Senegal Bichir: Size, Tank Mates, Tank Size, and Food

senegal bichir

The Senegal Bichir is a captivating freshwater fish that has gained popularity among aquarium enthusiasts. With its unique appearance and interesting behavior, this fish has become a sought-after choice for many hobbyists. In this article, we will explore the size, tank mates, care requirements, tank size, and diet of the Senegal Bichir. We will also take a closer look at the platinum variation of this remarkable species.

Senegal Bichir

Size of the Senegal Bichir

The Senegal Bichir boasts an impressive attribute- its ability to grow up to a sizable length of 12 – 14 inches (30 – 35cm). With such a remarkable size this fish stands out as a significant addition that creates an awe-inspiring effect in any aquarium setting. Furthermore, its elongated body with striking coloration makes it visually appealing and fascinating. Commanding attention and becoming quickly noticeable as the centerpiece of your tank.

Tank Mates for Senegal Bichir

When it comes to choosing tank mates for your Senegal Bichir, it’s important to consider their compatibility and the potential for a harmonious community tank. While this fish is generally peaceful, it has a predatory nature and may view smaller fish as food. Therefore, it’s essential to select tank mates that are larger in size and have a similar temperament. Here are some suitable tank mates for them:

  1. Larger Tetras: Certain larger tetra species like Congo Tetras and Silver Dollars can coexist with Senegal Bichirs. These tetras are known for their size and active nature, making them less likely to be seen as prey by the Bichir.
  2. Gouramis: Some gourami species, such as Pearl Gouramis and Giant Gouramis, can be compatible with Senegal Bichirs. These larger gouramis have a peaceful temperament and can handle themselves well in the presence of the Bichir.
  3. Cichlids: Certain cichlid species can be suitable tank mates for Senegal Bichirs. Examples include Angelfish, Severum Cichlids, and Geophagus Cichlids. It’s important to choose cichlids that are not overly aggressive and can tolerate the Bichir’s presence.
  4. Other Similar-sized Fish: Consider other fish that share a similar size and temperament with them. For instance, larger Rainbowfish species, such as Boeseman’s Rainbowfish or Turquoise Rainbowfish, can make good tank mates.

Care Tips for Senegal Bichir

Proper care is essential to ensure the health and well-being of your Senegal Bichir. By following these care tips, you can provide a suitable environment for your fish to thrive:

  1. Tank Setup: Create a spacious aquarium with a minimum capacity of 55 gallons (208 liters) for a single Senegal Bichir. Provide ample swimming space and include hiding spots using rocks, caves, and driftwood. The Bichir enjoys exploring and requires places to retreat and feel secure.
  2. Water Parameters: Maintain a stable and optimal water environment for them. The ideal temperature range is between 75-82°F (24-28°C), with a pH level of 6.5-7.5. Keep in mind that these fish are sensitive to fluctuations in water conditions, so regular monitoring is crucial.
  3. Filtration: Use a powerful filtration system to ensure excellent water quality. They are a messy eater, and their waste can accumulate quickly. A robust filtration system will help maintain clean and oxygenated water, reducing the risk of ammonia and nitrate buildup.
  4. Lighting: Senegal Bichirs prefer dimly lit environments. Provide subdued lighting using floating plants, tall decorations, or adjustable aquarium lights with dimming capabilities. This helps mimic their natural habitat and creates a more comfortable and stress-free setting for the fish.
  5. Feeding: Senegal Bichirs are carnivorous and have a hearty appetite. Offer a varied diet consisting of high-quality pellets designed specifically for carnivorous fish. Supplement their diet with frozen or live foods such as bloodworms, brine shrimp, earthworms, and small fish. Feed them once or twice a day, offering an amount they can consume within a few minutes.
  6. Water Changes: Perform regular water changes to maintain optimal water quality. Aim for weekly water changes of around 25% to remove accumulated waste and replenish essential minerals. Use a water conditioner to neutralize chlorine and chloramine before adding fresh water to the tank.
  7. Observation and Interaction: Take the time to observe them and interact with them. They are intelligent and curious fish that can recognize their owners. However, be cautious when handling them, as they have rough scales that can cause injury.

Proper Diet for Senegal Bichir

A voracious appetite characterizes the Senegal Bichir due to its carnivorous nature. The fish often relies on small fish species along with insects like worms or crustaceans as regular features of their natural dietary patterns when surviving in rivers or streams.

To achieve maximum growth potential within an aquatic habitat held within an aquarium setting, it is required to replicate these patterns when selecting their feedings options- notably high protein intake for which pellets along with the provision of frozen/live nutritious sustenance such as brine shrimp/bloodworms/earthworms are excellent options while being mindful of smaller fish portions. It is, otherwise, crucial to ensure that the feed sizes provided support comfortable intake and easy digestion.

Platinum Senegal Bichir: A Unique Variation

In addition to the standard Senegal Bichir, there is a captivating variation known as the Platinum Senegal Bichir. This unique color morph features a striking silver or platinum body, adding an extra level of elegance to an already mesmerizing species. The Platinum Senegal Bichir is highly sought after by aquarium enthusiasts for its rarity and aesthetic appeal.

Like their standard counterparts, Platinum Senegal Bichirs require similar care and tank conditions. The main difference lies in their appearance, making them a standout addition to any aquarium. Their silver or platinum coloration creates a beautiful contrast against the greenery and decorations in the tank, making them a true centerpiece.

When keeping Platinum Senegal Bichirs, it’s important to provide them with a suitable environment that mimics their natural habitat. Ensure the tank has plenty of hiding spots, such as caves and dense vegetation. This allows the fish to retreat and feel secure when needed. Providing soft substrate, such as sand, is also recommended to prevent any injuries as they explore their surroundings.

Platinum Senegal Bichir


The Senegal Bichir is a fascinating freshwater fish that offers both beauty and intrigue to any aquarium. From their impressive size to their unique color variations, such as the Platinum Senegal Bichir, these fish are sure to capture the attention of hobbyists. By providing proper care, suitable tank mates, and a well-maintained environment, you can create a thriving habitat for these remarkable fish. So, if you’re looking for a captivating addition to your aquarium, consider the Senegal Bichir and all its intriguing variations.


1. Can I keep multiple Senegal Bichirs in the same tank?

It’s generally best to keep them alone or with larger, non-aggressive tank mates.

2. How often should I feed my Senegal Bichir?

Feed them once or twice a day, offering an amount they can consume within a few minutes.

3. Can I keep a Senegal Bichir in a small tank?

No, they require a spacious tank due to their size and active nature.

4. Do Senegal Bichirs require any special lighting?

They prefer dimly lit environments, so it’s best to provide subdued lighting in their tank.

5. Are Senegal Bichirs suitable for beginners?

While they are hardy fish, they require some experience in fishkeeping due to their specific care needs and predatory nature.

Recommended Reading: Purple Betta Fish: A Stunning Addition to Your Aquarium

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