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FAQs on Knifefish Disease

Related Articles: Knifefishes, GymnarchusBlack Ghost Knife, Electrogenic Fishes,

Related FAQs: BGK Disease, Knifefishes 1, Knifefishes 2, Knifefish Identification, Knifefish Behavior, Knifefish Compatibility, Knifefish Selection, Knifefish Systems, Knifefish Feeding, Knifefish Reproduction, Electrogenic Fishes,

 

Parasite on Knifefish      10/30/14
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<Nick... 8.4 Megs of pix?>
Hi I have some brown ghost knifefish. One of them seems to be exhibiting some sort of parasite although I'm not completely sure that's what it is.
<Me neither... I see by your title below that you work in some capacity for a bio. dept... I'd have someone there take a look see under a scope... see WWM re>
The fish has these white things on its fins mostly and one on its body.
They are elongated and nothing like ich or anchor worms or anything I've seen. I've tried PraziPro and salt water dips to see if I can get them to dislodge to no avail.
<Mmm; perhaps are artifactual... body slime... again, the 'scope>
The fish doesn't scratch or seem to upset about anything. Its eating a lot etc, but I would like to get rid of them. I'm attaching some photos. Any ideas what's going on? I could use some advice.
Thanks for any help!
--
Nick Lamon
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Knife fish swallowed a rock   10/30/11
Hello, well I have a knife fish that is about 12" long. I was feeding him some live fish and he got a mouth full of rocks.
<Please do not use live feeder fish. Even putting aside the cruelty debate, store-bought "feeder fish" and cheap tropical fish are parasite bombs, and certain sorts, most notoriously goldfish and minnows, are extremely rich in fat and an enzyme called thiaminase that breaks down vitamin B1. There's simply no advantages to using feeder fish, and NO expert aquarist or vet recommends it. Here in the UK you can't even buy feeder fish, but in some countries, notably the US, there are still pet stores that sell them, despite all the evidence damning their usage.>
He spit one large one out but it seemed that he was still trying to swallow another one.
<May be caught in the gill rakers.>
I do not know the size. I know it was not the fish as it was still in the tank.
<Hmm>
It's been about a week and I've noticed that it has not passed and stools in the past few days. The fish is not stressed but it seems as though he is "full" in the belly area. What can I do?
<Not a great deal without consulting a vet.>
Should I not feed him?
<I would not feed him for a week or so.>
Do I use Epsom salt?
<Yes, that would be helpful. It's a laxative, so loosens up the digestive tract, and if the stone is in the gut, may help it pass. Do read here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/SaltUseFWArtNeale.htm
The Epsom salt bit is towards the bottom of that page.>
I would hate to see this fish die, please help!
Carmine
<Good luck, Neale.>
Re: Knife fish swallowed a rock  10/31/11

Thank you for the prompt reply. I have a 55 gallon tank and I have a dosage of 21 teaspoons of Epsom salt for the time being.
<Good luck!>
How long do I leave the fish in this solution?
<As long as won't do any harm.>
No signs of any stools passing yet. I will be calling an expert in the morning to see what else I can do.
<Real good. A vet may be able to massage or even remove surgically any obstructions. Do be aware that Goldfish and Minnows as feeders contain fat, and this accumulates around the internal organs, and this could potentially make it more difficult for your fish to get rid of faeces and accidentally-swallowed items like stones.>
Thank you again for the advice,
Carmine
<Cheers, Neale.>

Brown knife and ich, reading   4/17/08 A few fish in my tank have ich I added a medication called quick cure wondering if it will affect my brown knife fish? <Mmm, yes. The active ingredients (copper sulfate and formalin if memory serves) will likely kill any Apteronotid> I would like to cure the ich without harming the Knife so what do you suggest? <That you read: http://wetwebmedia.com/ see the Freshwater Subweb... re FW Knives, their Health/Diseases, the articles on Ich, and the active ingredients in Quick Cure. Likely simply elevating temp. will "do it" here... as you will find by reading. Bob Fenner>

Sick Black Ghost Knife  08/01/07 Hello, <Hi, Pufferpunk here> First I'd like to thank you for having so much helpful information on your website. <You're welcome!> Now, I have had my BGK about 2 weeks now and I believe he's quite sick. His body is covered in a white film [which at first I thought was due to the sand I have] but it's been getting worse lately and just a moment ago, I noticed the white area on his tail is turning red. I read some information on your website, which advised me to do a water change, and increase the temperature. So I did a 25% change, and got the temperature to about 80. The white film cleared up almost immediately. [I believe this was due to the nitrite being very high prior to the water change]. Now today, the white film appeared even worse. I did another water change, around 35% this time, and added some nitrite and nitrate removing chemical. I do not know what to do, and I really don't want to lose him any time soon. I'm hoping you can help, and thanks so much in advance. <If your tank is showing nitrates, then it isn't cycled properly. It is difficult to help without knowing more about your tank. Ammonia & nitrites should be 0 at all times. Nitrates need to be kept below 20. The only way to reduce nitrates is with water changes. The fact that the fish looked better after a water change, tells me that this is a water quality issue. It would also help me to know, how long the tank has been set up, was it cycled properly before you added the fish, how large is the tank/fish & what tank mates are in there with it? Please let me know all this & write back. In the meantime, do another 50% water change, add Melafix & 1 tbsp aquarium salt/10g. ~PP>

Was: BGK/Cycling a Tank/Dyed Fish 8/2/07 Thank you so much for such a speedy response, it means so much. To answer your questions; The tank I have him in is only a 10 (I know he will grow out of this very quickly but he'll only be in it a couple more days.) I figured this was okay as when I got him he was no more than an inch big. He shares the tank with two "painted" tetras that got put in there a day after I set the tank up. They did fine, so I a day later I put the BGK in. Unfortunately, I was told 24 hours was all it took to cycle a tank [And I work at a fish store ;\ ] After setting up the tank and reading some information on your website, I realize I should've let it run for at least 2 weeks. <Please read much more on cycling tanks. You could let a tank run empty for a year & it wouldn't cycle. Find out more about the bacteria needed to break down ammonia to nitrites, then to nitrates, which much be removed by weekly water changes. This entire process can take 2 weeks, if "fishless cycling" & up to 6 weeks if cycling with fish (bad idea--stressful to the fish). All this info is on our site. For an instant cycle you can use Bio-Spira. I recommend you use this to cycle your larger tank immediately. You owe this to your customers to know all this. Please urge your manager/owner not to carry dyed fish! See: http://www.deathbydyeing.org/ (can't seem to get that site to work but excellent info there), http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Painted_fish http://www.practicalfishkeeping.co.uk/pfk/pages/campaign.php Just do a search on "dyed fish" & you'll find countless arguments against it. I will not buy from any store that carries them.> But I have kept that in mind as the BGK's new home, a 29 gallon [and not permanent] home is being cycled as we speak. <Check into the adult size of your fish. You will eventually need a minimum of a 90g tank. You owe it to your customers (& the fish) to know the adult sizes of all the fish you sell & the minimum tank size for an adult. You are aware this fish won't eat flake food? My 15" fellow only eats live Blackworms.> Anyway, as soon as I got your e-mail I ran out and got both the Melafix and aquarium salt. So I'm hoping by tomorrow, he will clear up a bit. Again, thank you for your helpful response, and your time, I appreciate it very much. <I suggest daily 50-80% water changes, until you can upgrade him to a cycled tank. ~PP> -Adam

