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FAQs on Black Ghost Knifefish, Apteronotus (Sternarchus) albifrons, Disease/Health 2

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

Related FAQs:  BGK Disease 1, BGK Disease 3, BGK Disease 4, Knifefish Disease, BGK FAQs 1
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...),

Black ghost knife     9/24/17
Hello Crew,
I woke yesterday morning to find my black ghost injured or sick. One side of his face seems swollen and is very red. The gill on that side looks inflamed. I have rocks that I have piled into large caves. I assume he got stuck in the caves. It looks a little better today and he is active as always and comes to water surface as soon as I drop fish food in the tank.
<A very good sign>

He is still eating like he always has. ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrate 0.The tank is 225 gallon and There are two Bala sharks, two blood parrots, one ghost knife, two angels and four Bolivian rams and a huge Pleco.
Thank you!
Julie
<Considering this species' capacity for recovering from physical trauma, the size of your system, other livestock, I advise against actual medicine addition. Instead I would wait, do your best to perpetuate the excellent
water quality, feeding here. Bob Fenner>

Re: Got My First BGK      4/27/17
Sorry, its early, haven't had my coffee! The picture is attached here.
<Indeed! Nice tank, if a bit blurry. Assume in real life it looks less blurry. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Got My First BGK      4/27/17
�� Only gets less blurry *after* I've had my coffee!
<Indeed!>
Thank you for the advice on the BGK! I have PraziPro here at the house so I'll get that in the tank today! Have a great day!
<Most welcome. Neale.>

Re: Got My First BGK; foods/fdg.      4/30/17
Hello Neale! This is an update with a question I couldn't find on the site. The BGK seems to be doing well. I put the PraziPro in the tank last Wednesday and today I think I may see a little bit of rounding near her pectoral fins.
<Good.>
A friend of mine stopped by a little while ago to see her and give me his opinion (he raises all sorts of predator species). He was very shocked to see how small she is and when I pointed out she was 3 inches, he explained
that the glass of the tank and the water creates a magnifying effect and he didn't think she was that big. Anyway, I told him about her eating most daphnia and Cyclops and not paying a whole lot of attention to the bloodworms and how I'd seen her eating bloodworms at the store. He didn't doubt that she ate the bloodworms, but believes it was a struggle for her at such a small size.
<Possible.>
He suggested I start mashing up the bloodworms for her, which I will do immediately, and then he recommended that I hard boil an egg, and feed her small amounts of the yolk (only the yolk) to help support her at this stage in her life. I wanted to know what you thought about his advice.
<Hard boiled egg yolk is old school, and works well. It's a bit messy, as the particles mostly end up in the filter rather than the fish, so best done the day you do a water change. But apart from that, yes, many/most fish will eat egg yolk. Indeed, whenever I'm cooking eggs, I save a little for them! Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Got My First BGK     5/1/17
Thank you!
<No problem.>
Have a wonderful day!
<And you! Neale.>

Re: Got My First BGK       5/10/17
Hi Neale!
<Renee!>
As we last e-mailed, I have put getting an Elephant Nose aside for now and I'm focusing on my BGK. I feel so privileged to be able to care and enjoy such an exquisite creature that I may be getting a bit neurotic, but I have a concern, so here goes.
<Indeed...>
First of all, I had to take the Tetra dither fish out - they seemed to be bullying her away from the food - so they're back in their old tank.
<Understood. There are some very peaceful characins out there, to the point they're "boring" in many community tanks. Hatchetfish for example, and Pencilfish. Both ideal tankmates for juvenile Black Ghosts. As they get
older/bigger, and their predatory instincts become something to consider, there are possible tankmates, though placid catfish are probably the easiest to accommodate, Dianema species for example.>
The Brochis are on back-order so now she is sharing her tank with a 2 inch albino bristle nose Pleco - ONLY! They seem to pretty much ignore each other.
<Correct; the small to medium-sized Loricariids and L-numbers are ideal tankmates for Black Ghosts.>
So, despite the fact that I know my tank was cycled before I got the BGK, I've been doing water tests every few days and the biological filter is working well (never a hint of ammonia or nitrite, and nitrate is staying below 10 ppm as the orange color in the test tube is fairly translucent).
<Ideal.>
The canister filter and powerhead are keeping the tank clean and the water moving. I feed her Cyclops, daphnia, and now BABY brine shrimp, along with some mashed bloodworms. I defrost and rinse these foods and drop them in the tank at the top of both of her fake hanging plants (remember the blurry picture?) which allows the food to drift down and get caught among the leaves and flowers where she can get to them without the current taking them away to be sucked up by the filter.
<Sounds great!>
I feed her three times a day plus once at night just before I turn out the lights. She looks beautiful! The PraziPro did its job well and she has a nice roundness to her body around her pectoral fins.
<Glad to hear this.>
Her color is pristine black and white and her body and fin are perfect. So what's my problem? Well, every article I read about this species, here and around the internet, says they are nocturnal and don't come out at night; that they stay in their glass tubes or caves during the day. But my fish is not doing that.
<These fish are intelligent, by fish standards anyway, and perhaps more generally. They can and do adapt to daytime activity if there's something in it for them. Peace, subdued lighting, and plenty of food usually does the trick.>
I see her out multiple times of day (mostly in the afternoon). She's in her hanging plants looking for food or swimming between them. She swims through her glass tube and eats what she finds along the way but doesn't
stay in there. I don't see her out at night as the tank is dark, but every morning the food I put in before lights out is gone - nothing left. I know she's sleeping because if I look in the plant on the right side of the tank around 11am, I see her laying in a tangle of the plant's silk leaves. I guess she can hear me in the water,
<Correct; as members of the Ostariophysi, knifefish have excellent hearing and an ability to hear vibrations such as footsteps.>
or maybe she can sense me somehow, because if I say something she'll wake up and drift over to look at me to see if I brought more to eat. I believe she's doing well, but I don't know this species beyond what I've read and
she's not following the script. Do you see anything here that I should be concerned about?
<All sounds good to me! Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Got My First BGK

Thank you!
<Welcome.>

Bump on Black Ghost Knife Abdomen      4/24/17
Hi WWM Crew,
<Mercedes>
I purchased a Black Ghost Knife about a 6 weeks ago, and have become quite fond of it. I was feeding him today, and my roommate noticed that he has a strange bump on his abdomen.
<I see this... too far forward to be a "gout/thyroid" issue... perhaps gut blockage of some sort; hopefully not viral/tumorous>
There is also a smaller one on the other side.
One side looks a bit gray-ish though. I've attached a video (00:19 & 00:27 the larger bump, 00:38 the smaller bump) and a couple of photos. All of the water parameters look good, and he's very active. I feed him frozen bloodworms, some Hikari freeze dried bloodworms
<I would hold off or delete the sewer fly larvae (bloodworms); implicated too often in disease. See/search WWM Re. Sub. other meaty foods. See WWM re BGK foods/feeding/nutrition FAQs>
occasionally, and bits of Omega One freeze dried shrimp. Can you tell me what caused this bump and discoloration?
<Not w/o dissecting the specimen>
Could it be the gravel substrate? How can I help it go away?
<Eschew the bloodworm use and try Epsom salt is what I would do. Please read Neale's piece here re: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/SaltUseFWArtNeale.htm
Thanks,
Mercedes
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>​
IMG_5956.MOV
<https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B-OBJM3bjqnSdlFIeUhPVGN5YWs/view?usp=drive_web>
​[image: Inline image 1][image: Inline image 3]

