Bichir (Polypterus ornatipinnis) is a freshwater fish, which belongs to the Polypteridae family. These are beautiful fish with elongated body, wide head and circular tail. They can grow up to a size of 2 feet in length. These fishes have screened body with tough rhombic scales and on their body they have fins in a row lengthwise. The scales on their body are composed of a protein, which is named as "ganoin". These species are also known as "dinosaur eel" due to their unusual appearance. Their pectoral fins help them to walk across the water-bed. One of the most striking features of this species is that the 12 species of these fishes possess primitive lung system. With the help of this lung system, they can breathe by just lifting their head above the water.
These species are found in the freshwater fish of Africa. They spend most of their time near the river beds or lakes. These fishes have a characteristic of hiding among the plants or under the rocks. Moreover, this system also allows them to breathe in water, which is of even poor quality. They can access oxygen even from this poor quality of water with the help of their unique respiratory system.
Polypterus ornatipinnis are carnivorous and feed mostly on small fish and worms. The wonderful creatures go out of their natural habitat at the borders of lakes and rivers in order to feed. They have the tubular nostrils, which help then to catch their prey, with the smell of the prey. These are peaceful creatures and do not show aggression to the members even when kept in an aquarium. However, it should be taken care that these fishes may be attacked by algae eating fish or plecs. This happens due to the growth of bacteria on the body of these fish and the plecs may get attracted towards it.
Reproduction and Breeding
The spawning season in these species is between August and September. At this part of time the African lakes and rivers overflow and form swamps and marshes. These species pursue each other in these swamps and marshes. When the couples get together they jump out of the water. Then the male goes on the top of the female and after that push her either with its head or sweeps her with help of its anal fin. These species seem to be swollen and folded in the breeding season.
Bichir and Aquarium
These species look like a salamander with bright speckles and black bodies. This is an old and strange fish and generally does not fit with the other fishes in a tank. These fishes have a characteristics of hiding in a tank, and so when kept in a tank it requires places to hide. These amazing creatures can be even kept in tank with a depth of just one foot. This fish is one of the most interesting fish, which needs our protection and conservation from us.