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FAQs on Mormyrid Fishes

Related Articles: Mormyrids, ElephantfishesElectrogenic Fishes,

Related FAQs: Mormyrid Identification, Mormyrid Behavior, Mormyrid Compatibility, Mormyrid Selection, Mormyrid Systems, Mormyrid Feeding, Mormyrid Disease, Mormyrid Reproduction, Bony Tongue Fishes, Electrogenic Fishes, Aba Aba Knifefish, African Butterflyfish, Arapaimas, Arowanas, Featherfin Knives, New World Knifefishes,

Elephant Nose Question; gen., fdg.      7/25/18
My Elephant Nose lives in a 75 gallon tank with 6 Congo Tetras (all female) and a Bristlenose Pleco. The tank has a Cascade 1000 canister filter on it and I made sure the tank was cycled before I put any fish in it. I test weekly and have never had any ammonia or nitrite, weekly water changes keep the nitrate around 20 ppm or lower - and I've never had a problem (knock wood) with this tank. The substrate is pool filter sand, temp is 77 - 78, kH is 6, pH is 7.4, and the tank has lots of plants (real and fake) and caves so he'll feel safe. I feed flake food for the Congo Tetras, bloodworms, brine shrimp, and Mysis shrimp for the Elephant Nose, and algae wafers for the Pleco.
<All sounds lovely, Renee.>
The Congo Tetras eat from the top or mid-range of the tank and the Pleco is almost always "suckered" to the side of the tank, so I'm sure the Elephant Nose is getting all of the food I put in for him. Also, he has never shown any interest in any plant based foods and will diligently work to push algae wafers that float down on his favorite side of the tank (the left) back over to the opposite side.
<Quite so; these are more or less carnivores in the wild, albeit on small prey.>
But tonight I realized that even though I've had him for almost 2 years, he really hasn't grown very much. The information I've found online is vague or varied (some sites say this fish reaches an adult size of 4 inches and some sites say 9 inches), so I wanted to ask your opinion; is this species just normally slow growing or could he be missing something in his diet or environment that's slowing growth?
<They are slow growing, but they do also have substantial appetites, and it is easy to underfeed them. Healthy specimens should have a gently rounded abdomen and I'd suggest they do better with many small meals rather than a single big feed. So far as food variety goes, your selection sounds fine.
These are not particularly fussy fish, especially once settled, and settled specimens will sometimes even take flake food, though most do prefer frozen and live. Do remember frozen and live foods are mostly water, and therefore less filling, than flake, so it's easy to underfeed fish fed solely on such items. Nonetheless, given yours is some years old now, you're probably doing fine, so apart from maybe upping the amount of food it gets per day, there's nothing much I'd suggest changing. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Elephant Nose Question     7/31/18

Great! Thank you!
<Glad to help. Neale.>

Elephant Nose and Iron       4/16/17
A few weeks ago, I wrote to you about a baby elephant nose that I got from my neighbor that I felt was extremely emaciated. He was keeping it with quite a few tetras and rasboras and had a powerhead plus two hob filters on the tank but was indifferent to the condition of the elephant nose. I talked him into selling it to me, brought it home and put it in my 10 gallon plant tank (cycled for over a year), and tried to help it. The little elephant nose put up a valiant fight, but ultimately passed away.
I'm heartsick as I really fell in love with the little guy and I've been searching your site to try to find out what I did wrong. I came across articles in which you state that elephant nose are sensitive to iron. I use RO/DI water (you might remember me from other posts - I live in Idaho, have human remains in the water, among other toxic junk) and I add Equilibrium to bring the mineral content back up. I was looking at the bottle today and it says Equilibrium does contain iron that they list as 0.11% Water Soluble Iron (Fe). Would that have been enough to affect the elephant nose. Also, I used to put Excel Flourish in the tank (though I had not added any for at least three months prior to this incident) and it says it "...has iron reducing properties which promote the ferrous state of Iron (Fe+2)...." Could this have harmed the little elephant nose? My roommate wants to get a black ghost knife fish, but now I'm worried as the BGK is a mormyrid the same as the elephant nose. Even though we're setting
up a tank specifically catering to the needs of the BGK, with filtering and powerheads providing more than 1,000 gph of water flow in a 72 gallon tank, I need to keep using the Equilibrium (I don't have to use the Flourish) and
I'm afraid that if the iron in these products harmed or killed the elephant nose that it might also harm the BGK. (Please don't misunderstand, I think a great deal of SeaChem and love their products, but not every product of
any manufacturer is right for every species of aquarium animal).
<I'm sorry this story had a sad ending, and thank you for trying so hard to save this fish. The short answer is that aquarium iron supplements are unlikely to harm this/any fish; at least, not if used as directed. More likely, this Elephantnose was "just too far gone". They are not easy fish to keep, as we've probably discussed before. While relatively adaptable in terms of water chemistry, they can be finicky feeders, and like all Mormyridae, they are acutely sensitive to chemicals like copper and formalin widely used in aquarium medications. On top of that, being
wild-caught, it's not impossible for them to arrive infected with parasitic worms, which means that however much they eat, they lose weight. Deworming wild-caught fish isn't mandatory by any means, but if a wild-caught fish
fails to thrive despite eating plenty of food, it's a good next step.
Anyway, you will find Black Ghost Knifefish very similar to Elephantnoses in terms of care and feeding. You could probably argue that these Knifefish and their relatives occupy the same ecological niche that Mormyrids do in Africa. Soft substrate, micro-invertebrate prey including worms and insect larvae, and plenty of oxygen are all on the to-do list, while formalin and copper are just as toxic to Black Ghosts as they are to Elephantnoses.
Given Black Ghost Knifefish don't need bright light -- they actually prefer deep, shady conditions -- you will probably find iron-based substrates redundant, even detrimental (they can cause algal problems in the absence
of fast-growing plants). So I'd be taking the Excel Flourish out of the equation, and sticking with silica sand, water worn pebbles and roots, and so far as plants go, low-light tolerant species for the bottom (Anubias for
example) and an over-storey of fast-growing species like Amazon Frogbit to keep algae under control. None of these plants needs any more iron that the usual top-up with fertiliser added to the water every few weeks. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Elephant Nose and Iron       4/17/17

