Bichirs

 
  • Group: Freshwater
  • Size: Large
  • Temperament: Community Aggressive
  • Swimming Region(s): Bottom
  • Suitable Tank Mates: Large species of catfish, Plecos, Silver Dollar, Oscar, Two Spot Cichlid, Bandit Cichlid
  • Difficulty Of Care: Weekly care

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Bichirs are a species of primitive freshwater fish. They are characterized by their long, eel-like bodies and unique dorsal finlets. These spiny finlets vary in number from 7- 18 and have double edged tips. The rest of the bichirs fins are spine-less and are made of soft rays. The bichirs body is covered in thick, bone-like scales which along with its fleshy pectoral fins give it its prehistoric appearance. Most bichirs are large in size and can reach up to 38 inches in length.

Bichirs are also capable of breathing surface air through a specialized swim bladder and can use their powerful pectoral fins to crawl over short distances over land.

Bichirs are a species of primitive freshwater fish. They are characterized by their long, eel-like bodies and unique dorsal finlets.

Origins

All species of bichir are native to tropical Africa and the Nile River.

Color

Bichirs are often dull colored in shades of brown, grey and black.

Maintenance and care

bichirs-1Adult bichirs are primarily bottom dwellers but will often shoot up towards the surface to breathe in air. Therefore it is important that they be kept in large aquariums with sufficient surface space. Bichirs are also powerful jumpers and are known to wander off using their powerful pectoral fins after escaping from aquariums. It is important to cover the bichir’s aquarium with a heavy, tight fitting lid. Bichirs also prefer aquariums with a soft substrate on which they can rest comfortably on. They are a predatory species of fish and also appreciate hiding places made of rocks and drift wood to which they can retreat to.

Although a predatory species of fish, bichirs can coexist peacefully with most large, non-aggressive types of cichlids and catfish. This makes them a great choice of fish for the aquarist looking to start out with raising large predatory species of fish.

Feeding

Bichirs are carnivores and thrive on meaty foods such as shrimp, mussels and baitfish. Bichirs use their sense of smell to locate food and sometimes can be late to discover their feed. Attention should be paid to ensure that bichirs in a community aquarium get their fair share of food.

Adult bichirs are primarily bottom dwellers but will often shoot up towards the surface to breathe in air.

Breeding

The task of breeding bichirs is a highly demanding task which may sometimes take months of planning. Bichirs can also be highly aggressive towards new mates and can start fight each other. Their courtship dance is said to be a long and elaborate series of twists and high speed dashes. It is virtually unheard of for bichirs to breed in the home aquarium.

Aquarium varieties

Curvier Bichir, Ornate Bichir, Weeksii Bichir, etc.

Photo credit: Steven G. Johnson/Wikimedia;  Elma/Flickr


Other Fish

Go to Knifefish

Knifefish

  • Group: Freshwater
  • Size: Extra Large
  • Temperament: Aggressive
  • Swimming Region(s): Bottom
  • Suitable Tank Mates: Pacus, Oscars, Plecostomus, Jaguar Cichlids, Green Terrors, Gars, Tinfoil Barbs, Siamese Tigerfish, Jack Dempsey
  • Difficulty Of Care: Weekly care
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Lake Victoria Cichlids

  • Group: Freshwater
  • Size: Medium-Large
  • Temperament: Aggressive
  • Swimming Region(s): Mid-Range
  • Suitable Tank Mates: Other Lake Victoria Cichlids, Lake Malawi Cichlids; Non-Conspecific Cichlids
  • Difficulty Of Care: Weekly