Apteronotids, ich... trtmt., reading   2/26/07 I have newly acquired a black ghost knife and he has ich. <Yikes... need to take care here... This family of fishes is sensitive to most treatments> Tank conditions are 75 gal with other peaceful fish, and plenty of filtration.  The temperature is 78 degrees.  What do I need to do specifically to get rid of the ich, being he is a scaleless fish.  Please enclose detailed instructions to cure my problem.  Your knowledge is wonderful but I don't know everything. <Mmm, I would try the elevated temperature and half dose of Aquarisol here... removing chemical filtrants... and moving all livestock to a treatment tank if at all possible... Please read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwich.htm and the linked files above... and here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/knifedisfaqs.htm <Bob Fenner>

Sick Black Ghost Knife   1/23/07 Hi there, <Ho there> I have a black ghost knife who is my little buddy.  He's about 6-7 inches long now. Just recently, he's started being active all of the time, and he's started to get a white film on him. <Mmm, not good> I can't figure out what's causing this. <Could be a number of things... categories... Most likely a/the presence of a contaminant... metal in the system... the water> Most water levels are fine, but I've just noticed that my ph and hardness levels have dropped dramatically. <Indicative> I haven't changed my water change technique in 2 years, but maybe my local water quality has changed. <Oh yes... very common nowadays> Also in the tank are 2 angelicus cats, and 1 gold Gourami.  It's a 29 gallon tank with light planting (lots of java moss, though), one big piece of faux rock, and 2 pieces of driftwood that have been in there for 3 years and 2 years, respectively. <Could be the rock or the driftwood...> The only thing I can think of that has changed lately is I started giving the fish in this tank some frozen krill as a treat.  Maybe that wasn't such a good idea. <Even this Krill may have a metal preservative... likely copper, added... see the packaging, list of ingredients re> What else can I look at to determine the cause of this fish's newfound while film? <Mass spectrophotometry... Actually, I'd avail myself of a chemical filtrant... activated carbon likely... changed out once a month... or PolyFilter... in your filter flow-path...> Other fish in the tank seem more active, so maybe it's an overall water quality issue that is just more prominent in the knife. Thank you for your help! Sean <I'd still use the chemical filtrant. Bob Fenner> Black Ghost Knifefish - swelling    12/26/06 I have two 7 inch long black ghost Knifefish that have been in a 40 gallon tank for about a year. <Mmm, not social animals... should be kept singly> They are separated by a perforated divider so that they do not fight. <Might actually... electrically> Recently I noticed that one of them has developed a swollen belly. Its behaviour seems normal though. They are in RO water (pH = 5) and ammonia and nitrite is zero. Nitrate is about 5 ppm and I expect that hardness is negligible. I perform 5-10 % water changes on a weekly basis and they eat bloodworms exclusively (about 1/2 cube per day per fish). <Might want to expand the diet here> I'm concerning about the swelling. Is it due to overfeeding or is the fish sick (Dropsy ? Edema ?). <These are symptoms... what might the primary cause/s be?> Should I add salt (NaCl) or perhaps Epsom salt ? Should I try to raise the pH ? <I would do none of these> I've heard that the water in the Amazon Basin is soft and of high pH so maybe my water is ok. <I think so, yes> How should I deal with the swelling ? Thanks <I would try expanding the types of foods offered here... perhaps soaking them in a vitamin prep. before offering... One exciting possibility here is that the one fish is producing eggs... If the one fish doesn't appear or behave otherwise ill I would not be concerned. Bob Fenner>

BGK with Irritation  - 09/07/06 <Hi Kelli, from what I could tell, it looks like a slight irritation on your fish,  Try adding Melafix to the tank.  Be sure the water quality is good.  No nitrites or ammonia, nitrates <20.  They grow huge, so you'll need at least a 90g tank for it.  ~PP> Sorry that the picture is so big, I don't know how to make it  smaller.   Thanks, Kelli Re: BGK with Irritation Melafix  9/7/06 Great, thanks so much.  Do I add that at full strength as  directed? <Yes, Melafix is a natural medicine that will not harm your tank or fish, if used as directed.  I also recommend adding an airstone when medicating.  ~PP> Kelli

BGK, crayfish, and bumblebee catfish Nocturnal Animals Need More Places To Hide  9/8/06 These three fish are not getting along very well. I think that the crayfish just wants to be left alone but the bumblebee and the Black Ghost Knife keep fighting over a cave and run into the crayfish. My tank is 55 gallons but I think I just need more hiding places is this correct? < More hiding places will be just fine.-Chuck> <<... NO! Separate these fishes from the Crayfish. Chuck! RMF>>

Re: Black Ghost Knife With Diseased Tail   9/11/06 Hello again, I spoke to you last week about my BGK now it looks at his tail is rotting away and has some fuzzy stuff on it. Will the Melafix help that as   well?  I don't want to lose him. Thanks for all your help. Kelli < Do a 50% water change, vacuum the gravel and clean the filter. Treat with Nitrofurazone. The tail will not grow back but the disease can be cured if treated quickly.-Chuck>

Black Ghost Knife Missing Tail  - 09/14/06 Another question is I think that the crayfish got ticked and bit the tail off of the ghost knife up to the white part will it grow back? < Probably not. If is does it is usually not as long or as nice as the original.-Chuck> <<Separate these animals! RMF>>

