FAQs on Bichirs, Family Polypteridae
Related Articles: Bichirs,
Related FAQs: Bichirs 1, & Bichir Identification, Bichir Behavior, Bichir Compatibility, Bichir Systems, Bichir Feeding, Bichir Disease, Bichir Reproduction, & FAQs on:
Ropefish 1, Ropefish 2, & Ropefish ID, Ropefish Behavior, Ropefish Compatibility, Ropefish Selection, Ropefish Systems, Ropefish Feeding, Ropefish Health, Ropefish Reproduction,
African tank (not Rift Lake)
Hello, first off, I would like to commend you on such a wonderful job
that you all do!
I have a 30 gallon (ish) freshwater tank. The tank is 30" x 12.5" x 19",
and has an eggcrate cover. I would like to make it into an African
oddball tank. The fish I plan on using would be an
African Butterflyfish, a leopard Bushfish, a Senegal bichir, and a pair of Kribs.
<Nice fishes, collection; but need more room than a thirty. Perhaps twice this
with/when the bichir is of size>
Aquascaping: I would like to grow Dracaena sanderiana
<Mmm; not an aquatic plant... won't live well or long underwater>
out of the eggcrate,
with maybe the roots immersed in the water. If I only use fresh-cut shoots,
would they eventually begin to have the bamboo cane look?
<Possibly; though can be toxic>
Or would the
shoots remain like shoots? How far into the water could I immerse the
plants before they started not thriving?
Just the white/roots; or planter base if it's already growing in this>
I think it would look really cool
if I could see the bichir weaving between
<Look to some of the members of the genera Vallisneria and Sagittaria>
but I don't want to
sacrifice a few plants for my whims. I also plan on using both free
floating and planted water sprite to provide cover for the African
butterfly fish and the Bushfish.
<A good choice>
Would it be better to grow some Anubias
nana var dwarf on Mopani wood immersed then put it underwater to prevent
algae growth while attaching?
<"Six of one...">
I would like to take some of the Mopani wood
and make half the tank look like a tangle for the Kribs to breed and the
bichir to weave, and the other half with the D. sanderiana/water sprite
the Bushfish/bichir if the Kribs breed.
I know that the African Butterflyfish might require live food at first,
so have started a hydei fruit fly culture for it. Are the fruit flies
small for the fish?
<Should be fine if the fish recognizes them. May have to use aquatic insect
larvae or crustaceans for a while>
How many would you recommend per feeding and how often?
<Five twice a day>
I also plan on weaning it onto freeze-dried bloodworms and cichlid pellets
as a staple. I know that most people like to use crickets, but I don't
think I could handle the crickets.
The Bushfish (for clarification: Ctenopoma acutirostre) I understand
will also require live food at first. I have some white cloud mountain
minnow fry from this summer's breeding project, but am wondering: do the
wcmm fry have Thiaminase?
<Not much; no>
I know that feeder goldfish do, as do fathead
minnows, but what about the wcmm? I plan on weaning the Bushfish to
bloodworms/Mysis/brine shrimp as soon as possible. How do you suggest
<Just starting... very likely to accept w/o much time going by>
I'm thinking of giving it live fry, followed by frozen fry, then
frozen foods via turkey baster. If this will work, how do you suggest
painlessly killing the fry?
<Better to add live>
The Kribs (P. pulcher) seem big enough to withstand the bichir and the
Bushfish. I also think they might provide a tad of color in a
brown tank. I have had experience with convict cichlid breeding in the
past, but are Kribs as prolife rant?
<Not as; no>
I'm hoping that the bichir and the
Bushfish will take care of large amounts of fry, leaving the parents and
with fewer fry. Would this work since the Bushfish and bichir are
<Only time can tell; but in a thirty gallon, likely all fry will be consumed>
They would get Spirulina pellets and plankton/krill sticks.
The bichir (Polypterus senegalus)I know gets to 12" in size...which might
be a tad small maybe?
<Not small; but won't get this big in a thirty>
I saw one at PetSmart, and had to resist the impulse
buy! Again, live foods might have to be used, so more wcmm fry?
<Insect larvae, earthworms, frozen/defrosted meaty foods.... See WWM re>
it would take the plankton/krill sticks and frozen bloodworms and maybe
Miscellanea: Before when I had the tank stocked with fish, I would add
water conditioner, and use a garden hose to fill it up. Something tells
that these fish would either jump, or not appreciate it. I have a RO/DI
unit for my saltwater and shrimp tanks, so would you recommend that
<Depends on your tapwater quality. I would NOT use just RO, RO/DI>
If so, what pH should I buffer to? 6.0? 7.0?
<... see WWM re all these species. Likely somewhere near neutral; but with some
The filter I have so
far is rated for the 30 gallon, but with the large predators, should I
increase water changes/ get a bigger filter?
At the rate that the filter
runs at the moment, the Butterflyfish shouldn't be bothered by excess
Would 33% weekly/bimonthly changes manage the bioload?
<I'd do up to 25% weekly; per the SOP on WWM>
I understand that all
of these fish have been captive bred, so where would I find captive bred
<Stores, fish clubs, the Net>
There is a big event coming up soon, so my family wants me to have it
finished by November. Could I get this done in that time?
Thank you so much!
a person under 18
<Welcome; someone much older. Bob Fenner>
Re: African tank (not Rift Lake)... Stkg., bichirs
Dear Mr. Fenner,
Just to clarify, are you saying that the bichir will not be comfortable in the
30 gallon tank long term?
