While looking superficially similar to Notopterus notopterus (Asian Knifefish) and sharing a common name with Papyrocranus (Notopterus) afer—see under N. chitala (Clown Knifefish) —the African Knifefish can be easily distinguished by its total lack of a dorsal fin. This species is also considerably smaller than Notopterus chitala and can therefore be accommodated more easily.
Africa is home to a wide range of unique and fascinating fish. The fossil record shows that some of these, notably the African lungfish (see opposite), have altered relatively little over millions of years.
Wrasses, 114, 115 Xenomysrus nigri (African knifefish), 97 Xenopoecilus, 56 Xiphophorus (platy), 48 Xiphophorus (swordtail), 48 Xiphophorus hdleri (swordtail), 48, 50, 51 Xiphophorus maculatus (platy), 48, 50 Xiphophorus vdriatus (platy), 48, 51 Zebrasoma flavescens (yellow tang), 113 Zebrasoma vdiferum (striped sailfin tang), 113
Remarkably few European native fishes are kept by aquarists and yet some meet all the criteria of a good aquarium fish, that is, small size, pretty colours, and interesting behaviour. The sticklebacks meet all these criteria in full and yet are very rarely even thought of when choosing aquarium fishes.