ARK - Arizona Rivulin Keepers



This article was written for the German Killifish Association website by their Epiplatys Work Group to help people have a better understanding of and success with these killifish. The translation from German is intended to convey the meaning in a readable style. Exceptional photographs of these fish can be seen on Winfried Stenglein's Page on the DKG server: Epiplatys Photo Page



Introduction to Epiplatys

What are Epiplatys?


The fish of the genus Epiplatys are old-world species native to Africa. Their distribution area extends from Senegal to the Nile and in the Congo basin. The name Epiplatys comes from the Greek and means "within the upper area flat", which refers to the flattened form of the front area on top of the head.

Ecology

The fish prefer small watercourses and pools with sandy bottoms. The juveniles inhabit the sunny locations; the adults remain in protected places. The water temperature is normally with 22 to 28C, with the species living in the Sahel (sub-Saharan) zone with up to 32C, and with the species of the inland forests with 20 to 22C.

Behavior

These killies live almost exclusively at or near the surface of the water. Their behavior can be described as generally motionless, pike-like, with occasional abrupt lunges at prey. The populations show clear rankings with only one dominant male in nature. The females and the juveniles live in open groups. They are non-annual killifish. Epiplatys are egg-layers, with only one species - Epiplatys bifasciatus - showing occasional internal fertilization with complete internal egg and embryo development. That process and its regularity are not well-known yet.

Body

The bodies of Epiplatys is elongated like a pike. The head is broad and flat above. The mouth curves upward. A characteristic feature is the dorsal fin, which only sets over the rear part of the anal fin. The caudal (tail) fin makes up about 30% of the body length. Their lower or middle rays are extended. D 06 - 15 A 13 - 20 mLR 25 - 32 n 17 - 25. The body shows usually clear transverse bars, longitudinal bands are visible when the fish are excited. Head and throat characterize the type-species. The top of the head has the so-called Pinealorgan, a spot, which serves as "the third eye" that enables surface-dwelling fish to perceive dangers from above in the form of light and dark fluctuations.

Maintenance and Breeding

Epiplatys species prefer to live at the water surface. They inhabit waters in the Savanna and in the rain forest. The fish are typical non-annual egg-layers. After approximately 12-18 days the eggs hatch. Epiplatys tend to become large (between 3 and 12 cm) and live up to 5 years. Spawning is relatively easy for most species. In general, a trio set up in a breeding tank works satisfactorily. With good foods and water quality, the fish should then spawn without any effort. For foods, mosquito larvae and meadow sweepings (captured small insects) are taken with relish. Water fleas (daphnia) and Artemia (brine shrimp) are recommended for the smaller species. The fish tank should be kept dark and offer a sufficient number of hiding places. The fish lose their shyness only in such a situation and then show their most beautiful colors. For those species with special requirements for breeding, this will be mentioned when discussing the species.


The Fasciolatus Species Group

Epiplatys fasciolatus and closely related species compose what is called a Species or Super Group. The actual number of distinct species and their abundance is still undetermined. Systematics are extremely uncertain.

Epiplatys fasciolatus fasciolatus

This is the type species of this group and is found in Guinea, Sierra Leone and in Liberia. It becomes large - up to 10 cm. The type species is, as are the other subspecies, in problem-free breeders. As a general caution, it is to be noted that the fish of this species group can very easily become fat and should accordingly be fed economically. The eggs develop in 12 to 15 days at 23C. The young fish are sexually mature after approximately 5 to 6 months.

Epiplatys fasciolatus josianae

This subspecies comes from the environment of Kenema in Sierra Leone. They grow to about 7 cm. Breeding is similar to the type species.

Epiplatys fasciolatus tototaensis

This subspecies comes from the environment of Totota in southwest Liberia. It is extremely hardy. In the original description, this subspecies differs from the type species by the black band in the anal fin and in the lower area of the caudal fin. Possibly this subspecies is a synonym for Epiplatys fasciolatus matlocki, a species which presently has no known location.

Epiplatys fasciolatus zimiensis

This subspecies originates from Sierra Leone and Liberia. They grow to about 7 cm. Breeding is also not difficult.

Epiplatys guineensis

This species originates from Guinea. They also grow to about 7 cm. Breeding is again not particularly difficult.

