Pseudepiplatys annulatus

A miniature killifish known in the trade as the Clown Killie – Pseudepiplatys annulatus originates from West Africa. This species inhabits lowland swamps, slowly-moving streams and small rivers in areas of open savannah and tropical rainforest where it’s found among marginal vegetation or aquatic plants. The climate across its range is hot and wet with a pronounced wet season between April – May and October – November, and most rivers tend to run perennially. The water is generally warm, soft and acidic. The colourful stripes of the clown killie, coupled with its miniature size, make it great for smaller setups.

We keep and breed them in a heavily-planted set-up or so called natural-style arrangement comprising a sandy and/or coir substrate plus some leaf litter. We always use plenty of fine plants like Java Moss, Riccia, Cabomba and so on. There are always floating plants in the tank like Salvinia or Lemna, they reduce light if any above the tank, serve as a hiding place for fry and a place where micro food like Paramecium present all the time, moreover it’s a good natural water filter. As I have already mentioned above the addition of dried leaf litter would further emphasise the natural feel and as well as offering additional cover for the fish brings with it the growth of microbe colonies as decomposition occurs. These can provide a valuable secondary food source for fry and the humic substances released by the decaying leaves are also considered beneficial, with alder cones also useful in this respect. It’s also sensitive to fluctuating or deteriorating water conditions and should never be added to biologically-immature aquaria. Pseudepiplatys annulatus require clean and well filtered water. It’s a non-aggressive species towards congeners other than some harmless belligerence exhibited between courting males and tends to look most effective and behave more confidently in a group. Pseudepiplatys annulatus must be provided with live foods of a suitable size. A combination of small-grade Bloodworm, White Worms, Daphnia, Tubifex, and Brine Shrimp or similar appears to be ideal.

This is a very small fish. They don’t grow larger than 30 – 35 mm. Males are more colourful, develop more-extended fins and grow slightly larger than females. Relatively easy to breed and in a well-decorated, mature species set-up fry may begin to appear without further intervention. Usually I use a breeding group of 3 pairs per breeding tank with preferring to remove and replace the medium every few days, incubating and hatching the eggs elsewhere, while others simply leave everything in situ until free-swimming fry can be seen near the water surface. The incubation period is around 10 – 14 days at 24°C – 25 °C. Provided the plants used are mature the fry are usually able to survive on the microorganisms which are present naturally, and a dried leaf or two can be added which will also promote the growth of such animals. But it’s always good to add some amount of Paramecium culture every day to the growing tank. Apparently the adults don’t predate their offspring but older fry do eat the younger so should be moved elsewhere as soon as they’re large enough. It’s important to omit larger invertebrates such as snails or shrimp from the breeding tank as they will consume Pseudepiplatys annulatus eggs.

Species Summary:

  • Scientific Name: Pseudepiplatys annulatus (M. Kottelat, 1990)
  • Family: Nothobranchidae
  • Origin: West Africa
  • Disposition: Active, Peaceful, Schooling Fish
  • Total Length: 30 – 35 mm
  • Spawning Method: Egg Scatterer
  • Breeding Proportion: Group of 2M : 6F or 3M : 9F
  • Breeding Difficulty: Demanding
  • Incubation Period: 12 – 14 days at 24°C – 25 °C
  • Fry Size: Very Small (require Paramecium after hatching)
  • Sexual Maturity: 7 – 8 Months
  • Life Span: 2 – 3 Years (depends on food and keeping conditions)
  • Filtration: Moderate
  • Water Changes: 50% Weekly (good filtration is required)
  • General Hardness: 0 – 5 dGH
  • pH: 5.5 – 6.5
  • Temperature Range: 23°C – 25°C
  • Lighting: Normal Light
  • Diet: Live Foods
  • Keeping Difficulty: Less Demanding

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