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Trouble Feeding Black Ghost Knifefish... Need Suggestions/tips

Discussion in 'Oddball's institute' started by simonero, Oct 5, 2013.

  1. simonero

    simonero Member

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    Two days ago I impulsively bought a black ghost knifefish.  I am having some trouble feeding him!  I could really use some situation-specific advice as well as general advice going forward.
     
    I currently (and very temporarily) have him housed in a small tank with a bumblebee goby, catfish (not sure of type), and 3 apple snails.  2 of the apples are small, the other is gigantic.  Yes, I'm aware that knifefish get large and that he would eventually eat the goby... I'm getting a new, larger tank this week that should be ready for him before he grows very much.  When he outgrows that, I have somebody to give him to.  So no critique on that please!
     
    Per my LFS I tried to feed him frozen krill.  He seemed to have trouble finding it, but appeared to be searching for food.  The apple snails quickly found and devoured the krill.  Today, I realized he was friendly with my hand and let me "pet" him, so I tried to hand feed him and he went up to the krill but seemed disinterested, even after it was less frozen and was breaking apart.
     
    What, in general, are my options for feeding him when he is this size?  (~2.5in)  How much should I feed him?  (I've read/heard differing things).
     
    Given that I have apple snails who are very quick and will eat literally anything left sitting around, and if I give him blackworms they will be hidden in sand or eaten by goby before he finds them, what can I do to make sure he eats?
     
    I appreciate any help I can get!  I want to figure out how to care for this buddy!
     
  2. techen

    techen Wolf Overlord

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    Water stats, small tank sizes and stress all factor into fish not eating. It could just be he's in a unsuitable tank. But fish can go for a good week without food so I wouldnt worry about that.

    I'd be worrying how big the tank is you bought needs to be maasssiivveee
     
  3. simonero

    simonero Member

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    7.1 pH (it's usually 7), no ammonia/nitrites/nitrates, ~78degrees.  Not sure of new tank size yet because it's free - hopefully 40-55gal.  When he outgrows that I have someone to give it to who has lots of super huge tanks set up (in a marine bio lab).  He's only like ~2.5in right now though, I feel like I have at least a few months of time!  
     
  4. Sophie

    Sophie Member

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    My BGK did not eat for a few days after I got him/her. Just give it time. What time are you feeding? It might also help feeding about an hour after lights out. Stress wise, make sure he has a shelter/cave to hide in.
    A few months on he now eats anything from Krill, Bloodworm, Beefheart, Cockles/Mussels to the New Era Plec Pellets I drop in and even blanched courgette and cucumber!

    How long has your tank been running for? You should have at least some Nitrates.
     
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  5. attibones

    attibones Member

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    If you are feeding frozen food, be sure it is thawed first. Otherwise this can really harm your fish.
     
  6. DerpPH

    DerpPH Member

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    Try feeding it live foods. such as feeder mollies. Its better to breed your own rather than to buy more
     
  7. Discuslove

    Discuslove Member

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    Mine used to sit inside a terracotta pot and I fed him frozen blood worms that came in block form. I just held it in front of the pot and he ripped the worms off and ate them. 
     
  8. N0body Of The Goat

    N0body Of The Goat Oddball and African riverine fish keeper

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    Could just be taking time to settle. A worm from your garden could tempt him/her.
     
    The free tank upgrade you have planned will not be suitable for this BGK for more than ~6 months... This fish should reach ~50cm within two years with suitable foods, water changes and tank maintenance. BGKs are pretty inflexible when it comes to turning corners, so twice the width and depth (100cm) is important, with at least 6x its body length (300cm) giving it some room to swim at night.
     
    Do you really think you have the space and money to buy a ~10x4x4 foot tank, within six months? There is no point financially to do another small upgrade above the 40/55g and then need another upgrade in 12 months time.
     
    BKGs are very quick growers, just like the Giraffe Catfish I have, that has gone from a skinny ~5cm SL {excluding tail fin} to a chunky (~6cm diameter) ~20cm SL in just 13 months. I felt the need to upgrade him from one of my 4-footers to my 6-foot tank ~six months ago, where he is rapidly catching up with my ~22cm SL Synodontis notata.
     
  9. simonero

    simonero Member

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    I was clear in my post that I did not want to talk about tank size. 6 months is fine for me, and my finances are none of your concern. If he lives long enough to outgrow my tank, he will be rehoused in a state university's teaching biology lab. They have plenty of adequately sized tanks and he will be well cared for there. Your advice does not help my fish live to even dream about outgrowing the small tank. A worm from my garden is probably larger than my fish. Thank you, though, for your time.

