© Strood and District Aquarist Society HOME home 37. Aplocheilus panchax Hamilton 1822

Without doubt, one of the easiest killis to keep and breed. A real beginners fish but an interesting one none the less. I collected these when in India in February last year at the holding farm of the principle Indian fish exporter. Nothing special about the living conditions. They were caught in one of the local rice paddies and there were literally thousands of them. No need to go miles to fulfil an order for this species. Just a two minute walk down a track and there they are.

I had some sent back to me and they have proved to be an extremely nice looking fish that is well suited to aquarium life. I keep mine in moderately hard water – probably around 10degrees German and at a temperature of around 20°C. They will happily live in our local tap water which is very hard but eggs tend to be non viable. They will also live in very high temperatures – it reaches 40°C in Calcutta during the summer.

Breeding is accomplished by the usual floating mop method. They are top spawning fish and lay quite prolific numbers of large eggs. I always harvest the eggs on a daily basis and keep them in a small container floating in the main tank. They take around ten days to hatch – depending on temperature. The young fry are transferred to a small 10 x 8 x 8 inch tank and are capable of taking newly hatched brine shrimp almost immediately. Growth is quite rapid and it is not long before they graduate onto chopped tubifex worms. I add a large Ampullaria snail to the tank to keep down the uneaten food and after one week; start to do water daily changes of 20% or so. I believe it is absolutely vital to change water on all young fish as that will greatly assist them in their growth potential. I usually move them to a larger 18inch tank when they reach half an inch. Within three months, the young fish are sexed out and are ready to start spawning themselves.

I currently have panchax from two locations in India. The one pictured is from the village of Udayrampur near Kolkata. These are by far the best coloured of the two. The other one is from Garapota which is also in West Bengal. There must be many colour morphs of this species as it is found over such a large area. Countries where it is known to be present include India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Viet Nam, Malaysia to name but some of them.

If you are new to killifish and you want to try breeding then this is a good one to start with.

© P.W.Cottle & SDAS 2007.