Quantcast

OTHERS

By Rhett Butler

POLYPTERIDIDAE FAMILY

The Polypteridae or Bichir family consists of a small group of primitive fish from tropical Africa. The fish in this family are characterized by an elongated, snake-like body and two strong, paddle-like pectoral fins. Each ray of the dorsal fin is separate giving the dorsal fin the appearance of many small fins. Polypterides are generally large, carnivorous fish that must be carefully combined in a tank having other species. Polypterides have an accessory breathing organ which is linked to the small intestine. The young of some species possess external gills, similar to those of newts in the larval stage. In nature many species leave the water for extended periods during the evening to search mud flats and sandbars for food. Generally Polypterides are long-lived.

Reedfish, Snake fish, Rope Fish [Pictures]
Erpetoichthys calabaricus
SYN: Calamichthys calabaricus, Calamoichthys calabaricus, Hepetoichthys calabaricus
PD: An elongated, eel-like fish with 7-13 small, notched dorsal fins that are usually held down against the back. The Reedfish has no ventral fins and the pectoral fins are fan-shaped. The overall body color is pale to golden yellow to orange. The back is dark olive green to brown.
SIZE: To 36" (90 cm)
SS: None
HAB: West Africa; marshy, vegetation-choked water in the Niger River delta and Niger River of Cameroon and Nigeria.
S: bottom
TANK: A 40" (100 cm) or 45-55 gallon (170-209 L) tank is sufficient for fish measuring up to 12" (30 cm) in length. Larger fish require more spacious tanks. The Reedfish prefers a large, shallow tank having a sand substrate, although this arrangement is not critical. Provide hiding places with roots, rocks, wood, and pipes. Leave open swimming areas and plant the background and sides of the tank heavily with hardy, well-rooted plants. The substrate should be fine gravel or sand and the tank must be covered well.
WATER:pH 6-7.5 (6.7), 6-18 dH (10), 73-86°F (23-30°C)
SB: A peaceful, but carnivorous species that will consume swallow able tank mates. This species can be kept in numbers ranging from one to six fish, as it is not particularly territorial. This species can be combined with medium to large sized species that are not overly aggressive. This species is most active at night.
SC: Steatocranus, some Tilapia species, Hemichromis, Angelfish, Synodontis
FOOD: Live; fish, earthworms, Tubifex , insects, frogs; chopped meat; occasionally acclimated fish will accept tablets
SEX: The male has more bars or rays (12-14) on the caudal fin than the female (9-12).
B: Not successful in captivity, although probably similar to Polypterus species.
BP: 10. This species has yet to spawn in captivity.
REMARKS: The Reedfish periodically rises to the surface to breathe atmospheric air via the swim bladder. Like all Polypterides, the Reedfish has very poor vision and depends on smell to locate food. This species requires frequent partial water changes to prosper.
DC: 6. After initial acclimation, when this species is susceptible to disease, the Reedfish becomes hardier. It requires well-maintained water and a diet of live foods.


Ornate Bichir [Pictures]
Polypterus ornatipinnis
SYN: None
PD: An elongated species having a dorsal fin consisting of 8-10 separate rays. The pectoral fins are paddle-like, and the pelvic fin is located far back of the body. The body color is light brown to brownish gray, and marked with irregular, dark brown to black net-like pattern. The pattern is highly variable and is different for each individual. The belly is lighter in color and the fins have the same pattern as the body.
SIZE: To 18" (45 cm)
SS: Other Polypterus species.
HAB: West Africa; in marshy, vegetation choked in the Kasai and Zaire (Congo) rivers in Zaire.
S: bottom
TANK: A 40" (100 cm) tank with a from 45-55 gallons (170-209 L) is sufficient for fish up to 12" (30 cm) in length. Follow suggestions for C. calabaricus.
WATER: pH 7-8.2 (7.8), 9-18 dH (12), 77-84°F (25-29°C)
SB: Do not combine with small fish as these may be consumed. Combine with other large fish of the upper swimming levels. When confined with other Polypterus species under cramped conditions, fighting may result. Fighting is less likely to occurs in a large tank with plenty of hiding places. This species is peaceful towards large fish. The Ornate Bichir is nocturnal.
SC: Distichodus, Hemichromis, Heterotis, Cichlasoma, Tilapia, Haplochromis
FOOD: Live; fish, earthworms, Tubifex , insects, frogs; chopped meat; occasionally acclimated fish will accept tablets
SEX: The anal fin of the male is larger and thicker.
B: Use cooler water to initiate spawning. 200-300 eggs are laid on vegetation. The young hatch in four days at which time the parents should be removed. Start feeding with Artemia and later with other small live foods.
BP: 8. Breeding is difficult and unusual.
REMARKS: Cover the tank well, as there are reports of this species leaving the aquarium, and "roaming" the keeper's home.
DC: 6. This large, hardy species will consume smaller fish. This Bichir requires live foods.

