Baby Whale Fish are aquatic fish species that closely resemble whales but are not closely related. Unlike whales, Baby Whale fish belong to the family of Mormydae. They are very active and have fascinating personalities.

Thanks to their extraordinary personalities, Baby Whale fish have become quite popular in home aquariums. In this article, we will explore all you need to know about this unique fish species.

Baby Whale fish have electric organs that allow them to emit electricity at specific frequencies. These electric waves help them to navigate their environment and also communicate.


Size 8 Inches
Temperature 75 – 82 F
pH 6.5
Hardness Moderate
Diet Carnivore
Lifespan 10 years
Minimum Tank Size 30 Gallons


Baby Whale fish looks almost like a miniature baby whale, thanks to their shared physical similarities. Baby Whales tend to favor the murky waters of Africa. You can find many of these fish in Lake Malawi and other rivers like the River Congo.

They live under dense floating vegetation, root mats, or along the edge of the river. Baby Whales tend to favor the benthic column of the river.

Baby Whales use their electric organs to navigate the murky waters to make up for their poor eyesight. Although Baby Whales are out and about all through the day, they are most active in the dark hours of the night.

The Baby Whale Fish, like the actual Whale, has a large brain and is very intelligent. They are also referred to as Elephant fish, African Black Whale, and Mormyrid electric fish.

– Appearance

Baby Whale fish is a type of elephant fish that is common to freshwater habitats. They are small in size with an enlarged cerebellum. These fish species have modified mouthparts to help them feed in their muddy habitat.

Their prominent mouthparts are attached to their lower jaws, which is why the Baby Whale fish is sometimes referred to as the elephant-nosed fish.

The Baby Whale fish has a dull-colored body peppered with tiny white and black patches. The abdomen of the Baby Whale is covered with a thin layer of skin filled with tiny pores that connect to their electroreceptors. These electroreceptors make navigating through the waters easier. With the signals produced, Baby Whales can also communicate amongst themselves.

– Size

Male Baby Whales can grow up to eight inches in length. Meanwhile, the female Baby Whales tend to grow even larger than their male counterparts, a clear display of sexual dimorphism. Proper nutrition, environmental conditions, and care are necessary to get the most out of these unique fish species.

Their medium size is of significant gain for aquarists because tank size is not an issue. A 30-gallon tank is more than enough to rear this freshwater Baby Whale.

– Lifespan

Tropical Baby Whales can live for up to 10 years. Their length of years is, of course, greatly influenced by their genetics and the quality of care they receive.

Fish with great genetic makeup tend to be less susceptible to common freshwater diseases and live longer. The same is true for Baby Whale fish that receive the proper care.


The quality of care your Baby Whale receives significantly impacts how long it will live, as well as its quality of life. Let’s take a look at what caring for this tropical freshwater fish species entails.

– Tank Set-Up

Your Baby Whales habitat matters a lot. We always recommend that you try to replicate its natural habitat. That way, your fish doesn’t go through a great deal of stress trying to adapt to its new habitat. We have outlined some components to help you set up the perfect tank environment for your Baby Whale fish.

– Tank Size

To cater to their dynamic nature, we recommend that your aquarium is capable of holding at least 30 gallons of water — the bigger the tank size, the better. In small aquariums, the Baby Whale can begin to feel cramped, and this can cause it a considerable amount of stress. Stress is the one thing every fish owner wants to avoid because it predisposes your fish to a higher risk of infections and diseases.

The tank roof is a vital part of your Baby Whales fish tank because these fishes are active jumpers. Thus the roof serves as an effective barrier. You don’t want to come home to dead fish on the tile, now do you? I bet not.

– Water Conditions

In the wild, the Baby Whale fish is tolerant of a wide range of water conditions. This high tolerance gives you a little wriggle room when setting up the water parameters. However, it would help if you didn’t overstep the limit.

Moderate water hardness and a pH of about 6.5 are best for Baby Whale fish. As far as temperature goes, you can set the tank temperature between 75 – 82 F. The higher you go up the temperature spectrum, the more your chances of successfully inducing the fish to breed.

You can monitor the tank’s temperature with an aquarium thermometer; get this from any pet shop around you. To maintain a reasonably constant temperature, we use a tank heater; you should get one too.

– Tank Filter

Your tank must have a capable filter system, one that can remove all the fish waste and stabilize the water parameters in your tank. Accumulation of fish waste can prove disastrous for your fish as high levels of ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate compounds will saturate the water.

High doses of these lethal compounds will adversely affect the health of your fish and, in some cases, lead to their death.

