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The Barred Bichir is one of the most beautifully-marked bichir species and is a marvelous fish for the large predator aquarium!
The Barred Bichir (Polypterus delhezi) is a very popular bichir species among large ornamental fish enthusiasts, largely due to its black bar pattern. This fish is very eel-like in appearance and is sometimes referred to as a "dinosaur eel," although it is not a true eel. It is an extremely hardy species that is very versatile. All bichirs posess a modified swim bladder that allows them to breathe atmospheric air and live in water that is very low in oxygen. In fact, they are often able to live out of water for extended periods of time as long as they remain moist.
The Barred Bichir is primarily nocturnal, but will often become active during daytime hours once established in an aquarium with plenty of driftwood, rockwork, and other hiding places. It is not a particularly aggressive fish, but it will eat fish and invertebrates that are small enough to be considered prey. It will generally ignore all other tankmates. Adult bichirs can sometimes be territorial with one another, but they just as often will share hiding places and be completely peaceful with one another. While it is an extraordinarily hardy species, the Barred Bichir requires a large aquarium with plenty of floor space and powerful filtration.
Bichirs are not afraid to jump or leave the water, so a tight-fitting lid is necessary to prevent them from escaping the aquarium. They also must be able to come to the surface to breathe occasionally.
Feeding is very easy for the unfussy Barred Bichir. It requires a varied diet for optimal health, but will readily accept virtually all high-quality live, frozen, and dry meaty foods of appropriate size.
What We Like About This Fish:
Stunning black bar pattern
Exceptionally hardy and adaptable
Unfussy regarding diet
Ideal "community" large fish/predator
Will not eat plants
Stays smaller than most upper and lower jaw species
RECOMMENDED TANK PARAMETERS:
Temperature: 77° - 82° F (25° - 28° C)
pH: 6.2 - 7.8
KH: 5 - 20 dKH
Minimum tank size: 125 gallons for an adult
Diet: Carnivorous. Requires a variety of meaty live, frozen, and dry foods
Social behavior: Generally solitary, peaceful with species too large to be considered prey
Origin: Tank-bred, but indigenous throughout much of Western Africa
Average adult size: Up to 16 inches (41 cm), but a maximum of 14 inches (36 cm) is more typical in the aquarium
Average purchase size: Juvenile - 3 inches (7.6 cm)
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