Clown Knife Fish


The Clown Knife ‍Fish is a tropical freshwater species within the Notopteridae family. They are well-loved by aquarium enthusiasts⁤ due to their elongated body ⁣shape⁢ and unique color patterns. However, they are often mistaken for other species, making their ⁣identification a ‍critical part⁤ of ‌maintaining ⁢their ⁢conservation status.

Conservation Status

The Clown Knife Fish has been listed as a⁣ “least concern” species by the ‌IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) due to ⁤its widespread distribution and relatively ‍stable population. However, further studies are required to monitor their‌ population‌ trends as ​they may be impacted by ongoing habitat loss ⁢and environmental changes.


Statistic Average Range
Length 75 ​cm 35 cm – 100 cm
Weight 5 kg 1 kg‌ – 10 kg
Average Lifespan 15 years


Native to Southeast Asia, the Clown Knife ⁣Fish is found in regions across Cambodia,‍ Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam. They have also been introduced into other areas globally, including certain parts of the United​ States. ⁤Migration ⁣patterns for this species are not‍ well-studied.


These nocturnal ‍fish prefer ​warm, slow-moving freshwater habitats. They often ⁢reside in deep parts⁤ of⁤ rivers, canals, and ‍large reservoirs. Their optimal ⁤temperature range is ⁣from⁤ 24 C to 30 C.

When and Where to See

Clown Knife‍ Fish are most active during⁣ nighttime. They are ‍a ⁣year-round ​species, with no specific seasonal patterns reported.

Best Fishing ⁢Locations

  • Chao Phraya Basin, Thailand
  • Mekong River, Laos
  • Tonle Sap, Cambodia
  • Red‌ River, Vietnam
  • Florida, United States: Broward and Palm ‌Beach County canals
  • Texas, United States: Freshwater lakes

When looking for Clown Knife Fish, it is recommended to look in⁢ areas with deep water and plenty of⁢ hiding spots like underwater caves or complex root​ systems.

How to Catch

Live bait like minnows,‍ shrimps or even worms work best to attract Clown Knife Fish. They‌ are typically caught​ using line ⁤fishing techniques.‌ Night fishing‌ is the most effective ⁤time⁤ due to their nocturnal habits.

Identification Guide

The Clown Knife Fish is characterized by its elongated body, humped‌ back, and long anal fins. It‍ has a small head compared to its body and silver-gray color with⁣ distinctive round⁤ spots along⁣ its back and fins.


While not typically sought ⁤after for their culinary value, Clown Knife Fish⁣ reportedly have a mild, ⁤white flesh when cooked. They are sometimes used in ⁣traditional Southeast Asian​ dishes.

Additional Information

  • Behavior: Clown Knife Fish are predatory, feeding mainly on smaller fish and crustaceans. They have⁤ a⁢ unique habit of swimming backwards, making them distinctive in⁢ the wild.
  • Predators and Threats: Large fish and birds of prey, along with humans, serve as ​the‌ primary threats for the Clown ⁣Knife Fish.
  • Cultural/Historical Significance: In Thailand, Clown Knife⁣ Fish are considered a symbol ⁤of good luck and are prominent in local folklore.

References and Further Reading

Fishbase – Clown Knife Fish
Integrated Taxonomic Information System‌ – Clown ‌Knife ‍Fish
Florida Museum of Natural History​ – Clown Knife Fish