Bichirs Species


Bichirs are members of the Polypterus family, containing approximately two genus and 14 species found in Africa. They are often referred to as missing link fish, or dinosaur like due to their unique appearance and adaptations. Bichirs can breathe directly from the atmosphere, have rudimentary jaws like a salamander and fins that look they were made to walk on land!

The Ornate Bicher (Polypterus ornatipinnis) is one of the most commonly sold species of bichir. Other common species include Sengal Bichir (Polypterus senegalus), Ropefish (Erpetoichthys calabaricus), Nile Bichir (Polypterus bichir) and the Delhezi Bichir (Polypterus delhezi).


Bichirs are native to Africa where they are found in many different drainages throughout the continent. They are large fish ranging in size from about 11” (27 cm) to about 28” (70 cm).

Captive Care

Bichirs can make great aquarium inhabitants, provided their husbandry needs such as diet, water quality and tank space are met. While they are not generally considered an aggressive fish, Bichirs are predatory by nature and will consume any small tankmate that can fit into their mouth. Bichirs can be successfully housed with large docile fish such as large barbs. Bichirs can do well in groups provided they are given sufficient space and places to hide.

Bichirs prefer to be kept on the warmer side with an ideal temperature range of 77 F (25C) to 84F (29C).  Bichirs do well with low lighting, sandy bottoms and décor such as smooth rocks and driftwood. If they are provided plenty of space and hiding areas they are prone to becoming very friendly and gregarious fish.

It is important to consider carefully what species of Bichir may be best for your aquarium. While smaller species such as the Marbled Bichir (Polypterus palmas palmas) are suited to tanks as small as 50 gallons, larger species such as the Nile Bichir (Polypterus bichir) may be better suited to a larger tank.

Suggested Piscine Energetics Products

We suggest a diet based on Piscine Energetics Frozen Mysis, Piscine Energetics Frozen Calanus, Piscine Energetics Mysis Pellets (1mm and 2mm).

Recommended Products

What People Say

After feeding my seahorses your mysis for about 3 months; they are fat and happy!!! they give me baby seahorses (at least 300 ) each 14 days... So I'm very satisfied of your mysis.The frozen mysis is about 70 per cent of their diet.

Yvan Charbonneau Quebec

I am keeping these Indian mudskippers -- very cute -- about 3-4 inches long. I've been feeding them frozen bloodworm, and decided to try them on mysis. I feed them in a "shallows" in the 150 I have set up for them. The minute the mysis hit the water they were on it, frozen and all. They gorged until their little bellies were almost bursting. I have yet to see an aquatic creature that does not go absolutely nuts over PE Mysis.

David Lass Massachusetts