<Correct... might be fine for a year or two as the only fish here. There are
larger (and a few smaller) Bichir species>
What about the other fish?
<What about them? Other than what is posted on WWM?>
The bichir is the main focal fish that I chose, so if the bichir won't fit, then
I feel that the tank idea would not work. I have a few more ideas in my head of
what to stock, but I'd like to know if the bichir would work first.
the same person under 18
<Am even older now! BobF>
African river system biotope? Stkg... Bichirs...
Hello I have a 55g tank that is fully cycled, running
two HOB style filters and I get about 8x filtration. The only fish in
the tank is a Polypterus senegalus.
<A superb species, probably the best Bichir for the home
I plan on getting a Polypterus delhezi with him.
<This species is grumpy and territorial, and could very easily
bully, damage the P. senegalus. I would not mix them in a small
aquarium like this one (and for Bichirs, 55 gallons is small).>
I want to make the tank into a African biotope loaded with Anubis and
bogwood. I was wondering, would an African brown knife and a Synodontis
cat be pushing the limits, even if I make tons of nooks and crannies
for the fish?
<One Knifefish, three or four Synodontis nigriventris, and a school
of African Red-eye Tetras (Arnoldichthys spilopterus) would be
excellent additions to this aquarium.>
I also want a midlevel to upper level fish in the tank, any
<See above; Arnoldichthys spilopterus is the right size, active, not
nippy, and basically hardy. 55 gallons would be a bit too small for a
school of 6 Congo Tetras, though these are obvious choices for larger
tanks. If you don't mind your plants being destroyed, you could
keep a Distichodus of suitable size instead: I'd recommend
Distichodus affinis as a good choice for an aquarium your size. Cheers,
Re: ornate bichir may be dying..... sel. 9//15/07
Last question for you (for now =) ) do you know where I can find an
ornate bichir? My local fish store carries them but do not look healthy
and are VERY expensive, over $200.00. Any help would be great, thank
you <Greetings. Unless you're in the UK, I can't really help
here. Within the UK, Ornate bichirs aren't terribly rare, and sell
for around Â£15-50 ($30-100) depending on their size. So to
me at least, the price being asked by your retailer seems very high.
But of course it all depends on local market conditions. Some people
buy their fish via online auctions (such as Aquabid) or from mail order
suppliers. These may be options. cheers, Neale>
Polypterus I'm interested in raising Polypterus but
they're one of those obscure species the folks at the pet store
aren't able to tell me much about. I've been reading online for
info and yr page has been incredibly helpful. what I'm thinking
about purchasing is either p. palmas or the armored Bichir, as both
those are available to me. (the Ropefish is a little too big for
my tastes and personally, I don't like it aesthetically...) which
is the smaller of the two and what would be the minimum tank size
requirement if I were to just keep one specimen in the tank with no
other fish? <Polypterus palmas would be/is my choice. At a foot
maximum length it is amongst the smallest of species of Bichirs. A
twenty gallon long (30 inches long) would be the smallest of systems
I'd suggest.> also, since these are able to breathe air, am I
able to get away with just a bubble stone and one of those small
whisper aerators, or do I need an elaborate set up? <Not
really elaborate, but more shallow and well-filtered nonetheless... The
former to ease aerial access, the latter to account for their meaty
foods, messy habits. I would utilize a good outside power filter (at
least a large size hang on the back power type), and take pains to
cover any/all spots where the animal might escape... The family is
notorious at getting out of their glass houses.> anything else you
can tell me about the basic set up would be great. the food information
on the page was informative as well as the community/conspecific
interaction. thanks, -Ming > <So much to say... Get hold of
Gunther Sterba's freshwater aquarium and diversity books and read
about the "many fins"... Bob Fenner>
Polypterus palmas do u know where I can buy a Polypterus
palmas or Polypterus delhezi? and do u know how much they cost?
<These Bichirs ought to be available from your local livestock fish
stores... maybe as special order items. These are amongst the more
commonly readily available species. Otherwise, I would shop around the
not-so local e-tailers WITH the input of actual hobbyist users
opinions. Perhaps start with our Chatforum:
http://talk.wetwebfotos.com/ (ask where, reputation...) and the
annotated list of suppliers on our Links Pages:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/links.htm Cost for Palmas should be in the
$30 U.S. range, Delhezi about ten, fifteen dollars more... plus
shipping and handling if ordered distally. Bob Fenner>
Bichirs Hi I recently just found your site. I had
a few questions about Bichirs before I go out and buy
them. I currently own a 20 gallon freshwater
tank. The only current resident in that tank is a freshwater
moray. I have added some aquarium salt to the tank to
alleviate any problems he's had with breathing. I'm
currently interested in turning this tank into a brackish water tank
and was wondering if Bichirs can cope with brackish
water. Also, what is the most active Bichir you can
recommend as I've heard the ornate Bichirs are very very
shy. Are there any other fish that would do well with these
two species? Oh and do you recommend any equipment for a
brackish water tank? Thanks for your time and I think your
website is great. Peter Kim <Hi Peter, Thank You for your comments
on the site! I would encourage you to keep fish in conditions that they
are evolved to. Bichirs are freshwater tropical African
fish. FW Morays are a Freshwater/brackish/marine
species. I would also be concerned with keeping any of these
species in a 20 gallon tank. Please type in "freshwater
moray" into the Google search at WetWebMedia.com and also see:
to read about Bichirs. Take note of the water chemistry