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Black Ghost Knife Fish, Apteronotus albifrons (Linnaeus, 1766)

The Black Ghost Knife fish

The Black Ghost Knife Fish is an exotic aquarium fish recorded from aquarium shops of Dhaka and Khulna city. This fish was introduced in 2009 by the aquarium fish importers from Thailand (Galib, 2010). This fish is native to Amazon River of South America (Badman, 2009).


Class: Actinopterigii
Order: Cypriniformes
Family: Apteronotidae
Genus: Apteronotus
Species: A. albifrons


Apteronotus passan Lacepède, 1800
Gymnotus albifrons Linnaeus, 1766
Sternarchus albifrons (Linnaeus, 1766)
Sternarchus lacepedii Castelnau, 1855
Sternarchus maximilliani Castelnau, 1855.


The body this fish is elongated and laterally compressed. This species is characterized by long anal fin that starts at the base of the pectoral fins. The caudal peduncle is also long, and the rounded caudal fin is very small. The small Dorsal fin is filamentous. The body and fins are black colored, the base of the tail fin is marked with two wide vertical bands. There is a white stripe on the back starting at the head and extending about halfway down the body (Galib, 2010). Maximum length recorded 18 cm whereas maximum length reported 49 cm by Badman (2009).

Food and feeding

Black ghost is a bottom dweller and an omnivore but prefers animal foods; usually takes all the commercially available aquarium feeds (Galib, 2010). Also a micro-predator of insect larvae (Planquette et al., 1996).

Breeding and gender differentiation

Little or nothing is known about the sexing or breeding habit of Black Ghost Knife fish. It has been reported that they are being bred in Indonesia (Badman, 2009). Economic importance Economically important as ornamental or aquarium fish. Retail price was found comparatively higher than many other exotic fish species in Bangladesh (BDT 1200-1500 per pair) (Galib, 2010).


Badman. 2009. Badman’s Tropical Fish- Black Ghost Knife fish, retrieved on December 12, 2009;

Galib, S.M. 2010. Cultured and Ornamental Exotic Fish Diversity of Bangladesh, MS dissertation, Department of Fisheries, University of Rajshahi, Rajshahi, Bangladesh, 169 pp.

Planquette, P., Keith, P. and Le Bail, P.Y. 1996. Atlas des poissons d’eau douce de Guyane (tome 1). Collection du Patrimoine Naturel, vol.22. IEGB-Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle, Paris, INRA, CSP, Min. Env., Paris, 429 pp. (in French).


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Shams works in freshwater ecosystems, primarily on fish diversity in terms of their availability, and richness; he is also interested in aquatic invasive species and their impacts on ecosystem. Email: [email protected] More...

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