The knifefish species propels itself by generating a reverse Kármán street using an anal fin, and the propulsion of this species is known to be highly efficient (Blake in Can J Zool 61:1432-1441, 1983). Previous studies have suggested that there is an optimal swimming range for fish based on the amplitude and frequency of the reverse Kármán street. In the current study, experiments have been performed to measure the ratio between the amplitude and wavelength of vortices in the wake of a knifefish. It is suggested that the wave efficiency can be estimated by optimizing the thrust created by the reverse Kármán street for a given spacing ratio, and present observations have an average value of 0.89. The relationship established between spacing ratio and wave efficiency, in addition to the measured parameters, will be invaluable for bio-inspired designs based on the knifefish.