A Review of Wild Imports from West Africa Introduced into the BKA by Tim Addis & Alan Green
Tim Addis

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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

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 don’t 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

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 this form.

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 little.

They are quite a small sp for Epiplatys growing to about 5cm.

Breeding presented few problems even with 3 pairs closed up in a 3-gallon tank. I used 100% rainwater at a temperature of around 78’F. 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

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 time.

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 http://viewimages.killi.net/a/ANN/Guinee/CI-93/

CI5/93 – Micropanchax sp.

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 can’t 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 brine shrimp.

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

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

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 activity.

Males of both sp. Were aggressive & we put in extra mops, which cooled things down.

CI8/93 – Epiplatys fasciolatus fasciolatus

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

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 (70’F & 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 ANGONA.

I lost about half of the females to dropsy despite the tank being kept clean.

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 it’s 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 1980’s

Micropanchax sp. Micropanchax sp.

No.1 No.2

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 colourful form.

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