Ornate Bichir (Polypterus ornatipinnis)

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Ornate Bichir

Polypterus ornatipinnis.png
Ornate Bichir

Polypterus ornatipinnis

908 Litres (240 US G.)

50.8-61cm (20-24 ")




7.0 - 8.0

25 -27 °C (77-80.6°F)

10-18 °d

1:1 M:F

Pellet Foods
Flake Foods
Live Foods

5-15 years




Found in Lake Tanganyika and the Congo River basin in Central and East Africa.


Males have a larger anal fin than females.

Tank compatibility[edit]

A large robust but not aggressive fish that will eat fish smaller than itself. Can be kept in pairs but hiding places must be provided as they will become aggressive towards each other otherwise. Do not keep with Labeo chrysophekadion or other Labeo species as these can harass the Bichir as the occupy similar areas of the tank.


Will accept most meaty foods including earthworms, prawns, mussels, whitebait, cockles as well as trout and catfish pellets.

Feeding regime[edit]

These fish are not overly active so only need to be fed 2 or 3 times a week.

Environment specifics[edit]

Require a spacious tank with hiding places in stable rocks and bogwood. Will tear apart and pull up live plants. Do not keep with sharp objects as they can damage themselves, large pieces of bogwood and sturdy silk plants are best. They must have access to breath from the surface and a sturdy secure lid is a must.


A reasonably peaceful large fish that is not overly active, can be aggressive to its own species if there's not enough space to hide.


An attractive prehistoric elongated fish, almost snake-like in appearance, with large paddle-like pectoral fins. They have a striking reticulated black and yellow patternation that extends into the fins.



External links[edit]