The Zebra Knifefish is a smaller knife fish species, with 11 inches being the accepted maximum size. Its body is somewhat more rounded than flat. It has small scales and its mouth is turned upwards. It has no dorsal fin but does have an extremely long anal fin starting near the pectoral fin area. This fin can move in an undulating forward or backward motion. The color pattern is 'zebra' like with dark and light clean edged bands extending along the entire length of the body.
This fish also has an electric organ which allows it to generate a very weak electric field around its body. The field helps with a variety of things such as identifying objects in the water, gives it spatial orientation, helps it to navigate, and helps it identify food. Males use an electric 'stereotyped' communication to court females.