African Knifefish Xenomystus nigri | PicturesSynonyms: None
This elongated, laterally compressed fish has an arched back
The body coloring is brown-violet to
brown and the fins are lighter.
The mouth is large, while the dorsal fin is small.
Size/Length: To 12" (30 cm)
Similar species: Asian Knifefish (
Notopterus notopterus )
Habitat: Northern Africa; still and slow-moving water of the Nile basin in Zaire, Gabon, Niger,
and Liberia. S: bottom, middle
Aquarium: A tank measuring 40" (101 cm) or 45-55 gallons (170-210 L) is sufficient.
suggestions under C. ornata
Water chemistry: pH 5.7-7.5 (6.8), 2-10 dH (6), 73-82°F (23-28°C)
Social behavior: When young, this species does best when kept in a small group.
Older fish become aggressive and intolerant
of other Knifefish.
This species can be combined with other medium to large sized species.
Be aware that
X. nigri will eat small fish.
Suggested companions: Haplochromines, Mormyrids, African Butterfly fish, African Tetras,
West African Cichlids.
FOOD: Live; fish, earthworms,
, snails, insects, insect larvae, crustaceans; chopped meat; tablets, needs a varied diet.
Sexual differences: The female has a more rounded body around spawning times.
Breeding techniques: 150-200 eggs are laid at night in holes and crevices.
The male guards the eggs, which hatch
in 6-9 days.
Transfer the fry into a rearing tank and start feeding with
Breeding potential: 9.
Breeding is difficult and infrequent.
Remarks: Nocturnal. The African Knifefish emits chiming bell-like sounds when swallowing air
at the water surface.
This species has a swim-bladder which serves as a respiratory organ.
This fish rests in an oblique position
with its head down.
The African Knifefish emits barking sounds during courtship.
This long-lived fish adapts well to
tanks, but is shy when first introduced.
Difficulty of care: 5.
This species requires a diet that includes live foods.