Epiplatys bifasciatus

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(Steindachner 1881) B.K.A. Information Pamphlet No.78 February 1972

Biotope: A species which has a very wide distribution extending from the Nile drainage to the Chad drainage systems. Found in quite rivers, streams and small overflow pools. Water conditions most variable between the various populations and can range from decidedly acid to neutral. Waters usually having some surface aquatic vegetation. No pH or DH available.

Description of the male: Dorsally pale yellow green turning to olive towards the caudal. Head pointed and flattened as for the Epiplatys genus, several streaks of crimson or red upon the gill covers. The mouth has some darkening of the lip areas. Flanks pale yellow to pale green and having a dark lateral band, crimson diagonal bars extend from the dorsum to the top half of the lateral band, some bright greenish highlights present. Belly region yellowish superimposed by some minute red spotting. The dorsal fin is placed well towards the caudal light yellow basically with some red streaks and an incomplete dark thin margin. Caudal bold with the centre rays extended pale yellow in colour and having red spotting which tend to form into crescent patterns. The lower half of the caudal is almost transparent with a dark margin. The anal yellowish and has a thin dark margin. The posterior rays are drawn out to form a fairly long filament. Pelvics greenish tipped crimson with a slightly filamented appearance. Pectorals transparent to pale orange. Size of male: About 2".

Description of female: A rather slender and fragile looking creature being a very pale brassy yellow on the flanks and upon which is imposed a dark lateral line, above this is some dark markings and a few dark diagonal bars. Belly region white. All fins are transparent with perhaps a trace of pale yellow, the rays of the caudal tending to be a darker colour. Fins of the female are not as fully developed as for the male. Size of female: To about 1.5".

Maintenance and breeding: As to be expected with a species which has in nature such a vast range of water conditions, E.bifasciatus places no undue burden upon the average aquarist. Water having a pH in the region of from 6.6 to 7.0 and a hardness of from 4 to 7 German will suffice. Temperature should be a little higher than for most Killies and should be in the region of from 74 to 76F. Not fussy as regards to feeding but will not accept any form of dry foods. Live foods should be small. A top covering of plants is of benefit as this species is rather shy and will not be seen at its best if the water surface seems too exposed. Spawning occurs among roots of floating vegetation and nylon mops will be used in the aquarium. Not an over prolific species. The eggs are transparent and quite large considering the size of the adults. Incubation time is a little variable but usually occurs in from 11 to 13 days at a temperature of 74F. If eggs are collected they should be placed in very shallow water not exceeding 1" in depth. Fry are small and transparent on hatching and require infusoria for the first few days of life graduating to micro eels/worm and will take brine shrimp in the third week. Probably becoming adult at about seven months but may be older than this before commencing to spawn.

Summary: A species which is not often kept even by Killie fanciers which seems a great pity as it can be quite a colourful and interesting species. Both the male and female have a very fragile appearance but this belies their actual stamina in the aquarium. Not too hard to breed but not in vast quantities. Males prone to give serious battle if only two or three are kept together, if in greater numbers than this then little damage will be done. A very satisfactory aquarium species but this view is not shared by some authorities.

The description given is for a male of a population of SE Ghana.

EPIPLATYS BIFASCIATUS B.K.A. Information Pamphlet New Series No.7 November 1992

Name: Epiplatys bifasciatus (Stindachner, 1881).

Note: several subspecies may be defined later, but studies must be carried out, especially in the field.

Sub-genus: none

Etymology: with 2 bands (longitudinally)

Type locality: Bahr el Seraf & Bahr el Gebel (Nile basin, central Sudan)

Synonymes: Haplochilus bifasciatus Steindachner, 1881, Haplochilus baudoni Pellegrin, 1922, Panchax taeniatus Pfaff, 1933, Panchax steindachneri Svensson, 1933, Epiplatys ndelensis Fowler, 1949, Epiplatys longianalis Knaack, 1970 (nomem nudum)

Related Species/group: barmoiensis, lokoensis, biafranus

Scientific Key Datas: D=7-10; A=14-19; LL=25-29; D/A=9-11 n=20; A=23,24 Frontal scalation: G-type

Common name: Two-striped Panchax

Populations/aquarium: Kolda, Bonoua, Share, Venego, Agome Seva, Orashi River, Jola, Tchekpo Dedekpo.

Biotope: marches, rivulets & large rivers in the savannah; prefers the herbal hidden zones along the banks.

Distribution: largely distributed in the African sahel, between Senegal in western Africa & Sudan, in eastern Africa; river basins: Gambia & Senegal; Niger, in Guinee, Mali, Bourkina Faso, Niger, Benin & Nigeria; also, close to the coast between Senegal & Nigeria, & within the Lake Tchad basin, & in the upper Niger delta.

Advised especially for: confirmed hobbyist.

Maintenance and Breeding: moderately difficult; maintain one male & several females in a not too large aquarium; the eggs, sensitive to fungi hatch after 12-14 days; fry must be feed with Paramecium during first 2 days; growth is slow & the sexual maturity is not reached before the age of 6 months; frequent renewals of water, gently mixed in aquarium, are required.

Remarks: Guma'a has established that bifasciatus in Sudan undergoes internal fertilisation, with the separated occurrence of variously developping eggs; this has not been observed in aquarium at least on non Sudanian strains.

Max. size: Male 50mm. Female 45mm.

Life span: 30 months.