Death of My Black Ghost Knife  8/25/06 Dear Crew, <Thea> I recently got my first fish tank; a freshwater 34L AquaZone AR-380 aquarium with a 50W heater. I set up my tank with gravel as the substrate and added Bio Booster (concentrated beneficial bacteria) and left my tank running for 8 days before I added any fish. The first fish I added were 3 male guppies, a silver shark, <Yikes... is this a Pangasiid catfish? Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/pangasiids.htm> a rainbow shark, <And this fish will likely "go after" your male guppies tails...> and a 3.5cm Bristlenose Pleco, as well as a golden mystery snail, 2 plants and a ornament for the fish to hide in. I also really wanted some clown loaches, so the people at the aquarium shop told me to wait a while <Very good advice> so the fish I already bought could establish themselves in the tank before adding the clown loaches. So 4 days after adding my first lot of fish, I bought 3 5cm clown loaches and a 6-7cm black ghost knife, <Mmm, your tank is too small for this fish really> which I fell in love with. I was advised that the growth rate of the black ghost knife and the clown loaches was really quite slow so the size of my tank would be big enough for a fair while, <Mmm, not likely> and that I could trade the fish in a few years if they became too big. I was given some frozen blood worms to feed my ghost knife, and was already feeding my other fish with shrimp pellets (which the clown loaches love) and Omega One freshwater flakes. Four days after I added the loaches and ghost knife, one of my guppies stopped eating, became bloated and remained at the top of my tank, <... this tank/system is not likely very/fully cycled...> also he would very occasionally swim down a little. I searched the internet and rang up my aquarium shop, but they advised me that he most likely had some sort of intestinal infection and that there wasnt much I could do. The day before my guppy died, I noticed my loaches had developed ich, <Not good, fun...> so after reading your FAQ pages on ich I  raised the water temperature from 26 degrees Celsius to 28 degrees Celsius, did a water change, removed the carbon from the filter, added Aqua Mater White Spot Remedy (with formaldehyde and malachite green) at the reduced dosage for the loaches and added rock salt. <Good> Its now 5 days later and the loaches white spots appear to be disappearing. But tragedy struck yesterday when I arrived home to find that me beloved black ghost knife had died. <... yes, very sensitive to formaldehyde, Malachite Green... even salt> One to two days before he died he was sitting up the top in the back two corners of the tank during the day (I have my tank light on a timer to be on for 8 hours a day, during the daytime), which I thought was natural as hes nocturnal. He also stopped eating around this time (before this he would eat some blood worms which he was given every second day and nibble on the shrimp pellets when I fed the loaches). He has several hiding spaces (a two rusty pipes ornament and a piece of glass propped up against the side of the tank, which he used before he went up to the top. He spent a bit of time at the top sitting next to the impeller, and I wondered if he felt any vibrations from this which he may have liked. Before he died he was quite active during the day (which was odd as hes supposed to be nocturnal) and swam around with the clown loaches. R.I.P. Ghostie. So, to my question: I was wondering why my ghost knife died. Was it stress from overcrowding or something else? <Some stress as you state from being in a new system, being crowded, but mostly the medication ingredients> After trawling through your site, I now realize that my tank might be overcrowded, although the people at the aquarium shop advised me that because of the quality of my filter I would be able to have the number of fish that I do. <My opinion differs from what you state theirs is... is/was too crowded for sure> I would really love another black ghost knife as he was my favourite fish, but Im unsure whether it would be advisable to try another one in my tank. Any advice you could give would be most appreciated. <I would hold off on trying another Black Ghost Knife till you have a system of at least three or more volumes than present> Thanks for the fantastic site and all your help (especially with the course of action for treating my clown loaches ich fingers crossed theyll make a full recovery). Thanks again for all your help so far, Thea - Brisbane, Australia. <Thank you for writing, sharing. You have saved many other Knifefishes from trouble. Bob Fenner> Black ghost problem... poisoning with Malachite   4/28/06 Hi <Hello> I really hope you can help me. About 2 weeks ago my Clown loaches and blue rams started to show signs of Ich. <No fun> After being given advise by my local fish store, I purchased WS3 medication to cure it. <... malachite green, acriflavine and quinine sulphate (WS3®, King British)> Only after reading your site have I found out that Black Ghost Knife Fish are sensitive to medications <And the Clown Loaches...> and I have started to notice that my BGK is swimming lazy, has greyish white patches down the side of him and his fins have become torn and have red patches. I don't know if this is Ich, Slime disease or a fungus growth with fin rot. Please could you help me.. Many thanks. Steve. <... with what? Malachite Green should be dosed at most at half concentration with the loaches, Knifefish... This, along with temperature increase should effect a cure for ich. Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwich.htm and the linked files at top and on WWM re these fishes "Health FAQs". Bob Fenner>

Brown Knifefish, wrong env., tankmates  - 02/27/06 Hello!  I have a quick question regarding my brown ghost Knifefish.  Some background, I have a 29gal tank with a Eclipse 3 hood/filter;  20-25% water changes weekly, with tank salt added each time as well as conditioners. <Don't like salt> (The filter is changed every 3-4weeks);  Livestock:  Bala shark (approx 3yr old, 7in), <Too small a tank for> albino cat (about 4-5in); a blue white striped cat (about 3in); 4 ghost catfish (about 3in each); 1 Pleco (unsure the type-about 2 in); 1 pearl Gourami (3-4in); and the newest arrival (2mo.) a 4 in brown ghost knife- Charlie Brown; Ok, here's the problem.  I have provided plenty of cover for the BGK with (silk) plants and a 6in clear glass hurricane piece for cover/protection (which is completely ignored by him!) as well as a castle figure.  My question is regarding his health and behavior.  Charlie Brown (and the crew) is fed a mix of frz. blood worms or community mix (of krill, shrimp, etc) 1x/day, although I do not actually witness him eating very much at all. He spends most of the day (vertical) in the light  b/w the bubble wall and driftwood that is situated along the back. He has recently developed red spots in the gill area, and has lost some coloration. Can you please tell me if he is ill and is his behavior normal? <Is ill... poor tankmate choices (can't compete), likes different water than much of what you list... and the salt...>   And what, if anything, would need to be done?  Thanks! Rachel S. <Place this animal in an appropriate environment. Read re this per species on WWM, fishbase.org. Bob Fenner>

Treating discus with other fish... BGKs and med.s...   2/10/06 Hi to the WWM crew from the Philippines!!!!!!!!!!! <Hello to you my friend>    I am glad I saw your site!!!!    I currently have a 35gallon tank with 5 discus(2-3.5in), 2 algae eaters, <Keep your eyes on these... may "ride" your discus, sucking on their sides...> 3 neon tetras and 4 black ghost knives. <Yikes... crowded>    my concern is that I have been using a medication called "Rid All" which I used to use in my Arowana to treat my discus if they're showing any form of infection or sickness. <Contains Malachite Green if memory serves....> the thing now is that I added the 4 BGK's last week, and I just added my medication to the tank 2 hours ago!!! some sites said that BGK's are sensitive to medication, <Most types yes> do you think what I just did will kill my BGK? <Didn't help them> do you think I should just remove my BGK's from the tank every time I have to treat the other fish (especially the discus)? <I would treat the discus elsewhere... Bob Fenner> Arvin Jasper A. Cristi

Knifefish Fin Problem   1/10/06 Hello, I've had my Black Ghost Knifefish and Blue Gourami for well over a  year now. My water parameters are all normal. The Temp. is 79 degrees. They are  in a 29 gallon soon to be in a 55. My problem is that I have just noticed that a   few of his fins are torn right near his tail. Is this a result of fighting? <Possibly> Will  it heal on it's own? <Should... with the move to larger quarters, good care> Will he be all right or will he need any kind of medical  attention? Thank You <Be careful with treatments around the Apteronotid Knife... often more toxic, hazardous than worthwhile. Good clean water, decent nutrition should cure all here. Bob Fenner>

