Polypterus: Greek, poly = a lot of + Greek, pteron = wing, fin. This refers to the numerous fins along the fish's dorsal.
Congo bichirs are widespread and live in a variety of habitats which indicates that they are quite adaptable and unfussy about their water chemistry, being air breathers they can even live quite happily in hypoxic conditions and remain unaffected by it, They aren't particularly active and so large open areas for swimming aren't really necessary because they will spend the majority of their time concealed in a regular hiding place..
Meaty food is essential, frozen marine whole fish such as lancefish, sardines and whitebait. Also worms and other large inverts will be taken. Some specimens will even adapt to take pelleted food.
Congo bichirs are predatory and smaller fish will be regarded as food. They are quite slow but over time they will eventually be successful. Any fish which can be swallowed whole will not last long but they are powerful fish and they are capable of tearing apart fish which are too big to swallow whole. They can be kept with large robust fish without too many problems.
There are no reliable external differences between the sexes. The anal fin of the male may be slightly longer and thicker than the anal fin of the female.
No details available.
Listed as "Least concern" by the IUCN Red List. The species is widespread and it is under threat in some local areas but this doesn't affect the species as a whole.
Congo bichirs are air breathing, their gills alone cannot satisfy their full oxygen requirements and so a well ventilated space above the water surface must be accessible to them or they will drown. They are also extremely powerful fish which are easily capable of dislodging some lighter aquarium tops so make sure their aquarium is escape proof.
pH: 6 - 8
dGH: 4 - 20
Temperature: 22 - 28°C (72 - 82°F)
Size: 97cm (38in)
Min tank size: 675 litres
Difficulty level: Difficult.
Aquarium type: Species/community.
Swimming level: Bottom
Origin: Africa: Congo basin and Lake Tanganyika.
Habitat: Streams, lakes and flood plains.
Species: P. congicus, Boulenger, 1898
Other common names:
Polypterus bichir katangae, Polypterus endlicherii congicus