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? Say hello to Epiplatys annulatus, also known as the clown killi, rocket killifish, and banded panchax. 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 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.
Male rocket killifish have brightly colored tails, whereas females have a clear tail.
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. They originally come from slow-moving streams and swamps near the coasts of west Africa, so provide a gentle filter with low flow (like a sponge filter) and lots of floating plants for 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. Actually, it can slow their metabolism and extend their life span of only 2-3 years.
Rocket Killifish: Which Tank Mates Are Acceptable?
You may feel tempted to buy all males due to their brightly colored tails. However, they can be territorial and sometimes fight 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 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 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. However, baby shrimp are fair game, so we don’t recommend keeping them together if you plan on selling shrimp for profit. 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. Keep the fry alive by keeping them in a specific species-only tank. The eggs can then be removed and hatched in a separate grow-out or breeding box. 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.