good info on Polypterus by Delhezi222

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good info on Polypterus by Delhezi222

Postby Admin » Wed Feb 20, 2013 3:14 pm ... 1592154/1/ ... hp?t=65770

What are Polypterus:
Polypterus are a group of fish, often also referred to as bichirs. They are one of the oldest groups of fish, and this shows when you see the way they look. Polypterus are quickly growing in popularity, and are sold by many fish stores across the nations. Polypterus are popular because of their strange appearance and interesting behavior.

Species of Polypterus:
There are numerous species of Polypterus. They are split into two groups, upper jaw and lower jaw. The upper jaws are called that because the upper jaw of the fish protrudes over the lower jaw. The lower jaws are called their name because the opposite is true for them. As a general rule, lower jaws grow larger than upper jaws. Below, I have listed all the species names of polypterus, any common names, their maximum size, minimum tank size, any subspecies of said species, and a short description of each.
Upper Jaw Species:
Polypterus Senegalus Senegalus, Senegal Bichir: 12" maximum size. 40g breeder minimum tank size, although 30g tank is possible with extremely good filtration and frequent water changes. The most common species of Polypterus, the senegal bichir is often recommended to beginners becuase of it's activeness and ease of care.
Subspecies: Polypterus Senegalus Meridionalis: Has not been documented in science or fishkeeping before, and the only rumored difference between it and the more common species of Senegalus is that this species is said to grow larger.

Polypterus Ornatipinnis, Ornate Bichir: 24"+ maximum size. 75g+ tank is recommended for best growth, and bigger is always better. The ornate bichir is another common species of Polypterus. They are one of the largest species of upper jaw bichir. Many fishkeepers keep this species for it's interesting and ornate coloration.

Polypterus Delhezi, Armored Bichir: 12-14" maximum size. 55g minimum tank size. Although not common in fish stores, the armored bichir is fairly easy to get for a reasonable price. They are an average size for upper jaw species, and are kept by many people for their activeness and their very bold stripes. They are another good bichir for beginners.

Polypterus Palmas Variants: There are three species of Polypterus in the palmas complex, all of which are nearly identical aside from minor coloration and behavioral differences. The first species is Polypterus palmas palmas, which grows to about 12-13". The second is Polypterus Palmas Polli, which grows to about 14". The third is Polypterus Palmas Buettikoferi, which also grows to about 12-13". All three of these fish need a 55g or bigger tank. Also, all three are fairly easy to buy, are sometimes seen in fish stores, and are a favorite of many fishkeepers. They are often kept because of their unique coloration.

Polypterus Retropinnis: Around 12-14" maximum size. At least a 55g minimum tank size. Polypterus Retropinnis is one of the rarer species of upper jaw polypterus. It is seldom seen in stores, but can be bought through specialists and internet sites for a good price. This species can often be confused for other species of bichir, such as palmas sp. or weeksii.

Polypterus Weeksii, Weeks' or fat-headed bichir: Can grow to 20" maximum size. At least a 75g tank is recommended for minimum tank size. This species of bichir is one of the largest upper jaw species. It has dark, bold stripes and can be recognized by it's head, which is large in comparison to it's body. It is not too rare, but do not expect to find it in most stores.

Polypterus Teugelsi: Can get up to 20" long. 75g+ is recommended for minimum tank size. This is one of the rarest species of upper jaw species, perhaps the rarest. Because of this, you are almost certain to never find this species in stores, and if you do, it will likely command quite a large price. It is much more elongated than most bichirs, and has very interesting coloration, making it a favorite of many fishkeepers.

Polypterus Mokelembembe: Probably grows around 14" maximum size. A 55g+ tank will be fine for minimum tank size. Not much is known about this species. It was recently named it's own species, and it was previously known as Polypterus Retropinnis, which it no longer is due to the differences between it and the true retropinnis. It is another of the rarest upper jaw species, and it can be fairly expensive.