Hercules the Black Ghost Knife fish Has a Goiter  11/14/05 Hi all, New to your site and I'm really impressed. More so, because I have a problem the solution to which, I'm not sure I've accurately found yet. And you folks do cyber-calls. We have a seven-year old, 11" BGK named Hercules. He lives in a 15 gal Hex alone <Too small...> and has always been healthy and active 'til recently. I do a 30-40% water/filter change every 4 or 5 weeks <Too much, too infrequent...> and feed him brine shrimp and flakes alternating (per the store). <Inadequate nutrition for Apteronotids> The tank is kept at room temp and low light. But after reading through your BGK faq, I have to admit I need some help improving the care we give him. First things first though; <Ah, good> He recently began developing a dangling "worm-like" appendage from what I guess is his throat. It's usually about 1.2-2 inches long and it comes and goes. I sort of think it's a fluke parasite but after some of the treatment horror stories I read on the faq, I'd like to really make sure. Are there other things I can do first to confirm that diagnosis or not?  <Not likely a fluke/trematode... Where would this parasite originate?> Any help would be greatly appreciated. Even more than the work you obviously do on your site. Thanks and keep up the really great work. Mike, Sean and Hercules <Perhaps a goiter or similar "thyroid" growth... I would change foods, start soaking some of the new food/s with a bit of Lugol's solution weekly. Bob Fenner> 

Black Ghost Knifefish, Quarantine - 10/17/2005 Greetings and salutations! I would like some advice on caring for a Black Ghost Knife. I brought home a healthy specimen at around noon, and put him in a 10 gallon quarantine. <Ah, good. Quarantine is essential with new stock.> He was a beautiful deep black with off-white markings, roughly 4 inches. It's now 2 AM and the entire front part of his body has faded to a silvery color. <Go to sleep! Actually, he could just be fading to more nocturnal colors.... though I cannot recall having seen them change to lighter colors at night - but many fish do.> It's as if his black is fading completely away! My QT water parameters: Nitrite/Ammonia-0ppm, Nitrate-10ppm, temp-78F, slightly hard water, pH 7.2. <What pH was he in at the store? He could be suffering from a bit of a shock from change in pH and hardness.... They hail from waters of low-ish pH and low-ish hardness, so this may be part of the issue. At this point, however, I would not change what you have - a steady pH is FAR more essential than a "perfect" pH.> The tank is bare but for 2 PVC pipes. <Large enough for him to enter and hide in?> The tank is in a private room, and the light is off. The fish is swimming "normally" (like an excitable drunk). Fed some frozen brine shrimp earlier, but he seemed to be spitting them out. <He may not eat for a day or so.... but likely you will need to start him on live foods. I could be mistaken, but I believe these animals are only wild-caught and not at all bred in captivity.> I read that these fish are very sensitive and their rich black color may fade due to stress, but I was wondering how common it is for this fish to fade so drastically in this short period of time!!! <Mm, 14 hours isn't really a short period of time.... a fish turning pale at night can do so in minutes. 14 hours is more than plenty of time for the fish to get stressed, as well.> I will keep a sharp eye (I can't sleep the way it is). Should I add a bit of salt? <No.> Stress-zyme? <No.> Is there possibly a metal in the water that Aqua-safe is not removing? <Not likely that this is what's harming the animal, if anything. I would suspect a poor reaction to a sudden change in pH above all else.> I always appreciate your help, thank you in advance. ~M <All the best, -Sabrina>

Black Ghost Knife Compatibility, Disease - 10/12/05 Hi - <Hello.> I have a black ghost knife that was bought recently - about 5 inches long. He's in a community tank and unfortunately we forgot about the nippiness (is that a word??) of our Serpae tetras. <Uh-oh.... Err, *I* say 'uh-oh', but Bob (whom I'm visiting currently in HI) says there really isn't a compatibility issue here. I, personally, would be a little nervous about these two species together.> They have bitten off the end of his tail!! RIGHT TO THE 2ND BAR!!! <I do agree with Bob here that the Serpaes may not have been the sole contributor here - please check your water quality. Maintain ammonia and nitrite at ZERO, nitrate less than 20ppm, with water changes.> I treated the water with this thing called MelaFix for any bacterial infection that it might get( I'm in Australia - hopefully you know what that product is!!) <I do.... and though MelaFix (extract of the Melaleuca tree, or "tea tree") does seem to have some mild antibiotic properties, I would not rely on it alone as a medication for anything severe.... furthermore, I have seen evidence in my own fishes that it may be a little (or a lot) irritating to the fish.> He seems OK but I'm worried that he won't survive without the tip of his tail. Is there any thing else I can do to help him out?? <Maintain optimal water quality, and (though Bob and I disagree on the Serpaes!) keep him separate from any fishes that might bite or nip at his wounds until he's healed. The end of the tail might not grow back in its entirety, as well.> Also we recently moved house (about 3 weeks ago) and obviously had to transport tank and contents. It's a 4 ft tank (180litres) so we took about 1/2 the water with us and didn't clean filters out etc the ph is 7, the nitrites are 0.1 and the ammonia 1.2. to me this is high as it is normally 0. <Dangerously so.> Is there any thing I can do to lower ammonia levels. I haven't done a water change since we moved. <Water changes alone will fix this.... and it is urgent that you do.> Thanks for your help... Tam <Any time, Tam. Wishing you well, -Sabrina>

Black ghost knife fish 10/12/05 Hello guys just thought of saying thank you for all you useful info. <And thank you very kindly for these words.... It is great to hear/read this, some times.> I had a 55 gallon fresh water planted tank that was running for about 2 and half years. Fish in the tank: 1. a black fin shark (5") <Gets very, very, VERY large with time....> 2. a black ghost knife fish (8") 3. 2 adult angels, a marble and a golden (3" in diameter) 4. a rope fish (8") 5. a Pleco (5") 6. a stripe Raphael cat (4") 7. 3 tiger barbs (2 ½") 8. 2 ruby cichlid (2") <A touch overstocked for my tastes! Just be sure to keep up with water quality....> It wasn't until two months ago that I started having trouble. I acquired the 3 tiger barbs from the fish store when I normally go. Some lady came in and left two containers full of huge fish, between them was the three tiger barbs that I took. I introduced them to my tank without using a quarantine tank the way I should have. <Ohhhh, no.> One of the barbs became really fat. After reading a little I thought it could have been pregnant. About three weeks later I noticed that it had cloudy eyes. They cleared after a couple of days, but it came back and ended up dying a few days later. <Many possibilities, here; including mycobacteriosis....> Now one of the two barbs left started chasing the other and nipping on its fins until it almost had none. So I decided to get three more tiger barbs to keep them in odd numbers.  <Very aggressive nippers; watch that they don't harass the other fish as well.> A few weeks later I noticed my golden angel had this white dust on its body. After reading I found out it was velvet. <Aaaaaargh! Serious bummer.> When I looked around the tank the black fin shark also had it. I did a 40% water change and treated the tank with copper. <Oh, yikes! Toxic/deadly to some of the fishes in your tank.> Kept the temperature on 80*. Next day the angel and the shark died and most of the other fish after that. I decided to get a 20 gallon set up and keep the fish that weren't sick (black ghost knife fish, the Pleco, and the two ruby cichlids). <Surprising that the knife and plecs survived the copper - delicate fish.> I've done the constant water changes to fight the ammonia spike and it's been pretty good so far. But now I notice that the black ghost knife fish bottom jaw looks like it is decaying. I wish I could show you a picture. <I wish so, as well, but am pretty certain this is water quality related. Be sure to maintain ammonia and nitrite at ZERO, nitrate below 20ppm, with water changes.> Could you please tell me what could be wrong now? Cordially, Ivan. <Though it's entirely possible that these fish did contract velvet, I would lean more toward an environmental issue with this deterioration. Improve the water quality, and observe very, very closely.... and, as you've learned, in the future, quarantine all newcomers to your tank. Wishing you the best, -Sabrina>

