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October 18, 2019
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Title Featherfin Knifefish

Sara Waller

Last Updated



A brief description of the featherfin knifefish.


The featherfin knifefish (Notopterus notopterus) is a large fish found throughout the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia with extensive records from Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Viet Nam, Malaysia and Indonesia where it inhabits the lower parts of rivers and tributaries, swamps, floodplains, and lakes.  It moves into areas of flooded forest to spawn.  This fish grows to an adult size of 15 to 24 inches long.  There are no noticeable differences between males and females.


Featherfin knifefish should be maintained in an aquarium of 125 gallons or larger.  A soft, sandy substrate (CS7538) is a good choice.  Driftwood (ZM2000) and  live or artificial plants may also be incorporated.     


Featherfin knifefish prefer a temperature of 68°F to 82°F, a pH of 6.0 to 8.0, a hardness of 2 to 15°H.  Be sure water is clean and well oxygenated.  Excellent filtration and frequent water changes are a must for good health.  


The featherfin knifefish is a generally relatively peaceful with fishes too large to be considered food but can be territorial and aggressive with conspecifics and other similarly-shaped species.



Featherfin kifefish are obligate, typically nocturnal, predators feeding on smaller fishes, crustaceans and other invertebrates in nature.  They generally adapt well to non live food items in captivity.  Good choices include frozen krill (SF7137), frozen silversides (ON1035), and other frozen seafood.  For maximum color, growth, and health these fish will look their best when given probiotics (AL169) in addition to a balanced diet.


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