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Others / Knifefish / Banded Knifefish

Banded Knifefish
Gymnotus carapo

Synonyms: Gymnotus carapos, G. fasciatus
Physical description: The front part of the body is cylindrical. The rear part is compressed and ends at a point. Their are no dorsal, ventral, or caudal fins. The anal fin, which is used to propel the fish backwards or forwards by an undulating motion is very long. It starts behind the pectoral fin and extends to the end of the body. The mouth is broad and somewhat upturned. Young individuals are yellow to flesh in color with a few wide, brown to gray vertical stripes. On older specimens, the stripes are more abundant and darker in color.
Size/Length: To 24" (61 cm)
Similar species: Other Gymnotus species
Habitat: Widely distributed throughout Central and South America. Ranges from Guatemala south to the Rio de la Plata.
S: bottom, middle
Aquarium: A tank of 40" (101 cm) with a capacity of 45-55 gallons (170-210 L) is sufficient for individual fish under 8" (20 cm) in length. Specimen over 15" (38 cm) require a tank of at least 60" (152 cm) with a capacity of 90-110 gallons (340-410 L). The tank should be well-planted with large sturdy plants. Provide many retreats among rocks, wood, pipes, and tubes. The lighting should be dark, perhaps diffused by a cover o floating plants.
Water chemistry: pH 6-7.5 (6.9); 4-18 dH (8); 73-82°F (22-28°C)
Social behavior: This species is aggressive towards others of its own kind, but peaceful towards non-swallow able tank mates with dissimilar body characteristics. Combine with medium to large sized fishes that will not nip fins.
Suggested companions: Eartheaters, Pacu, Arowana, Leporinus, Anostomus , Acaras, Cichlasomines, Pimelodids, Doradids, Driftwood Cats, Loricarids.
FOOD: Live; earthworms, Tubifex , insects, fish, crustaceans; chopped meat; tablets
Sexual differences: Unknown
Breeding techniques: Unknown
Breeding potential: 10. No spawnings in captivity have been reported.
Remarks: Nocturnal, but can be coaxed to come out to feed during the day, if lights are off or the tank is dark. Can take atmospheric oxygen by swallowing air at water surface. Possess a weak electrical organ which allows it to find food in muddy or dark water.
Difficulty of care: 6. This large, hardy fish is peaceful towards different tank mates. Live foods should be included in its diet.


By Rhett Butler   Mongabay.com