Aba Aba Knifefish (Gymnarchus Niloticus)
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The Aba Knifefish, also called the Aba Aba Knifefish, is unusual even for a knife type fish. It is one of the largest knives reaching up to 5 1/2 feet long. Unlike most in this group, the fin that is used for locomotion is on its back instead of its belly. It has an electricity producing organ that runs through most of its body. Unlike the Electric Eel, this organ does not generate enough voltage to stun its prey so it is most likely used for navigation and finding food.
Its large size demands a very large tank or even an indoor pond and because it can be very aggressive, it does best by itself. I know of one importer that accidentally put a large Aba in a holding tank with a large Discus and in no time at all, the Discus had a big "U" shaped chunk missing from its forehead. It appeared that this chunk had been surgically removed which shows just how sharp an Aba's teeth are.
This fish can be considered dangerous because a big specimen could easily remove a careless person's finger! If after all I've just told you, you still think you are prepared to handle one of these fish, don't buy the tiny ones that still show their yolk sack because they are very weak at this size. The minimum size to buy is about 3 inches and bigger than this is better.Distribution:
The Aba Knifefish was described by Cuvier in 1829. The are found in in the Nile, Niger, Volta, Chad, Senegal and Gambia basins and Lake Rudolf in Africa. Status:
The species is not listed on the IUCN Red List. Description:
The Aba Aba Knifefish is unusual even for a knife type fish. It has a flat long body, fuller and somewhat cylindrical towards the head but terminates in a thin point at the rear. Unlike most in this group, the fin that is used for locomotion is on its back instead of its belly. This fin can move in an undulating forward or backward motion. The color is dark bluish black on the back and sides, with a silver to cream underbelly.
This fish has an electricity producing organ that runs through most of its body generating a very weak electric field. This 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. Size - Weight:
These fish can get up to 5 ½ feet long (167 cm) and 40 pounds (18.5 kg). Care and feeding:
The Aba Knifefish are carnivores, feeding on crustaceans, insects and fish in their native environment. Although they will eat insects, shrimp, and crayfish in captivity, the easiest food to feed them is live feeder fish. They can be trained to eat chunks of dead, freshwater fish which will help to keep the food expenses lower than if you exclusively feedlive feeder fish.
You'll eventually need a lot of water to house a growing Aba Knifefish. Plan on eventually needing 200 gallons or more to keep one happy and healthy. They are sensitive to some fish medications such as copper and those containing formalin. Water Region:
Top, Middle, Bottom (The Aba Knifefish will spend most of its time on or near the bottom of the tank) Acceptable Water Conditions:
Temp: 74 ° - 82 ° F (23 - 28 °C)
pH 6.5 - 8 Social Behaviors:
Small ones can sometimes be kept with other fish but eventually it will most likely try to kill and eat anything else put in with them. They are extremely aggressive feeders. Sexual Differences:
Sexual differences are unknown. Breeding/Reproduction:
It has not yet been bred in captivity. Availability:
The Aba Knifefish are commonly available.The minimum size to buy is about 3 inches and bigger than this is better. Don't buy the tiny ones that still show their yolk sack because they are very weak at this size.