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 by the rocket killifish, clown killifish, and banded pax. 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.
Female rocket killifish are brightly colored, while males have clear tails.
How to Set Up an Aquarium for Clown Killifish
Rocket killies, due to their small size are one of few species that can be kept in 5-gallon tanks or larger. 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, it can slow their metabolism and extend their life span of only 2-3 years.
Rocket Killifish and Tank Mates: What Can They Do Together?
Their brightly colored tails may make it tempting to get all males. But they can sometimes be territorial and will fight over each other. Instead, aim for a ratio of 1 male for every 2-3 females. The clowns will be more comfortable with their surroundings and can display their natural social behaviours.
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.
Can clown killifish live with a betta fish? It depends on the betta fish’s personality. 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. Some betta fish will not mind having company, and they will ignore you. You can keep them together or separate them if necessary.
Can clown killerfish live with dwarf shrimps? Clown killifish don’t seem to like eating adult dwarf shrimps such as cherry shrimp (Neocaridina Davidi), Caridina shrimp and ghost shrimp. Baby shrimp are fine to eat, and we recommend not keeping them together if you intend on selling shrimp. 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. However, they will also happily eat slow-sinking foods, such as live baby brine shrimp, frozen cyclops, Xtreme Nano pellets, and Hikari Micro 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. For the highest fry survival rates, keep a species-only breeding tank and remove the eggs to hatch them in a breeding box or separate grow-out tank. You can give the eggs to hatch in approximately 1.5 weeks. After that, you can feed them small foods such as vinegar eels and powder fry food.
Plants that are dense and floating will encourage spawning. They also provide shelter for the babies.
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.