Black ghost knife problems? Hi Robert, I'm a bit worried about my new BGK (my new favourite fish!). I am currently setting up a new tank after becoming addicted to my boyfriend's set up! New tank is 80 litres, planted and has a fine gravel substrate. It is currently stocked with 2 Pearl Gourami, 2 Angels, 3 Tiger Danios, 2 Corydoras sterbai and a small (2.5 inch) BGK. <This IS small!> Tank is two weeks into its first cycle. <Yikes... Knifefishes don't "like" new systems... Hard on them to go through their initial chemical, biological changes> The BGK has been in for 3 days and while it seemed happy in the first two (hiding amongst plants) but I have come home from work today and it doesn't seem right. It is sort of hovering around the bottom of the tank, moving around almost like a drunk person. It kind of wobbles around a bit, then rests and then wobbles around again. It has plants to hide in, as mentioned, and also a piece of driftwood to go under but it doesn't seem interested in this. <Mmm, well, this is pretty standard behavior for the species... but... do you have another, older system you can/could move it to?> At the LFS it was happy hiding amongst Java Moss and seemed unconcerned with the lit tank (I'd watched it there for a couple of days and it seemed very strong and healthy). There are really no other signs/symptoms except this apparent listlessness and my gut instinct (and it appears to be easily caught in the relatively light current and moved along which wasn't happening yesterday). I checked the water parameters and everything was fine - Ph 7.0, temp 26C. Nitrite was very slightly elevated but not of note (I have added Amtrite down to fix this.) <Mmm, only temporarily and at a "cost"... as stated, Apteronotus don't like "going" through cycles> Is it just acclimatizing or do I have a problem?? <Perhaps both> Please help, I was really impressed with what I've seen on the site and decided you're the man to ask! Thanks. Alia <Best to move the specimen to an established, similarly peaceful setting, second best to be very careful of not feeding much, urging your completion of biological filtration (Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm.  Bob Fenner>

Black ghost knife fish I have a BGK fish and yesterday noticed three splits in the fin under his body, today there must be about thirty of these splits, could you help me in finding out what this is and what I can do. Yesterday I bought a new African Knifefish and wondered if this may be the cause, I'm not sure because the splits were already there  before I added the new fish. Thank you Anita <These two may well be fighting... during the night probably... I would separate them... the Black Ghost will heal on its own otherwise. Bob Fenner>

SICK JACK THE KNIFE I have an African Knifefish and it is pretty hard to find useful information about this species. I have a 55 gallon tank that recently got ich as a result of a fairly new clown loach. The loach died and gave it to a Danio and another loach I had. I raised the temp to 85 degrees and I have raised the salinity to 1.003. (Over a period of a few days of course). The loach's spots went away as well as the Danios and I haven't found any other traces of ich.  Things have not been going well however. Yesterday, I found a dead African dwarf frog and today I found a heavily bloated Danio who is probably dead by the time you read this. My other Danio looks like his stomach is protruding a bit as well. I checked my knife and he has these two big patches of white. I didn't know if it was ich because it isn't small dots it is a very large patch (about 3cm) and another patch (about 1 cm).  I have two small Plecos that I haven't noticed any problems with and I really don't want anything to happen to my knife. Are the large patches ich or something else? They have just showed up today and were not there yesterday so I am catching it pretty early. Any suggestions? Thanks for any help and great site. < Your tank is breaking down from the water treatments. Drop the water temp to 78 to 80 degrees. The high water temps are stressing your Danios and causing the bloat. Do a 30% water change, and vacuum the gravel. Service the filter too. Check the ammonia and nitrite levels, they should be zero. Check the nitrates. They should be lower than 25 ppm. Now that the tank is cleaned up you need to treat those bacterial infections on the knife fish. Use Nitrofurazone and back off on the salt. This medication may affect the good bacteria that breaks down fish waste so watch for ammonia spikes.-Chuck>

Black Ghost Knife I read that a BGK likes tank temp.s up to 82 degrees. I've raised the temp. to help cure him of a series of illnesses and he's been in an 84-85 degree tank for about a month and a half now. How long can he tolerate the higher temperatures? <Indefinitely actually... will shorten lifespan a bit... but the only real worry here is aeration... dissolved oxygen is less soluble and metabolic rates elevated at higher temperatures...> I'm still treating him (with Paradigm for flukes, worms etc) so I wasn't planning on dropping the temp until this one hopefully goes away. Thanks so much for all your great info - you've been a really wonderful resource. <Glad to help. 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

Ghost Knife with red spot on tail Hello again, I contacted you earlier with an Ich problem with my BGK (see below). He's been recovering beautifully thanks to your help and I've been lowering the tank temp down to 81 from the 86 it was at. However, for some reason, within the last 24 hours he has developed a red spot, like a blood spot on the white portion of his tail. It's not very large and doesn't span the width of his tail, only a small portion, but enough to notice clearly. I'd attach a picture but I'm unable to get a decent enough shot. His appetite is off a little also. He's eating the brine shrimp but not as voraciously as usual. Water is still testing same as listed below. Could he have hurt himself. <Yes. This is the most likely explanation> He has no tank mates at all and only items in tank are a large piece of wood and a ghost house (which he loves). He also spends a lot of time by the surface and seems to enjoy running up and down one of the powerhead tubes in the corner. <All normal behavior> I installed a bubble wall to increase oxygenation since we were upping the temp so much and have left it going full on even with the tank temp lower. <Good> Could that have anything to do with this? <Not likely> I'm also still treating with half doses of the Aquarisol but only every other day now.  Any suggestions? Thanks so very, very much!  Jennifer <Just to keep on doing what you're doing... all will likely be well. Bob Fenner>
Re: Ghost Knife with red spot on tail UPDATE - TAIL ROT I have an update to this last note - the red spot must have been the onset to tail rot. I'm completely at a loss on this one. We just got him over Ich and now this - I don't understand. The water levels are very good... pH 7.6 - ammonia was at 0 - Nitrates were very low - water hardness is 60. About 1/8th of his tail has disappeared since yesterday. I did a 30% water change, added 2 tbsp of salt, Pimafix and increasing the temp again. This tail rot problem didn't rear it's ugly head until the temp had gotten back down to 81. His appetite was good tonight - he loves bloodworms. Can I use an antibiotic like Maracyn or tetracycline with a BGK? What else can I do for him? Thank you! <You can use an antibiotic... I would go with the Maracyn/Erythromycin... is mixable with all else you're doing... and I would re-elevate the water temperature till this problem is gone. Bob Fenner>
Re: Ghost Knife with red spot on tail, now white "worm" hanging from gill
Good Afternoon Crew, Sorry to inundate you with issues with this one BGK but things just keep going wrong. After curing him from Ich, he got tail rot, that seems to be under control now as it doesn't seem to be deteriorating any more. I've started him on the Maracyn-two tablets as of 36 hours ago per your instructions. However, this morning I came down to check him and he has this long white wormy looking thing hanging out from his left gill. (pls see attached pic) What on earth am I doing to this poor animal? I've rechecked the water and Ammonia is 0, PH is 7.6, Nitrates are less than .25. And I had the water checked at the local fish store to verify my results and they also concluded that my water tests fine. He's the only fish in this 55 gal tank. His appetite is a little off. He used to love brine shrimp but last night he'd suck them in and spit them back out. Then I added some blood worms because I wanted to make sure he was eating and he ate those although less than usual. I've researched gill disease etc and can't find anything that denotes a while long wormy thing coming out through the gills. Any ideas as to what it could be? I'll continue on the Maracyn for the duration, but is there anything else I should be doing to the tank to "Cleanse" it so to speak of anything else I could be harboring?  Thank you so very much for all your help. < Your poor Black Ghost Knife also has gill flukes. He should be treated with Fluke-Tabs.-Chuck>