Ill/Injured Black Ghost Knifefish, Please Advise     3/28/17
Hello WWM Crew,
<Jami>
I am writing to you in desperation, I am at a loss. I have an 11-12 inch Black Ghost Knife Fish who has never been named, so we shall call him BGK for the time being.
<Ok>
Approximately 2 years ago, I found an add for this fish on kijiji and jumped at the opportunity. It seemed a perfect idea for my 55 gallon, as the fish was coming from 15 gallon housing and I assumed it wouldn't be much larger than 5-6 inches at maximum. To my surprise, I was given a 10-11 inch fish in an ice cream pail.
I got the fish home as quickly as possible, (didn't acclimate him properly at all) and got him set up in my running 55 gallon set up with a small rubber lip Pleco that had been residing there since first water quality tests came clear. All was well and I had a magnificent fish in my 55 gallon (which I know is far too small as a "forever" home, I am currently planning to buy a 150-175 gallon upgrade as he is now finally reaching the 12 inch milestone, then perhaps a larger custom build in the future).
Through the next year, I brought home 2 blood parrot cichlids that were awful sad looking in the store. As well as a Red Tail Shark. All was well for a while. The cichlids grew however, as did their aggression. They were eventually rehomed due to aggression issues, I clearly should've researched more before committing.
Rubber lip Pleco passes away for unseen reasons. I can only blame this on myself, the only explanation I can come up with is either he wasn't getting enough out of the algae disks I was feeding or the RTS bullied him. The RTS
seems to get along "swimmingly" with BGK. I should also mention at this point that BGK is totally peaceful and content unless of course there is a tiny fish nearby that would fit in his mouth.
Fast forward about a year. BGK is now approximately 12 inches and on the verge of outgrowing the 55 gallon tank. RTS is about 3-4 inches, doing well. Both have their own hiding spots in the tank, a cave for the RTS and a large 12" clear pvc tube for BGK. A midsize piece of driftwood provides extra cover and seems to be neutral ground. Water quality tests today show ammonia at 0, nitrites 0, but nitrates slightly high at 30-40. I do consistently weekly(sometimes bi-weekly) water changes of %20-%25 to keep nitrate levels at a semi-acceptable level, but our water comes out of the tap with Nitrates at 25-30. I have yet to find any kind of nitrate removal system besides live plants which are not yet an option with this set up. I realize that this high nitrate level causes stress to the fish.
<Yes; all a matter of degree and type>
I notice this morning that there are still pieces of bloodworm around the tank, highly unusual. BGK turns around to say hello and I see he's obviously wounded in some way. Under his jaw where there is usually the white spot, it seems like there is a deep laceration where the internal organs have begun to protrude. It looks like a large bubble, a sac of some kind.
<Looks to be a tumor of some sort. From the position, possibly of thyroid-equivalent; though could be part of the intestine pushed out.. a prolapsed colon >
It's awful. I can't tell if the organs pushed everything out or if it was actually a laceration that's letting things "fall" out. I don't know. It's awful. I have no idea how it could've happened, there are no sharp spots in the tank where he could've cut himself unless on the driftwood somehow but even then it's highly doubtful. I have cats and it's possible they could fit a paw through the filter gaps in the lid to go "fishing", but still highly doubtful. I've been through Google searches and the WWM pages regarding all of it and I can't seem to find any other similar cases. I'm in the midst of performing a water change as I'm writing this on and off. I don't know what else to do to help the fish, or if it can be saved. I almost feel like it should be euthanized if it's struggling so. I'm located in Canada with not much access to medications, any access will not come quickly as shipping is never fast out here. The BGK seems to be in pain, it's obviously uncomfortable, he's breathing rapidly with his mouth half-open kind of like he's panting. The RTS is now picking at BGK. I will attempt to attach some photos, I apologize in advance I'm sure they'll be a larger size than necessary (not sure how to downsize them on cell phone)
PS. I'm also dealing with a big brown algae bloom at the moment due to the arrival of spring and all the extra sunshine we've been getting - and no Pleco to help clean
PPS. The tiny white spots you see on BGK are small air bubbles as he's sitting very motionless near the filter flow (also a sign of bad water quality, I know, those nitrates. but at least it's not Ich cause that's about what it looks like in the pictures)
Thank you in advance
Jami Kai
<Do please search, read on WWM re "prolapsed colon" and the use of iodide-ate for thyroid issues. I WOULD treat (add to the water and foods) a useful "iodine" treatment (made for fish systems)... Possibly the SeaChem
product: http://www.seachem.com/reef-iodide.php
Bob Fenner>

Re: Ill/Injured Black Ghost Knifefish, Please Advise     3/30/17
Thank you muchly for the swift reply & probable diagnosis - I completely agree it could be either of these things or even a combination of the two. RTS has been picking at the poor BGK, so this morning I removed RTS to a temporary holding area while I set the 20 gallon quarantine. The bulging "sac" is now almost gone and it looks like mostly live tissue protruding from the wound, I also found a small piece of what could be intestine floating around near BGK.. Awful. It looks a tiny bit better, but of course now I worry if the fish will be missing necessary digestion components.
I have read heavily into thyroid complications/tumours and treatment using iodine/iodide (iodide being the safer of the two?).
<The latter; and/or the valence state which is iodate. In actual practice, common terminology iodide/ate is often labeled/named as elemental iodine (which they are not)>
Seeing the studies showing it's effectiveness in tissue repair/regeneration, I do believe it would be wise to treat the fish with a potassium iodide solution. Is this "Reef Iodide" from Seachem safe for freshwater use??
<Yes it is>
I assume you would not be giving me the wrong information, of course, just want to be sure. I've also found in my searches that salts or "Epsom" salts may be added to the aquarium water??
<Yes. Please see Neale Monk's piece re its uses in freshwater>
What are your thoughts on this in regards to my BGK?
<Worth trying. Relatively safe; and effective>
Would a small amount of salts or magnesium prove helpful as well?? Would this react badly to the iodide?
<Are miscible>
Chemistry, I'll admit, was not my strongest point. Another thought, I've seen/read that the addition of almond leaves may be useful for reaching more preferable water conditions for a BGK... Any thoughts on this?
<Can be of use in softening water, making darker/less transparent; which are of use>
I've been searching through my usual online supply shops and have not yet found the reef iodide from Seachem but I do believe I will order (it or a similar product) as soon as possible.
<Other brands/manufacturers also sell... Am just a fan of the SeaChem line... Real products, consistent>
Thank you again, so much, for your advisements
Jami Kai
<Glad to assist your efforts. Bob Fenner>
Re: Ill/Injured Black Ghost Knifefish, Please Advise /Neale     3/30/17

Ok, according to Neale's article in regards to salts/Epsom salts and their freshwater use, am I supposed to be putting 34-68 teaspoons of salt in this water?! It claims in the chart that as a prophylactic treatment, one should add salt at 1-2 g/l? That would equate to approximately 34-68 teaspoons in a 55 gallon aquarium, as per the instruction given. Yikes. If a BGK is sensitive to water quality changes, is this a wise addition? Should one be scaling down the dosage for such a sensitive fish? Is a small amount of salt better than none or too much?
<You need to review the concept of concentration. If I threw in 27,000 tonnes of Epsom salt into an aquarium the size of the Atlantic Ocean, and stirred thoroughly, that wouldn't have any discernible effect at all. The pile of salt was big, but the amount of water was much, much bigger. Your aquarium holds 210 litres; so to get a concentration of 1-2 gram per litre, you'd be adding 210 to 420 grams. I'm doing this in metric because it's easier. While one teaspoon is approximately 6 grams of salt, for this quantity I'd still be using kitchen scales, and even in the good ole US of A, kitchen scales have metric as well as Imperial units. So it's a no-brainer to do it this way. Add the salt to a bucket of warm water, stir thoroughly, and once it's all dissolved, add in stages to the aquarium, perhaps 25% of the bucket every 15 minutes. This will give the filter enough time to push the salted water around the aquarium evenly. There's absolutely no point using smaller amounts of salt because even at 1-2 gram/litre you aren't going to stress most fish, and lower amounts aren't going to have any effect.>
In this article is also explains how Epsom salts are useful for tanks holding hard water fish... Is this "hardness" not stressful for a soft water fish??
<Sure, long term. But we're using the Epsom salt here as a short-term fix, and can phase it out once the fish is/are healthy again.>
If I were to add almond leaves in the water, would that counter-act the hardness created by Epsom salts and create a better environment for the fish? Or would this neutralize things, rendering both ineffective?
<A fair question, and I'd suggest removing anything likely to acidify the water, at least temporarily. That said, the impact of almond leaves is probably trivial. Use a pH test kit to monitor, if needs be.>
Jami
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Ill/Injured Black Ghost Knifefish, Please Advise       3/31/17
I do thoroughly understand the concepts of concentration/dilution.
<Cool. Just checking.>
If I were holding a tank of tropical community fish or cold water goldfish /Koi I would have no problem dosing at this rate or slightly higher, as I have before (albeit in a smaller environment, at the beginning of my fish keeping says, a 30 gallon holding 2 Oranda goldfish suffering with Ich).
<Indeed.>
If I had a working kitchen scale (and a hydrometer or something for that matter) I would have no issues at all measuring things thoroughly. However, given the amount of experiences I've seen online of Black Ghost Knives
reacting badly to salt (and the fact I don't have proper tools) I have to admit I'm quite uncomfortable with the thought. I would absolutely hate for his demise to solely be my doing.<1-2 gram/litre is a very low concentration. If I gave you that to drink, you probably wouldn't notice. Certainly not brackish, let alone saline/seawater.>
That being said I do very much appreciate your input, and if it ever comes down to it, I know that dosing at these amounts may be a better option (for the treatments suggested in the article anyways) than anything else.
<The issue here is that salt used at the correct concentration (as stated above, measured and added to the tank carefully) is MUCH LESS risky than copper or formalin. All medicines are poisons at some level, and many
aquarists don't even think twice about adding copper or formalin, with the result that sometimes delicate fish die because of it. Salt/heat is a safer treatment for Whitespot and Velvet, while Epsom salt, used in a similar
way, helps with bloating and dropsy-type conditions (alongside improvements in diet and aquarium water quality). Make sense?>
Yesterday the fish was isolated in the 55 gallon. At around noon, I noticed about an inch of what looked like colon/intestines hanging from the open wound. This soon fell off and was removed from the tank to prevent fouling the water (it was definitely intestine). I then dosed with 11 teaspoons of Epsom salts, (all that I had at the moment, had to have someone bring more) will be doubling the dose today as well as performing a water change of 15 gallons & re-dosing accordingly. Then tomorrow perhaps a third addition for a full concentration of 3 teaspoons/5 gallons. I also added 4 almond leaves more for my peace of mind than anything else, as I hadn't yet read this email. Fish is stable, (hovering around the almond leaves, so I think it may at least be comforting to the fish, not sure) wound seems to be retracting just the tiniest amount. I will be ordering the reef iodide tomorrow, thanks to Amazon of course.
<Do bear in mind Epsom salt IS NOT sodium chloride, and basically just increases general hardness (not a big issue for Black Ghosts, all else being optimal). It also has a mild laxative effect (useful for constipation) and slightly reduces osmotic stress (sometimes useful if fish aren't well). It's by no means a cure-all.>
Now though, I'm extremely worried about the portion of colon that has fallen off.
<I find it hard to imagine this is actually colon, though it could be impacted faeces or a mass of dead cells. Losing a chunk of colon would quickly kill the fish, surely. But the more likely explanations might actually be a positive sign.>
Will this harm the fishes ability to digest/evacuate waste?
<If actually intestine, yes.>
Should I be feeding the fish small amounts throughout the day or not at all yet?
<If the fish is active and looking for food, then by all means, feed small amounts. No point starving this fish.>
He seems quite stable & content, not in as much panic as before. The portions of fin that were getting torn by RTS are already healing with new tissue. Will do a water quality test including PH before & after today's
water change.
Thanks again,
Jami Kai
<Welcome. Neale.>

