27 Bichir Fish Profile Facts: Traits, Size, Types, Food, Care

bichir fish_
(Last Updated On: November 8, 2023)

The world of bichir fish encompasses a diverse and intriguing array of species, each with its unique attributes and characteristics. These ancient fish, belonging to the family Polypteridae, have evolved over millions of years, resulting in several distinct species, each with its own set of features and adaptations that captivate the imagination of aquarists and biologists alike. This article is going to discuss the bichir fish in depth.

Bichir Fish Profile Facts: Traits, Size, Types, Food, Care

Exploring the rich tapestry of bichir species, whether through personal observation in an aquarium or through the pages of a book, offers a captivating journey into the fascinating world of these prehistoric creatures, a testament to the enduring wonder of the natural world.

1. Bichirs: Enigmatic Predators of the Aquarium World

Bichirs, often described as enigmatic denizens of the aquatic realm, are peculiar feeder fish that bring a touch of mystique to any aquarium. These remarkable creatures possess a unique blend of behavioral traits that make them both fascinating and challenging to keep. Characterized by their moderate aggression, bichirs can be considered relatively peaceful when cohabiting with larger tankmates.

These nocturnal predators, shrouded in the veil of darkness, emerge from the shadows to hunt, adding a hint of intrigue to the aquarium’s ambiance. However, one must exercise caution when housing bichirs of their kind, for they are known to exhibit regional and aggressive tendencies toward other bichirs of the same species. The proclivity of bichirs to elude captivity should not be underestimated, making it highly recommended that aquarists take precautionary measures to ensure their charges remain securely within their aquatic confines.

2. The Compatibility Conundrum: Choosing the Right Tankmates

When considering suitable companions for bichirs, one must carefully weigh the options. These fascinating creatures tend to coexist harmoniously with larger fish species. Think of magnificent tankmates such as Oscars, Blood Parrots, Flowerhorns, Big Barbies, and Knifefish, as well as Medium and Large Catfish. The greater peaceful African Cichlids, with their vibrant colors and distinct personalities, can also complement the enigmatic bichirs.

However, it’s crucial to be mindful of the pace at which your chosen tank companions consume their meals. Bichirs, characterized by their unhurried movements, may encounter difficulties in securing their share of the nourishment amidst faster, more agile tankmates. This dietary challenge adds another layer of intrigue to the intricate ecosystem within the aquarium.

3. The Social Dynamics of Bichirs: Group Living and Sizing Up the Aquarium

The decision to keep multiple bichirs within a single aquatic habitat can be both alluring and challenging. While these mysterious creatures may occasionally grapple with food scarcity when cohabiting, they generally display remarkable tolerance towards one another. However, this camaraderie comes with a caveat – all bichirs within the group must be approximately of the same size. Disparities in size could disrupt the delicate equilibrium, leading to conflicts and potentially even harm within the group.

Moreover, if one aspires to foster a community of bichirs, a capacious aquarium becomes an imperative. The spacious confines provide these intriguing fish with the physical and psychological room they need to coexist peacefully. In this manner, the enigmatic world of bichirs unfolds within the aquarium, a world where social dynamics, predation, and peculiarities intertwine to create a captivating aquatic spectacle.

4. Unveiling the Remarkable Bichirs: Masters of Aquatic Respiration

The Bichirs, a peculiar and captivating group of aquatic creatures, possess a distinctive ability that sets them apart from their fellow denizens of the underwater realm. These extraordinary fish exhibit a penchant for utilizing their spiracles, tiny, specialized respiratory organs located just behind their eyes, to draw in life-sustaining oxygen. This curious behavior is most pronounced when they find themselves in the confinements of shallow waters, where their bodies are unable to assume the necessary incline for air to be respired through their mouths. It is within these unique circumstances that the Bichirs unveil their ambitions of ease, employing a mode of respiration that is nothing short of captivating.

