Aqua Fauna Research Logo


Author : Efrain Silva

Their Appearance

The appearance of the Bichir is that of a slender, ray - finned creature, and this unique type of fish does not just carry a single dorsal fin, like many others out there. This one, in fact, houses several (anywhere from 7 - 18 dorsal fins / finlets, respectively).

It’s born this way, and as it grows, you can note the changes of new dorsals added (or even current ones expanded to new lengths). This elongated Polypteridae type of fish carries bifid tips as well, which are double - edged. Its maximum body length can even reach a whopping 25 cm (nearly 10 inches)!

How They’re Known

They’re known as Polypterus Bichir, in technical terms, while some also call them Nile Bichir. Why do some call them Nile Bichir, by the way? I’m really glad you asked…..

These fish come from the Nile, a river in Africa. The Nile River is huge and plenteous, housing dozens of various schools of fish and other aquatic life forms, all in all. And there, you will find plenty of Bichir (which other aquatic creatures in the region, as such, take advantage of —- finding plenty to eat in the food chain). To some, the Bichir are known as “a rich banquet”!

Their Diet

But the Bichir, of course, need to feed themselves as well and not just be a beal for others : And in terms of this, we have just the thing for them!

If you own Bichir, feed them what I feed them, which is what other experts recommend as well —- a good balance of insects. But not only that, spoil them to some crustaceans, every now and then, in addition to a heaping helping of small vertebrates. They will thank you for it and be well - nourished, in turn. And remember —- the ideal diet to shoot for here is carnivore!

Good “Roommates” for Them

Good roommates, you ask? Well, Bichir are well compatible with Catfish types and Large Cichlids, not to mention other Bichir, of course. Multiple Bichirs can typically get housed together without any problem at all and are some of the most sociable aquatic creatures (especially when amongst their own kind).

You can even, more often than you may expect, stare at them as they form multiple ‘poly piles’ throughout the day — it’s nice to see them getting along so well, and you’ll be one proud owner, to say the least. It’s best — keep in mind — when all the Bichir are of the same / a similar size, and the tank / aquarium is large and spacious.

Other Short Facts to Keep in Mind

These creatures have a one - of - a kind ‘swim bladder’, as some call it, and can actually breathe air differently than most others in the water. Think of what many today would call a ‘lung - like modification’ to your breathing apparatus or ‘typical lungs’.

This allows such beings to be able to traverse by both land and water, all in all, meaning they can breathe both underwater and on dry land, respectively. How many others do you know that can do that??? Buy some Bichir today, my friends!