BGK Question I have a Black Ghost Knifefish (4-5") for almost 6 Months now. I have noticed that his Black Body looks like it is now covered in a off-black to grey slime or flour-like coating. I think it's ich and I know that ich is hard to treat on these fish. <Yes> I raised the temp. to the mid- 80's like your site suggested. <Good> His tankmates are a Pictus Cat (3-4") and a Blue Gourami (2-4"). The cat showed dome cysts, but after the temp increase they disappeared. I can't afford a quarantine and he is in a 29 gallon, which is to be upgraded to a 55 as soon as space in my house becomes available and I can get more money. I have bought Rid-Ich+ just in case it can be used. Should I use the medication? <Yes... at half strength... removing any carbon, chemical filtrants... keeping close watch on all, being ready to change water...> What else can I do? I love and have become attached to this fish and I don't want to lose him. Can you help me, I want to save him, raise him up and have him for a while? Thank You, John <Read re: this disease, these fishes... treat carefully and all should be well. 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> 

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>

And the Crystal Ball Says.... I have a 29 Gallon freshwater tank and I think my Black ghost Knifefish has either ich or velvet. I'm not really sure if it is sick, but I bought medicine anyway. I don't have a Quarantine and I can't afford one. What should I do? I know I shouldn't but should I add the medicine In the tank he is in, because one or two of my other fish don't look good either? I want to  save my fish, especially my Black Ghost Knifefish, can you help me? Jahner <Will try, but we need more info. For now do large daily water changes. Use a gravel vac. Do not add the meds until we find out what's wrong. Why do you think he is sick? Is he showing spots? Do you test the water? If so, what are the readings? How often do you change water? What % do you change? Type of filter? How long has it been set up? Add any new fish lately. How about feeder fish? The more you tell us the better we can help. We know nothing at this point except you think he has Ick or Velvet. Sorry, we need more. Don>  
....Black Ghost, White Spots
Well I do regular water changes (once very 2 weeks). I just did a 100% water change He is showing something like he is a little spot of flour. The head stripe is yellow and it is white under the gill area. I tested the what everything is normal Ph is 7.6. Ammonia, nitrate, nitrite is 0. I have had the tank since may and my ghost for 4 months. I added a fish 2 weeks ago. I have a bad filter (don't laugh) aqua-tech( any filter is better than none), and what do you mean by feeder fish? <Check closely for other white spots . The new fish may have introduced a disease called ich that may be somewhat tricky to treat on Black Ghost knife fish. You filter should turn the water volume of the tank times three every hour, with five times per hour being better. Feeder fish are small inexpensive fish used to feed large fish eating fish,-Chuck> Jahner

Ghost knife fish Hi,     I'm totally new to keeping fish ..... Recently, (about 2 days ago) I bought 2 knife ghost fish and a new fish tank for them .... I did not do research before buying them. So here's the problem ... the new tank is totally empty .. I haven't had time to go get those "hiding" places for them .... Only place they hide is behind a pump in the tank and they seems to be fighting for the space ..... Do I have to separate them using a partition in the tank ? Also one of the them had the fin like "broken" that like hair .. not in one whole piece as like the other... is there any wrong with it ? and what should I do ?, < Black ghost knife fish are nocturnal (feed at night), so they don't thrive in brightly lighted aquariums without suitable places for them to hide during the day. You really don't have to separate them as long as you give each of them their own shelter to go to  during the times you have the lights on. Get a couple pieces of PVC pipe from the local hardware store and throw it in there for now and they will be fine . Although the tank will not look to good with a couple pieces of white pipe in it.-Chuck> Thanks a lot Chasel
Re: Attempt to save Ghost knife fish
Hi,     Thanks for the last reply. However, I'm sending this out in attempt to save my fish. I now have a tank with some plant and a log inside, 2 black ghost knife fish and a swordtail. They live fine with each other and I had been feeding them with flask and they ate them. < Sorry . don't know what flask is so I don't know the significance is if the black ghost knives ate them> But just yesterday, I notice my 2 black ghost fish are not doing well. They aren't moving much even when I turn the light off ....and not feeding either. I have no idea why this is happening. I don't have any tester to test the water condition. My last water change of 30% was 5 days also. They were still fine then. I don't know what else I can do. All I did was a 30% water change this morning hope to save them. Any similar situation to help ? < Well I guess we need to determine if their behaviour change is a symptom of something more serious. Try feeding some California Blackworms, often called Tubifex still at some pet shops across the U.S. If they don't go for this look carefully for signs and symptoms of some things we can specifically treat. I really don't like to medicate a tank if it is not needed. In the meantime make sure that the water is up about 80 degrees F and the filters have been serviced and do another 30% water change. This should take care of any water quality problems. If the fish don't respond then I would remove them to a hospital tank were they can be observed more closely and look for symptoms.-Chuck> Thanks Chasel
Re: Attempt to save Ghost knife fish, II
Hi,      Its was a typo on the food I feed them. I meant flake. But anyway, one of them is dead and the other one is laying on the floor now. I did another 30% water change, no use. I move the last one to another tank with and 80% fresh water no use either. Thanks anyway < Black ghosts like warm acidic water and usually don't eat flake food. If the water they were kept in was hard and alkaline then their kidneys may have failed due to an imbalance of  minerals in their system. Hard to tell. Sorry about your fish.-Chuck>

