Random Bits of Projects

August 4, 2008

Fish: Black Ghost Knife

Close up of the BGK head

Note - 1 US gallon = 3.79 liters. I keep meaning to convert throughout the text in these posts and hope to do so soon. But here is the formula for those who need it in the mean time. :)  Hope it helps.

Jan. 2010: For those of you using clear plastic tubes for your fish but need some shade, break clean, red clay flower pots (never used) in half as best you can and place them over the top of the tube. You can still see the fish from the side but it will get some shade from the lights. A quick fix if you do not mind the look. Ours is loving it.

Oct. 24, 2009. A paragraph added near the end from someone talking about his 16 year old Black Ghost Knife!

Sep. 2009. She is now around 12 inches!

Note: I do respond to comments on my old posts.

OK, finally the post…..

One of our favorite fish in the house is our Black Ghost Knife (BGK) named Rain. We do not know its sex but we decided to call it a “she” to be different.

We have had her for nearly 2 years now. When we got her she was only around 1.5 inches at best. Now she is a whopping 10 inches long and still growing. And she is fat.  She is no longer that svelte, sliver of a fish that she originally was in the petshop.

I finally got a video of her (above). Right now it is simply a few seconds of her swimming in her tube. But she is so unusual compared to other fish on how she swims so I thought it would be neat to put it up for those who are unfamiliar with this fish. Future videos will be of her eating and playing with our fingers. It is taking longer than I expected to get those but they will come.

She is now housed in a 55 gallon tank on a cinder block stand. We knew she would be getting large when we got her so we were prepared to make the jump in tank size before her health was threatened. But she certainly grew fast. Her diet now consists of live meal worms, frozen blood worms, and the occasional sinking shrimp pellet. You can also use beef heart. When you use animal meat, it needs to be very lean. Animal fat is not great for fish for long term feeding. Best to stick to water critters.

The tank is still being decorated in these pictures. We plan to add more hidey holes and such soon.

One of the joys of having this fish is that she takes food from your hand. This fish looks intimidating  but she is gentle.  Twice a day one of us reaches into the water and hands her one meal worm at a time. We now grow our own since she may eat as many as 15 in one sitting. For the bloodworms we can now hold a frozen chunk above her and as they thaw, the worms rain down for her to suck up. Sometimes she takes the entire chunk and works on it herself but she loses quite a few that way. The other fish (mostly tetra varieties) in the tank flock over and grab them up as they drift past her. We have some fat little fish in this tank. The hand feeding can be annoying at times if you are in a hurry since one cannot just dump in some flakes and run. You also have to be extremely careful not to have perfumes, aftershave, soap, and the like on your hands since these fish are very sensitive to water quality.

Black Ghost Knives love to have a tube to stay in during the day. They are nocturnal so we do not see her swimming about out of her tube much until all the lights are out. But her tube is transparent so we do get to watch this fascinating fish at any time. BGKs do not like bright light so if you do use a transparent tube, it is recommended to cover the top with something to shade her from the tank lights or leave the lights off. You can still see in the tank with lights from the room (the latter not a good idea if you have live plants). Our tank has a set of lights for each side so we leave  the lights off on her side where her tube is located. It is neat to see what fish in the tank like the bright side and which stay in the shady side.

BGK vision is very poor. They have a very light electric field that they use to sense thier surroundings. If you move her tube with her in it, she will swim perfectly with the tube no matter what angle you tip it. This fish can be seen swimming upside down, sideways, tail tip up, and every which way as she scans the tank. She has one long fin stretching the length of her ventral side that undulates in a wave for swimming or making sudden, full stops. She looks very similar to an eel but without the flexibility. Her back tends to be fairly rigid.

It is hard to find a large transparent tube for these fish without paying too much. We used a polycarbonate tube from a bird-feeder with all of the parts removed.  The ports where the bird seed came out of left a few holes in the side that really works well for feeding and water circulation. We often dangle the worms through these holes and when she is hungry, we may see her put her nose into these holes looking for food. As she became bigger, we had to get larger bird feeders to take apart. This largest one was special ordered for just the tube and no parts. It is much cheaper than getting an entire bird feeder this size if you want a nice quality plastic that will not leech anything into the water. Let me know if you try this by leaving a comment. I like to know if this works for other people and helps me keep motivated to update. :)  Note: more tube ideas added near the end of the post.

