Gnathonemus Petersii – Elephantnose Fish / Peter’s Elephant



Maximum Length

23-53 cm


Central Africa (Niger)


Peters’ elephantnose fish is probably the most commonly-available Mormyrid in aquarium stores in the USA. In the aquarium (which should be at least 200 liters) it is timid, preferring a heavily planted environment with subdued lighting. Ideally, a pipe or hollow log should be provided. The substrate should ideally be soft sand to allow the fish to sift through it with its delicate extended lip. It feeds on small worms (bloodworms) and aquatic invertebrates such as mosquito larvae, but in the aquarium will usually accept frozen or even flake food. How peaceful an elephantnose fish is can depend on the individual; some are quite aggressive with other species, while others are retiring. They may be kept in a community aquarium with peaceful species who share their water preferences. However, unless kept in an aquarium of over 400 liters, it is unwise to keep more than one elephantnose fish as they can be territorial. The conditions suggested to keep them in an aquarium are as follows: pH of 6.8 to 7.2, water temperature 26 to 28 degrees Celsius, and water of medium hardness. The substrate should always be something that does not irritate the sensitive snout of the fish.

The weak electrical impulses generated by this fish can be made audible by placing two electrodes in the fish tank, which are then hooked up to an audio amplifier or a piezoelectric earbud. The sonar-like clicks that this fish emits can sound like a squeaky door when the fish is excited.


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