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FAQs on Black Ghost Knifefish, Apteronotus (Sternarchus) albifrons, Disease/Health: Parasitic

Related Articles: New World Knifefishes, GymnarchusNotopterids/Clown Knifefishes Electrogenic Fishes,

Related FAQs: BGK Disease 1, BGK Disease 2, BGK Disease 3, BGK Disease 4, Knifefish Disease,
FAQs on BGK Disease by Category: Diagnosis, Environmental, Nutritional, Social, Infectious, Trauma, Treatments
FAQs on: BGK ID, BGK Behavior, BGK Compatibility, BGK Selection, BGK Systems, BGK Feeding, BGK Reproduction, & Knifefishes 1, Knifefishes 2, Knifefish Identification, Knifefish Behavior, Knifefish Compatibility, Knifefish Selection, Knifefish Systems, Knifefish Feeding, Knifefish Reproduction, Electrogenic Fishes, Notopterid Knifefishes (Clowns...),


White spot treatment> Black ghost knife fish.... Killing them cluelessly      5/5/15
Hi, Need your help.. I have order 2 black ghost knife fish, will be receiving them on Thursday!!
<.... best kept singly. SEE/READ on WWM re this species>

But noticed one of our goldfish
 has white spots!! I want to give them treatment, but I know BKG are very sensitive to treatment!!
<THIS is also gone over and over.... READ>
Will the medicine affect them when they arrive on Thursday??
<Just elevated temperature. READ>

I really don't want them to die and I don't have another tank to put them in??
<I want you to read, READ, READ. USE WWM. Bob Fenner>
Please help.. Kind regards

HD Ghost knife Ich photos for you     6/4/12
Hi there,
I've found your site super informative, unfortunately though none of the information I've found has helped my poor Ghost Knife. I injured myself at work (dislocated shoulder, torn ligaments) and was unable to get home for 2 weeks. Had a friend feeding my fish. After 2 weeks I came home to find my bristle nose fry dead and my blue Acara fry dead. All had lost colour, bloated and were at a furry stage of decomposition.
I've been heat/salt treating the BGK for 3-4 days now,
<How high is the temp.? Mid to upper 80's F.?>
and its only getting worse. The 3 Kuhli loaches and 5 Elec yellows don't show Ich symptoms, but don't look well either. Unfortunately I don't have a med tank for any of them. My second tank is full, and SUPER healthy.
Hopefully these hi res photos will be of some use on your website.
<Thanks for sending them along. Bob Fenner>

Re: HD Ghost knife Ich photos for you    6/19/12
Just wanted to send you an update. After 30c temp and salt additions to the water had no effect, I started to notice my Kuhli Loaches getting sick. One died (found him stuck to the filter) and my Electric yellows would not stop scraping themselves. I decided to medicate, using VitaPet Multicure at half strength. after 10 days the BGK has completely healed (fin is yet to grow back, but has healed) and my Kuhlis are more lively than ever. The yellows now are back to normal. They weren't eating much when sick, now they eat anything and its been weeks. My BGK goes nuts for Cichlid crisps
and Algae wafers. The active ingredients in Multicure are 0.400mg/ml Malachite Green, 4.0mg/ml Methylene Blue, 2.00mg/ml Acriflavine. 2.5ml per 20litre every 3 days.
Hope this is of some use :)
<Thanks for the update Sam; yes, quite sure this'll be informative to some.
Methylene Blue and Acriflavine are both relatively mild and I've used them with sensitive species like Puffers. On the other hand, Malachite Green can be quite nasty, but if it worked for you, great! Salt/heat usually works very well with Ick, so do check you use the method correctly. It's a much less toxic approach for dealing with Ick, though it's less effective at low concentrations when treating Velvet, and the two diseases are easily confused. Cheers, Neale.>