There are many small fish (a variety of tetra, pearl guaramis, killi fish, cori cats, etc.) housed with this fish. She has never attempted to eat any that we can see. Not even neons. She ignores them unless they enter her tube. Then she rapidly shoos them out with nose bumps.

I recommend this fish to anyone who has medium to advanced fish keeping experience and is willing to dedicate a large tank to this fish. It is a myth that tank size will limit the size of the fish without harming it. The fish WILL grow. If it is in a tank that is too small, it just might not grow right (such as a bent spine) and still get big. If you buy one, avoid any that are laying flat on the bottom. They should be moving around, never laying down. They are starving, stressed, and possibly on their last leg if they are laying down. Get them a hidey hole, test your water, and try a different feeding method if you have one like this. Maybe turn the lights out.

If you click on the picture  abive for its full size (I hope that works) it should show her face a little better. Her eye shows up white because the flash reflected. Usually her eyes are black. She is going through another growth spurt and is now up to taking over 20 good sized meal worms twice a day. I hope she does not start eyeballing the tetra (added sep 4, 2008).

This picture (left) finally captures her head. She never holds still long enough to get a great picture. Also the light on her side is rarely on. You can see eel-like features such as the “tubes” for nostrils and that jaw. Once again her eyes are white from the camera. The white patch below her jaw is part of her normal markings. She also has an almost white stripe on her nose, ending on the chin. Here her mouth is slightly open. She just chased a cori out of her tube. “Get off my lawn ya damn kids!”

Added September 11, 2008

Please leave comments if you find this site useful. Thanks!

There are other kinds of knife fish but the BGKs are the friendliest and, if I remember right, not as related to  the other knifes. If you are the type that wants one that will ravage other fish, then go with a different variety of knife fish than the BGK. Leave this one alone. If you wish to have more than one, be sure it is a big tank. But having one that will hand feed is really neat. Maybe try one that you can focus on first.

For more details on the species visit http://fishprofiles.com/files/profiles/387.htm This is one of my favorite sites for researching fish profiles. Eventually I will post a list of wonderful sites of this type for cross-referencing your fish.

For more fish profiles and information links, visit my Page O’ Links site listed on the right. Eventually the fish links will be another blog when I get them all together. Still adding.

Rain often will play with Mike’s hand after feeding. She gets excited and swims through his hand or back and forth against it. Her fin speeds up and it looks like she is just having fun. I hope to add a video of this and of her feeding soon.

Here she is swimming upside down, back and forth against his hand. Notice the cute white triangle under her jaw.

Feel free to let me know about yours or ask questions! I love to hear about your fish and learn from good ideas!

Here is a story by Jim. It is in the comments but I wanted to be sure people caught this. This is in his words:

” I bought a BGK about 30 years ago!  Piggy started out 2 inches and was almost 2 feet when he died 16 years later.  He was also very social, more so as he got bigger.  Started him off in a 10 gal. tank and moved to a 20, then 55, then 120, then finaly into a 340 custom. The last 7 or 8 years he mainly ate fish with some shrimp and some veg. – he loved endive. For over 10 years he shared a tank with a very mild Red Belly – he was about 5 inches when I introduced them and over a foot when he died.  They got along fine and would chase each other around at feeding time, jocking for the best spot I guess.  Both would spend a lot of time people watching.  I had a hollow ceramic “tree trunk” in the tank as a hidie hole and he “moved” it so he could look out into the room. I moved it back several times because it looked funny, but he always moved it back so he could watch so I gave up.
After Piggy died, I tried a couple more Knife fish but never had any luck with them afterword, the both died within a couple years. I hope you can enjoy yours for many years to come.”

Thanks Jim! (Oct, 2009)

Added September 18: More tube ideas.

So I am noticing many people hitting this post are looking for ideas for tubes for their BGK. Here is another idea to go with the bird feeder tube mentioned in this post.

