Common Name: Endlicheri Bichir
Scientific Name: Polypterus endlicherii
Other Names: Saddled Bichir
The Endlicheri Bichir is a distinctive and prehistoric-looking fish known for its elongated body and unique dorsal finlets that run along its back. Its body is often dark with lighter patterns or bands, giving it a saddled appearance. Like other bichirs, it has a lung-like respiratory system that allows it to gulp air from the surface.
Habitat and Distribution:
Endlicheri Bichirs are native to freshwater habitats in Africa, particularly in the Niger, Volta, Gambia, and Senegal river basins. They are commonly found in a variety of environments, including swamps, slow-moving rivers, and floodplains with plenty of vegetation and hiding spots.
Size and Lifespan:
In captivity, they can grow up to 30 inches long, making them one of the larger species in the Polypterus genus. They have a relatively long lifespan and can live for many years with proper care.
Diet and Behavior:
Endlicheri Bichirs are carnivorous and primarily feed on small fish, invertebrates, and crustaceans in the wild. In captivity, their diet can include fish fillets, earthworms, shrimp, and high-quality pellets. They are nocturnal and are most active during the night.
Breeding and Reproduction:
Breeding Endlicheri Bichirs in an aquarium setting is rare and challenging. They are known to be egg scatterers in the wild, but successfully replicating their breeding conditions in captivity requires a large, carefully managed setup.
Aquarium Care and Tank Requirements:
A large aquarium is necessary for this species, given their potential size. A minimum of 250 gallons is recommended for an adult. The tank should have a soft substrate, plenty of hiding places, and a tight-fitting lid, as bichirs can be skilled escape artists. They also require well-oxygenated water with gentle filtration.
Ideal Tank Mates:
Due to their size and predatory nature, Endlicheri Bichirs should be kept with larger, robust fish that are not small enough to be eaten. Suitable tank mates include large catfish, cichlids, and other similarly sized species.
Intermediate to Advanced. Their large size, specific dietary needs, and potential for predation require a hobbyist with some experience in fish keeping.
- Temperature: 75-82°F (24-28°C)
- pH: 6.5-7.8
- General Hardness (GH): 5-20 dGH
- Carbonate Hardness (KH): 4-10 dKH
- Ammonia: 0 ppm
- Nitrite: 0 ppm
- Nitrate: <20 ppm
- Endlicheri Bichirs have the remarkable ability to survive out of water for short periods, thanks to their lung-like respiratory system.
- They are often seen coming to the surface to gulp air, which is a normal behavior for this species.
- Due to their predatory nature and large size, care should be taken in selecting appropriate tank mates and providing a secure environment.
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