Over the years Alan & myself have been fortunate to find wild
killifish through our contacts with the trade. These have been bred &
distributed to killie keepers worldwide.
In April 1994 I wrote an article in the BKA Newsletter (No.343) with
details of 9 new imports of wild fish. Small black & white
photographs accompanied this.
This website article is a re-write of this article with colour
images of these & other fish imported. Unless otherwise stated all
images are of wild fish.
In 1993 we sorted out a few oddies in dealers shipments from West
Africa. These were brought round & bred with the resulting
eggs/fish distributed to killie keepers worldwide in the hope they
would be maintained in captivity through following generations.
Exact locations are very difficult to get, as these are commercial
fishermen with no interest in such things. Occasionally we do get a
location & this is used where possible.
It was decided to use the code CI /93. The CI representing
Commercial import & 93 the year of import. Everyone these days it
seems uses CI so with hindsight it was perhaps not such a good idea.
CI 1/93 Epiplatys sexfasciatus Lagos
The 1 in this code is used to separate the different fish.
This sp is found quite commonly mixed in with other sp. They are a
widespread sp & vary in colouration. Whilst they dont win
trophies for colouration they are easy to maintain & breed. Males
however can be aggressive & can kill rival males so plenty of
cover to hide is recommended.
Eggs can be found in top or bottom mops & taken out for storage
on damp peat (semi-dried). Using this latter method eggs can be stored
for a month, in fact I have kept them for up to 6 weeks. In water they
generally hatch in the usual 2-3 weeks. Fry take newly hatched brine
shrimp as a first food.
CI 2/93 Epiplatys bifasciatus
This sp has a very large distribution area ranging from Gambia &
Senegal through to Sudan in Eastern Africa. This population was
probably caught on the border area of Sierra Leone & Guinea.
The colouration was interesting in that the caudal fin possessed no
spots but is a clear lemon colour. I have seen no photographs close to
We received about 15 fish which when put together proved territorial
& would often fight over territory or females. No real damage was
done during this fighting, it seemed to consist of standing side by
side with spread fins. Colouration heightened also. What was
interesting was the way they would push their heads upwards making the
back form a letter S.
I decided to put a couple of pairs of these wild fish into an
auction to thin them down a bit which seemed to cool things down a
They are quite a small sp for Epiplatys growing to about
Breeding presented few problems even with 3 pairs closed up in a
3-gallon tank. I used 100% rainwater at a temperature of around 78F.
Eggs are quite large & are found on top & bottom mops. Water
incubation hatches them out in the usual 2-3 weeks. Fry are no problem
to raise on normal foods.
CI 3/93 Epiplatys fasciolatus fasciolatus
This was one of the most exciting discoveries. The colouration of
this population is very intense being yellow green across the back
extending down into the caudal fin which is very bright. The outer
extension filaments are white. Under the throat extending down to the
stomach 2 lines of red run in a straight line.
Only 2 fish could be found which luckily turned out to be a pair.
These were kept cool & dark & layed around 1000eggs in 14 days
with a maximum yield of 116 eggs in a 24-hour period. Eggs were
originally incubated in water but there were so many I ended up
putting them on damp peat in order to get more to hatch at the same
CI 4/93 Pseudepiplatys annulatus
These were probably caught in the Conakry region close to the border
with Sierra Leone & Guinea. The code should however still be used
to avoid cross population breeding in the future.
I kept these in 100% rainwater on the top row of my fish house,
which received a lot of sunlight. Plenty of plants were included in
the set up in the form of Ceratopteris (Indian Fern). This
gave plenty of shade & gave the tank a more natural look.
Floating & sunken mops were added which the 2 pairs laid eggs
on. These are very small. At first all the eggs were infertile but
they slowly became more fertile as the fish matured. Eggs laid could
be as many as 40 in a day but 6-10 was the average.
As the eggs hatched these tiny black slivers were transferred to an
old mature tank containing natural infusoria & rotifers. A lump of
beefheart added a week before you add the fry provides the infusoria.