Senegalus"> Cuvier's Bichir [Pictures]
Polypterus Senegalus
SYN: Polypterus arnaudii, P. Senegalensis
PD: This elongated species averages nine dorsal rays, which make up the dorsal fin. The pectoral fins are fan-shaped, and the anal and pelvic fins are located far back on the body, near the caudal fin. The coloration is variable: the back ranges from olive to brown to slate gray-green. The flanks are lighter and the belly is white.
SIZE: To 16" (40 cm)
SS: Other Polypterus species.
HAB: Widespread in marshy, vegetation choked waters from the Nile River to Senegal to Nigeria.
S: bottom
TANK: A 40" (100 cm) tank with a from 45-55 gallons (170-209 L) is sufficient for fish up to 12" (30 cm) in length. Follow suggestions for C. calabaricus.
WATER: pH 6-8 (7.3), 10-18 dH (15), 79-86 F (26-30 C)
SB: As for P. ornatipinnis , although this species is more sociable than the previous Bichir.
SC: Distichodus, Hemichromis, Heterotis, Cichlasoma, Tilapia, Haplochromis
FOOD: Live; fish, earthworms, Tubifex , insects, frogs; chopped meat; occasionally acclimated fish will accept tablets
SEX: The anal fin of the male is said to be larger.
B: Few details are available regarding spawnings in captivity, although reportedly, the addition of cooler water and a decrease in water hardness is said to initiate spawning. The eggs are laid amongst plants and the fry have external gills. Start feeding with small live foods.
BP: 9. Breeding is very difficult.
REMARKS: Cuvier's Bichir will become very friendly towards its owner, even taking foods from one's hand. This species is commonly exported from Lagos, Nigeria.
DC: 5. This large species requires live foods, but is generally hardy.


SOLEIDAE FAMILY
The Soleidae or Flatfish family has a worldwide distribution in salt, brackish, and fresh water. Most species are found in salt water, although two genera can be found is fresh; Achinus and Brachinus .

Brazilian Freshwater Sole [Pictures]
Achirus errans
SYN: None
PD: A flattened species, having an oval shape. The body is elongated and the eyes are located on the right side of the body. The body color is light brown to beige and is irregularly spotted with large and small brown markings.
SIZE: To 4" (10 cm)
SS: Salt-Pan Sole ( Brachinus salinarum )
HAB: Areas with sandy riverbeds. South America; the Amazon and Paraguay rivers.
S: bottom
TANK: 28" (70 cm) or 20-25 gallons (76-95 l). The tank should have a substrate of fine gravel or preferably sand. Provide hiding places with stones, roots, and wood. Use a cover of floating plants to diffuse the lighting. Some plants should be used. Shallow tanks are preferred.
WATER: pH 5-7 (6.5), 2-10 dH (7), 79-86°F (26-30°C)
SB: Peaceful. Keep with other small to medium sized, peaceful fish of the upper swimming levels. This fish does best in a species tank.
SC: Tetras, hatchetfish, pencilfish, Otocinclus.
FOOD: Live; Tubifex , chopped earthworms, insect larvae-especially blood worms, shrimp; chopped meat; occasionally tablets. This fish should be fed after the lights are turned off.
SEX: Unknown
B: Unknown
BP: 10. No reports of successful spawning have been reported.
REMARKS: Delicate species which is short lived. Has trouble acclimating and is very sensitive to water conditions, medications, and chemicals. Nocturnal
DC: 7. A sensitive fish that requires live foods in its diet.

Salt-pan Sole [Pictures]
Brachinus salinarum
SYN: Trichobrachirus salinarum
PD: A flat fish with an oval body shape. The body is elongated and the eyes are located on the right side of the body. The body color is light brown to beige and is irregularly spotted with large and small brown markings. The caudal fin is made up of 12 rays.
SIZE: To 6" (15 cm)
SS: Achinus errans, Brachinus selheimi
HAB: In slow-moving, fresh and brackish rivers with sandy substrates. Northern Australia; rivers that flow into the the Gulf of Carpentaria.
S: bottom
TANK: 32" (90 cm) or 30 gallons (114 L). See A. errans .
WATER: pH 7.2-8.4 (7.8), 10-20 dH (12), 72-77°F (22-25°C). A 1% addition of salt is recommended. This can be accomplished by adding 4 TSP. of salt to every 10 gallons (10 g/10 L)
SB: Peaceful. Keep with other peaceful small to medium sized fish. This fish does best in a species tank.
SC: Rainbowfish, Killifish, Bumblebee Fish, Glassfish, Orange Chromide.
FOOD: Live; Tubifex , chopped earthworms, insect larvae, shrimp; chopped meat; occasionally tablets. This fish should be fed after the lights are turned off.
SEX: Unknown
B: Unknown
BP: 10. This fish has not bred in captivity.
REMARKS: This nocturnal species is more available and hardier than A. errans . Also a short-lived fish.
DC: 7. This species is somewhat sensitive to water pollutants and requires a diet including live foods.