Animal Stories - People Talking About Knifefish

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Christian - 2008-12-24
I have an aba aba fish which is 12 inch long. I would like to ask what others can I put with him in 75 gal. Thank you very much. Merry xmas

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  • Tlaloc - 2010-07-14
    You could for now as long as all other fish in the tank are as big, and can get aggressive if pushed around, cuz judging from the info above it's gonna be top dog in a tank. Also your gonna need a MUCH bigger tank, cuz it's gonna reach 3 and half feet MIN. and have teeth like surgical scalpels.
  • Dipo Opadokun - 2011-02-21
    Tilapia broodstock e.g. Oreochromis niloticus can be kept with aba aba (Gymnarchus niloticus). If the space is large enough, Tilapia will breed and offspring can serve as supplementary food for Gymnarchus; although the tilapia broodstock itself is in danger of being eaten by Gymnarchus if there is scarcity of food in the tank.
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urmil - 2012-05-06
I have one of these knife fish in my tank and I wanted to know how long they live
Previously I had bought 2 bt now just one left
So guys can u pls ans......??

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  • Charlie Roche - 2012-05-07
    The average life expectancy runs between 3 - 7 years.
  • Jeremy Roche - 2012-05-07
    A well taken care of knofe can live up to 15 years. These fish are very prone to illnesses cause from poor conditions so the conditions need to be pristine to reach 15 years.
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katelyn hampton - 2012-02-11
I have recently bought a BGK and I have been trying to feed it blood worms,brine shrimp, and mysis shrimp. I have not seen it eat anything and I am concerned that it is not eating please reply soon.

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  • Charlie Roche - 2012-02-11
    Your little guy is probably just fine. It takes them a couple of days to aclimate to new surroundings.
  • Alex Burleson - 2012-02-11
    It is not uncommon for them to not eat during the first few days that they're adjusting to their environment. Continue to feed the fish, and eventually, he should eat. Additionally, Knifefish, tend to be more nocturnal. Feed the fish, with the lights off.
  • Collecting Clownfish - 2012-02-14
    Those are SO cool! I do know that the only time I remember having success with them, was when there were not too many bottom feeders to compete, no aggressive tank mate, and larger water changes. They like their water 6.0 to 8.0 pH, but more importantly, the stability of this pH, and the cleanliness of the water quality. They are very sensitive to any water quality changes for the bad. I have read 40% to 50% every two weeks being the optimum in keeping this eventually 20' long fish alive.

    If your tank is very well established, there may be foods in the substrate he is eating. Look at his sides and see if they are thinning. Getting LIVE black worms or blood worms that wiggle may be what he needs as far as getting a feeding response. BGK can be funny in that they suddenly change their personality even IF feeding at first, so don't take it personally. You may want to check your water parameters, look and see what other fish are possibly scaring your BGK and look at his sides to see if he may be eating while you are sleeping. Otherwise, enjoy your cool fish!
  • katelyn hampton - 2012-02-14
    Thank-you for responding so quick I do feed him in the dark I have had him for a little over a week
  • Jeremy Roche - 2012-02-17
    Try some Tibifax worms. Sometimes in an overfed tank the Knife with will eat off the bottom while you sleep. If the Knife is maintaining size it is probably just shy. May just be a trial and error on that it likes to eat. Any aggressive fish in the tank with it? Water testing should be done as well to make sure that isn't putting extra stress on it.
  • Kay - 2012-03-19
    I have two and they are so Awesome! - They are extremely active. The one I had in the past never came out during the day, but these are constantly showing themselves. They love the frozen Plankton best, but do enjoy the blood worms. They are probably one of the coolest fish I have had the pleasure of caring for.
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Aurelio Martinez - 2011-03-27
I have two Aba's about 4", so far I've been feeding them Blood worms and all is fine. My question is when should I start to feed them live fish? I have a gold fish, a couple of Zebra Danios and a Butterfly fish in the tank.
So far they have not bothered the other fish.
I was thinking of throwing in a few small feeder fish? Good Idea or no.
Hopefully someone out there has raised Aba's and can help.