A picture of this population can be found here
CI5/93 Micropanchax sp.
Most probably M.rancurelli. These are imported by the bucket
load. They are one of my favourite killies. In the right set up you
cant beat a schoal of these characters. By right set up I mean
similar to that described above for Ps.annulatus. With
sunlight & floating plants for shade. They stay at the back of the
tank if frightened but soon come forward when fed on newly hatched
The silver body & bright blue eyes shine out in this set up.
Eggs are large & layed in floating mops, you can quickly become
inundated with fry.
One interesting observation was eggs layed in murky green water were
bright yellow whilst those layed in clear water were clear.
About this time we also had M.schioetzi but these were
unfortunately lost before we could get them going.
CI6/93 Aphyosemion geryi
Perhaps the most colourful fish we have found in imports. The colour
image really does live up to the fish colour being a deep maroon
red/purple over most of the body.
We originally found 5 pairs but passed 3 pairs on. These were kept
in cool, dark tanks. These were bare apart from a handful of peat.
Again total rainwater was used. They seemed prolific for a few weeks
laying as many as 20-40 eggs per day & then suddenly egg
production stops with nothing being layed for 8-10 weeks. Egg sizes
did appear to vary.
Females are also colourful with a lot of golden yellow on the body.
Young females also exhibit this colouration. Females were seen to
differ in patterning with some showing a horizontal line down the body
& others being clear. It is possible this may be a fright pattern.
On arrival these fish had white parasitic growths on the body which
seemed to resist all attempts to kill off. This is a common occurrence
with many wild imports. Some of these parasites go through a cycle
requiring snails as a host, which are eaten by fish. Fish are eaten by
birds whose faeces are eaten by snails.
Eventually the parasites cleared themselves off the fish.
There was later some confusion as a similar fish appeared in an
article by Cauvet called Roloffia sp. KINDIA. This was caught in
Guinea in 1990.
CI7/93 Aphyosemion roloffi
This was a colourful fish with the rear half of the body being very
dark. We had 3 pairs, which were split up into breeding tanks. Nothing
happened, despite changing the set ups they were beating us. Beating
us that is until one day they presented us with about 50 eggs.
It would seem that both these & the geryi above share a
seasonal spawning pattern or at least a period of no spawning
Males of both sp. Were aggressive & we put in extra mops, which
cooled things down.
CI8/93 Epiplatys fasciolatus fasciolatus
This fish has similarities with CI3/93 mentioned previously but did
not have a red throat marking. Two distinct differences separate the
two forms, one being the caudal fin, which is yellow with an orange
tip to the extremities. This fin is quite colourful. The other
difference is in the pectoral fins which have pale blue extensions in
a couple of the rays which extend as long as the length of the main
pectoral fin. This extension is similar to that found in Ps.annulatus.
We had 1 female & 5 males but they were quite peaceful together &
layed 10-30 eggs daily.
CI9/93 Epiplatys chaperi schreiberi
These came from a very small puddle of water on the verge of drying
out. This pool was found at high altitude & consequently I split
the fish up into tanks at the bottom of my fish house where it was
cool (70F & below).
Males were quite aggressive & 3-4 mops were used in each tank.
Eggs appeared regularly on top & bottom mops. They were quite
large especially when compared to the small eggs of E.chaperi
I lost about half of the females to dropsy despite the tank being
At the time of collection an extensive search of the area failed to
find any other E.chaperi schreiberi & other searches later
also proved fruitless.
This sub sp. Is drably coloured apart from the bright area at the
top of the caudal fin so its doubtful they would remain in
captivity long save for the die hard Epiplatys keeper which
are about as rare sadly as this fish.
Following on from this article we have had quite a few other fish
pass through the fish house, which are listed below.
Micropanchax sp. Imported mid 1980s
I found 2 Micropanchax sp. in a shipment from Harare,
Zimbabwe. I called them No.1 & No.2. Although I spawned &
raised No.1 no fish were distributed, as females all looked alike &
there was no certainty of pairing them up correctly. No.2 was a