Epiplatys hildegardae

This very beautiful species comes from southern Guinea and northern Liberia. It grows to approximately 9 cm. Breeding is somewhat difficult as the fish is not particularly productive. This species is found in the area between the Epiplatys fasciolatus and the Epiplatys sexfasciatus Species Groups.

Epiplatys lamottei

This beautiful species is native to Guinea, Liberia and the Ivory Coast. They grow to about 7 cm. It is characteristic that the transverse bands usually fade with maturity. The pelvic fins are notably extended. The breeding of this species is unusual. The adults usually spawn only in fresh water at a pH value of over 7. It is also recommended to darken the tank well and to provide sufficient possible hiding place as this species is very easily frightened. In order to keep the pH value stable at over 7, it is recommended that some salt be added to the water. In no case should one add peat to the water. The water should have a temperature of about 23C. This species requires a high oxygen level in the water. For a spawning medium, Java Moss is recommended. For food, insects, particularly ants, work satisfactorily. The species can still be quite unproductive. Additionally the young fish are very sensitive and the eggs can fungus easily. Therefore it is recommended that this species be breed in a well-established aquarium. This species does not predate their eggs. Use only adults over 1 year for breeding.

Epiplatys njalaensis

Epiplatys njalaensis is found in Sierra Leone. This species ranks among the smallest this species group at 6 cm. The caudal fin extends somewhat off-center, and the body shows 10 to 12 diagonal bands. It has a beautiful blue body coloration. It is easy to breed. Nevertheless it is only sporadically found in the hobby.

Epiplatys olbrechtsi Group (part of the Fasciolatus Species Group)

This species and its subspecies are found in Liberia, the Ivory Coast and in Guinea. It occurs often together with Aplocheilichthys schioetzi. This species grow to approximately 9 cm and has red bordered scales. Breeding is not particularly difficult, however attention needs to be paid to controlled feeding to keep the fish from becoming fat. With some locations, the eggs tend to fungus very easily and one should put those eggs over peat. At present 5 subspecies are regarded as valid.

Epiplatys olbrechtsi olbrechtsi

This subspecies comes from central and eastern Liberia and the Ivory Coast. They grow to about 8 cm.

Epiplatys olbrechtsi azureus

This subspecies comes from central Liberia. They only reach about 6 cm in size. It is not particularly productive. Breeding activity can be promoted with water changes. The eggs fungus easily, and the young fish are very sensitive to infusoria.

Epiplatys olbrechtsi dauresi

This subspecies comes from the Ivory Coast. They grow to about 6 cm. Breeding is similar to the type species.

Epiplatys olbrechtsi kassiapleuensis

This subspecies comes from the western Ivory Coast. They reach about 6 cm in size. For breeding one should use only fish that are at least 1 year old, otherwise most eggs will be infertile. Additionally it is recommended to use Java Moss as spawning material - normally the fish eat their eggs, but they apparently do not find these in Java Moss. This subspecies is shy and one should keep them in darkened tanks. Some fish seem to be particularly susceptible to illness. In those cases, the addition of 1 teaspoon of salt per 10 liter is recommended. Many of the fish are not very beautiful and aquarists should cull these and not use them for breeding,

Epiplatys olbrechtsi puetzi

This subspecies was previously known as Epiplatys fasciolatus puetzi. It comes from Liberia. They grow to about 8 to 9 cm in size.

Epiplatys roloffi

This species occurs in Liberia, the Ivory Coast and in Guinea. It often inhabits the same waters as Roloffia viridis and Roloffia maeseni. The species allegedly grows to "only" 9 cm - some of my males have reached a size of approximately 12 cm. The anal fin is blue at the base. Along the edge it has a black band, followed from a blue-white band and then rows of red spots. Breeding of this species is extremely difficult. The water must be clean. The fish produce very few eggs. These should be kept on peat, otherwise they will surely fungus. In contrast to this is the easy maintenance of the species. All they need is clean water and moderate feeding.

Here is a story, that shows how tough this species can be. When one of the large males was no longer suitable for breeding, for lack of space, it was set up in an East African habitat tank containing barbs. Not only were the barbs relatively aggressive, the total hardness was with 12 DH! The male killifish did not seem to mind this change, in fact, just the opposite. The male, in a short time, had established the largest territory and was always first when food was introduced. Whenever a barb came into its territory, the killie would drive it away with an impression of violence. The barb was obviously surprised at the insolence of the male and disappeared immediately whenever it came into the proximity of the killie. One can probably say that this species surely ranks among most beautiful of killies - once you see an adult male in full splendor, you would surely acknowledge this.