    As for everybody else, thank you for your advice!!! I feel a little better now... And he's still alive! I'm getting him a tube this weekend, he so won't hide behind my filter away from easy feeding places. I've been feeding him (dropping a block of krill in) at a sort of off schedule somewhat due to situational constraints. Opinions on whether feeding nocturnally irregularly (e.g. If I sleep at my boyfriends and don't go home) or feeding regularly during the day is better for a nocturnal fish? My apartment is pretty dimly lit, there's not a lot of light during the day unless I'm home.

    I like the idea of trying feeder mollies, once I get the other tank set up! For now I'm afraid he will try to eat my little goby too.

    I haven't heard that about frozen food needing to be thawed. Elaborate please!

    Thanks!
     
  10. N0body Of The Goat

    N0body Of The Goat Oddball and African riverine fish keeper

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    My concern is you providing respectable conditions for the fish, the number 10x4x4 tanks here in the UK will be tiny, compared to a typical realisitic sized Juwel Rio240. Buy the suitable tank, then get the the fish that can live in it for life, stuff happens that prevents that tank upgrade down the line and the fish suffers.
     
    Maybe I'm looking in the wrong places, but I'm struggling to find any adverts from state university teaching biology labs that are crying out for BGK and other tank busters, that have grown too big for the irresponsible initial buyer's purchases.
     
    Last time I checked our wormery, I'm sure I saw worm sizes from threadlike ~5mm through to chunky ~15cm, I think something it that range would be suitable for your BGK. Worms are a great tempting meal to get many stubborn fish eating.
     
    Is feeding live fish legal in the US? Here in the UK, it is a criminal offence. BGK are opportunist predators, just like my African Butterfly Fish; Leopard Bushfish; Ornate "Bagrid" (Chrysichthys ornatus); Synodontis budgetti. They all would eat suitably sized live fish, but they all do perfectly well eating prepared dried foods. In addition, prepared foods are much more nutritionally balanced.
     
    If you really feel the need to use live fish as food, breed your own, using standard healthy fish as breeding stock. Do not use "feeder fish" unless you want to risk infecting your BGK with all sorts of diseases. Feed the sacrificial fish a good range of foods and offer them gut-loaded (just after a meal) to the BGK.
     
  11. simonero

    simonero Member

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    Again, I am not interested in talking about tank size. Your lack of contacts is not my concern. Clearly I do not have that issue, or else I would not have made that statement. My boyfriend runs the bio lab here, and he or his coworker would be happy to get a free knifefish. I do not *immediately* need a 72gallon tank for such a small fish. That is ludicrous. He is upgrading to my larger tank as soon as it cycles.

    As far as the worm comment - my apologies for my assumption; I pictured a large earth worm (or bait type worm) when you said that. In South Florida, that is what you would expect to find if you looked in your backyard. I tried to feed him tiny black worms (I feed them to my bumblebee goby, for a size approximate) but he was disinterested.

    I'm not sure about the legality status but I will absolutely keep in mind your suggestion about breeding my own and not putting him at risk of eating diseased fish. Hopefully I will not need to resort to trying feeders, but if so and he is receptive to them, I will absolutely look into breeding my own immediately.

    Thank you for the advice. Please try to be more focused on the actual questions and less judgmental when responding! You have some good advice, but it could become shrouded by your other critiques.
     
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  12. LK555

    LK555 New Member

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    Mine is addicted to Wardley Sinking Shrimp pellets. Sometimes they have to be trained to accept pellet food over time. They should accept frozen blood worms, or other frozen foods. If it's not eating after a week of coming home or be worried. Try turning the lights off. Anyone who hasn't sat in the room the tank is in with the lights off and let their eyes adjust hasn't actually SEEN their BGK in action. They do most of their exploring, hunting the other fish and stuff at night. Sometimes mine will only eat at night.
     
  13. Tongue_Flicker

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    Provide lots of hidings spots and driftwood. They love hunting down their prey in miniscule places. You could start-up its diet with sinking pellets, live tubifex worms or some small, cheap shrimp before moving on to more challenging prey
     
  14. LIL860

    LIL860 Member

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    Mine is about 6 - 8 inches and eats anything, he lives with cories, mollies , platys , plecs ,rams, a angel fish, a parrot fish even a guppy and he is very placid!!
     
  15. DerpPH

    DerpPH Member

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    In what tank size is he?
     

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