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Old 04-03-2006, 10:36 AM   #1
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Senegal Birchers


I have just bought two Senegal Birchers to go in my large bow fronted tank.

I have been looking at these beautiful fish for awhile, not only as show fish but to keep my populations of White Clouds and Cherry Barbs down.

Anyone know if they are good at doing this?

They are in a tank with my prize Dragon Goby, Dwarf Hoplo's, White Clouds, Cherry Barbs and a few Peppered Corydoras.

Also any advice on getting them to hand feed?

I have heard they can become quite tame and freindly towards their owner and be encouraged to take food from your hand.

Cheers everyone
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Old 04-03-2006, 11:47 AM   #2
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I would personally send an email to Toirtis on this subject as he is a master of polypterus species. Infact he keeps about 14 of them (about 10 different species)

The only thing i can see is that when they get bigger, say goodbye to your smaller species as these guys will literally eat ANYTHING that can fit into their mouth! That would mean dwarf holos if they are small enough, you white coulds will be food ... the barbs and corydoras will also almost be certain food for them.

but seriously talk to toirtis via email ... he is the one who will know!
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Old 04-03-2006, 10:44 PM   #3
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I have 2 of them and i just love them!
As far as hand feeding goes they are pretty smart.
when I had just one in my 20gal I would feed frozen blood worms, but insted of thawing them, I cut them into little chunks that would float on the surface. He quickly learned to come to the top to get his food. So eventually, I just held the chunks in my fingers and he would just go right up and eat it. He did bite my han once or twice but spat it back out. I stopped doing this, because I got more fish and it became a bit of a hassel. I'm sure any bichir could be taught like this.
Also your bichirs will eat anything that fits in there mouth...or can be torn apart... So i think they would do more than control the population. I read on a site that one person had a pair that ate 13 tetras...or guppies in one night.

How big is your tank?
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Old 04-04-2006, 12:30 AM   #4
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Yes, how large is the tank? An adult senegal bichir will require a 55 gallon tank for just one. It's also recommended that you have a tank width that is twice the adult length of the bichir... senegals can hit 12" but they are not as lithe as some of the other elongated species and require more turning room. But, contacting Toirtis is your best bet... he's has even written a book on the species.
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Old 04-04-2006, 01:25 AM   #5
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An adult Senegal only requires a 30, 29 at a bare minimum if he is close to the only occupant.

The problem lies withthe cories, many people have had their bichirs die when it trys to eat a cory and teh spines get stuck
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Old 04-04-2006, 01:32 AM   #6
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Quote:
The problem lies withthe cories, many people have had their bichirs die when it trys to eat a cory and teh spines get stuck
yikes... yah I would avoid keeping many bottom tank dwellers with bichirs in general. They may even try to eat the dragon goby. It might be bigger than them but they are pretty skinny.
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Old 04-05-2006, 08:35 AM   #7
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Cheers guys, I have sent a PM to Toitis.

My tank at the moment is a 40 gal bow fronted tank, dont worry I am fully aware how big they grow and have read up alot on them over the last week.
I am moving home soon and have a HUGE 75 gal tank on order for my new home... im so excited about it!
We are also going to build one into a wall so that is going to be about 11ft!... I know you are all jealous... he he ;o)

I do hope that they do not eat my Goby... I will be yinned off!

I have decided to move my Hoplos and killis along with some other of the prize fish in there... They will not be eaten yet as they are too large for the Senegals, but they wont be for long I know.

As of yet they have not eaten any of the fish... a bit of a macabre dissopointment for me...
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Old 04-05-2006, 06:44 PM   #8
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you could always throw some goust shrimp in there to have them get into the live food thing... plus its fun to watch in a some what twisted way. Haha Its pretty cool though they coil up kinda like a crouching cat about to pounce and then they strike at it. It took my bichir a few days to get them, because when he cornered them they would hop up into the water.

Quote:
We are also going to build one into a wall so that is going to be about 11ft!... I know you are all jealous... he he ;o)
I envy you haha. Well when i get my own house...and some how procure lots of money I'm going to make walls in my house aquariums lol! Don't forget to post pictures when its finished!
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Old 04-06-2006, 11:34 AM   #9
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Getting them to hand feed is simply a matter of patience on your part,First get them used to your hand,second place the food between finger and thumb and let them come to you
they'll soon associate food with your hand.
the downside to this is everytime your hand is in the tank they'll be right there looking for food.Also you can expect to be nipped don't worry its not more than a pinch.
I think you'll find P.senegalus to be a truly fascinating fish I know I did in fact the more
I learned the more i was fascinated by the enitre polypterid group.The Polypterids were swimming about in prehistoric rivers before the breakup of the supercontinent,numerous ice
events and mass extinctions.Even within the polypterids theres evidecnce of evolution with the lower jaws being the more primitive and the upper jawed species being more evolved-Anne
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Old 04-06-2006, 07:09 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Japola44
I envy you haha. Well when i get my own house...and some how procure lots of money I'm going to make walls in my house aquariums lol! Don't forget to post pictures when its finished!
I will post pictures dont worry!

It will probably be a few months off yet as im still trying to find the perfect house.
My partner says it will probably just be a case of getting a tank to the height of half the wall and a foot off each side and making a false wall around it.

I have started to try hand feeding as the senegals are used to me coming up close to the tank at feeding times and swimming to the top when im opening the lid.
I have not been sucessfull yet but they are coming ever closer.
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Old 04-07-2006, 09:07 PM   #11
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Sorry to arrive so late at the Polypterus party. kyektulu.....your P. senegalus will, indeed, do a very good job at keeping down your population of White Clouds (Tanichthys albonubes), possibly to the point of eliminating the problem completely. Your Cherry Barbs (Puntius titteya) will likely quickly follow the White Clouds into extinction and then the Peppered Cory Cats (Corydoras paleatus) will possibly be at risk from the bichirs (which feed on Synodontis cats of like size as a matter of course in the wild).

Your Dragon Goby (Gobioides brousonnetti) is less at risk from the bichirs (as long as it is the same size or larger than the Polypterid) than it is from the fresh water it is living in. Also called the Violet Goby, this fish is primarily a salt- to brackish-water fish. Some people have successfully kept them in fully fresh water but they seem to have a tendency to develop skin infections that can rapidly turn fatal.

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