Epiplatys ruhkopfi

This seldom kept species comes from the vicinity of Kaningali in Liberia. They grow to 8 cm in size and display 8 to 11 bars, which are usually not visible on the males. The species is beautiful, lively and peaceful. Maintenance and breeding do not pose difficulties, if one pays avoids infusoria poor water. Sometimes it happens that a pair does not want to spawn. If that occurs, rearrange your pairs as these fish can be picky about their partner. The species is relatively insensitive and tolerant about water conditions. Actually, it is too bad that this species is not kept more frequently.

Epiplatys spilargyreius

This species is common along the southern edge of the Sahel zone from Senegal through Chad to the Nile, and also in the Malebo pool (Stanley Pool) in Zaire. This species has the largest distribution area of all killifish in Africa. It is often found together with Epiplatys bifasciatus, Aplocheilichthys normani and Aplocheilichthys pfaffi. This species reaches 5 to 6 cm in size. The species is often very strongly variable. On the caudal fin, however, there is always transverse banding or a series of spots on the females, which facilitates the identification. Additionally the caudal fin is somewhat off center. Due to their habitat in a semiarid area, the temperature be maintained between 26 to 28 degrees C in the aquarium. This species always lives in hiding and is somewhat shy. This species socializes with Epiplatys bifasciatus, with which it occurs together in nature. It is recommended to keep several adults in a larger tank where they tend to lose some of their shyness. The water of the aquarium should be kept clean since the species can become very susceptible to infections and fungus illnesses. Breeding is difficult. The fish are spawn-robbers and eggs should be removed after spawning.


Epiplatys dageti Species Group

Epiplatys dageti dageti

The type species comes from the Ivory Coast, western Ghana and Liberia. It is frequently found together with Epiplatys bifasciatus, Epiplatys etzeli and Aplocheilichthys rancureli, and inhabits sump-like biotopes. The species grows to about 5 cm in size. The caudal fin is extended on the bottom edge. This species has 6 transverse bars, by which it can be distinguished from Epiplatys dageti monroviae. The type species is not very few common in the hobby - primarily because the other subspecies is more beautifully colored than dageti monroviae. The type species is easier to breed, mainly because the sex ratio is rather evenly balanced. The aquarium should be rather dark. The fish feel their best in clean, still water. Additionally, the tanks should not be too small, since this fish enjoys having room to swim around. This fish animals prefers temperatures between 21 and 28C. Thus they are well suited for outside tanks during summers. When fed well with "meadow sweepings" and other live foods, a pair can produce 200 to 300 eggs in a week. It is to be noted, however, that this species is a "spawn-robber." The egg development takes approximately 8 to 10 days.

Epiplatys dageti monroviae

This subspecies from the vicinity of Monrovia, Liberia, differs from the type species by having a red throat as well as having 5 - and not 6 - transverse bars. This subspecies has ranked for decades among the most popular of aquarium fish. The reasons are its attractive coloring and it is offers few problems when breeding. On this last note, it should be mentioned that the sex ratio is often very unfavorable. When this happens it is often worthwhile to modify the temperature. Other than this, this species is undemanding. It eats everything, requires no special water conditions and is remarkably social for a killifish. If one wants to see this fish in the splendor of full color, use a tank with soft to moderately hard water, provide qualitatively good foods and reduced lighting. Other requirements are the same as the type species.

Epiplatys etzeli

This species comes from the south of the Ivory Coast. It reaches about 6 cm. For maintenance, a dark tank with many hiding places and a peat substrate is recommended. The males of the species are very aggressive among themselves. Additionally this species - which is unusual for Epiplatys species - lives relatively soil-oriented. If bred in the set-up described, there should not be any unusual problems. The eggs are best incubated in peat. The peat can be harvested and partially dried for approximately 2 to 3 weeks.

Epiplatys sexfasciatus Species Group

Epiplatys chaperi Group


Epiplays chaperi comes from southwestern Ghana, southern Togo and the southeast portion of the Ivory Coast. This species replaces Epiplatys togolensis west of the Togo Hills. In areas of its range this species occurs together with Epiplatys dageti. It is reaches up to 6 cm in size and is marked by 4 to 5 transverse bars. For breeding, it is to be noted that some populations often produce very unfavorable sex ratios. However, the fish are very productive and very easy to breed. This species displays its best coloration in a darkened aquarium.

