Aba aba Care Guide: Diet, Tank Mates, Diseases, Breeding & More

Updated: December 17, 2022

The aba aba is a freshwater fish that is native to Africa. It is a member of the cichlid family and is closely related to the more well-known Tilapia.

The aba aba is a peaceful fish that is not aggressive towards other tank mates. It is a good choice for a community tank.

This fish is not commonly found in the aquarium trade, but it is becoming more popular.

Species overview

The aba aba (scientific name: Trichogaster trichopterus) is a type of gourami that’s native to Africa. They are found in a wide variety of habitats but prefer slow-moving waters with plenty of vegetation.

Aba aba are relatively small fish, only growing to be about 3-4 inches in length. They are very popular in the aquarium trade due to their peaceful nature and beautiful colors.

These fish are omnivores and will eat a wide variety of foods. In the wild, their diet consists of insects, small crustaceans, and plant matter. In the aquarium, they can be fed a variety of pellets, flakes, and live/frozen foods.

Due to their small size and peaceful nature, aba aba are compatible with a wide variety of tank mates. They make a great addition to any community tank!


Aba aba

The Aba aba is a rather drab-looking fish when compared to some of the other freshwater fish on this list. They have a brownish-gray coloration that can vary depending on the water conditions and their diet.

The fins on this fish are very similar in color to the body with a few exceptions. The dorsal and anal fins have a dark band that runs along the edge.

The caudal fin is forked and has a dark band near the tip. The pectoral and ventral fins are a bit lighter in color and have a bit of a transparent look to them.

This fish has a long and thin body with a slightly flattened head. The eyes on this species are very small in comparison to the rest of their head.


The average lifespan of Aba aba is 15 years. This is a pretty long time for a fish and it’s a testament to their hardiness.

Of course, there are a number of factors that can impact their lifespan. Things like poor water quality, stress from bad tank mates, or a suboptimal diet can all shorten their lifespan.


Aba aba cichlids can grow to be quite large, with some specimens reaching up to 18 inches in length. However, the average size for these fish is around 12 inches.


Tank Size

The Aba Aba should be kept in an aquarium with a minimum volume of 180 litres. A single fish can be kept in an aquarium as small as 120 litres, but this is not recommended since they are such active swimmers.

Water Parameters

Aba aba are a tropical fish, so they need warm water and a higher water temperature than most other freshwater fish. They also prefer to live in slightly alkaline water.

The ideal water parameters for Aba aba are:

  • Water temperature: 77 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit
  • pH levels: 7.0 to 8.0
  • Water hardness: 5 to 19 dGH
  • Alkalinity Levels: 3-10 dKH

What To Put In Their Tank

Aba aba are one of the easier fish to care for when it comes to setting up their tank. They don’t have any specific requirements and are pretty adaptable to different conditions.

That being said, there are still a few things you can do to make their habitat more comfortable and enriching.

The first thing we recommend is using a soft substrate. This will help to prevent any cuts or scrapes if your fish happens to be a little too enthusiastic when it comes to digging.

Next, we recommend including some plants and driftwood in their tank. These provide some much-needed enrichment for these fish and can help to make their habitat more visually appealing.

Finally, we recommend using a filter that provides a moderate flow. Aba aba are known to be good swimmers and a little bit of water movement will help to keep them active.

Common Diseases

The Aba aba is a hardy fish that is relatively resistant to disease. However, like all animals, they are not immune to illness.

The most common diseases that affect this species are parasites, infections, and fungal diseases.

One of the most common parasites is ich. This is a very contagious disease that can quickly spread throughout your tank and kill all of your fish if left untreated.

The most obvious sign of ich is the presence of white spots on the body of your fish. If you notice this, it’s important to act fast and begin treatment immediately.

Other common diseases include bacterial infections, fungal infections, and velvet disease.

Bacterial infections are usually the result of poor water quality, while fungal infections are often caused by overfeeding.

Velvet disease is a bit more serious and is caused by a parasite that attacks the gills of your fish.

If you notice any of these diseases in your fish, it’s important to consult a vet and begin treatment immediately. The sooner you act, the higher the chance is that your fish will recover.

Of course, the best way to prevent these diseases is to simply maintain a clean and healthy environment for your fish. Providing clean water and a good diet will go a long way in keeping your fish healthy and disease-free.

Behavior & Temperament

The Aba aba is a peaceful fish that does well in community tanks. It is not an aggressive fish, and it will not bother other fish in the tank. The Aba aba is a bottom-dwelling fish, and it will often be seen swimming near the bottom of the tank.

The Aba aba is a scavenger, and it will often eat algae and other plant matter. The Aba aba is not a picky eater, and it will often eat whatever food is available.

The Aba aba is a hardy fish, and it is not easily stressed. The Aba aba is a good beginner fish, and it is a good choice for people who are new to keeping fish.

Tank Mates

Aba abas are not an aggressive species, but they are curious. This can sometimes lead to trouble if not paired with the right tank mates.

The best tank mates for aba abas are other peaceful fish that occupy different areas of the water column. This will minimize territorial disputes and allow everyone to stay out of each other’s way.

Some compatible species include:


The Aba aba is a mouth-brooding cichlid, which means that the female will carry the eggs and fry in her mouth until they are ready to be released into the world.

These fish are not the easiest to breed in captivity, but it can be done with some patience and attention to detail.

The first thing you need to do is set up a breeding tank. It should be at least 30 gallons and contain plenty of hiding places. Aba aba cichlids are quite shy, so they’ll need plenty of places to feel safe.

Then, you need to adjust the water conditions. The pH should be between 7.5 and 8.5. The water hardness should be around 10-15 dGH.

When everything is ready, add two males and two females to the tank. Aba aba cichlids are polygamous, so the males will mate with multiple females.

Once the fish have acclimated to their new environment, you can start feeding them live foods. This will help to trigger spawning.

When the female is ready to spawn, she’ll lay her eggs in a cave or crevice. The male will then fertilize them.

Once the eggs are fertilized, the female will pick them up in her mouth and carry them around until they hatch. This process takes about two weeks.

Once the fry have hatched, the female will continue to carry them around for another week or so. Then, she’ll release them into the tank.

At this point, you can start feeding the fry live foods. Baby brine shrimp is a good option. You can also give them crushed-up flake food.

As the fry grow, you can slowly introduce them to larger foods.


The Aba Aba is a great fish for beginners and experienced aquarists alike. They’re easy to care for and get along well with other fish.

They’re also a great addition to a community tank because of their peaceful nature.

Overall, we think the Aba Aba is a great fish and we highly recommend them!