Aba Aba (Gymnarchus niloticus)

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Aba Aba

Gymnarchus niloticus005.JPG
Aba Aba

Gymnarchus niloticus

1136 Litres (300 US G.)

160-167 cm (63-65.7")




6.5 - 8.0

23 -28 °C (73.4-82.4°F)

10-25 °d

1:1 M:F

Live Foods

4-14 years



Additional names

Aba Aba, Aba, African Knifefish, Frankfish


Found in Africa occurring widely in the Nile, Niger, Volta, Chad, Senegal and Gambia basins and Lake Rudolf.[1]


Impossible to sex, and only able to breed in very large aquaria of at least 3785 Litres (1000 US G.). They are mouthbrooders, the male carries the eggs in his mouth until they hatch.

Tank compatibility[edit]

A solitary fish. Keep alone or in a species tank, tank mates are not recommended as anything the fish is in with is endanger of being eaten or injured. This fish is very aggressive, with powerful teeth capable of inflicting serious injury to tank mates.


A nocturnal hunter. Has an organ extending the entire length of its body that emits an electrical pulse to help it to hunt. Has very poor eyesight. Can be fed foods such as krill or bloodworms when young, will need to be fed larger meaty foods when adult.

Feeding regime[edit]

Nocturnal feeder, feed after lights out. Feeds on crustaceans, insects and fish.

Environment specifics[edit]

Bare aquascaping is best, any décor should be heavy and secure. Hide equipment such as heaters and they are in danger of being broken by this very large fish.


Fairly peaceful when young, but as it grows it becomes aggressive and will bite anything that comes near it.


A very large fish, the body is a dull grey/black colour that's long and tapers towards the tail. Lacks ventral, anal and caudal fins. Albino varieties also exist. The main fin it uses to move around is along its back (dorsal), unlike other knifefish, where it's along the belly (ventral).



  1. Fishbase (Mirrors: Icons-flag-us.png) Distribution

External links[edit]