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

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, Infectious, Parasitic, 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...),


Video of BGK      10/29/15
Here's another longer video. Hope it helps, I had to add it to DropBox as its too big to email
Thanks again
<See this. B>
BGK - hole in side of belly      10/29/15
Hi hun,
Firstly I would like to say thank you for all the amazing info on your website about BGK'S. You are one of very few sites that will help with these fish and I have learned a lot about what they need from you.
I have had this tank about 15 month now and the BGK'S about 7 month. They are in a 120lt corner tank with not many other fish. (I know this isn't big enough for adult size I'm getting a bigger tank at Xmas ��)
I do a 45lt water change/gravel/filter clean every week and a 50% every few month
Tank contains
2 BGK's (I think male 4" long & female 6" long)
<May be fighting>
2 mollies
3 guppies (won't be getting more because of BGK'S, had these since
<Am surprised the Knives haven't eaten these livebearers>
1 Pangasius catfish 3" long
<Trouble.... See WWM Re... Remove>
2 marble Pleco (male 5" & baby 2")(Were sold as clowns but their not)
<Mmm; need to know the species; this too could be an issue>

Temp 26°
PH 7.2
NO3 10ppm
NO2 0ppm
GH 180ppm or 8°d (two different test strips)
KH 60ppm or 6°d (two different test strips
CL2 0
Tank has two airstones and strong filter which I have positioned at the top of the tank to create a small waterfall/current for the BGK'S. Lighting is 9am till 9pm and its a dim blue spectrum bulb. They have 3 ceramic pots, 3 coconut shells, two plastic tubes and 2 caves I made from aquarium rocks as well as some bogwood. No live/plastic plants.
Fed on frozen bloodworm & Pleco/catfish pellets. 2 cubes a day one morning and one at night after lights out.
Now to the problem...
They both settled in fine and will eat bloodworm from hand and come out in the day. They get along fine together and seam to play with each other rather than fight (I may be wrong but it doesn't look nasty)
Yesterday I'd not seen the big female for a while which is unusual because I watch the tank a lot, more than TV �� she was hiding up behind the filter which she does sometimes but then I turned the lights out and she came out.
She has a 4mm hole on her left hand side just a bit further onto her belly next to her gills. Not it's not red or sore it's white ish but pretty deep and I'm not sure what it could be. Either it's stabbed itself on the bogwood or the other BGK has nipped it but the other is much smaller or its a water issue. As no new fish have been added for over a month. The last were the 2nd baby Pleco and catfish.
Now I know my water is very hard and I spoke to the LFS last week he's ordering me some peat pad that goes in and softens the water. He said its ok to use with BGK's.
<Tis so>
My question is do you think the GH could be the problem and the hole is due to stress?
<My strong bet is that the hole is due to physical trauma. Most likely the Pangasiid; but could be the others mentioned>
Apart from the hole and hiding more than usual she is fine and eating/swimming as normal. She's done a bit of
rubbing on that side but that's it. The other BGK is fine. How would you go about treatment?
<Move the Catfish... if more damage, separate the Apteronotids>
I don't want to use chemicals unless absolutely necessary but I want to help my fish ��
UPDATE - didn't send this straight away as I had no photo to send. I have just got a short video and you can just see the white 4mm-5mm hole. I did a 45lt water change/clean again and the BGK seams fine still. The hole seams to be heeling it's not as open as it was before so I am leaning more to injury than illness. I will send the video in another email now as it's too
big to add to this (stupid phone)
Thank you in advance for any reply
Sammie xx
<DO be a keen observer here.... some one in your system is beating on this fish. Bob Fenner>
re: BGK - hole in side of belly.... Pangasius incomp....       10/30/15

