Senegal Bichir Behavior
I just had a question. My Senegal bichir's behavior changed a couple days ago from being a very calm fish to a scared one. It is stilll a small bichir, I got it around 2 months ago when it was around 3 inches, and now it's maybe 4 inches. When I would feed my fish, it would always be one of the first to come and eat the freeze-dried krill or bloodworms, but now, it's scared to come out when it's feeding time. I think it all of a sudden got scared of humans or me, because whenever I try to look at it, it darts off to a hiding place and swims crazily around the tank trying to get away. All my other fish are calm and eat joyfully when I feed them except the bichir. Is this normal behavior? I enjoy watching my fish eat, but I can't be around the tank or else my bichir won't eat, so I'm afraid that it will be starving. Does anyone else have this problem or is it a problem?
Hmm, how large is your tank? What is your stocking?
Perhaps he's outgrown his hidey hole and now doesn't feel he has a safe place to hide?
Well, right now I have a 20 gallon tank, which also has a albino rainbow shark which is 2 inches, a plecostomus, and 2 african dwarf frogs. I have a ship and a skull that the plecostomus likes to dwell in interchangeably and the rainbow shark swims all over the place. The bichir used to float at the top of the tank near the filter or at the bottom in the back of the tank by the airstone filter. I was able to watch it before swimming in the front of the tank with no problems, but now I can't get near the tank without it darting away and trying to hide somewhere. I checked my tank parameters and there at good ideal levels, pH was 7.2, temperature is at 80 degrees, so I'm trying to think if it's stress out somehow or got freaked out one time when I did a water change. I don't understand it thought.
What about your ammonia, nitrites and nitrates?
I use a API liquid master test kit and when I last checked the water, it showed my ammonia levels were 0, nitrite is 0, and nitrate is 20. The only other reason I can think of is that I somehow freaked it out when I did a water change the last time, and now it's developed a sense of fear.
I think it'd definitely be beneficial to add more hiding places. The rainbow shark, pleco and bichir are all fish that need the security of some sort of hiding place, so having only the ship and the skull as hiding places can stress them out. I would try to shoot for one more hiding place total than you've got fish, so that everyone can pick his own spot.
That sounds like a good idea. I'll try that tomorrow and see how that turns out. Hopefully that's the solution to the problem, it was nice being able to see the dragon bichir calm, it looks like he's just stressing out whenever I come to the tank.
I've got my bichirs in a heavily planted tank. When I thin the plants, they stay out of sight until they grow back in a bit. Ambush predators love their cover.
I just bought a Grey Bichir, he (or she) really seems to enjoy the heavily planted tank as opposed to the bare tank I found him (or her) in...
I am a little discouraged with Bichirs at the moment. Mike Hellweg (who y'all may know from his book on Culturing live food and his articles in TFH) spoke at Potomac Valley Aquarium Society last Monday (On breeding cyprinids, but that's not germane to this). After the meeting I asked him for advice on what midwater fish might survive in a 110 gallon heavily planted tank with 2 Senegal bichirs and 3 adult Leopard Ctenopomae, and he said, "Nothing for long. The bichirs," he pronounces it "Bikers", "will eat any fish you put in there. Then they'll eat the bushfish. Eventually the larger bichir will eat the smaller bichir. They get about 2' long. And they Bite."
I said, "Hmm, these are Senegal bichirs. I read they get 12 to 14 inchs a couple of places."
He said, "Yeah, but the get a lot bigger in captivity. Up to about 30". I've had it happen to me."
So I am frustrated. The guy knows what he's talking about and has kept them before. At this point I am hoping that he had one of the ones that is just cantankerous and viscious (which I understand can happen) and that mine will turn out to be more mellow.
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