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Black Ghost Knifefish – Apteronotus albifrons

Black Ghost Knife­fish – Apterono­tus alb­ifrons is an inter­est­ing, scale­less fish. Their eye­sight is fair­ly poor so these black ghost knife­fish fea­ture an elec­tri­cal field which will enable them to detect things around them. Com­mu­ni­ca­tion between oth­er knife­fish is also enabled by this fas­ci­nat­ing elec­tri­cal field. This trop­i­cal won­der has a long body which is black in col­or. Some­times there may be a white stripe which starts from the tip of the nose and runs along the top of their back. It fea­tures a thick whitish col­ored band in front of their cau­dal fin and a nar­row­er white col­ored band appear­ing pri­or to the tip of the tail. This fish moves with a smooth, grace­ful, rip­pling wave­like motion. It is very peace­ful as it maneu­vers through the aquar­i­um. These knife­fish tend to bear a shy per­son­al­i­ty, how­ev­er, in time it is pos­si­ble that it will feed from your hand.

Com­mon name: Black Ghost Knife­fish

Sci­en­tif­ic Name: Apterono­tus alb­ifrons

Size: 20 inches/50 cm

Nat­ur­al Habi­tat: South Amer­i­ca through­out sandy rivers, migrat­ing to forests that are flood­ed in the wet sea­son. They thrive in nature aquar­i­ums, plant­ed tanks. In the wild, they live in areas of waters that are dark and sun­light is lim­it­ed. It is rec­om­mend­ed to mim­ic their nat­ur­al habi­tat in order for great suc­cess.

Ide­al Tank: They will thrive in larg­er nature aquar­i­ums as they like plants, crevices and nooks to hide in. If you are not plant­i­ng aquat­ic plants, ensure you pro­vide your Black Ghost Knife­fish — Apterono­tus alb­ifrons lots of aquat­ic decor and plants.

Aquar­i­um Size: 30 gallon/120 litre for juve­nile sized and for larg­er adults 180 gallon/720 litre is rec­om­mend­ed for opti­mal suc­cess.

Care Lev­el: Inter­me­di­ate. It is rec­om­mend­ed that keep­ers of these fish have expe­ri­ence.

Tank Mates: Com­mu­ni­ty. Will tol­er­ate fish of like size.

Aquar­i­um Water Tem­per­a­ture: 73 – 82°F / 23 – 28°C

Aquar­i­um Water pH: Range 6.0 – 8.0

Feed­ing: Frozen, live foods and pel­lets are a good diet. Any foods not con­sumed in a mat­ter of min­utes should be removed from aquar­i­um water imme­di­ate­ly, using a fine mesh net. If you leave any uneat­en foods in the aquar­i­um, it will cause bac­te­ria and oth­er prob­lems with your fish and water para­me­ters.


Oth­er Con­sid­er­a­tions: Acrylic cylin­ders or clay cylin­ders are a great addi­tion to a Black Ghost Knife­fish habi­tat. They love places to hide and rest and tend to enjoy these types of decor.


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