BGK with white stringy faeces & weight loss      2/17/17
Hello
<AJ>
I have had my BGK for 5 years and he has thrived until recently - about 2 months ago he began to lose his usually voracious appetite, became lethargic and developed white stringy poop. (I had an issue with high nitrates a little while ago and I think this may have been what stressed him, but I've gotten the water conditions back to normal now - pH 6.4,
Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 10-20 (I hope the pH isn't too acidic?
<Should be okay; as long as steady (not erratic, precipitously dropping.... I take it you do have measurable alkalinity
)>
but the tap water is 6.8 and I don't want to artificially raise it).
<Not necessary, nor advised here>
Don't know the hardness but I know the tap water is quite soft.
<I would just be rigorous re regular/frequent partial water changes... See WWM re S.O.P.s and cautions>

I treated with Metroplex for 14 days (until I ran out) - by medicating his food + adding to tank water, but he refused the medicated food and now isn't really eating at all.
<This dearth of appetite might be from the Flagyl exposure alone. I would cease it... too hard on fish (and human) "kidneys">

I have since run out of Metroplex and am waiting for more to arrive from the US (can't get it without a prescription
here in Australia and the veterinarians won't give me a script as they don't deal with fish). I also added salt to the tank at 1gram/litre. He has shown some improvement and does show interest in his regular (unmedicated) food - frozen "community food" - this one:
http://www.fishfuelco.com.au/products/community-food/ , bloodworm, freeze dried Tubifex - but then just spits it out. He is also back to his usual alert and active self, but the stringy poop remains and I am really worried because he has lost so much weight and still isn't eating. Can you suggest any other foods to tempt him?
<Yes; live small worms and crustaceans if you can get them>
What about live foods (he made short work of some neon tetras I foolishly put in the tank a couple of years ago - oops).
<These/live foods are best here>
When the new supply of Metroplex arrives I've been wondering about trying to dose him directly with a tuberculin syringe but I'm afraid I could hurt him or worse. Any advice on this?
<I would NOT continue this treatment; as stated above>
I'm just doubtful that the Metro is going to have any effect unless I can get it into him, so I don't know what else to do. Should I be trying some other medication / treatment altogether? I don't want to lose him! I've attached 2 photos that show some of the poop hanging from him - and how skinny he is :-(
Thanks for your time.
AJ
<"Stringy poops" can be due to many influences; not simply pathogenic. I would focus on water quality, get and use live foods and leave off w/ further Metronidazole exposure. Bob Fenner>

 

Re: BGK with white stringy faeces & weight loss     2/19/17
Thanks for your fast reply. Unfortunately in the last 24hrs he has taken a turn for the worse and is now panting/has rapid respiration. The water is well oxygenated and there have been no changes to the water chemistry. He also now appears bloated, like he has a belly full of food (which he doesn't since he hasn't been eating). I did a partial water change and
have added Epsom salt @ 1g/L. Please see attached photos showing his belly.
<I see this in your excellent pix. I'd increase the Epsom as per here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/SaltUseFWArtNeale.htm
Bob Fenner>

Black ghost knife - quarantine and tank mates.     11/1/16
hello,
<Hello Ranjana,>
I'm finally setting up a tank for a black ghost after waiting for almost 8 years :D starting it out with a 60 gal tank, slightly planted.
<Sounds good, though 60 gallons will be small for the size of adult fish.
So be aware, at some point a bigger tank will be necessary -- if all goes to plan!>
I've read up most of the information available on the internet regarding to these fish but since they're very sensitive to medications I wasn't sure about how to go about the quarantine process like what all to treat it with, dosage and for how long.
<Basically, don't medicate; isolate. Keep the Black Ghost Knifefish on its own for 6 weeks. In that time, if it shows any sickness, use very specific treatments. Antibiotics for bacterial infections, salt/heat for Whitespot.
That sort of thing. Avoid "general cures" like Melafix, and definitely avoid anything containing copper or formalin, both of which are extremely toxic to these fish. Medicines described as "safe for cartilaginous fishes" such as sharks and stingrays should be safe to use. Your other challenge is to get your Black Ghost Knifefish feeding! You want a wide variety of foods, not just bloodworms. The bigger the range of different things your Knifefish will eat, the better. More small meals per day is better than one big meal. Most of all, you want your fish to have a nice rounded belly, not
swollen, just gently rounded. Such fish will be healthy and putting on weight. Once you're sure your Knifefish is feeding well, you can then add tankmates, ideally non-bottom feeders (like Angels) first, and over the months, other types of fish (like the loaches) that might compete for food.>
coming to tank mates I was thinking of :
1 Senegal bichir or an Albino Senegal bichir ( which would you recommend?)
<Good choice. Very similar in temperament, but Bichirs are sold at bigger sizes, so I'd get the Knifefish settled and feeding first, for a few months ideally, then add the Bichir.>
4 yoyo loaches
<Also good, provided they don't eat all the food.>
a couple of silver angel fish
<Also good.>
also I got a electric blue Dempsey recently. still a baby about 2 inches and I was wondering if he can be kept with the BGK. sounds risky but I did read in a few places that only one can be kept successfully in a community tank.
<I would not keep a territorial, aggressive cichlid with a Black Ghost.
Juvenile Black Ghosts are very delicate and slow feeders, and you'll find most cichlids cause them stress. Adult Black Ghosts are a bit tougher, but still, not worth the risk.>
Thank you so much in advance,
Ranjana
<Most welcome. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Black ghost knife - quarantine and tank mates.     11/1/16

