Polypterid health issues and answers (reference guide) - 2.0

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In Loving Memory
Original poster
Mar 31, 2005
Edit 2.0 - Fixed layout and formatting - Done by Hendre Hendre

I will try to organize as simply as I can with this being the introduction and index post hopefully you will find it easy to use and helpful.
Our polypterids are generally hardy fish ,they however are susceptible to most fish maladies as well as a few specific problems. Considered non-agressive predators they can and often do inflict injuries on each other as they establish a hieracrchy within the tank and establishing their territories. Usually the damage done is minimal however any injury can lead to bacterial or fungal infections.Parasitic problems tend to be limited to various species of flukes.

This post will also cover feeding and nutrition, factors effecting growth rate and size as well as water chemistry and anything else i can think of involving the health and welfare of polypterids.
Post#2 Bacterial infections
Post #3 Fungal infections
Post #4 external parasites
Post #5 internal parasites
Post #6 eye problems
Post #7 Other problems not covered by above posts
Post #8 Diet, feeding and nutrition
Post #9 Factors effecting growth and size
Post #10 Stress
Post #11 Things to have on hand
Post # 12 Appendix 1 list of antibiotics and antifungal agents
Post # 13 Appendix 2 Common medications and their active ingredients
Post # 14 Appendix 3 Medications in other countries
Post # 15 Appendix 4 Nutritional values of common foods
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In Loving Memory
Original poster
Mar 31, 2005
Bacterial infections
Recognizing, diagnosing and treating bacterial infections is not an easy, straightforward task. Bacterial infections may affect internal organs, external organs or both and more than one pathogenic organism can cause similar symptoms. Bacterial infections can stem from many causes, even combinations of contributing causes, and result in potentially fatal diseases. Fortunately, most bacterial infections in fish are manageable if caught and treated early enough.

Symptoms include but not limited to:
  • Rapid breathing.
  • Reddened and frayed fins, or red streaks through the fins.
  • Disintegration of the fins (fin and tail rot).
  • Redness, streaks or blotches along the lateral line.
  • Open sores on the body and near the fins.
  • Bloody scales at the base of the fins.
  • A gray film over the eyes and/or body.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Listlessness or lethargy.
  • Abdominal swelling or bloating
Antibiotics are chemotherapeutic agents with activity against microorganisms such as bacteria, fungi or protozoa

Keep at least one on hand.dissolve in a small cup of tank water before
adding to the tank.
Triple Sulfa
furan 2
melafix (best used as a preventitive not a cure)
pimafix (best used as a preventitive not a cure)
there are many more anti-biotics that will be listed at the end of this post.


In Loving Memory
Original poster
Mar 31, 2005
Fungal infections
White, grey, yellow,or brown cottony tufts covering parts or all of the body. Usually occurs after an injury to the skin of the fish. True Fungus,
normally caused by Saprolegnia, causing the condition known as Saprolegniasis. If fish in the entire tank are affected, treat the whole lot using a proprietary TRUE fungus medication such as Mardel Labs' MarOxy. If only one,or few, fish are affected, remove the fish and swab
affected area directly with either povidone iodine, Mercurochrome, solution, being careful not to let solution get into gills. Keep fish
isolated until healed.

Thick greyish-white marks around mouth or body of fish Mouth or Body Fungus, actually a bacterial disease usually caused by the bacterium Flexibacter, Flavobacter, or Cytophaga. A proprietary antibiotic containing erythromycin, gentamicin or kanamycin may be used to treat this condition. Note, although this condition is listed here under Fungal Disorders, it is actually caused by bacteria, and therefore not a TRUE fungus.

Fish may also have a bluish tint to its color, mottled coloration on the gills, or greyish/whitish streaks on its body. Branchiomycosis.This disease takes hold when water conditions deteriorate, principally high ammonia and elevated temperatures. Fish infected with Branchiomycosis can be easily misdiagnosed with a bacterial infection because of the grayish,irregular streaks.Under the microscope,this fungus has a snowflake appearance, in contrast with most other fungi, which have long hyphae.

First place the infected fish in a 3% salt dip for 10 minutes and then remove it to freshwater. Next scrape the grayish fungal growth off and dab the infected areas with Mercurochrome using a cotton swab. Don't be alarmed if the skin comes with it, leaving an open wound.The skin is already infected and the Mercurochrome will help here. Feeding an antibiotic food containing ormetoprim will help.

