Animal Stories - Knifefish


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dave - 2011-02-12
What are good tank mates for BGK?

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Andre - 2010-06-25
I just recently bought 2 BGK from petsmart is there any given advice to make sure that these beautiful creatures will live a long happy life?

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  • LasColinasCichlids - 2011-01-13
    First of all, you should only keep ONE BGK in a tank (also no other fish similar to him, such as other knifes, eels...).

    BGK need around a 50+ gallon tank when they get bigger as a minimum. I currently have mine in a 29 gallon, but he is only 3 inches long and is only housed with two small cichlids.

    Make sure your tank has been fully cycled and that there is no ammonia and the pH level is between 6.8 - 7.4 Temp should be between 78 and 82 degrees F.

    These beautiful creatures are nocturnal, so they hide during the daytime in dark caves and plants, and come out at night to feed and explore. They live on insect larvae (or however you spell it) in the wild...I feed my BGK, "Sparky" freeze-dried bloodworms, which he loves. I will be adding shrimp to his diet as well. I also provide him with flaked and pellet food that he once in a while will munch on.

    My advice is to return one of the BGK fish to your petsmart, and then find the employee that allowed you to purchase two for the same tank and smack them for me!

    I don't know what tank size you have, but you will need a pretty large one soon depending upon on fast your BGK will grow...I keep referring to you as only have ONE BGK in hopes that you will return one.

    BGK have a faint electrical charge and use something similar to sonar to navigate their environment and search for food. Another BGK (or similar made fishes such as eels, clown knifes, african brown knifes...) will interrupt their sonar ways and can cause your beloved fish to not act right and lead to stress. In the wild it is different because they have the entire Amazon River to swim through and can avoid one another, but sticking two in a tank, and they cant get far enough away. And as BGK get older, they become aggressive with other BGK unless they are in the hands of an experianced breeder/wholesaler.

    Any fish small enough to fit in the BGK's mouth, will probably end up there. They general do not bother other tank mates as long as they dont bother them. Remember, the BGK doesnt have scales and is highly affected by most medications you may put in your tank. Water conditioners, pH Balancers, and StressZyme are okay...but most other things can kill them!

    A lot of people have a lot to say about how big these guys get. It all depends on the tank you keep them in and what else is in the tank. Don't get me wrong, my BGK will NOT stay in a 29 gallon, but I will keep him in a 60 gallon when it comes time...which I should have a good year or two until it is completely needed. In captivity they general reach around 12". Some max out at 9-10" if kept confined (not nice!), and others kept in VERY large tanks of 125gallons+ can reach up to 18-20"!

    Hope this helps. If you need more info, you can find me on tropicalfishkeeping dot com and I am LasColinasCichlids. That is also my tag on youtube with my aquarium videos.
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Animal-World info on Clown Knifefish
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Anonymous - 2011-01-10
How mamy chitala feed at a time?

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whiteaura - 2006-09-25
I just purchased an albino asiatic knifefish. It is 4" long. I put him in a 55 gallon tank that has a 3.5" blackghost knife; a 3.5" royal clown knife, a 3.5" silver clown knife, 4" african brown knife. The albino is absolutely not the shy type. It moves about the tank perpetually only occasionally stopping. It goes thru all the hiding places and chases out any knife fish it sees. All of the other knife fishes are a bit shy and like generally will stay in its hiding spot. The albino appears to be a little pushy and likes to assert itself. The only knifefish that can handle it is the african brown. The african brown has the most agility of movement when being chased by the albino. The albino tends to get a little aggravated when the african brown can easily dodge and put itself behind the albino. I'm not sure what to do with the albino. It is a bit more aggressive than the others and its perpetual motion reminds me of a giant danio. I'm a little disappointed that many internet sites claim that they are peaceful. My albino is very pushy with its tank mates.

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  • Dan - 2011-01-08
    This may sound crazy but a lot of fish actually do have personalities. However rare they may be - exceptions do exist. It can make fish either really entertaining , peaceful, or stressful to have and observe. I'm only speaking from my years of research and experience in fish in both marine and freshwater aquariums. Sometimes we take gambles - and sometimes things turn out alright ... other times .. not so much. This also applies to fish. (ex. Angelfish generally will eat tetras small enough to fit in their mouths [the chances are higher as the angels grow bigger], but I have seen both of them get along peacefully. That being pretty average sized angels. But I haven't seen this or heard of it very often at all - its a gamble)
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Animal-World info on Black Ghost Knife Fish
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Kimberly - 2010-11-21
Hello,

I just purchased 3 black ghost knife fish and 2 silver tipped sharks for my 45 gallon aquarium. I purchased the fish at PetSmart and was told to add water conditioner to the tank. I did so following the exact directions on the bottle and acclimated my fish to the tank leaving them in the bag and putting the bags in the tank for approximately 40 minutes for the temps to adjust. About 30 minutes after I introduced them to the tank they started dying off. The temperature of the tank is 82-84 degrees Farenheit, and the pH level is 7.6 which according to this site is the appropriate level and temps for both kinds of fish. I now have one silver tip shark surviving. Could someone please tell me or give me any suggestions as to how or why these fish could have died so quickly? I think it may just have been the fish from PetSmart, but I've purchased other fish from there that have lasted years. There were no other fish in the tank when I introduced these new guys to the aquarium and the water was fresh with everything rinsed off in warm water. The filter had been running for over 12 hours to make sure everything was clean and ready for these new fish. I just don't understand so any help would be greatly appreciated!