hello,
Thank you for such a quick response :)
<Welcome.>
I'm planning to get a 150g set up by the time he hits 8-9 inches.
<Ideal.>
About the antibiotic, will erythromycin be fine?
<Can work, but bear in mind Erythromycin works only against some bacterial infections.>
also should I stick to half a dosage recommended? cause' I saw a couple of videos where it suggested to stick with full dosage as half a dosage might not help with the issue and might make the fish resistant to the medicine ?
<Absolutely! Unless a doctor or vet tells you to reduce the dose, use the full dose. Your research is absolutely correct in that half-doses (and not finishing the whole series of doses) can lead to antibiotic resistance. And that, as you know, is VERY bad.>
Also the other thing I was a little worried about was the ph. The tap water ph here is about 7.4 which is generally high for them. But I'm caught up between setting up the tank with a lower ph water or get the fish acclimated to the tap water ph? I'm guessing the lfs here also have the same ph. I'm torn between giving them the ph they're supposed to be in to
giving them a consistent ph.
<Water chemistry is not too important. Medium hard water up to pH 7.5 is fine. Black Ghost Knifefish are MUCH more sensitive to poor water quality.>
As for the food, I thought I'd start him off with Hikari carnivore pellets then slowly bring him up on fresh food like earthworms, shrimp and tilapia once he gets to a reasonable size. also your thoughts on Spirulina for bakes? and vegetables like cucumber and spinach. Some of the things I came across while looking into the food.
<Try everything! Variety is CRUCIAL. If your specimen likes Spirulina, then great! They are micropredators though, so Spirulina-enriched frozen brine shrimp will probably be the easiest way to get "greens" into your Black Ghost Knifefish.>
would you recommend mixing the antibiotic with food or dosing the water?
<Giving in the food is ALWAYS better for systemic bacterial infections (like simple failure to thrive). But adding to the water is probably just as good for treating external infections like Finrot. Adding to the water tends to be hopeless for systemic infections though. So as we say in England, "horses for courses" -- you identify the situation you're in, and
choose a dosing method as required.>
And the juveniles we get around here are about 2-3 inches, is it okay to get them or should I go for a slightly bigger one?
<Ideally, yes; very small fish (relative to adult size) tend to be rather delicate. The ideal specimen is probably around the 12-15 cm/5-6 inch mark... but MUCH more important than size is how well fed it is (and how aggressively it feeds!) when you see it in the shop. A small, but pushy, fish that's happily eating lots of food will be much better than a bigger
fish that hasn't eaten for weeks. Make sense?>
I'm tempted to get a smaller one cause' I want to see him grow from a tiny little spec to a massive fish.
<They grow ever so slowly, so this can take a while! In fact hardly any reach adult size because not many people keep them for anything like a normal lifespan. I've seen one or two adults over the years, and they're massive fish! But most people buy youngsters that live for a year to two before dying for some reason -- usually lack of food (they have BIG
appetites) and/or poor environment (they need lots of space/lots of oxygen).>
Thank you so much again.
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Black ghost knife - quarantine and tank mates.      11/9/16

hello,
Thank you so much for helping me out last time, so as per the advice on the quarantine process for the black ghost,
<Welcome.>
I set up a 20 gallon so its easier to keep an eye on fish too see if its feeding and excreting properly.
<Wise.>
But I noticed that my tap water ph is about 8.2. I know this is too much for bgk, but is it possible to acclimate it to this ph?
<Yes, but unwise if you aren't changing hardness as well. It's the hardness, not the pH, that causes problems for fish.>
I did read in a few webpages that it is possible but, I wasn't comfortable to trust that hence asking you. I cannot afford to get an RO system installed right now. I'm still a student. The only other way is to get canned drinking water, but I'm afraid it wont be available in emergency situations.
<I would not worry too much. I would focus on water quality and diet.>
Now I could decrease the ph of the water with driftwood and almond leaves, but I'm worried about the ph swing during water changes.
<Indeed. A slight and slow pH drop between water changes won't be too bad, provided you do small water changes periodically. But you would have to measure pH regularly, probably several times a week for the first couple of
months, until you had a good idea of how pH changed (if at all).>
The other thing I thought of was, setting the tank up with the canned/drinking water (ph of about 7.4) and doing a 10% water change twice a week with normal tap water. would it still be a huge ph swing? will this work?
<It's not a bad idea at all! Set the tank up with your tap water first.
Then over the next few weeks, make small changes to water chemistry by doing 10% water changes every few days, even once a week. See what happens!
So long as hardness isn't lowered to zero, and pH doesn't fluctuate wildly, you'll be okay. Put it this way: do a water chemistry test on your drinking water. Let's say it's 5 degrees dH, pH 7.4. Then you test your aquarium water, and it's 20 degrees dH, pH 8.2. If you mix the two, 50/50, at each water change, you will eventually end up with a tank around 12 degrees dH, pH 7.6, which would be absolutely fine.>
I'm reconsidering getting the fish and its breaking my heart. But I'd rather not get it than make it struggle in a high/unstable ph.
<A high pH is not necessarily a deal breaker; but an unstable pH is. See above. If the Black Ghost Knifefish is adapted to your local hard water, and is feeding and growing merrily, it could live a long and happy life, provided water quality is excellent.>
I read that letting the water age with aeration helps reducing the ph a bit?
<Depends on the water chemistry. Aerating doesn't do anything by itself.
But some water has lots of dissolved CO2, and aerating drives this off, raising the pH. That's the commonest scenario.>
but It'd be very difficult to do water changes for a 60 gal/150 gal that way and isn't very practical. I am very confused as how to go about this.
<Understood.>
Out of topic, but is normal clay a good substrate for an aquarium?
<Don't know; never tried it! Lime-free sand is ideal for Black Ghosts, while gravel works okay if needs be. So long as you aren't too fussy about the types of plants, putting them into the gravel, and then inserting fertiliser pellets every month or so, will result in adequate plant growth.
Sometimes even better! Vallisneria for example couldn't care less.>
I wanted to go with simple plants like Anubias and didn't want to spend a lot on ADA, unnecessarily.
<If you grow low-light plants like Anubias and Java Fern, avoid expensive plant-friendly substrates. The Anubias and ferns won't use them, getting nutrients from the water, but algae will take the nutrients instead!>
Will a slight murky water during water changes affect the fish in any way ?
<Black Ghosts don't mind a bit of cloudiness.>
Thank you so much again, Neale. Your help is much appreciated.
<Welcome! Neale.>
Re: Black ghost knife - quarantine and tank mates.      11/25/16

Hello Neale,
I promise this is the last mail :D
<Indeed!>
So since these fish are sensitive to general medications I did a little research about the medicines available. I came across this website which had compiled information about all the medicine.
http://www.americanaquariumproducts.com/AquariumMedication2.html
Some of the medicine that I thought might be safe for BGK and wanted confirmation.
1. Nitrofurazone - for bacterial infections
<Yes.>
2. Kanamycin Sulphate - for general bacterial infections and fungal infections
<Yes.>
3. Praziquantel - for parasites
<Worms, anyway.>
4. Levamisole HCl - for parasites
<Again, worms.>
5. Methylene Blue (zinc free) - used as a general cure for wounds etc.
<Yes. Old school, basically inhibits fungal infections from setting into wounds, and to some degree inhibits opportunistic external bacterial infections. Less useful once fish are actually sick from Finrot or fungus, though better than nothing, and definitely much use if the infections are internal. If you think of it like an antiseptic, something you'd put on a your skin if you cut yourself badly, you have a better idea of what this is for.>
6. Metronidazole - bacterial infections
<And parasitic infections caused by Protozoans such as ciliates. The classic example is Hexamita, for which it's pretty much the standard medication.>
I just want to have medicines on hand before I get the fish cause' it'll be difficult to get it after it falls sick and might get too late.
<Understood, but some at least have a "shelf life".>
My tank is finally cycled, I decided to wait for another week and leave some healthy guppies from my other tank just to make sure before adding the BGK.
I'm running out to ways to thank you, Thank you again for the 8th time. I am really grateful for your quick and patent responses.
Ranjana
<Always glad to help. Good luck, Neale.>

Black ghost knife... Camallanus trtmt.       5/3/16
Hi! I'm having a real problem with my black ghost knife! We recently got Camallanus worms in our tank (still not sure where it came from).
<Other fish/es most likely; possibly from live or improperly processed frozen foods (gamma irradiation, deep freezing...)>
We just treated our tank with Levamisole HCI powder yesterday.
<Mmm; I'd try Prazi/quantel first>

It told us to cover the tank for 24 hours to let no light in. Well we just removed the blankets, and our BGK seems to have a large lump where his 'neck' would be.
<Perhaps goiter (see WWM re; the search tool); or consequent a physical injury>

He also seems to keep his face pointed inside the bubbles. Any idea if this is normal or not?
<Mmm; poisoning of some sort... the usual defaults suggested, water change/s, use of GAC... Bob Fenner>
Thanks!!!
Emily Galloway

Black ghost knife is rotting     3/11/16
So I'm not sure if you'll be able to help at this point but I'm hoping you might have a suggestion; I have a black ghost knife who is around 12 inches long now who I've had since juvenile with no problems at all. 3 or 4 days ago I noticed he had a big slice down his side which I think was caused by a broken ornament that had sharp edges so I quarantined him in a 20 gallon tank and dosed the tank with MelaFix.
<Arggghhhh! Worthless; worse than worthless....>
The next day he had started developing sores all over and almost seems like he has a flesh eating disease, the initial cut has gotten much worse and is now about 1 inch long and 1/2 inch thick and I can actually see his bones
through it now. I tried feeding him last night, he has no appetite but he seems active for the most part. I've tried 2 different medicines now treating for basically everything but nothing seems to be helping. His tail and part of his bottom fin are rotting away as well and I'm just really not sure what to do now, any suggestions?
<Am referring you to Neale.... have you read on WWM? Bob Fenner>
Black ghost knife is rotting     3/11/16

