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Senegal bicher - Dinosaur Eel

Senegal bicher - Dinosaur Eel

Senegal bircher, 15 inches long, © Lonnie
By Andrew Christman AKA Snail
Common Name: Senegal bicher
Latin Name: Polypterus senegalus
Origin: Africa
Temperature: 77-84°F (25-29°C)
Ease Of Keeping: Easy
Aggressivness: Not very aggressive to fish it cannot swallow.
Lighting: Subdued
Adult Size: 12" (30cm) in the aquarium, 16" (40cm) in the wild
Minimum Tank Size: 50 Gallons breeder.
Feeding: Varies by individual, but pellets, worms, frozen food.
Comments: This ancient (Triassic Period) fish is unique in that it has lobed fins, extruding nostrils, and simple lungs. They have a very intelligent look about them, prehaps because of the way they study their surroundings. Although they are nocturnal, most will come out in the evening if enough hiding places are avalible to make it feel secure. They will slither out of the smallest of cracks in the hood, and can survive 8-10 hours out of water. Keep your tank well covered! They must also have 3 inches of air between the hood and the water level for them to breathe. They have become partially dependent on breathing oxygen and will die if not allowed to do so.

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Comment : I got my eel about 3 monthes ago and soon after my oldest fish appered to be struggleing hevily. about 2 dats later i found the eel eating him in the eels hide away. 3 weeks after this happened i found him circleing a dead chinese alge eater, who had no marks, but i just got him. How is he doing this? these fish are much bigger then him.
Posted by keegan on 2008-12-31
Comment : I have had my Dinosaur Eel for about two months now. Generally a fairly gentle animal except when my Chinese Algae Eater agitates it. So far, I have only fed it freeze dried shrimp and bloodworms. These eels will NOT eat normal Tropical fish flakes! When I first brought my eel home, I just assumed it would eat flakes. I never noticed the eel eating, but he seemed quite healthy. Then I started to notice that my Guppy fry (babies) were slowly beginning to disappear! That's when I did some research and realized what I should have been feeding it. While I enjoyed the review posted for these magnificent creatures, I would be careful to label such an animal as coming from the "Triassic" Period. After all, the whole idea of periods of prehistoric time is simply a theory that is losing credibility each day. Also, I would not label the respiratory system as "simple." The fact that the Dinosaur Eel possesses the remarkable ability to breathe surface oxygen is a testament to the intelligent and complex system which God has given this creature, possibly so this animal can survive during times of drought, similar to the loach. Check out
Posted by Torrey on 2008-09-26
Comment : I bought my dinosaur eel last September a few weeks after I started up my aquarium (my first). He was 2.5-3 in. long when I got him. He is the only origional fish I still have. He is now over 4 inches and he alternates between periods of resting and lively activity. He eats whatever including krill, blood worms, brine shrimp, 10$ Bamboo shrimp, snails, as well as mollies, platties, guppies, and their offspring. He now shares the tank with two fair sized ciclids. He is our favorite and my daughter named him Oncolligon The Black after a Tolkein dragon.
Posted by Ted on 2008-07-27
Comment : It would be more helpful to people if you posted a picture of Polypterus senegalus senegalus rather than Polypterus Ornatapinnis which is a much larger growing and much more aggressive animal!
Posted by Jos on 2008-06-08
Comment : I have had mine for about two months. It seems like in the past week or two it has become less active and his fins look distressed. Is this normal? Any tips? Thoughts?
Posted by aaron on 2007-10-24
Comment : I have a 3.5 inch senegal bichir in a 55 and is 3 months old being feed earthworms and bloodworms. My favorite fish is between the senegal bichir and a 6 inch peacock eel.
Posted by Peacock Eel on 2007-04-09
Comment : I bought my dinosaur eel the same time with a dragonfish. They both grew from 2 to currently 9 inches in 3 months until the dragonfish was bellyup one morning and the dinosaur eel was eating the stomach. I had 5 black tetras in the tank before I introduced the predators, one has survived the duration. I have noticed that they had there own territories at the ends of the tank. The dragonfish liked to bury themselves in the gravel, while the dinosaur likes to relax on "real plants"like ferns until feeding time!
Posted by Bryan Kaylor on 2007-03-05
Comment : The bichir in the picture is acutal a ornate bichir and get to 24 inches or longer but is rare.
Posted by unknown on 2007-02-15
Comment : this was great cuz i just got my eel about 3-4 days ago and i was a little worried that i could see him eat and he didnt move alot like the other fish in the tank
Posted by Andrew on 2006-08-15

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