- "Wow! A saddled bichir! Now I'm saddled with guilt!"
An information board in the aquarium will provide information about this fish.
"The cool-looking saddled bichir are ancient fish with spiky fins on their backs. Though they've been around for more than 400 million years, they remain relatively unchanged. They have big appetites and will wait to ambush any fish they think will fit in their mouths. They can grow up to 30 inches long, making them rather large fish indeed. They swim slowly in a way that gives them the appearance of walking like dinosaurs."
The Saddled Bichir can be found throughout Africa, in swamps and rivers. Its diet consists of snails and crustaceans. An incredibly hardy, nocturnal species with very poor vision, it relies on its excellent sense of smell to locate food. This species, along with others of its genus, are some of the last surviving relatives of very ancient species. Fossils of earlier relatives have been found that date back to the Triassic Period, which occured during the early development of the dinosaurs more than 200 million years ago.
Bichirs are predatory fish and in captivity will take any live or dead animal that can be swallowed or broken apart and then swallowed. The only thing preventing a bichir from emptying an aquarium of smaller fish is its speed; the pectoral fins only allow for slow cruising, and while it can achieve amazing bursts of speed, it can't catch fish of average speed. Given enough time, any fish that can fit in the bichir's mouth will be eaten; this fish should not be kept with any other fish smaller than eight inches. It has been known to eat fish as large as themselves.