Thursday, September 11, 2008

Black Knife Ghost Fish

Data Sheet

Scientific Name: Apteronotus albifrons
Other Names: Ghost Knife Fish,
Origin: Amazon Basin
Adult Size: 60cm (23.62 inches)
Social: Good with larger fish
Lifespan: no official figures, but some hobbiest have them for as long as over five years
Tank Level: Medium / Low
Minimum Tank Size: 55 gallons for small / medium size fish
Diet: Carnivorous.
Breeding: Egg Layers
Care: Intermediate - Advance
Ideal pH: 6-8
Temperature: 72-82 F (23-28 C)
Tank setup: Ideally with plants and a tube for hiding
Sexing: Difficult to determine the sex


The Black Ghost Knife fish is all black except for two white rings on its tail, and a white blaze on its nose, which can occasionally extend into a stripe down its back. It moves mainly by undulating a long fin on its underside.

They are nocturnal, but they are weakly electric fish and use an electric organ and receptors distributed over the length of their body in order to locate insect larvae.


Black knife ghost fish require a large tank due to their large size. Black Knife Ghost Fish should not be kept with small fish such as neon terta, rummy nose terta etc as these smaller fish may be eaten.

It is recommended that you provide many hiding places with plants, rocks, wood for these fishes as they are shy and like to hide. Black Knife Ghost Fish are nocturnal and will spend most of the daylight hours hiding in the rocks or among the plants or in tubes. Once they adapt to their new home, they may come out of hiding at feeding time. Some have even been taught to feed from their keeper’s hand.

The difficulty with keeping this fish is that they are highly sensitive to chemicals, including solutions for a wide selection of medicine such as white spot treatment etc as they are scaleless - these chemicals intented for helping the fish may kill them instead.


Black Ghost Knifefish are carnivorous and feed on insect larvae as well as smaller fishes.You could feeding them some small feeder fish (for larger black knife ghost fish), fresh or fresh frozen foods such as bloodworms, brine shrimp or blackworms for smaller black knife ghost fish.


There are no records of successful breeding in captivity, but black knife ghost fish are breeded and export in fish farms in South East Asia (Indoesia, Singapore, Thailand) and exported, although the method used is unknown.

References Cited:

1. Knife Fish [Online], [Available],

2. Black Knife Ghost Fish [Online], [Available],

3. Bad Man Tropical Fish, [online], [Available],