Get 2 or 3 rectangular pieces of plexiglass that is taller, longer, and much wider than your fish. If you use two pieces, prop them up in and upside down “V”, wedged into the gravel to hold them up. It does not have to be a circular tube. To make them stay more permanent and to not worry about collapse, use aquarium-safe caulk. Do not use regular caulk, it will kill your fish. You can get aquarium caulk at some pet shops or at Lowes and maybe Home Depot (at least it was there a few years ago). The latter two are much cheaper than at the pet shop. Be sure it says safe for aquariums or do not use it, even if water proof. Caulk the top of the upside down “V” or make an upside down “U” with corners by using 3 pieces. Or make a solid square using 4 pieces.An advantage of the “U” shape is that you can pile rocks on top for some shade. Be sure the roof rests on the sides if you do this for support. You do not want the roof to cave in. I would make the top piece for the roof wider than the fish is tall so she can flip sideways and upside down.

Be sure to let the caulk dry for the recommended time. Maybe a little longer to be extra sure. Maybe soak it after that to be even more sure. I am paranoid. ;)

This way you can build a new “tube” as your fish grows. This is what I will have to do if mine keeps growing. And she is growing. I am glad I decided to raise meal worms!

Another idea:

Bottle: If you have the means to cut glass, take a clear wine bottle and cut off both ends so you have a glass tube. Be sure the ends are rounded smooth so the fish does not injure itself. Do not wash the bottle with soap but rinse very well.

Any other ideas? Let me know!! Use any of these ideas? Let me know! (It keeps me motivated to update)

An easier idea!:

For this idea I am not sure how safe this plastic is under water as far as leeching but here it is. Just get a 2 liter (or whatever size fits) bottle for water or soda and cut off the ends. Viola! A tube. You can even cut out feeding ports. File down the edges so they are not so sharp. Gets full of algae? Just make a new one! Woohoo!

You may need to stop it from floating by pushing a layer of gravel into it.

Another idea for small fish from a reader: Glass Candle chimneys. Sigh, I do not know what these are called but you place this glass tube-like thing over your candle. It is open on both sides and thick in the middle. When I get the time to research this more I will post the right name plus a reader picture as well. No fair when life prevents blogging, huh?

_____________________________________________________________

For more stuff to learn to do go to my main site https://virtuallyamy.wordpress.com/. Notice there is more than one page of blogs to go through….and more coming! Yay (again)!

For another unusual pet read about my electric blue crayfish. I Just got this bad boy recently (early Sept).

Or check out a post on bettas https://virtuallyamy.wordpress.com/2008/09/07/betta-fish-look-at-the-bubbles/

For more fish and tank related stuff, go to my Categories listed on the right and click on fish from the drop down menu. (Hopefully it will show all.)

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38 Comments »

  1. Hey pretty interesting!!

    Comment by Becky — August 4, 2008 @ 11:44 am | Reply

  2. good one..even i bought it yeaterday..a small 3 inch BGK. i have kept it with 2 white OSCARS(3 inch)

    Comment by max — January 7, 2009 @ 10:03 pm | Reply

    • Hi! Interesting! Do let me know how they get along when the oscars are older. It would be wonderfull to know! :)

      Comment by virtuallyamy — January 8, 2009 @ 8:36 am | Reply

  3. Hi
    i am looking into getting a black ghost knife fish and want it to be succesful. My sister worked at a pet store and said you have to add salt to the tank but im not sure its a good idea. Your fish is beautiful and i am wondering if you’ve ever needed to add salt and how much you add if you do. and if salt is a bad idea.

    Thank you

    Tina

    Comment by Tina — January 30, 2009 @ 9:05 am | Reply

    • Hi there! You will love this fish. Ours is very playful, especially as she got bigger (add another inch to the fish you see in the picture). I suggest making her your focal fish. As for salt, I went 2 years without having to add any. It was not needed. But I had a bacteria infection start on some other fish in the tank. Since she is sensitive to what you add to the tank, being a “scaleless” fish, I did not want to medicate. We almost lost her once trying to medicate with a mild medication. So now we add some salt and it cleared the infection up in the other fish before she caught it. If you do want to add salt, be conservative about it. An aquarist, whose site I need to track back down, suggested half a teaspoon per gallon of salt (see my adding salt post) for one of these fish. He suggested waiting until the fish is older, not a baby. Especially if you are not used to adding salt to a tank. We added slightly less than half a teaspoon per gallon. Paranoia. Very attached to the fish so we are a little silly on how careful we are at times.
      Keep me posted on your new baby!

