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Polypterus ornatipinnis - Ornate BichirMagyarul / Hungarian
Polypterus ornatipinnis - Ornate BichirPolypterus ornatipinnis - Ornate BichirPolypterus ornatipinnis - Ornate BichirPolypterus ornatipinnis - Ornate Bichir
  • Scientific name: Polypterus ornatipinnis
  • Synonyms: -
  • Common name: Ornate Bichir
  • Group: Other fishes
  • Habitat: Africa; Congo river basin: Angola, Congo, Cameroun. Also found in Lake Rukwa drainage and Lake Tanganyika.
  • Size: 60 cm
  • Biotope: Inhabits in slow-flowing or standing waters, usually among the plants during the day and comes out in the evening to hunt for prey.
  • Social behavior: Quite peaceful, nocturnal fish. Any small fish in the tank will be eaten, but can be kept with large sized, peaceful species. Can be aggressive with conspecifics, especially when there is not enough space to hide.
  • Diet: Carnivorous; it feeds on live and frozen foods such as worms and insect larvae when young, but takes larger food, mainly fish, when adult.
  • Breeding: It is rare, but possible.
  • Tank: Minimum 200 litres
  • Population: 1 pair for 300 litres
  • Decoration: They need a lot of hiding places from stones and roots that big enough to cover them completely. A well planted tank, with sandy substrate, although the fish may tear apart and pull up live plants. The tank must be covered, since they are accurate jumpers.
  • Temperature: 25-28 °C
  • pH: 6-7.5
  • Hardness: 10-18 NK°
  • Lifespan: 10-15 years

Description: The Ornate Bichir is the largest and one of the most attractive of the Polypterus species. Polypterus ornatipinnis has black and yellow patterning on its snake-like body, head, and fins. The base color of its body can range from dark brown to brownish grey. The dorsal fin is divided into 9 to 11 finlets with spines on its back. All finlets can be hidden in a sac, which allows the fish to swim backwards out of tight holes during hunting. The pectoral fins of Ornate Bichir resemble a human hand, and these allow the fish to move on the ground. This fish also has a primitive pair of lungs beside the normal gills, which enabling it to survive out of water for a short time. Most of the Ornate Bichirs available in the aquarium trade are wild caught specimens, but they also do very well in the aquarium environment. Despite it's adult size the fish can be kept in tanks of at least 1 meter in length, as they are not active swimmers. The base area of the aquarium is more important than its height. Being a nocturnal species with poor vision, the Ornate Bichir has developed an excellent sense of smell which they use to locate food in low lighting conditions.

Males have larger anal fin than females. It is possible to breed Polypterus ornatipinnis in aquarium, however it is rare. Male initiates breeding, when wraps his body around the females genital area, while fertilize the eggs which released by the female. During spawning the female deposits the 200-300 adhesive eggs between the plants. The eggs hatch in 4 days at 25 °C, and the parents leave their young to fend for them self. In the wild the fish spawn at the beginning of the raining season, when the swamps flood.