So I'm not sure if you'll be able to help at this point but I'm hoping you might have a suggestion; I have a black ghost knife who is around 12 inches long now who I've had since juvenile with no problems at all. 3 or 4 days ago I noticed he had a big slice down his side which I think was caused by a broken ornament that had sharp edges so I quarantined him in a 20 gallon tank and dosed the tank with MelaFix.
<Unreliable, at best; a commercial antibiotic will be immeasurably better here. Do understand that water quality needs to be excellent. A hospital tank with an immature filter is a quick way to kill your fish. Zeolite may be useful if you don't have the facility to add a mature biological filter.>
The next day he had started developing sores all over and almost seems like he has a flesh eating disease, the initial cut has gotten much worse and is now about 1 inch long and 1/2 inch thick and I can actually see his bones through it now.
<Oh dear.>
I tried feeding him last night, he has no appetite but he seems active for the most part. I've tried 2 different medicines now treating for basically everything but nothing seems to be helping.
<"All purpose" cures are not reliable because they're sort of designed to catch a few things early on, but not designed for specific, serious problems that need heavy duty treatment. Basically, avoid. Instead identify the problem, probably bacterial, and medicate with something like Kanaplex or the old Maracyn 1 and Maracyn 2 combination.>
His tail and part of his bottom fin are rotting away as well and I'm just really not sure what to do now, any suggestions?
<Outlook isn't good, for sure. If the fish is feeding, and water quality is excellent, there's hope. Don't forget to remove carbon from the filter.
Lots of oxygen, lots of water current important. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Black ghost knife is rotting     3/11/16

I have been reading but haven't found an answer or similar case yet, still looking though. Let me know if there's anything you can think of that might help. Also none of his tankmates were affected so it has something to do
with the initial cut but I'm not sure what. Also what medicine do you recommend for the small common things instead of MelaFix? I agree it seems pretty worthless.
<Black Ghost Knifefish come from very clean, very well oxygenated environments. The problem is that in aquaria they aren't usually kept in spacious, well-filtered conditions. I don't know the size of your Knifefish nor the size of your tank, but the fact a scratch resulted, almost overnight, in a serious bacterial infection, would suggest conditions
aren't right for this species. Review, and act accordingly. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Black ghost knife is rotting    3/12/16

The ghost knife is around a foot long and I've had him since juvenile in a 75 gallon tank and never had a problem until now, the 20 gallon tank I quarantined him has 2 filters running (50 gal AquaClear and a 20-40 AquaTech) and both tanks have been active for years.
<I would check the water quality on the 75 and put this BGK back in there... far more stable>
I also have 2 oversized filters on the 75 gallon tank so there is plenty of water flow and oxygen ( 2 bubblers in each tank as well). I picked up some medicine today but I couldn't find either of the ones you suggested (any idea where to find them in Ontario?)
<I'd call around the local fish stores; the aquarium clubs (see CAOAC online for those in your province... You might have to ask a friendly MD or veterinarian for assistance; order from the Net>
so I picked up a pack of erythromycin, would you suggest using it?
<Yes; if this is all you can get. It is the active ingredient in Maracyn (I)>
Or should I try to find something else? What do you suggest in terms of water changes, I've been doing 20-40% water changes every other day to try to keep water quality as good as possible, is this a good idea?
<Yes; with water from the 75>
The 75 gallon was cleaned the day before this all started but it was very filthy before then, (I was out of the province and my brother was supposed to take care of it, clearly he didn't very well) so I'm sure that didn't help
things.
<Ah yes; likely some part of the real cause here>
Also it seemed like more of a deep cut then a scratch that set it all off.
Anything else you can think of that I should be doing? Or anything that may help?
<Making sure this fish is eating>
Also would you suggest putting in some aquarium salt?
<Not much; perhaps a level teaspoon per five gallons when you change out water>
I usually don't but people have been telling me to, saying it might help with the healing. Your thoughts?
<Do try the search tool on WWM. Bob Fenner>
Re: Black ghost knife is rotting    3/12/16

The ghost knife is around a foot long and I've had him since juvenile in a 75 gallon tank and never had a problem until now, the 20 gallon tank I quarantined him has 2 filters running (50 gal AquaClear and a 20-40 AquaTech) and both tanks have been active for years.
<Sounds good, though 75 gallons honestly isn't generous for 30 cm/12 inch Black Ghost Knifefish. These are VERY demanding fish. Your problem may well be that conditions were perfect while he was young, but as he's gotten
bigger, conditions have been getting steadily worse. Nitrate, for example, is one thing you might test. Anything above 20 mg/l isn't good.>
I also have 2 oversized filters on the 75 gallon tank so there is plenty of water flow and oxygen ( 2 bubblers in each tank as well). I picked up some medicine today but I couldn't find either of the ones you suggested (any idea where to find them in Ontario?) so I picked up a pack of erythromycin, would you suggest using it?
<Surely better than nothing! Outside of the US your access to antibiotics will be limited. Here in the UK aquarium antibiotics are veterinarian-only medications. We do have very good alternatives, such as eSHa 2000 for bacterial infections, and you could look for these online. Given the size and value of your fish, I'd be very tempted to call a vet. Failing that, it is possible to obtain US-market aquarium antibiotics via Amazon, eBay, etc. and have the delivered. But this will take time, and of course you'll have no idea if it's the right antibiotic for the job. A vet will be
considerably more expensive, but quicker and they'll be able to pin down the possible problems rather better.>
Or should I try to find something else? What do you suggest in terms of water changes, I've been doing 20-40% water changes every other day to try to keep water quality as good as possible, is this a good idea?
<Water changes are never a bad idea, provided water chemistry and temperature are steady. But if you're dosing medications, it's best to do water changes at least 12 hours after dosing the water, ideally 24 hours, so the medication has time to "soak into" your fish.>
The 75 gallon was cleaned the day before this all started but it was very filthy before then, (I was out of the province and my brother was supposed to take care of it, clearly he didn't very well) so I'm sure that didn't help things.
<I'm sure too.>
Also it seemed like more of a deep cut then a scratch that set it all off.
Anything else you can think of that I should be doing? Or anything that may help? Also would you suggest putting in some aquarium salt?
<Possibly, but salt isn't a magic cure-all. It reduces a bit of osmotic stress, which might help, but use sparingly, 1-2 gram/litre.>
I usually don't but people have been telling me to, saying it might help with the healing. Your thoughts?
<In all honesty, I'd call a vet, or failing that, posting a message and photos on a site like Monster Fishkeepers that specialises in these sorts of fish. Make it clear you're in Canada and don't have legal access to antibiotics.
Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Black ghost knife is rotting    3/12/16

Ok I will see what I can find for medicine and will keep researching, thank you so much for all the help and if you think of anything we may have missed let me know.
<Always a good idea to ask, state>
If he makes it ill be sure to let you know and thank you again!
<Cheers Cody. BobF>

Hole with red white strings on ghost knife      2/6/15
My buddy sent me this photo. His black ghost knife has a hole with red and white strings hanging out under his body near the mouth. I checked your site and the web and can't find anything on it. Can you help? Sorry pic is terrible .
<Indeed it is! But short answer, likely a combination of physical damage (scratched by rocks, nipped by tankmates, etc.) and environmental shortcomings of some sort (non-zero ammonia and nitrite for example). To be clear: most problems with Black Ghosts are down to three things: [a] the way they're kept, [b] the way they're kept, and [c] the way they're kept.
In and of themselves they're not particularly prone to disease or plagued with parasites upon import. But they are highly demanding fish. Let's go through what your buddy needs to provide. Firstly, a big aquarium, 55 gallons would be too small, 75 gallons for an adult a bare minimum, and anything up that much the best option. Juveniles don't last long in small tanks (20 gallons for example) and usually end up dead under such conditions, so even if this is a youngster, you'd be starting off with 40, 50 gallons and upgrading quickly. Next up, filtration. As fish from rapids and riffles and places around waterfalls, they like water movement and high oxygen levels. Big canister filters and the like are what you're after.
Turnover rates upwards of 8 times the volume of the tank per hour. Low nitrates are a plus, so regular water changes. Water chemistry itself isn't a big issue, so you can be liberal with water changes even in moderately hard water areas. Diet is a big problem for many folks. While they sometimes take pellets, they're mostly micro-predators and expect a varied diet based around insect larvae, small earthworms, enriched brine shrimps and so on. A monotonous diet based on frozen bloodworms for example won't work though. Definitely no feeder fish! Because they can't be medicated with anything containing copper or formalin, you need to avoid situations where these might be needed. Quarantine tankmates (better yet, avoid them) and ensure there's nothing in the tank that could damage them (sharp rocks, for example). I'm guessing yours has some sort of ulcer, perhaps caused by gravel (don't use gravel, use smooth silica sand) or jagged rocks (provide
lots of smooth caves in the form of plastic or ceramic pipes). An antibiotic will be necessary, and don't use anything else unless it expressly states it's safe with stingrays (most aquarium store medications aren't). Remember to remove carbon from the filter while medicating.
Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Hole with red white strings on ghost knife      2/7/16
Thanks! He does have gravel.
<Check how fine and/or sharp the gravel is before panicking. But given they feed by exploring the substrate, anything that can scratch their snout or chin can easily turn into an ulcer.>
He thought a clown loach might be the one causing it.
<Not really compatible. Much too boisterous and likely to consume the same foods at the same time. Plus, Clowns are schooling fish, and a group of, say, 5 specimens will put a massive load on the biological filter. Much better to keep Black Ghost Knifefish on their own or with day active midwater species such as the larger characins (Silver Dollars, Bleeding
Hearts, Congo Tetras, etc.).>
I see just by reading your email he has several things that need to be corrected. Thanks for the info
<Most welcome. Cheers, Neale.>

