red bichir

Discover the Fascinating World of Red Bichir Fish

Red Bichir Physical Features and Appearance

red bichir

Credit: By TVRGolf – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

As a fish enthusiast, I am always on the lookout for unique and fascinating fish species to add to my collection. One such species that caught my eye is the Red Bichir, a freshwater fish native to Africa. Red Bichir fish belong to the Polypteridae family, which includes various Bichir species. However, the Red Bichir stands out with its distinctive appearance and characteristics.

The Red Bichir has a unique and unmistakable shape that differentiates it from other fish species. It has an elongated and cylindrical body that can grow up to 30 inches in length. Furthermore, its dorsal fin is located towards the back of the body, and its pectoral fins are short and fan-like. The Red Bichir also has a peculiar feature – a primitive lung that enables it to breathe air, which helps it survive in low-oxygen environments.

Another characteristic that sets the Red Bichir apart is its coloration. The species gets its name from its vibrant red color, which runs along the top of its body. It has a grey underbelly and metallic scales that give it a unique shimmering effect when it swims. Additionally, Red Bichir fish have small eyes, which is typical of nocturnal fish species.

Red Bichir Characteristics
Scientific Name Polypterus senegalus
Size Up to 30 inches
Coloration Red top with a grey underbelly, metallic scales
Diet Carnivorous
Habitat Freshwater rivers, ponds, and lakes

Overall, the Red Bichir is a unique and eye-catching fish species that can be a wonderful addition to any aquarium. Its distinctive shape, coloration, and primitive lung make it an exciting and fascinating species to observe and care for.

Setting Up the Perfect Fish Tank for Red Bichir

If you’re considering getting a Red Bichir for your aquarium, it’s important to create the perfect environment for them to thrive in. Here are some tips to ensure your Red Bichir is living its best life:

Tank Size

Red Bichir fish can grow up to 2 feet long, so it’s crucial to provide them with a tank that’s large enough. A 75-gallon tank is the minimum recommended size for a single Red Bichir. If you’re planning to keep multiple Red Bichir fish, you’ll need an even larger tank.

Water Parameters

Red Bichir fish prefer water that’s slightly acidic to neutral (pH 6.5-7.5) and with a temperature between 75-82°F. It’s also important to maintain good water quality by performing regular water changes and using a high-quality filtration system.


Red Bichir fish are nocturnal and enjoy hiding during the day, so providing plenty of hiding places in your aquarium is a must. Rocks, caves, and plants are great options for decoration.


Red Bichir fish produce a lot of waste, so a strong filtration system is necessary to keep the tank clean and healthy. A canister filter or a sump system can provide the necessary filtration for a Red Bichir tank.


While Red Bichir fish are nocturnal and don’t require a lot of light, it’s still important to provide some light for the plants in your aquarium if you choose to have them.

By following these tips, you can create an ideal environment for your Red Bichir fish. Remember to monitor the water quality regularly and make adjustments as necessary to ensure that your fish stay healthy and happy in their new home.

Understanding Red Bichir Behavior

As an owner of Red Bichir, it’s essential to get acquainted with their behavior. These fish are carnivorous and have a predatory nature, making them a fascinating species to watch. They are also territorial and prefer to live alone or with a very few compatible tankmates.

Red Bichirs are a nocturnal species and remain inactive during the daytime, preferring to hide under driftwood or tank decoration. They become active in the evening and start hunting smaller fish in the aquarium. Therefore, it’s not advisable to keep them with smaller fish or invertebrates.

One of the unique behavior traits of these fish is their ability to breathe air using a modified swim bladder. It allows them to survive in low-oxygen environments. They can also travel short distances on land using their fins.

When it comes to compatibility with other fish species, Red Bichirs can be kept with larger, non-aggressive fish that share similar water requirements and temperature. Tankmates like Oscars, Cichlids, or Plecostomus are known to be compatible. However, it’s crucial to avoid keeping them with any fin-nipping or aggressive species.

Red Bichir Swimming Pattern

These fish have a unique swimming pattern that makes them stand out from other fish species. They move in a snake-like pattern, making their entire body sway from side to side as they swim. It’s one of the fascinating things to observe about their behavior.