      Comment by virtuallyamy — January 30, 2009 @ 10:55 am | Reply

  4. ok thank you very much. I am thinking of getting the fish in a month because the tank is newer and needs more bacteria build up. Id rather not use the salt unless needed. I got a lot of helpful ideas form your page. I know he will need more attention than than other fish but i would like to have more fish in the tank. I am having trouble figuring out what other fish will get along with one. has he ever eatten any of your other fish?

    Thank you very much

    Comment by Tina — January 30, 2009 @ 11:27 am | Reply

    • I have an assortment of several types of tetra, ghost catfish, cori cats, upside down cats, clown plecos, killi, and a pearl guarami. They range in size from half an inch to 3.5 inches or so. We never had any problems with the ghost knife eating them. She stays very well fed though. Other types of knives I have heard are more likely to eat small fish. The most aggression we have seen from her towards other fish is when the cories swim into her tube. She chases them out then. They often return. No mystery missing fish have developed during the night either. You probably want to stay away from aggressive fish that might nip at her or want to stay in her tube like some cichlids. I am only guessing there. I mentioned focal fish in the previous comment not as the knife being your only fish. I tend to have one “special” fish that captures people’s attention more than the others in the tank. :)

      Comment by virtuallyamy — February 2, 2009 @ 3:38 pm | Reply

  5. I got my new BABY!!! It was funny because i have a clown knife with him and he had a specific hiding spot. When i put the ghost knife in he kicked the clown knife out of his hiding spot and now just stays there. He looks really happy. Im just disapointed he didnt want to go in the bird feeder tubes i made for him. He prefers the darkest spot in the tank of course which unfortunatly i cannot see him there. Hes eatting good and comes out at night.
    Thank you for all your help.

    Comment by Tina — February 19, 2009 @ 10:02 pm | Reply

  6. thanks for putting this up. i just got a ghostknife. An amazing fish and your information has been extremely useful!

    Comment by Nintriniwestindian — February 26, 2009 @ 8:52 am | Reply

    • Hi! I am so happy it helps!!! Let me know how it goes or if you want to compare notes. This fish gets neater and neater as she gets older. Thanks for letting me know!

      Comment by virtuallyamy — February 27, 2009 @ 11:10 am | Reply

  7. So i got a BGK about a week ago. He/She is about 4 inches long. It discovered it could get up inside one of our log decorations that we had in the tank and i dont ever see it. :( i also bought it a log for it to hide in but it prefers the other spot better.

    Im going to get some plexi glass and cauk like you suggested and make a U shaped hiding spot so i can put gravel on top so its not so bright. Ill fill in the other spot so he cant get in, and ill be able to see him. Whether he chooses the log i bought specially for him or the hiding spot i made specially.

    Anyways, i posted on your blue crayfish site about maybe getting one. I would love your imput. On the other spot i posted all that my tank included and such.

    OH, one more thing, do you have any idea how i can get my BGK to be more social. I would love to feed it and be able to play with it. I saw videos of it and I think that would be great.

    Thanks, and your site is really interesting. I plan to check back often.

    Comment by Delores — March 2, 2009 @ 11:51 am | Reply

    • HI! Congrats on your new fish! They will hide where it is darkest and secure so you will need to remove the other hiding places to encourage her to hide in the place you like. As she gets huge, this will be easier. We socialized ours with small meal worms. Once she is comfortable in her tube, you can hold a meal worm in front of her nose. Hold it loose so she can suck it in. If she does not like the worms, you may have to try a few other foods to get her to take it directly from your hand. Mine goes off worms on occasion in preference for something else. So I have to rotate. But once she gets used to the hand, he/she may start to play with your fingers. I do not remember how long it took ours. But ours does play and loves to be “petted”. I have video of it but I cannot get it to upload on youtube. So get her settled in a spot where you can see her first. Once comfy, then work on socializing. Ours had never bitten us. Be sure the caulk is aquarium safe and you have allowed it to dry very well or you will kill the fish.

