I first saw this fish and HAD to have it. I have a 110 L community tank. He loves the two small caves I made for him but that doesn't mean he's not active. He's active. I love him and he provides a lot of entertainment. I have learned though, he is territorial! You need a large tank. I would encourage anyone who likes exotic looking freshwater fish, get one.
I recently purchased some elephant noses to add with my Silver Arowana, Pleco, Clown Knife and Cuckoo Catfish. Not being blessed with good eyesight, they rely on the electro-receptive proboscis at the bottom of their mouths. It is a treat to watch them probe and touch each fish to see what they are doing. They are quite interested in the Clown Knife, also having the electro receptive spots on the side. Of all my fish they are the most lively and inquisitive...
The organs are actually there to help them find there way in the dark, like the African Brown Knifefish.
This is just a warning to all aquarists who think they are moving from a beginner to a more advanced aquarist. The elephantnose is NOT one for this stage. I tried moving from beginning to advanced, and as a result I felt I HAD to have one of these guys. He provided good entertainment while it lasted, but after one week he died. If you feel you should have an elephantnose, be prepared to feed it the correct foods, if given tankmates, the right ones and check the water quality.
I feel that Gnathonemus petersii deserve a lot larger tank than generally recommended. Perhaps 400 L is minimum required. Also, they are a shoaling fish that do best in a large group of 12 or more. Their interaction, while appearing to be antagonistic to each other, is not really. They are either being playful or establishing a pecking order. I keep 13 in a 540 L. They have 2 areas of the tank where they gather when they want companionship and do not fight or be playful when in their community centre. In these two areas they appear to communicate between whoever has gathered there and gently touch each other. One centre is on the side of a large piece of driftwood. Please don't condemn them to living alone unless you study them in a large group for a few years. They are among the smartest fish on the planet, having a brain mass 10 times the average fish based on body weight, and need socialization with their own species.
This is a very unique fish. I have two in a 280 L. They were fed on live worms, but with a little patience, I have them eating frozen bloodworms and brine shrimp. Very peaceful fish, but I wouldn't recommend them to a beginner. Also, they come so emaciated and stressed from the stores, especially here in N.Y.C. where selection is horrible. They do well in a community if fed late night or early morning. I have a lot of bottom dwellers (plecos, loaches, eel, cories) and they get their fair share. The smaller of the two has even befriended the fire eel.
I have a Peter's elephant nose fish that has been thriving for half a year now. I had him in a 40 liter tank when he was really small, while I was cycling his new 200 liter tank. He survived in the small tank for 3 months with no disease. When I put him in the big tank it took him at least a week to acclimate to the new environment. He would only eat in his cave with the lights turned off. Now he comes out anytime that my hands in the water and even when the light turns on and he feels like swimming. They are such cool fish. You just need to keep your water quality up to par. But you don't need to be obsessive about it. I just do a 40 L water change a week out of 200 L. My tank is well planted.
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