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Clown Knifefish

Clown Knifefish
Photos © Sean Evans

Common name:Clown Knifefish
Scientific name:Chitala chitala
Synonyms:Formerly known as Notopterus chitala
Size:Up to 40" (1 metre), but rarely more than 24" (61cm) in aquaria
Origin:S.E. Asia
Tank setup:A very large tank (suggest over 200 gallons/900 litres) with open swimming space and a gentle circulation. Subdued lighting. Preferably a sand substrate with smooth decor such as rounded stones and bogwood.
Compatibility:Highly predatory, can be aggressive. Adults can be aggressive with their own kind even when raised together.
Temperature:25-28oC (77-82oF)
Water chemistry:Not critical, but fairly soft with pH slightly acidic to neutral ideal.
Feeding:Live/frozen meaty foods, such as whitebait, cockle, prawns, earthworms - may also take pellet foods which can be used to vary diet.
Breeding:Not bred in aquaria. Spawning takes place on a hard surface and the male guards the eggs and fry.
Comments: One of the more striking knifefish, their bodies have a series of black spots, which vary in pattern between fish. They are very greedy feeders and hence require a good filtration system. They are best kept either singly, or in a group of at least 3 in a large tank, introduced to the tank as youngsters at the same time. Their mouths are deceptively large, so only keep with fish which are clearly too large to be swallowed. Suitable companions could include large catfish, Bichirs, Siamese Tigerfish.




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