Barred Birchir
Polypterus delhezi

Care Level




Reef Compatible


Plant Safe


Max Size

12" - 18"

Minimum Tank Size

75 gallon


Black, Brown, Gray, Green, White



Water Conditions

Slightly acidic (6.4-7.6 pH), intermediate water hardness (6-12 dKH), 72 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit


General: The Barred Bircher (Polypterus delhezi) are an ancient escape artist that developed terrestrial mobility behaviors millions of years ago in the African Congo. Needless to say, the Barred Bircher must be kept in a tightly sealed aquarium. The Barred Birchir will typically reach a length of fourteen inches, and should be kept in an aquarium of 75 gallons, or larger. Being a natural ambush predator, the Birchir may attempt to capture small, slower moving tank mates.

Reproduction: Within aquaria, it is possible to encourage reproductive behaviors of various member within the scientific genus Polypterus. In order to do so, be sure to perform small, but frequent water changes to mimic natural rainfall commonly associated with seasonal change. Also, it helps to have a tank that has dense vegetative cover, as the Polypterus are an egg scatterer. Soft, slightly acidic water conditions will also help to encourage the reproductive behavior of Polypterus.

Aquarium Diet (Carnviore): The Barred Birchir (Polypterus delhezi) are a carnivorous ambush predator. Polypterus key in on subtle movements, largely relying on the sensitive signals received by the lateral line. When attempting to grow juvenile Polypterus, it is recommended to provide Birchir with Brine Shrimp, Blackworms, Ghost Shrimp, and Insects. The Barred Bircher can also be provided Mussels, Krill, Silversides, and other meaty products commonly found within aquatic ecosystems.

Preferred Water Chemistry: Slightly acidic (6.4-7.6 pH), intermediate water hardness (6-12 dKH), 72 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit

Dimorphism: The Barred Birchir (Polypterus delhezi) male will have a significantly thicker anal fin, in comparison to the female.

Compatibility: The Barred Birchir (Polypterus delhezi) are typically compatible with African Butterflyfish, Synodontis, Knifefish, Severum, Jack Dempsey, Rainbowfish, and Silver Dollar. Being an opportunistic predator, the Polypterus will take advantage of anything slow, and small enough to capture.