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Elephant fish (Nile elephant): peculiarities of maintenance and care

Probably everyone who has an aquarium at home wants to get such an exotic fish, which is not too demanding to the content and at the same time has an unusual and memorable appearance. The most suitable option in this regard is considered to be an elephant fish (Gnathonemus petersii).

If you create optimal conditions for this pet, it will never cause unnecessary trouble.

If you create optimal conditions for an elephant fish, then it will never cause unnecessary trouble.

The exotic little elephantfish, also called the Nile elephant, or Peters’ elephant, lives in the wild in freshwater rivers of Africa, namely in the water bodies of the central and western parts of the continent.

Oddly enough, but the most comfortable this fish feels in muddy water with a weak current. And she prefers to settle closer to the silted, densely overgrown grass bottom.

It is even better if among the vegetation there are many logs and logs that serve as shelters.

Comfortably elephant fish feel muddy water with a weak current

It should be noted that the Nile elephant – the fish is not very large. In nature, it grows to 22 cm, and in an aquarium it is rare to find an individual longer than 15 cm.

Thanks to life in muddy water, elephant fish has a dark, almost black color. Her body is flattened from the sides and there are no scales, which makes it look velvety.

The abdominal fins of this fish are absent, and the pectoral fins are rather high. The dorsal and anal fins are opposite each other, practically at the very tail, which is connected to the body through a narrow junction.

Dark skin of the fish is decorated with only two light stripes. They are located on both sides of the body and stretch from the dorsal fin to the anal.

The abdominal fins of this fish are absent and the pectoral fins are rather high.

A distinctive feature of the fish is the lower lip, which is much longer than the top and resembles the trunk of an elephant. It is thanks to this structure of the oral apparatus that fish easily get food from the sludge.

The eyes of the Peters elephant are rather poorly developed. This is due to the fact that the fish prefers nocturnal.

Therefore, an organ that is located on the tail and produces weak electrical impulses helps the elephant to look for food, a partner, and also to explore the terrain. They are captured by electrical receptors located on the head of the fish, and they help to create a picture of the surrounding world.

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Peters’ elephant does not differ in excessive capriciousness, so it can be recommended both to novice aquarists and professionals with experience.

The main thing in the care of this fish – creating the conditions most suitable for her:

  1. Aquarium size. It should be noted that for an elephant fish requires a fairly large living space. Thus, an aquarium with a volume of at least 200–250 l is suitable for one individual. And to make the fish feel comfortable, it is recommended to start a flock of 5-7 “elephants.” Therefore, the aquarium should be appropriate.
  2. Water parameters. These fish live in nature in warm water bodies, so special attention should be paid to the temperature in the aquarium. It should be between +23 and +28 degrees. We must not forget about the hardness of water (5−15 units) and about the acidity (6.5−7 units). Elephant fish are very sensitive to chemicals, so a fairly powerful filter should be installed, and once every seven days replace a third of the water in the aquarium with fresh water. Siphon regularly to the bottom, removing the remnants of food and traces of pet.

The main thing in the care of the elephant fish is to create the conditions most suitable for it.
Registration of an aquarium. Since the elephant fish collects food from the bottom, looking for it with the help of its “trunk”, the best solution would be to use river sand or polished gravel with peat chips as soil. But be sure to carefully check it, so that it does not have sharp stones or any foreign objects that could injure the mouth apparatus of this exotic fish.

At the bottom you need to put so many shelters to their number was more than the fish themselves, otherwise you can not avoid fights between pets. Lighting is better to choose a dim, since the Peters elephants prefer to be nocturnal. In addition, these fish are very sensitive to antibiotics, ammonia and nitrites.

Therefore, the filter in the aquarium needs a fairly powerful one, but it does not create a strong current that Peters elephants cannot tolerate. Be sure to equip the aquarium cover, as the fish often jump free.

It is important to bear in mind that Nile elephants are extremely negative about metal objects, which, because of this, are best not to use as decorative elements.

Elephant fish are very sensitive to antibiotics, ammonia and nitrites.

  • Feeding. Peters’ elephants are happy to eat both live and frozen, and dried food. In the process of feeding, it is important that food is enough for all pets. The problem may arise from the fact that Peters’ elephants are not distinguished by excessive mobility and are too peaceful; they will never fight for food with other inhabitants of the aquarium. Quite often you can see how the owner feeds their pets with tweezers, offering an individual piece to each elephant.
  • These are the most necessary requirements that should be followed when keeping Nile elephants. Preparing an aquarium and keeping the fish in quarantine, you can safely relocate acquired pets for permanent residence.

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    Elephant fish are very peaceful. They are quite interesting to get acquainted with other inhabitants of the aquarium – gently touch them with their “trunks”, without causing harm.

    But the elephants themselves can easily be offended by other large predators.

    The best neighbors are considered:

    • African butterfly fish;
    • synodontis cuckoo;
    • synodontis is veiform;
    • congo fish;
    • catfish shifter.

    These fish will never offend the Peters elephant and will be able to get along well with it.

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    Nile elephants belong to the category of fish in which sexual dimorphism is practically not expressed. Females differ from males only in that they are slightly larger, and they have a rounded abdomen.
    In principle, the sex of the acquired pet is not very important, since get offspring in captivity from the Nile elephants can not. Scientists have not yet fully understood the reason.

    They suggest that in aquarium conditions, electrical impulses from the fish are distorted.

    Get offspring in captivity from Nile elephants impossible

    As a result, males and females cannot locate each other. But for now this is only a theory.

    Perhaps in the near future, scientists will be able to better study these unusual exotic fish, and then get offspring from them.

    Thus, both specialists and novice aquarists should not be afraid to buy Nile elephants. If you buy a healthy fish and properly care for it, then it will be able to please its owner for many years, because the animals live in captivity for at least ten years.

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