Need Help I am at a complete loss, and I'm now turning to online resources in my desperate attempt to find a solution to my problem. I found your site to be very impressive; very rarely does one find a resource that contains such a wealth of valid information. I work at a large chain pet store, in the aquatics department. All of us in the department are extremely knowledgeable about fish and their care, and rarely have any problems with any of our fish. However, whenever we receive a shipment of black ghost knives or clown knives, the fish systematically die off within a couple of days. We have no problem with our brown knives, ever. We keep each species in their own tank, the brown knives in a larger tank with zebra Danios (they never come in large enough to eat the Danios), and the ghost and clown knives in their own smaller isolated tanks. We offer ample hiding spots for each type of fish. We feed each frozen food, such as bloodworms, nightly. Our pH is a little high, around 7.8, and our water hardness is through the roof, but our temperature is a consistent 78 F. We always carry juvenile fish; the knives never come in larger than 4 inches or so. We would like to carry ghost and clown knives, but not if it means continuous losses such as we have experienced. If you have any advice as to what we might be doing wrong, and what we might to do rectify this, it would be greatly appreciated. My thanks in advance. L Barker  <<Hello. I need to know if you guys are putting these fish into properly cycled tanks. I know it sounds simplistic, but it would make me feel better if you could provide me with information on ammonia levels, nitrite and nitrate levels in these tanks. The problem with being a store is that as the fish are gradually being sold, over time, the beneficial bacteria can die off without us being aware of it...then along comes a new shipment, and twenty fish are suddenly put back into tanks with limited bacteria. The ammonia level can skyrocket the first few days, resulting in sick knife fish that never fully recuperate due to all the stress from shipping combined with new surroundings...and undoubtedly bad nutrition before you received them. Also, smaller knives are even more sensitive than larger ones. You may have a better survival rate if you can specify 3 inches or LARGER when you order your knife fish. Try, and see. In the meantime, prepare your knife fish tanks either by keeping them full of other species at all times to keep the biofilter alive, or by using pure ammonia to keep the nitrifying bacteria alive, until the shipment lands. You can also try running some peat moss to help lower pH and hardness levels, though these, in and of themselves, should not be enough to kill all the newcomers alone, but it doesn't help when added to the other stressors the fish are facing. Also, keep in mind that knife fish are aggressive amongst each other, and make sure to provide plenty of PVC tubes for the ghosts, at least one per fish!! Keep the lighting low for the first few days, as well. You can cover the tanks with Styrofoam lids to diffuse the lighting, or leave the lights off entirely. -Gwen>>

Ghost Knife Changing Colors What causes a black ghost knife to start to lose its color and turn a silvery white? <The first thing I would do is test my water, poor water quality, stress, age, diet, there are many things that can attribute to these fish changing color.  Gage>

Melafix with Ghost Knife Hello Crew, This is my first time asking a question on www.wetwebmedia.com. I have a 120 gallon tank with 4 Silver Dollars, 1 Distichodus noboli, and an 8 inch Ghost Knifefish. I purchased these fish about 4 days ago, and 2 days ago I noticed that 3 of the Silver Dollars have their fins nipped and their are black and grey marks( not spots) on their tail. I think it's because of the nipping. I'm not sure if the Distichodus was the culprit or the other Silver Dollars. My question is can I treat my tank with Melafix without the Knifefish being harmed? How much Melafix should I add if I can treat the tank? Thank you, Greg >>Dear Greg; Follow the instructions on the package. Also, you should get your water tested at your LFS for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrates. Is this a new set-up? Either way, your water quality may be the culprit, followed by the Distichodus. Silver dollars will not beat each other up enough for you to need to treat their tank. Look into the other potential problems. -Gwen<<

Black Ghost Knifefish sensitivity Crew - To my eternal shame, and by neglecting quarantine, I have killed the Black Ghost Knife that lived with my discus, angels and L-numbers.  I neglected QT and got whitespot in the tank.  Got reliable treatment, and halved the dose as I knew knifes, like L-numbers and clown loaches (there' one of those in there too), put in med for whole tank.  Well knifes are a lot more sensitive than I thought.  Checked back an hour later, all looks ok.  2 hours later knife is not looking good, move to another tank FAST, 3 hours later dead.    Lesson one - QT Lesson two - QT for sure if you can't treat the tank because of sensitive organisms >>Wayne, sorry to hear of your loss. Out of curiosity, which medication did you use? Some meds are stronger than others, and some have completely different active ingredients. I have treated black ghost knives with Super Ich Cure and higher temps, at half dosage, with good results. Which fish introduced the ich? And how long were the ghosts in your tank? I agree that anyone keeping discus should quarantine all new fish. It's a sensible thing to do :) -Gwen

Black Ghost Knifefish and meds  Gwen -  JBL Ektol, which has proven pretty effective for external parasites in the past, but has to be watched as it can/will kill your filter. I usually add  half a dose and watch carefully, but not carefully enough this time.  The source - blue rams, introduced several weeks before.  Royal Panaque, Bristlenoses, L-33 and clown loach all fine. But the timing  tells me it must have been the meds. Symptoms were fish just became less active, hid, was obviously distressed.  Wayne  >>Wayne: Hi again. I am unfamiliar with JBL Ektol. What are the ingredients listed on the bottle? There are anti-parasitic meds out there that won't harm your biofilter, at least, not a complete kill-off. I know some meds like malachite green/Formalin mixes can, but only in new set-ups where the biofilter is not mature enough to withstand a bit of abuse. In established tanks, there should be NO noticeable bacterial die-offs. I would assume that the JBL product is a bit strong, perhaps too strong for the more sensitive fish, if it is capable of killing the biofilter I would be leery of using it at all...what were your ammonia/nitrite readings after the treatment? -Gwen<<

Black Ghost Knifefish and meds - 2 lessons learnt the hard way Hi Gwen - according to www.jbl.de..... it doesn't say. I should have stuck to the advice 'if you don't know what it is, don't put it in your tank'. I'd rather have used punktol, but I've found this to be pretty ineffective at reduced doses (as I required) in the past. Ektol is a general parasiticide (?), bactericide... Ammonia, nitrite were fine afterwards - I'd expected some hit? <<Yes, but it can take a couple of days, so check your ammonia again after a day or three, just to be sure. I will try to find some info on this product, but at any rate, we know it doesn't work well on BGK's... :( -Gwen 

Ghost Knife Turned cream I have had my beautiful Ghost for over 8 months.  He's only about 5 inches long.  Recently I have noticed, that he has turned a very pale shade of light tan. <be sure to check to see if his skin is turning the color, or does it appear to have a "dust" like coloration to his body.  It might be Oodinium (otherwise known as velvet). The visible symptom of this disease is a fine grey-gold to whitish 'dust' on the body of the fish. Fish will  usually show very rapid gill movement during this time. The disease is caused by a protozoan parasite, and may be triggered by exposure to ammonia and nitrite,  or excessive nitrate levels. That is if it appears to be something on the skin.  I've never heard of a ghost changing his color before.  Have you checked his water parameters lately?  Make sure that the ammonia levels aren't that high.  and be sure to keep up on the water changes.  If the fish isn't showing any signs of stress or sickness then I'm not sure what is the best course of action to take.  I wouldn't want to add a medicine to the water and stress it out if it's not needed.> Nothing has changed in the tank-no new fish added, etc., so I don't know why he would be stressed.  He still bobs to the top to eat.  Have you ever heard of this? <I haven't heard of this happening with a ghost knife, I would keep a close eye on him and make sure if you start to see any problems, or if the fish starts rubbing itself on objects in the tank to move it to another tank and start medicating it accordingly.> Ren in Montana <Good Luck with the fish. -Magnus>

