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Reticulate knifefish - Papyrocranus afer

Reticulate knifefish - Papyrocranus afer

Scientific name: Papyrocranus afer

Common name: Reticulate knifefish

Family: Notopteridae

Usual size in fish tanks: 70 - 80 cm (27.56 - 31.5 inch)


Recommended pH range for the species: 5.5 - 6.5

Recommended water hardness (dGH): 4 - 12°N (71.43 - 214.29ppm)

0°C 32°F30°C 86°F

Recommended temperature: 24 - 30 °C (75.2 - 86°F)

The way how these fish reproduce: Spawning

Where the species comes from: Africa

Temperament to its own species: aggressive/territorial

Temperament toward other fish species: aggressive/territorial

Usual place in the tank: Bottom levels

Food and feeding

The Reticulate knife fish is a carnivore. Do not attempt to feed these flakes or pellets; they will refuse to eat them. Feeder dish can be given to them or even defrosted pieces of fish. It is sometimes better to feed this fish at night as they are naturally a nocturnal predator.


West Africa; Reticulate knifefish are to be found in the Niger Basins and most of the coastal river basins in the area.


There are no visible differences between the sexes.


As of yet, there are no reported cases of Reticulate knifefish breeding in the aquarium.


If given the right conditions, Papyrocranus afer should live for 15 years.

Short description

Papyrocranus afer should not be kept in a tank of less than 50 gallons; they need lots of swimming space. Never keep these with small tank mates as they will see them as prey. This species is also available in an albino form.


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Reticulate knifefish, picture 1 Reticulate knifefish, picture 2 Reticulate knifefish, picture 3

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