My personal revision and guide of Polypterus delhezi keeping.

giseok jung

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Hello, It's Jung

It's been a while since I wrote my last informatic thread on MFK.
So I decided to move my original article from my personal website that I wrote on Korean.

My English is not so perfect please understand if there is any missspel or mistranslations.

This is my personal revision about Polypterus delhezi and Guide of keeping of this species.

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("A-Grade" delhezi that imported to Korea from Indonesia between 2014~2015)

Polypterus delhezi is one of the most common species of Polypterus in ornamental fish industry.

Around 2014, when i start keeping my first delhezi, almost every delhezi available in Korea was bred from Indonesia.
Only a few wild catched bichir species like senegalus, endlicheri, delhezi, lapradei was available and even congicus was quite rare back in that time.

And than, Indonesian select-breed strain delhezi were imported to Korea labeled as "A-Grade" delhezi.

Before this import, we can barely find delhezi with any markings because most of Korean impoters wanted to get cheaper fish, not better quality one.
So this "A-Grade" delhezi was get very popular and many fish keepers started to keep delhezi since this time.
 

giseok jung

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(KRCB delhezi bred by my friend Mr. Park in 2011)

Before we get the Indonesian "A-Grade" delhezi in Korea, local breed specimens bred by Korean aquarists were more popular than Indonesian CB delhezi because we can barely find any delhezi with any patterns from Indonesia import.
That's because every Korean importers wanted to get cheaper fish, not better one so every single quality specimens were sent to Japan, not Korea.

Some Korean breeders like Mr. Park try to collect their best one from poor quality imports from Indonesia and try selective breed whith those fish.
The fish on the photo looks not so special in nowdays but it was a sensational quality in Korea 2011.

But sadly, because of limited informations about selective breed and inbreed problems of Indonesian strains, and most of all, there was only one breeder, Mr. Park successfully breed delhezi, we can not see any of this strain these days.

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(Super quality Polypterus delhezi bred by Japanese breeder "Doly K" in 2009)

While breeders are suffering because of poor parents quality and limited informations about selective breed, a sensational photograph was published by Japanese Polypterus-specialty shot "Redcen".

That fish was a absolutly stunning Polypterus delhezi bred by Japanese breeder "Doly K" with his very finest quality wild catched parents fish and this fish was sold at 441,000 Japanese yen at that time.

This fish had sharp and slim headshape with straight dorsal fins, most of all, the absolutly beautiful patterns and it was enough to blow Korean fish keepers mind.

I think that two picture make Korean keepers consider how important quality is for delhezi.
 

giseok jung

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(My Polypterus delhezi with tank set up in many years ago)

Polypterus delhezi is very easy fish to keep.

Polypterus delhezi have great tolarance for water quality, many diseases that can threaten many other aquarium fish and even they can breath with serface air and even can servive one of the worst nightmare for fish keepers, the power out situations.

And delhezi can get used to pellets very easily and there is many very nice pellets like carnivores pellets from Hikari on the market so there is no parts that bother someone who trying to keep this speices for the first time.

Also their price get very stable and not so expensive because there is many farms in Indonesia breed this fish and fishermen in D.R.Congo collect wild catched specimens, even many Korean breeders works for breed this species so they are very accessable species for beginner now days.

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(6 feet long tank I used to keep my delhezi)

Than now, let check what we need to keep Polypterus delhezi.

The fishtank.

Delhezi is mid-sized species in genus Polypterus and can grow up to 40cm max size for female.

And also wild catched specimens and tank or farm-breed specimen need different tank size they require and even captive breed specimens can grow up to different size because of it's bloodlines so you have to consider about this when you choose your tank.

I recommend 60.45.45cm tank for minimum size for CB specimens and 90.60.60cm tank minimum for wild cathed specimens or big size bloodline.

Specially for Polypterus keeping, you have to make them grow very fast in young stage to get good head and body shape, so you have to take big enough tank for it.

Also Polypterus jump very well and push-ride wall type of jumpers so if you have anything can stop them on the edge of the tank with the cover, it will be very helpful to save them from jump out.

In my case, I started keeping 4 juvenile Indonesian CB delhezi and 1 wild catched speciemens in 60cm and change it to 180.75.65cm sump tank when the juvenile CB delhezi grow up to 30cm about 1 years later.

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(fish tank with sump-system)

Aquarium filter.

Generally in Polypterus keeping, sponge filter is not suitable because bichirs will trying to get in to the gap between the filter and tank and finally it will get off from the wall.

So many keepers use up-side filter and external filters can minimise internal structures and use large filter volums.

Personally, I use external filter made by Kotobuki, Japan because it have strong water flow, enough filter volum and long lifespan with accessable price.

If you trying to get bigger tank, the sump system is the most common and effective filter systems.
Also if you use sump tank, you can keep your heater or other equipments inside the sump so make your tank clean and keep fish out of burning by heater.

