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

Dinosaur eel

The dinosaur eel is the prevalent title for the Gray Bichir, Polypterus Senegalus, although it is a fish and not an eel. There are far more than a dozen species of this fish but the Gray Bichir or Senegalus Bichir is the most prevalent and is common amongst aquarists. This Bichir is included in dark gray horizontal bands that become paler as the fish grows. Some Bichirs can attain about three toes in duration, while most species, including the Senegalus Bichir, improve to around a single foot.

Organic habitat

In their native habitat they can be found in lakes, rivers, floodplains and swamps in Africa, primarily the Congo River and Nile. They are able of surviving in waters with small oxygen material and can transfer in research of food stuff or to find other soaked regions in their residence dries in time of drought.

Attribute attributes

The misnomer of dinosaur eel (hereafter referred to as Bichir) will come from the prehistoric visual appeal of this elongated fish. Its snake-shaped entire body is included by thick, bone-like scales created of an enamel-like substance named ganoine, which resembles the now extinct earliest ray-finned fishes. It has a unique series of up to 18 dorsal finlets, each and every a single with a sharp backbone, which are erected when it is agitated. The fleshly pectoral fins, which handle the gradual movement of the fish, are hooked up at the rear of and below the gill openings. It is also capable to vacation about land working with its robust pelvic fins. Bichirs can also breathe air through a lung-like modification to their swim bladder. Other properties contain a pair of blowholes, a long reduce jaw and external nostrils which protrude from the nose to allow the Bichir to hunt by smell considering that its eyesight is very poor. Females are likely to be much larger than males, when adult males have thicker dorsal spines and broader anal fins.

Eating plan

Bichirs are predatory and basically carnivorous and will assault and feed on smaller fish that are uncomplicated to swallow as properly as gradual-relocating fish. They will also try to eat insects, crustaceans and frogs. Considering the fact that they are nocturnal they will feed mostly at evening.


Immediately after a series of energetic twisting movements, the male Bichir fertilizes the eggs by enveloping the female’s genital opening with his anal and caudal fin. He then scatters the eggs working with thrashing movements of his tail. It is difficult, however, to get Bichirs to breed in captivity. Some aquarists have famous that even if a male and feminine are present, the male is normally unresponsive and will not fertilize the eggs the feminine releases.

Aquarium dimensions

Due to the duration Bichirs improve and their have to have to breathe air, it is important they are housed in long tank aquariums that are not as well deep, quite possibly even a fish tank desk. Purpose for an aquarium that is at minimum three instances the adult dimensions of the Bichir you have or program to obtain. Pick fish tank aquariums that are no far more than eighteen inches deep and do not fill entirely with drinking water. This is important as Bichirs have to have to be capable to breathe from the air and hence have to be capable to swim quickly to the area and back to the base the place they dwell.

Becoming capable to use oxygen from the air permits Bichirs to survive out of drinking water for several hrs. Presented this and the point that they have the instinct to transfer out of a single position in research of food stuff in another, it is advised to have a limited-fitting lid on your aquarium!

Aquarium decor

A skinny layer of smooth sand or gravel is good as substrate. Bichirs also like hiding places, primarily as they like to continue to be out of the gentle all through the working day. So it is substantially far more satisfying for them to have robust vegetation, rocks and tunnels which enable them to show far more organic behaviours. Crops hooked up to wood work most effective as Bichirs are likely to displace vegetation rooted in the substrate for the reason that of their dimensions and when exploring for food stuff.

Water conditions

As they are tropical freshwater fish, Bichirs require a temperature of 75-85 F. They like a pH of 7 or marginally below and like drinking water that is a small difficult. Of training course, it is important to perform regular drinking water changes to be certain the quality of drinking water is great in your tropical freshwater aquariums.

Aquarium lighting

Bichirs are nocturnal so they will be typically lethargic all through the working day and active at evening. Somewhat than switching the aquarium lights off entire, deliver the semblance of a organic dusk by installing a blue moonlight bulb so you as well can working experience some action from your Bichir!


Becoming carnivorous, Bichirs love to be fed baitfish, mussels, shrimps and bloodworms. They will also quickly accept frozen meals. Some aquarists have tried to stimulate them to get dry meals by only giving them until their hunger overcomes them, and have found they can adapt Ok. On the other hand, I would point out that this is not their organic food plan.

Tank mates

Presented the huge dimensions of Bichirs and their predatory nature, it is extremely important to match them with acceptable tank mates. Do not maintain them with fish lesser than three inches which can deliver a completely ready meal! It is better to match Bichirs with more substantial fish as they will not bother as substantially with fish they can’t swallow. Siamese Tigerfish, Angelfish, huge Barbs, Cichlids and Knifefish are doable tank mates. It has been noticed that suckermouth Catfish are likely to suck on the pores and skin of Bichirs which irritates them and so it is not encouraged to maintain each styles of base-dwelling fish. Also steer clear of matching them with extremely aggressive species. In a really huge fish tank it will be doable to maintain several Bichirs collectively, offered they are around the identical dimensions. They really should generally tolerate each and every other, aside from fighting about the food stuff!

To maintain or not to maintain?

Bichirs are appealing specimen fish but do be aware of all the troubles concerned in holding them, primarily the dimensions of the tank and the other tropical freshwater fish you have or program to have. Bichirs also cost far more to maintain than other fish, although they are a really hardy breed. Trying to keep Bichirs in a acceptable natural environment involves watchful planning!

Source by Jill Kaestner


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