      Comment by virtuallyamy — March 2, 2009 @ 1:29 pm | Reply

  8. i want to know how do you breed them because i got four of black ghost but i cannot differentiat between male and female

    Comment by praveen — March 5, 2009 @ 4:51 am | Reply

    • I do not know how to breed them and I do not think many (if any people) do breed them in captivity. Yours probably were wild caught. Likely you have young ones as well. I am pretty sure they are not sexually mature until they are over a year old. They will be big and bulky. I have not found any information about sexing them either. I just decided mine was a “she” to be different. Do remember they will need a very large tank, especially with 4. If stressed out and poor water conditions/crowding, breeding may not happen anyway. They are sensitive to water conditions too and may get territorial. Sorry I cannot help!

      Comment by virtuallyamy — March 5, 2009 @ 12:32 pm | Reply

  9. I have been researching bgk alot so i knew what i was doing when i was going to buy mine.
    I read somewhere that the females have smaller heads and larger bodies. and the males heads are larger. Something like that. I was thinking that the one you have on your posting may be female? Her body looks a lot bigger than her head.The ones that are breed and in petstores are usually smaller than the ones caught in captivity. It is a hard fish to breed usually because it has to grow to a large size to be breed.
    It would be very cool to try!
    Also mine is hiding where i cant see him but i dont want to disturbe him by removing his hiding spot. So i put some blue lights on the tank so i can whatch him eat at night. Also called lunar lighting.
    -Tina

    Comment by Tina — March 5, 2009 @ 1:21 pm | Reply

    • Very neat! Please keep me posted on how you do! Red lights work well too if you cannot find the lunar lights, also moon glow, and a few other names. It would be great if mine really was a “she”. I already have a parakeet with a girl name that turned out to be a boy. He did not have the typical markings so I found out later than usual his sex. ;)
      I have not seen many full sized BGK to be able to compare head size, etc. But she certainly got fat and bulky.

      Comment by virtuallyamy — March 6, 2009 @ 9:14 am | Reply

  10. Hello i was wondering if i was able to get a black ghost knife fish?
    the question is are they able to be with other fish, i was rescearching about them and some poeple have said yeah they can go with other fish though they have to be bigger than a guppie due to their small mouths and they wouldnt really be interested.at the momenet i have gotten 3 angel fish good size, 2 widow fish and 2 shark fish theses are all bigger than a guppie. but at the momenent im going to get a large tank due to the size of the fishs, and im going to put some other differnt types of fish. do you reckon that this is true and will be safe for the other fish woth out getting attacked? thankyou.

    Comment by Bree — March 25, 2009 @ 2:26 am | Reply

    • With my black ghost knife (be sure it is a black ghost) I have found i had to worry more about fish nipping at her. She has stayed well fed and left all the others alone. My smallest fish in there are neon tetras and none have mysteriously disappeared in 3 years. So you will probably be fine. You may want to stay away from many cichlids (your angelfish are among these) but I do not know from personal experience there. But I have had luck with various tetra, small catfishes, guaramis, small killies, and small plecos in with mine.
      So if you do try a BGK just watch to be sure it is not being pestered and keep it well fed. :) Also a bigger tank will be needed. It will get very big if the water stays clean and the fish stays happy. Also remember it will be most active at night. Good luck! Let me know how it goes if you think of it. :)

      Comment by virtuallyamy — March 25, 2009 @ 9:19 am | Reply

  11. Wow. Thank you so much for this post.
    I am wondering if it is okay to have a couple of BGKs in one tank. The tank I have right now is small, about 7 gallons I think. I am planning to get a 50 though.
    I actually bought two of them but I decided to keep one and transfer the other to my cousin’s tank because I saw them once like fighting for the tube. They were like using their mouths as swords, something like that. And uh, I’ve read in some sites that they do fight. Is it true? Cos I would really like to keep a couple in a tank. And oh, one more question, when do you think is the time to transfer him to a bigger tank? Thanks a lot.