I use sponge filter only for juveniles or breeding tank, external canister filter for bigget than 6~7cm fish, and use sump systems for adult fish.
 

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(Hikari carnivores pellet, Hikari mini carnivores pellet, frozen weather loach from left to right)

Foods.

Polypterus delhezi have high preferance for artifical pellets so you can keep them good enough only with pellets for big carnivores fish.

I recommend Carnivores pellet by Hikari, which is a fish food brand of Kyorin company in Japan.
You can choose three different size of pellets of Hikari due to the size of your fish.

(I usually feed mini carnivores pellet for smaller fish than 15cm and feed carnivores pellet for bigger fish)

This pellet has great nutrience balance and preferances so it's very suitable for main diets for delhezi.
But they are bit expensive so we can use it for snack and try other foods.

In Korea, many pople use frozen weather loach for main diets because it have nice nutrience balance with low price but weather loach contain thiaminase so you have to feed them extra vitamins or pellets that can offer them enough nutriences.

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Substrate.

Your delhezi will change their color dramatically according to the substrate.

Specially the wild catched specimens and wild F1 show beautiful neon-green colors after they matured so many keeper choose the substrate that can help them to show green color.

People usually choose dark colored sand like black sand or garnet sand.

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But there is some specimens born with brighter white-gray body color without golden-edge in their bands and this specimens will show really beautiful conterast in bright substrate or bare tank too.
 

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Light, Heater, Other equipments

right lighting systems will help your delhezi to show their best colors and also very important for their metabolistic rhythem and keep your fish in good conditions.

I currently use 4*30w white colored LED and natural sunlight for my 6 and 7 feet aquarium and keep ligt on and off regularly by a timeer (8~10d / 16~14n).
Specially, the fish can't blink it's eyes when they are in too bright environment and will get stressed because they can't sleep.
This stress will keep your fish very sensitive and even can be a reason to smash it's head to wall when they freaked out for something so you must keep your light on and off on time to keep their photoperiods.

About heater, you need to keep inside of the sump to keep your bichir safe from burning or use a heater cover and put in somewhere that always in water to be safe from fire when the return-pump stop or sort of situations.

Other equipements like wave maker can be helpful, specially the wave maker will make water flow better and help detritus go inside of the filters, also water flow will help your fish to get sharper head, bodyshape and dorsal fins so i recommend to put one when you keep Polypterus delhezi.

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(Juvenile Polypterus delhezi)

Now you have an aquarium to keep one so time to choose your fish.

It became much easier to find nice delhezi in Korea than before.

Patternless delhezi are getting harder to find even from Indonesian import and many breeders trying to breed their own high-quality strains of delhezi so there is many choice nowdays.

In 2016, when i wrote one of the earlier post, there was only Wild catched specimens and Indonesian CB specimens but we became able to find various strains now.

Now, lets see how to choose good delhezi.

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Headshape

Many experienced bichir keepers consider a lot about headshape when they choose their new fish, and Captive breed specimens are hard to beat wild catch specimens up with this.

Usually many keepers prefer long, sharp and pointy headshape than frog face because even the pattern is bit less quality, specimen with better head and body shape will became more beautiful than frog faced one when you keep them for long time.

And also, many frog faced specimens were too much inbred or didn't grow up well in younger stage so you have to choose better shaped one if you want to raise your fish bigger.

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(Left: female wild catched delhezi Right: female captive breed delhezi)

Bodyshape

You can choose between two basic type of bodyshapes of delhezi fallow your tast.

The female captive breed specimen, specially the one breed from Indonesia will have very large and thick shape and Wild catched specimens or captive breed specimens that breed from wild catched parents will have much longer and slender body.

Also there is quite a big sexual dimorphism on bodyshape for delhezi so you will see more various shaped fish if you keep both male and female together.

The one we can see as quality is any flexure in their body shape, the one with smoother body line without any flexure will be better specimens and there also some other choice like Short-Body too if you like it.
 

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(Left: Delhezi with Stripe-pattern, Right: Delhezi with Royal-band pattern)

Pattern

Pattern is one of the most important point for quality of Polypterus delhezi.

There is many various pattern types of delhezi but we can sperate it on two basic type, Stripe-pattern and Royal-band.

Also there is a golden colored edge on the pattern can also considered as quality with thichness, color, shape, numbers of pattern.

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(Left: Delhezi with thicker but less number of pattern, Right: Delhezi with more but thinner pattern)

First, Thickness of pattern and number of patterns shows inverse proportion so most of case show thicker pattern with less number or Thinner patterns with more numbers of pattern.

But there is also a specimens with thicker and many numbers of pattern but this kind of specimens are very very rare.

The color of pattern is darker is better but some specimens show wide but bit blear colored pattern and this can be disappeared after they grown up so you have to keep in mind about that too when you select.
 

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(Polypterus delhezi with "Royal-Band" pattern)

The royal-band pattern is more influenced by the shape of the pattern than just stripe-patterns becuase there is several methods to produce the "Royal-Band" patterns.

