Ornate Bichir (Polypterus ornatipinnis)
Renowned for its striking black and yellow patterning, the Ornate Bichir is a true showstopper. Its elongated form and vibrant markings are truly a sight to behold, making it a standout addition to any freshwater aquarium.
The Ornate Bichir can grow up to an impressive 24 inches in length, necessitating a spacious environment for thriving. They get along well with other large, semi-aggressive fish when given ample space and plenty of hiding spots, such as rocks and crevices. Avoid pairing them with smaller fish which could be seen as prey or overly aggressive species that may bully the Bichir.
These carnivorous, nocturnal creatures prefer feeding in low-light settings, leveraging their sharp sense of smell to locate food. Their diet should consist of a variety of meaty foods, including live or frozen bloodworms, shrimp, and small fish. Some may also accept commercial meaty pellets and wafers, but live or frozen foods are preferred. Feed them once or twice daily, ensuring they can consume the food within 5 minutes.
Ornate Bichirs appreciate an aquarium setup that simulates their natural habitat, with dim lighting or shaded areas provided by vegetation or driftwood. Plenty of hiding spots, such as caves and a soft substrate to mimic riverbed conditions, are ideal. Due to their size, a minimum aquarium footprint of 6 x 3 feet is advised, focusing on depth and length rather than height.
Given that Ornate Bichirs can breathe atmospheric air using their swim bladder, they require an aquarium of at least 125 gallons with some access to the water's surface. Optimal water conditions include a pH of 6.2 to 7.8, hardness of 5-20 dGH, and temperature range of 75-82°F (24-28°C).
Lastly, ensure your aquarium has a tight-fitting cover to prevent any escapes.
To learn more about this fish, be sure to check out the Additional Information tab.