Common Name: Albino Senegal Bichir
Scientific Name: Polypterus senegalus "Albino"
Other Names: Albino Dinosaur Eel, Albino Cuvier's Bichir
The Albino Senegal Bichir is a captivating variation of the standard Senegal Bichir. It exhibits a unique albino trait, characterized by its lack of pigmentation, resulting in a pale, yellowish-white body coloration. The eyes are typically red or pink, a common feature in albino animals. This fish retains the elongated, snake-like body and the series of dorsal finlets characteristic of the Polypterus genus.
Habitat and Distribution: While the standard Senegal Bichir, Polypterus senegalus, is found in various parts of Africa, including the Nile River, Chad Basin, and West African rivers, the albino variant is primarily bred in captivity and does not occur naturally in the wild.
Size and Lifespan: The Albino Senegal Bichir can grow up to about 12-14 inches in length in captivity. With proper care, these fish can live upwards of 10-15 years.
Diet and Behavior: Albino Senegal Bichirs are carnivorous and feed on a variety of meaty foods. In the wild, they consume fish, crustaceans, and insect larvae. In captivity, their diet should include fish fillets, earthworms, frozen or live bloodworms, brine shrimp, and quality carnivorous pellets. They are nocturnal and can be more active during the night.
Breeding and Reproduction: Breeding the Albino Senegal Bichir in captivity can be challenging. They lay adhesive eggs on plants or other surfaces in the water. The breeding process typically requires specific conditions to be met.
Aquarium Care and Tank Requirements: A minimum of a 55-gallon tank is recommended for these bichirs, with a preference for larger tanks as they grow. The substrate should be soft to avoid injury to their underbellies. Moderate lighting is adequate, and the inclusion of hiding spots using driftwood or caves is beneficial.
Ideal Tank Mates: Albino Senegal Bichirs are generally peaceful but may eat smaller fish. Suitable tank mates include medium to large-sized fish that are peaceful to semi-aggressive. They can be kept with other bichirs, larger characins, robust barbs, and some cichlids.
Difficulty Level: Intermediate. While hardy, their size and carnivorous diet require an aquarist with some experience.
- Temperature: 76-82°F (24-28°C)
- pH: 6.2-7.8
- General Hardness (GH): 5-20 dGH
- Carbonate Hardness (KH): 3-10 dKH
- Ammonia: 0 ppm
- Nitrite: 0 ppm
- Nitrate: <40 ppm, but ideally much lower
- Albino Senegal Bichirs, due to their albinism, may be more sensitive to bright lights and may prefer dimmer tank conditions.
- They have primitive lungs, allowing them to breathe atmospheric air, so it's not uncommon to see them occasionally surface for a gulp of air.
- Regular monitoring and water changes are essential to keep the water quality optimal for their health.
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