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. These common names come from the alternating vertical bands of dark brown and tannish-yellow on its body and the vibrant, flame-like tail that males possess. Adult killies can be as big as 1.4 inches (3.5cm), but most of the fish that are sold in shops are juveniles about 0.5cm long. They will not display their true red, green, blue and orange colors until they’re brought home and raised to maturity.
Female rocket killifish are brightly colored, while males have clear tails.
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 west African coast. Therefore, a gentle filter with low flow (like an aquarium sponge filter) is recommended. Also, make sure you have plenty of floating plants as cover.
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. The water temperature can be lowered to slow their metabolism, and prolong their lives, which are only 2-3 years.
Rocket Killifish: Which Tank Mates Are Acceptable?
Their brightly colored tails may make it tempting to get all males. But they can sometimes be territorial with one another. You should aim to have one male for every 2-3 females. The clowns will be more comfortable with their surroundings and can display their natural social behaviours.
They make a great community fish and can get along with any other peaceful fish they are not big enough to eat. We’ve kept them celestial pearl daios (Danio Margaritatus), Norman lampeye killer fish (PoropanchaxNormani), chili rubaras (Boraras Brigittae), pygmy Cory Catfish (Corydoras Pygmaeus), snails and other nano species in the past.
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. Others betta fish aren’t bothered by extra company. They will even ignore them.
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
If you have the right ratio of males to females as mentioned before, breeding should be fairly easy. Clown killies will lay their eggs in areas with clean water and plenty of food. To ensure the best fry survival rates, keep the eggs in a special species-only tank. Once the eggs hatch, you can either separate the grow-out tank or a box to house them. You can give the eggs to hatch in approximately 1.5 weeks. After that, you can feed the babies small foods like 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.