Thank you Neale, you made me feel a little better.
<Glad to have helped.>
I still wish I could have helped the little fella, but some things are just not meant to be. I've nervously agreed to try the black ghost knife fish (my roommate's all time most wanted fish - mine too if I can keep it healthy and happy).
<They are nice, if demanding, fish. Not really for casual aquarists, but certainly not impossible to keep either.>
The local store that sells them has fish that are about 3 inches long, they look healthy, and the store owner demonstrated to me that all the BGKs in the tank are hungrily eating blood worms.
<Good. These sound VERY small though! Not necessarily a bad thing -- especially if they're feeding well -- but do be careful not to expose them to sudden changes in temperature or water chemistry when you bring them home.>
I knocked down and completely re-worked my 72 bow front. I have put on a Fluval 405 canister filter (340 gph) and added two Hydor Koralia powerheads (one is 1,200 gph and the other is 850 gph). I know this is a little bit
excessive for a 72 gallon tank, but I have also put in two very large fake plants (for hiding spaces) that hang down from the top all the way to the bottom and I want to be sure the current is sufficient to move the water past those plants.
<Understood. BGKs appreciate current, and overall water turnover rates around 8-10 times the volume of the tank is ideal. So anything between 500-700 gallons/hour should fine. But I would turn down the powerheads so that they don't produce too much current. While the Fluval by itself won't be enough, the two extra powerheads -- operating be full blast, anyway -- could be much too much current. Use some common sense here.>
I have pool filter sand as a substrate and a smooth glass candle chimney wrapped with a fake ivy plant for the fish to feel safe. I have placed it diagonally across the water flow so the current inside the chimney is significantly less.
Since the fish is still very small, I've also added a small cave and a small terracotta strawberry pot (placed diagonally to the water flow as an alternate hiding and refuge away from the strong current). It will be the only fish in this tank.
<Might actually look into some suitable dither fish at some point.
Peaceful, medium-sized tetras would be ideal. Dither fish help bottom-dwellers feel more secure. Some placid bottom-dwellers would be a plus, too, consuming uneaten food. I'd choose something like Brochis catfish that handle deep water better than Corydoras, but share with Corydoras the fact they won't steal food too quickly, leaving your Black Ghost plenty of time to feed.>
Since I had knocked the entire tank down to the glass, I am currently recycling it. I started back on 3/28/17 using Seachem Stability to supply the bacteria and Mysis shrimp to feed them. As of today, my ammonia is down to zero, but my nitrite is now quite high (> 5ppm - really super dark purple), and my nitrate has only climbed to 40, so it will be another week, maybe two, before I can start thinking about bringing the fish home.
I also have assurance from the fish store that I can bring the fish back to them if it starts to show any signs that something may be wrong.
<I think in a tank this size, with such a small fish, the risk of "new tank syndrome" after 4-6 weeks of cycling should be very low.>
They're very good and will help me to work out any problems that may come up and will "board" the fish until I get things worked out. Or, worse comes to worse, they will keep the fish and find it a better home if I can't make this work. My roommate has built a large aquarium stand to support a larger tank, so we are currently shopping for a 150 gallon tank along with appropriate filtration. I know it is not a concern right now as the fish is still small, but I want the big tank up, cycled, planted, and fully established before the fish needs it.
<Wise. If this were me, I'd get something else settled in first, to bed the filter in. The Brochis for example, or failing that, a small, harmless Loricariid catfish such as Ancistrus. Sometime to "stress test" the filter before you add anything too delicate. Make sense?>
So, can you think of anything I've left out or forgotten?
<Hope the above helps! Neale.>
Re: Elephant Nose and Iron       4/17/17

Ok, will add the Brochis first, after the tank has finished cycling, if I can find them. I did a quick search and came up with the emerald catfish (Corydoras splendens), is that the species you were referring to?
<Yes; used to be called Corydoras splendens, then became Brochis splendens, and now seems to have switched back. An excellent, inexpensive catfish.>
The selection of freshwater fish in my area is limited and I've never heard of this fish before.
<Very similar to the common Bronze Catfish, Corydoras aeneus, but a bit chunkier and with a dorsal fin that has a much longer base than on typical Corydoras. Quite commonly traded and not expensive. Keep at least 5 specimens.>
Everyone carries the Cory Cat's, but I can't remember seeing an Emerald Catfish.
<Oh, it is out there. Should be available to order. Just make sure you
don't get it muddled with the Bronze Catfish. The dorsal fins are VERY
If I can't find one (or six to 10 as my quick Google search recommends), would 6 - 10 Congo tetra (Phenacogrammus interruptus) be appropriate or should I stick with bottom feeders?
<Congo Tetras are excellent fish, and good companions for Black Ghost Knifefish. They will provide good "dithering" but won't do much to clean up leftover food.>
I understand those types of tetra would appreciate the strong current and higher oxygen levels and I know I've seen them at my fish store.
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Elephant Nose and Iron      4/27/17

Exciting news! Our new BGK is home! OMG! What a stunning fish!
<Quite so.>
Every time I walk past the tank and catch a glimpse of her, I have to stop and watch her for a while. Anyway, things seem to be going great! I see her swimming through the plants night and day and she seems healthy,
strong, but awfully skinny. Now, the aquarium store where I bought her had her there for almost 3 weeks while I was cycling the tank (and I know its fully cycled because I tested daily and watched it go from ammonia to
nitrite and then to nitrate. BEFORE I brought her home, I knew from my own testing that the ammonia was 0, nitrite was 0, and nitrate was 5 ppm before I went down to pick her up, but regardless of my own testing, I took a
water sample down with me and had them test to confirm my results. We were all good. But I digress! Anyway, the aquarium store where I bought her demonstrated to me that she was robustly eating bloodworms when I expressed concern for her looking so thin.
<I would be tempted to deworm, using an aquarium dewormer.>
They told me that many fish arrive from the supplier in a very thin condition. But she was with them for 3 weeks eating bloodworms and is still very skinny, but she shows no other outward signs of any problems. Also, since I've had her home, I've found that she LOVES Cyclops and daphnia (frozen) a lot more than bloodworms, Mysis shrimp or catfish from the grocery store (I still include those foods, but she ignores them until she's eaten all the Cyclops and daphnia).
<Do also try newly hatched brine shrimp; these are economical and very nutritious (unlike adult brine shrimp, which are basically popcorn for fish) if a bit of a hassle to rear. Frozen lobster eggs are also worth trying -- some marine aquarium stores sell them, and they're very calorie-dense, making them useful for "fattening up" new fish.>
So now I'm in a quandary. I don't like using chemicals or medicines unless I'm sure they're warranted, so I wanted to ask you if you believe it would be wise to worm this fish now or give her more time (and Cyclops, and daphnia) and see if she starts putting on some weight?
<Assuming she doesn't have worms, patience and numerous (relatively small) meals is the best way to return fish to healthy conditions. One or two big meals is less good than five or size small meals because fish have short digestive tracts, so tend to poop out a lot of the food they've eaten if "overfed". Deworming is a good idea though, such as Prazi Pro, if a fish is eating plenty but failing to put on weight. Cheers, Neale.>

