or the Clown knifefish
is an impressive and large freshwater fish found in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar, Indonesia Cambodia, Malaysia and Thailand. These prehistoric looking beauties belong to the genus Chitala
. The Clown knifefish seems to be the most popular or most readily available for purchase in the hobby and is certainly a favorite for those who fancy large hunger fish. The genus Chitala is comprised of six species which include C. blanci, C. borneensis, C. chitala, C. hypselonotus, C. lopis, and C. ornata.
What’s interesting about this fish it that it is maintained by tropical fish hobbyists but also considered a delicacy in other countries as a source of food especially considering their immense size. While this species is quite bony in their natural countries it is prepared by making balls from minced flesh and cooking it with curry. Another note worth mentioning about this fish is it has become an invasive species in the state of Florida
. C. chitala is currently found in Lakes Osborne, Ida and their related associated canals of southeast Florida. The largest documented specimen in Florida was 31 inches weighing nearly 10 pounds. Apparently clown knife fish are considered some of the many exotic fish found in Florida
In terms of their coloration they sport distinctive spots hence the nickname clown. These spots increase with age. There also called featherbacks because of their small feather-like fins on their backs. In the wild clown knife fish inhabits freshwaters including larger rivers but can be found in swamps too. In the aquarium the will require larger tanks preferably without a lot clutter. And these are best kept in a community tank setting or solitary. In a group setting they can be kept with arowanas
species. Remember small fish are considered lunch.
While the featherback or clown knife fish are considered large predators unfortunately these fish are on the IUCN Redlist of Endangered species
and are categorized as Near Threatened. The major reasons for this are due to pollution and over-harvesting in terms of food consumption. In the wild Chitala chitala’s feeding habits include a diet of small fish, insets and grass shrimp. These fish are beautiful, exotic or prehistoric looking and certainly awesome as a predator freshwater fish.
Clown Knifefish Videos