Black Ghost Knife
Apteronotus albifrons

Care Level



Fore Ground



Reef Compatible


Plant Safe


Max Size

12 - 18

Minimum Tank Size



Black, White



Water Conditions

Neutral (6.2 to 7.8 pH), Intermediate water hardness (6 to 12dH), 74 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit


General: The Black Ghost Knife (Apteronotus albifrons) is a unique, Indonesian fish species. The Black Ghost Knife will reach almost two feet in length, and live up to fifteen years if kept in optimal conditions. Naturally, they behave in a similar manner to many eels. "The Black Ghost Knife utilizes a sensory organ that exerts an electrical current for navigation purposes" (Animal-World). During the Indonesian wet season, the Black Ghost Knife will travel from rivers into flooded wetlands. This fish should be kept in an aquarium 100+ gallons, and with fish species with a semi-aggressive nature.

Dimorphism: It is difficult to distinguish male black ghost knife fish from females. A study has found that female black ghost knife fish generate electrical signals at a higher frequency than males.

Fecundity: Breeding black ghost knife fish in the home aquarium has not been reported too often. Some hobbyists have found large water changes and having a densely planted aquarium help trigger spawning, but reports are conflicting.

Preferred Water Chemistry: Neutral (6.2 to 7.8 pH), Intermediate water hardness (6 to 12dH)

Aquarium Diet: Brine shrimp, ghost shrimp, blackworms, insects

Compatibility: The black ghost knife (Apteronotus albifrons) should be kept with other relatively large, semi-aggressive fish species. The Black Ghost Knife are typically compatible with South American cichlids, Mono sebae, and larger members of the scientific family Botia.

Author: Aquatics Unlimited