Dolphin Fish, Mormyrid     1/17/14
I want to start off by saying your forum has been quite helpful over some of my fish keeping experience. I'm always seeking knowledge on new fish species, diseases, and all of the above and always manage to come across your website; which always seems very wise. I have a mountain of questions for you, however I will try to make this as to the point as possible now.
<Real good>
Anyways, a little over a year ago I came across the Mormyrid, particularly the dolphin variety, and became infatuated.
<Neat animals; playful, intelligent>
 I tried to gain as much knowledge on them as possible and a few months later after being satisfied with  my preparation, I started searching for one. I looked over a year, came across a few iffy ones, but was eventually surprised by my boss with two little dolphins waiting for me at work (I work at a LFS.) I believe I ID'd them as Mormyrus Kannume or Caballus, but who really knows?
<Closest is likely Fishbase.org as a taxonomic/identification resource>
I believe I have a respectable amount of knowledge on these fish now, but was wondering if you could fill in the gaps for me, if possible. I was given 2 dolphin at around 2" at most, one clearly more dominant than the other. I took them both with plans to eventually either have them in separate tanks or at least "beef" up the weaker of the two with good care and a good diet so it was stronger for it's next home.
I've had them since the end of November and they are both still alive, the larger being closer to 4" (at least) and fat now, and the lesser being just slightly larger than before but the same weight except at feeding time when they both get big round bellies. They have both been extremely active and seem to be the happiest fish all the time. They're in such good spirits, they volunteered to go right in my net for me when I caught them while planting their tank for them. Very interesting fish indeed.
<Attracted to the metal likely>
My set up: 37 gallon tall (grow out tank)Trying my hand at a planted tank Substrate is 1/2 soft soil (Mr. Aqua Water Plant Soil)
 with gravel underneath (chose to reverse substrates and not cap for dolphins delicate noses) and the other 1/2 is fine natural colored sand.
Driftwood with java moss attached rock cave Hairgrass3 sword plants3 bundles of mixed plants1 moss ball
Temperature is kept on the warm side between 80-82F degrees50g sponge filter (though might be changing filtration soon) Additional airstone in sand
4 apple snail tank mates, 1 egg sac currently present at the surface. 3 Otocinclus (just added)1 Dwarf Gourami (just added)
Dolphin Diet (fed before bed time, but will eat any time of the day):Live black worms (cleaned nightly)
Frozen bloodworms
Frozen Daphnia
Will not touch: Any pellets (of course)Frozen brine shrimp
Water changes were weekly/bi weekly 25%-45%  but these guys seem to have an issue with either my tap or my dechlorinator (SeaChem prime) so against my nagging desire to be fastidious, I've lowered the water changes to when it's needed since the planted tank seems to take care of a lot on it's own.
<Best to store all make-up, change-out water for a week or more ahead of time of use>
I'm looking into getting an RO system at home to fix this dilemma for me so I can clean more often without worrying about irritating the fish.
I have added 3 Otocinclus (monitored for sucking on other fish) to clean the algae and 1 dwarf Gourami to get the bugs since apparently these things are more common in planted tanks. After reading about dwarf gouramis on your page though, I'm rethinking my pest control choice. I also starting dipping my plants in hydrogen peroxide before adding since I thought this was a better choice than bleach.
<Alum is even better... search the Net, books re its use here>
Water parameters currently: Temp: 82-83F, it's a bit warm here in California
<Not to worry. Periodic forays into the upper eighties F. are not a problem>
PH: 6.8 ish NitrIte: 00ppmNitrate: 20ppmAmmonia: 00pmKH: 40ppmGH: 180ppm
My questions for you:*What other food options can I do for these fish?
<Anything "meaty" of size... e.g. Tubificids... frozen/defrosted better than live; may take some dried>
 And has their nutrition been met so far or do I need to add something else? *What is the average breathing rate of these fish? I've noticed since day 1 that they seem to breath extremely fast. Should I consider this their normal rate, or is this something I should have been paying attention to?
*Are there dechlorinators that are known to be better for these types of fish?
<Mmm, yes... the Kordon (NovAqua, Amquel) and SeaChem product lines are my choices>
I do not have the option of having my water sit for a week before adding it to the tank. Nor is it practical for me to have 20 gallons premixed and then added to the tank as I'm a 5'1 female and am battling chronic health issues. 
<Ahh, understood... and sorry for your health issues. The RO mixed will help tremendously here>
*Will these fish be ok if supplements are added correctly? i.e. adding SeaChem Flourish and/or excel? *Will adding pressurized C02 be ok if I had an indicator monitoring it?
<These additions; as you state, added properly, will be fine>
*I noticed the dolphins being a bit lazier, not swimming wildly (but happily) around the tank all the time. Is this due to comfort?
<Are fine; "happy" as you state, when out and about searching, curious re their world, interacting w/ each other>
The smaller hides when it can and usually only comes out when being chased or when it's dinner time, but the larger isn't as ruthless and chasing the smaller so often, so it's not showing itself as often. The larger one, and one I can see resting since it's too large to hide under things, is still active and noses through the soil quite often. It has bursts of energy or times of the day, but I see it resting on the bottom sometimes now. This might be normal for most fish to "nap" but I've not seen this much before now with them. It is possible they are growing more accustom to me and don't swim erratically when I come to watch them now, but I'm unsure if it could be something more serious. The larger dolphin used to tear at the smaller one's fins all the time, but now they're completely healed and intact. Is this mercy or a sign of more ominous issues occurring in the tank?
<Mormyrids often don't "get along" in the same, smaller volumes... will do so temporarily if crowded... You may find that the larger one will calm down if given a "shelter"... can be a tube of PVC, glass chimney or such (i.e. clear/transparent) or not. Otherwise; best to have these fish in two separate systems>
Attached are some photos.#1-week 1 of having them both#2-12/14 of larger dolphin#3-today, larger dolphin. excuse the water spots#4-today, larger dolphin#5-today, larger dolphin. Most important to show, I noticed some dark spots on the fins of this fish. There is no ammonia present, but I also just did a water change 2 days ago. The white specs seen are not on the actual fish but on glass (hence the Gourami, still getting used to the critters associated with more planted tanks) this is the "resting" I was speaking about.
Thank you for your time and patience reading through this, I wanted to be thorough as possible. I've got a 125g and a 240g as well and these are just my babies. It took so long to get them and I want to make sure they are cared for properly, though I'm a bit overbearing when it comes to these two. Looking forward to hearing from you.
Have a great night! Lauren Saunders
<Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>

Reply to old answer, Mormyrid beh.  1/25/11
Hi, a while ago I was asking you guys for some tips on my extremely shy Campylomormyrus rhynchophorus.
<A very unusual Elephantnose fish a nice find!>
It's been a couple months, and he/she has become extremely comfortable in his/her aquarium and now is always out and will even eat out of my hand.
<Excellent. Yes, Elephantnoses can become very tame, and once tame, are easier to feed than when first purchased. They are supposedly among the most "brainy" fish and their behaviour in captivity is often remarkably trusting and playful.>
I bought a large Anubias sp. plant that fills the tank from corner to corner and have a layer of duckweed on the top and I feel the lack of wide and open spaces in the tank makes the fish feel more comfortable.
<I would agree 100%. While many aquarists see Duckweed as a pest, it can be hugely useful in tanks where the fish dislike bright light.>
This isn't a question, but just my experience with the fish and I hope it helps you guys out.
<Thanks very much for sending this along.>
And thanks for the great website! It is definitely one of my top sources when deciding on fish!
<Glad you enjoy the site, and thanks for the kind words. Cheers, Neale.>

peter's elephant nose, hlth. &  more    10/14/10
I currently have a 55 gallon tank.
1 med size Discus
1 Cory cat
1 lacy Pleco
1 2" Pleco
I would hand feed the elephant nose and discus. I've had him for at least six weeks. He was very friendly and curious. Yesterday he was not eating his blood worms, and this morning he was clearly to sick to rehab. My water parameter are excellent. Can you think of what I did wrong? I would hate to get another one and have the same thing happen. Any info helpful. No meds given while he was in the tank.
Thank you;
<Hello Linda. Gnathonemus petersii is a difficult fish to keep. There are several issues to consider. The first is its diet. Bloodworms are fine in their way, but not very nutritious. You do need a more varied diet than just bloodworms. Wet-frozen and/or live invertebrates of all types seem to be accepted, but Elephantnoses are poor at competing for food, so I would not keep them with catfish or loaches. They feed at night, so if you put out food for them at nighttime, they should fine and eat that food themselves if there's nothing stealing it first! Secondly, they are very sensitive to water quality. Since you've got Discus, I imagine you understand the basics of water quality management. Just as with Discus, you must maintained zero ammonia and zero nitrite at all times. Thirdly, Elephantnoses are very sensitive to copper, formalin, and many other medications. These should NEVER be used in tanks containing Elephantnoses.
Also make sure you use a water conditioner that removes copper from your tap water. Fourthly, they are easily killed by secondary infections, in part because they are so difficult to medicate. NEVER keep them in tanks with gravel, abrasive sand or sharp rocks; ALWAYS provide a soft substrate of either smooth silica sand or peat. Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>

