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A juvenile Senegal bichir facing the left. The focus is on the face and pectoral fins; the rest of the body is foreshortened.
Two adult Senegal Bichir. Photo credit: TVRGolf - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikipedia (English)

Grey Bichir (Medium)

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Tank Level:


Minimum Tank Size:

90 Gallons




6.2 - 7.8

General water hardness:

5-19 dGH


75 - 82 F                 


Large Community/Large Semi-Aggressive Community


The Grey Bichir (Polypterus senegalus) is a long-bodied fish species found mostly in Northeast Africa. This ancient animal is extremely popular for larger fish tanks, due to its prehistoric appearance. This listing is for medium-sized specimens, approximately 5"+ in length.

These beautiful and unique fish grow up to 14" long, making them one of the smallest bichir species you can buy. An adult bichir will require a 90+ gallon aquarium and will live for 10-15 years on average if well cared for. Bichirs are generally very hardy and are suitable for the beginner (provided enough tank space is provided).

The Grey Bichir does best in water temperatures between 75-82 degrees Fahrenheit, and with a pH between 6.2-7.8. This makes them versatile as to which animals you can keep them with. While they can adapt to harder water, soft water is preferred for this animal.

While the Grey Bichir is not aggressive, it is a predator and will require a carnivorous diet. Bichirs will require a high-quality diet of live, frozen, and freeze-dried foods. High-quality carnivore pellets may be provided, but not all bichirs will eat processed foods such as pellets or flakes. These fish are nocturnal and will prefer to feed at night.

Tankmates for this animal include other large, peaceful, or semi-aggressive fish, such as larger South American cichlid species (Jack Dempseys, flowerhorns, blood parrots, Oscars), some peaceful African cichlid species, knife fish, large barb species, and large loach species (such as clown loaches). Bichirs may live with other bichirs as well and are known to enjoy the company of other bichirs. Do not keep bichir with small fish, as they will be eaten.


Picture of two adult bichirs included for reference. Photo credit: TVRGolf - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, for Wikipedia (English).