BGK in a new tank; dead       2/1/16
Hi, I just got a black ghost knifefish around 3 days ago. he had lots of hiding spots in the tank, I fed him bloodworms, and I also have live plants and only 1 angelfish in the tank with him that he got along with. Today I wasn't able to find him in the tank and I ended up finding him dead in the corner of my tank. I know it wasn't the angel because he had no nips on his
fins and the water condition is good. the PH is 7.4 and ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate is all at 0.
<Zero NO3? How is this rendered thus?>

I had my tank running with some guppies for a month before I got the knife as well.
<Mmm; maybe not long enough>
I have no idea what could have killed him. I had a warranty on him so I'm able to get another one but before I do I want to make sure my tank is 100% up to his needs. Many sites I have been searching on aren't giving me straight information.
<Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bgkdis.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Re: re:      2/1/16

My dad did the NO3 testing with an aquarium chemical test kit and it said it was 0.
<Thank you... your reagents may have "gone bad". I'd take a sample to a friendly, neighborhood fish store next time you're out and have them check. Unusual for freshwater systems to have none>
We have the specific ones for ph, nitrite, nitrate, and ammonia. I also did read through the forum you guys have on the knife fish and I couldn't find any helpful information for my fish
<Mmm; rats. Well; you may have had a weak specimen... your pH is a bit high for Mormyrids.... of the data you presented, nothing else "jumps out" as being off. BobF>
Re: re:      2/1/16

When I was reading up on ph levels it said 6-8 is good.
<Yes; I too see this; even on Fishbase.org: http://www.fishbase.org/summary/Apteronotus-albifrons.html
I am still decided that this fish species needs moderately low pH and softer water>
And I am going to the fish store first thing tomorrow to get the water checked out. Also would German Rams be a good tank mate?
<Generally yes; Please see/read on WWM re Microgeophagus... Rams nowayears have a bunch of in-breeding issues.
Bob Fenner>

Black Ghost knife; env. poisoning: Too much new water       12/27/15
Hello, I have a ghost knife approx. 30cm living in a clear Perspex tube in my communal tank. Recently I changed 80% of the water ,
<Yikes; do see/read my piece on WWM re "frequent partial water changes". In these years, I would only change out about a quarter of the water... for reasons stated>
cleaned the filters and re stabilised the conditions. Whilst I was doing this I removed the ghost knife into a container on his own. All ok . Three hours later I put him back in the tank and now he seems to be having trouble remaining the right way up. He is upside most of the time. He still eats and can get upright for this but then moves into the upside down position. I have fed him shelled green peas which he likes but he still is swimming upside down in his tube for five days now. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you . Sincerely Helen and “Phantom”
<Am out of the country; but will look for you: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/fwh2ochgs.htm
and the linked files above. I WOULD try overdosing (two, three times the amount) w/ Amquel or equivalent product. Going forward, store and pre-treat the 20-25% of water to be changed out ahead of time (like a week).
Bob Fenner>

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
https://www.dropbox.com/s/nr7x1tmm0aa43li/20151028_205504.mp4?dl=0
<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
<Good>
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
beginning)
<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

Ghost Knife issue... hlth. concern        6/10/15
Hello,
<Shahn>
Hoping you can help.
<Me too>
I have a 28cm ghost knife who is around 5 years old living in my 250 litre tank with several discus fish and angels and a few cat fish cleaners. In the recent 3 months my ghosty has shown several like blood spots on his tail and now has a few more initially I presumed that my sucker fish were sucking algae off him and therefore creating blood type blisters but it is getting worse.
Any idea's on what it is and how to treat?
<I concur re your guess that this fish is likely being traumatized. What species of catfish are present? Does you Ghost have a cave/place of its own? Is this near where the Discus, Angels hang out? Bob Fenner>
Regards
Shahn
Re: Ghost Knife issue       6/10/15

Dear Bob
<Shahn>
Yes my Ghost does have many places to hang out and hide as the tank was set up mainly for him and my discus and the other fishies are 'add ins'.
<Ah good>
The cat fish are bristle nose but I am starting to think that it is possibly my 5 loaches doing it as they are the golden sucking loaches.
<Well; may be the loaches, not strange that these should go after an Apteronotid... is it possible that some element of the decor (sea shell, sharp rock) has cut into the knife?>
Your help is appreciated.
<Glad to assist. Bob Fenner>

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 gold fish
<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

BGK concerns he is dying            3/23/15          /RMF; not amused, amusing
Hi
<Ness>
I'm trying to save my ill BGK. Had him about a year, is about 20cm, has always been very healthy. He's in an 85L aquarium,
<Too small by more than twice>
(I know I need to seriously upgrade the size for him) he was with two silver dollars that went belly up and died this morning.
<... environmental>

I'm desperate not to lose our BGK also.
The BGK has been floating on his side, on the top of the tank in the back corner near the filter tube and heater, resting on an air tube, hardly moving and not eating for four days now.
History: The tank had a nitrite spike
<...>

a week ago (I was in hospital for several days with my sick daughter, but tank levels had been fine before). I also notice he had mottled white on his sides, looked like his slime coat was not too good?? (Looks better now) I then saw his fins had a red jagged edging all along the bottom (fin rot/pest??) and I saw a small white 'thread' hanging off his fin on a
reddened area (maybe 1mm long, looked like a worm?). The silver dollars both had what looked like a cottony growth on their sides (fungal/worm??). They all stopped eating. BGK stopped coming out of his cave. About two weeks ago (at first) I thought fungal infection in the tank, so partial water change, treated with API MelaFix and Pimafix
<Both worthless shams... Did you even take any time to search WWM before writing us? Time better spent having done maintenance on the system>

for four days (this was prior to the nitrate spike and my hospital stay).
Then All still not eating much, if at all. This is when I saw the thread/worm?
<......>
And frayed fins. Silver dollar also lost a lot of fin. Did water change (40%) Treated the tank with tablets (dissolved) that treat worm/itch/lice etc.
<Of no use whatsoever; in fact toxic to Apteronotids>
also added aquarium salt
<... this too>

slowly over couple days. Used Prime and Nitrazorb for the nitrates.
AmmoLock for ammonia spike.
<These won't work w/o stemming the source.>

Nitrites cleared completely. But Tank has been very cloudy. Two days later nitrites back to .25, and PH very low, so 10% water change, regenerated Nitrazorb pad, added more aquarium salt, added Prime, and PH upper. That was yesterday. This morning my two dollars died :( but tank water 'cloud' had cleared, nitrites STILL .25, PH fine, ammonia very high (but could be still showing after detoxed??) BGK finally ate (a whole frozen blood worm block, very quickly, hand fed), but he is still floating on his side at the top of the tank in the back corner next to the filter tube and water heater. I keep thinking he's dead but then he will swave his fins, BUT he hasn't come out of that corner and has been floating on his side for four days now! Is there anything else I can do for him??? What is wrong with him??
<Poor environment; fix it>

Water temp 27 degrees Celsius.
Thanks millions
<... Well; the real issue you identified in the first two sentences.
Improper housing, poor water quality and poisoning w/ "medicines" has been the undoing of this life in your care.
Am passing this to Neale for his calmer response.
Bob Fenner>
Re BGK       3/23/15

Hi, sorry, further to my last email (below) I forgot to mention:
1) BGK is red on the white stripe areas on his nose and tail. What is this?? Will he be ok or is it very bad news?
<The same: Env.>

2) BGK, where his slime coat looked thick and mottled last week, (looked like a trail of snot running down his sides) he now has a thin, flat white jagged looking line down both sides of him. Can you tell me why? What it is?
<Ditto>

3) we think all the trouble started when the two silver dollars tried to mate, the eggs weren't fertilized and I found them hiding around the tank, under a log etc and gone fuzzy with fungus, in clumps, then I was away and the water went south very quickly
Thanks again
<B>
BGK concerns he is dying /Neale (thank goodness; and him)       2/24/15

