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Black Ghost Knife Fish, Electric Eel electric shock?

Updated 9/25/13

Index:

Black Ghost Knife







Can a Black Ghost Fish Produce an Electric Shock?


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

ANSWER:
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.


Reference:
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:
* AQUARIUM AND POND INFORMATION
Well researched and up to date aquarium and pond answers, help, and links. Based on 31+ years of professional aquarium maintenance experience.

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Aquarium Lighting Resource

For in depth Lighting Information as it applies to aquarium keeping

*UV Sterilization; Benefits including Redox in Aquariums

For an experienced aquatics forum:
* Everything Aquatic

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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