Fungicides :an agent that destroys fungi or inhibits their growth
Bright Green 1/2 dose
Copper Sulfate 1/2 dose
Formalin (37-40%)
Gentian Violet 1/2 dose
Jungle Fungus Guard,
Mardel Maroxy
Malachite Green 1/2 dose
Mercurochrome(topical application)
Methylene Blue 1/2 dose
Potassium Permanganate
Silver Nitrate


In Loving Memory
Original poster
Mar 31, 2005
External Parasites

Monogenetic trematodes(skin and gill flukes)
Macrogyrodactylus polypter-malmberg
Macrogyrodactylus polypteri
Macrogyrodactylus simentiensis (Polypterus senegalus) may be found in wildcaught P.senegalus fromm Gambia
These resemble fine hairs or very fine pieces of thread,they are visible to the naked
eye as symptons include rubbing and rolling its body and thrashing it can be cured
usually by using Jungle labs Parasite guard at 3/4 dose.(this is the most comon
parasite i have seen)

Lernaeidae (parasitic crustaceans)

Lernaea haplocephala - May be found on any wildcaught polypterid
This is a species of anchor worm i'd suggest parasite guard full dose. So you can see along with the more common parasites. We have some
species specific ones.

Jungle's "Parasite Guard" is now my anti-parasite med of choice for most bichirs....used at ¾ dosage, it did a fantastic job of making parasites disappear for good, and did not harm my bichirs at all [note, this was used on adult and sub-adult bichirs, and has not been tested on babies....for babies, I have used a formalin solution ("Quick Cure") at full dosage with good results and no ill effects. "Quick Cure", a formalin-based med works reasonably well at full dosage over a ten-day treatment, but I have been getting far quicker and better results with Jungle brand's "Parasite Guard" used at 3/4 dosage for a single treatment


In Loving Memory
Original poster
Mar 31, 2005
Internal Parasites

Digenetic trematodes (internal flukes)
Callodistmum diaphaannum- may be found in Polypterus bichir (gall bladder)
The adult form of these flukes can inhabit any part of the body diagnosis of these
worms is usually not possible and treatment is not warranted

Proteocephalus (flatworms and spiny headed worms)
Proteocephalus pentastoma -may be found in P. bichir wildcaught from the Sudan
Proteocephalus sulcatus- may be found in P. endilcheri wildcaught from the sudan
Polyoncobothrium polypteri- may be found in P.bichir wildcaught in Egypt
Spirocamallanus spiralis
Batrachocamallanus siluranae
Camallanus polypteri n. sp-.is described from Polypterus bichir in Lake Tingrela, Burkina Faso.
The adults lie in the intestines of it host as it sheds its eggs, they are pushed down the intestines and eventually into the water. Most if not all need an intermediate host, ie.the eggs are eaten by a small crustacean it in turn is eaten by a small fish which in turn is eaten by a bigger fish. A starving host may expell its tapeworm.

Gendria polypteri in Polypterus senegalus
Rhabdochona congolensis
Amplicaecum sp.(larva,type I)


In Loving Memory
Original poster
Mar 31, 2005
Eye Problems
Generally the most common eye problem with Polypterids is a clouding of the eyes usually one eye and many times only one
fish might exhibit this in a tank with several tankmates.There can be several cause.
1.water quality seems to be the most often cause and generally be cleared up by a good waterchange
2.Injuries from fighting with tankmates or sharp objects in the tank
3.Cottony white growth over lens of eye Saprolegnia Fungus.
4.Translucent film over the lens of the eye Could be a gram-negative bacterial infection
5.The iris (around the pupil) becomes cloudy Gram Negative bacterial infection
6.he entire eye becomes cloudy from the inside out Could be a parasite,i.e.,flukes
7.Swelling and redness surround the outside of the eye Could be an injury from decor inside the tank or pond Gram-negative bacterial infection.
Before medicating start off with a waterchange and observe the fish the clouding should reduce in 24-36 hours


In Loving Memory
Original poster
Mar 31, 2005
Other problems not covered by above posts

Fish can and do suffer stress.There are 2 recognized types of stress short term (water change) can cause short term stress as can adding new tankmates, this is normal and expected. The other type of stress is long term stress, this can over time lead to the death of the fish.

It's not certain what the exact trigger is that causes this. But, it seems to occur with infrequent water changes, lower temps, and undiverse feeding regimens.

There's a product called Metronidazole. Use of this med along with the salt addition and frequent water changes have been successful in beating bloat.