Black Ghost Knife Problems  9/21/10
Dear Crew,
I have a BGK that is in serious trouble. I have had him for about a month now in a 40 gallon tank with a few other fish. The tanks water levels are great.
<Test values please>
For the last two weeks my BGK has been getting what looks like Protozoan Parasites. One day he is fine and the next just covered. I have been treating him with Quick Cure
<Yikes... very toxic... I would not expose this or other Knifefishes, scale-less fishes to formalin. Do please read on WWM re treatments. Very likely, if the other livestock can/will tolerate it, elevated temperature
alone will rid the system of parasitic Protozoans>
but its not getting rid of the problem. Now he is getting tired I'm guessing and has been "laying down" he is still eating and will get up and move around. I got home today and its the worst it has been, its chunky
white and grey stuff now. What do I do? Also none of the other fish are being affected by this and so I'm scared to keep treating the whole tank.
Please help fast, I don't want to lose him!
Thank you so much
<Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwichremedyyes.htm
and here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bgkdis.htm
and write back if you have questions, concerns. Bob Fenner>

Ghost knife fish and White spot/Ich?? 4/20/10
Hello, iv a young GKF around 3-4inchs in length, I've noticed that it has lots of tiny White dots along it's body, I suspect White spot..
<Is certainly possible if you recently added some new fish to the system.>
so far the rest of my fish aren't displaying signs and appear healthy
<For now.>
and happy.
<So far.>
My tank us 80litres and I have 2 pearl Gourami's, 5 Endler's guppies, 2 Pygmy puffers and 2 bumblebee gobies, they have lived in harmony for many months with my previous GKF until he died several months ago.
<Black Ghosts can live 15 years, and should certainly live more than 10 years. This should be a warning sign. Do understand in no uncertain terms that your aquarium is a disaster waiting to happen. Puffers will nip the Guppies and Gouramis, the Gobies will eventually be Knifefish food, and the Knifefish will reach a length of up to 60 cm/2 feet given good conditions, though 45 cm/18 inches is more typical. Read.
Among other things, you must understand that Apteronotus albifrons, the Black Ghost Knifefish, lives in well-oxygenated, relatively cool streams and shallow rivers. It needs excellent water quality, lots of space, a strong water current (which your Guppies and Gouramis will loathe) and a water temperature no higher than 25 C/77 F. In your aquarium, these Knifefish have a life expectancy of months, not years.>
The shop I bought my new GKF had an outbreak of Whitespot allegedly weeks prior to me buying him, I'm afraid he has brought the disease with him.
<More than likely.>
The shop advised me to use Methylene blue due to it's copper property and safeness for the GKF?
<The salt/heat method would be safer here.
I used about 2/3rds of the dosage as I was afraid it would make him I'll, his fin now is beginning to look ragged.
<Finrot likely here; again, the salt can help here, but fundamentally, it's a water quality issue, because poor conditions are allowing secondary infections to get into the wounds the mature Ick parasites leave in the skin.>
Iv increased the temp slowly to 30 degrees to help finish off the Whitespot but I'm at a loss what to do next as I've now read the Methylene blue us ineffective??
<Far too toxic to use with these fish.><<Really Neale? Are you sure you're not confusing this w/ Malachite Green? RMF>>
Any advice what I should do to save my little GKF would be appreciated??
<Read, learn, act thoughtfully. Praying to the Fish Gods wouldn't be out of line either.>
Yours hopefully
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Ghost knife fish and White spot/Ich??

Yes, you are correct, I was thinking of malachite green (or copper, or formalin, any one of which would be risky with Apteronotus spp.). So far as I know, Methylene blue has limited value against Whitespot/Ick anyway, so
shouldn't be used in this situation.
Cheers, Neale
"<Far too toxic to use with these fish.><<Really Neale? Are you sure you're not confusing this w/ Malachite Green? RMF>>
Any advice what I should do to save my little GKF would be appreciated??
<Read, learn, act thoughtfully. Praying to the Fish Gods wouldn't be out of line either.>
Yours hopefully
<Cheers, Neale.>"

