Polypterus Senegalese (Polypterus senegalus) – one of the most unusual freshwater fish. It is not for nothing that they call it a dragon fish, its relict appearance, evoking thoughts about the era of dinosaurs, is simply fascinating.
Habitat: polyterus native to Africa and lives in nature in the rivers of the White Nile, Congo and lakes Albert, Chad, Turkana. It prefers shallow waters far from currents.
Loves thickets of plants and shelters in the clayey shore.
Description: predatory fish growing under natural conditions up to 70 cm, in aquariums up to 40 cm.
Color silver-gray with a blue tint.
The elongated body of the polypherus is covered with solid, diamond-shaped scales. The number of dorsal fins fluctuates within 5-18 pieces, their structure is unique: soft rays in the form of a comb are attached to the strong spike on the back side. Caudal fin well developed and oval.
The abdominal fins are strongly displaced and are located almost at the anal fin. Pectoral fins are fleshy appendages with which polypterus gently moves in the water.
A small anal fin is almost at the tail.
Polyperus Senegalese – the lungfish digesting the air with the help of a swim bladder. On the one hand, it gives him the opportunity to stay some time without water, which is necessary when moving in nature from drying out water bodies to the river, and on the other hand, when there is a lack of oxygen, the polyterus dies after a couple of hours.
Therefore, in the aquarium air access must be constant.
The vision of a polypterus is poor, but the external nostrils are well developed, it is with the help of its sense of smell that it hunts.
There are no pronounced sexual differences, but males can be distinguished by the spatulate anal fin, which increases during the breeding season, and in females the head is slightly wider.
Active at night, prefer to eat at dusk.
Arrangement and parameters of the aquarium: due to the large size of the Senegalese polypterus, it requires a large aquarium of at least 200 liters. The height is not important, as the fish is kept in the bottom layer, but the lid is obligatory – the polyterus is prone to “escapes” that are fraught with the death of the fish.
Water parameters: T 25-30 ° C (withstands temperature rise up to 38 C), PH 6-7.5, DGH 4-18. Filtration with aeration is necessary, weekly water changes.
It is advisable to place snags or stones in an aquarium so that polypters can hide in them.
Senegalese polytherus is compatible with large fish: cichlids, large barbs, labyrinths, akars, astronotus. All smaller inhabitants of the aquarium will be considered by polypterus as prey, which the predator catches mainly at night.
Young individuals can live in groups, and adult polypteruses are territorial and prone to conflict, especially with a small aquarium.
Nutrition: polyterus is a predator, therefore it is necessary to feed it mainly with live food: bloodworms, frozen shrimps and squid, small fish, heart pieces, beef meat, earthworms. It is easy to get used to granulated dry food and cereals.
Reproduction: spawning Polypterus Senegalese (Polypterus senegalus) Lasts from July to October and its beginning is easy to notice – polypheruses, which usually stand apart, begin to swim together, rub against each other, the male can bite the fins of the female. After several days of joint “dancing”, the female begins to throw tiny eggs, sticking them to the plants.
The best substrate for caviar is Javanese moss.
Caviar should be immediately removed from the aquarium, as the polytera eats it very quickly. For fry, enhanced aeration is very important, frequent replacement of water in small quantities.
Until the 8th day, the fry receive food from the yolk sacs, then nauplii artemia can be given. Difficult, but necessary condition is to clean the bottom after each feeding.
Due to the tiny size of the fry, the bottom must be siphoned extremely carefully.
Fry should be planted daily, which overtake others in growth. They can bite the outer gills of their fellows, which leads to the death of smaller fry.
When polyterus reaches 5 cm, they are easier to take care of: it is no longer necessary to sort them, water changes are less frequent, fry are already able to swallow air near the water surface, eat any food, that is, care at this stage does not differ from adult content.
Senegal polyterus can live in captivity up to 10 years.
These unusual fish are able to recognize a person, are not picky about their conditions, are very hardy and rarely get sick.