Elephant Noses Information Needed 11/29/09
I want to have Elephant Noses in my aquarium, and I need some assistance.
<Difficult fish!>
How can I keep them healthy and happy?
<Essentially three things: good water quality, silica sand substrate, and no competition for food.>
What other fish will be good company for the Elephant noses.
<They are solitary fish in aquaria, unless you have space for six or more specimens. Do not mix with any bottom feeding fish at all: no loaches, no catfish, no eels. A small Bristlenose Catfish (Ancistrus sp.) is perhaps acceptable, but that's about it. Everything else should feed from the middle and upper levels of the water.>
Should I use freshwater salt in the aquarium?
<No, unless treating for Ick.>
Is there anything else I should be aware of before bringing the noses in my aquarium?
<Make sure the tank is big enough and fully matured. Do understand they will ONLY eat live and wet-frozen wormy foods (mosquito larvae, bloodworms, earthworms). They love Tubifex worms, but do understand the risks associated with these.>
Is there any medicines that I should have on hand if that become ill?
<Don't use any medications except salt (for Ick) and antibiotics (if absolutely necessary). Anything that contains copper or formalin will kill them. Essentially, prevent, don't cure, disease. Do read here, and the linked articles:
What is the best food to feed them?
<Live worms; wet-frozen worms will be taken too. Freeze-dried and flake foods will be completely ignored.>
Any insight would be greatly appreciate,
<These are challenging fish, though not difficult to keep if their needs are understood prior to purchase. Common "lab" animals, which is where I got familiar with. Their survival rate in community tanks though is dismal.
Cheers, Neale.>
Re: re: Elephant Noses Information Needed
Good morning,
<Mid-afternoon for me!>
Thank you for the information.
<Happy to help. Cheers, Neale.>

Hi ! Mormyrid... hlth. 9/24/08
hi there I have a Elephantnose fish and I want to know how could I cure it? it's got a hole in the front of it's nose when he sucks food with. but how do you fix it?
<Uhh? Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/mormdisfaqs.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Mixing Apteronotids and Mormyrids... not advised   6/3/06 Hello,       I recently sent an email to you guys in relation to keeping a freshwater dolphin in a 70 gallon planted discus aquarium. I received a reply of yes but forgot to add that I have a 15cm black ghost knife. I am aware that the ghost has a form of electrical field and was wondering if his and the freshwater dolphin will fight???? <Too likely, yes> I would also like any opinions on whether its possible to house 2 black ghost knives together? I would buy 2 smaller ones of the same size and house them in a large tank with plenty of logs and hiding places) Have you ever heard of anyone doing this successfully? <Yes... in very large systems of consistent low pH, alkalinity...> I just love this fish so much that I would have 20 of them if I could!!!!!  One more thing, how long will it take my black ghost to reach adult length. <A few years> thank for your time! Jarryd <Bob Fenner>

Mixing mildly electrogenic fishes... BGK and Mormyrids together?   5/27/06 <<Tom>> I was wondering if its possible to house a black ghost knife fish with a baby whale? My mum fell in love with one at our LFS. The tank is a 70 gallon planted discus with two canister filters going strong, and regular partial water changes. <<First of all, I'm assuming we're speaking of the Knifefish here. Very cool fish! To answer your question, this shouldn't be a problem as long as you have hiding places available. Your tank is certainly of sufficient size to very comfortably house this animal and I highly doubt there will be any serious territorial disputes going on. I hope you and your Mum enjoy your new pet, Jarryd!>> Thanks for your time, Jarryd <<You're most welcome. Tom>>  

The Elephantfishes, family Mormyridae, In Aquariums  - 03/14/2005 Just wanted to share my pictures of my Elephantnose.  I found your article while trying to do some research on them.  Very hard to find any information.  Hope you enjoy them. <Mmm, didn't "come through"... can you send these as jpg attachments? Will post with credit to you. Thanks, Bob F> Lesley Moravick #3 the last picture.  I hope you get them.  I just love my guy.  I have had him/her for 2 years now <Very nice. Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>

Elephantnose trtmt....   3/24/06 I found some Furan-2 Capsules, so do you think this is safe for my little Elephantnose? Should use full dose as per directions? <Yes> (Furan-2 Directions - Contains 2 furan based compounds to combat a variety of gram positive and negative bacteria. Effective against gill disease, mouth fungus, fin and tail rot, dropsy, furunculosis and black molly disease. Use one tablet per 10 gal. daily for up to four days.) <250 mg. per ten gallons of system water, yes>   Also, I have 4 DAY and 6 week old Boesemanni Rainbow fry in the tank (waiting for their tank to finish cycling) can I use this med or should I just wait until they are moved out. <I'd move these first> (Mr. Elephantnose is getting the spots bacterial gray-wht spots- he started to break out the other day, I use Melafix, which only held for a few days- this morning it is back and bigger. And I think this all came from one of my large Rainbows,- see pic - he has Gill Disease and he has been treated 8x's just can't kill it all off. (any ideas, already tried PP, but he just did more damage to himself but trying to jump out of the holding tank and ramming into the lid. FYI - My Tank:60 3 - Rummynose Tetra 2 - Cardinal Tetra 2 -Yoyo Loach 3 -4 Boesemanni Rainbowfish (1 female, 2 males) 1 5 Elephantnose 1 Candy Striped Pleco 1 Golden Algae eater Eheim pro 2026, 1-Ebo-Jager 250 watt heaters,1 Coralife Turbo Twist 6x 18w,1 Rena 400 air pump, sand/gravel mix bottom, with live plants, drift wood, and stones. PH 8.0 No2 0 <Should be zip... this is way toxic> No3 0 - .05 NH4 0 KH  161 GH  35 I do a weekly water change of 1/3 or more water along with cleaning filter. What am I doing wrong? <I would not use the "Fix"... and you should investigate the water quality needs/ranges, compatibility of these fishes... not a good mix> Thank you again for all of your help.  Lesley <Bob Fenner>