5. Glorious Oddities: The Unique Features of Bichirs

Intriguingly, Bichirs are not only defined by their unconventional respiratory method but also by their grandeur in size. These aquatic behemoths can attain an impressive length of up to 38 inches, a testament to the remarkable diversity that exists within the piscine kingdom. Moreover, their sheer size is just one facet of the numerous unique features that render this fish breed truly glorious in its singularity. Their peculiar blend of characteristics makes them a subject of fascination for both seasoned aquarists and enthusiasts of the natural world.

6. A Deeper Dive into Bichir Feeding Habits

When it comes to feeding your Bichir, a thoughtful selection of food is paramount. These remarkable aquatic creatures exhibit a preference for meaty sustenance, and their palate delights in a diverse array of options. Consider offering delectable morsels such as succulent fish fillets, flavorful meatballs, tantalizing shrimp, delectable bloodworms, scrumptious oysters, and the delicate silverside. Feeding your Bichir once a day is the general rule of thumb, ensuring they receive the necessary sustenance to thrive.

7. Dietary Adventures in the Aquarium: Bichirs and Snails

In the underwater realm of your aquarium, Bichirs showcase their discerning taste as they readily recognize snails as a delectable treat. These captivating creatures can often be observed engaging with snails, pushing them against the aquarium glass in anticipation of a flavorful encounter. While it may require some patience, your Bichirs will, more often than not, wholeheartedly indulge in this culinary adventure, at first testing the waters to savor the new addition to their diet.

8. A Gourmet Feast for Ornate Bichirs

The Ornate Bichir, a species with its unique dietary preferences, thrives on a diet that’s nothing short of a gourmet feast. A well-rounded menu for these exquisite aquatic beings encompasses a rich selection of meaty delights. Feast your eyes upon their preferred options: an assortment of feeder fish, including succulent shrimp and oysters, raw shrimp brimming with flavor, and the delicate silk sides that awaken their taste buds. Additionally, the lance fish finds its place on their culinary journey. While some Bichirs may dabble with commercial meat pellets and wafers, they often exhibit a penchant for the genuine article – either straight from the source or in the form of frozen delicacies.

9. Diving into the World of Bichir Fish

Embark on an exploration of the Bichir fish, a genus known as Polypterus, gracing the freshwater rivers and lakes of western and central Africa with its presence. Within the family of polypteridae and the order of polypeptides, these remarkable creatures find their place in the aquatic tapestry of the African landscape. Their habitat offers a diverse and rich environment, inspiring an equally diverse range of species within this genus.

10. The Majestic Polypterus Endlicheri Congicus: A Record-Breaking Giant

Amidst the world of Bichirs, the Polypterus endlicheri congicus stands tall as a true colossus. Its majestic presence is unrivaled, as it can reach astonishing lengths of up to 97 centimeters, equivalent to approximately 36 inches. While historical accounts have narrated tales of Nile sewage water hosting specimens extending up to an incredible 5 feet, these claims remain unsubstantiated, leaving the realm of speculation and wonder. This exceptional species of Bichir exemplifies the intriguing diversity found in this ancient lineage of fish, captivating aquatic enthusiasts with its impressive dimensions.

11. An Amphibious Marvel: Bichirs’ Extraordinary Adaptations

Beyond their substantial size and extraordinary respiratory habits, Bichirs possess yet another astonishing adaptation that sets them apart. These enigmatic fish, in a display of amphibious prowess, can respire surface air. This feat is achieved through their specially designed swim bladder, an organ primarily responsible for buoyancy control in many fish species. Bichirs harness the power of their swim bladder uniquely, allowing them to venture briefly onto land, where they utilize their rectal wings, specialized fin-like structures, to engage in crawling movements. This remarkable duality in their respiration and locomotion is a testament to their remarkable adaptation to their aquatic habitats.

