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Polypterus senegalus - Senegal Bichir, Cuvier's BichirMagyarul / Hungarian
Polypterus senegalus - Senegal Bichir, Cuvier's BichirPolypterus senegalus - Senegal Bichir, Cuvier's BichirPolypterus senegalus - Senegal Bichir, Cuvier's BichirPolypterus senegalus - Senegal Bichir, Cuvier's BichirPolypterus senegalus - Senegal Bichir, Cuvier's Bichir
  • Scientific name: Polypterus senegalus
  • Synonyms: Polypterus arnaudii, Polypterus senegalensis
  • Common name: Senegal Bichir, Cuvier's Bichir
  • Group: Other fishes
  • Habitat: Africa, White Nile up to Lake Albert, Lake Rudolf and Lake Chad; Senegal, Gambia, Niger
  • Size: 30 cm
  • Biotope: In marshy, vegetation choked waters from the Nile River, or in lakes.
  • Social behavior: Among themselves they are quite quarrelsome and aggressive fishes. Often there is fighting. The animals are pronounced predators.
  • Diet: Carnivorous; almost exclusively live foods; also eat fish and crustacean meat.
  • Breeding: No reports are available about successful aquarium breeding.
  • Tank: Minimum 200 litres
  • Population: 1 pair for 250 litres
  • Decoration: Provide an aquarium with a large surface area, relatively shallow water (30 cm) and hiding places of stones and roots. Vegetation should be sparse, leaving enough free room. Substrate of sand or fine gravel.
  • Temperature: 24-28 °C
  • pH: 6,2-7,8
  • Hardness: 5-20 NK°
  • Lifespan: 8-12 years

Description: This fish has an elongated body with nine dorsal rays, which make up the dorsal fin. The pectoral fins are fan-shaped, and the anal and pelvic fins are located far back on the body, near the caudal fin. Their scales are hard and shiny and are different from other fish by their rhomboid shape. The coloration is variable: the back ranges from olive to brown to slate gray-green. The flanks are lighter and the belly is white. The head is small and lizard-like with a gaping mouth and small eyes on either side.

Unlike the more modern fish the Bichirs do not have a swim bladder but have developed an air breathing organ, which acts similar to a lung and allows them to gulp at the surface for air. Senegal Bichir are a very hardy fish and can become quite tame in a home aquarium, even take foods from the owner's hand. They are a bottom dweller and do most of the food foraging at night. They have a highly developed sense of smell and will know as soon as food is added to the tank.

Only a few details are available about their spawnings in captivity. Some aquarists say that the addition of cooler water and a decrease in water hardness is initiate spawning. The eggs are laid amongst plants. Start feeding with small live foods. The young must go through a larval stage in which they have external gills.

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