– Aquarium Heater

Your fish tank must have a reliable aquarium heater to help maintain the temperature in the tank. Sharp changes in temperature resulting from climate changes can be bad for your Baby Whale.

– Lighting

Baby Whales in the wild live in murky waters at the benthic columns with low light intensity, which means that they favor dim light conditions. Therefore, ensure that their tank is dark and has a few floating plants.

– Tank Decoration

Your tank should have lots of caves for the Baby Whales to take shelter in. You can add some ornaments to the caves to make it a lot more comfortable for them. Mud pots, clay, and mud houses are not a bad idea.

As far as substrates go, Baby Whales are not so particular. So, you can add a little bit of gravel to their tank if you so desire. Ensure that the gravel is only ¼ thick so that it doesn’t act as a breeding ground for all sorts of germs.

Baby Whale Fish Behavior

The freshwater Whale fish generally has a great personality. In the wild, they swim as a group and are more of a schooling fish. However, in captivity, Baby Whales display a different behavior; they prefer to live in solitude.

They will also often get in pretty nasty fights with each other, nipping their fins and more. Thus, we do not recommend that you put two Baby Whale fish together.

Baby Whale fish usually move around pretty actively during the day. However, a good number of them spend quite a good part of the day hiding in caves and only come out at night. Thus, at night, they seem to be more active.

You can trick a shy Baby Whale fish into coming out more during the day by dropping bits of food around the tank. The smell of food has them clamoring around the tank actively in a bid to find it.

– Is the Tropical Baby Whale Aggressive?

Yes. Typically, juvenile Baby Whales are not very aggressive. However, their aggressiveness depends on several factors, both biological and environmental. Also, the older they get, the more aggressive they become. Thus, we advise that you do not add small freshwater fish to their tank.

The breeding season also makes this tropical Baby Whale even more aggressive. Putting them in pairs increases the display of aggression as the strongest of the fish tends to disturb the other Baby Whale fish and cause them to become visibly stressed.

You can handle this issue by adding larger fish to the tank set up and increasing their tank size. That way, the strongest Baby Whale fish becomes less aggressive. Alternatively, you can try keeping just one Baby Whale in your tank. Having a tank with enough hiding spots also helps to ease the aggression displayed.

– How Many Baby Whale Fish Can I Keep Together?

To prevent your fish from being stressed, we advise you not to add less than six Baby Whale Fish to your tank. Because, in pairs of less than six, the strongest fish quickly becomes a terror to the other fish. However, with at least six fish in your tank, the aggression significantly reduces.

Tank Mates

Baby Whale fish can live in a community tank thanks to their generally peaceful temperament. However, it is essential to consider their compatibility with other fish species.

Ensure that the other tank mates are not so small that they can fit into the Baby Whales mouth or too large that they begin to pick on the Baby Whale. It would be best if you also avoided aggressive fish species like cichlids as they can stress out your fish.

Below are some of the fish species you can place in your Baby Whale fish tank:

  • Elephant noses
  • African Black whale
  • Knife fish
  • Clown loaches
  • Angelfish
  • Gouramis
  • Synodontis catfish


Breeding Baby Whales in captivity is a challenging task. In the wild, this fish uses an electric pulse to breed, and during the breeding season, the males tend to favor shallow territories. The male lets out an electric pulse of frequency around 100 Hz to 150 Hz (a rasp) to let the female know he is ready.

The male can give off as much as 10 rasps per minute when the female is present. Once the rasps are given off, the courtship starts. The males display aggressive behavior during this period.

The female Baby Whales lay up to 100-150 eggs in one spawn. Out of this batch , only about 80 survive. The survival rate depends on environmental factors like water conditions and predatory activities.


Baby Whales are carnivorous fish species, so they need high levels of proteins. In their natural habitat, they feed on allochthonous and benthic invertebrates.

You can meet their dietary requirement in captivity by providing them with live, frozen, freeze-dried, or formulated meaty foods.

We have provided you with a list of some appropriate meal options:

  • Black worms
  • Blood worms
  • Live brine shrimps
  • Frozen blood worms
  • Frozen brine shrimps
  • Ghost shrimp

– Feeding Frequency

Feed Baby Whales two to three times daily but avoid overfeeding them. The trick to not overfeeding them is ensuring that you observe their feeding behavior and give them small portions of food they can finish within two minutes.


  • Baby Whale fish is a very active fish with a large brain and high intelligence.
  • They communicate via electric pulses.
  • Their mouth is modified to allow them to feed in the murky waters.

Baby Whale fish earned their names from their Whale-like appearance. However, they are not true mammals. Instead, they have special organs that allow them to navigate through water and communicate between themselves.

Use our article as a guide to keeping your Baby Whale.

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