Furan compounds - 03/14/2005 I must ask one question if I may.  Where does one fine Nitrofuranace?  I have looked all over the internet and I would love to have some on hand just in case it is needed.  I didn't know you had a post until just now, and I am not sure how to post on it if/when need to ask for advice. Thank you again. Lesley <Ahh, search for either Nitrofuran or Furanace... or even "Furan compounds". Bob Fenner>
Thank you for your help, I will rush out and buy some. PS.  I was also reading up on some of what people have to say about their Elephantnose being a bully, my experience is yes, typically when they are coming into adolescences.  As you can see from my pictures, my guy is very small.  He was only 3" when I got him.  He is about 5" now, two years later. As he is getting older, he bullies my large 6" Rainbow around, yoyo loaches, and others.  He will boot their behinds right out of there own hiding spot or just boot/ram them because.  However, I don't see it as any big deal, they are territorial and I think it comes with any fish.  Sometimes my yoyo loach won't even budge; after a while, Mr. Elephantnose moves on.  During feeding the same thing will happen, he knows when food is coming. (As you saw in pictures) and he is not going to starve because of some big fish. LOL. Anyhow, finding out that you know a lot about Elephantnoses, I am very excited about finding a med that will work.  Right now, when needed, I use Melafix, which works just ok.  I used to use ECO-Revive - just can't seem to find it on-line any longer through Fish-vet. One of my fishes in my tank I believe has gill flukes and Mr. Elephantnose may have contacted them. <Mmm, usually these Trematodes don't span so far twixt host groups> He has been flashing and then the spot where he is was rubbing (on his backside) he breaks out in white fluff.  Melafix has only helped with the fluff I am sure. He hasn't been rubbing since, but this is the second time it has happen in all of the two + years I have had him, and both outbreaks were within 6 weeks time, so I am only waiting. (2 weeks to go?)  This is how I found you. Anyhow, I am just rambling, Thank you again for the info, and if you have any other info you can help me with, wonderful, I will take it. Lesley <My little knowledge re Mormyrids rests mainly at either ends of the spectrum of commercial/wholesale handling and physiology... Bob Fenner>

Elephant nose with white patches  - 03/09/2006 Hi   I have had an Elephant Nose for four years. In the past couple of months he has been developing white patches which do go away after a couple of days, but then reappear after a couple of weeks. The white patches go from his nose and head all the way down his back, and a small patch on the underside. They are smooth and not dotty or raised at all, and the strange thing about it is that the patches always appear the same, the edges are very regular, and symmetrical to both sides of the fish. He doesn't appear to behave a lot differently when he has it, although he tends to hide away behind his rock a lot less than when he doesn't have the white bits.    <Have seen such recurring issues... invariably they are rooted in inappropriate environment>   The closest information I can find is that the patches appear where I think the fish has electrical receptors for mating, but not sure if this is connected.      Do you have any idea what this could be and why it's happening?     Thanks,   Jenny. <Is your water quality suitable for this species? Is stress otherwise minimized? Bob Fenner>

Mormyrid/s, and some species of frog   2/23/06 One very quick question that I can't seem to find an answer for anywhere. I have a 25 gallon tank with have 1 Elephant Nose and 4 Albino Frogs in it. I know Elephant nose do better in groups of @ least 3 so very soon <Stop! Not in this sized tank... too small for even just one> I plan on buying at least a couple more. But anyway, my question is, are these 2 species ok being together? <The frogs and Mormyrid should mix fine> They don't seem to bother each other. My fish stays hid and my frogs just do their own things. I occasionally feed my Elephant Nose dried baby shrimp "recommended by the pet shop owner" and my frogs eat it too. Also, the pet shop owner just said it would make the frogs grow. Anyway Anyway Anyway, getting off the subject...are they okay together?   Thanks!   Morgan <Keep your eyes on all... the frogs can be messy... I take it these are African... Dwarfs, not Xenopus. Bob Fenner>

Elephant Nose With His Trunk Bitten Off Thank you so much for letting us know.  We will set up a dedicated   tank for the turtle. As for the elephant-nose, we could use a little further advice.  He   looks pretty bad - he has a big red splotch next to his nose on one   side, and the nose itself is white and fuzzy.  It is so sad.  So,   based on what you wrote, I guess he has both a bacterial as well as a   fungal infection.  How can I treat him and help him to get better? < Put him in a hospital tank with clean water and a place for him to hide. Not too bright. Treat with Nitrofuranace as per the directions on the package. This medication treats both infections.> I know many medicines are not good to put in a tank with an elephant- nose. Is there anything we can do to ease his pain and help in heal? < These fish are sensitive to the copper in many Ich medications. This is not a problem with antibiotics. Keeping the water clean will help a lot.-Chuck> Thanks in advance. Rebecca and Sal

Double trunk elephant nose 7/12/05 Dear Sir, I found your publication regarding elephant nose fish online at http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/mormyrids.htm I was hoping you could answer a couple of my questions. I recently bought a "Campylomormyrus rhynchophorus" aka Double trunk elephant nose fish. I am building an African tank (72g) and I am trying to stick mainly to west Africa. Upon releasing my new elephant nose in the tank he was immediately attacked by the Buffalo head cichlid who also inhabits the aquarium, he was able to remove a large section of the elephant noses lower back fin. I immediately placed the aggressor in quarantine. My question to you is how will this fin damage effect the fish (will it effect his electro navigation), and is there anything I can do to help? <Am hopeful the Mormyrid was not "too" damaged, traumatized... the family's members do have remarkable powers of regeneration... should otherwise regenerate the last bit of its tail> Also its difficult to find information on the double trunk species of elephant nose online, do you have a good references? -Mike Schulz <Only pet-fish ones that are hard to find/reference at small libraries. Have you tried "Google Scholar?". Pretty much all that is written re the family itself is pertinent to the husbandry of this species. Bob Fenner>

Dead elephant nose I bought an elephant nose about a month ago and lost him 3 wks ago, after reading your information on them, I wish I would have had the feeding test done, then I would have known not to buy him, he would not eat and got skinnier and skinnier, it was horrible, I brought him to the pet store, and he wouldn't eat for them either, they treated him for internal parasites for a wk in a half and he still didn't look good. <Likely too far gone from the process of (likely chemical) collection in the wild, starving, poor water quality from there through shipping, handling... Happens to whole shipments at times> So from what I read what you have wrote, do you have any ideas in what I could do to keep my elephant nose alive, when I buy one in the near future. Do you have any idea to why he wouldn't eat, because I did ask them how long was he here before I bought him and they said 3 wks, and he look good, apparently not or he would have ate. Also my water was good where it should be, so I can't figure why he wouldn't eat? <Morymyrids find aquatic worms almost irresistible... try Blackworms, Tubificids... if the specimen/s don't take these, I would leave them at the shop> If you could help me it would be appreciated, I don't know any where else to turn to there is not a lot of people that know about these fish. <There is considerable known about their esoteric biology, but not much popularized re their practical husbandry... Many die from jumping out (for lack of an adequate aquarium cover) and metal poisoning from errant medicine treatment for instance... Easily avoided> Thanks, Sincerely Shelley <Bob Fenner> 

Monogeneans from the gills of Mormyrid fishes Dear Professor, <Blahoua> I hope you will understand this message easily; my English is quite poor. <No worries> I am called BLAHOUA KASSI Georges. I am a doctorate of the university of Cocody-Abidjan (Ivory Coast). I undertake my research in Laboratory of Hydrobiology. I just red in the internet one of your publications which title is: The Elephantfishes, family Mormyridae, in Aquariums My topic concerns the Monogenean from the gills of Mormyrid fishes. Concerning the bibliography, I have some difficulties because I don't have any previous publications. I will be duly grateful you send me publications on Gills Monogenean parasites from Mormyrid fishes. You can also give me names and e-mails of some persons who have worked on my topic that you know. Doing so you will help me a lot in my research works. Best wishes in 2005. Sincerely yours. <I suspect you don't have easy access to large library collections as well do here. Where would I send this material? Bob Fenner> BLAHOUA KASSI GEORGES Address postale : University of Cocody, UFR Biosciences, LABORATORY OF HYDROBIOLOGY 22 BP 582 Abidjan 22 (Coast of Ivory)

