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dprUsh83 12-06-2006 11:25 AM

Dinosaur Bichir color change
So, my bichir has always been a light grey and a couple of days ago (overnight) the color became a very dark, charcoal grey. I actually like the color change as it looks very good, but wanted to make sure everything was healthy. Behavior remains the same, eating well, et cetera. Water parameters are fine, no issues there. Just changed colors completely. Still white on the underside, though.

Lauri 12-06-2006 12:28 PM

dprush83 what species of polypertus is your bichir? As there is not alot of information on them it might help to narrow down the search :)

Polypterus ansorgii :common name,Guinean bichir

Polypterus (bichir) bichir: common name, Nile bichir

Polypterus (bichir) katangae

Polypterus (bichir) lapradei

Polypterus delhezi: common name Armoured bichir, banded bichir

Polypterus endlicheri congicus: common name, Congo bichir

Polypterus endlicheri endlicheri: common name, Saddled bichir, Red bichir

Polypterus mokelembembe

Polypterus ornatipinnis: common name, Ornate bichir

Polypterus palmas buettikoferi: common name, Buettikofer's bichir

Polypterus palmas palmas: common name, Marbled bichir, Shortfin bichir, dinosaur eel

Polypterus palmas polli: common name,Poll's bichir

Polypterus retropinnis

Polypterus senegalus meridionalis

Polypterus senegalus senegalus: common name, Senegal bichir, Grey/Gray bichir, Dinosaur eel

Polypterus teugelsi

Polypterus weeksii: common name, Weeks' bichir, Fat-headed bichir, Mottled bichir

All sounds fine in your tank and I am not surprised to hear of the color change as some do become darker or lose their bands as they mature.
How long have you had your bichir?

dprUsh83 12-06-2006 12:30 PM

I don't know its scientific name, it is a "dinosaur bichir" as sold by Petsmart. I've had her for probably going on 4 months. She's still small, I'd say probably 4-5 inches and starting to grow in circumference.

Lauri 12-06-2006 12:49 PM


Originally Posted by dprUsh83
I don't know its scientific name, it is a "dinosaur bichir" as sold by Petsmart. I've had her for probably going on 4 months. She's still small, I'd say probably 4-5 inches and starting to grow in circumference.

Okay lets try and figure out exactly what type she is. chances are she is one of the top three on the list below which one describes her most?

Most common ones sold in lfs are:

Delhezi:The upper surface is greyish, with hints of green or yellowish colouration. The ventral surface is a uniform lighter colour. There are 7-8 dark vertical bands which vary in thickness between individuals. 10-13 dorsal finlets. The mouth is relatively small for the fish's size.

Senegalus: Uniform brownish-grey to olive colour on dorsal surface, ventral surface whitish. No banding on adults, very young juveniles show three horizontal bands. Upper jaw slightly longer than lower jaw. 8-11 dorsal finlets.

Ornate:The striking black and yellow patterning of this species extends into the fins, making for a very attractively patterned bichir. The head has a finely reticulated pattern. 9-11 dorsal spines present

Endlicheri:Colour can be yellowish-brown to grey. There are several dark vertical bands. Black spots are often present on the head region. The lower jaw is more prominent, extending beyond the upper jaw. Dorsal spines extend forward to the rear of the pectoral fins.

Weeksii :This species usually has a very clear distinction between the dark greyish-green dorsal surface and the whitish ventral surface. Several dark bands are present which may fork towards the bottom. The head is relatively large, giving rise to one of the common names of 'fat-headed' bichir. This species retains external gills much longer than most other Polypterus species. There are 9-11 dorsal finlets.

Lapradei: Grey to greenish-grey colouration, with a paler ventral surface. Horizontal bands evident on the upper surface from the head to the dorsal finlets, and extending about halfway along the side of the body from behind the gills. The flanks have irregular vertical bands. Prominent lower jaw longer than upper jaw. 13-17 dorsal spines.

dprUsh83 12-06-2006 01:02 PM

Hmmm, I'm still not sure. The entire body is grey, with no bands. The jaw looks to match up pretty evenly.


Daz 12-06-2006 01:02 PM

How about a pic? instead of a essay..

Lauri 12-06-2006 01:11 PM


Originally Posted by dlil
How about a pic? instead of a essay..

Well the essay describes the fish before and after maturity where as most pics do not as he stated his bichir is young....but here ya go.


The above are most commonly sold.

dprUsh83 12-06-2006 01:22 PM

Senegal, definitely by that picture. Well, that's what she looked like before the color change anyways. :lol:

Daz 12-06-2006 01:30 PM

Birchirs are generally set in there colouration. Nothing has changed ? keep an eye on him because if the colour change is that drastic there maybe a problem. Has it been freaked out by the O ?

Lauri 12-06-2006 01:31 PM

okay good glad we got that figured out dan :) I have not found anything in my research about color change except for as they mature, yours being just a young one that might be the case.

By your first post everything seems fine I would just keep a close eye on her. I will see if i can find anyting else to help. Maybe someone else has a suggestion as well. I really wouldn"t worry to much tho unless she stops eating or shows any signs of stress..

I have an Ornate and she has darkend considerably since I purchased her almost a year ago.

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