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June 21, 2021
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Title Elephantnose Knifefish

Sara Waller

Last Updated



A brief description of the elephantnose knifefish.


The elephantnose knifefish (Sternarchorhynchus oxyrhynchus) is a large fish native to Brazil and Venezuela.  Mature fish reach an adult size of 20 inches long.  There are no visible differences between the sexes.

The elephantnose knifefish should be maintained in an aquarium of 55 gallons or larger.  A heavily planted aquarium containing smooth rocks and  driftwood (ZM2000) with a sandy substrate (CS7538) makes an ideal habitat.  Floating plants  may be used to diffuse some of the light.

The elephantnose knifefish  prefers a water temperature of 73°F to 82°F, a pH of 6.5 to 7.0, and a hardness of 6 to 12°H.  Be sure water is clean and well oxygenated for this somewhat delicate fish.

The elephantnose knifefish is a peaceful fish but it should not be kept with other knifefish or many other fish that also prefer to inhabit the bottom of the aquarium.  Aggressive fish should also be avoided.  Good tank mates may include many larger species of tetras, peaceful South American cichlids, and other peaceful oddball fish.  


The elephantnose knifefish can be a finicky fish to feed in the aquarium.  They especially like to eat live black worms and earthworms, but can often be trained to accept frozen bloodworm (SF4792) and brine shrimp.   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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