Elephant vs. Parrot Hello, <Hi, Don here> We added an elephant nose to our tank about a week ago. He quickly found his shelter in a flower pot and has seemed happy. Last night (and maybe before but we hadn't seen it) he began exhibiting some aggressive behavior towards some of the larger tank mates. He totally ignores most unless he bumps into to them while rooting around for dinner. We have two parrot fish about 3 years olds. Last night he seemed to be attacking them. One was in another flower pot and had no trouble defending his territory. The EN seemed to be attacking the larger parrot who was hanging out mostly towards the top. He would swim along feeling with his trunk and a couple of time I found him up in the gills of the parrot. <This does not sound like an attack, more like probing for food. EN do have an electrical sense, but it is not strong enough to kill. Was he ramming, or trying to bite?> If this was an intentional attack it was very cunning and probably shouldn't be a surprise. <I would be. Smart fish, but not smart enough to reach in and rip out the gills> But I thought that the EN were only aggressive to their own kind. <My understanding as well. But each fish has their own traits. You can not always predict how some will react> The parrot was dead this morning. <Sorry to hear> What I am now trying to figure out is if the EN killed our parrot or if the parrot was on the way out the door and got a little push. The parrot was fine until dinner time last night and refused to eat and had lost his brilliant orange color. The EN could have been attacking him for a couple of days and weakened him. He did eat the night before and thought he ate yesterday morning but not entirely positive. He typically is the last one we had to worry about eating. Any thoughts on whether I have a fish eating EN would be helpful. If he is going to work his way through my tank until he is the last fish standing, he might be finding a different home. <Being more active at night, it's hard to say. From your description of the interaction you saw, I'd say "no". But who knows what was going on in the dead of night. A few other points. You do not mention if you Qt'd the EN. Possible he brought something in with him. Also possible that adding him taxed your bio filtration and you had a small ammonia spike. Either could be fatal to a stressed or weakened fish. Finally, what do you feed him? They are fond of small worms and such. If you changed or increased feeding when you added him, it is possible that is also taxing your filtration. Please check your water for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and pH.>   I have seen many questions about the black spots appearing on parrot fish. In the three years I have had them, I noticed the black spots were great indicators of water quality and stress (this may have been answered and I missed it). It is not a disease. I know the first time we had it, I ran around reading about it but a quick water change and they were cured overnight. No medicines are needed. <Good to know. Thanks for passing this along> I don't support the way the fish are produced and sold but once they are home they should be well cared for. <Agreed, but will add that buying this fish only results in more being produced. Same with "painted" fish. Cruel as it sounds, if they were left to die in the fish store the manager would not order more. But you are correct in saying that once you have them you must give them the best of care.>   Thanks Dan

Elephant vs. Parrot Thanks for the reply Don. <My pleasure> The water quality is stable. The tank is a 90 gal tank with Emp 400 and hot 250 filters. <Seems great, but...>  Ph 7.2, ammonia .25 (always the same reading)<...if you always have ammonia you are underfiltering for the bio load in the tank. Or you have a bad test kit. Take a sample to your LFS and have them verify.> and zero nitrites. Nitrate .2 as well. <I assume this is 20ppm? If really .2, or even 2.0, I doubt it would show on your test. Anything below 20ppm is great. But lower is always better.> 1 lg. parrot (was 2), 6 small Cory's, 2 SAE's, 3 blk skirt tetras, 3 red tetras, 7 dwarf neon rainbows, 1 clown Pleco, 1 brushy Pleco, 1 Elephant Nose (EN). We feed flakes in the morning and then frozen food at night with some blood worms after dark for the EN. We didn't really change the amount too much just the timing of the feeding. So far the Cory's clean up what is left by the EN, if not we remove any excess. <Yeah, but what the Corys eat will still become waste. Removing is the key, uneaten or digested. What is concerning me here is that .25 ammonia reading. If verified then you need to reduce the bio load or add more bio filtration. More likely this is the cause of the Parrots problem than the EN killing him, IMO. Adding the EN may have been just the last straw that raised your ammonia production over the ability of your filters to convert it. Another possible source of the ammonia is old fish waste in the gravel, under rocks, in caves, etc,. Removing the ammonia will do more for your tank than removing the Elephant Nose. If you can add another 400, I'd do it. In fact, I have. I run two on a 55 gallon Pleco tank.>       Last night I noticed him going after our other Parrot (last one for us.) The parrots have large gill openings and he would run along the body with his snout and the enter the gill opening and appeared to be trying to wiggle through with some force. I am still not sure if this is caused by his poor eyesight and if he feels a hole he must enter or if he is trying to do damage to the fish. I cannot see if he is actually taking bites of the gill tissue but he is far enough in. I may have a mutant EN on my hands. <I still think this is more of a feeding activity than aggression. In the wild he would probe all the little nooks and crannies in his area looking for worms. I would think a dead or dying fish would be a good hunting ground. But all this is just a guess on my part. I have never seen this behavior and can find not mention of it. Don>   Thanks Dan Do you know where to get freshwater dolphin (Mormyrus tapirus) <Sorry, no. I have seen them at a few Fish/Pet stores. I did a search on Aquabid.com, but none listed right now. Check with the manager of your LFS. Many times fish will show up on his venders list, but are not ordered. He may be able to get them for you. Don>   Sky McDougal

Freshwater fish electro-sense question I recently bought an elephant fish. today my girlfriend surprised me with a black ghost knife. They are both about 3in and are in a 34 gallon tank with separate very good hiding spots. will there 'electro-senses' clash? < There have been some studies on these electromagnetic fields generated by these fish but not much in the popular aquarium literature. But I am sure that they are aware of each other.> also how sensitive are they to salt? < These fish come from clean warm acidic water and have become very sensitive to salt.-Chuck> I use a little less then the recommended dose of aquarium salt (1tbsp per 5 gallon). tank also includes 6 glass cats and a blue lobster. -Zac  