Feeding Habits of Red Bichir

Red Bichirs are carnivorous, and their diet mostly comprises small fish, worms, insects, or crustaceans. They are opportunistic feeders and can survive on a varied diet. It’s important to feed them high-quality food that meets their dietary requirements. Live or frozen foods like Bloodworms, Brine Shrimp, or Krill are some of the recommended choices to keep your Red Bichirs healthy.

In conclusion, understanding the behavior of Red Bichir is crucial in creating a suitable aquarium environment. It helps us provide them with optimal care and ensure their well-being. By keeping them with compatible tankmates and providing a suitable diet, we can enjoy observing their unique behavior and personality.

Proper Nutrition for Red Bichir Fish


As a freshwater fish, the Red Bichir has specific dietary needs that must be met to ensure their optimal health and growth. In the wild, they are known to consume small fish, insects, and crustaceans.

When caring for Red Bichir in an aquarium setting, it is important to provide a varied diet that replicates their natural feeding habits. This can include:

  • Live or frozen foods such as brine shrimp, bloodworms, and krill
  • Pellets or flakes designed for carnivorous freshwater fish
  • Fresh or frozen fish fillets, such as tilapia or salmon, chopped into bite-sized pieces

It is important to note that Red Bichir are opportunistic feeders and can become overweight if overfed. To prevent this, provide small amounts of food 1-2 times per day, only feeding what they can consume in 5-10 minutes.

Tip: To ensure that Red Bichir receive all the necessary nutrients, it is recommended to rotate their diet between live foods, pellets, and fresh or frozen fish.

Compatible Fish Species for Red Bichir

compatible fish species for Red Bichir

Choosing the right tankmates for Red Bichir fish is crucial to ensure a peaceful and harmonious environment. These fish are known to be aggressive towards smaller and slower-moving tankmates, so it’s best to opt for fish species that can hold their own. Here are some compatible aquarium fish for your Red Bichir:

  • Senegal Bichir: This fish species is a close relative of the Red Bichir and can coexist peacefully in the same aquarium.
  • Large Cichlids: These fish are similar in size and can hold their own against the Red Bichir’s aggressive tendencies.
  • Rainbowfish: These colorful fish are active swimmers and can add some vibrancy to your aquarium.
  • Tinfoil Barb: These fish can tolerate the same water parameters as Red Bichir and can hold their own in terms of size and aggression.

It’s essential to avoid keeping smaller fish such as tetras, guppies, and mollies with Red Bichir as they will most likely end up as prey. Remember to research each fish species before introducing them to your aquarium to ensure they share similar water parameters and habitat requirements.

Breeding Red Bichir Fish

Red Bichir Breeding


Breeding Red Bichir fish can be a challenging but rewarding experience for aquarium enthusiasts. Unlike many other freshwater fish species, breeding Red Bichir requires a significant amount of effort, patience, and attention, as they have a specific set of breeding requirements.

The first step in breeding Red Bichir is to create the ideal environment for them. A separate breeding tank should be set up with similar water parameters and temperature to their main tank, as sudden changes in water temperature or quality can be detrimental to breeding success.

To encourage breeding, the water temperature in the breeding tank should be slightly higher than their main tank, usually around 81-84°F. The pH level should be neutral, around 7.0, and the water hardness should be between 10 and 15 dH.

Red Bichir fish are known to be monogamous, forming pairs for breeding. It is essential to provide ample space and hiding spots, such as plants, rocks, and caves, to encourage bonding and nesting.

Breeding Red Bichir Fish Key Points
Water Temperature 81-84°F in the breeding tank
pH Level Neutral, around 7.0
Water Hardness Between 10 and 15 dH
Space and Hiding Spots Provide ample space and hiding spots for nesting and bonding

To initiate spawning, the water temperature can be gradually increased by 1-2°F daily until it reaches the desired range. The female Red Bichir will lay up to 200 eggs in a sticky, gel-like substance on plants or rocks. Once the eggs are fertilized, they will hatch within seven to ten days, and the fry will emerge from the gelatinous coating.

Caring for the fry is a delicate process, as they are vulnerable to water quality fluctuations and predation from other fish. The fry should be fed a diet of freshly hatched brine shrimp, small insects, and other tiny live feeds until they are large enough to consume frozen or pelletized food.

