Scientific Name: Notopterus chitala
Ease of Care: Easy
Approximate Arrival Size: Small: 2-3 inches; Medium: 4 to 7 inches; Large 6 to 7 inches
Approximate Full Size: 24 inches
Native Region: India
A nocturnal hunter, this knife can grow, in the wild, to lengths greater than three feet. The entire body looks like one large fin, gunmetal gray with several black spots along the bottom edge of the anal fin. It does have a very small dorsal fin, but the anal fin is used for propulsion, often in a reverse direction. While juveniles can tolerate each other, as the Clown Knife (also known as Chitala ornate) matures, it switches to a solitary existence. In the aquarium they will require hiding places among the plants and rocks where they wait for prey to feast upon. The Clown Knife can be kept with other larger fish that are not fin nippers. It may eat chopped meats and fish, but prefers live foods. Juveniles may show a striped pattern to their spotting, but as they mature, this will develop into large, and possibly fewer spots in the tail region. Treat as a smooth skin fish when treating for parasite infestations.