Mormyrid Madness Hi, I have a Dolphin which is in the same family as the (elephant nose) fish. I have attached a picture of what it looks like. <Mormyrus tapirus> I have had it for about 7 months. I have it in a 75 gallon in with 5 Angels and 3 Discus. The aquarium is by a window but we have really thick blinds and we keep them closed. The aquarium doesn't receive direct light. I keep up with regular water changes. I have well water with a softener. My ph is high (about 8) but consistent. The temp is at 80. The nitrate is in the safe, the Nitrite is at the higher side of the safe levels but it may be because I have been feeding more lately. <Sounds like it might be time for a better test kit.  Please consider anything above zero as harmful, for nitrite; there really is no other "safe" level for this.  Nitrate is of much less concern, as long as it's not terribly high, it's okay.  What is your ammonia level?  Be sure to check that as well.> I feed at night, first a little flake to the Angels & Discus, then I feed either frozen Bloodworms, live Blackworms, or occasionally their favorite earthworms. <All good> They have all been doing really great except for just recently. About 2 months ago I noticed the Dolphin started going up to the other fish and it looked like it was rubbing it's nose/mouth on them. He started chasing/bugging them more and it has only got a lot worse with time. It has got so back that he will not leave the Discus alone. The Dolphin messes with them so much that the Discus have white marks on there sides and there fins are in bad, torn up condition. The Dolphin bug them so much that the Discus stay in one corner up at the top of aquarium. <This is *very* bizarre; this is a normally quite peaceful fish - it seems you ended up with the exception to the rule here.> I thought maybe if I feed them more the Dolphin wouldn't bother them so much. I started feeding twice a day. I also cut the hours I keep the hood lights on from 12 hrs down to 8 now thinking maybe this would help. Nothing has worked. I don't know what to do... My Discus must be very strong as I can't believe they are still alive with the stress they are put under & the condition they are now in. I don't think they will be able to hold out long. <They do sound pretty bad off, indeed.  I would be, too, in their situation - I don't much like my pals biting me ;) > I hate getting rid on my Discus but don't what them to suffer. I don't notice the Dolphin bugging the Angels quit as much as the Discus but I don't know if it will get worse if I remove the Discus. <It sounds to me like your best bet is going to be to remove the "problem" fish.  I don't think this bizarre aggression is going to subside.  If it were me, I'd keep the discus and either house the Mormyrid in a different tank or find it a new home.> Could you please let me know any suggestions/help you may be able to give or referrals? <You could *try* removing the Mormyrid to a separate tank for a week or two, let the discus recuperate, completely redecorate the tank, and reintroduce the Mormyrid.  I wouldn't hold high hopes of this working, but it's worth a shot.  You could also put a divider in the tank, giving the Mormyrid his own space and keeping the discus and angels safe from harm.> I would very much appreciate your time. Thanks in advance,  Robyn <Hope all goes well with your little pal - good luck!  -Sabrina>

Elephantnose project Mr. Fenner, <Hello there> My friend and I have decided to do our science fair project about Elephantnoses. After experimentation I wish to keep them as pets. I have sent the details of the project in the attachment. I was wondering if you could look it over and give any feedback.  <Interesting experiment. Might I ask, how do you intend to produce your electromagnetic field? How to measure it?> In no way do I wish to cause the fish and harm or distress. I want them to be as comfortable in their environment as physically possible. <Mmm, this will not happen in your model... Mormyrids (and other electrogenic fishes) are "driven crazy" by even the introduction of electrical conductive (metal) materials in their systems... as you will find> Right now I have 5 Elephantnoses in a 55 gallon tank. They seem to be territorial but not attacking one another aggressively.  <You are likely "right at" some maximum number... they can be crowded temporarily at much higher densities, but don't "get along" at about more than one per twenty, thirty gallons at "adult" size> Usually they lightly bump into one another and like to swim around the tank in a group. I am very persistent about water conditions and check them everyday. If there are any particular products that work well and are not toxic to the Elephantnoses that you feel are useful, I would really appreciate any suggestions. <It appears they are doing well in your care> These are some of the most magnificent and intriguing fish I have ever encountered. They are curious and playful like none others I have seen. <And some of the most intelligent fishes... as gauged by the relative size, shape of their brains. Bob Fenner> Brandi Alderson

Research Plan Attachment

A.     Question

What effect does varying strengths of electromagnetic field have on the behaviour of Elephant Noses?

B.     Hypothesis

It is believed that the higher the strength of the electromagnetic field, the more confused the fish will be.  This will cause them to retreat and hide.

C.     Procedure

We will observe the fish for a half hour each day for 5 days, videotape and log each observation, without subjecting them to any change. We will then, once a day, subject the fish to an electromagnetic field of increasing strength. The increasing magnetic field will not produce any direct effect in the fish. However, when they move, the magnetic field should distort the electrical pulses the fish themselves emit. This may cause them to see things that aren't there. We will then study the fish's responses to this field. It might confuse the fish, but shouldn't harm them in any way. No non-vertebrates fit our requirements as an electromagnetic emitting and sensing organism with observable social behaviour. We will not be electrifying the fish and will discontinue the experiment if the fish show obvious signs of discomfort or exhibit potentially hazardous behaviour. 

D. Bibliography 

AquariumFish.net Elephant Nose Fish for Sale [online]. 2003. [cited 8/21/03]. Available from World Wide Web:

<URL: http://www.aquariumfish.net/catalog_pages/wild/elephant_nose.htm> 

Aquazoo. Elephant Nose [online]. 2000. [cited 9/2/03]. Available from World Wide Web:

<URL: http://www.aquazoo.co.uk/page.cfm/Type=Fish/ID=286> 

Algone Corporation. Proper Feeding of Your Aquarium Fish [online]. [cited 9/2/03]. Available from World Wide Web: <URL: http://www.algone.com/feeding_your_fish.htm> 

Robert, Fenner. The Elephantfishes, family Mormyridae, In Aquariums [online]. [cited 9/2/03]. Available from the World Wide Web:

 <URL: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/mormyrids.htm 

ILAR Journal. Behavioural Research Outside the Laboratory [online]. 1996 [cited 9/8/03]. Available from World Wide Web:

<URL: http://dels.nas.edu/ilar/jour_online.asp?id=jour_online> 

Schliewen, Ulrich. Translated by Kimber, Rita and Robert. Loaches, Flying Foxes and Elephant-trunk Fishes. Aquarium Fish. Barron's Educational Series, Inc. Hong Kong, 1992. 

Levine, Joseph S. The Complete Fishkeeper: Everything Aquarium Fishes Need to Stay Happy, Healthy, and Alive, William Morrow and Company, Inc. New York, New York. 1991.

"Freshwater dolphin" too vague... (Mormyrid search) I think I've fallen in to the trap of "common names" being used among those who don't know the difference (myself included). <Easy to do> I have been looking for a M. tapirus and as of late had little luck. <The "Western" Dolphin... don't think I have ever seen this species offered in the West (the U.S.)... comes out of Cameroon and Guinea... sometimes imports from here are offered in Germany, other European countries> However, I was speaking with a LFS as he received his weekly "list" and he said "oh, I can get the freshwater dolphin you've been wanting".  I replied "oh really, the M. tapirus", he says, "uh, yeah, sure, it's the Mormyrus dolphin".  Well, I asked to verify, we looked up a picture and I chanced it.   The fish will be in later this week and I'm now thinking it may be a M. longirostris.  It seems these two species are very similar and even both are commonly referred to as a freshwater "dolphin". <Yes... the "Eastern" Dolphin is what is primarily seen in the United States>   It also seems the M. long. is much more common than the M. tap. and therefore that's why I think it's not the tap. Any thoughts? <Pertaining to what?> I've looked hard for information on the both of these, trying to find enough info to ID my potential specimen.  I use fishbase.org a lot and, based on my findings, there, I do believe the tap. is the one I really want.  I'll gladly send a pic and more info once I receive it.  Any insight would be most appreciated.  I would feel badly not taking the specimen he gets in, but I also don't want to be misinformed as to what species I actually have. In search of M. tapirus... Sincerely, Dana Irby Hendersonville, TN <Perhaps a trip to Africa? Or to Germany? Bob Fenner>

