The Clown Knife Fish (Chitala ornata) is a fascinating freshwater fish species that is native to Southeast Asia, particularly found in countries such as Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam. Here are some key characteristics and information about the Clown Knife Fish:
Appearance: The Clown Knife Fish has a unique and elongated body shape, resembling the shape of a knife blade, which is where its name originates. It has a silver to grayish coloration with a distinctive pattern of black spots or markings on its body. The fins are long and flowing, giving the fish an elegant appearance.
Size: Clown Knife Fish are known for their large size. They can grow up to 3 feet (90 cm) in length in the wild, although in aquariums, they usually reach around 1 to 2 feet (30 to 60 cm) in length.
Behavior: Clown Knife Fish are primarily nocturnal, meaning they are more active during the night. They are known to be solitary and territorial, often preferring to hide in submerged vegetation, caves, or other sheltered areas during the day. They are also predatory and have a diet consisting of live or frozen meaty foods, such as small fish, shrimp, and worms.
Aquarium Requirements: Due to their large size and active nature, Clown Knife Fish require a spacious aquarium with plenty of swimming space. A tank size of at least 200 gallons is recommended for adult specimens. It is important to provide hiding spots and caves for them to retreat to during the day. Water conditions should be maintained within the range of pH 6.5-7.5 and a temperature of 75-82°F (24-28°C).
Compatibility: Clown Knife Fish can be aggressive towards other fish, especially if they are small enough to be considered prey. It’s generally recommended to keep them in a species-only aquarium or with large, robust tank mates that are too big to be seen as food. They are best suited for experienced aquarists who can provide adequate space and care for their needs.