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Killifish / Aplocheilinae / Blue Panchax

Blue Panchax
Aplocheilus panchax

Synonyms: Esox panchax, Haplochilus panchax, Panchax melanopterus, P. panchax
Physical description: An elongated fish with a pointed snout and an up-turned mouth.   The color depends on the age, sex, and race of the fish.  Generally the Blue Panchax has a dark brown-copper back with a gray-yellow body color.   The body is marked with eight lateral lines of red spots.  The rear flanks-from the mid-section and back-have a brilliant blue iridescence, while the frontal parts have a green iridescence.   The dorsal fin is located far back on the body and has a large, black spot at its base, and a black edge.   The middle parts may be pale blue or bright red (depending on the variant).  The caudal fin is pale yellow with pale blue outer lobes, and a fine black edging.   The anal fin has red spots, with a base color of green-yellow.   The outer edge is bright red.  
Size/Length: To 3.2" (8 cm)
Similar species: Other Aplocheilus species.
Habitat: Inhabits stagnate ponds, fields, and canals containing large amounts of vegetation.   Southeast Asia; Burma, India, Malay Peninsula, Thailand
S: top
Aquarium: A tank measuring 24" (61 cm) with a capacity of 10-20 gallons (38-75 L) is sufficient.   Cover the tank well.  Follow recommendations for A. lineatus.
Water chemistry: pH 6-7.5 (6.8), 3-15 dH (7), 68-77°F (20-25°C)
Social behavior: A lively predator of the upper water levels.   This species is peaceful towards similarly and larger sized fishes. 
Suggested companions: Aplocheilus species, small catfishes, peaceful cichlids
FOOD: Live; fish fry, crustaceans, insect larvae, flying and aquatic insects, Tubifex; flakes, pellets, tablets.
Sexual differences: Difficult to distinguish; Males are darker and grayish-yellow in color.  
Breeding techniques:  Similar to A. lineatus, although lower temperatures are acceptable.   A healthy pair may lay 130-300 eggs daily for a period of several weeks.   Since the Blue Panchax spawns among fine-leafed plants and Java Moss, it is easy to remove the spawning substrate containing eggs, and replace it.   The eggs hatch after 11-15 days, and the fry can be fed nauplii and powdered dry foods after their eggs sacs have been consumed.  Frequently sort the fry by size to prevent cannibalism.
Breeding potential: 5.  An easily bred toothcarp.
Remarks: This lively, colorful species has been kept in the hobby since 1899.   Panchax fill an important ecological role in nature by feeding on ailing fish.  Several different variations are known, including those selectively bred by hobbyists.
Difficulty of care: 3.  A robust species that is the most commonly kept Killifish out of Southeast Asia.


By Rhett Butler   Mongabay.com