Ornate Polypterus
Polypterus ornatipinnis

Care Level




Reef Compatible


Plant Safe


Max Size

18" +

Minimum Tank Size

75 gallon


Black, Tan



Water Conditions

76-83° F, KH 1-12, pH 6.5-7.5


General: The East African species is a larger member of aquaria, reaching lengths of up to 24''. Largely a natural ambush predator, the Ornate Polypterus should not be kept with slower moving species it may be able to consume. The Ornate Polypeterus prefers slower moving bodies of water. Smooth rocks, as well as driftwood, help to create an ideal environment for this unique fish.

Breeding: It is a rare, yet possible occurance that Polypterus breed in captivity. Naturally, these events are triggered by changes in precipatation, current, and water temperature.

Aquarium Diet: Earthworms, ghost shrimp, feeder fish, clams,
Preferred Water Chemistry: Slightly acidic (6.5 to 7.5 pH), soft water hardness (1 to 12 KH)

Dimorphism: Male Ornate Polypterus will have a thicker anal fin, in relation to the female. This enlarged anal fin is used to cup eggs, prior to fertilization during the reproductive process.

Compatibility: Large African Rift Valley Cichlids, Knifefish, other Polypterus species

Author: Aquatics Unlimited