Epiplatys chaperi chaperi

The type species is best known from the original location of "Angona." It has 4 transverse bars. The fish from the original location surely ranks among the most beautiful Epiplatys species. Breeding is relatively easy. However, pay attention to the amount fed as this species has a tendency to become very fat and this happens easily. One problem with this subspecies is a very frequent uneven sex ratio.

Epiplatys chaperi schreiberi

Epiplatys chaperi schreiberi occurs in west Ghana in the vicinity of Kumasi. It is often found together with Fundulopanchax walkeri. It is characterized by 4 transverse bars. The subspecies occurs only in very slowly flowing waters, so do not have a strong current in the aquarium. The sub-species is very aggressive towards other similar-looking fish. The fish are also "spawn-robbers."

Epiplatys chaperi sheljuzhkoi

This subspecies is common in the vicinity of Abijan in the Ivory Coast. It often occurs sympatrically with Epiplatys dageti. This subspecies has 5 transverse bars, but in the adult males often only the rear ones are visible. The subspecies has larger red spots than the other subspecies of Epiplatys chaperi. Additionally the body shows 6 longitudinal series of red spots. The males are aggressive toward one another.

Epiplatys chaperi spillmanni

Epiplatys chaperi spillmanni comes from Bouake in the Ivory Coast. It is commonly found with Aplocheilichthys schioetzi, Epiplatys etzeli, Roloffia petersi and Aplocheilichthys pfaffi. The subspecies has 4 - 5 transverse bars, that do not fade (as with Epiplatys chaperi sheljuzhkoi) and, additionally, these are distributed over the whole body. The caudal fin is larger on the lower portion. This subspecies is peacefully and quite lively.


Epiplatys sexfasciatus Group

The following is a reference to applies both to E. sexfasciatus and its subspecies as well as to the species E. togolensis, E. rathkei and E. baroi. These latter have been considered as subspecies of E. sexfasciatus for a long tome. For breeding these fish, there is a simple rule: the further a fish is found to the south or to the east, the more difficult it is. At first glance, that does not seem to be particularly logical. If one considers however that the northwest area of distribution for this group of species is the Savanna region is, while the southeast portion of their range is in the deepest rain forest of the Congo basin, then that statement becomes more understandable. It is frequently noted that Savanna species are bred more easily than their rain forest relatives.

These fish are characterized by the fact that they grow slowly - only after 8 or 9 months do they reach sexual maturity. For maintenance, pay attention to providing clean water, since these fish are very susceptible to fin rot. Additionally, these fish are stimulated to spawn after water changes, not however in still water. The type species, Epiplatys sexfasciatus sexfasciatus, is an exception here as it is sensitive to fresh water.

For breeding, only fish that are older than 1 year should be set up. Younger fish produce few eggs. The aquarium should be relatively dark, as this helps the fish comfortable and they will then lay more eggs. The eggs should be removed, since the adults are "spawn-robbers." Generally, the eggs of the fish should be stored over peat. These fish are very lively and also contentious.

Epiplatys sexfasciatus sexfasciatus

The type species is common in Gabon. It is a medium-sized (around 8 cm in size) and relatively inconspicuous species - in contrast to most other representatives of this species group. The caudal fin is strongly extended in the center.

Epiplatys sexfasciatus infrafasciatus

This subspecies comes from southeast Nigeria, from the coastal areas of Cameroon, and from Fernando Poo. In contrast to Epiplatys baroi and Epiplatys rathkei which are now considered full species, this fish is still considered a subspecies.

Epiplatys baroi

With this species we come now to the Epiplatys sexfasciatus s.l. - species from Cameroon. These are the species which we previously thought of when someone spoke about Epiplatys sexfasciatus. For a short time, the species from Cameroon were also called Epiplatys sexfasciatus infrafasciatus - that name now refers, as mentioned previously, only to the species from Nigeria. Epipatys baroi comes from the vicinity of Kribi and extends into southern Cameroon. This species grows to about 7 to 9 cm in size. The body basic colour is red-brown. Its orange fins are particularly remarkable. This species has 6 dark transverse bars. That is of importance when we will distinguish this species from similar-looking species that differ most noticeably by the number of transverse bars.