White Furry Growth on Black Ghost Knife Hello Web Wet Media Crews, Happy New Year. "Houston", we have a problem! My 16cm Black Ghost Knife is covered with furry white "slim/growth" all over its body, including its eyes. At first I thought it was body fungus <You are right it is fungus.  It's a true fungus that attacks the outer layers of the fish. Fungus prefers cool temperatures, acidic conditions, so check the temp of the tank and what the pH levels are at.> used "OCEAN FREE" medication. I have no idea what it contains but it turned the water really green. <Not sure what actually does turn it green, but it's suppose to do that.> I did a partial water change. I increased the water temperature from around 26 or so to 32 Degree Celsius. <Make sure you medicate the exact way the package tells you to do so, doing water changes during treatment simply removes the medicine already in the tank.> My BGK fish stopped fishing and rest on the bottom of the tank for the whole 3 days. When I used an object to lightly scrape its body, the whiter furry things is easily peeled off. <It's best not to physically scrape the fish, you run the risk of scraping the fish, damaging it skin, or bothering what's left of it's protective slime coating.  If you should scrape the fish, the bacteria can get deeper into the fishes skin causing more problems.> This happened quite often. What seems to be the problem? Is it a fungus growth, water conditions or other ailments? <The fish has true body, mouth and eye fungus, a fungus infection -- treat with MarOxy. Use Maracyn-Two or Maracyn or Tetracycline or TriSulfa to prevent secondary infections.> You guys have provided me with many valuable tips that keep my fish surviving till now. I hope you can help me with this again. Many thanks.    <Hope that helps.  I hope your knife gets better! -Magnus> <<Malachite green is likely the ingredient in the medication that turned the water green.  Malachite green is toxic to ghost knives, for future reference.  -SCF>>

Re: White Furry Growth on Black Ghost Knife. Passed Away Hey Magnus. Just a few minutes I sent you a reply, my fish passed away. <I'm so sorry to hear of your loss.  It is a very sad thing when we lose pets we cared for.> Nevertheless, I would like to thank you and the whole crew for the help. <I'm just sad that I was unable to help you save your fish.  But remember we are hear to help you, so ask a question anytime.> 1 more question.... can I bury my fish in my flowerpots? Is it safe to do that? <You would need to have a large flowerpot, and you run the risk of having loads of bugs and such coming into you flowerpots after the body of the fish.> Will the disease be spread to the plants? <Fungus can spread to the roots of certain plants provided the soil is acidic and moist.  I really would worry that the decomposition will affect the pH of the soil and hurt the plants.  I would probably dispose of the body in a different way.> What is the best moral ethnical way to dispose one's beloved died sick fish? <With large fish I have actually buried them in the back yard.  Please don't take offense to third, if you have no yard, you could always seal it in a multiple bags and simply deposit it in the trash. some people became far to attached to do that to the fish, and would hate to "throw them away".  I would try and find a place to bury it if you want, rather than throwing it away.  A park or some other area would be better than your flowerpots.   I'm sorry to hear of your fishes passing, I do hope that you know that you had done your best to care for it.  -Magnus>

Black Ghost Knife Fish Fins Woes Hello. <Hello! Ryan with you today> I need some answers badly. One of my 2 Black Ghost Knife fish's anal fins splits... it is like they are not joined as a single whole piece anymore. It became 1 part by 1 part.... the end will run perpendicular from the body and all the way to the edge of the fins. Something like strands of hair, but thicker.. about 2mm width. It is something bad? Why is it happening to my fish? How can I solve that problem? Please help. Thanks <OK, here goes.  There are a few things that could be causing this.  Is there any necrotic tissue around the fraying?  Is the edge of the tear whitish?  If so, we're almost certainly dealing with necrotic ulceration of the fins, commonly known as fin rot.  Problem is, many things can be causing the stress leading to this.  They are as follows: Parasites, overcrowding, low oxygen levels in the tank, bullying or poor water quality.  A secondary bacterial infection almost always comes hand in hand with fin rot.  You're going to need to quarantine this fish, and properly medicate him.  If you do this quickly, he may re-grow the tissue.  The underlying cause of this may seem hard to find, but stay with it!  This is a fish that needs lots of hiding places-have you given him some?  A section of plastic PVC pipe in the quarantine tank should be a helpful tool in giving your fish a chance to recuperate.  Ryan>

Black Ghost Knife Fish Hi there <Hello> I came across a page where you discussed ich, and was just wondering if you would be able to help. I need to treat my tank for Ich but I don't want to harm the knife fish. I have a product called Protozin by Waterlife which mustn't be used if Elephant-nose fish or rays are in the tank. Although it doesn't mention knife fish, I'm concerned about using it because I've heard they're sensitive to Methylene blue. Since I have Clown and Kuhli loaches, I only need to use half the dose, but I just want to make sure this will be alright for the knife fish. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Regards Graeme <I share your concern and would NOT use this medication in the water with the Black Ghost Knifefish. It likely contains malachite green (is it a dark blue color that stains all?) and is indeed toxic to small- or scale-less fishes. Seek out other means (e.g. temperature increase) and safer chemical treatments for this ich condition. Please see here re: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwich.htm Bob Fenner>
Re: Black Ghost Knife, ich and bluish med.s
Hi Thanks for your reply! Nowhere on the product does it say that it contains Malachite green, but it is a blue liquid that seemed to stain my fingers when I opened it. The thing is, I've been told that clown loaches are very sensitive as well, so with Protozin you're supposed to only give half the dosage. <Ahh, I do further suspect that malachite is a principal ingredient here. You might look up this term on the Net along with the words "fish medication"> If the loaches are more sensitive than the knife fish then it shouldn't be a problem, so I'm still confused. <In soft water they're both about the same sensitive> I may try it on them in a quarantine tank (although mine has nothing but a heater) but then I'm not cleaning out the whole tank, and then I'm not preventing the knife from getting ich as well. My temperature is already at about 26/27 degrees C. Do you suggest water changes too? <No to the water changes, as these may stress the animals more than what good they do. I would elevate your temperature to about 30 C. (86 F. for Yanks)... over the next day or two. Bob Fenner> Regards Graeme

Black Ghost Knife Fish Hi again <Morning! Ryan here> Thanks for your advice previously. Using half dosages of Protozin seems to have cleared my tank of ich. <Great> I lost a clown loach, but the symptoms have gone from the other one, as well as the few spots that were on the knife fish. <Clown loaches so sensitive to ich- their worst drawback>  But the problem I have now, is that the knife fish has some white streaks down his side, running from about the middle towards the tail and the ventral fin. <Eek> I noticed it after a week of the treatment when I repeated a dose (as Waterlife suggested) because there were still a few spots on the clown loach.  My guess is that either there was just too much medication for him to handle and it has strained him (or reduced his slime coat somehow) or that he has a secondary infection from the ich. Do you have any suggestions? <Could be a combination of both.  Pay special attention to water quality, and make sure he's eating well.  Give it a few days before any new treatment- have you removed the old medication from the water?  Don't get too stingy on the water changes-5% a day until he clears up.  Perhaps this will be of aid http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwfshparasites.htm Good luck! Ryan> Thanks and Kind Regards Graeme

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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