Protopterus: Greek, pro = first, in front of + Greek, pteron = wing, fin
African lungfish are large but mostly inactive fish which means they can be housed in the relatively small space of 72" x 30" x 30". They will tolerate a very wide range of conditions but avoid extremes. They are fiercely intolerant of conspecifics and other fish may be attacked, even fish which are too big to eat could be attacked and savagely bitten, for this reason these fish should be housed alone.
Their aquarium should have a simple layout where clutter is avoided. A large branch will suffice as decor and give the fish a place to rest where it won't feel to exposed.
Large healthy lungfish produce a lot of messy waste, good filtration and maintenance regime over and above what is normally required should be regarded as being essential when keeping these fish. When carrying out tank maintenance keep in mind that African lungfish are capable of causing you a very serious injury with a bite.
Omnivore, Smaller fish, frogs, insects make up the bulk of African lungfish's diet across most of its range, but in Kenya the population feeds mostly on plant material. African lungfish can go without food for 3.5 years helped by remaining motionless and saving energy. In captivity African lungfish should be fed two or three times per week using prawns, lance fish, shellfish, algae wafers and some fresh vegetable matter.
Aggressive, particularly towards conspecifics. Should be kept alone. African lungfish have enamelled teeth and they are able to inflict a very serious bite so treat them with great respect.
There are no known external differences between the sexes.
Nest builder, the male alone protects the brood. African lungfish have not been bred under aquarium conditions.
Common across most of its range and facing no major threats. Although present it is less common in E Africa.
The swim bladder of the African lungfish has evolved in to a rudimentary lung allowing the fish to breathe atmospheric oxygen. This allows the fish to exploit an environment where the water is very low in oxygen. The gills cannot supply the fish with all the oxygen that it requires. This means that they have to rise to the surface every few minutes in order to take a gulp of air.
African lungfish can live out of water for several months when in a cocoon which prevents them from dehydration.
pH: 6.5 - 8
dGH: 5 - 20
Temperature: 25 - 30°C (76 - 86°F)
Lighting: Not critical.
Size: 100cm (39in), less in captivity
Min tank size: 1,000 litres"
Difficulty level: Difficult
Aquarium type: Community
Swimming level: Bottom
" This is a very sedentary species.
Senegal, Niger, Gambia, Western Sudan Sierra Leone and Guinea'
Habitat: Swamps and backwaters of rivers and lakes.
Species: P. annectens annectens, (Owen 1839)
Other common names:
Protopterus annectens brieni,
Protopterus annectens annectens,