Ghost Knife Fish, Black Ghost Knife Fish, Speckled Knife Fish Apteronotus albifrons
Synonyms: Sternarchus albifrons; Sternarchus maximiliani
Physical description: An elongated, laterally compressed species with a log anal fin. The caudal penuncle is also long, and the caudal fin is very small. The entire fish is black, save for a white band at the caudal penuncle and another at the base of the caudal fin.
Size/Length: To 19" (48 cm)
Similar species: None
Habitat: South America; widespread throughout the Amazon and Paraguay river in Brazil, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru
S: bottom, middle
Aquarium: A tank measuring 40" (152 cm) with a capacity of 45-55 gallons (170-210 L) is sufficient for a medium-sized fish. A significantly larger tank is need for adult size specimen-those over 12" (30 cm). Provide many hiding places among rocks, wood, pipes, and tubes. The tank should be dark, possibly with a cover of floating plants. The tank should have dense planting and a soft substrate.
Water chemistry: pH 6-7 (6.7); 4-12 dH (7); 75-82°F (24-28°C)
Social behavior: This timid species that is territorial and aggressive towards others of its own kind. This species can be kept with without problems with peaceful fish not large enough to swallow. Be sure to provide retreats. This species should not be kept in pairs, although several fish can be kept in a large tank.
Suggested companions: Angelfish, Discus, Eartheaters, Acaras, Gouramis, Leporinus , Anostomus, catfish
FOOD: Live; Tubifex , crustaceans, earthworms, insect larvae; chopped meat; tablets
Sexual differences: Unknown
Breeding techniques: Unknown; although simulating the rainy season could serve to activate spawning.
Breeding potential: 10. There are no reports of successful spawning in captivity.
Remarks: This species may rest lying on its side. Under favorable conditions, this fish can be long lived.
Difficulty of care: 7. This species is sensitive to water pollutants, changes in water conditions, and medications. The Black Ghost Knifefish requires a diet including live foods.
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