Max Size: 3.5cm

Clown Killifish (Epiplatys annulatus)

Clown Killifish are small, colourful and peaceful community fish that thrive in nano or planted aquariums. However, these fish are pretty timid, so keeping them in larger groups would be better as they will display much more exciting behaviours.

Clown Killifish look much better in a heavily planted set-up or a natural-style arrangement containing a sandy substrate plus some driftwood branches and roots. The addition of dried leaves such as Indian Almond or beech would further emphasise the natural feel and offer additional cover for the fish.

Clown Killifish get on fine with other peaceful species; however, they are not suitable for the community aquarium due to their small size and somewhat specialised demands.

On the other hand, small Tetras make good tankmates, as do most similarly-sized, quiet species that enjoy similar conditions, such as smaller Cyprinids, Dwarf Gouramis, Catfish and Loaches. These fish can also be a suitable companion for many smaller Cichlid species.

These Killifish do better under reasonably dim lighting; however, you can add aquatic plants that can survive under these conditions, such as Taxiphyllum, Anubias or Microsorum. These fish will also appreciate some floating vegetation.

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 their bright blue 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 individuals, the dorsal and anal fins can be orange or yellow.

Quick Facts
Scientific NameEpiplatys annulatus
Other NamesBanded Panchax, Rocket Killifish
OriginsGuinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone
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℃

Photos of the Clown Killifish

Clown Killifish
Clown Killifish
Clown Killifish
Clown Killifish
Clown Killifish Sparring
Clown Killifish
Clown Killifish


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

Natural Habitat

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.

What to feed the Clown Killifish

Clown Killifish will accept dried foods of a suitable size in the home aquarium, 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.

How to sex 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 or 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 faint red or yellow coloured extended rays throughout their length, and their ventral and anal fins are sometimes transparent.

How to breed 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. However, if the adults are being kept in a community tank, 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. For example, you can use mosses, roots of floating plants or spawning mops; they are all equally adequate.

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 to 12 days, and providing the plants used are mature, the fry is generally able to survive on the naturally present microorganisms. The fry will initially need microscopic foods such as infusoria, rotifers or paramecium. Then around a week later, they will be big enough to accept baby brine shrimp and microworms.

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.

Other Killifish of interest

American Flagfish(Jordanella floridae)
Blue Striped Rivulus Killifish(Rivulus Xiphidius, Laimosemion xiphidius)
Bluefin Notho(Nothobranchius rachovii)
Mamou Killifish(Scriptaphyosemion guignardi mamou)
Normans Lampeye Killifish(Poropanchax normani)
Splendid Killifish(Aphyosemion splendopleure)
View all Killifish
Date Added: 05/10/2020 - Updated: 19/01/2022 14:35:34