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 to as much as 1.4 inches (3.5cm) but the majority of fish in stores are around 0.5 inches long. These juveniles won’t display true red, yellow or blue colors until you bring them home to raise them to adulthood.
Male rocket killifish have brightly colored tails, whereas females have a clear tail.
How to Set Up an Aquarium for Clown Killifish
Because of their small size, rocket killies are one of the few species that can live in a 5-gallon nano tank 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: Which Tank Mates Are Acceptable?
Their brightly colored tails may make it tempting to get all males. But they can sometimes be territorial and will fight over each other. Try to get 1 male for every 2-3 women. They will feel more at home in their environment, and be able to display their natural social behavior.
They make a great community fish and can get along with any other peaceful fish they are not big enough to eat. We have previously kept them celestial Pearl danios(Danio margaritatus), Norman Lampeye killifish (“Poropanchax norme”), chili rasboras (“Boraras brigade”), chili rasboras (“Boraras boritae”), pygmy Cory catfish (“Corydoras piygmaeus”), snails and other nano-species.
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. 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 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. 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?
You can give them small, floating foods such as Easy Fry Food and crushed flakes. They are also open to slow-sinking foods like live baby brine shrimps, frozen cyclops or 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. 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. After the eggs hatch, you can then feed them tiny foods such as infusoria and vinegar eels.
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.