Epiplatys rathkei

With this species we come to the second of the three species of this group from Cameroon. It is found in the vicinity of Kribi and extends into west Cameroon. They reach about 10 cm in size. The scales have red edging. E. rathkei can be distinguished from Epiplatys baroi by the fact that it has 9 to 11 transverse bars. This species should not be kept with smaller fish, as it is very aggressive towards these. Because they are inclined toward cannibalism, the young fish of this species should be separated by size.

Epiplatys togolensis

Before we discuss the last species of this group from Cameroon, we will review another species that was once considered to be a subspecies of Epiplatys sexfasciatus. This species is now Epiplatys togolensis. This species occurs in Togo and Ghana. Measuring about 7 cm in size, it ranks among the medium-sized species of the Epiplatys group. The caudal fin is markedly off center. The coloring of the fish varies strongly. Again, this species can be distinguished from Epiplatys rathkei and Epiplatys baroi by the transverse bars. Here there are 6 to 8 transverse bars and 4 to 7 narrow longitudinal rows of brown-red spots. This species is less colorful than the other two mentioned. The males of this species are relatively aggressive toward the females. This species is a quite hardy and can easily be bred. Also, this species tends to become fat easily, if fed on worms.

Epiplatys esekanus

Epiplatys esekanus is the third species of the group from Cameroon. They come from the vicinity of Eseka. The species is peaceful, but shy. This species is sensitive to water pollution, should be kept in darkened tanks, and absolutely requires a variety of live foods - a difficult species. If this fish feels well, it can however be very prolific. The fry are very sensitive to infusoria-rich water and need regular water changes. After hatching, they should be kept in small, shallow petri dishes (or something similar) containing only a little water for the first 14 days. This water should be slightly acidic, so that remains low in infusoria and other small organisms. Additionally, aeration is recommended, as the fry fish require much oxygen. The fry are not able to eat Artemia immediately. This problem can be overcome by raising them in a well-planted aquarium with good aeration. There the fry should be able to find sufficient food for their first days. The species should not be kept other Epiplatys species as they these are very aggressive.

Epiplatys longiventralis

Epiplatys longiventralis comes from the area of the Niger Delta. It is found in association with with Epiplatys sexfasciatus infrafasciatus and grahami. This species grows to 10 cm and is quite variable in appearance. It can be distinguished from Epiplatys sexfasciatus infrafasciatus by the following features:

  • slimmer
  • fewer dorsal fin extensions
  • fewer red spots on the flanks
  • transverse bars on the adult males clearly marked
  • young fish with 8-13 (or more) transverse bars


    It should be noted that crossing attempts with Epiplatys sexfasciatus infrafasciatus produced a fertile F1 generation. This causes concerns about whether this is a valid species, although, in nature, no hybrids have been found, even though both occur together. Breeding is not easy. The fish require clean, soft water and good quality foods.

    Epiplatys singa Species Group


    Epiplatys singa

    This species type is common along the coastal lowlands of Gabon, the Congo and Zaire. They reach about 6 cm in size. This species is not strongly patterned, but does have an irridescent eye. It is none-the-less attractive with nice coloration in the area of the throat. The species is somewhat timid and should be kept in a darkened tank. Breeding is very easy. Best success comes using still, but clean water, and feeding mosquito larvae. Under those conditions, a pair can easily produce 80 to 100 eggs per week. The fry reach sexual maturity after approximately 8 months.

    Epiplatys grahami

    This species is common in Nigeria, Cameroon and in Gabon. It belongs ranks among the medium-sized species of the Epiplatys group, growing to about approximately 7 cm. The species displays 5 to 6 transverse bars. Another characteristic is their green eye. Breeding is very easy, however, the fry must be separated, since they are inclined to cannibalism.

    Epiplatys sangmelinensis Species Group


    Epiplatys sangmelinensis

    This species is common in the inland plateau of south Cameroon and north Gabon. This species grows to about 5 cm in size. The caudal fin is off-center. The males of this species are aggressive among themselves. For maintenance, clean soft rain water works well. The aquarium should be densely planted due to the aggressiveness of the males. This species is found in nature with Aphyosemion species and Lamp-Eyes so a community aquarium is possible. For breeding, a plentiful supply of live foods is required. One should avoid using worms, because this species can easily become overweight. Spawning is difficult as the fish are very unproductive. Generally, breeders of at least 1 to 1.5 years of age should be used, otherwise almost no will be eggs obtained. The fry are very sensitive to pollution and grow very slowly. They only reach sexual maturity after approximately one year. These conditions also apply to Aphyosemion cameronense, with which this species often lives sympatrically.