Perform at least a 30% water change, treat with the med, and don't try to feed the poly for the next several days. On day 3 of the treatment, perform another water change and retreat with the med at full strength. Repeat this plan for a third treatment. During the treatment, watch your poly for waste elimination (sign of kidney function) and check your ammonia level. As the poly kicks the bloat, it'll dump a huge amount of waste to clear its system so, additional smaller water changes may be needed to keep ammonia levels down. A couple of days after the 3rd treatment, you can offer your ornate some food. Increasing plant protein in its diet will help in flushing its system and can be achieved by stuffing algae wafers or spirulina into non-living food or by gut-loading live food items prior to feeding them to the ornate.
Once the bloat is long over, keep up a regular schedule of water changes. Continue to offer foods that contain animal and plant protein (gut-loading is the easiest way). I also recommend keeping a trace amount of rift lake salts in all poly tanks to help maintain proper kidney function and osmotic regulation. Rift lake salts differ from sea salt in that rift lake salts are a calcium chloride derived salt instead of sodium chloride derived salts from marine mixes. I maintain close to 40 polys and have followed this plan since my last bout of bloat over 8 years ago with no reoccurrances of this disease. Good Luck. Oddball

To treat Bloat, the plan of attack is:
Metronidazole and water changes, water changes, water changes!!
1. Remove carbon/resins from filter.
2. Perform a 30-50% water change (reduces free-floating bacteria population)
3. Add salt (teaspoon to a tablespoon per gallon) to aid the fish's osmotic regulation processes.
4. Treat with 250mg/20gallons of Metronidazole (Flagyl)
5. Leave for 3 days and do not feed.
6. After 3 days, perform another large water change.
7. Replace the salt.
8. Add full dosage of Metronidazole.
9. Wait another 3 days. During this phase, the bloat should be decreasing in appearance. In large fish, the water may take on an ammonia odor from the high volume of urea the fish should now be producing due to reducing the bloat and recovering renal activity.
10. 3rd day, another water change. Also, replace the salt and redose the metronidazole (full dose). If the fish looks to be well on the road to recovery you can offer a small feeding each day.
11. Another water change on the 3rd day. No meds but, I'd recommend the salt. You should be clear now.
This is the treatment I use on my africans, puffers, and my lungfishes/polypteridae. Knock on wood that it's worked every single time.
An old school method of treating bloat is with the use of epsom salt at the rate of 2 tablespoons per 10 gallons of tank volume. This method has been successful but, takes longer to treat than by using Metronidazole.oddball

Back End float
If your bichir has a hard time keeping it butt down its most likely trapped gas yes it need to fart once this occurs it should be fine

You can do a mild flush on the polys system by offering it some cut catfish fillet. There's a slight amount of oil in catfish flesh that I've found beneficial in keeping the plumbing clean in my bottom fish. I offer it to all my polys once a week as a preventative. Adding greens to their diet will also be a big help. I accomplish this by offering gut-loaded minnows, shrimp, and crayfish.

Mystery deaths
There are several possibilities seizures,circulatory problems,bacterial infections undetected and even
chronic stress.


In Loving Memory
Original poster
Mar 31, 2005
Feeding, diet and nutrition

Now that you have a bichir, what does it eat? In their natural habitat bichirs normally eat small fish, various insect larvae and invertabrates. Bichirs are generaly non agressive ambush predators but also oppurtunistic scavengers. Objects too big to be consumed whole are often "deathrolled" till small parts are twisted and ripped off the carcass. The key here is to balance the diet through a variety of foods with an eye on total nutrition. A varied diet is a good diet for your fish and yourself.

Now then what can we feed them? You actually have several options and They will be listed below.

The freezer at your local fish store is a smorgasboard of foods which should include
  • silversides or lancefish
  • mysis shrimp
  • brine shrimp
  • krill
  • bloodworms
  • tubifex worms
  • squid
  • beefheart
Simply thaw and feed

Your local market can be a great source of foods check the seafood section of the freezer
You can use just about any foods you find there including
  • mussels
  • shrimp
  • most fish filets (avoid salmon i think its to oily)
Available at the butcher counter or they should be able to order it for you
  • beefheart
  • and yes chicken gizzards
to prepare the above cut it into strips and remove any fat you can find, fish do not digest mammialian fat well.

