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|Clown Knife Fish||
The Clown Knife Fish has to be one of the strangest looking freshwater tropicals available in the hobby. With its elongated head, huge underslung jaw and humped back, it definitely doesn't appeal to all. But for all its odd looks, these fish have great personalities and are amazing to watch gliding around the tank at night
Knife Fish is nocturnal, although they do sometimes come out during
the day. They are quite remarkable to watch when they swim, as they
are just as comfortable swimming backwards as they are going forwards,
and they are amazingly flexible. When changing direction, they can turn
within their own body length and often seem as though they have no backbone.
Although they are very high through the body, they are very narrow widthways.
This makes it possible for them to fit through very small spaces where
most owners would think it was impossible for them to wriggle through.
thing you need to think of when it comes to this fish is that it can
reach an enormous size, even in the home aquarium. They are often offered
for sale as small as 3", and a lot of fish stores seem to forget
to mention to the prospective owner that this cute little wiggler can
reach lengths of up to 36". They can be comfortable in a 55gal
tank up to around 10", but if you plan on having a clown knife
long term, then you will need a tank that is an absolute minimum of
300 gallons, and bigger is always better.
Clown Knife Fish are extremely picky eaters. In their natural habitat, they are exclusive piscavores, and this can become a problem in the home aquarium. If you start young enough, they can be trained to eat pellets and some frozen foods, but this cannot be guaranteed, so a supply of healthy live feeder fish is usually required. This supply can consist of pretty much anything the fish can fit in its mouth, and mine has made a meal of goldfish, Buenos Aires tetras, Neon tetras, small Convicts and even Corydoras catfish. Some other foods that will sometimes be accepted are pieces of prawn, shellfish and some meaty foods such as beefheart, although animal proteins are not considered to be very healthy for them and should only be fed occasionally.
When young, these fish are comfortable in groups, but as they mature, they much prefer to live singly. Adult specimens will often not tolerate another Clown Knife or similar species in their tank. They also cannot be kept with smaller fish of any kind, as anything small enough to fit in their mouth will be considered as food and they will often take a snap at larger fish, just on the off chance they may get a meal out of it. Clown Knifes tolerate large tankmates quite well, often ignoring attempts by territorial cichlids to chase them off. This can sometimes lead to problems with injuries being inflicted, although the clown will usually retreat to its hiding place before any major conflict occurs.
There is no known way to sex Clown Knife Fish, and breeding in home aquariums is currently unknown. Due to the size of the tank required to house two full grown clowns, attempting to breed this fish would be beyond the means of most aquarium keepers.
had a Clown Knife Fish for a little over two years now, and have seen
it grow from 9" to a healthy 18. For all their poor eyesight, mine
does see well enough when the tank lights are low to recognise me and
has developed quite a personality over time. He (I have no idea if it's
a male or a female, but I've always considered him to be male) is very
responsive when you approach the tank at night, particularly when he
thinks he's going to be fed. These fish are definitely not for beginners
as they require a large commitment of time, money and space to keep
happy and healthy, but they are well worth the effort, even if only
for the "What on earth is that!?!?!" comments from people
who see him for the first time. Clowns are truly amazing fish, with
definite personalities and a lot of character, and a face only a mother
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