12. The Grand Aquarium: A Home Fit for Bichirs

Given their considerable size and specific needs, Bichirs are not creatures that can be accommodated within just any aquarium. These remarkable fish, standing tall at an impressive 12 inches on average, require an aquatic abode that befits their grandeur. Experts in the field recommend a minimum tank size of 40 gallons to provide them with ample space to thrive. However, for those who aspire to house larger specimens, such as the rhetorical trials of the Bichir world, a capacious tank of 180 gallons becomes a necessity to meet their requirements. Creating a suitable habitat for these majestic aquatic beings is indeed a task of no small undertaking.

13. Varied Species, Varied Sizes: The World of Bichirs

Within the realm of Bichirs, one discovers a captivating array of species, each with its unique characteristics and dimensions. While the average Bichir may reach an impressive 12 inches in height, some ornamental varieties can extend to even greater lengths. An essential aspect to consider when delving into the world of Bichirs is the need to differentiate between species, as the requirements can vary greatly depending on their particular traits. For instance, the smallest among them, the Polypermase Ansorji, attains a relatively modest size of only 20 cm, highlighting the fascinating diversity that these creatures encompass.

14. Feeding Regimens and Dietary Considerations for Bichirs

The maintenance and well-being of Bichirs extend beyond their habitat requirements; their dietary needs demand careful consideration as well. When feeding these remarkable fish, it is crucial to tailor their nutrition to their size and metabolic rate. Whether indulging in a direct diet of brine shrimp or other aquatic fare, the frequency of feeding must be adapted accordingly. A commonly accepted guideline is to offer these aquatic giants a meal proportionate to their size, with a general rule being a small-sized meal for every inch of their height. For conscientious caretakers, it is essential to monitor the feeding regimen closely and make dietary adjustments as needed to ensure the health and vitality of their Bichir companions.

15. Bichir Fish Reproduction and Parental Care

Intriguingly, the female bichir fish exhibits impressive reproductive behavior, depositing a substantial number of eggs, ranging from 100 to 300, over several days. This act is not a one-time affair but rather a series of egg depositions. The male, equally involved in the intricate courtship, contributes by fertilizing these eggs near the genitalia of its female counterpart, in a heartwarming display of affection. This union results in a touching bond between the fishy partners. As the male takes on the responsibility of fertilizing the eggs, it then meticulously tends to its unborn offspring, ensuring their safety and well-being. These eggs are thoughtfully placed amidst aquatic plants, offering them both protection and nourishment for their journey into the aquatic world.

16. Unique Anatomy of Bichir Fish

The bichir fish, characterized by its distinctive appearance, boasts a body that is akin to a serpent in shape, endowed with large, porous pectoral fins that serve as its wings through the aquatic realm. These wings, adapted for aquatic flight, give the bichir a remarkable semblance to prehistoric creatures, evoking a sense of awe and curiosity. When it comes to size, adult bichir fish exhibit significant variability, with dimensions spanning from 11 inches to an impressive 28 inches, marking them as truly captivating inhabitants of the underwater domain. Their longevity, a testament to their adaptability and hardiness, can extend up to an astonishing 15 to 20 years, provided that they reside in favorable living conditions.

17. Bichir Fish Anatomy and Measurements

The intriguing anatomy of the bichir extends to its jaw structure, where the upper jaw noticeably surpasses the lower one, imparting a rather unique facial profile. Additionally, these fascinating creatures bear between eight to eleven dorsal finlets, further accentuating their captivating appearance. The species P. come, specifically P. meridionalis, exhibits equally remarkable size variations. In their natural habitat, they can grow to a remarkable length of approximately 110 centimeters (44 inches). In contrast, when kept in captivity, they may reach a still-impressive size of up to 81 centimeters (32 inches). This distinct contrast between wild and captive growth highlights the intricacies of their biology and adaptation to varying environments.