Hi
<Hello,>
I'm trying to save my ill BGK. Had him about a year, is about 20cm, has always been very healthy. He's in an 85L aquarium, (I know I need to seriously upgrade the size for him)
<I'll say!>
he was with two silver dollars that went belly up and died this morning.
<A good sign environment, rather than disease, was the issue. If multiple fish across different species sicken or die within a day or two, it's a good indication the environment is toxic rather than some subtle disease, which tends to affect one fish at a time, and often singles out the least hardy species before affecting the others.>
I'm desperate not to lose our BGK also.
<Understood.>
The BGK has been floating on his side, on the top of the tank in the back corner near the filter tube and heater, resting on an air tube, hardly moving and not eating for four days now.
History: The tank had a nitrite spike a week ago (I was in hospital for several days with my sick daughter, but tank levels had been fine before).
I also notice he had mottled white on his sides, looked like his slime coat was not too good?? (Looks better now) I then saw his fins had a red jagged edging all along the bottom (fin rot/pest??) and I saw a small white 'thread' hanging off his fin on a reddened area (maybe 1mm long, looked like a worm?). The silver dollars both had what looked like a cottony growth on
their sides (fungal/worm??). They all stopped eating. BGK stopped coming out of his cave. About two weeks ago (at first) I thought fungal infection in the tank, so partial water change, treated with API MelaFix and Pimafix for four days (this was prior to the nitrate spike and my hospital stay).
Then All still not eating much, if at all. This is when I saw the thread/worm? And frayed fins. Silver dollar also lost a lot of fin. Did water change (40%) Treated the tank with tablets (dissolved) that treat worm/itch/lice etc. also added aquarium salt slowly over couple days. Used Prime and Nitrazorb for the nitrates. AmmoLock for ammonia spike. Nitrites cleared completely. But Tank has been very cloudy. Two days later nitrites back to .25, and PH very low, so 10% water change, regenerated Nitrazorb pad, added more aquarium salt, added Prime, and PH upper. That was yesterday. This morning my two dollars died :( but tank water 'cloud' had cleared, nitrites STILL .25, PH fine, ammonia very high (but could be still showing after detoxed??) BGK finally ate (a whole frozen blood worm block, very quickly, hand fed), but he is still floating on his side at the top of
the tank in the back corner next to the filter tube and water heater. I keep thinking he's dead but then he will swave his fins, BUT he hasn't come out of that corner and has been floating on his side for four days now! Is there anything else I can do for him??? What is wrong with him?? Water temp 27 degrees Celsius.
Thanks millions
<Black Ghost Knifefish are extremely sensitive to poor environment. Bear in mind they come from clear, clean deep water pools around waterfalls and rapids. Their tolerance for nitrite (and ammonia) is essentially zero, and they aren't wild about nitrate either, so frequent water changes (even relatively small ones, say, 20% every week) are essential. On top of that they have little tolerance for low oxygen, despite not wanting particularly cool water. So while 25 C/77 F is the order of the day so far as temperature goes, you need to balance this with brisk turnover and quite possibly extra aeration. We're talking water turnover rates 8-10 times the volume of the tank, so if not quite turbulent then certainly strong,
directional water currents across all levels of the aquarium. Complicating maintenance is the fact these fish have minimal tolerance for medications. Basically, avoid stuff like copper and formalin, and while Melafix and Pimafix are probably less harmful, you'd still want to avoid them if at all possible. Antibiotics are tolerated well though, as is the old salt/heat method for treating Whitespot. But that's about it so far as your range of medications goes. Optimal water quality alongside proper diet and appropriate quarantining of tankmates to prevent infections is the name of the game here. Once BGKs get sick, life is difficult for all concerned.
What's to do now? Optimise living conditions, boost filtration and aeration, get rid of any traces of ammonia and nitrite... and then pretty much hope for the best. Use appropriate medications (with carbon removed from the filter) with only extreme care with regard to overdosing, and taking care to specifically avoid copper and formalin. Hope this helps.
Cheers, Neale.>
Re BGK      2/24/15

Hi, sorry, further to my last email (below) I forgot to mention:
1) BGK is red on the white stripe areas on his nose and tail. What is this?? Will he be ok or is it very bad news?
<Incipient bacterial infection. Bad, but not as bad as dead, white flesh there, which is what'll happen next. Treat with a reliable antibiotic/antibacterial.>
2) BGK, where his slime coat looked thick and mottled last week, (looked like a trail of snot running down his sides) he now has a thin, flat white jagged looking line down both sides of him. Can you tell me why? What it is?
<No real explanation for this beyond the obvious statement that fish react to poor environment by upping mucous production, which sort of insulates them for a while. But beyond a certain point mucous won't help.>
3) we think all the trouble started when the two silver dollars tried to mate, the eggs weren't fertilized and I found them hiding around the tank, under a log etc and gone fuzzy with fungus, in clumps, then I was away and the water went south very quickly ��
<Conceivably, but in an 85 litre tank it's hard to imagine keeping a pair of ADULT Silver Dollars (these fish are the size of saucers when full grown) sufficiently well that they'd want to mate. So I'd keep an open mind here.>
Thanks again
<Welcome. Neale.>
Re: Re BGK      2/24/15

Hi once more
<Hello,>
Thanks for your time in replying Neale. I have some good news, but first may I ask you two more questions please:
<Sure thing.>
1) the nitrites are still at .25 (third day), if I continue to use the Nitrazorb in the filter and regenerate it every few days, do a 10% water change daily (do I do this off the top or use the vacuum and do the gravel too??), and condition the new water with Prime, is there anything else I need to be doing to remove the nitrites back to zero?
<Yes. Nitrite can't be "absorbed away" because it's continually produced by the filter bacteria as they process the ammonia the fish excrete. You absolutely must figure out why there aren't enough filter bacteria to turn the toxic nitrite into (mostly) harmless nitrate. Overstocking, overfeeding, and/or under-filtering are the three usual causes. If you're stuck with an 85-litre tank in the short term, you must at least filter it very heavily using as much biological media as you can. My guess would be
adding a second (mature) filter to your tank, even something simple like an internal sponge filter, would make a huge difference to this system.>
2) The ammonia is still showing very high, I understand it will do this even after it's detoxed, how long after nitrites are corrected should it take to show clear on the ammonia? (I ask so I can judge if I have an ammonia problem that needs addressing).
<See above; ammonia is produced every second of every minute of every hour of every day... which is why trying to absorb it away it (or chemically neutralise it) is pointless. Again, biological filtration is what you need to focus on. Something that can use up the ammonia as its produced.>
Good news is BGK has started eating very well again (frozen blood worms) and has returned to his cave this morning! Swimming around the tank, still on his side a lot, but he seems to be doing much better...*happy dance*! He seems settled and happy again. Do you still think I should treat with antibiotics for infection? If so can you recommend one?
<Antibiotics should be safe to use, provided they don't hit the filter bacteria (check with the manufacturer). In the UK antibiotics are only supplied by the vets, so my experience is minimal. But the Maracyn 1 and Maracyn 2 combination is popular, and there are various others. Basically, any antibiotic will be better than Melafix and Pimafix.>
Still V sad about the SD :( but lessons learnt BIG time.
I've certainly learnt a lot of new info during the past couple of weeks, have spent many hours reading how and trying to correct the tank and help the fish, travelling to our local store, and even phoned a vet for advice.
I certainly appreciate your input also, some handy info for sure. I'm still fairly new to the aquarium world but I do love it and want to do it right.
The 2 SD were not saucer size by any means but one was going very orange and black along the edge of his fins and getting black smudge spots on his sides periodically and behaving in a manner that looked as though he was mating (from what I have read). This was when the tank was healthy before any of the problems began. It was unfortunate that I ended up in hospital with my two year old for four days and came home to find the tank in a dreadful state. I had been treating what I thought were fungal issues during the week before.
<Sorry to hear this. But yes, Silver Dollars are huge when fully grown.
Upwards of 12 cm/5 inches, and in some cases well over that.>
Now I am just trying to get the nitrite back to zero. Will get a larger set up, I purchased this one on advice by the aquarium store staff based on these fish! But I will keep it as either a hospital tank or use for smaller fish set up.
Thanks so much for your fast reply you've been wonderful, got to love email for fast advice from around the world! (I'm in oz) :)
Ness
<Most welcome. Neale.>

Black Ghost Knife; damaged tail end   /RMF     1/7/15
I have a black ghost knife approximate size is 10" who's tail is bent down.
<Ahh; have seen such... highly likely from shipping... get squeezed, damaged in the bag>
Believe to be causes from having too small a cave because of this worry I made a cave much larger for it so the tail would no longer be pressed up against the back.
<Oh? Oh>
Will it's tail straighten out or is there something making it sick that I can't visibly see and should have some concerns.
Please let me know your thoughts and thank you for any help you can provide.
Sincerely concerned fish parent
<Only time can, will tell here. The usual urging of keeping on top of good water conditions and nutrition.
Bob Fenner>
Black Ghost Knife /Neale      1/8/15

