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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I'm wondering if anyone has any information about or knows where to find a fish known as the "Baby Whale Fish" or "Elephant Fish". I've found very little information about these fish on the internet. I'm particularly interested in this species- Mormyrus isidori. From what I've found, they don't usually grow to more than 3.5 inches. Apparently they are an unusually intelligent fish, with a brain to body size ratio very similar to that of humans. The species that I noted above is the smallest species that I could find, but if anyone knows of a smaller species I'd like to hear about it. I just recently heard about these fish and I was surprised by the lack of information relating to them, as they seem very interesting.

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I found a website that sells them, but it says that they're out of stock-

http://aquariumfish.net/catalog_pages/wild/african_tropical_fish.htm

On the right-hand side of the page (scroll down) it says not to bother asking when they'll be back in stock, so it could be awhile. They also don't have much information about the fish, not even the exact species that they're selling. They just call them "Premium Baby Whales".
 

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Mormyrids in general:
They're unique in that they produce an electric field that they use to sense other things in their environment.
They are carnivores.
They normally do not do well in groups in small tanks (<50 US Gallons), but one may be held in a 50 gallon tank.
Sources: Various magazines and internet articles

Try wetwebmedia or seriouslyfish to see if they have any additional information that I've forgotten.
 

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Sounds like they're endangered. You won't find them. Neat fish. They communicate with electricity.


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I have a baby whale.... I have him temporarily in a 10g till he can go back into the 55g. Very shy fish. I only see him at feeding time and night since they are nocturnal. I didn't want to have to do the whole feeding at night too so he's gotten used to coming out in the light. Once he's done feeding he goes back and hides. I do have to say though I love this fish. It is hard to find information.
 

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Iamiskool, I was talking about the more commonly kept mormyrids, specifically Gnathonemus petersii, or the common elephantnose fish which grows up to 9".
 

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Here is what Fishbase.org has on this species:

http://www.fishbase.org/summary/Pollimyrus-isidori.html

Fishbase is a great starting point for a fish you want to learn about.

Also, check out monsterfishkeepers.com they have an informative thread on the various Mormyridae (Elephantfish). Unfortunately, there seems to be some problem with the monsterfishkeepers.com forum server as I post this. I will post the link to the thread once it's back on the air.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Just an update-
A few days ago I told my friend (who also keeps fish) about these "baby whale fish". Anyways, he was at the lfs and said that they had one in stock. I thought it must be something that they just mislabeled, but he brought it back and it is in fact a type of Mormyridae, but I don't know exactly what species. It was (not to my surprise) labeled simply as a baby whale fish. It is similar to the picture above, but it looks like it's had a rough time. Most of the fins are torn, and it seems skinnier than it should be. I'll post pics as soon as I get it acclimated. I hope it makes it.
 

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You may want to look into potential internal parasite infestations. There is quite a bit of detailed info here:

http://www.merckmanuals.com/vet/exotic_and_laboratory_animals/fish/parasitic_diseases_of_fish.html

check out Hexamita and Helminth (worm) infections as these may be indicated by the "skinny" appearance. Wild caught fish, like your Mormyidae are commonly infested with internal parasites. There is a great discussion thread on monsterfishkeepers.com but the site has been down for some unknown reason over the past couple of days.

The author of that thread has posted some of the Hexamita treatment details (using Epsom salt) here:

http://www.cyphos.com/forums/showthread.php?t=24515

There has been some discussion that praziquantel is useful for treating worm issues, e.g. Prazipro

If you can get hold of live California Blackworms these should help get him/her eating, but the treatments may kill this live food fairly quickly, so feed sparingly.

Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks for the information. I'm pretty sure these fish are considered scaleless fish, like cory cats. Scaleless fish usually don't have much tolerance for salt, correct? I would like to try adding epsom salt, but I don't want to do more harm than good. I'll definitely try to get some live food for it this weekend.

Also, I was trying to get a picture of the fish earlier, but it only comes out of hiding when the lights are off. I think that I saw him eating (or at least attempting to eat) some freeze-dried bloodworms that I'd soaked in water for awhile. It was difficult to tell for sure because of how dark it is in the tank.

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I have a baby whale.... I have him temporarily in a 10g till he can go back into the 55g. Very shy fish. I only see him at feeding time and night since they are nocturnal. I didn't want to have to do the whole feeding at night too so he's gotten used to coming out in the light. Once he's done feeding he goes back and hides. I do have to say though I love this fish. It is hard to find information.
What do you usually feed him? Do you know if it is possible to get them to eat frozen or freeze-dried foods?
 

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'Salt' is not the same as 'Epsom salt'.

'Salt' is sodium chloride. Table salt, Kosher salt, water softener salt...
This is the one that some fish cannot handle well. It will raise the salinity of the water, and this can be measured with a hydrometer or TDS meter.

'Epsom salt' is magnesium sulfate. It is a good source of magnesium for plants, or for fish with constipation. It will raise the GH of the water. Fish that are sensitive to sodium chloride usually can handle Epsom salt just fine.

They are used for different purposes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Another update-

I added epsom salt to the water and fed a pinch of live blackworms. He immediately ate a few but left the majority of them alone. I'm planning on breeding the blackworms because I can not go to the store to get them very often. I've seen several different ways of doing it. Is there a specific technique that anyone recomends? I plan on using a plastic container with shallow water and a thin layer of gravel at the bottom, plus an air stone. I also wonder if it would be beneficial to add some java moss to the blackworm culture.
 

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I buy a lot when I go to the store and can keep them for months in the fridge as long as I change the water every few days. Also after a while im sure you could train the fish to accept frozen bloodworms instead of live blackworms. Thats what I was able to do with my scarlet badi and dwarf puffer (both fish generally are said to only eat live food)
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
After doing some research, I think that this is the specific species that I have-
Brienomyrus brachyistius
There is very little information on them, but it appears that they grow to be 4 to 6 inches in length. I've found one report of a successful attempt at captive breeding with these fish.

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I buy a lot when I go to the store and can keep them for months in the fridge as long as I change the water every few days. Also after a while im sure you could train the fish to accept frozen bloodworms instead of live blackworms. Thats what I was able to do with my scarlet badi and dwarf puffer (both fish generally are said to only eat live food)
Do you think that they must be refrigerated? Several websites that I've found said that refrigeration does nothing but slow their metabolism.
 

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I kept them once in a 2.5 gallon tank and heavy aeration. You really have to rinse them very very well, or else you'll have a giant smelly bacterial outbreak in the culture tank. As in, hook the bag up to the waste water on the RO/DI unit, and let it flush the worms until you have about 10 gallons of RO/DI water. The worms don't have to be refrigerated, but refrigeration does slow their metabolism so that they don't consume oxygen and die from the low oxygen conditions. I added a catappa leaf, and that seemed to increase their lifespan while I used them all up, probably because it was a good food source. If the worms escape in the aquarium, don't worry. They'll live until a fish finds them.
Conclusion: Don't refrigerate if you don't want to, but if not refrigerated, provide lots of aeration. Rinse very very well. Add some sort of food source to keep them going.
 
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