    Epiplatys neumanni

    This species originates from northern Gabon and southern Cameroon. It reaches about 5 cm in size. The body of this species shows clear transverse bars. Spawning is the same as for Epiplatys sangmelinensis. The fish are relatively unproductive. Additionally spawnings generally produce more males than females.

    Epiplatys multifasciatus Species Group


    Epiplatys multifasciatus

    This species is common in Gabon, the Congo and Zaire. It is found together with Epiplatys chevalieri nigricans, Adamas formosus and Aphyosemion species affinis elegans. It grows to 7 cm in size. The caudal fin is extended. Breeding this species is very difficult. The eggs are very large and fungus very easily. The fish seem to feel their best in still, but clean, water. If you are able to spawn this species, the eggs should be incubated on peat.

    Epiplatys ansorgii

    This species comes from central Gabon. This species was more commonly known as Epiplatys berkenkampi and comes from the locations where it was collected. The fish will reach about 7 cm in size and have 5 bars on their body. The fins are orange. For maintenance, use a darkened aquarium. This species is intermediary between the Epiplatys multifasciatus - and the Epiplatys sexfasciatus - groups of species. Breeding is difficult as the eggs fungus very easily. The water should be acidic. Water changes promote spawning behavior. The fish are "spawn-robbers." The fry should be reared in water with peat extract or in "aged" water. It should be noted that spawning does not occur immediately after a water change, but there is a waiting period before it then occurs.

    Epiplatys chevalieri

    Epiplatys chevalieri chevalieri

    Epiplatys chevalieri chevalieri comes from the Congo basin of Zaire. There it is commonly found together with Epiplatys multifasciatus, Adamas formosus and Aphyosemion species affinis elegans. This species grows up to 6 cm in size and can be distinguished by their 5 to 6 longitudinal series of red spots. For maintenance and breeding, pay particular attention to providing clean, soft water as this species is very sensitive to infusoria-rich water. Clean, rain water has worked well. Keep this species where they have plenty of room as they are very active and enjoy moving around. This species is not a "spawn-robber" so you can maintain the fish in a permanent set-up. The eggs of this species are strongly pigmented. The egg development lasts approximately 19 days with 24C - a very long time for Epiplatys. When breeding, you will often produce more males than females. The fry become sexually mature after approximately 6 months. However, they should not be used for breeding until they are at least one year old.

    Epiplatys chevalieri nigricans

    This subspecies comes from the northeast of Zaire. It reaches about 5 to 6 cm in size. The fish are peaceful and very shy. Breeding is the approximately the same as the type species. The eggs should be incubated over peat, otherwise they will easily fungus.

    Epiplatys huberi

    This species is common in the hill country of southern Gabon and in the People's Republic of the Congo. The fish grow to about 6 cm in size. The body shows 5 to 6 blue-black stripes. This species is very peaceful. For breeding, good foods and clean water are most important. As spawning material, a clump of fibrous peat hanging in the water works well. These can be easily removed and dried with the eggs being stored for 2 to 3 weeks. The fry should be separated by size.

    Epiplatys mesogramma

    This species is found in the Central African Republic. It can attain a size of about 5 cm and has 6 transverse bars. The fish are shy and very sensitive to water pollution. Their tank should include some hiding places and not be too brightly lit. This species prefers still water. Other than this, maintenance and breeding is the same as for Epiplatys huberi.

    Epiplatys phoeniceps

    This species occurs in the high country in the eastern Congo. Characteristic of this species are 7 transverse bars - Epiplatys multifasciatus has only 5. This species grows to about 6 cm in size. The males of this species can be somewhat aggressive toward the females. Maintenance and breeding are problematic as this species is sensitive to pollution. Their eggs should be kept on peat.

