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Apteronotus albifrons
Black Ghost Knife Fish, BGK

 Age of Aquariums > Freshwater Fish > Black Ghost Knife - Apteronotus albifrons

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Apteronotus_albifrons_1.jpg (24kb)
Photo Credit: Stakic Ljubodrag

I had a Black Ghost for about 4 years when I was a teenager, at that time they were rare and very expensive. It was about 15 cm long and hid during the day in a clay pipe I placed in there for it. It tolerated my hard water and ate frozen brine shrimp and freeze dried tubifex, but only if I placed them inside the tube. I was also able to lure it out and have it take food from my fingers. If I placed live tubifex anywhere in the tank it would come out immediately and eat it, often pushing other fish away with its snout! It never bothered my other fish, even small Guppies and Neons, but for some reason it would shred the fins of Angelfish and male Bettas so I could not keep them in that tank. It died suddenly and with no sign of disease, I still miss my Ghostie very much!

Contributed by Timothy Stephens

I purchased a Ghost Fish about 1 month ago and I'm so glad I did. This is the coolest fish I have ever seen. He swims frontwards, backwards, sidewards, and any other way you can think of. He is gentle to my smaller fish and an amazement to just sit and watch. Sometimes I'll sneak and turn on the light at night to watch him do his thing. But I have to be quick. As soon as the light comes on he's swimming for his hiding place.

Contributed by Charles W.

My Black Ghost Knife simply loves to rest inside a lamp chimney which is his favourite place. The strangest of all is that it won't eat anything else other than daphnia flakes and for some reason it kills Angelfish. I tried keeping it in my community tank but it seemed to simply pull out the eyes of my Angels. So I had to remove it to one of my other tanks where it is quite happy and has got rid of its biting habits. Its best friend is my black 12 cm Sailfin Molly and they are often seen together inside the chimney or behind my huge Amazon sword plant. Among all things of this fish I simply love its motion which reminds me of a feather submerged in water. I would surely recommend this fish if you do not have very small and timid fishes.

Contributed by Bitan Halder

I have a Black Ghost with one Discus. Black Ghosts eat flakes and I read in a book that this fish can live more than 17 years. I only see my fish when I feed it at night.

Contributed by Estela Perez

The first Ghost I had was back in summer'92, which soon died because my brother unplugged the air pump thinking it was dead. No, I didnít forgive him. Since then I have had a total of 3 so far plus the one I have now. I prefer to call the knife a him so please forgive me. I have had him since December 1999. He was very small, around 7 cm. He is around 20 cm now. He only swims around to chase fish away from his caves. One cave is made out of lava rocks on one side of the tank. Another cave across the tank is made of driftwood and lava rocks. They are rather large caves and you can watch him in the semi dark places, which are 12 cm from the ground. He is in a tank with 2 electric blue haps, 2 blood parrots, 2 blue rams, a royal pleco, and a catfish I have no name for. Most people say it is dangerous to have those kind of fish in the same tank. No one can believe they donít kill each other. I found all my fish get along well in there in a 200 liter tank for the past year. Except when the knife is hungry as I will explain later. He has a big problem. He is very food greedy. In one feeding he must be feed about half of an ounce of blood worms 2 times a day or he will go and try and eat the other tank mates. He will even eat flake food, and sinking pellet foods. Even after his big feeding. Iím more worried about over feeding than anything else. He has been eating this way for about 3 months now. He is hand fed. It was actually uncalled for none of my other knives would come out of hiding and eat the food out of my hand. He wonít eat brine shrimp or tube worms. Not sure why. He is the biggest fish killer in my tank if under fed. He has already killed two large adult haps which are around 17 cm. This was when he was around 15 cm long. He plucked out the eyes and ate them. I had no idea they had such big appetites. Black ghosts are the best fish I have ever owned. I intend to always have one in my tank.

Contributed by Sharon

For all you Ghost Knife lovers who never actually see your fish do much swimming around: Hereís one way you can actually watch your Ghost swim all over the tank. First off we all know they have poor vision. But they are very light sensitive and will hide until dark. And the clear tubbing thing...itís just so the fish feels a bit secure. But they would rather prefer a nice dark place. Now to get him to come out and play. Make sure the room he's in is dark or wait till night fall. Then dim out the tank lights to where they make the white on his tail look blue in color. Which is pretty dim but your eyes will adjust in a few minutes. To do so you can buy fluorescent lights that are real dim in color. Or dim light bulbs which are easier to find. But I use 3 layers of black plastic which happens to be made out of garbage bags. Depending on how bright your lights are you may get away with using 2 layers. Depending on the thickness of the plastic. Well experiment if you choose to use plastic. No fires have started or has the plastic once melted. Besides plastic is much cheaper and easy to place and remove. Once it is dimmed just right he will come out seeking food and inspect the whole tank until light shines itís way back to him. You can prove that by turning the rooms light on or by returning the regular light. A tip to really make him active once the lights are dim. Just drop a small portion of his favorite food in the tank and he will be all over the place. Well hope this helped on spying on your Ghost. Enjoy the watch.

Contributed by Jerry

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