Electrogenic/Receptive Fish: Momyrids and the Knife Fish
This week there's something electric swimming through the fishroom and it’s definitely gotten our fish staff all charged up! Now, usually water and electricity don’t mix, but a few, select fish have the ability to utilize this relationship for themselves.
The varieties of fish that utilize electricity are called “electrogenic” and typically use their ability as a weapon. The degree to which these fish can control these electric shocks differs with each species. Generally found in Africa and South America, the waters these fish prefer are usually murky and still. Since visual observation is not an effective way to hunt or protect themselves in these environmental conditions, electrogenic fish have special sensory organs and adaptations that allow them to “feel” their surroundings. There are two types of electrical fish - weak and strong - whose main difference is the emission pattern of their electrical waves. Strong fish have higher electrical charges that emit electric patterns in a continuous wave rather than their less intense cousins. The weak fish, also known as pulse makers, are incapable of stunning or killing their prey and instead use their electricity more for location and communication.
(these guys are hard to get pics of!)
Right now we have three electrogenic species: the Black Ghost Knife Fish, the Clown Knife Fish and the Elephant Nose Momyrids. Since these electrogenic fish are carnivorous and can get quite large, they are not suitable for every aquarium. But for anyone looking for an oddball to love and maintain, these shockers are always a unique and personable choice.
Here's a video of our baby black ghost knife fish eating some thawed blood worms!