Live foods include
some frog species(some frogs release a nasty chemical when bitten)
  • tadpoles
  • African dwarf frogs are safe and part of the natural diet
  • ghost shrimp
  • earthworms
  • mealworms feed only the recently shed(white) ones the chiton in the exoskeleton can be hard to digest and in some can result in intestinal blockages.
There is really no reason to feeders except as the ocassional treat. Various live fish and fry can be used for foods.Caution here unless you raise them. Any commercialy bought feeders usually rosie reds/tuffies (the albino form of fat head minnows), guppies, bait minnows etc need to be quarantined before feeding them to your fish for several reasons.
  • reason 1 They are kept in horrible conditions
  • reason 2 They are often diseased
  • reason 3 They often are carriers of parasites
During quarantine dispose of the obviously sick or diseased.The remaining ones feed quality foods a healthy feeder is of course better for your fish.

Goldfish just generally are poor feeders and should be avoided. They are oily not very nutritious and constant feed of them causes fatty deposits on the liver leading to premature deaths. They also contain very high levels of Thiaminase a destroying hormone. While many fish used as feeders contain this goldfish seem to have an abundance of it. Another issue is a spine at the front of the dorsal fin which can lead to problems if the goldfish is swollowed the wrong way (tailfirst). Yet another reason not to use goldfish, goldfish farms utilize copper meds in suspension form to combat diseases in the feeders associated with overcrowding. These copper meds are retained by the feeders for long periods after they leave the farms. Most lfs invariably retain all or part of the feeders shipping water when the feeders are loaded into their bins/tanks. And copper does not dissapate from a closed system
The key is to balance the diet with a variety of foods listed above not just 1 or 2 items and skipping a meal once you notice a decline in growth rate is good for fish.The sad truth is we as hobbyists tend to overfeed our charges.

Pellitized foods
Can be found in various diameters and forms include sinking and floating pellets and sticks
  • shrimp pellets
  • worm pellets
  • even pellets for cichlids will work
  • spirulina sticks
  • brine shrimp sticks
  • Algae wafers(some eat them some just look at them)
When feeding pellets how much to feed?
Under 7' 'I let them eat as much as they want several small feedings when young are better then 1 or 2 large feedings. I let juvies eat till theres a slight bulge to there bellies.

This really applies to bichirs 7''+ I feed mine twice a day skipping at least one day a week. Approx. 80% of their diet is a quality pellet food the rest frozen with the ocassional live feeders after quarantine of course.

How many Pellets?
I start off with total 2 pellets per inch of fish eg. a 7'' fish gets 7 pellets in the A.M. and 7 in the evening feeding is then adjusted up or down so all pellets are consumed. Remember a nice round bichir is a happy bichir
Read the labels and look for this information
Below are the agreed upon nutritional requirements for predatory fish below that is a list of necessary vitamins usually supplied and just for informational purposes.

