Care Guide for Clown Killifish – Colorful, Top-Dwelling Nano Fish
Looking for a colorful, little fish that stays in the upper third of your nano aquarium? Epiplatys annulatus is also known as the clown-killi, rocket killifish and banded panax. The common names are derived from the males’ flame-like tails and the vertical bands of dark brown, tannish yellow and dark brown on their bodies. Adult killies can grow up to 1.4 inches (3.35 cm) in length, but most fish you see at the store are only 0.5 inches long. They won’t show their true colors of red, yellow and blue until they reach maturity.
Male rocket killifish have brightly colored tails, whereas females have a clear tail.
How to Set Up an Aquarium for Clown Killifish
Rocket killies can live in nano tanks up to 5 gallons because of their small size. As with most surface-dwelling fish, the key is to keep a tight lid or hood with all of the gaps covered so that they won’t jump out of the aquarium. The fish are native to slow-moving rivers and swamps close to the coast of West Africa. Therefore, a gentle filter with low flow (like an sponge filter), and plenty of floating plants is necessary.
Like most killifish, they can live in cooler temperatures ranging from 67-80degF (19-26degC), so you can keep them in an unheated aquarium with other cold water species. Actually, they can slow down their metabolism and increase their lifespan of about 2 to 3 years.
What Tank Mates Can Live With Rocket Killifish?
You may feel tempted to buy all males due to their brightly colored tails. However, they can be territorial and sometimes fight with one another. Try to get 1 male for every 2-3 women. A larger group of clown killies allows them to feel more comfortable in their environment and display their natural social behaviors.
They make great friends and are happy to share their space with peaceful fish. In the past we kept them celestial pearl daios (Danio Margaritatus), Norman lampeye killer fish (PoropanchaxNormani), chili red rasboras [Boraras Brigittae], pygmy cory catfish, Corydoras Pygmaeus], snails, and other nanospecies.
As with many killifish, the banded panchax tends to stay near the surface of the water, so consider adding some tank mates that swim in the middle to bottom layers of the aquarium for greater visual variety.
A clown killifish can live with a Betta fish. This depends on the personality of the betta. Some bettas don’t like other colorful fish that swim in the top third of the aquarium, so rocket killies would not be a good pairing. The other betta fish won’t mind extra company and will happily ignore them. If they are not happy with the extra company, you can try to keep them together and then split them if necessary.
Can clown killifish live with dwarf shrimp? In general, clown killifish do not seem to eat adult dwarf shrimp, such as cherry shrimp (Neocaridina davidi), Caridina shrimp, and ghost shrimp. If you are selling shrimp for profit, we do not recommend keeping baby shrimp together. Provide more aquarium decorations and live plants so that the shrimp will have plenty of places to hide if necessary.
What Do Clown Killifish Eat?
Because of their tiny mouths and preference for swimming near the water surface, give them a wide variety of tiny, floating foods, such as Easy Fry Food, crushed flakes, and freeze-dried daphnia. They will eat slow-sinking food, like frozen cyclops and Xtreme Nano pellets.
How do You Breed Rocket Killifish?
Breeding should not be difficult if you have the correct ratio of males and females, as I mentioned earlier. Clown killies will lay their eggs in areas with clean water and plenty of food. Keep the fry alive by keeping them in a specific species-only tank. The eggs can then be removed and hatched in a separate grow-out or breeding box. After the eggs hatch, you can then feed them tiny foods such as infusoria and vinegar eels.
Use dense floating plants to encourage spawning, provide more cover for babies, and if you intend on colony breeding (i.e. keeping the adults together with their fry),
Clown killifish are one of our favorite nano fish because of their peaceful nature and striking appearance that looks amazing in a planted aquarium. You can find more ideas on how to stock a 5-gallon fish aquarium with clown killifish by visiting our top 5 stocking tips.