Thank you for the quick response hun. Will have a look about the catfish now didn't think there would be an issue with the two together
<Do you have any idea of how large and aggressive that swai cat gets? Please, READ>
but as I'm getting a larger tank soon I'll have space to separate them. I watch the tank a lot so ill turn the lights off and see how they are in the dark.
Everything seams to leave the BGK'S alone because if they don't they'll get nipped. Even the big marble Pleco (Colin) unless he's stabbed it with a fin.
What tank mates would you recommend with BGK'S?
<.... this is also archived on WWM>
Obviously bigger fish to avoid bullying. The BGK at 6" is the biggest in the tank but the 5" marble is stocky.
Someone else said I was lucky they hadn't eaten the 3 guppies, they've had a few small ones but these 3 keep away somehow. I'll move them to my other tank ��
Thanks again
<W. B>

Black Ghost Knife Fish      9/5/15
Hello! I have a 150 gallon aquarium, and I bought a black ghost knife fish back in November of last year. It is around 7 inches by now, and hasn't had any problems with any fish (that I have seen) thus far. However, I noticed today that the end of the "snout" is gone. It looks like it was chewed off.
<Likely has>
It is very fleshy and strands of tissue are floating off from his face. I don't know who could be doing this. I have a rainbow shark, two algae eaters,
<.... Chinese? As in Gyrinocheilus? These or the shark minnow could be culprits. Search/READ on WWM re
some mollies and platies, blind cave fish, a Plecostomus, and two smaller angelfish. I haven't added any fish in a few weeks. Is there anything I can do to correct this problem?
<Have to separate the Knife, treat it for bacterial/fungus issue. Bob Fenner>
Thank you! Jeremy

Emaciated BGK... in w/ breeding Ancistrus in a too small world     7/2/12
Hi there,
I'm concerned about my BGK who I've had for about a year in a 90 litre
<Needs much more room than this. Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bgksys.htm
community tank (2 gouramis, 6 neon tetras,
<Not compatible...>
 1 peppermint Bristlenose, 2 Bristlenose plus their fry (last count about a dozen
) - still babies but will be rehomed before they get too big. My BGK has always thrived but the last few days he has suddenly lost a lot of weight and become emaciated (top of his head sunken in, really anorexic looking). He was lethargic and seemed to be breathing heavily (not gasping but gills working harder than they should?) - so I reduced the water temp from 26-27 C to 24-25 C to make more oxygen available.
Also he was still eating but not as much, and not as eager as he usually is, with his main diet of frozen bloodworm
<See WWM re these sewer fly larvae... I'd diminish or eliminate their use... implicated in disease issues>
 (he also gets a mixture of beef heart, shrimp, fish, as well as picking on flakes, algae discs, that are for the other fish).
<Try some (live if available, frozen/defrosted if not) Tubificid worms>
I have started feeding him diced cooked prawns (human grade) and he is eating a lot more and seems to be more himself. But I'm really worried about his weight loss. He also has 2 white spots on his body that look a bit 'fluffy', could this be a mild case of Ich?
<Mmm, not likely, no>
One of my neon tetras had a little case of cotton mouth(?) which has healed, only other issue is one of the other tetras which lost an eye (probably from BGK) -
 he now swims on a slight tilt and has slightly shredded fins, assume because he gets picked on a bit - but are otherwise fine. (Neon tetras are tough as nails!) I have been too afraid to add any meds or salt since GKF is so sensitive to these things. The only changes to my tank lately have been the addition of some new plants, and the addition of the Bristlenose fry since my adult pair have decided to mate like crazy! The male has taken over the submarine to care for the eggs,
<This aggression is likely the root cause or at least a large contributor to the loss of health of the Knife... one of them needs to be moved, now>
 one of the places my BGK liked to hang out until the BN banished him (he still has a nice hollow driftwood log however - his most favourite place). Water parameters are pH 7.4, ammonia 0, nitrate 0, nitrite 20. Don't have a hardness test but the tap water where I live isn't hard. I admit that I'm not an expert but I love my fish and want to do the best for them!
<Read and heed. Bob Fenner> 

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