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Old 18-10-2004, 07:33 PM   #1
yvonne
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Default Bichirs: Introduction

Bichirs belong to the family of Polypteridae of primitive fishes wif Ray-fins.These freshwater fishes have thick bonelike scales wif a series of dorsal fins instead of a single fin.

The are two genera: the genus Erpetoichthys contains only one species - E. calabaricus, known as the Rope or Reed Fish.

The other genus contains the Polypterus species (bichirs), there are currently 16 recognised species, The more commonly encountered ones (In Singapore)are in red as described below.

Erpetoichthys calabaricus - Reedfish or Ropefish
Polypterus ansorgii - Guinean Bichir
Polypterus bichir bichir - Nile Bichir
Polypterus bichir katangae
Polypterus bichir lapradei
Polypterus delhezi - Barred Bichir
Polypterus endlicheri congicus
Polypterus endlicheri endlicheri - Saddled Bichir
Polypterus ornatipinnis - Ornate Bichir
Polypterus palmas buettikoferi

Polypterus palmas palmas - Shortfin Bichir
Polypterus palmas polli
Polypterus retropinnis - West African Bichir

Polypterus senegalus meridionalis
Polypterus senegalus senegalus - Gray Bichir
Polypterus weeksii - Mottled Bichir


Polypterus mainly originate from Africa although there are some which were successfully bred elsewhere.

Bichirs breathe atmospheric air.
Their 2-part, ventrally located, lunglike swimbladder which is connected to their esophagus serves as an accessory breathing organ.
If bichirs are not able to reach the surface of the water to breathe, they will drown, even in waters which are rich in oxygen.

Due to their unique respiratory systems , bichirs are able to stay out of water for a long period of time.
They can also travel on land using their strong pelvic fins.Tight-fitting, weighted tankcovers are thus recommended for bichirs lovers if you don't want them to be 'walking' ard out of your tanks.

Potential maximum size of bichirs can reach to a whooping 3ft in the wild but most species max up to ard 1ft in aquariums.
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Old 18-10-2004, 08:20 PM   #2
yvonne
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Default bichirs:environmental conditions

Habitat

Bichirs are nocturnal by nature, they are secretive in their habits, always hiding and they would prefer subdued lighting.
So it will be a good idea to have hiding places for them in your tanks, driftwoods or rocks will do the trick. Fine sand (gravel) are recommended altho bare tanks will just as fine for them, not to forget it's easier to maintain a gravel-less tank.

Chemical/Physical

Bichirs are hardy fishes which can withstand a wide range of water conditions altho the recommended pH for them is between 7-6.5 pH.
Ideal temperature is between 23-29 degrees C.
Weekly water change of 30% is highly recommended for the best benefit of the bichirs.

Tank set-up

Undergravel filteration is not recommended for bichirs as they are higly capable of digging up the gravel & causing havoc to the UGF.

Live plants are also not recommended altho some hobbyist has successfully kept bichirs in a tank wif plants.

A practical tank size for bichirs will be 4 times the length of your bichirs & try not to overcrowd the tank wif other bottom-dwellers or much smaller tankmates.
Although bichirs are territorial fishes, they can get along rather well wif many other fishes.
What I'll suggest is not to keep tankmates which are considered bite-size to your bichirs, unless you wan them to be your bichirs' meal.

Sexing

Male bichirs have slightly larger anal fins and females have longer & slimmer ones.They can also be differentiate by the size of theri heads, males are believed to have smaller heads den the female specimens.

Breeding

Males bichirs will initiate the spawning wif the female laying a few hundred eggs near his cupped anal fin.
In tropical waters, the young will hatch in abt 4 days.A few species have been bred in captivity with young raised to maturity.

Food

Based on my experience wif bichirs so far, I have notices dat they eat almost anything.
My bichirs feed mainly on live feeders which i feel is the best in beefing them up, altho i feed them MP & pellets as well.

Disease

Altho bichirs are considered hardy fishes, they do succumb to diseases too.
One most commonly seen disease shd be the 'bichir worm' (dunno the actual name) fine hairlike growth are seen all over their bodies in severe cases. Water change & adding salt & Melafix seems to work for me, altho there are other methods which have been discussed but I've not tried them myself.
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Old 18-10-2004, 08:33 PM   #3
yvonne
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Default bichirs:pictures

Erpetoichthys calabaricus - Reedfish or Ropefish

max size up to 90cm (36") altho usually smaller in captivity.





ropefish pics taken from
http://www.whozoo.org/fish/primbony/bichirs.htm
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Old 18-10-2004, 08:49 PM   #4
yvonne
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Polypterus bichir bichir - Nile Bichir

max size up to 75cm (29.5")

pic from my own gallery tho not a very good pic, will update wif a better pic for easier reference.


Last edited by yvonne; 18-10-2004 at 08:59 PM.
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Old 18-10-2004, 08:58 PM   #5
yvonne
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Default

Polypterus bichir lapradei

max size 75cm (29.5")

pic shows the same lapradei in different environment.



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Old 18-10-2004, 09:01 PM   #6
yvonne
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Polypterus delhezi - Barred Bichir

max size 35cm (14")






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Old 18-10-2004, 09:08 PM   #7
yvonne
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Polypterus endlicheri congicus

max size up to 75cm (29.5")



pic taken from

http://www.practicalfishkeeping.co.u...article_id=110
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Old 18-10-2004, 09:09 PM   #8
yvonne
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Polypterus endlicheri endlicheri - Saddled Bichir

max size 75cm (29.5")

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Old 18-10-2004, 09:16 PM   #9
yvonne
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Polypterus ornatipinnis - Ornate Bichir

max size 60cm (24")

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Old 18-10-2004, 09:22 PM   #10
yvonne
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Polypterus palmas buettikoferi

max size 35cm (13.8" ) altho mine seems longer den 13.8"

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