    Comment by richard — April 21, 2009 @ 9:48 am | Reply

    • HI, I will email you. :)

      Comment by virtuallyamy — April 26, 2009 @ 10:14 am | Reply

  12. Hi, I got a BGK approx. 3 weeks ago, I have not really noticed it’s growth. How fast do these guys grow in your experience? I have a mini cave for it to hide in instead of the tube, but one of the sides are visible because it’s pushed up to the glass and we can see it swimming in there. It occasionally comes out to forage for food. I’ve enjoyed my BGK so far. It’s really nice to see another BGK keeper, and a whopper of a BGK at that =D I’ve read they can grow as large as 50 cm.

    Comment by ultima0chaotic — May 28, 2009 @ 4:43 pm | Reply

    • HI there! I have also heard they can reach 50cm as well! But they tend to only reach that size in the wild from what I understand. Cannot hurt to try! I cannot remember how fast ours grew. We would notice spurts of growth by watching how she would fill out her tube over time. Her stripe on the tail will also go through some changes in her “teen” years. Not seeing much growth in 3 weeks is probably normal. Watch for the fish getting wider as well as longer. Considering how old they may be by the time they reach the petshop and how long we have had ours, we think she is about 4 years old (or was it 3…have to check). She is still growing. So you will see leaps of growth with not much in between except for width. Keep me posted! I love hearing from other BGK owners. :)

      Comment by virtuallyamy — May 29, 2009 @ 12:40 pm | Reply

  13. How big is she now? :)
    After seeing this fish, I had to get one, too. :p Your posts are great!
    I have her in a 10 gallon right now, waiting until my 55 gallon tank is in good working order before I put her in there. Her name is Betty, after Betty Page, because she’s beautiful.

    Anyways though. Can you tell me anything about how Rain was when she was younger and what I can expect? I just got her about three days ago, she’s about 2.5-3 inches long.

    Comment by Ariel — September 26, 2009 @ 7:15 pm | Reply

    • Yay!! I am such a fan of this fish! Rain is a foot long now. I need to update so many of my posts…sigh. So little time. And some of these really need some polish. ha
      A 10 gallon starting should be fine. We started with a 20 long and had her there for awhile before moving…as long as you know you will need to get a bigger tank-which you have (like). Rain was about the size of yours when we got her. Once she has has a hidey hole she likes you can probably start hand feeding her small meal worms. Also squirt some blood worms for her here and there. Variety is good. Your fish should take the hand feeding fast. It seems as long as they are well fed, you can keep non-aggressive fish with her. We have several tetra that are living long lives with her. Be sure she/he can get shade from the light during the day. We now have a broken clay pot draped over her tube for her to stay under. (something else I have to add). A note on the 10 gallon tank. Water quality will swing faster than with bigger (established) tanks so watch that. Water quality is huge with these fish. We are extra paranoid. And so far that has been a good idea. Do not add the salt I mention (conservative amounts) until she is bigger….4 -6 inches or so. Any other fish you add must be healthy because many medications you would use do not go well with this fish.
      I cannot wait until your fish likes being “petted”. There are times that, rather than being fed, she prefers to have us rub fingers over her. She will swim in and out of our fingers until we do. She is also sensitive to the strangest things. When I take a picture of her, my camera puts out a red beam of light. It kind of drives her nuts.
      Yep, I am babbling. I will stop (for now). Please keep me updated!
      LOVE the name. Black hair and personality fits! :) My husband I think is jealous you came up with it. ha!

      Comment by virtuallyamy — September 26, 2009 @ 8:49 pm | Reply

      • I’m hoping to have her in the 55 gallon in the extremely near future, so she won’t be in the 10 gallon much longer, it was a temporary thing to seperate her from another fish in a 29 gallon, she was being bullied by a bichir of mine, that actually passed away today. But she’s okay, I got her out the second I saw it happening.
        Do you know where I can get meal worms? I saw that you have your own little farm because you need a lot of them for that big girl, but for right now, while mine is still so small and I just need a small amount, is there any place I can buy them at? Online? Maybe a mega store or something? I’ve never seen them before.

