The Elephant Nose Fish (Gnathonemus petersii)

elephant nose fish

The Elephant Nose Fish (Gnathonemus petersii) is an African freshwater elephant fish in the genus Gnathonemus. The Elephant Nose Fish is also called a Peter’s Elephant Nose Fish, Long Nosed Elephant Fish and also Ubangi Mormyrid after the Ubangi River is a very unusual looking fish and a unique fish.

The Elephant Nose Fish are native to the rivers of West as well as Central Africa, particularly, the lower Niger River basin, the Ogun River basin and in the upper Chari River. They are a member of the Mormyridae family or electric fish. It prefers muddy, slowly moving rivers as well as pools with cover such as submerged branches. It uses electrolocation to discover prey and has the largest brain-to-body oxygen use ratio of all known vertebrates.

The Elephant Nose Fish are thin as well as oblong, mainly dark brown or gray with white markings and a long trunk-like nose. They will typically reach about 23 cm (9 in), with a rear dorsal fin and anal fin of the same length. Its caudal or tail fin is forked. It has 2 stripes on its lower perpendicular.

The Elephant Nose Fish are shy, sensitive fish, who require pristine water conditions to thrive. They are, actually so delicate, that they are used at government water departments in the U.S.A and also Germany to test the quality of the water. They are no major diseases that they are vulnerable to, however, they can be sensitive to even basic medications, so great caution should be used, and also instructions read carefully when treating.

The Elephant Nose Fish live to about 6-10 years, however, there are reports of them living even longer. Its most striking feature, as its names suggest, is a trunk-like protrusion on the head. This is not actually a nose, however, a sensitive extension of the mouth, that it uses for self-defense, communication, navigation, and also discovering worms as well as insects to eat.

Additionally, they produce small electrical pulses from an organ located inside their nose. The pulses will change with the mood of the fish. Female Elephant Nose Fish have shorter pulses, males longer. They also have very poor vision, so this organ helps them navigate around the tank. This small electricity should not hurt the other fish in the tank.

Like other Mormyrids, they produce a weak electric field utilizing specially-adapted muscle tissue located in the direction of the tail. They also possess electroreceptors which allow the fish to receive electrical signals. With these, the fish could sense the smallest of movements as the field around it is disturbed, and also navigate in total darkness, useful abilities for a poorly-sighted fish when hunting prey or preventing predators in the gloom. And the fish also use it to communicate with each other as well as discover partners.

 

How to Aquarium Care and Setup for Elephant Nose Fish?

How to Aquarium Care and Setup for Elephant Nose Fish

The Elephant Nose Fish are nocturnal fish, so dim lighting is required to make it feel secure. And also they will typically become withdrawn as well as pine away if kept under bright lights. If you could not provide ideal lighting, add food to the tank at lights out to allow the fish to feed, along with plenty of covers for them to hide in during tank light hours.

Minimum tank size is 50 or more gallons for one full-grown specimen. The tank should have an extremely strong, tight hood since these fish are really good jumpers. The Elephant Nose Fish should be kept in water at a temperature between 73°F (23°C) and 82°F (28°C). The pH level should be between 6 and 7.2, as well as water of medium hardness.

Additionally, the tank should be well-planted. Provide overturned flower pots, pipes, caves, or tubes for each fish to serve as a retreat. Use fine gravel or sand as a substrate. Furnish the tank with wood and also rocks. Sharp-edged or coarse substrates could damage the mouthparts of the fish and also avoid it from feeding naturally.

Peaceful, however, could not be kept in pairs because the weaker one will be harassed. If you want to keep them in groups, they need to be in 5 or more, so the aggression will be spread out. It is peaceful towards heterospecifics, although it should not be kept with very active or aggressive species, as it will be out-competed at feeding time. They also do not mix well with other mormyrids.

Suggested tankmates consist of other African species such as Congo tetras, Butterflyfish, smaller bichirs, Synodontis catfish and also Ctenopoma species. The Elephant Nose Fish could also be kept successfully with peaceful cichlids such as Satanoperca, some Geophagus and also Angelfish.

 

Diet Of The Elephant Nose Fish

Diet Of The Elephant Nose Fish

The Elephant Nose Fish are primarily scavengers and they have a unique feeding style, who sense food with their nose, after that bring it to their mouth, similar to real elephants, except that the mouth is above the trunk, rather than below. In the wild, they eat worms and also insects, and in the fish tank bloodworm of blackfly larvae are the favorite meal.

The Elephant Nose Fish should be fed live and frozen brine shrimp, glass worms, blood worms, and also tubifex worms. Freeze dried and also flake foods can be fed occasionally. Some Elephant Nose Fish can be persuaded to eat frozen worms or even flake food, however, it’s a bad idea to rely on this. In case you get a fussy eater, have some liquid fry food ready as a back-up, easy to sift out of the water. They are nocturnal and should be fed at night.

In addition, the Elephant Nose Fish tend to be slow eaters so they could struggle in fish tanks when there’s a lot of competition for food. If you take your time as well as build up trust, they could learn to take food from your hand to ensure that you could supply them with an extra meal at dusk when other fish are less active.

 

Reproduction Of The Elephant Nose Fish

Reproduction Of The Elephant Nose Fish

The Elephant Nose Fish are very difficult to breed in captivity. Studies have shown that when introduced into the fish tank, the electrical organ that is used to discover food could get reversed from male to female, making it difficult for even the fish to tell the gender of their tank mates.

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