Clowning Around With a Killi

Posted by Aquatropic Staff on April 28, 2022

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The Clown, or Banded Killifish (Epiplatys annulatus) is a member of the family fundulidae, also known as the killifishes. These beautiful, yet diminutive freshwater fishes only get to be about an inch and a half long! They are as their name suggests, very colorful; banded with vertical black bars, a blue eye, and a flowing blue and red caudal (tail) fin.

These fish are found in coastal Western Africa, with populations in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. They inhabit the coastal swamps and small streams, where they can live in water that is only a few inches deep and barely moving if at all. The water here is variable in temperature, but should be considered to be soft, acidic, and most likely tannic as well.

These tiny fish do not require a large aquarium. Being mostly a surface dwelling fish from shallow water, finding aquariums that are flatter, instead of taller makes the most sense. Filtration if used should be minimal, but some find success keeping these fish in very natural style aquariums with bare minimums in regards to filtration with plenty of plants, driftwood, and leaf litter to replicate their environment in the wild. If one's goal is to breed them, they most likely should be kept alone to ensure that they are not harassed, however generally other small peaceful fish will do well with Clown Killies in a planted community aquarium.

Clown Killies will appreciate live food and it will help bring them into breeding condition. Being a killifish that mostly inhabits the upper portion of aquariums, floating foods or foods that sink slowly should be given priority. Fruit flies might be used as a live food to encourage feeding if one struggles getting them to eat enough.

The Clown Killi is a daily spawner meaning that they do not lay all of their eggs at once. Instead they will lay their eggs on floating plants, their roots, or spawning mops (yarn mops meant to simulate these wild conditions made by the aquarist). The eggs can be removed as they are laid, but this would be tedious and laborious. Instead we recommend that you allow them to lay and once you start seeing juveniles you transfer the adults into another aquarium with the same parameters and conditions as they tank they just spawned in. The young are incredibly small, and will require live food smaller than baby brine shrimp so green water, infusoria, walter worms and similar should be cultured prior to attempting breeding.

The Clown Killiefish is a beautiful fish suited to the smallest, simplest freshwater aquariums. With some attention to detail, you should have years of enjoyment from watching their beautiful colors and unique life history unfold in front of you. Contact your local fish store and ask them for Clown Killiefish from Aquatropic today!