Erpetoichthys Calabaricus, Ropefish or Reedfish: Can grow up to 18-20" maximum size in captivity, grows slightly larger in the wild. Needs only a 55g minimum tank size. This species is very different from other species of Polypterus. It is much more elongated, even to the point of being confused with an eel. It has a wide range of coloration, anywhere from light orange, to dark green, to a simple shade of brown. They can be kept in large groups, and are said to be more active when they are.

Lower Jaw Species:
Polypterus Endlicheri Endlicheri, Saddled Bichir: 30-32" maximum size. At least 120g minimum tank size. This species is the most common of the lower jaw species. It is a brown color, with many bold stripes. It is also one of the larger bichirs.
Subspecies: Polypterus Endlicheri Congicus, Congo Bichir: Can grow 36"+. Needs a tank that is at least as wide as the fish is long, and twice as long as the fish. A 180g will do if you can't go larger. This fish is often said to be the largest species of Polypterus, rivaled by only Polypterus Bichir Bichir and Polypterus Ansorgii.

Polypterus Bichir Bichir: Can grow up to 30"+. Needs at least a 180g, bigger would be better. This species is often said to be the rarest species of Polypterus. Only a small handful of people own this fish, and this fish costs a hefty amount. It is also one of the largest Polypterus.

Polypterus Bichir Lapradei: Grows up to 24". Needs around a 120g tank for minimum tank size. This is one of the more common species of lower jaw Polypterus. There are a few different coloration variants, because of different locations of collection in the wild.

Polypterus Ansorgii: Can grow to 30"+. At least a 180g tank is recommended. This is one of the rarest and most expensive species. It also is one of the largest. It is often liked because of it's size and coloration.

Tank Set-up and Decor:
There are many things to keep in mind when planning a tank fo Polypterus. Although they are very hardy fish, a better environment promotes better growth. The first thing to consider in the tank is the filtration. Nothing special is needed as Polypterus are pretty durable, but you need to have a large enough filter so that the water quality is good enough. Heating is also another important aspect of the tank set-up. The heater needs to be strong enough to consistently keep the tank at a temperature between 78-84 degrees Fahrenheit. The tank needs to be well covered. Polypterus are known as notorious escape artists, and they can slither out of almost any open holes. The only ways to prevent this are either by having a lid that covers all the openings or by lowering the water level by a few inches. The final part of set-up is the lighting. Polypterus prefer a dim lighting, so keep that in mind when choosing lights. After you have finished all of the set-up, you will move onto the decor. The first part of the decor is the substrate. The substrate is something that you will have to be very careful about. Sand is recommended for Polypterus, but you can have gravel if you are careful. However, the gravel must follow some very specific guidelines. It can't be too sharp, because sharp objects can damage a bichir's slimecoat. It also must be either very small or too large to be swallowed, because if Polypterus swallow gravel they could possibly either choke or die from not being able to pass the gravel. The other point in the decor is that you should have some kind of cover. Polypterus like to hide at times, and cover obviously promotes this. You can either use driftwood as cover, or you could make your own cover using rocks or artificial caves. If you follow these guidelines for tank set-up, taking care of your Polypterus should be fairly easy.
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Re: good info on Polypterus by Delhezi222

Postby jamf » Sat Feb 23, 2013 12:42 am

If you ever want to see some interesting behavior both on the part of the predator and the 'prey', try this out:


Polypterus Ornatipinnis

in a tank of Clown Loaches. Given the loaches general demeanor, they tempt fate; Occasionally the result being that the Poly will (could?) have a much larger than able to swallow loach in mouth. And he will not 'let go'! (No escaping me...) So what to do? Simple. Head to nearest hard object (rock, etc?) and with a hammering motion keep hitting his prey against the rock. Like I initially said: interesting to watch. A stunned prey is much easier to maintain/subdue/swallow. And suffice it to say: effective. Never seen a loach get out of this predicament ...


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