PROTEIN:: 45% or more (this would be the ideal)
FAT:: 3% Min. to 6% Max.
FIBER 2% Min. to 4% Max
VITAMINS and what they do
(If you want to suppliment vitamins use only vitamin products developed for fish
do not use vitamnins developed for humans use.)
Fat Soluble Vitamins
VITAMIN A promotes cellular growth
Functions: - normal vision, cell growth and resistance to infection
Deficiencies: - poor growth, poor vision, abnormal bone formation and
hemorrhaging at the base of the fins
VITAMIN D3 important for developing bone
Functions: - calcium blood levels (?)
Deficiencies: - unknown
VITAMIN E important for the development of the sex organs in breeding fish
Functions: - antioxidant, may paly a role in muscle cell respiration
Deficiencies: - anemia and poor growth
Water Soluble Vitamins
Functions: - Thiamine-aids growth, digestion and fertility, nervous system
Deficiencies: - poor appetite, muscle atrophy, convulsions, loss of
equilibrium and poor growth
VITAMIN B2 Riboflavin- regulates enzymes
Functions: - vision, protein metabolism and enzyme functioning
Deficiencies: - photophobia, cloudy lens, dim vision, abnormal
colouration of the iris, striated constrictions on the
abdominal wall, dark pigmentation, poor appetite,
anemia and poor growth
VITAMIN B3 Nicotinic Acid-needed for proper digestion
Functions: - plays an important role in lipid, protein and amino
acid metabolism
Deficiencies: - loss of appetite, poor growth, lesions in colon,
erratic motion and weakness, edema of stomach and
VITAMIN B5 Pantothenic Acid-controls metbolism and hormones
Functions: - adrenal functioning, cholersterol production, normal
physiology and metabolism
Deficiencies: - poor growth, sluggishness, clubbed gills, loss of
appetite, hemmorhagic skin and cellular atrophy
VITAMIN B6 Pyroxidine-enzymes and metabolism of protein
Functions: - plays a vital role in enzyme systems and protein
Deficiencies: - nervous dissorders, fits, loss of appetite, poor
growth, rapid and gasping breathing, flexing of
opercles and hyperirritability
VITAMIN B12 Cyanocobalamin- metabolism
Functions: - enzyme systems, cholesterol metabolism
Deficiencies: - poor appetite, poor growth, anemia and dark
VITAMIN C Ascorbic Acid- formation fo teeth and bones , healing wounds and formation of
Functions: - enzyme systems, bone, tooth and cartilage formation
and healing
Deficiencies: - hemorrhagic shin, kidneys, liver, intestine and muscle
tissue, eye lesions and scoliosis of the spine
VITAMIN H Biotin- promotes cell growth
Functions: - enzyme systems, purine and lipid synthesis, oxidation
of lipids and carbohydrates
Deficiencies: - loss of appetite, poor growth, anemia, skin lesions
and muscle atrophy
VITAMIN M Folic Acid- formation of blood and metabolism
Functions: - blood cell formation, blood glucose regulation and
fish metabolism
Deficiencies: - poor growth, lethargy, dark skin, anemia and fragility
of the caudal fin
CHOLIN growth and breakdown nutrients (fat) regulating glucose
Functions: - good growth and food conversion
Deficiencies: - poor growth, poor food conversion, hemorrhagic kidney
and intestine
INOSITOL permeability of cell membrane
Deficiencies: - poor growth, distended stomach, skin lesions and
increased gastric emptying time
p-AMINOBENZOID ACID- stimulates growth (not proven essential)
Deficiencies: - no abnormal indication in growth, appetite and
Estimated Minimum Vitamin Requirements for aquarium fish
Vitamin A 10,000 IU
Vitamin D 2,400 IU
Vitamin E 100 Mg
Vitamin K 10 Mg
Vitamin B1 10Mg (Thiamine)
Vitamin B2 10Mg (Riboflavin)
Vitamin B3 50Mg (Niacin)(nicotinic acid and vitamin B3)
Vitamin B5 50MG (Pantothenic acid)
Vitamin B6 10Mg (Pyroxidine)
Vitamin B7 1Mg (Biotin aka vitamin H)
Vitamin B9 10Mg (Folate)
Vitamin B12 0.02Mg (Cyanocobalamin)
Vitamin C 250Mg (Ascorbic Acid)
Inositol 440Mg
Choline 2.00Mg
free in water the following happens After 30 seconds this applies to
water soluble vitamins only
Vitamin b6 loss 15%
Folic Acid loss 20%
Choline loss 30%
Panothenic acid loss 50%
Vitamin C loss 70%
Vitamin B12 loss 90%


In Loving Memory
Original poster
Mar 31, 2005
Factors Effecting Growth and Size
Growth in fish is determined by many factors both physiological and environmental. Factors such as genetics, sex, diet, water conditions, age, Maturity, Temp etc. All of this can impact total growth for a given year by an individual fish. Fish in captivity are on a very different water change and diet schedule that those in the wild. One they get 100% waterchanges daily and two they forage at will. They also have an open ability to select optimal habitat.

In captivity they do not receive the same conditions. We generally feed our fish in a manner best described as "stuff and starve". They receive a set amount of food and that's it. This does impact growth.Small bodies of water are also more likely to concentrate wastes much quicker. I do not care how much filtration you have or how many waterchanges you do a week, you can not replicate natural water conditions in captivity. Co-habitation with other fish in a small system also impacts the fishes growth through psychological stress as well as competition for food and living space.
To help your fish reach its maximum growth rate and potential size try the following.

Theres not a lot you can do here but hope for the best. Unfortunatly with farming taking place theres no telling how good the gene pool is especially with the manipulating of the gene pool they are doing creating short bodies, albinos etc. If the parents are on the smaller side of bichir size odds are the young will be smaller than the normal 10-12 inches and genetics can influence rate of growth as well.

Fish depend on their enviroment to supply them with heat. To this end their metabolism is heat dependent the cooler the water the slower the metabolism and the warmer the water the faster the metabolism. The faster the metabolism is the faster food is processed and made available for lets say growth as well as digestion etc. The natural tempurature ranges from mid 70'sF to mid 80'sF so keep the tempurature in low to mid 80's to increase the metabolism rate.