I have a black ghost knife approximate size is 10" who's tail is bent down.
Believe to be causes from having too small a cave
<Sounds a reasonable analysis.>
because of this worry I made a cave much larger for it so the tail would no longer be pressed up against the back. Will it's tail straighten out or is there something making it sick that I can't visibly see and should have some concerns.
<Will probably not get better, any more than any other skeletal deformity.
But may become less noticeable as the fish grows. Do bear in mind adults are twice the size of yours, so a small kink on your present fish will be really small on a bigger fish. Optimal diet, ideal water quality, plenty of water movement (for exercise) will all help.>
Please let me know your thoughts and thank you for any help you can provide.
<Cheers, Neale.>

Black Ghost Knife    8/22/14
Hi, I am new to this so please bare with me. thank you in advance.
<Sure and certainly welcome>
I have a BGK he is about 25 cm long, I've had him for about a year know. I have a 7 foot tank holds roughly 600 litres. My boy is sick, he hasn't eaten for 4 days, he's fed bloodworms
<Mmm; I'd cut back on these... implicated in diseases>
and cichlid floating balls.
<And switch this sort of food to sinking; Apteronotids/Knives don't really feed at the surface (preferably)>
Today I have noticed that he has a huge lump under his neck, not sure if its just one or two, one on either side. From my research I think it might be a goiter.
<Possibly>
I have no idea how to fix this can you please help me. any advice will be greatly appreciated.
Thank you so much Kym
<Do purchase and use an iodide-ate ("Iodine") saltwater supplement; and dose as if this were a marine system. Useful for treating goiter.
Oh, and do read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bgkfdg.htm
and the linked files above... Bob Fenner>

Issue with my Black ghost knife fish      7/21/14
Hello!
<Malin>
After reading through your website about issues with Black ghost knife fish, I feel contacting you is a good thing to do.
<Go ahead>
I did a water change and cleanup in my 400 liter freshwater tank yesterday, and today my black ghost is acting strange.
<Mmm; how much clean up and percentage water may be the issue here. Best (per the SOP on WWM) to do these frequent, partial (no more than a quarter, 25%) change outs... WITH stored, pre-treated water. Municipal sources nowayears can be highly variable>
Yesterday he (as most, I don´t know the sex of the fish, but it´s a he to me) was fine, he hanged <hung> around his tube, doing his black ghost thing, he ate well (feed him red frozen mosquito larva and some pellets), and he seemed happy.
Today he is swimming just by the surface, as if not being able to breath, he wont eat and it´s worrying me. Only thing that comforts me is that he still has a great color and the "coat" isn´t showing any signs of any diseases.
<Again; my guess/bet is that the root here is the cleaning, new water>
Regretfully, I haven´t got anything to be able to test the nitrate or the like.
After a water change, can the water change so drastically that nitrate can appear in less than 24 hours?
<Not usually much increase; no>
I know a black ghost isn´t an easy fish to care for, but I must´ve been doing something right because he has been with me for at least 2 years and he is 35-40 centimeters long.
<Nice>
My apologies if any replies from me is slow, and if my description isn´t the best, but English is not my first language. (Am from Sweden)
<I understand you perfectly.>
I hope you can help me, for I have nowhere else to turn to right now.
Thanks in advance for you help
Best Regards, Malin Norberg, Sweden.
<If it were my system, Apteronotid, I would do nothing at this point... No medicine/s, water treatments will improve the situation. Only time going by will help. Bob Fenner>

Black Ghost knife fish has strange lumps Help ?      4/20/14
Hi guys, I have a 200L tropical tank that I have had for over 10 years, unfortunately most of my large fish have perished (old age I think) so I only have a clown loach, a huge black spotted Pleco, a little black widow
and my black ghost knife fish,
<Do suspect 'old age' isn't directly to blame -- most of the fish you name should live 10-20 years. Aquaria have a carrying capacity, dictated by things like filtration, water turnover, water changes, and so on. A key question here is what you mean by "200L". In the metric world, 200 L would be 200 litres, about 50 or so US gallons, which is obviously far too small
for this collection of fish! Americans often use the letter "L" after an aquarium to denote a "long" rather than "deep" aquarium, but I've never come across a 200 gallon "long" aquarium because there isn't anything called a 200 gallon "deep" aquarium so far as I know. So, confusion reigns!
In any event, a school of Clown Loaches (they're social fish), a large Plec, an adult Black Ghost, and an assortment of smaller characins could be kept in 200 gallons, but I really don't have any idea what fish you started with or how many of them. My hunch would be "too many" in some sense, and the population of fish has simply died back to what the aquarium, filter, and your maintenance regime will support.>
I got them all around the same year so the Knife fish is at least 9yrs old. I do weekly water changes and have a canister filter. Over the last year my Black ghost has developed these strange lumps that come and go ?
<Possibly Lymphocystis or some other viral-type infection if the cysts are relatively clean (no dead skin, no sign of Fungus or Finrot). Viral infections aren't normally deadly, and there are no treatments, but they can indicate problems with the environment, sometimes chemicals in the water (e.g., heavy metals) but equally likely sub-lethal, long-term stresses like water quality issues or the wrong water chemistry. Age can be a factor, and a Black Widow Tetra would have a life expectancy of around 5 years, though like you, I've seen occasional specimens from an original group live much, much longer that all the others.>
They are often on both sides in different locations and different sizes, they seem to be under the skin ? He/she seems fine otherwise, eating normally, hiding during day and out in the evenings. I have read through multiple articles on your site and web but failed to find the right info, I also went to local fish shop and they said "its probably old age ?" I'm just very worried and don't want to lose him Any info would be greatly appreciated :)
<For a start check water quality; obviously nitrite/ammonia but also nitrate. Do have your retailer check for copper in the water too, as this could be a problem but it isn't really worth buying a kit if you don't plan on checking regularly. Check your water conditioner removes heavy metals. Look at the substrate; some cheap gravels and decorative rocks can contain
traces of metals. Remove if found. Check the pH is stable. Your fish aren't too fussed, but it shouldn't be above 8, and in any case should be steady from week to week. Review filtration. Unless you have a MASSIVE filter, like a Fluval FX6, you definitely aren't going to have the water turnover you need from one filter. A 200-gallon tank would need at least a turnover
rate of 6 times per hour, and 8-10 would be ideal, so a filter rated upwards of 6 x 200 = 1200 gallons/hour. Lack of turnover may not mean water quality is poor, but it may mean that oxygenation isn't sufficient, with water at the bottom of the tank not really flowing briskly as it should. If all else fails, installing a couple of inexpensive powerheads (as used in marine tanks) can up the water turnover rate, especially if positioned at "dead spots" at the bottom of the tank. Apteronotus albifrons is a classic
riverine fish that demands high levels of water current and lots of oxygen.>
Thank you all so much
<Most welcome, Neale.>
re: Black Ghost knife fish has strange lumps Help ?      4/20/14

Hi Neale thank you so much for taking the time to reply,
<Welcome.>
Just to clarify because I have confused you, it is a 200 litre tank and the canister filter is 1200 liters/per hour :)
<Nice filter; excellent turnover rate; tank too small for this/these fish.>
also wanted to let you know that about one month ago after reading your on your site I suspected that the bloodworm & brine shrimp I was buying from my local pet shop might be refrozen (half full blister packs and it looked dry and discoloured on top) so I went to another shop and purchased bloodworms & brine shrimp which clearly looked much nicer (bright in colour and full blister packs)
<Indeed; they do vary, and they do age even in the freezer.>
After feeding the new food the lumps were gone basically within 48hrs but returned again about 3 weeks later. I also have a large round airstone disc running in the tank. I purchased the natural gravel and ornaments from a reputable fish dealer and didn't buy the cheaper of the two. The lumps do look clean, I also only use good API water products (stress coat, quick
start etc) so they remove heavy metals but I do live in Western Australia in a 30 year old house so copper is definitely something I should look at,
<As in the UK; not normally a problem if you use a water condition that removes copper (most do these days, but check).>
I have a full test kit so I will test everything you have asked me too, I do have to admit I have been very slack on water testing as I have not had any problems or fish loss up until the last year or so, I will get back to you with the results asap, again thank you so much !
<Cheers, Neale.>

Black ghost knife fish     8/13/13
I just got a black ghost knife fish as a gift from my daughter but he seems unhappy just laying around and hiding all the time also he keeps getting stuck to the filter and seems unable to swim right like the bubbles are pushing him around...do I have a problem?
<Hello Jessica. Possibly unfortunately for you, Black Ghost Knifefish are notably challenging fish to keep. They need a large aquarium (think 55+ gallons at minimum), excellent water quality (no ammonia or nitrite, plus substantial weekly water changes), an understocked aquarium, and the right sort of food. Without any specifics on your aquarium, I can't offer
anything beyond the fact they quickly sicken if kept improperly; do start reading here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/bgksys.htm
If you want to write back with more details about your aquarium and existing fish, I'll be able to offer more tailored advice. Cheers, Neale.>

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