I would like to share my appreciation of, and interest in, the killifish with members of the club. I know that you probably get tired of hearing about my fish but I’ll keep trying and someday some of you other folks will get interested also. Almost all of my 35 tanks are used for the care and breeding of killifish. This month I would like to introduce the club to Epiplatys annulatus (Boulenger). Some authors are currently using the Genus name Pseudepiplatys for this group but that is beyond the scope of this article.
These lovely diminutive fish are native to Sierra Leone and Liberia in Africa. They never reach more than 3.0 cm in length. The overall appearance reminds one of a clown loach. The body is covered with alternating vertical bars of black and cream or yellow along the long axis. The iris of the eye is a transparent brilliant blue. The shape of the tail is called a “pintail” in that the inner most rays are longer than the dorsal or ventral rays. If the fish is well kept and healthy there is an upper and a lower horizontal red stripe on the tail.
Reproduction in these fish is similar to that for all killies. They lay a few eggs every day as long as conditions are good. The eggs are adhesive and attach to vegetation naturally or to the yarn mops that I have shown on many occasions. Most hobbyists who keep these fish would remove the mop after a few days and attempt to harvest the eggs and incubate them away from the adults. This can be done in 1 lb. plastic butter cartons.
I always use un-treated water straight from the tap. Some breeders use a drop or two of Methylene blue. This is supposed to have a fungicidal effect. Since the fish do just fine in Africa without this dye, I do not use it in my breeding attempts. I guess the chlorine probably helps keep down bacteria and fungus. I always include a sprig of Java Moss in with the eggs. This provides a hiding place and some microscopic critters to feed on when the new fry hatch.
Development is completed in about 15 days when the eggs are water incubated. As the eggs are extremely tiny so are the fry. I feed green water and APR (artificial plankton and rotifers) for the first few days and then go to microworms for several weeks until the fry are large enough to take baby brine. One has to be very careful to keep the fry in shallow water as they feed at the surface much like rainbow fry. These fish reach sexual maturity in about six months.
Now that I have explained the way I started breeding Epiplatys annulatus let me explain how I do it now that I have good numbers and do not need to maximize production. I currently have a well-planted 15 gallon tank that I leave alone and the numbers keep increasing. Fry are seen regularly at the surface when they are about 1mm in length. I assume that they feed on the microscopic life associated with the plants. It is important to keep the tank free of snails as they will eat the small eggs .
This is a very rare killie and would bring a premium price if one could find them in a pet shop. They are fairly easy to breed and raise so I guess the reason they are rare is that they lay only one or two eggs per day. Like any other fish this species may not be for you but if you put in the effort and time and have a little patience you can add another species to your lifetime breeder’s list.
Author: Ralph Taylor
From Vol. 1, No. 6, The Newsletter of The Tri-State Aquarium Society, May 1999
Source: Aquarticles (No longer available)