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  • Clarice Brough - 2011-03-29
    You know, one problem with introducing live fish, is it make tank mates look like food too. My two cents worth... I would probably stick to the blood worms and hopefully keep everybody friendly with each other:)
  • Aurelio Martinez - 2011-06-15
    Ok everyone, it's been four months since I got the Abas. It seems very hard to get good information on raising these guys, so here is an update.
    Didn't know if I could two Abas in one tank, the answer is no, or at least I'd say 90% no. The two original Abas were just fine but I lost one about 4 weeks in. The Aba got stuck in a water feature that simulated a water fall. The Aba became trapped between the clear plastic sheet where the air travels.
    I went and grabbed a second Aba and put it in the tank. The two seemed ok for about 4 weeks then gradually became more and more aggressive toward each other, still not bothering the other fish. One morning I went to feed the fish and noticed one of the Abas a tail was missing, at this time I went out and bought a tank separator to keep them apart, while I conditioned a second tank when I would separate the two. Unfortunately, the injured Aba did not make it though the night.
    The reason I say 90% sure you cannot keep two together is I don't know if the two original Abas would have been comfortable with each other.
    Today the Aba Aba is about 6 inches long, It was a little over 3 inches when I bought it.
    This is an amazing fish, very smart. Not to get long winded (Fingered in this case)I'll post more frequently on his habits he seems to be developing and eating.

    Hope my input helps others when it comes to raising Abas
    Going to try and upload a picture...

  • jamson - 2011-11-18
    I have been looking for an aba for a month now...where to find???
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whiteaura - 2006-11-10
I own several tanks. I have a 135 gallon and 170 gallon empty, as I'm just waiting for them to grow. I even have access to a 1200 gallon tank! I think waiting until they grow up would be more prudent before moving them, eh? Update: my albino asiatic has calmed down considerably. Apparently, it could not select a spot to call home. After it selected one, it loves to stay inside of the big cave in seclusion. My conclusion: its original extra aggression was due to no hiding place to call home (wandering around without a home made it aggressive). I STILL would not call it peaceful. Out of the five knife fishes, this is the only one that snaps with its mouth when someone enters its cave. *SPACE* advise: surely, cramped quarters is always a reason fish gets surly and uncomfortable.

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Brittany - 2012-02-10
I was thinking about getting a BGKF, but I have 4 Dojo Loachs, and 3 Bala Sharks. Does anyone know if this would be a bad idea or do you think they would be alright? I dont want anyone of them to get killed.

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  • Clarice Brough - 2012-02-16
    The Black Ghost Knife is an awesome fish. They can get aggressive with their own species, and other knifefish. But would probably be okay with the Dojo's and Bala Sharks in a large enough aquarium. Both the Black Ghost and the Bala Sharks get very big, so 100 gallons minimum to start and then you'll need a larger tank as they grow.
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Ito - 2011-11-29
I'm thinking about getting an African brown knife. What is the smallest tank mate that won't get get eaten? Are cherry barbs, mollies and cory cats too small?

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  • Charlie Roche - 2011-11-30
    I think they would be too small. The Knife fish can go to 12 inches and if it fit in their mouth - they will eat it.
  • Anonymous - 2012-01-14
    Cory cats might be ok because they have spines so they wont eat them
Fish Dude - 2010-05-28
I saw one of these in petsmart, and the care sheet said 20+ gallons. Is this right? Or is that way too small? Because I have a 20 gallon and think these fish are really cool.