Water conditions
Establish and maintain a waterchange schedule this means 10% minimum do do this to remove the nitrates but also the other compounds that are not dealt with through biological filtration such as urea, inorganic salts, organic compounds including, protiens, hormones and metabolites.

Fish like most animals need fairly normal periods of light and dark 8 hours minimum to 12 hours maximum of light good use a timer if you
need to but keep the fairly constant.Note here you can adjust the photoperiod to mimic nature.

Female polypterids generally grow bigger than males

Nutrition-Quanity and quality which is one reason i suggest adding a good quality pellet to a varied diet this insures they get they needed vitamins. Several small meals through the day are better than 1-2 big meals, smaller meals allows them to scavage through the day as they would in the wild(see primer for food & nutritional information).

Avoid species that are generalized as agressive.Generally fish named after prizefighters, satan and criminals should be avoided.Polypterids are usually slow to eat and agressive fish can often outcompete them.

Growout tanks
consider using a growout tank for very young(small) bichirs a ten gallon is good for this as it allows them to exercise
and makes finding food stuffs easier so they can use the energy for growth then move them to a bigger tank when they get about 7 inches
The real question about growth is since we are supposed to be providing them optimum conditions why they don't necessarily grow larger?


In Loving Memory
Original poster
Mar 31, 2005
Stress in a broad context,is any reaction to factors that drive physiological systems outside the normal range. Stess can affect fish endocrine systems and result in supression of the immune system, thereby decreasing a fishes abilty to fight infections, disease and parasites that normally might not present of a physiological challenge.

There are two different kinds of stress that concerns us, "acute"stress or short term stress and "chronic" or long term stress. Acute or short term stress may last only a few hours or a few days this often results in increased levels of catecholamines (epinephrine, norepinephrine) and cortisol. Increased levels of these hormones in respose to the stressor. These changes can result osmotic imbalances, decrease in white blood cell counts and a dimminished response to infectious agents.

Causes of short term stress includes but are not limited to the below.
  • Netting,moving and transporting
  • improper aclimation to new tank
  • chemical substances (medication) bichirs do not tolerate some medications primarily copper based meds though current thought is many older copper based meds contained a fair amount of zinc.

Indications of "acute" or short term stress include the following
  • Faded coloration(this is more noticable on sensgals and lapradei)
  • Lack of appetite
  • hiding
  • rapid gill movement
  • excess slimecoat
  • fight or flight response

to help reduce"acute"stress to a minimum try the following:
  • When you bring a new bichir home place it in its qt preferably in a darkened area
  • and simply leave it alone for 24 hours so it can begin settleing in.
  • Properly aclimate your new fish this involes more than floating the bag in the tank which only equlizes the tempurature.
  • Netting and moving do this only when needed ie. moving them to bigger tanks or removing them to a hospital tank for treatment.
Long term or chronic stress

In the wild fish can move to more desirable conditions and avoid stressful situations however in captivity fish are often subjected to relatively long periods of stress. A common cause of death in stressed captive fish is osmotic inbalance .A fish exposed to chronic stress
has 2 options adapt or eventualy die. Even if a fish adapts growth rate and general health will be reduced during the period of adaptation.

The systems responsible for the basic metabolic functions such as the nervous system, the respiratory system and the systems that control osmoregulation have a higher priority than growth or reproduction. Under conditions of little or no stress there is an energy surplus that can be put towards growth and reproduction. Chronic stress has also been shown to cause changes at the celluar and tissue levels especially the liver, gills and spleen to the point of failure.

Causes of chronic stress include but are not limited to:
  • rapid temperture changes
  • rapid changes in water chemistry (pH)
  • overly agressive tankmates
  • poor water qualtiy
  • Rapid temperature fluctuations: Can be avoided by buying a quality heater. If the heater is placed exposed in the tank either buy or make a heater guard this will prevent heater burns.
  • Rapid changes in water chemistry-pH do not atempt to adjust your source water pH let your fish adjust to the natural pH of your source water.
  • Poor water conditions: Maintain a proper waterchange schedule.
  • Water quality: maintain a schedule to change the water and clean the tank this prevents build up of waste and other substances.
  • Overcrowding: do not overcrowd your tank when purchasing fish think of the adult sizes not how big they are when you buy them usually as juveniles.
  • Poor diet: offer a variety of foods not just one thing and if using feeders either quarantine them or better yet raise your own.
  • Agressive tankmates: Bichirs are generally non agressive tankmates. If you observe constant bullying seperate the bully
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