Breeding Red Bichir fish in captivity can be a worthwhile experience for dedicated fish keepers. By providing the ideal breeding environment, encouraging bonding and nesting, and providing proper care for the fry, you can ensure a higher success rate for breeding Red Bichir.

Maintaining the Health of Red Bichir

As with any freshwater aquarium fish, proper fish care is essential for maintaining the health and well-being of Red Bichir. By providing optimal water quality, balanced nutrition, and attentive care, you can prevent many common health issues that may affect these amazing fish.

One of the most important aspects of maintaining the health of Red Bichir is ensuring that the aquarium water is clean and healthy. Red Bichir prefer water that is slightly acidic with a pH between 6.5-7.5 and a temperature range between 75-82°F. Regular water changes of at least 20% of the tank volume per week can help to keep the water quality in check and prevent the buildup of harmful chemicals and waste. Additionally, a good filtration system that effectively removes debris and maintains the nitrogen cycle is necessary to provide a healthy environment for the fish.

Water Parameter Recommended Level
pH 6.5-7.5
Temperature 75-82°F

Red Bichir are carnivorous fish with a hearty appetite and require a balanced diet that includes a variety of protein-rich foods such as shrimp, krill, and worms. Avoid overfeeding and monitor their food intake closely to prevent obesity and digestive issues.

It’s also important to monitor the behavior and appearance of Red Bichir for any signs of illness. Common health issues that may affect Red Bichir include bacterial infections, parasites, and fungal infections. Symptoms of illness may include lack of appetite, lethargy, abnormal swimming behavior, and changes in color or appearance. If you notice any signs of illness, it’s important to isolate the affected fish and treat promptly with appropriate medication.

By providing proper care and attention, you can help your Red Bichir thrive and enjoy a long and healthy life in your aquarium.

Different Varieties of Red Bichir

There are several varieties of Red Bichir that are available in the aquarium trade.

Ornate Bichir

The Ornate Bichir is one of the most popular varieties of Red Bichir. It is also known as the Polypterus ornatipinnis. This fish has an olive-brown color on the back, and the belly is a dirty white. The edges of the fins are usually a reddish-orange color.

This variety of Red Bichir is very active and needs plenty of swimming space in the aquarium. It can grow up to 16 inches in length, so it requires a large tank.

Albino Bichir

The Albino Bichir is a rare variety that is highly sought after by collectors. This fish has a pinkish-white body with bright red eyes.

Like other varieties of Red Bichir, the Albino Bichir requires a large tank and plenty of swimming space. It can grow up to 14 inches in length.

Senegal Bichir

The Senegal Bichir is another popular variety, also known as the Polypterus senegalus. It has a brownish-black body with a white belly. The fins are edged with a distinctive yellow color.

This variety of Red Bichir is known for its hardiness and is a good choice for beginner aquarium owners. It can grow up to 16 inches in length and requires a large tank.

Regardless of the variety, Red Bichir are fascinating freshwater fish that can bring joy and beauty to any aquarium.

Fascinating Facts about Red Bichir

As a fish enthusiast or hobbyist, it’s always exciting to learn something new and unusual about tropical fish species. Here are some fascinating facts about Red Bichir:

  1. Red Bichir has a prehistoric lineage. The Bichir fish family dates back to the Late Jurassic period, making them one of the oldest lines of freshwater fish. Scientists believe that Bichirs have remained largely unchanged for over 400 million years.
  2. Red Bichir can survive out of water. Bichirs have a primitive lung that allows them to breathe air, allowing them to survive out of water for some time. This feature also enables the fish to thrive in oxygen-poor environments.
  3. Red Bichir is a predator. These fish are carnivorous, and in the wild, they hunt small fish and invertebrates. They are nocturnal animals and are active during the night, spending most of their day hiding in caves or under rocks.
  4. Red Bichir use their sense of smell to hunt. Bichirs have a keen sense of smell, which they use to detect prey. Their nostrils are located at the tip of their snouts, and they can detect chemical changes in the water that indicate food is nearby.
  5. Red Bichir can grow up to 3 feet long. While Red Bichir is typically sold at around 8-12 inches long, they can grow up to 36 inches in length. It’s essential to consider their ultimate size when planning the aquarium setup.
  6. Red Bichir can be kept with specific aquarium fish species. Although they are predatory, Red Bichir can coexist harmoniously with particular fish species, such as catfish or other bottom-dwelling fish.
  7. Red Bichir is sold in different color varieties. While the Red Bichir has its distinctive red color, it can also be found in black, grey, and green varieties. The coloration is dependent on their age and the water conditions they live in.