Mormyrid search Thanks for your reply.  From your comments, it sounds as though the M. tap. is not available here in the U.S. so I guess it really doesn't matter what they call it here...it's most likely M. long. <Yes> Sorry for being so wordy and vague about what I was wanting from you. Ultimately, you answered my question and any further questions regarding M. tap. would be a mute point anyway. <No worries> I'll just see what happens. Thanks again and have a wonderful day!!! Dana Irby <You as well. Bob Fenner>

Mr. Fenner, RE: your article "The Elephantfishes, family Mormyridae,  In Aquariums" on the: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/mormyrids.htm website...    I just wanted to say I thoroughly enjoyed reading your superbly informative article about the Mormyrids.  I grew up a fish buff but was not able to maintain my aquariums while in college.  However, I have been bitten by the fish bug once again. <Ahh, welcome back "to the fold"> I've got a 55 set up with some Congo Tetras, Clown Loaches, and soon some baby Royal Plecos.  I was thinking of adding some Elephantnose fish.  However, I noticed you wrote they inhabit muddy waters in the wild. <Yes>   I have a lot of filtration on my tank.  A lot of driftwood and lava rock too...  stacked up to the top with java moss everywhere.  But, the water moves a lot.  Do you think Elephantnose fish would do okay in moving water? <Yes... though the water will likely be much clearer, more vigorous in movement, these are adaptable fishes. They will greatly enjoy your driftwood and Java Moss>>   I've got 2 Hagen 400 and one Hagen 802 (?) powerheads, one of the larger small Eheims, a supreme AquaMaster and some air hooked up to an undergravel filter...  all blowing the water counterclockwise as I am north of the equator. <I see. No problem>   Wet-dry filter, carbon, peat moss, 6.5-7.0 pH, 80 degrees F.  So, the thing to do is please let me know if you think Elephantnose fish would be okay in my turbulent setup.  Thanks in advance for your time.   Sincerely, Dr. Gregory Findura <If you can locate all the specimens that you intend to keep, do place them all at once to lessen the likelihood of interspecific aggression. Oh, and please do write back and tell us how they are doing. Bob Fenner>

Re: Wallaby wood Thanks for the quick reply. The specimen marketed under the name "wallaby wood" was purchased at my LFS, my research seems to suggest that it is actually Swahala wood from the dark reaches of mighty Africa. <Ahh, I do know this product> Nobody at different LFS stores seem to know much about it although they all stock and sell it. Their instructions are all similar, just soak in hot water for 1-2 days and it will be fine, no staining of water and if there is any, well the filtration system will clear it up. Well 8 days later of soaking and boiling it in my huge lobster pot still produces a beautiful light brown water which would make any ice tea company proud! Thank you for your input, I will not give up, sodium bicarbonate is next. Quick follow-up on one of my earlier ?'s regarding sexing of the Mormyrid "elephant nose fish", after researching bibliography came across small paragraph stating that "the fish with the more curved anal fin is the male". Just thought you may like to know. Thanks again Stephen <Thank you for this. Have heard similar statements. Bob Fenner>

Elephant nose fish Hello Mr. Fenner I have been away from the hobby for ten years now I am back with renewed enthusiasm, much more patience , and financially stable. It is wonderful how the internet has opened up the realm of knowledge for all ages and levels. <Wish I had written the above. Agreed> I am particularly fond of your site, visit it every other day. I am fascinated with the elephant nose fish and was wondering if you knew how to identify male and females, I was considering an attempt at breeding despite warnings of the difficulty of captive breeding (makes the challenge even more attractive). That's all for now. Thank you for your time and expertise. Stephen <Don't know and didn't find sexual dimorphic information (other than the amounts of EOD (Electrical emittance) of newly imported specimens (females are "quieter") any external differentiating circumstances. Do read over the references listed here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/mormyrids.htm and consider a bibliographic search... and writing up the popular captive husbandry of this species. Bob Fenner>
Re: elephant nose fish
thank you for the quick reply. I suspected that this undertaking would take quite a bit of research perhaps from obscure sources but that makes it more fun. Interesting about the EOD, I just picture myself walking into the LFS and hooking up my Radio shack piezoelectric earphone ,which allows you to hear the electric signals of the elephant fish ,and trying to differentiate which ones are "quieter." It would be quite a humorous scene! <Yes... a good idea> Thanks again for pointing me in the right direction. look forward to our next dialogue. Regards, Stephen <Do look into doing a biblio. on the species, family, electrogenic fishes in general. Bob Fenner>

Longnosed elephant fish Dear Mr. Fenner: I would like to put elephant fish <will assume we're discussing Mormyrids> into a 10gal tall aquarium, but I have read many different opinions on this fish. I would like to ask you about them. Are they aggressive, or calm?  <Not aggressive, as in "mean" toward other fishes, unless they are very small... but not "calm" in the sense that they do move around quite a bit at night time...  I would like to have four (4) elephant in this tank. Would that be ok?  <Hmmm, actually, no... at your prompting, I'll place a piece I wrote and revised some time back... and images on the freshwater part of the website: www.WetWebMedia.com... look for it tomorrow... You want just one of these fishes in such a size system... they're electrogenic... don't care for being crowded with other such fishes> since I was told that they like to be in schools.  <In the wild, yes> Does four make a school? Also what kind of bottom should I have, gravel or sand, have read both, or doesn't it really matter. I believe these fish are bottom dwellers, and if this is correct, could I put another type of fish with it?  <Yes on all counts> If that would be ok, what kind of fish would you recommend. I have another tank with just Cichlids in it, and I know that I would not be able to mix them. <Other African animals from the same region would be my suggestion. Use Fishbase.org for help here perhaps... Otherwise, "community" fishes that aren't "mean".> I appreciate your help with this matter. Thanking you in advance for any and all help and advice you are able to give me. I am just a beginner, and want to learn the right way to do things. Thanks again. <Glad to help you. Bob Fenner> Sincerely, Shirley

Longnose elephant fish Dear Mr. Fenner: I am inquiring about the long nose elephant fish.  <Mormyrids, Africans... freshwater for the uninitiated browsers> I have several and they seem to be doing well, except I am not sure if they are eating or not. I have tried flake food and they didn't seem to like that at all.  <Nope. Won't sustain them at any length.> Then I read that I should be feeding them live black worms. The problem is when I put the worms in the tank, I can't get the fish attention, and they don't seem to know that the worms are there. What am I doing wrong?  <Maybe the time frame... they're mainly nocturnal feeders in the wild... and I would try other live foods as well... Chironomid larvae (bloodworms), Brine Shrimp, Daphnia... or small trials of these and other once-live foods that come frozen/defrosted... at "lights off" time> Is there a better way to feed these fish the black worms? Please help, as I really enjoy these fish. Also I think I read somewhere that you can breed the black worms yourself, if you have any information on this, I would really appreciate it forwarded to me.  <Yikes... will have to resurrect some "pre-computer" writing efforts, or move up the "to be written" "live foods/feeding" projects... and quick. Do try the above suggestions for now...> I appreciate all of your help and any and all information that you could provide me. Thanking you in advance for your help. Sincerely, Shirley Schiavone <You're welcome. I'll try to get to the live foods articles, even the coverage of the family Mormyridae... but this will likely take a couple of months... write in the meanwhile if you have specific questions. Bob Fenner>

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