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(Notopterus) Chitala ornata
Clown Knifefish

 Age of Aquariums > Freshwater Fish > Clown Knifefish - Chitala ornata

Photos & Comments

cknife1.jpg (19kb)
Photo Credit: Greg Austin

Name: (Notopterus) Chitala ornata
Size TankpHTemp
Origin: Southeast Asia
100 cm 1000 L 7.0 25C


This is a very large fish and in general grows too large for the average community aquarium. This fish and its relatives can sometimes be extremely aggressive towards other fish and is best kept alone or with other large fish like oscars or something that at least even gets close to that size like a jack dempsey. But this fish and its relatives are also very beautiful.

Contributed by Randy Campbell

Clown Knife Fish are finicky eaters, mostly prefering live food. If you are lucky, you can get them to eat frozen cocktail shrimp, bologna, etc.

Contributed by Kim

The Clown Knife is a large fish, however if kept well fed can be in a tank with much smaller fish and not create problems. Yet these fish can also be in the company of Oscars and most Cichlids. They are peaceful but well able to take care of themselves.

Contributed by (no name given)

Juvenile Clown Knifefish that have not developed rings usually have stripes instead. The rings will appear in time. Also, they are bottom feeders and have been successfully been fed on a diet of Juvenile Cichlid Pellets.

Contributed by Vincent Wang

I have 3 of these wonderful fish in my aquarium. They are peaceful to other fish, but when it comes to feeding time they go crazy and eat all of the feeders they can eat in a very short time. They are all about 13 cm but eat pretty large fish, like a 3 cm Rosy Red and sometimes even a 3 cm Goldfish.

Contributed by P. Weiner

Although I no longer have my Clown Knife, I still consider it one of the most interesting fish I have ever had. Mine was in a tank with a Silver Arowana and two Oscars. It was fed live food from the time I got it when it was about 8 cm long. It eventually grew to almost 35 cm. This type of fish is an "electric hunter". It has a line of sensors down the sides of its body that can detect the body current of its prey. It would follow smoothly along behind a feeder goldfish until the feeder slowed, then it would drift up close very slowly and with an explosive snap of its jaws just inhale the feeder. It was amazing to watch.

Contributed by Jim Haggerty

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