Epiplatys dageti – Redchin Panchax
Epiplatys dageti was officially described by Poll in 1953. Their common name is Redchin Panchax. This is a reference to the red marking on their chin. The genus name Epiplatys can be divided into two parts. The ancient Greek Epi which means above or on top and Platys which means flat or wide. This is a reference to the flattened tops of the fish in this genus. The species name dageti is a name after the French ichthyologist Jacques Daget (1919-2009).
The genus Epiplatys currently includes a total of about 36 species and falls within the family Nothobranchiidae, the family of African killifish. The entire family has 12 genera and around 304 species, many of which are very beautifully colored.
Synonyms: Aplocheilus dageti, Epiplatys dageti dageti, Poecilia sexfasciata, Lycocyprinus sexfasciatus, Epiplatys dageti monroviae, Aplocheilichthys spilauchen, Epiplatys sexfasciatus, Haplochilus sexfasciatus, Haplochilus infrafasciatus, Epiplatys chaperi, Haplochilus chaperi, Panchax chaperi.
The Redchin Panchax does not grow very large. They can reach a total length of about 5.5 centimeters. They have a light brown ground color, sometimes you see a faint blue iridescent glow on top. The shape is somewhat elongated and the top of this fish is flattened so that it can hang on the surface without breaking the waterline.
Over the years, the names of this species have changed considerably. Currently, the species has two major variations. Epiplatys dageti monroviae has 5 vertical stripes on the flank. Under the chin, you see an orange/red spot to which they owe the English name Redchin Panchax.
The second variant is the Epiplatys dageti dageti. The red spot under the chin of the males is missing. This variant also has six vertical stripes on its flank.
The difference between males and females can be seen in the colors. Males are brighter colored and the monroviae variant develops the orange/red chin, this color is missing in females. The males also grow larger than the females.
They may be slightly less colorful than their relatives, Epiplatys annulatus, but they remain a beautiful fish to see. The appearance resembles the slightly less colored Epiplatys chaperi and Epiplatys togolensis.
The area of origin of Epiplatys dageti is in West Africa and includes the southwest of Liberia, the south of Ivory Coast and the west of Ghana. They inhabit the rainforests on the coast as well as the mangrove swamps, small rivers and pools. The water is usually fresh, but some populations live in slightly brackish water.
The water is always calm, slow-flowing flowing and densely vegetated. Epiplatys bifasciatus and Epiplatys etzeli also live in this same area.
The flattened top and the mouth that point upwards show how the Redchin Panchax feeds. Hanging from the water’s surface, it hunts for live food such as small insects.
In the aquarium, you can feed them with frozen or live food. Flakes and small granules are also eaten. Keep in mind that they only grab their food from the surface or just below it. Food that sinks to the bottom too quickly is hardly eaten anymore. Young fish and small shrimps are not safe for Epiplatys dageti.
As mentioned, they are real hunters. You are doing them a great favor by feeding them with (wingless) fruit flies, ants, daphnia, etc.
It is best to keep the Redchin Panchax in a group of six to seven specimens. In too small a group they can become quite shy. In a group of sufficient size, they also show more interesting behavior towards each other.
An aquarium of 80 centimeters or more can suffice for a group of seven. Decorate the aquarium with dimmed light or use many floating plants to soften the light. The aquarium may be further planted densely.
They swim a lot on the surface or just under the aquatic plants. Epiplatys dageti does not like currents. Take this into account when installing a filter. A Hamburger Mat Filter would be ideal for this species, also in connection with floating plants.
To further imitate the natural biotope, you could further furnish the aquarium with (filter) sand on the bottom. Use some driftwood and leaves for decoration. The humic acids from the wood and the decaying leaves provide a slight acidification of the water and these substances help keep the fish healthy. Tiny small aquatic animals also find their place among the dead leaves, which can serve as food for any young fish.
The Redchin Panchax usually combines well with species that do not live on the surface. Consider not too-busy characins, barbels, armored catfish, etc. Make sure that these fish are approximately the same size. Smaller cichlids are also an option, provided they focus more on the bottom than on the upper water layers.
You can keep this species well in neutral water, but they certainly appreciate slightly more acidic water by filtering over peat. The pH may be between 5.0 and 7.0. The temperature of the water may be between 20 and 27 degrees Celsius, but temporarily higher to about 30 degrees is no problem.
Breeding Epiplatys dageti – Redchin Panchax
Breeding Epiplatys dageti is relatively easy. They can reproduce in a community aquarium with sufficient plants. After a while, you will automatically see small fish swimming on the surface. If you want to keep more fish, a separate breeding setup is recommended.
Breeding aquarium and conditioning
For breeding you need an aquarium of about 40 x 30 centimeters. Furnish this with an air filter or Hamburger Mat Filter and heater. Lighting is not necessary, but is allowed provided it is dimmed. Maintain a temperature of 21 to 23 degrees Celsius. At this temperature you get about 50%/50% male and female. At higher temperatures, more males than females hatch from the eggs.
Place spawning mops or fine-leaved plants such as Java moss in the breeding aquarium. Let the aquarium ripen well and place 1 male with two or more females. Feed the parents plenty of high-quality food such as black mosquito larvae and brine shrimp.
To raise the young Redchin Panchax, it is best to keep them in a separate aquarium. Set up this aquarium the same as that of the parents. Place a little sand with leaves on the bottom. Also, make sure you have enough plants. Infusions live between the plants and leaves on which the newly hatched fish can feed.
Soon the parents will show courtship behavior. After this, they dive between the plants or strands of the spawning mop and lay the eggs. Over a longer period of time, they can lay between 200 and 300 eggs.
As soon as the parents have finished spawning, you can move the plants or spawning mops to the rearing aquarium.
Raising the young Redchin Panchax
The eggs of Epiplatys dageti hatch at a temperature of 21 degrees Celsius after about 11 to 14 days. The tiny fry then feed on infusoria. These are present in a well-aged aquarium. You can feed them with, for example, infusion or liquifry. As soon as the young Redchin Panchax are large enough, you can switch to freshly hatched brine shrimp and other small food.
The young fish grow quickly and are sexually mature after five months.
In a well-decorated aquarium, Epiplatys dageti is a nice fish for the upper layer of the West African biotope aquarium. They are also fairly easy to breed, which can be a fun challenge for the novice breeder to try!
John de Lange
John de Lange
Jan Bukkems – Aquavisie