Thank you,

Kim from Glen Burnie, MD

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  • Enrikus - 2010-12-21
    Water is too bad.
    Try
    *ph around 7 (6.7-7.3) is best.
    *make sure your tap water is hardness or softness. make medium water softness and hardness.
    *Degress is ok but better between 80-82
    *black ghost knife need 125 gallons up+
    *filters run 24hour. make sure ammonia and nitrite to 0. don't worry about nitrate between 1-2ppm is fine. water change can help low nitrate.
    *tap water have chlorine, add carbon in filters.

    Hope that helps you.
  • jessica - 2011-01-03
    I disagree with a lot of the people on fish set ups. I don't honestly believe the tank has to be over 100 gallons for a Knife fish. Your tank set up sounds almost perfect. I agree with the last comment though and that you should make so minor adjustments to temperature and pH levels. I think where you went wrong is: you shouldn't have bought so many fish to start out a new tank and you did it a little too early. It's probably best to wait 24 hours. My 30 gallon tank has been running empty for about a week now and I just put fish (guppies; because they are a hardy breed) in it today. I have done some research on the Black Knife fish because I really liked them when I saw one in the store. They do say that you should have a 50 gallon tank at least, but in reality any fish (as well as any reptile) will only grow as big as the tank they are in will allow them. As for the 'Clean and Ready' thing, there are a couple cycles the tank has to go through before the fish can be added. You did the right thing by putting in the water conditioner, but you should have waited a day or so after putting the treatment in for it to work properly. Next go round, (if you decide to go with Black Knife Fish again) I would recommend letting the tank run empty for a couple days. Put the treatment in it again if you are using new water. Test the pH levels and all other things you feel like you should test and wait another day or so to make sure it stays sustained. Then only put one or two fish in at a time. Also, I have read that you shouldn't try to feed them for the first 24 hours, because most wont even eat and usually it will stress them out in their environment. Hope this helps. Good luck next time.
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Animal-World info on Clown Knifefish
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charlie - 2010-12-12
I have a clown knife that i have had for about 3 weeks, he stays on the top of the tank, wont hide, i have noticed that he has knots on his side. he seems to be eating very well, moving around like nothing is wrong. Has anyone ever had this problem?

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  • brandon - 2011-01-01
    I have had seen this many times. It almost sounds as tho it may be a birth defect with concerning the knots. I have owned many of these fish and for the first couple of months they sat at the top of the water and did nothing. I kinda assumed that my tank wasn't suited for them so I bought a few cave/ rock like structures and now they like to hide in those, and swim around a lot more. When I turn my tank lights on the morning they usually are found out scavenging which is probably due to the fact they're nocturnal. But my advice to you is to simply give it some stuff to hide in and it should be fine.
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Jay - 2010-12-29
My 7" clown knife is having fin rot and looks bent out of shape. Any tips for treatment will be greatly appreciated.

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jesse - 2009-07-20
I would like to find a clown knifefish but I don't know if he will do well in a 55 gallon tank.

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  • dennis - 2010-02-26
    A 55 gal tank is ok for a clown knife they will grow to the tank size. I had 1 for 5 years and it got 26' long in a 80 gal tank but they do eat alot.
  • JT - 2010-04-24
    There is no such thing as a fish that "grows to the tank size", their growth may slow down considerably, but this is because they are being stunted which will eventually lead to their death. You need at the very least a standard 180 gallon, but even that would eventually be too small, and could cause them to become slightly deformed. To properly house a clown knife for life, you will need a 240-300 gallon tank.
  • Breanne - 2010-12-12
    Hi. I currently have a 16" clown knife in a 46 gal bowfront tank. He is doing wonderful but he eats about 40 large goldfish a week. He is only about 7 months old now. Make sure if you have other fish in the tank that they are large also. He will try to eat anything that fits in his mouth.
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Animal-World info on Black Ghost Knife Fish
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Heather - 2010-12-09
Our BGK has been doing well since we got him in May, but now I'm getting worried. He recently came out of a growth spurt and now will barely eat and sleeps a lot. Of course, I've been panicking lately when I find him asleep because he sometimes doesn't respond or move when I touch him. (We hand feed ours and he loves to be petted.) I'm trying to figure out if this is normal behavior or if something could be wrong.

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Chad - 2010-08-01
What are the odds the Black ghost knife will eat neon tetras?

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  • janine - 2010-08-18
    There seems to be 2 stories. Definitely will and they won't. Just be sure there aren't too many fish in the tank and perhaps feed your bkgf well. At night if possible. My ghost will chase fish when annoyed by them but doesn't go out of his way to fight. Nosy perhaps but not violent.
  • Becka - 2010-10-09
    From our experience, if the neons go into your BGKF's cave, pretty high... We got our bgkf (5ish in. at the time) at the same time as our neon tetras. We'd been told by the pet shop they'd be fine together.
    It wasn't until we saw tetras going into the cave but never back out we did some research and found bgkfs find neons pretty tasty...
    He had a go at our blue longfin fighter too, though the fighter lived to tell the tale (had one eye shocked out and some pretty bad fin damage though).

    It's at your own discretion really. If you DO decide to put both in the same tank just make sure you have a big enough school of tetras, a big enough tank and feed your bgkf at night. That's how we've kept our remaining tetras alive now :)

    All the best, they're fun fish really (minus blowing out eyeballs sometimes).
    I hope our novice mistakes can be of help :)
  • Heather - 2010-12-09
    The odds are very good if the BGK is hungry and the Neons are small. Our larger Neons don't seem to be on the menu though. Our BGK is approx 10" now and prefers bloodworms to anything else.
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