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Polypterus ornatipinnis (Ornate Polypterus)

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Bichirs are large, predatory fish distinguished by their armoured bodies, numerous dorsal fins, and lobed pectoral and pelvic fins. They have a very ancient look about them, and can make interesting and rewarding pets.

A big species, but very attractive when small so quite widely sold. Juveniles are dark grey with numerous small white spots. Adults have a similar colouration but somewhat faded.

Fish information (behaviour and breeding):

Because of its large size, this fish is best kept alone or with other large but peaceful species such as plecs and large gouramis.

Bichirs are predators and will take a wide variety of live foods including mealworms, river shrimp, and bloodworms. They will also accept dead foods such as frozen prawns, mussels, and lancefish.

Family Group: Miscellaneous
Distribution Congo
Temperature 24-28C
Size Up to 60 cm
Water Parameters Neutral water conditions preferred
Water PH 7.0

Useful sources of information:

The Aqualog "Polypterus" book by Frank Schaefer is by far the most detailed book on species of bichir. To buy a copy of this book click here.