black ghost knife fish... mis-stocked, Ich... no reading  7/13/09
Hello! I have a 30 gallon tank, and some fish
including a BGK. The BGK has been in the tank for one month, and happy until last night. I realized that his entire tail is gone, and he also has white spots on him.
I looked it up and found that the white is the Ich disease. About a week ago I added two tiger barbs
<Nippy, and a social species... needs to be kept in larger, odd-number groupings... You haven't read...>
in the tank and I believe they ate his tail right off. Will his tail be ok?
<Likely not>
I have an orange Plec, a flying fox, and a leopard cat fish which the BGK gets along with well. I also have an albino tiger barb, and a "regular" tiger barb. Like I said before I think the barbs ate the BGK tail. Should I get rid of the tiger barbs?
<These fishes should be housed separately>
If in fact I do rid the tank of the barbs, can I put a clown loach in the tank to replace the tiger barbs?
<... see WWM re>
When I found the Ich on the BGK, I decided to treat the tank.
<With? Many stock medications for FW Ich are toxic to Knifefishes et al.>
Currently I am only giving treatments with half the dosage because of the catfish.
<And the knife... I would have simply elevated the temperature... Again, you haven't read...>
I have read two different instructions on treating the tank with Ich, and I am not sure how I need to treat the tank. Should I treat the tank everyday for 14 days, or every 48 hours for one week?
Thank you for you time!
Erin Eyler
<Read: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwich.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Freshwater Question... Knife disease How long does it take for Ich to kill fish? <Sometimes mere hours from the appearance of "spots", other times "never", the infestation existing as recycling generations...> I have a BG Knifefish and I thought it Had Gotten Ich a couple of months after I got it. It has been 4 months that I see Some symptoms( green-like flour on him, yellow head stripe). When I got him his stripe was white I have raised the temp to 84, did many water changes and used medication at half strength. All water parameters are fine and the only other thing is that he is not that active from when I had him for the first 2 months( he is in a 30 gallon tank, about 5.5" long). His tank mates are a 3" Blue Gourami and a 4" Pictus cat( The cat showed symptoms but when I raised the temp. they disappeared). <They are VERY susceptible> I am Planning to move the 3 of them to a 55 gallon in the future (when should I get the 55 to move him into)? <Whenever you can afford it> What could this be ( Can you give me all the info you can)? <Perhaps "nothing" in the way of a biological disease... maybe another type of (internal) infestation... could be largely "untreatable"... If you have treated the system as you describe, I doubt if this is/was "Ich"> Do BGK eat fish like angels, rams, Butterfly fish? Finally my friend wants to know, How many rams can you put in a 29 gallon tank? <This Knifefish does not consume any but the smallest of fishes... A twenty nine can house two pair of Microgeophagus. Bob Fenner> Jahner

Black ghost knife with Ich Hi I have a Black ghost knife fish who is a new addition to my tank - though I have owned them in the past and have learned the * hard way* that these fish need a lot of individual care. <And don't "like" Ich medications> through research and experience, there has been a great learning curve for me -  My tank is 29 gal with only 5 other fish who have been stable and healthy ( 2 are Discus and healthy). <This tank is way too small for even just the Knife... or one Discus> 2 days ago, I bought a 4 inch BGKF who has a great personality but the aquarium shop I got him is only 75% reliable  - has a fair number of unhealthy fish)- my tank has been quite healthy and I do 30% H2O changes every 2 wks w/ gravel vac. <I take it you did not quarantine this new addition>   Today, my BGK started to show a number of Ich spots - I killed my last BGK with Rx in the main tank for another sick fish - <Very common> (ironically - the 1st discus I got had a good case of hole in head!) I bought this fish because I loved the personality of this fish... - I need to *save him* - what should I do? all readings on my tank are normal ; ph is 7.8, Soft H2O, lots of hiding places sterilizer always running. Peggy <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwich.htm and the Related FAQs (linked, in blue, at top) and: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/knifefishfaqs.htm I would use half doses of AquariSol, elevate temperature to the mid-80's F... And get a larger system for this life ASAPractical. Bob Fenner>

