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Black Ghost Knife Fish, Electric Eel electric shock?


Black Ghost Knife

Updated 9/25/13


Can a Black Ghost Fish Produce an Electric Shock?

"Can black ghost knife fish give an electric shock?"

No, but black knife fish do produce an electric current.
Black Ghost Knives have a small electrode sensor near their nose to sense and smell since they have almost no use of their eyes. Black Ghost Knife fish are nocturnal and are always found looking for food at night. The sensor emits a small electric current in the water which is not felt by any other fish and will not cause any harm.

The reason the current is not felt, is that knife fish produce volts, but few amps. Even their cousin, the electric eel is capable of large voltage output, but low amps (usually around 1 amp), which is why they are not very dangerous to humans, although they can stun smaller prey.

Further Electric Eel Information
Here is some data on Electrophorus electricus, the electric eel.

Paxton, J. R. and Eschmeyer, W. N. (Eds.). 1994. The Encyclopedia of Fishes, p. 112

For those who read this and think about all the Yahoo Answers posts and other inaccurate web articles then scratch their heads thinking, “wait, this guy is stating the opposite of what most others are stating”, well you need to deeper past all these anecdotal posts from those with little understanding of the physics of electricity that come up on a Google search.
One such comment is “the electric eel can discharge 6 times the electric charge (power) of household current”.
This is incorrect when you factor in the fact that normal household current is at 10-15 amps vs. the Electric Eel at 1 amp. For example an electric heater that uses 10 amps @ 120 volts = 1200 Watts. An electric eel at 1 amp @ 600 volts is 600 watts; as well the Electric Eel only discharges for a very short periods at this voltage (often only milliseconds).

Please see this educated web page about this subject from a professor of physics:
Electric Eel at the Aquarium

This article shows the irregularity of DC voltage as well the video in this article only show low wattage Christmas lights, not a heater or other device that would use the amount of electricity to seriously harm a human:
How Much Electricity Can an Electric Eel Produce

Ghost Knife Fish

Ghost Knife Information

A Few Facts:

Elephant Nose Fish

Elephant Nose Information

*Related fish include the Elephant Nose Fish (Gnathonemus petersii) which have similar requirements and reach a size of approximately 10" (although the Elephant Nose are native from the Niger River area of West Africa not South America)

A Few Facts:

For up to date aquarium info (especially Redox and dispelling UV myths), please visit this site:
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Aquarium Lighting Resource

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A few products that may aid in your keeping of Ghost Knives or Elephant Nose:

Reverse Osmosis Filter System

Fluidized Sand Aquarium Bio Filters
These aquarium bio filters out perform ALL other aquarium filters including Wet/Dry, Canister, etc for bio filtration.

UV Sterilizers
Value to Premium Ultraviolet Sterilizers Clarifiers, Parts, Replacement Lamps, etc. to maintain a healthy aquarium environment (including Redox) for your Elephant Nose/Ghost Knives

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In Chronological order of writing with the newest at the top
  1. Use of RO, DI, Softwater in Aquariums
  2. Lighting Theory of a Planted Aquarium- RQE, PFY, PAS, & PUR
  3. Aquarium or Pond Bio Load
  4. Tuberculosis in Fish
  5. PUR vs PAR in Aquarium Lighting
  6. Head Pressure in Aquarium and Pond Water Pumps
  7. Betta Fin Rot
  8. Angelfish Virus/Aids
  9. Activated Carbon
  10. Fish Baths/Dips as an aid to treatment
  11. Streptococcus gram positive bacterium in aquariums, Eye Infections
  12. Hydrogen Sulfide
    production in anaerobic De-Nitrification for Aquarium/Ponds
  13. Fish Shipping
  14. Aquarium Size, Fish Stunting
  15. Aquarium Algae,
    BBA & Brown Algae in particular
  16. Aquarium Salt (Sodium chloride) in Freshwater Aquariums
  17. Betta Habitat; Wild Bettas to Domestic Betta environment parameters
  18. HITH; Hole in the Head Disease
  19. Aquarium Protein Skimmers, Ozonizers
  20. Power Head/ Water Pump Review
  21. Molly Disease/ Mollies in an Aquarium
  22. Basic Fish Anatomy, Fin Identification
  23. Aquarium Moving/ Power Failures
  24. Octopus as Aquarium Pets
  25. Aquarium Nitrates
  26. Ichthyophonus protists, fungus in fish
  27. Aquarium and Pond Filter Media
    Types; Mechanical, Bio, Chemical
  28. Aquarium Water Conditioners (also Pond)
  29. Fish Parasites; Trematodes & Monogeneans; Annelids and Nematodes;
    Flukes, internal worms, Detritus Worms (often confused with Planaria), Micro Worms
  30. Aquarium Silicone Application;
    DIY Aquarium Repair & Glass thickness
  31. Pond Veggie Filters; DIY Bog Filter
  32. The difference between Plaster of Paris and Aquarium Products such a Wonder Shells:
    Identification, prevention & Treatment
  34. AQUARIUM TEST KITS; Use & Importance
  35. SEXING FISH; Basics
  36. Chocolate Chip, Knobby and Fromia Starfish
  37. Freshwater Velvet & Costia
  38. Usnic Acid as a Fish Remedy
  39. Aquarium Heaters; Types, information
  40. The Lateral Line in Fish, Lateral Line Disease
    or Head and Lateral Line Erosion (HLLE)
  41. Tap Water use in Aquarium; Chloramines, Chlorine
  42. Can Black Ghost Knife fish give an electric shock?
  43. Bio Wheel Review; Do Bio-Wheels really work?
  44. How do Fish Drink?
    Use of RO Water
  45. Cyclops, and Predatory Damselfly larvae
  46. Betta with Dropsy;
    Treatment and Prevention of DROPSY in all fish
  47. pH and KH problems in African Cichlid Aquarium
  48. Aquarium Gravel, which size?
  49. Blue green algae, Cyanobacteria in Ponds/Aquariums

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