Keeping Dinosaur Eels (Bichirs) In Tropical Freshwater Fish Tanks or Aquariums

Keeping Dinosaur Eels (Bichirs) In Tropical Freshwater Fish Tanks or Aquariums

Dinosaur eel

The dinosaur eel is the frequent title for the Grey Bichir, Polypterus Senegalus, even though it is a fish and not an eel. There are extra than a dozen species of this fish but the Grey Bichir or Senegalus Bichir is the most frequent and is popular amid aquarists. This Bichir is lined in darkish grey horizontal bands that become paler as the fish grows. Some Bichirs can access about 3 feet in size, even though most species, which includes the Senegalus Bichir, improve to close to one particular foot.

Organic habitat

In their indigenous habitat they can be located in lakes, rivers, floodplains and swamps in Africa, especially the Congo River and Nile. They are able of surviving in waters with very low oxygen content material and can move in search of food items or to discover other damp regions in their residence dries in time of drought.

Characteristic capabilities

The misnomer of dinosaur eel (hereafter referred to as Bichir) comes from the prehistoric overall look of this elongated fish. Its snake-shaped body is lined by thick, bone-like scales built of an enamel-like compound called ganoine, which resembles the now extinct earliest ray-finned fishes. It has a distinctive series of up to 18 dorsal finlets, every one particular with a sharp backbone, which are erected when it is agitated. The fleshly pectoral fins, which regulate the slow movement of the fish, are connected guiding and under the gill openings. It is also capable to journey about land making use of its solid pelvic fins. Bichirs can also breathe air by means of a lung-like modification to their swim bladder. Other features consist of a pair of blowholes, a lengthy lower jaw and external nostrils which protrude from the nose to enable the Bichir to hunt by smell because its eyesight is poor. Girls tend to be larger sized than males, while adult males have thicker dorsal spines and broader anal fins.

Diet plan

Bichirs are predatory and primarily carnivorous and will assault and feed on little fish that are easy to swallow as well as slow-transferring fish. They will also take in insects, crustaceans and frogs. Since they are nocturnal they will feed mostly at night.


Soon after a series of energetic twisting actions, the male Bichir fertilizes the eggs by enveloping the female’s genital opening with his anal and caudal fin. He then scatters the eggs making use of thrashing actions of his tail. It is complicated, nevertheless, to get Bichirs to breed in captivity. Some aquarists have pointed out that even if a male and woman are current, the male is often unresponsive and will not fertilize the eggs the woman releases.

Aquarium measurement

Due to the size Bichirs improve and their need to breathe air, it is critical they are housed in lengthy tank aquariums that are not also deep, potentially even a fish tank desk. Intention for an aquarium that is at the very least 3 occasions the adult measurement of the Bichir you have or program to purchase. Pick out fish tank aquariums that are no extra than eighteen inches deep and do not fill totally with drinking water. This is critical as Bichirs need to be capable to breathe from the air and as a result have to be capable to swim swiftly to the floor and again to the base exactly where they dwell.

Staying capable to use oxygen from the air permits Bichirs to endure out of drinking water for numerous hours. Given this and the reality that they have the intuition to move out of one particular place in search of food items in yet another, it is encouraged to have a limited-fitting lid on your aquarium!

Aquarium decor

A skinny layer of soft sand or gravel is good as substrate. Bichirs also like hiding areas, especially as they want to continue to be out of the mild throughout the working day. So it is a lot extra pleasing for them to have robust vegetation, rocks and tunnels which let them to display screen extra purely natural behaviours. Plants connected to wood work best as Bichirs tend to displace vegetation rooted in the substrate due to the fact of their measurement and when seeking for food items.

Drinking water conditions

As they are tropical freshwater fish, Bichirs demand a temperature of 75-85 F. They like a pH of 7 or a little bit under and want drinking water that is a tiny really hard. Of study course, it is critical to accomplish repeated drinking water variations to ensure the top quality of drinking water is good in your tropical freshwater aquariums.

Aquarium lighting

Bichirs are nocturnal so they will be typically lethargic throughout the working day and active at night. Relatively than switching the aquarium lights off total, deliver the semblance of a purely natural dusk by putting in a blue moonlight bulb so you also can working experience some motion from your Bichir!


Staying carnivorous, Bichirs really like to be fed baitfish, mussels, shrimps and bloodworms. They will also quickly acknowledge frozen foodstuff. Some aquarists have tried out to motivate them to acquire dry foodstuff by only giving them right up until their starvation overcomes them, and have located they can adapt Ok. Even so, I would mention that this is not their purely natural diet regime.

Tank mates

Given the substantial measurement of Bichirs and their predatory mother nature, it is incredibly critical to match them with suited tank mates. Do not continue to keep them with fish scaled-down than 3 inches which can deliver a all set food! It is better to match Bichirs with bigger fish as they will not trouble as a lot with fish they simply cannot swallow. Siamese Tigerfish, Angelfish, substantial Barbs, Cichlids and Knifefish are feasible tank mates. It has been noticed that suckermouth Catfish tend to suck on the skin of Bichirs which irritates them and so it is not suggested to continue to keep each varieties of base-dwelling fish. Also stay away from matching them with extremely intense species. In a pretty substantial fish tank it will be feasible to continue to keep numerous Bichirs with each other, presented they are close to the same measurement. They should really commonly tolerate every other, aside from battling about the food items!

To continue to keep or not to continue to keep?

Bichirs are appealing specimen fish but do be mindful of all the issues associated in holding them, especially the measurement of the tank and the other tropical freshwater fish you have or program to have. Bichirs also price extra to continue to keep than other fish, even though they are a pretty hardy breed. Keeping Bichirs in a suited setting demands very careful planning!

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