These are just a few of the many fascinating facts about Red Bichir fish. Their unique characteristics and prehistoric lineage make them a captivating species to observe and care for in your aquarium.


As a fish enthusiast, I have thoroughly enjoyed exploring the fascinating world of Red Bichir fish. These unique creatures are truly captivating with their distinctive physical features and behavior.

Creating the perfect habitat for Red Bichir requires attention to detail, but it is well worth the effort. By providing a suitable tank environment, with the right size, decoration, and filtration, you can ensure their comfort and happiness.

Understanding their behavior and compatibility with other fish species is also crucial for a thriving ecosystem. Red Bichir fish are carnivorous, so it is important to feed them the right type of food for optimal health and growth.

It is also important to maintain proper water quality to prevent health problems. Common diseases like Ich can be prevented by regular water changes and monitoring the temperature and pH levels.

Overall, Red Bichir fish are incredible creatures that can provide a fascinating addition to any aquarium. Their unique characteristics and ancient lineage make them a truly special species to keep as pets.


What are the physical features and appearance of the Red Bichir?

The Red Bichir is known for its distinctive shape, coloration, and size. They have a long, cylindrical body with a unique combination of red, brown, and black markings. They can grow up to 14-20 inches in length.

How do I set up the perfect fish tank for Red Bichir?

To create a suitable habitat for Red Bichir fish, you’ll need a large tank with a minimum capacity of 75 gallons. It’s important to maintain proper water parameters, including a temperature range of 75-82°F and a pH level of 6.5-7.5. Additionally, decorate the tank with hiding spots and provide a robust filtration system for optimal care.

What should I know about Red Bichir behavior?

Red Bichir fish are primarily nocturnal hunters and have a peaceful temperament. They exhibit a unique swimming pattern, gracefully gliding through the water. When considering tankmates, it’s important to choose compatible fish species that share similar habitat requirements.

What should I feed my Red Bichir fish?

Red Bichir fish are carnivorous and should be fed a diet consisting of meaty foods. They enjoy live or frozen foods such as bloodworms, brine shrimp, and small fish. It’s important to provide a varied diet to ensure their nutritional needs are met.

What fish species are compatible with Red Bichir?

Red Bichir can coexist harmoniously with other peaceful fish species that prefer similar water parameters. Good tankmates include larger tetras, gouramis, and cichlids. Avoid housing them with small, fin-nipping fish or aggressive species.

How can I breed Red Bichir fish?

Breeding Red Bichir fish can be challenging, as they require specific conditions to trigger spawning behavior. Providing appropriate hiding spots, adjusting water temperature, and offering a varied diet can encourage successful breeding. Once the fry hatch, they should be provided with a separate enclosure and given small live foods for nourishment.

How can I maintain the health of my Red Bichir?

It’s crucial to maintain optimal water quality by regularly testing and monitoring parameters such as ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels. Performing regular water changes and providing proper filtration is essential. Additionally, observe your fish closely for any signs of illness or stress and take appropriate action if needed.

What are the different varieties of Red Bichir?

There are various varieties of Red Bichir available in the aquarium trade, each with its unique characteristics and preferences. Some popular varieties include the Albino Red Bichir, Super Red Bichir, and Red Dragon Bichir.

What are some fascinating facts about Red Bichir?

Red Bichir fish belong to an ancient lineage and have been around for millions of years. They are capable of surviving in various environments, thanks to their unique ability to breathe atmospheric air. Additionally, they have a long lifespan and can live for over 20 years in proper care.


Bichir & Ray Keepers Australia

International Federation of Online Clubs and Aquatic Societies (IFOCAS)

Federation of British Aquatic Societies (FBAS)

Northeast Council of Aquarium Societies (NEC)

Federation of American Aquarium Societies (FAAS)



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