In the case of Type 1 (Left photo), the particular patterns in juvenile stage get darker, thicker and fixed as a pattern for life unlike other specimens. This type is reletively hard to fix as a bloodline so quite rarely seen.

Type 2 (Right photo) is based from very rare wild parents that contain Royal-band pattern gene.
This kind of parents fish are extreamly hard to get and there is only very few breeders who try to breed with wild catched parents so this type is also very rare.
But the Jpanaese breeder "doly K" successfully produce this type of Royal-Band from his wild catched parents fish, do Backcross (F1 * WC) and get numbers of very remarkable quality fish.

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(Left: Royal band delhezi bred by Japanese breeder "doly-K" with Backcross methods, Right: Indonesian CB Royal-band delhezi)

Type 3, the most common case of "Royal delhezi" is Indonesian selective breed strain also called "Royal tiger delhezi" or "A grade delhezi".
This strain had been produced with multiple-generations of inbreeding to make fish to get more markings (probobly about 10 generations these days) so many of specimens have froggy face and curved dorsal fins because of inbreeding.
But this strain still have great genetics of patterns so many breeders in Korea trying to breed this fish with wild catched specimens to get offsprings with nice pattern and wild-like body and head shape.

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(Various styles of Stripe-band type of delhezi)

Stripe types are much easier to differenciate.
There is a specimens with some dots like patterns between their stripes and other stripes and other doens't.
Some also have Upside down Y shaped patterns too but in Stripe-pattern type, most of peolple prefer deeper colored and thicker patterned one and just don't mind to much about the shape of the bands.
 

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(Left: delhezi that showing great golden edge on it's band, Right: delhezi without the golden edge on it's pattern)

The golden edge.

Not many keepers consider about the golden colored edge on the pattern of delhezi but i think this is one of the most important part of the quality of delhezi.

In many case, specimens with golden edge on it's pattern have much cleaner shaped and darker colored pattern and most of them show the golden edge after they get matured around 3~4 years old but some specimens with extraordinary quality show it since it was very small too.

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(Wild F1 delhezi i breed)

We can find various strains of delhezi in Korea these days.

we could only find WC from congo and CB from Indonesia several years ago but there is several breeders who successfully breed delhezi and produce them as their own strains.

There is three breeders who successfully breed and raise Polypterus delhezi in Korea (Mr. Park, Mr. Sin and Me) and each breeders has their identical styles for their strain.

And we can still find Indonesian CB delhezi and Congo WC delhezi also, so let me talk about them too.

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Indonesian Captive breed delhezi strain.

There is two major strains of delhezi in my opinion.
One is for producing rare mutations of this species like platinum and short body, and other is to produce better patterned one.

The first case is focused to produce many mutants as they can so the normal fish are not so good quality and cheap.

In the second case is focused to produce better specimens so there is many very nice specimens but bit pricy.
Also most of the strains in Indonesian farms are far from wild generations so there is many problems becaused of inbreeding like frog head and waved dorsal finlets.

And many of breeders in other countrys trying to breed their own strains from this strain.
 

giseok jung

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(Left: Polypterus delhezi bred by Mr. Park,Right: Polypterus delhezi "Short body" bed by Mr. Sin)

Korean Captive breed delhezi strains.

There is three breeders communicate with each others and produce different strains of delhezi for Korean bichir markets.
Most of KRCB delhezi are sold from the shop named "Healing Aqua" which owned by the breeder Mr. Park.

First, Mr. Park is the first-generation of Korean Polypterus breeder and mainly breed his strain based on Female Indonesian CB delhezi and Male Congo WC delhezi to produce acceptable quality and price for beginners.

And also there is several rare mutations are reported while he breed his strains like platinum and short-body and he sale some of them inside of Korea and do export some of them.

His strain is based on high-quality Indonesian CB delhezi and WC so he produce the fish with nice patterns like Indonesian selective breed strains with better head and body shapes.

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(Mr. Park breed short body delhezi that sold on high price in Japan)

Mr. Sin is breed his own strain based on Indonesian selective breed female and 3 different types of male, Indenesian CB, WC and WIld F1 I breed and he also trying to breed good qualitied delhezi with acceptable price for beginners.

Also he successfully breed very nice patterened specimens also with Wild F1 male I breed and leading delhezi-breeding in Korea these days.

His fish has reletivly short body shape but still have nice pattern, head and body shapes whithout any waves.
 

giseok jung

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(Left: Wild F1 delhezi I breed, Right: Wild-cross strain delhezi I breed)

For me, I breed with my high-end wild specimens I've been collecting for many years to produce high-end fish like Doly-K.

I currently breed two different strains of delhezi.

First is Wild strain, which I breed only with my very high quality WC specimens and i'm trying to build my own bloodlines for Stripe- pattern and Royal band also from the offsprings i got from wild pair.
 
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