Information, Freshwater fish, Killifish, Live-bearers and killifish, Species

Clown Killifish (Epiplatys annulatus)

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by Jason Matthews



Clown killifish is a fascinating and unusual fish that has grown in popularity among pet owners. This article will delve into the fascinating world of the clown killifish, exploring its origin, appearance, size, behavior, tank conditions, diet, breeding, and much more.

Whether you’re a seasoned fish keeper or just starting, this article will provide all the information you need to care for your clown killifish and keep them healthy and happy for years.


Scientific Name: Epiplatys annulatus
Common Names: Clown Killifish, Banded Panchax
Life Expectancy: 3-5 years
Adult Size: 1.4 inches


HabitatSlow-moving rivers and streams
OriginWest Africa
Care LevelEasy
DietOmnivorous, accepting live, frozen or dry foods
Tank LevelBottom
Minimum Tank Size15 gallons
Water pH6.0-7.0
Water Temperature22-27°C (72-81°F)
Water HardnessSoft to medium
Tank MatesOther small, peaceful fish

Fun Fact Corner

One interesting fact about the Clown killifish is that they have been observed “falling in love” with their chosen mate. They will perform courtship rituals and form a strong bond, making them a unique and endearing species for aquarium enthusiasts. They are not only beautiful and easy to care for, but they also add a romantic touch to your tank.


The clown killifish, also known as the banded killifish, is native to West African slow-moving rivers and streams, specifically in Nigeria, Cameroon, and Gabon. These fish live in various environments, including swamps, lagoons, and floodplains.

The West African climate is distinguished by hot and humid weather, and the water bodies in this region are densely vegetated. This abundant insect life creates a diverse and rich habitat for the clown killifish.

Appearance & Size

The clown killifish is a small, brightly colored species with a slightly arched back and a forked tail. Their bodies are long and slender. The fins are small and transparent, and the scales are iridescent, making the fish shimmer in the light. The clown killifish’s most distinguishing feature is its vibrant coloration, ranging from bright yellow to deep orange, with black and blue stripes or spots. 

The clown killifish is a small species, with adults typically reaching a maximum length of 1.4 inches long.


The clown killifish is a sexually dimorphic species, which means that males and females have distinct physical characteristics. Male clown killifish are typically more colorful and have longer fins than females, with their coloration intensifying during the breeding season. On the other hand, female clown killifish are more drab in color and have a more rounded body shape as an adaptation to carrying eggs.

Even inexperienced aquarium keepers can distinguish between male and female clown killifish. The differences in body shape, coloration, and fin length allow for a simple visual examination to determine the gender of these fish. 


The clown killifish is a lively and active species well-suited to a community aquarium. Clown killifish are typically found in small shoals in the wild, and this social behavior is replicated in captivity. Fish in an aquarium will swim around the tank actively, exploring their surroundings and interacting with other fish species. Clown killifish are naturally playful and curious and will frequently investigate new objects in the tank.


When selecting tankmates for clown killifish, it’s important to choose species that are compatible in terms of water conditions, size, and temperament. It’s important to avoid keeping clown killifish with larger or aggressive fish species, as these may harm or stress the smaller fish. 

Here are a few good tankmates options for clown killifish:

  • Other peaceful, small fish species, such as tetras, rasboras, and danios
  • Shrimp, such as cherry shrimp or ghost shrimp
  • Snails, such as nerite snails or mystery snails
  • Live plants, such as Java fern or Anubias

Tank conditions

Clown killifish is a hardy species that can adapt to various water conditions. However, you must provide the proper tank conditions to keep your fish healthy and thriving. The ideal water temperature for clown killifish is 72°F to 82°F, with a pH of 6.5 to 7.5. The hardness of the water should be between 5 and 15 dH.

For a small group of clown killifish, a tank size of at least 20 gallons is recommended. In addition, the tank should be well-planted, with plenty of hiding spots and open swimming space. Good filtration is required to maintain good water quality and stability, essential for the fish’s health and well-being.

For clown killifish, lighting is also an important consideration. While these fish can tolerate a wide range of lighting conditions, they require a source of moderate to bright light. This will aid in preserving a healthy and natural environment for the fish and the growth of aquatic plants.


When it comes to a clown killifish diet, it’s critical to provide a varied and nutritious meal plan. These omnivorous fish feed on various foods in the wild, including small insects, crustaceans, and plant matter.

Clown killifish can be fed live and frozen foods in an aquarium, such as brine shrimp, daphnia, and bloodworms. They will also accept high-quality dry foods like flakes or pellets, but providing variety and supplementing their diet with live or frozen foods is important to ensure optimal health and nutrition.

It’s essential to avoid overfeeding clown killifish, as this can lead to poor water quality and an increased risk of disease. A good rule of thumb is to feed these fish small, frequent meals rather than one or two large daily feedings.


Breeding clown killifish can be a rewarding experience for experienced aquarists. These fish are relatively easy to breed, and with proper care and attention, it’s possible to raise a healthy and thriving population of clown killifish in your home aquarium.

To encourage breeding, provide optimal water conditions, including the proper temperature, pH, and water hardness. The water should be clean and well-filtered, and the tank should have plenty of hiding places and vegetation.

To keep the fish healthy and encourage breeding, provide a nutritious diet and plenty of live or frozen foods. Additionally, keep a mix of males and females in the tank, as clown killifish are known to be promiscuous and will frequently breed with multiple partners.

Once breeding begins, the female clown killifish will lay her eggs on the tank’s vegetation or other surfaces. The eggs will hatch in 2-3 days, and the fry can swim freely within a week. To ensure the fry’s survival and growth, keep a close eye on them and provide them with a varied and nutritious diet and plenty of hiding places.


The Clown Killifish is a tough and resilient species, but like all fish, it is susceptible to various diseases. Fin rot, Ich, and parasitic infections are all common diseases that can affect Clown Killifish. Fish owners must maintain good water quality and watch for signs of illness in their fish.

Fin rot is a bacterial infection that can cause frayed or eroded fins. This can happen due to poor water quality or injury from rough or sharp objects in the tank. 

Ich, also known as White Spot Disease, is a common parasite that causes small white spots on the skin and fins of fish. Because this parasite thrives in warm, stagnant water, keeping the tank’s water circulation and quality high is important.

Clown Killifish can be infected with parasites. These infections are caused by parasites such as flukes and nematodes and can result in lethargy, loss of appetite, and abnormal swimming behavior. Keep the tank clean and quarantine new fish before adding them to the tank to avoid parasitic infections.


Jason Matthews

My name is Jason Matthews, and welcome to my website. When other kids were bragging about how their dog could sit and roll over, I was bragging about my latest Betta Fish and the cool sea castle I just added to his aquarium. 

Jason aquariume

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