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November 14, 2013 PetGuide
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Knifefish

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

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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.

Most species of knifefishes originate from Central and South America.

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

knifefish-1Most 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.

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.

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

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

Photo credit: Peter17/Wikimedia;  Haplochromis/Wikimedia


Other Fish

Go to Lake Victoria Cichlids

Lake Victoria Cichlids

  • Group: Freshwater
  • Size: Medium-Large
  • Temperament: Aggressive
  • Aquarium Size: Medium-Large
  • Swimming Region(s): Mid-Range
  • Suitable Tank Mates: Other Lake Victoria Cichlids, Lake Malawi Cichlids; Non-Conspecific Cichlids
  • Difficulty Of Care: Weekly
Go to Plecostomus

Plecostomus

  • Group: Freshwater
  • Size: Small to Extra-Large
  • Temperament: Varies
  • Aquarium Size: Medium, Large
  • Swimming Region(s): Bottom
  • Suitable Tank Mates: Tetras, Gouramis, Cichlids, Livebearers, Most Community Fish; Should Not Be Kept with Other Catfish
  • Difficulty Of Care: Weekly