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The Saddled bichir, Polypterus endlicheri

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The Saddled bichir, Polypterus endlicheri

Post by Admin on Sun May 25, 2008 9:12 pm

The Saddled bichir, Polypterus endlicheri

Matt Clarke has some tips on keeping the Saddled bichir, Polypterus endlicheri, an unusual African oddball.
The Saddled bichir, Polypterus endlicheri

Scientific name: Polypterus endlicheri endlicheri
Pronounced: poll-it-terr-us end-lick-err-eye end-lick-err-eye
Origin: There are two sub-species of P. endlicheri: P. endlicheri endlicheri and P. endlicheri congicus. They are quite widespread through Africa being found in the Chad, Nile, Niger, Volta, Bandama, Coemoe and Oueme river systems and tributaries, but are most commonly imported from Nigeria.
Size: Both sub-species of P. endlicheri are rather bulky fish, and large ones can weigh several pounds and reach well over 30cm/12" in length, sometimes well over 45cm/18". Very big ones are sometimes seen for sale, but most are sold at sizes of about 25-30cm/10-12". Really young fish (under 15cm) are much less common. P. endlicheri congicus is said to grow larger than P. endlicheri endlicheri, and there are reports of wild fish reaching almost 100cm/39" in length.
Price: Because of the large size that most specimens are imported at, not many fish can be packed in a box.
This means that freight costs form a high percentage of the end retail price of the fish. At the moment, 45cm/18" P. endlicheri congicus are selling for about �60-75 each.
Habitat: This fish lives in muddy and weedy streams, backwaters and swamps, and has also been recorded in mangroves. It is capable of air-breathing, thanks to an auxiliary respiratory organ, and can withstand very poor water conditions, making it an easy fish to keep in the aquarium.
Diet: P. endlicheri, like most Polypterus species, is a piscivore. Therefore it is not a good idea to keep it with anything it might look upon as food. In captivity, it isn't too difficult to train these fish to accept dead foods, such as frozen lance fish, and other meaty foods.
Stocking: Polypterus can be kept together, but they are territorial and may bite each other. Their tough armour plating prevents much real physical damage occurring, but for a more peaceful aquarium, it's best to stick to a single specimen unless you have an enormous tank.
Aquarium: Polypterus are pre-historic fishes and have ganoid scales. This makes them less 'bendy' than other fish, so they can find turning around in narrow tanks a little difficult. For an adult endlicheri, you ought to provide a tank of at least 120 x 60 x 60cm/48" x 24" x 24", preferably larger - the wider the better.
Decorate the aquarium with heavy rocks and bogwood to provide shelter for the daylight hours. Use dim lighting to keep the fish at ease. Aquatic plants can be grown: Vallisneria, Crinum, Microsorium and Bolbitis are worth a try. The protein-rich diet of Polypterus calls for a powerful filtration system that is capable of handling sudden surges in pollution - an external power filter or two would be a good idea.
Breeding: Spawning are rare, but this species been bred successfully in captivity. (Check out the excellent for more information). In the wild, P. endlicheri breed during an extended breeding season between May and November - usually coinciding with the rainy season. Different populations breed at different times of the year. So in the Chad, the fish spawn between July and November, while in the Bandama River, they spawn between May and August. On rare occasions you might see very young ones for sale with frilly external gills. These fish can be sensitive to pollution.
Availability: The relatively large size and seasonal availability of
P. endlicheri means that it's not seen for sale that often in the UK. Unless your local shop imports their own fishes (unlikely if it's a small shop or is not part of a chain), you'll need to ask your dealer to order one of these specially for you.
However, not all wholesalers import wild African fishes, so it could take a little tracking down. The fish here was borrowed from Maidenhead Aquatics in Harlestone Heath.
Health: Virtually all Polypterus, and definitely all endlicheri, are wild caught, and they often come into the UK carrying passengers of some kind, including flukes and other parasites. Keep a close eye on new fish after purchase and be ready to treat them if they show signs of illness. Once settled in, they are very hardy and are simple to keep.
Notes: These fish can jump out of the aquarium if startled, so use a tight fitting cover. Because of the weight of these fish, it is advisable to use clear plastic or perspex covers rather than glass ones, which could shatter if hit by a leaping Polypterus.



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Re: The Saddled bichir, Polypterus endlicheri

Post by ipho on Thu Oct 29, 2009 11:12 am

hi there, i have 2 young Endlicheri here.
I have a problem with its food. What should it best?
And I think, its a lazy fish. Thanks.... Cool


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Re: The Saddled bichir, Polypterus endlicheri

Post by ikanlucu on Tue Nov 03, 2009 11:00 am

endli love gold fishes best !! try it !!


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Re: The Saddled bichir, Polypterus endlicheri

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