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Maximum size : 3.5 cm

Clown Killifish - Epiplatys annulatus : Complete Fish Profile & Care Guide

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Clown Killifish (Epiplatys annulatus) are a delightful species of small, colorful, and peaceful fish that thrive in nano or planted aquariums. To showcase the full extent of their lively behavior, it is recommended to keep them in larger groups, which will lead to more exciting social interactions. In an aquarium setting, Clown Killifish will appear their best in heavily planted setups or natural-style arrangements, which incorporate sandy substrates, driftwood branches, and roots. The addition of dried leaves, such as Indian Almond or Beech, enhances the natural ambiance and provides additional cover for the fish. While these fish are compatible with other peaceful species, they are not recommended for community aquariums due to their small size and specialised requirements. Instead, consider small Tetras, smaller Cyprinids, Dwarf Gouramis, Catfish, Loaches, and many smaller Cichlid species as suitable companions. In terms of lighting, Clown Killifish thrive under dimmer conditions, and aquatic plants that can tolerate such conditions are recommended. Additionally, they will appreciate the presence of floating vegetation. Clown Killifish exhibit subtle variations in color and pattern depending on their origin, with distinct variations in the unpaired fins. They have a torpedo-shaped body, an upside-down mouth, and a round head. Their natural color is cream, featuring four thick, vertical, black bands along the flanks, starting from behind the head, and a bright spot on top of the head between their bright blue eyes. Their dorsal fin begins just before the end of the anal fin and extends far back on the body. The spade-shaped caudal fin has elongated center rays that can be as long as the rest of the caudal rays. The anal fin may or may not have a red margin away from the center of the body, while in some individuals, the dorsal and anal fins can appear orange or yellow.

Clown Killifish Photos

Sexual Dimorphism

Distinguishing between male and female Clown Kilifish is a relatively simple process. Males are characterized by their anal fins, which can display red, blue, red outlined in blue, or blue outlined in red hues. Additionally, their ventral fins may appear bright red, bright orange, pale red, or clear. In contrast, females are typically smaller in size, exhibit less pronounced fin extensions, and have less vibrant coloration. Their caudal and dorsal fins are often transparent, with faint red or yellow extended rays along their length. The ventral and anal fins of females may also be transparent in appearance. By noting these distinctions, hobbyists can accurately identify the gender of their Clown Kilifish and provide appropriate care for their unique needs.
Featured Male
Featured Female
Male Female

Quick Facts

Scientific NameEpiplatys annulatus
Year Described1915
Other NamesBanded Panchax, Rocket Killifish
OriginsLiberia Sierra Leone Guinea
Max Size3.5 cm
Aquarium LevelTop
DifficultyBeginner - Intermediate
Best kept asGroups 5+
Lifespan2 - 5 years

Water Parameters

Water TypeFreshwater
PH4.0 - 7.0
GH0 - 5
TDS18 -143
68 - 79
20 - 26.1

Natural habitat

The Clown Killifish can be found in Liberia and Sierra Leone, as well as in southern Guinea in West Africa. These stunning fish prefer to dwell in very shallow, warm, soft, and acidic waters that move at a leisurely pace. You can spot them in a variety of environments, such as swamps, streams, small rivers, savannas, and tropical rainforests, where they seek refuge amidst the aquatic plants and dense marginal vegetation. While most Clown Killifish habitats are freshwater, it's worth noting that they can also thrive in slightly brackish conditions at select locations. Whether you're a seasoned aquarium enthusiast or just starting out, observing these mesmerizing fish in their natural environment is an experience you won't want to miss.

How to breed the Clown Killifish

The successful breeding of Clown Killifish can be achieved through the establishment of a species-only aquarium, which allows for the fish to lay their eggs, hatch, and mature without the risk of predation. However, if adults are housed within a community tank, it is advisable to provide a separate aquarium for breeding purposes. Setting up a breeding aquarium is a straightforward process and can be achieved by providing a suitable medium for the fish to deposit their eggs. Examples of such media include mosses, floating plant roots, and spawning mops, all of which are adequate for this purpose. Breeders may choose to use a single male with two or more females or a breeding pair, with some opting to remove and replace the medium every few days and incubate and hatch the eggs elsewhere. Generally, an incubation period of 9 to 12 days can be expected, and if the plants used are mature, the fry can survive on naturally present microorganisms. Initially, the fry will require microscopic foods such as infusoria, rotifers, or paramecium, and subsequently, they will be able to accept baby brine shrimp and microworms after about a week. Although adult Clown Killifish do not typically predate their offspring, older fry may consume younger fry, necessitating their removal to a separate environment as soon as they reach an adequate size.

Diet & feeding

In a home aquarium setting, Clown Killifish are known to readily accept high-quality flakes and granules of an appropriate size. However, to ensure optimal health and vibrant coloration, it is important to supplement their diet with a daily intake of small live and frozen food options. Offering a diverse selection of fare, such as daphnia, artemia, bloodworms, tubifex, grindal worm, and Moina, will help maintain the overall health of the fish while also accentuating their natural coloration. Varying their diet in this manner ensures that their nutritional needs are met while also promoting the best possible colors in the fish.\r\n


Clown Killifish (Epiplatys annulatus) Freshwater Aquarium Fish Species Profile & Care Guide Thumbnail

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