    Epiplatys bifasciatus Species Group


    Epiplatys bifasciatus

    Epiplatys bifasciatus has a very large distribution area. It ranges from Senegal into the Sudan in Nile basin, and additionally in the lower area of the Congo where a location was discovered which is isolated from the main distribution area. This species is a Savanna dweller and thus it desires variations in temperature for best aquarium maintenance results. The anal fin and the caudal fin are strongly extended. This species grows to about 5 cm in size. For maintenance one should provide a darkened aquarium as this species is very easily frightened. The temperature should be kept between 25 to 27C. The eggs of the species are sensitive to infusoria-rich water and pollution. One method that works satisfactorily is to allow the adults to spawn in an aquarium and then the adult fish so that the eggs can hatch and the fry grow up in that tank.

    Epiplatys barmoiensis

    This species is found in the Savannas of Sierra Leone, Liberia and Nigeria. One characteristic is the placement of the pelvic fins far to the back. This species is very peaceful. The aquarium should be somewhat larger than for most Epiplatys as these fish enjoy being able to swim around. For breeding, using clean rain water has worked well. You will find uneven sex rations after spawning with the males heavily outweighing the females.

    Epiplatys biafranus

    This species comes from southeast Nigeria. They grow to about 5 cm in size and have a caudal fin that is somewhat off-center. The males are very contentious. The fish are very sensitive to poor water quality. In order to breed this species, above all else, a varied diet of good foods is important.

    Epiplatys annulatus Species Group


    Epiplatys annulatus

    This popular species is common in Guinea and Sierra Leone. There it found in the same habitats as Epiplatys fasciolatus and bifasciatus. Do not, however, keep these species together in the aquarium as, in nature, these two prey on the smaller annulatus. These survive only because they stay in the heavily weeded riparian zones, into which the large species cannot penetrate. This species only grows to about 3 to 4 cm. The caudal fin is particularly noted for being strongly off-center. The fish are very peaceful, and it is possible and, even recommended, for breeding to keep several pairs in the same aquarium. Breeding should take place extensively, and this is best done when the pairs are provided a densely planted tank. You can also allow a gentle current in the aquarium. Regular water changes are important, as the fish only spawn in clean fresh water. The water conditions should be approximately 5 total hardness and at a pH value of approximately 5 to 6.5. An addition of peat is recommended. For aquarium plants, fine-leafed plants, and particularly Java Moss, are recommended. The temperature should be maintained at over 25C. For foods, Artemia, Cyclops and water fleas are readily taken. In a hatching tank, one should avoid using Cyclops, as these can eat the very small, newly hatched, fry. The eggs can be left in the aquarium with the adults as the parents are not "spawn-robbers." The eggs hatch after 9 to 11 days at 27C. After 5 to 6 months, the young fish become sexually mature. Generally, the fish of the location "Kasawe Forest" are easier to breed than those from "Monrovia."

    The Genus Pachypanchax


    The genus Pachypanchax occurs mainly on Madagascar, but also has spread to the Seychelle Islands and Zanzibar. The habitat of the fish is unusual: apart from the usual killifish biotopes they are also found brackish water biotopes and fast-flowing waters. Their body is torpedo-shaped. The dorsal fin begins over the center of the anal fin.

    Pachypanchax omalonotus

    This species comes from Madagascar. It can be found in all biotopes specified before, including brackish water. In the hobby, red and blue versions are represented by the original location site of " Nosy Be." It is a large killie growing to approximately 10 cm. The fish are quite easy to breed, even if the males are rough toward the females as well as one another. The eggs of this species are large. Their development takes about 12 to 16 days at 24- 27C. Frequently you will obtain more females than males from spawnings - particularly at lower temperatures.

    Pachypanchax playfairii

    This type is common on The Seychelles and Zanzibar. Like Pachypanchax omalonotus this species also occurs in brackish water. It should be noted that fish from brackish water biotopes are able to grow larger than those in fresh water habitats. Normally the fish "only" reaches about 10 cm in size. For maintenance and breeding, this species is similar to Pachypanchax omalonotus, however the males are more aggressive. The aquarium should be darkened and the water moderately hard. The fish are very active "spawn robbers." Also the male fry must be separated by size, as they are inclined to cannibalism. A very remarkable characteristic of this species is the way the scales protrude from the bodies of the males.

    Pachypanchax sakaramyi

    This species is not well-known. It comes from Madagascar. Lately some have been available in the hobby in Europe.

  • Published with permission Michael.Redinger@uibk.ac.at