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This website is dedicated to Ol'Conrad.  He passed away shortly after Christmas, 2013.  He had made stupendous contributions to our hobby through his dedicated and careful breeding of aquatic animals.  He was a good friend and best buddy of Pete's and will not only be missed greatly by Pete, the hobby will forever have lost a valuable friend and asset. But his progeny will live on forever in his memory.
The bichirs are a family, Polypteridae, of archaic-looking ray-finned fishes, the sole family in the order Polypteriformes.

All species occur in freshwater habitats in tropical Africa and the Nile River system, mainly swampy, shallow floodplains and estuaries.

Bichirs are elongated fish with a unique, subdivided series of dorsal finlets which varies in number from seven to eighteen, instead of a single dorsal fin. Each of the dorsal finlets have bifid (doubleedged) tips, and are the only fins with spines, the rest of the fins being composed of soft rays. The body is covered in thick, bonelike and trapezoidal ganoid scales. Their jaw structure more closely resembles that of the tetrapods than that of the teleost fishes. Bichirs have a number of other primitive characteristics, including fleshy pectoral fins superficially similar to those of lobe-finned fishes. They also have a pair of slit-like spiracles used to exhale air, two gular plates and double ventral lungs (the left lung smaller than the right), which allow them to obtain oxygen from the air when in poorly oxygenated waters, by swimming quickly to the surface and back to the bottom. They are nocturnal, and feed on small vertebrates, crustaceans, and insects. Four pairs of gill arches are present.

Bichirs have a maximum body length of 97 centimeters (3.18 ft, depending on the variety.

Bichirs kept in captivity has a life expectancy of 10 years.


Breeding Bichirs

It is impossible to give any general guidelines for the breeding of all Bichir species in aquariums, since they are so different from each other. Some Bichir species have never been successfully bred in aquariums and we do not know what it takes to induce spawning for these fishes. Other Bichirs, such as the Polypterus delhezi, frequently spawn in aquariums. Even with frequently bred Bichirs like the Polypterus delhezi, we are however rather unaware of the exact mechanisms behind the breeding and which factors that triggers breeding.

The Senegal bichir (Polypterus senegalus) is quite often bred in aquariums, and the addition of cooler water is suspected to trigger breeding in this species. It is reasonable to assume that a combination of water changes and temperature changes are key factors here. If you want to breed the Senegal bichir, you should begin by ensuring that the environment in which you keep the potential parents are perfect for them. The water quality should be superb, frequent water changes must be performed and the aquarium must of course be of suitable size. Keep the pH slightly acidic and make sure the water is soft. A varied diet with plenty of meaty live food is recommended.

The male Bichir distinguish it self from the female Bichir by having a considerably broader anal fin. You can only sex mature Bichirs, since immature males will have an anal fin similar to the anal fin of a female Bichir. Male Bichirs also tend to be smaller than female Bichirs, and some mature Bichir males should allegedly have a thicker dorsal spine than the females.

The Senegal bichir have breeding rituals that typically last for a day or longer. The male Bichir will chase the female, and he will also bump into her with his snout. The female will try to locate a suitable spawning site before she deposits any eggs, and you should therefore provide her with bushy plants before you try to induce breeding. A heavily planted aquarium with bushy and fine-leaved plants is recommended. You can also insert special spawning mops into the aquarium.

The female Bichir will deposit from 100 to 300 eggs during several days. She deposits several eggs each time, and the eggs are fertilized by the male when he cups his anal and caudal fins around the genital area of the female Bichir. The male takes the eggs, fertilizes them and they are then scattered over the plants. A Bichir egg is 2-3 millimetres and slightly adhesive. It will stick to the plants until the fry hatch after three or four days. Bichirs will sometimes eat their own eggs, so it can be a good idea to remove the parents from the aquarium as soon as the final fertilization is finished.

The Bichir fry have external gills. You should wait roughly a week before you start feeding the fry, since they should eat their entire yolk sac first. The first food should be small live food, such as newly hatched Brine Shrimp (Artemia nauplii) or Microworms. Place the food near the fry when you feed them, since newly hatched Bichir fry are not very active hunters. Since older Bichir fry tend to be cannibalistic, you should remove larger fry from smaller fry as they grow if you want to ensure a high overall survival rate. 


This is a video I took of my 2 Delhezi -- Karen

Here they are, Hitler and Ava the tank dictators sharing earthworms with a couple Angelfish. Bichirs have poor eyesight and seem to prefer hunting at night when prey is at a disadvantage.  In this video they are not very hungry so, they are only sorta showing interest in food.  I turned the camera off a second to soon because right then, one grabbed a worm hanging from an angelfish's mouth and sucked that worm right down.  The Angelfish had an attitude of  "WHAT THE F%@*?"
side note*  As I feared the angelfish
became snarky and I had to remove them from the Bichir tank.  :(

WASHINGTON | Sun Jul 27, 2008 1:07pm EDT

(Reuters) - Scales that protect a quarrelsome fish from the bites of its own fellows as well as from predators may hold the key to the armor of the future, U.S. researchers reported on Sunday.

The light, multilayered design of its scales has helped Polypterus senegalus survive for 96 million years, the team at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology reports.

Writing in the journal Nature Materials, the MIT team said they had figured out how it works. Each scale is layered so it deflects the pressure of a crunching bite, they said.

Cracks do not travel far -- the design forces cracks to run in a circle around the penetration site, rather than spreading through the entire scale and leading to catastrophic failure, they said.

"Many of the design principles we describe -- durable interfaces and energy-dissipating mechanisms, for instance -- may be translatable to human armor systems," MIT's Christine Ortiz, who led the study, said in a statement.

With funding from the U.S. Army, Ortiz and colleagues carefully studied scales from P. senegalus, which lives at the bottom of freshwater, muddy shallows and estuaries in Africa.

It is noted for its heavy armor.

"The primary predators of P. senegalus are known to be its own species or its carnivorous vertebrate relatives, and biting takes place during territorial fighting and feeding," Ortiz and colleagues wrote in their report.

It evolved the armor millions of years ago, when fearsome predators lurked. "In ancient times, many large invertebrate predators existed. For example, the carnivorous eurypterid was a giant arthropod that possessed biting mouth parts, grasping jaws, claws, spines and a spiked tail," they wrote.

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