the smaller anabantoids. Clown Killifish
are particularly sensitive to fluctuating or deteriorating water conditions and
are regarded as somewhat difficult to keep. We therefore recommended this
species for experienced aquarists only. Ensure that the aquarium has tight
fitting coverslides as these fish are expert jumpers.



Prefers small, meaty frozen foods such as cyclops, baby
brineshrimp (Artemia nauplii), Daphnia, and mini-bloodworm. Some specimens will
also take crushed flake and micropellets. Try to offer a variety of foods, with
frozen fare included several times per week.



Clown Killifish are relatively easy to breed, and in
densely planted aquaria, small numbers of fry are likely appear from time to
time. However, if you wish to raise a larger number of young, a separate
breeding aquarium should be set up for this purpose. A small tank filled with
water from the main tank, filtered by a simple air-driven sponge filter, and
fitted with a small sized heater to keep the temperature stable, along with
several large clumps of Java Moss or spawning mops is all that is required.
Acclimatise well-conditioned fish (either a pair, or one male with 2 or 3
females) to the breeding aquarium, and spawning should occur quite readily and
without too much intervention (sometimes a small water change is required to
get them started). The miniscule eggs will be scattered over the spawning
medium, and incubation typically takes around 9-14 days depending on the water
temperature. Some aquarists like to move the adults back to the main aquarium
after a good number of eggs have been deposited, yet others leave them in situ
because they rarely predate on their own eggs or fry. However, larger fry may
predate on much smaller fry, so larger youngsters should be acclimatised to the
main aquarium as soon as they are big enough. Newly-hatched fry will require
feeding with cultured infusoria and tiny rotifers, moving on to slightly bigger
foodstuffs such as vinegar eels and baby brineshrimp (Artemia nauplii) as they
grow. Vinegar eels are especially useful as a growing-on food as they tend to stay
towards the top of the water, which is the area the fry will primarily feed
from, so there is less wastage and less danger of fouling the water. If the
clumps of plants that are used in the breeding aquarium are mature specimens,
the fry will likely browse on the microorganisms present as an additional
source of food. It is essential that high standards of water quality are
maintained throughout. Many breeders like to add a good amount of live Daphnia
to the spawning tank. The adult Daphnia will consume bacteria and other
microscopic life in the water column until they themselves are eaten. The
Daphnia do not harm the eggs or even newly hatched fry.