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Elephant Nose Fish – Gnathonemus petersii


Ele­phant Nose Fish – Gnathone­mus peter­sii. A species of the Mormyri­dae fam­i­ly that has 18 genus and 200 species!

Gnathone­mus peter­sii appear thin and oblong. Col­ors range from dark brown or gray fea­tur­ing white mark­ings.

Nose shapes resem­ble the trunk of an ele­phant, hence their name.

A weak elec­tri­cal organ, locat­ed at the nar­row part of body where the tail attach­es, is used for sens­ing. This enables the ele­phant nose fish to com­mu­ni­cate with oth­er fish, detect preda­tors and foods.

It can feel the slight­est move­ments as the field around it is dis­turbed. Because the ele­phant nose fish – gnathone­mus peter­sii is noc­tur­nal, it can move through shad­ed or murky water, even at night.


More About The Elephant Nose Fish:

Com­mon Name: Ele­phant Nose Fish, Peters Ele­phant nose

Sci­en­tif­ic Name: Gnathone­mus peter­sii

Typ­i­cal Adult Fish Size: 8 inch­es / 20 cm

Nat­ur­al Habi­tat: Record­ed in regions of Niger, Mali, Nige­ria, Cen­tral African Repub­lic, Cameroon, Repub­lic of Con­go, Chad, Zam­bia, Benin and in areas of the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Repub­lic of Con­go.

Care Lev­el: Inter­me­di­ate+

Ide­al Tank Ecosys­tem: Dim­ly lit aquar­i­um light­ing pre­ferred as they are noc­tur­nal. Using smooth ele­ments such as drift­wood and mopani wood is rec­om­mend­ed. Clay pots and acrylic fish pipes are great for hid­ing places.

These fish have del­i­cate flex­i­ble, tubu­lar shaped mouths that they use to bur­row them­selves into the sub­strate. Using sand as a sub­strate is rec­om­mend­ed for the Ele­phant Nose Fish – Gnathone­mus peter­sii for safe­ty of the fish and for easy bur­row­ing.

Choos­ing low-light plants is rec­om­mend­ed as they pre­fer dim light. Some exam­ples to add are Anu­bias sp. and Val­lis­ne­r­ia. Plants are always great in any aquar­i­um. It adds col­or and a lit­tle nature! Plants also help in fil­ter­ing your water when pair­ing it with oth­er fil­tra­tion equip­ment for your trop­i­cal fish aquar­i­um.

Rec­om­mend­ed Aquar­i­um Capac­i­ty: 60 gal­lon+

Species Com­pat­i­bil­i­ty: Ele­phant Nose Fish — Gnathone­mus peter­sii known to be ter­ri­to­r­i­al, oth­er times peace­ful.

Small Syn­odon­tis cat­fish, Birchers, Ctenopo­ma species, African But­ter­fly Fish. Cich­lids like Satanop­er­ca, some Geophaus and Angelfish. Pro­vide a nat­ur­al envi­ron­ment for your fish. Cre­ate hid­ing spots in the aquar­i­um and reduce stress on your fish.

When­ev­er adding fish to a tank, we rec­om­mend using Prime by Seachem.

Con­sid­er buy­ing these fish in a group of five or more when pur­chas­ing.

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

Aquar­i­um Water pH: Range pH 6.0 – 7.5

Feed­ing: Live food, frozen, dried foods and worms are a good diet. It is always good to pro­vide a vari­ety of food types to your fish.

Sex­ing: An advanced hob­by­ist or aquat­ic pro­fes­sion­al, would be the only capa­ble aquar­ist to define the sex­es through exam­i­na­tion of the elec­tri­cal field.

Breed­ing: Some research states, when in cap­tiv­i­ty, it may cause the sex­u­al­ly-defin­ing pat­terns of their elec­tric impuls­es. They may become less defined or pos­si­bly a revers­ing of the field com­plete­ly. There­fore, they are unable to rec­og­nize fish of the oppo­site sex caus­ing a reduc­tion in spawn­ing activ­i­ties.

Oth­er Con­sid­er­a­tions: Ele­phant Nose Fish – Gnathone­mus peter­sii is a scale­less fresh­wa­ter fish. It is sen­si­tive to poor water con­di­tions and aquat­ic fish med­ica­tions.


Use an aquar­i­um water test­ing kit to ensure aquar­i­um water para­me­ters are suit­able for these fish. The fre­quen­cy of their elec­tri­cal dis­charges increas­es as the water con­di­tions become more pol­lut­ed.