The Cuvier Bichir, also called the Senegal Bichir, Gray Bichir, or Dragonfly is a member of the Polypteridae, or Lobe-Finned Pike family. This species is Captive-Bred but is endemic to the streams and rivers of Africa. As with other members of the primitive Polypteridae family, the Cuvier Bichir has the unique ability to survive out of water. With a lung-like paired swim bladder and gills to help to breathe, the Cuvier Bichir can spend short periods of time on land, but must soon return to its water environment for adequate respiration. This species is brown in color with an elongated snake-like body.
The Cuvier Bichir does best in a large “oddball” aquarium with other large, passive fish. When provided with plenty of open swimming areas, rocks, and crevices, the Cuvier Bichir is not usually aggressive toward tank mates. This species is semi-aggressive in the fact that they will swallow any fish or invertebrate that they can fit into their mouth. Be careful in choosing passive tank mates for the Bichir, as they are very passive towards other large fish. Prone to jumping, a tight, well-sealed aquarium lid is required.
A carnivore, Polypterus senegalus can be offered a varied diet of live foods such as worms and shrimp, as well as prepared foods such as krill, pellet food, and freeze-dried tubifex. The Cuvier Bichir may also accept some frozen foods.
Approximate Purchase Size: 3″ to 5″