aka: Sierra Knifefish
Max Size: about 8″
Lighting: Low – subdued lighting
Temp: 74.0 to 82.0° F (23.3 to 27.8° C)
Hardness Range: 5 – 10 dGH
Water Movement: Moderate
The Centipede Knifefish or Sierra Knifefish (Steatogenys duidae) have a long slender body banded in lovely dark brown and tan colors. This fish has become more popular in the trade more recently due to the common name now being used for it. Scientific names often just don’t instill the sense of excitement that a good descriptive common name can. Centipede Knifefish have bands on the body with the “feet” that show up on the anal fin and you have a pattern that really does resemble a centipede. These fish are distinguished by their snout which is blunt and short rather than elongated.
These are small fish reaching a maximum size of only 8.25 inches (21cm). This is one of the easiest of the knife fish to care for and because of its small size it make a great addition to most community tanks. The Centipede Knifefish is peaceful and will pretty much ignore other fish, though it may snack on smaller species as well. It does require some good hiding places to feel secure! In a community tank it needs to be kept with other calm, non-aggressive fish. Too much activity will discourage the Centipede Knife from coming out to feed. It does best when kept with a group or colony of its own kind and that will help alleviate their shyness. A school of 6 or more is suggested to reduce aggression as these fish constantly tussle with each to establishing a pecking order.
Centipede Knives are not as sensitive to water condition changes as some of the other Knife fish. These fish have poor eyesight so they use electrical impulses as a radar to figure out where they are swimming. Even a clear tube works for a hiding place, their radar tells them that they are in a secure surrounding.