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
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. These fish were originally found in slow-moving swamps and streams near the west African coast. To protect them, you should use a gentle filter that has low flow (a sponge filter) with lots of floating plants.
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?
Because of their brightly colored tails, you may be tempted to get all males, but they can sometimes be a bit territorial with 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. 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.
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. Other betta fish don’t mind the extra company and will completely ignore them, so you can always try to house them together and then separate them if needed.
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. 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?
It should be easy to breed if there is the right mix of males and women, as we have already mentioned. Clown killies are attracted to dense floating plants such as dwarf water lettuce or riccia, which have clean water and abundant 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. The eggs should hatch in about 1.5 weeks, and then you can feed the babies tiny foods like infusoria, vinegar eels, powder fry food, and live baby brine shrimp.
Use dense floating plants to encourage spawning and provide more cover for the babies if you plan on colony breeding (i.e., keeping the adults together with the 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.