        Comment by Ariel — September 26, 2009 @ 9:04 pm | Reply

        • Raising them is most cost effective (they get over priced) and allows you to get the size you need. But you do need to get some first. Most pet supply stores have them (over priced) and wild bird stores such as Wild Birds Unlimited (a little more reasonable). You can order them online, just do a search but you will be paying for the overnight shipping. Still might be cheaper though. Some are better than others but I cannot really help you with that one. But once you get your worms, think about raising them. It is easy and you get used to it. I need to update my page on raising them for smaller amounts of worms. But set aside some for allowing them to turn to beetles for the next generation. May take a bit of trial an error to time it right. Right now, you will not need many but they will need to be smaller than full grown worms. You might be able to feed your fish baby crickets from places like Petsmart if you can stand it. If nothing else, bloodworms and maybe sinking shrimp pellets that are freeze dried shrimp in cubes. If your fish does not eat, get the excess out to avoid bad water.
          Don’t worry, it becomes no problem after awhile. It is just the early stages that you have to work out. Its worth it.
          You can try strips of fish or shrimp meat too. There is beef heart available but do that in moderation. Better to go with water animals than land animals to feed the fish, excluding insect like critters. :) Hope this helps a bit. Hang in there, it all works out.

          Comment by virtuallyamy — September 26, 2009 @ 11:38 pm | Reply

  14. Love the forum. I bought a BGK about 30 years ago! Piggy started out 2 inches and was almost 2 feet when he died 16 years later. He was also very social, more so as he got bigger. Started him off in a 10 gal. tank and moved to a 20, then 55, then 120, then finaly into a 340 custom. The last 7 or 8 years he mainly ate fish with some shrimp and some veg. – he loved endive. For over 10 years he shared a tank with a very mild Red Belly – he was about 5 inches when I introduced them and over a foot when he died. They got along fine and would chase each other around at feeding time, jocking for the best spot I guess. Both would spend a lot of time people watching. I had a hollow ceramic “tree trunk” in the tank as a hidie hole and he “moved” it so he could look out into the room. I moved it back several times because it looked funny, but he always moved it back so he could watch so I gave up.
    After Piggy died, I tried a couple more Knife fish but never had any luck with them afterword, the both died within a couple years. I hope you can enjoy yours for many years to come.

    Comment by Jim — October 24, 2009 @ 8:54 am | Reply

    • Wow!!! You are the first I have talked to with so much success! Thank you so much! I really got a laugh on Piggy’s behavior. I am really looking forward to this. I did notice ours is getting more social and is about a foot long at the moment. I can see where she will need a bigger tank if she continues to grow at this rate. This is great! Also thanks for the feeding advice. I will see if she will go for some of it.
      Again thank you for the wonderful info! I hope ours lasts as long. Fingers and fins crossed!

      Comment by virtuallyamy — October 24, 2009 @ 10:41 am | Reply

  15. What a beauty!! I’ve got one, had it for maybe 6 months now or a little less. Poor thing is crammed into a 20 gal. Just got a 46 bow front and about to move him in less than a week!! In the tank I had put a clear tube and a dinosaur skull and he never even touch the tube! He hardly ever leaves that skull, he’s in love with that thing. I’m trying to find a bigger one because soon he’s going to get fat and wont fit anymore!! I’ve looked all over for something else satisfying but I’d like something I could still see him in, any ideas of where to find bigger skulls for aquariums or anything?! I appreciate all of this information, this is by far my favorite fish I’ve ever had.

    Comment by Kira — December 27, 2009 @ 2:33 am | Reply

    • Hi there! They are great fish! I bet it looks fantastic in the skull. You can find larger skulls on Amazon.com. You may need to play around with different search terms but they are there. I was looking for one about a year ago and came across a variety of large skulls for fish tanks.
      Yours probably likes the skull because it is light blocking. You can also try taking a never used clay plant pot and breaking it. Put the halves over the clear tube enough to block light but still see your fish from the side (we do this now. Need to update). You may have to take the skull out for awhile to encourage the fish further. If he/she does not take to it and gets too upset, then put the skull back.
      I am not sure where else to look for larger skulls. They are pricey so I assume that is why I hardly see them in pet stores.
      Your tank sounds like it will be nice!

      Comment by virtuallyamy — December 28, 2009 @ 11:16 am | Reply


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