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Ghost Knife 16cm

Ghost Knife 16cm

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The Black Ghost Knife Fish, scientifically known as Apteronotus albifrons, stands out as one of the most captivating and unique freshwater species in the aquarium hobby. Its distinctive appearance, resembling a blade and adorned with a ghostly black hue, has garnered attention from enthusiasts worldwide. However, along with the fascination comes a significant amount of misinformation. In this comprehensive guide, we aim to unravel the mysteries surrounding Black Ghost Knife Fish care, covering aspects such as tank size, water parameters, diet, behavior, and more.

General Species Summary:

Black Ghost Knife Fish, native to South America, have gained popularity due to their remarkable appearance. Found in regions like the Paraná and Paraguay River, they showcase a slender, knife-like body with a mesmerizing swimming style. Notably, they possess electric receptors aiding in hunting, making them nocturnal hunters in the wild.


With proper care, the Black Ghost Knife Fish can live an average of 10 years, and in optimal conditions, some individuals may even reach up to 15 years. Lifespan depends on factors like overall care quality and genetic predisposition.


The allure of the Black Ghost Knife Fish lies in its distinctive appearance. Featuring a sleek, black body with two white bands on its tail, this fish lacks dorsal and caudal fins. Instead, it maneuvers using pectoral and anal fins, creating a beautiful, flowing swimming style.


Contrary to common misconceptions, the Black Ghost Knife Fish can grow quite large, reaching between 18 and 20 inches when fully grown. Dismissing the myth that they'll adjust to the tank size, responsible owners must provide adequate space to ensure their well-being.

Black Ghost Knife Fish Care:

Due to their size, unique body type, and disease sensitivity, Black Ghost Knife Fish care is better suited for experienced aquarists. This section delves into crucial aspects such as tank size, water parameters, tank setup, diseases, and recommended food.

Tank Size:

A minimum tank size of 100 gallons is necessary for a single Black Ghost Knife Fish. Additional space, around 80-100 gallons per extra fish, should be provided if keeping multiples to prevent territorial aggression.

Water Parameters:

While these fish can tolerate a flexible range of water parameters, stable and high-quality conditions are crucial. Maintain a temperature of 73°F to 80°F, pH levels between 6.5 to 8, and water hardness of 0 to 10 KH.

Tank Setup:

Mimic their natural habitat with a soft substrate, hiding places such as plants, rocks, driftwood, or caves. Ensure smooth surfaces to prevent injuries to their fragile skin.

Diseases To Watch Out For:

Due to their lack of scales, Black Ghost Knife Fish are susceptible to skin diseases. Ich is a common concern, and any cuts or scratches must be monitored for potential infections. Regular inspection is vital for early detection of issues.

Recommended Food & Diet:

These fish prefer a protein-rich, natural diet. Live or frozen foods such as bloodworms, prawns, brine shrimp, and tubifex are ideal. Feeding once a day during their nocturnal activity is recommended, avoiding overfeeding.

Behavior & Temperament:

Black Ghost Knife Fish are generally peaceful but may display aggression toward each other if space is limited. They exhibit a solitary and active nature, exploring the substrate for food.

Black Ghost Knife Fish Tank Mates & Compatibility:

Compatible tank mates include Electric Blue Acara, Silver Dollar Fish, Oscars (with ample space), Cory Catfish, Rope Fish, and Bichir. Careful consideration of tank size and avoiding overcrowding are essential.

Breeding Information:

Breeding Black Ghost Knife Fish can be challenging due to limited reliable information. As of now, breeding in home aquariums is not encouraged until more reliable methods are established.