Parasitized Knife? Questions about life have a Black Ghost Knifefish (4.5") that I suspect has Ich or velvet because I see a light (dull white) flour-like  on one part of his body. He also has it under his gill area, his head stripe is also yellow? <Do come this way> Is this Ich or Velvet? <Could be either or neither> His tank-mates are an angel and a Gourami at the moment. How long does it take them to grow to their final height? <Years> How long should I wait to upgrade from a 29 to a 55 gallon tank. <As soon as practical> I also have a  common silver angel that's tail fin is torn, I suspect a newly added Blue Gourami did it, will he be fine or is medication needed? <Not needed> I'm curious, how long do fish live without water? <Some species for hours... others for minutes> Also my Birthday is coming up (12/25 how exciting for me) <Yes, happy birthday!> and I am trying to persuade my parents to buy me a 65 gallon tank to start my first saltwater tank. Do you know any words that can help me convince them, because I love fish and I always wanted my own saltwater tank? <Perhaps tie the request with a wish of their own. Pledging yourself to study diligently maybe> I mean this is my only hobby and I also want to become a Marine biologist (will be taking a marine biology class in my senior year of high school which is in 2 years) Can you help me with everything listed above? Thank You and Happy Holidays Sincerely, John Queens, New York <Mmm, do make the effort to look into volunteer work at Public and private aquariums... perhaps even working a bit for a local fish store. Bob Fenner>

Ghost Knife sick - please help Good Morning - I came across your FAQ on the Knife fish and was very appreciative. I read through much of what you had and it was helpful but not sure if what my fish has is Ich or not so not sure to use the info your site kindly provided. Hoping you can help as I really love my fish and am very worried. Here's the stats... 55 Gal tank - PH is 7.8. <A bit high for the fishes listed...> Tank established for 8 months. Put in feeder goldfish about 3 weeks ago to feed Arowana and two weeks later my fish are dying. <Not... an uncommon problem... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/goldfshfd.htm  this practice, feeding feeders, is a HUGE source of aquarium livestock mortality> Have removed feeder fishes from tank altogether.  <Too late> Water tested by local shop and hubby and both said it tested very good just pH a little high.  Just lost my Yo Yo Loach and Arowana with no visible signs of sickness.  Yesterday morning I checked my tank to see my Black Ghost Knife with white spots all over - but not like I've seen Ich before - like little salt sprinkles. These white spots appear to be more flat looking and more grouped. Please see attached picture. <Does look like Ich... though could be another parasite... most all are treated similarly> He is eating and acting normally.  Was told to do following treatment but have seen no change as of yet; raise water temp to 82 degrees, use AquariSol 12 drops per 10 gal, add sea salt 1 teaspoon per 10 gal and remove charcoal from filter and use PimaFix 1 tsp per 10 gal. I'm worried that I'm overmedicating. <Might be... as Knifefishes are intolerant of the poisons that are used to treat such infestations... I would raise the temperature to mid eighties F., not use the PimaFix (it's of no use), and use half doses of the AquariSol (a copper sulfate solution)> Should I be doing water changes?  <Yes> Will that amount of salt hurt my BGK? <No, should help more than hurt> I'm worried he's not tolerant enough for it. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.  Thanks so much!  Jennifer Welker <Have you read the article and FAQs on Ich on WWM: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwich.htm  The FAQs are linked (above, in blue)... Bob Fenner> 

FW Ich, Ghost Knifefishes, Treatment Hello, I have a 20 gallon tank and I have a black ghost knife fish in it with Ick.  I have heard that you cannot use Ick treatments when there is a black ghost because it will kill them. <These fish are sensitive to many medications>   I remember hearing somewhere that you are supposed to raise the temperature instead.  Can you tell me how high to raise the temp. Or can you give me a better solution.  This is a very expensive fish and I like him a lot so any help you can give me so I don't lose him would be appreciated.   <Raising the temperature will likely effect a cure. If your other livestock can handle it, do raise it to the mid- 80's F. You can do this all in one day (do make sure you have adequate aeration... higher temp. results in higher metabolic rate and less gas solubility). And in a couple of weeks, when you are sure the Ich is gone, do lower it slowly (about a half a degree per day) to the upper seventies. Bob Fenner> Thank you, Jeneane

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