Reedfish/Bichirs - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 5 Old 07-04-2013, 12:13 PM Thread Starter

I'm looking for a lot of information on Reedfish and dinosaur bichirs as we're looking into both fish, but reedfish moreso. I found what I consider to the best information on Wiki and I know that's not the best source. I found some information on Liveaquaria but they always seem to badly overstate tank size by about 20 gallons, one example being otos, they need 30 gallons? Wiki says reedfish max out around 14 inches, Liveaquaria says they get almost 3 feet long. That's some pretty big difference.

What can you lovely folks tell me about these two fish? How big do they usually get? Tank size? Preferred tankmates (I know bichirs will eat whatever they can break apart or stuff in their mouths and quick-moving fish are best to have because they're slow). Anything.

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post #2 of 5 Old 07-04-2013, 06:23 PM
Hello there. Interesting that you should ask about both these animals. I personally keep a 90 gallon that has 4 reedfish, and 2 senegalus bichirs:

The Senegalus is in fact my oldest fish (the gray female that you see in there).

Both animals are actually quite similar. The biggest difference is social preference, and of course size.

Bichirs in general really do require larger territories. For the smallest of their kind (the senegalus) you can do no smaller than a 75 gallon and that's just for one. The starting perm-home tank should have no less than 4 feet of length, and at least 18" of width. The wider tanks do better for these animals.

Social wise bichirs are territorial and...are usually not that social. They can however put up with each other when given a proper set up. This means a sand bottom tank, and having proper separate hide spaces set up. Having those places to retreat is very important. Once they become comfortable they may not use those places often, but simply having them there is a big difference between a cranky monster, and a peaceful tankmate. I have found over the years that if you place large sturdy plants into a tank bichirs will sometimes take to using those are resting/sleeping spaces. If your tank allows for room for such plants it's not a bad idea to plant a few larger species with good root systems.

Lastly keep in mind that these are not animals that you want to stuff and overstock into a tank. You may see people do it but it's often with no regard for the animals long term health or comfort.

Happy content sens are surprisingly easy to care for. Avoid feeding live feeder fish as they can lead to injury during the chase, are poor in nutrition, and if you keep multi-bichir can lead to nasty fights and increased aggression issues.

You can feed bichirs on chopped up worms, cubed tilapia, prawns, silversides, shrimp pellets, and other tasty odds and ends meant for predator fish. Avoid fatty fish, or beef. Both can lead to fatty liver disease if used in excess.

As for Reedfish, I am still relatively new in keeping these beautiful fish. What I can say is that when give enough space and kept in proper numbers these are truly wonderful to have. These fish are social, and can get to 18" or larger. My largest one is currently around 16".

Did I say social? Cuddly is more like it:

They feed well on chopped worms, shrimp pellets, blood worms, and even tilapia if cubed up into small bite sized peices. I am told they are shy feeders but mine seem to bulldoze and browbeat my bichirs who often let them get first bite.

These fish are heavily social. They need to be kept in groups. Not pairs. Groups. Like loaches, long term they thrive better when kept in good numbers. They also need places to hide and prefer to sleep in dens, and crevices.

These are very peaceful fish. You do not want to keep them with aggressive fish. You also want to be wary of their tank mates. Predatory fish can easily see a rope as a potential meal. Also schooling fish can make feeding these guys difficult. Keep their nature in mind. As with the Bichirs, these guys need larger territories simply due to their size and great length. Mine are in a 90 gallon, I wish I could move them into something like a 125. If you keep a group, shoot for at least a 75 or bigger. 4 foot long, by 18" wide minimum.
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post #3 of 5 Old 07-06-2013, 12:04 AM
Forgot one other important tidbit. Both species are air breathers. So your tank has to have enough of a lowered water level so they have easy access to air. I find lowering the water level 4-6" to be a great assurance against escapes.
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post #4 of 5 Old 07-06-2013, 03:09 AM
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I keep mine with a regular water level - for them and all my other air breathers. A glass top ensures that the fish stay in the tank - just be sure not to cut your holes too big for the filters because sometimes if there is a way there is a will. In my experience with them, as well as other notorious escape artists, they do not try to escape when there is no possible way to escape. They are capable of learning and I believe that they consign themselves to the tank when there is no way out. Of course I don't watch my fish 24/7, so that is based solely on comparing the differences in my before/after observances.

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125 - BGK, chanchito cichlid, pictus cats, silver dollars, palmas bichir
125 - cichlids (severums, bolivian rams, chocolate), rainbows ( turquoise, red), loaches (angelicus, zebra, kuhli and horseface), plecos (BN, RL and clown), denison barbs, tiretrack eel, pearl gouramis, betta
90 - Congo tetras, african knife, upside down cats, spotted ctenopoma, kribensis, delhezzi bichir
2.5 - betta
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post #5 of 5 Old 07-06-2013, 12:58 PM
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Well darn.. I guess I need to get better habit at remembering to close the lid on my tank. I'n notoriously bad about that, but luckily with the MANY tank jumping species I have none have tried it yet. But the Bichir... I believe that one really is a bit smarter then many other "jumpers". Very bright little one and did a super quick study of my tank within 24hrs of entering the tank.
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