The Clown Knifefish is generally available as small, very attractively marked juveniles. Adults are very large (a factor that should be borne in mind at the time of purchase). If their needs can be catered to, they make very interesting fish for aquaria, but they are not suitable for new aquarists. Two other species, Papyrocranus (Notopterus) afer (African Featherfin or Knifefish) and N. notopterus (Asian Knifefish), are also available. They have similar requirements to Clown Knifefish.
- Widely distributed in Southeast Asia.
- Up to c.39in (1m) reported but usually smaller.
- Adults are solitary predators, active mainly at dusk and during the night. Juveniles may be kept together, at least for a time.
- Large livefoods, including live fish, preferred —a factor that needs due consideration prior to purchase; chunky, meat-based or fish-based formulations also accepted.
- Large, well covered, well filtered, well planted, with subdued lighting and large shelters, e.g. substantial pieces of bogwood. A “moonlight” fluorescent tube will facilitate nighttime viewing. Water chemistry not critical, but sottish, slightly acid water preferred; quality must be good. Temperature range: 75-86F (24-30C).
- No documented accounts of aquarium breeding currently available.