18. Bichir Fish: A Living Relic of the Past

One of the most captivating aspects of bichir fish lies in their rich history and connection to prehistoric times. Fossils of bichir fish have been unearthed in both Africa and South America, shedding light on their existence dating back some 118 million years, during the Mesozoic Era. This revelation is particularly fascinating as it predates the fragmentation of the supercontinent Gondwana during the Cretaceous period. Remarkably, the bichir fish lineage has endured through these eons of geological and evolutionary changes. However, despite their ancient origins, living bichir fish are currently confined to the continent of Africa, where they continue to serve as living relics, bridging the gap between the distant past and the present aquatic world.

Bichir Fish Profile Facts: Traits, Size, Types, Food, Care

19. Plecos and Bichirs: A Delicate Balance

Maintaining an aquarium is a fascinating endeavor, where the cohabitation of different species requires careful consideration. In this context, the interaction between Plecos and Bichirs emerges as a paramount concern. These two aquatic denizens, though intriguing in their own right, may not be the most harmonious tankmates, and their compatibility warrants a closer look.

Plecos, the members of the Loricariidae family, are known for their distinctive appearance, characterized by their armor-like plating and the ability to attach themselves to surfaces. However, their penchant for rasping on tank mates can become a cause for concern, particularly when it comes to Bichirs. These remarkable creatures, with their elongated bodies and ancient lineage, may find themselves at odds with Plecos. The potential issue arises from Plecos’ habit of removing a slimy layer of mucus from their tank mates, especially in dimly lit conditions.

The ramifications of this peculiar Pleco behavior can be rather dire for your Bichirs. The removal of this mucous layer can expose Bichirs to various infections and leave them vulnerable to pathogens like Bacillus. This unfortunate circumstance, if left unchecked, could ultimately lead to the demise of your beloved Bichirs. Therefore, it is imperative to carefully consider the compatibility of these two unique aquatic species when creating your underwater ecosystem.

20. Feeding Bichirs: An Insight into Their Dietary Preferences

Understanding the dietary requirements of Bichirs is an essential aspect of their care and well-being. Contrary to common misconceptions, these captivating creatures do not necessarily rely on live food to thrive. Bichirs, such as the popular Senegal Bichir, can indeed flourish on a well-balanced diet that extends beyond live prey.

A balanced diet for Bichirs can include high-quality pellets specifically formulated for carnivorous fish. These pellets offer the necessary nutrients, proteins, and vitamins to support the growth and health of these fascinating fish. Additionally, including chopped fish and shrimp in their diet can provide them with a diverse range of nutrients, ensuring their dietary needs are met in captivity.

By diversifying their diet and offering these alternatives to live food, you can enhance the well-being of your Bichirs while also simplifying their feeding regimen. This approach not only caters to their nutritional requirements but also makes the task of caring for these incredible creatures more convenient and manageable.

21. The Role of Salt in Bichir and BG Health

In the world of aquarists, the inclusion of salt in aquariums is a practice that serves various purposes, including enhancing the overall well-being of fish. When it comes to Bichirs and other fish, salt can play a beneficial role as long as it is administered in the appropriate dose and with a clear understanding of its implications.

Bichirs, being primarily freshwater species, do not tolerate high salinity levels. However, adding a measured amount of salt to your aquarium can offer several advantages. Salt can be used as a remedy in cases of fish illness, particularly concerning certain species, like the knife fish with a naked back. It can serve as an effective treatment for various common fish ailments, offering relief to your aquatic companions when needed.

Furthermore, when it comes to water temperature, maintaining it within a suitable range is essential for the well-being of your Bichirs. While your current temperature setting appears adequate, some aquarists opt to increase it slightly, often to around 88 degrees Fahrenheit (88°F). This slightly elevated temperature can be beneficial, provided it aligns with the specific requirements of your aquatic inhabitants and any other species coexisting in the same tank. Temperature management is an intricate art in aquarist circles, and small adjustments can have significant impacts on the overall health and vitality of your aquatic community.

