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FRESHWATER

Fishes

Elephantnose fish
(Gnathonemus petersii)

francais anglais
Elephantnose fish

Elephantnose fish
(Gnathonemus petersii)

Very original, this fish is gaining popularity. However, it is very difficult to maintain and should be entrusted only to confirmed aquarists. This sheet explains the basic tips necessary for the well-being of this little aquatic elephant!

Scientific name

Gnathonemus petersii
Mormyrus petersi
Gnathonemus pictus
Gnathonemus brevicaudatus
Gnathonemus histrio

Common name

Elephantnose fish

Origin

what are its countries of origin?

Origin: Central Africa (Zaire)
Biotope: African

Dimorphism

what are the physical differences between males and females?

The male has a very pronounced concave anal fin

Group

Group

Mormyridae

Volume

what is the minimum volume for this species?

500 L / 110 imp gal / 132 US gal

Water parameters

what are the water parameters for the maintenance of this fish?

T°: 22 to 28°C or 72 to 82°F
pH: 6.8 to 7.2
Hardness: 4 to 12°dGH

Difficulty

Difficulty

Hard

Size

what is the maximum size of this fish?

25 to 35cm (9.8 to 13.8")

Life expectancy

what is the average life expectancy of this fish?

10 to 15 years

Living zone

in which area of the aquarium does this fish live?

Depth

Individuals

sociability of the species

1 or 5

Food

How to feed the Elephantnose fish?

Food

How to feed the Elephantnose fish?

Carnivorous: live prey, bloodworms, shrimps, chironomids but particularly fond of tubifex. They also accept freeze-dried or frozen food. On the other hand, they will largely refuse synthetic food like flakes. It will be best to distribute its meal after the extinction of the light.

Behavior

What kind of behavior does the Elephantnose fish have?

Behavior

What kind of behavior does the Elephantnose fish have?

This fish is mainly nocturnal and very fearful, especially in a new environment. Its acclimatization to its new habitat can be long (from 15 days to 3 months). This stage is very delicate and the slightest difference will be fatal. The long-nose elephant fish tends to be nocturnal, but over time and in good conditions, you can hope to see it evolve during the day.

As a group, the smaller members will be perpetually assaulted. Of fierce temperament, it is better to maintain them in groups of 5 to 6 individuals of the same size but with a single male (association of two males impossible).

It searches the sand with its trunk to find its food.

If you find it weak or apathetic, a big change of water could put it back on its feet.

Cohabitation

Who can live with the Elephantnose fish?

Cohabitation

Who can live with the Elephantnose fish?

Gnathonemus Petersii may be somewhat aggressive with its congeners, and more generally with the Genus Mormyridae. The larger the tank and the larger group, the more the tensions will subside. On the other hand, the cohabitation between male is impossible. It must therefore be maintained alone or in groups consisting of one male and four or five females.

Regarding other species, it can coexist with calm, peaceful, slow and not too hungry for food. It should not be kept with other groundfish or too aggressive, to avoid food competition. For example, you can associate with it Tetras from Congo, Scalars, Discus, Satanoperca, Synodontis catfish or Geophagus. Its slight electrical activity should not disturb the other occupants of the aquarium.

Breeding

How to breed the Elephantnose fish?

Breeding

How to breed the Elephantnose fish?

No data to date. Breeding has never been successful in the aquarium. One of the hypotheses on the subject explains that captivity slightly alters their electrical emissions, which makes them less noticeable. In the case of breeding, the male and female signals appear reversed. As a result, fish can not recognize members of the opposite sex.

It has sometimes been observed that this fish builds floating nests in order to breed.

Its aquarium

Which aquarium for the Elephantnose fish?

Its aquarium

Which aquarium for the Elephantnose fish?

The ideal aquarium is specific. The water will be soft and acidic and diffused with a slight current. A balanced and fully cycled dock will allow the water parameters to be sufficiently stable. Always use a good water conditioner. Its aquarium must be composed of a substrate of dark fine sand. Indeed the gravel, or worse the quartz could hurt the trunk and prevent it from feeding. You can line the floor with round pebbles. This species will appreciate the highly planted vats. Set up many hiding places using pipes, clay pots, roots or rocks (be careful of the stability of your decoration to avoid collapse).

The lighting should be low or heavily sieved (by adding floating plants for example). Opt for plants with low lighting needs such as Java moss, Anubias or Vallisneria.

A glass lid is also necessary (Gnathonemus petersii is an excellent jumper!).

A change of water of 25 to 30% every 3 weeks will be enough.

Good to know

Good to know

Find all additional information!

Gnathonemus petersii is extremely fragile. Its maintenance is therefore not recommended for beginners (it is not uncommon for only one fish out of 2 or 3 to survive).

It is free of scales which makes it very sensitive to the quality of its water, especially nitrates and copper (also pay attention to pharmaceuticals because they are intolerant to most fish medicines). As the quality of the water deteriorates, the frequency of their electric discharges increases. It seems that water companies are using this feature. They would maintain this fish and record its behavior to signal a deterioration in the quality of their water.

Its lower jaw ends with a proboscis (proboscis). It is actually a sensory organ located under the mouth that facilitates foraging. This fish is able to emit electrical impulses for communicating with its congeners and marking their territory, or to look for food. However, it has a very bad eyesight.

Gnathonemus petersii changes appearance and colour. Excitement or stress make it go dark. The white bands widen more or less according to its temper.

There is an albino variant of this species, very difficult to find.

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