Tropical Fish for Freshwater Aquariums: Cuvier Bichir
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Cuvier Bichir, Captive-Bred
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Cuvier Bichir, Captive-Bred (Polypterus senegalus)

Quick Stats

Care Level Easy
Temperament Semi-aggressive
Color Form Black, Green
Diet Carnivore
Water Conditions 77-80° F, KH 8-12, pH 6.5-7.5
Max. Size 1' 6"
Origin Captive-Bred
Family Polypteridae
Minimum Tank Size 90 gallons
Compatibility View Chart
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Overview

The Cuvier Bichir, also called the Senegal Bichir, Gray Bichir, or Dragonfin, 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 breathing, 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 snakelike 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"

Customer Testimonials

Nick N Cypress , CA
I purchased an Ornate Bichir and a Cuvier Bichir two and a half years ago. These fish are among the easiest species to care for. I keep them in a 50-gallon tank. The tank is pretty barren - it consists of gravel, stones, and driftwood. I keep the water neutral, a pH of 7.0. I keep the water at eighty degrees Fahrenheit, and the lighting at medium. Bichirs aren't picky eaters - I feed mine earthworms, crickets, mealworms, goldfish, guppies, and beef heart. I recommend these fish for aquarists of all ages.
Heidi R Farmingdale , NY
I have an Albino Cuvier Bichir. For the first 2 weeks or so he was boring and not active. But then as he grew and became more familiar with his tank, he really started to go crazy! I feed him live food and he goes crazy chasing it around the tank. Just be careful not to overfeed him, though, because this fish never stops eating.
Derek L Manitowoc , WI
A very good fish to have with other large peaceful fish. He will eat anything that will fit in his mouth. One of my all time favs.
Jason A Carol Stream , IL
I wanted to comment on the Cuvier Bichir. I recently purchased one about 2" long for my 150 gallon tank. It thus far has been a very active swimmer when the lights are on. It is housed with three small Bala Sharks, Two Yellow Lab cichlids and a 3" Rafael Cat.I noticed it gets darker when next to the black gravel in my aquarium. Also, it has had no problems eating standard flake foods off the gravel, although I also feed my fish a variety of live and frozen foods. A very interesting fish indeed ! Would recommend to anyone who has a tank with fish on the larger side as these guys will eat small tetras when they grow up.
Justin T Omaha , NE
I've owned both freshwater and saltwater "oddballs". The Bichir is the first I've seen which seems truly intelligent. I've actually seen my Bichir "playing" with my cat. That is taking an agressive stance and coming at the glass then retreating behind a rock momentarily. When the cat swats at the glass, the Bichir darts away only to come back from the side to "attack" the cat. An amazing animal and looks great in the right environment. Every visitor compliments me on how cool this creature is!
1-5 of 5 testimonials

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