22. Bichir Fish Size

The size of bichir fish, a topic of great curiosity among aquarists and fish enthusiasts, is a pivotal aspect to consider when keeping these remarkable aquatic creatures. Bichirs, scientifically classified under the family Polypteridae, are characterized by their elongated, snake-like bodies and are renowned for their ancient lineage, harking back to the days of the dinosaurs. These prehistoric survivors, typically found in African waters, can vary in size depending on the species. The splendid diversity in the size of bichir fish is one of their most intriguing attributes.

Several species of bichirs exist, each exhibiting unique size variations. The Senegal bichir (Polypterus senegalus), for instance, is among the smaller members of the bichir family, with adult sizes ranging from 12 to 16 inches (30 to 40 centimeters). In stark contrast, the ornate bichir (Polypterus ornatipinnis) can grow substantially larger, attaining lengths of up to 24 inches (60 centimeters) or more. Enthusiasts must grasp these size distinctions to make informed decisions about suitable tank dimensions and tankmates.

While the size of bichirs is influenced by various factors, including genetics and environmental conditions, it’s noteworthy that bichirs are slow growers, requiring years to reach their full-size potential. This slow growth, however, contributes to their remarkable longevity, as they can live for several decades when well cared for. Moreover, understanding the typical size of a particular bichir species aids in providing them with the appropriate living space and diet, fostering their health and overall well-being.

23. Bichir Fish Tank

The world of bichir fish ownership extends beyond the mere fascination of their size, delving into the realm of creating a suitable habitat. The bichir fish tank, or aquarium, becomes the canvas on which aquarists craft an environment that mimics the natural conditions of their origin, making it conducive to the well-being of these captivating creatures. The requirements for a bichir tank are multifaceted, necessitating meticulous attention to detail.

To begin with, the tank size is a critical aspect of the bichir habitat. Given the wide-ranging size of bichir species, it’s imperative to choose a tank that provides ample swimming space and accommodates their expected growth. Tanks with capacities ranging from 40 gallons for smaller species to 125 gallons or more for larger bichirs are often recommended. Furthermore, the tank should be adequately secured, as bichirs are known for their penchant for exploration and occasional escapades.

In terms of substrate, bichir fish are primarily bottom-dwellers, and therefore, a soft, sandy substrate is preferred. This substrate not only mirrors their natural environment but also aids in preventing injury to their delicate underbelly. Additionally, the inclusion of driftwood, caves, and vegetation provides essential hiding spots and enhances the aesthetics of the tank.

Maintaining water parameters is of paramount importance. Bichirs are typically found in slow-moving, freshwater environments with stable conditions. Water temperature should be maintained within the range of 76-82°F (24-28°C), with a pH level of 7.0 to 7.8. Adequate filtration and regular water changes are imperative to ensure optimal water quality and the health of these captivating creatures.

24. Bichir Fish Size

The size of bichir fish, a topic of great curiosity among aquarists and fish enthusiasts, is a pivotal aspect to consider when keeping these remarkable aquatic creatures. Bichirs, scientifically classified under the family Polypteridae, are characterized by their elongated, snake-like bodies and are renowned for their ancient lineage, harking back to the days of the dinosaurs. These prehistoric survivors, typically found in African waters, can vary in size depending on the species. The splendid diversity in the size of bichir fish is one of their most intriguing attributes.

Several species of bichirs exist, each exhibiting unique size variations. The Senegal bichir (Polypterus senegalus), for instance, is among the smaller members of the bichir family, with adult sizes ranging from 12 to 16 inches (30 to 40 centimeters). In stark contrast, the ornate bichir (Polypterus ornatipinnis) can grow substantially larger, attaining lengths of up to 24 inches (60 centimeters) or more. Enthusiasts must grasp these size distinctions to make informed decisions about suitable tank dimensions and tankmates.

