Bichir Bichirs Polypterus Senegalus
Bichirs and the reedfish comprise Polypteridae, a family of archaic-looking ray-finned fishes and the only family in the order Polypteriformes.
All species occur in freshwater habitats in tropical Africa and the Nile River system, mainly swampy, shallow floodplains and estuaries. Polypterids possess paired lungs which connect to the esophagus via a glottis. They are facultative air-breathers, accessing surface air to breathe when the water they inhabit is poorly oxygenated.
How big does a Bichir fish get?
In the wild, Bichir fish, polypterids, have a maximum body length ranging from 25cm (10 inches) to over 100cm (39 in) depending on specific species and morphology. In captivite aquaria, you can expect a bichir to easily achieve 30cm in length. A large aquarium is recommended.
What fish can live with a Bichir?
Bichirs will eat pretty much everything it can fit in its mouth, so do not house with small fish. Ideal tankmates for a Bichir include larger Oscars, Cichlids, Parrotfish, Flowerhorns, large Barbs, medium and large Catfish. Will eat crustaceans, so do not house with crabs, shrimp or snails. Bichirs can be aggressive towards other Bichirs, avoid housing with other bichir fish species.
Do Bichirs have teeth?
Yes, bichir fish have teeth. Bichirs are characterised by a long, thin, eel-like body, pronounced teeth, protruding nostrils, and wide, iridescent eyes.
Approx. supplied size: 6-7" / 15-20cm
Maximum size: 39" / 100cm
Temperament: Predatory, but generally peaceful with similar sized fish
Lighting requirement: low/moderate
Ideal number kept together: 1
Our conditions: pH 7.5, temp 25 °C
Ideal pH: 6.5–7.8
Water flow: low to moderate
Temperature: 22–28 °C
Ease of Care
Moderate. Exercise caution when choosing tankmates. Bichirs can escape and jump, so a secure aquarium lid is essential.
Feed a mixture of meaty food such as bloodworm, mussels, beef heart and other larger fresh and frozen food for predators.
The species does not breed readily in home aquaria.
In captivity, Bichirs can live 10 years in perfect conditions.
Photo is for illustration only - one supplied.
Photo credit(s): thank you to customers Bill Boone and Cassie for their photos! if you would like to share photos of your pet Bichir please contact us!
For more information on general fishkeeping and our shipping procedures click here.