Knifefish

fast facts

About Knifefish

Group
Freshwater
Size
Extra Large
Temperament
Aggressive
Aquarium Size
Large (50+ gal)
Swimming Region
Bottom
Fish Water Condition
Suitable Tank Mates
Pacus, Oscars, Plecostomus, Jaguar Cichlids, Green Terrors, Gars, Tinfoil Barbs, Siamese Tigerfish, Jack Dempsey
Difficulty Of Care
Weekly care
Knifefish General description


Knifefish are a fascinating species of freshwater fish belonging to the eel family. They are characterized by their long, tapered bodies and anal fins that extend from their bellies to their tails, giving them the appearance of a kitchen knife. They are extremely agile and swim with a soft rippling motion of their large anal fins, creating a visually mesmerizing effect.


Knifefish are a fascinating species of freshwater fish belonging to the eel family.


Origins


Most species of knifefishes originate from Central and South America.


Color


Knifefish come in dark colorations of green, brown and black.


Maintenance and care

Most knifefish sold in pet stores and aquariums usually range from 2-8 inches in size. However, these fish often grow up to 2 feet in length and can be quite a handful to care for. While most juvenile knifefish can be kept in community aquariums, they tend to get more and more aggressive as they mature. They are carnivorous and adults will often attempt to prey on any smaller species of fish that it can fit in its mouth. Due to their highly territorial nature, adult knifefish should either be kept alone or in larger groups in extremely large aquariums. These fish can co-exist relatively peacefully with larger species of aquarium fish like Jack Dempseys and Oscars.


Knifefish tend to spend the majority of their time resting on the bed of the aquarium. Most species are also nocturnal and It is important to provide them with a dimly lit aquarium with plenty of crevices and caves to hide in.


Feeding


Most juvenile knifefishes will accept flake and pellet based aquarium foods. Their diet should however be supplemented with frozen and live foods such as beef heart, krill, blood worms and tubifex worms. As they grow older, these fish tend to show a greater preference towards live foods.


Most knifefish sold in pet stores and aquariums usually range from 2-8 inches in size. However, these fish often grow up to 2 feet in length and can be quite a handful to care for.


Breeding


Knifefishes are commercially bred in large fish farms in Asia and are highly unlikely to spawn in the home aquarium.


Aquarium varieties


African Knifefishes, Barred Knifefishes, Black Ghost Knifefishes, Clown Knifefishes, Zebra Knifefisesh, etc.


Photo credit: Peter17/Wikimedia; Haplochromis/Wikimedia

Amy Tokic
Amy Tokic

Amy Tokic, Editor of PetGuide.com, is a passionate animal lover and proud pet parent of Oscar, a Shih Tzu/Chihuahua cross, and Zed, a Japanese Chin. Her love of animals began in kindergarten, when she brought her stuffed dog Snoopy into class with her every day. Now, she writes about her adventures in pet ownership and tirelessly researches products, news and health related issues she can share with other animal enthusiasts. In her free time, Amy loves perusing used book and record stores, obsessing over the latest pet products available and chasing squirrels with wild abandon (a habit attributed to spending too much time with her pooches).

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