Endlicheri Bichir / Polypterus endlicherii
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Polypterus Endlicheri is known to be the second largest species of Bichir, beyond that, it is one of the largest species of freshwater fish.
A beautiful Bichir with a flat head, prominent lower jaw, and large scales that form a husky appearance. It displays a deep brown coloration with irregular transverse black stripes on its body, a characteristic that has earned it the popular name Saddle BIchir. On the fins, they have black spots. It is pale in the ventral region.
Its dorsal fin has the appearance of thick spines, ending in a beautiful and exuberant tail, also with black spots.
Polypterus Endlicheri is a beautiful fish with an imposing appearance, especially when it reaches a large size. They do not show rapid growth, growing an average of 1 inch per month until they reach close to 30 cm, then the growth rate decreases.
As much as they have a primitive appearance, they are peaceful fish. They will coexist without problems with larger fish or similar. Because they are excellent predators, smaller fish will be eaten.
These fish breathe atmospheric air and can be seen rising to the surface. They have poor eyesight, but a keen sense of smell, this is one of the most interesting characteristics of the species.
Polypterus Endlicheri is a highly hardy fish, making it a great species for beginners who want a monster in their aquarium.
Common name: Saddle Bichir, Polypterus Endlicheri
Order: Polypteriformes — Family: Polypteridae
Distribution: Africa: River Nile, Chad basin, River Niger, River Bandama, River Comoé Ouémé. Countries: Benin, Cameroon, Chad, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Nigeria and Sudan
Adult Size: 24-30"
Life Expectancy: 20+ years
pH: 6.0 to 8.0
Temperature: 75 to 86 F
Minimum size tank: 150 gallons
Reproduction: Oviparous. Lays eggs on plants or substrates. The couple's courtship begins with a series of jumps from the surface, usually just one at a time, followed by a slow descent through the water. After a while, the male will get very close to the female, and sometimes the female will remain motionless in the water when the male will come up to her from behind and push her with sideways head movements. The male's anal fin, normally enlarged and swollen, is bent into a concave shape and used to "shave" the female.
The eggs will be laid a little at a time along the thick vegetation and fertilized by the male afterward. They spawn during the rainy season. Parents do not care for the offspring and do not practice cannibalism; juveniles practice cannibalism among their siblings.
Sexual Dimorphism: The male has a noticeably thicker and wider anal fin than the female.
Additional Information: They have several adaptations such as the swim vesicle divided into two parts, the right part being considerably larger, functioning as an accessory breathing organ, and indicating that the fish can survive without water for some time, as long as its body is kept moist. These species, like the anabantoids, can drown if they are denied access to atmospheric air (aerial breathing). They do not have true lungs, but it is very similar.
Juveniles have an amphibious habit with external gills, which will be lost when they mature. Along with their nocturnal hunting mode, in which they emerge from their refuges to hunt invertebrates and small fish in shallow water, clearly indicating their evolutionary relationship between fish and amphibians.
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