Black Ghost Knifefish – Everything you need to know


The Black Ghost Knifefish is scientifically named as Apteronotus albifrons. It lives in freshwater and is often found in the South American region. The Black Ghost is pitch black in color, with a hint of dark blue, and the ghostlike fin that runs along the lower part of the fish is iconic. Black Ghost has a white ring on its tail and the white mark on the head, which may run back to its tail. An average Black Ghost Knifefish grows a little over 30cm(1ft). The name originates from the South African natives’ belief that the dead are reincarnated in the form of Black Ghost Knifefish. 

Habitat of Black Ghost Knifefish

Knifefish favors the tropical climate. Freshwater lakes with sandy bottoms are ideal for them. Dark places to hide inside are places most likely that Black Ghost  inhabit. 

Black Ghost as a nocturnal hunter

The Black Ghost Knifefish is nocturnal and carnivorous in nature. Although they are friendly in the presence of larger fish. But they get aggressive among smaller or same sized species. They feed on worms, small insects, and other smaller fish. An interesting fact is that these fish can hunt using electric waves generated by them to guide them in the dark.

Black Ghost Knifefish

The Electric Black Ghost

The Black Ghost  belongs to the Weak electric fish category. It is curious how they can produce not only electric impulses but also sense impulses, unlike most other types of electric fish. They use these impulses to guide themselves at night when they hunt down prey. Apart from that, they use electric signals to communicate with others of their own kind. They maintain almost the same frequency for themselves, and female Black Ghost Knifefish tend to have higher frequencies than males. 

Petting Black Ghost Knife Fish

Black Ghost Knife fish has a semi-aggressive behavior when trained well; the Black Ghost  is known to be trusting and loyal as if it’s a puppy living in the water. After providing an environment with proper conditions, a Black Ghost can be trained with regular activities. Feeding around the same hours of the day and making them come to the surface are examples of such activities. After some time, they gradually start to trust the owner and may rest on the hand or feed from the hand as any other pet would. 

Black Ghost Knifefish is a unique type of fish. It has nocturnal, weak electric nature. Also, it has a very loyal behavior as a pet. Because they are unique, many pet lovers pet them as their favorite pet. Even some fish hobbyists pet them themselves as well. 

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About Dr.Chamika

Hello, I'm Dr. Chamika. I am a Researcher in Water quality, Aquatic organisms, and Environmental chemistry. I am a passionate fish keeper, with10 years of experience. My mission is to help other aquarists experience the joy of fish keeping.