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  • Editor's Note - 2010-05-29
    Since these guys only get to about 8-12 inches in the aquarium, 20 gallons would be fine if you go by the 1 inch per gallon rule. Since all 8-12 inches are in one fish though, you should be very conservative with it. Like if the fish actually gets to 12 inches 20 gallons would be an absolute minimum.
  • brandon - 2010-05-31
    Most likely the fish won't get to a full foot probably around 9 inches I'd say this is fine but if you want other fish you may consider getting a larger tank.
  • ryan - 2010-07-20
    I have an African knife fish and he was in my 75 gal tank, but he is very territorial so I moved him into a 10 gallon and he is doing well. So the only thing I can say is that he won't get that big in a 20 gallon tank.
  • justin - 2011-01-15
    Tha's gonna be too small. These guys can grow up to a foot.
  • david - 2011-06-15
    Tank volume determines how many fish you can keep. An initial stocking guide is one inch per 1.2 gal (4.5 l) of fish length, excluding the tail. But this applies only to "average-sized" fish (up to 1.5 in/4 cm) in normally proportioned tanks. Weight-to-length ratio rises significantly after that, and larger fish produce more weight-so a 12 in (30 cm) Oscar needs more room than 12 Neon Tetras, each measuring one inch (2.5 cm). Remember that the fish in shops will probably be juveniles. Make due allowance for growth.
  • vince - 2011-06-30
    I have a knifefish in a 10 gallon aquarium for about a month now and it is doing fine. I also have tetras, mollies, blacktail shark and 3 albino cats and so far he has not disturbed them one bit. Make sure you have somewhere for him to hide and don't expect him to come out much. Pretty much the only time I see him is at feeding time. Good luck
  • jake - 2012-01-13
    20 gallons is too small for that fish. You should never listen to the 1 gallon per inch of fish. this fish will need a 55 gallon at the least when it is little you can have it in the 20 gallon but they get big and you will need a big tank as they get older
john - 2011-12-07
I would like one of these to live with my senegal bichir who is TEMPORARALY in a 5 gallon tank and I plan on moving him to a 20 gallon tank and as a friend for him. would this be idea? Fish that i am thinking for the 20 gallon are a pair of firemouths,this fish,senegal bichir,feeder guppies,and a fish called the bornean leaffish.these are fish that i want to put in, but not all.

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  • Nick - 2011-12-29
    I would not house one in that small of a tank, neither would I house firemouths or bichirs in that size tank. They all get too big for a 20g, I would instead go for a 75g
  • jake - 2012-01-13
    Most of these fish need 55 gallon and up 20 gallon maybe as a temperary tank but the firemouths will get 7 to 12 inches and the knife fish with range from 6 to 9 inches so you can keep them in a 20 gallon untill they are about 3 or 4 inches then move to a 55 and up if you have the bichir for a while it will get huge
osama - 2008-11-01
Can I put the african knife fish with cichlids family fish?

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  • Katie - 2010-03-05
    I probably wouldn't. A lot of the cichlids will pick on the knife.
  • Robert - 2010-03-21
    I would say probably not, my sister had a oscar in with her knifefish and the oscar tried to attack it. But im not quite sure other cichlid species would do this but i probably wouldn`t try it.
  • nate - 2010-04-21
    Yes I keep mine with my oscar fish and they get along great!
  • Shawn K - 2010-06-17
    My vote is maybe...Depends on the aggression level of your type of Cichlid, I had a Salvini and it straight up attacked and chased my knife for 2 days before I ditched the Salvini...I later found this is a more aggressive species of cichlid. If you have Kribensis or yellow labs (2 of the more agreed non-psycho cichlids) it'll probably be OK.
  • demetris - 2010-08-25
    It's recommended not to but I have one with 2 jack dempseys, 1 albino tiger, 1 parrot blood, a bichir loach, and a striped peacock eel in a 75 gal tank and the only ones that bother each other are the dempseys and the parrot over dominance of the tank but they don't bother the knife fish.
  • zack - 2010-10-05
    Yes I got several cichlids with my clown knife and they all get along pretty good.
  • Andrew - 2010-12-30
    YES! I have a african knifefish with 3 african cichlids and they get along just fine. The cichlids will occasionally chase it around but most of the time they leave each other alone. And the knife even chased the cichlids around for a while too! Great and cool fish.
  • Kevin - 2011-11-21
    I have a (fairly large)African knife fish in with about 15 peacock ciclhids..they seem to get along
  • Bill Lacks - 2011-11-21
    I got 2 knife fish 1 jack dempsy and red devil in a 55 gallon tank they get along good so far.
  • jake - 2012-01-13
    Cichlids are tricky fish. You never know what will happen to your fish unless its a betta or guppy or somthing like that. Also it depends on what cichlids African or American. African might tare the thing apart or they might never bother the fish at all. American cichlids get big. They would have to be around the same size as the knife fish so the oscar, jack dempsey and other American cichlids will not beat it up or eat it

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