While the size of bichirs is influenced by various factors, including genetics and environmental conditions, it’s noteworthy that bichirs are slow growers, requiring years to reach their full size potential. This slow growth, however, contributes to their remarkable longevity, as they can live for several decades when well cared for. Moreover, understanding the typical size of a particular bichir species aids in providing them with the appropriate living space and diet, fostering their health and overall well-being.

25. Bichir Fish Tank

The world of bichir fish ownership extends beyond the mere fascination of their size, delving into the realm of creating a suitable habitat. The bichir fish tank, or aquarium, becomes the canvas on which aquarists craft an environment that mimics the natural conditions of their origin, making it conducive to the well-being of these captivating creatures. The requirements for a bichir tank are multifaceted, necessitating meticulous attention to detail.

To begin with, the tank size is a critical aspect of the bichir habitat. Given the wide-ranging size of bichir species, it’s imperative to choose a tank that provides ample swimming space and accommodates their expected growth. Tanks with capacities ranging from 40 gallons for smaller species to 125 gallons or more for larger bichirs are often recommended. Furthermore, the tank should be adequately secured, as bichirs are known for their penchant for exploration and occasional escapades.

In terms of substrate, bichir fish are primarily bottom-dwellers, and therefore, a soft, sandy substrate is preferred. This substrate not only mirrors their natural environment but also aids in preventing injury to their delicate underbelly. Additionally, the inclusion of driftwood, caves, and vegetation provides essential hiding spots and enhances the aesthetics of the tank.

Maintaining water parameters is of paramount importance. Bichirs are typically found in slow-moving, freshwater environments with stable conditions. Water temperature should be maintained within the range of 76-82°F (24-28°C), with a pH level of 7.0 to 7.8. Adequate filtration and regular water changes are imperative to ensure optimal water quality and the health of these captivating creatures.

26. Bichir Fish Male or Female

Delving into the intriguing world of bichir fish, it becomes essential to distinguish between the male and female members of this ancient and enigmatic fish family. Bichirs are sexually dimorphic, meaning that males and females exhibit distinct physical characteristics that can aid in differentiation.

One of the most evident distinguishing features between male and female bichirs is their size. In many species, such as the Senegal bichir, males tend to be smaller and more slender than their female counterparts. The size differential becomes more pronounced as bichirs reach maturity, making it relatively straightforward to identify the sexes by mere observation.

Another distinctive trait is the anal fin shape. In males, the anal fin is often longer and more pointed compared to the females, which typically possess shorter, more rounded anal fins. This is particularly evident during the breeding season when the differences in fin morphology become more pronounced as males prepare for courtship and mating.

Reproductive behavior also offers a reliable means of sex determination. During the breeding season, males exhibit more pronounced courtship behaviors, including nest building and increased aggression toward rival males. Female bichirs, on the other hand, may display a swelling of the abdomen when carrying eggs, a physical change that can be readily observed. These various characteristics, combined with attentive observation, enable aquarists to discern the gender of their bichir fish, a vital aspect of managing their care and potential breeding efforts. Fish and Fishing accessories

27. Bichir Fish Species

One of the most well-known bichir species is the Senegal bichir (Polypterus senegalus), renowned for its manageable size and striking appearance. These bichirs exhibit a distinctive pattern of dark spots and lighter regions along their elongated bodies, making them a popular choice among aquarium enthusiasts.

In contrast, the ornate bichir (Polypterus ornatipinnis) is celebrated for its impressive size and striking coloration. These bichirs boast vibrant shades of red, orange, and black, creating a visually captivating spectacle in a well-maintained aquarium.

Beyond these two examples, the world of bichir fish is brimming with other intriguing species, including the saddle bichir (Polypterus endlicheri), marbled bichir (Polypterus palmas), and the intriguing ropefish (Erpetoichthys calabaricus). Each species exhibits its unique combination of size, coloration, and behavior, adding to the fascination and allure of bichir fishkeeping.

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