Max Size: up to 3.5 cm

Clown Killifish (Epiplatys annulatus) Species Profile & Care Guide

Clown Killifish are small, add plenty of colour to a tank and are a peaceful community fish that thrives in nano or planted aquariums. Thes fish are quite timid, so keeping them in larger groups would be better as they will display much more exciting behaviours.

Clown Killifish have several subtle colour and pattern variations depending on where they came from especially in the unpaired fins. They have a torpedo-shaped, elongated body with an upside-down mouth and a round head. The natural colour of these fish is usually cream coloured, with four thick, vertical, black bands along the flanks that start just behind the head, and a bright spot on top of the head between the eyes.

The dorsal fin begins just before the end of the anal fin and ends rather far back on the body. They have a spade-shaped caudal fin with elongated centre rays. The rays can be as long as the rest of the caudal rays. The anal-fin may or may not have a red margin situated away from the centre of the body, while in some specimens the dorsal and anal fins are yellow.

Quick Facts
Scientific NameEpiplatys annulatus
Other NamesBanded Panchax, Rocket Killifish
Aquarium LevelTop
DifficultyBeginner - Intermediate
Best kept asGroups 5+
Lifespan2 - 5 years
Water Conditions
Water TypeFreshwater
Temperature68 - 79 ℉ (20 - 26.1 ℃)
PH4.0 - 7.0
GH0 - 5
TDS18 -143
Clown killifish
Clown killifish
Clown killifish
Clown killifish

Natural Habitat of the Clown Killifish

You can find the Clown Killifish in Liberia, and Sierra Leone, in southern Guinea in West Africa. They inhabit very shallow warm, soft, acidic, slow-moving water in swamps, streams, small rivers, savannas and tropical rainforests amongst aquatic plants and heavy marginal vegetation that they use for shelter.

Most of their habitats are freshwater although you will find that they can also occur in slightly brackish conditions at some locations.

Other Killifish of interest

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Steel Blue Lyretail Killifish(Fundulopanchax gardneri)


In the home aquarium, Clown Killifish will accept dried foods of a suitable size such as high-quality flakes and granules. Still, they should also be offered daily meals of small live and frozen fares such as daphnia, artemia, bloodworms, tubifex, grindal worm and Moina. Make sure you vary their diet to keep them healthy and to provide them with their best colours.

Sexing the Clown Killifish

It is relatively straightforward to differentiate males from females. The male's anal fins can be red, blue, red outlined in blue, blue outlined in red furthermore, the ventral fins can be either bright red, bright orange, pale red or clear.

In contrast, the females are slightly smaller, have less developed fin extensions and are less coloured. Most females have transparent caudal and dorsal fins and have a faint red or yellow coloured extended rays throughout their length, and their ventral and anal fins are sometimes transparent.

Breeding the Clown Killifish

Breeding Clown Killifish can be relatively easy if you keep a species only aquarium for them. You will find that they will lay their eggs, they will hatch, and the parents will not touch them. If the adults are being kept in a community tank, however, it's best to organise a separate aquarium for breeding purposes.

Using a separate aquarium can be very simple provided it contains a suitable medium for the fish to deposit their eggs. You can use mosses, roots of floating plants or spawning mops they are all equally adequate. Filtration is not required, but if it is desired, a small air-driven sponge filter is best.

Most breeders use a pair or a single male plus two or more females with some favouring to remove and replace the medium every few days, incubating and hatching the eggs elsewhere. In contrast, others leave everything where it is until you can see the free-swimming fry near the surface of the water.

The incubation period is usually around 9-12 days and providing the plants used are mature the fry is generally able to survive on the microorganisms which are naturally present.

After around three or four days, they should be big enough to eat young nematodes and Paramecium. When you can see the fry swimming on the surface hunting, feed them microworms or vinegar eels until they can eat adult foods.

A couple of dried leaves can also be added, which will help to promote the growth of the fry. If raising the fry in more sterile conditions, they initially need microscopic foods such as infusoria or rotifers until they are big enough to accept things like nauplii and artemia.

Presumably, the adults don't predate their offspring, but older fry will eat the young fry so it would be advisable to move them elsewhere as soon as they are big enough.

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Date Added: 10/5/2020 - Updated: 10/6/2020 9:08:46 AM