The 7 Best Tank Mates to Pair With Bichir

Written by Amanda Martinotti
Updated: September 24, 2023
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If you’re looking for a fish that is as old as dinosaurs with an ancient appearance, you’ve met a great tank resident! Read this article to discover the seven best tank mates to pair with Bichir fish.

The Bichir fish (Polypetrus bichir) is a fish that originates from the murky water of Africa.

They have a set of lungs and still require going up for air. Most fish have gills instead of lungs. However, due to its murky habitat, the Bichir fish comes with a set of lungs not just for the sake of oxygen but to filter out the dirt from its habitat.

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Bichir fish can live for up to 15 years and grow to 15 inches long or more.

7 best tank mates to pair with bichir

The Bichir fish (

Polypetrus bichir)

is a fish that originates from the murky water of

Africa

.

©Rollibolly/Shutterstock.com

What Is the Best Fish to Feed Bichir Fish?

Bichir fish eat a strictly carnivorous diet. Therefore, the best fish to feed these dinosaur fish are shrimps, baitfish, and earthworms.

Are Bichir Fish Hard to Keep?

In terms of care, the answer is no. However, they do require specialized care when it comes to tanks, their size as an adult, and longevity. 

How Big of a Tank Do I Need For a Beichir?

Young Beichir fish only need a 10-12-inch deep tank. If you have adult bichir fish, they only need a 24-inch tank.

Can Bichir Fish Live in a Community Tank?

Contrary to belief, bichir fish can live in a tank with other fish. You must make sure that every fish’s needs are met. This includes factors such as places to hide for privacy. It is also imperative to keep the pH levels of the tank at 6.2 to 7.8. You should also make sure the temperature of the water is between 74 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit.

Are Bichir Fish Aggressive?

Bichir fish are not aggressive animals. They can live peacefully with other fish. However, if they are pinned in a corner or surrounded by fish, this can provoke aggression.

7 Best Tank Mates to Pair With Bichir

Ready to get your bichir a pal? Check out the seven options below.

1. Elephant Nose Fish (Gnathonemus petersi)

These funny fishes that look as though they have the trunk of an elephant plastered to their face are a fun option to pair with your bichir fish. Elephant fish are easy to care for and can grow to be about 7-8 inches long.

7 best tank mates to pair with Bichir

These funny fishes that look as though they have the trunk of an

elephant

plastered to their face are one option to pair with your bichir fish.

©boban_nz/Shutterstock.com

Why They Make Great Pairs

They keep to themselves when it comes to large fish such as the Bichir fish. Therefore, there should be zero chance of aggression.

Cons of Adding Elephant Nose Fish

May beat up on other smaller fish in the tank.

2. Oscar Fish (Astronotus ocellatus)

They are also called “Marble Cichlids”. These fish are lovely in color and look beautiful swimming in the tank with your Bichir Fish. Oscar Fish grow to be around 10 inches in length when fully grown. You should keep the tank temperature at 74 to 81 degrees Fahrenheit for these fish.

7 best tank mates to pair with bichir

Oscar fish

are lovely in color and look beautiful swimming in the tank.

©letspicsit/Shutterstock.com

Why They Make Great Pairs

The Oscar Fish will not tolerate bullying from the Bichir Fish.

Cons

The Oscar Fish are known to have child-like temper tantrums. Due to this, it may make it more dangerous for smaller ones to keep with the Oscar Fish.

3. Peacock Bass (Cichla ocellaris)

The peacock bass are pretty green fish with vertical black stripes. However, they may come in different colors and variations.

The peacock bass fish will grow to 30 inches when they grow into an adult.

Peacock bass are not as easy to care for as other fish mentioned in this article. Therefore, they may be better suited for someone with intermediate fish care experience.

7 best tank mates to pair with bichir

The peacock bass fish will grow to 30 inches once it reaches adulthood.

©Kwanza Henderson/Shutterstock.com

Why They Make Great Pairs

The size of Peacock Bass Fish allows them to avoid being bullied or attacked by the Bichir Fish. 

Cons

  • Peacock Bass requires a large tank with a large size. At a minimum, the tank should be able to hold 100 gallons.
  • Peacock Bass may be pretty in appearance. However, they are bullies on the inside and can harm smaller fish.

4. Flower Horn Cichlid (Amphilophus hybrid species)

These brightly colored fish with inflated heads are fun and vivid to add to your tank with the Bichir Fish. Flower Horn Cichlids can grow to be 10 to 16 inches. They are easy to care for and require a tank to have a temperature of 80 to 89 degrees F.

7 best tank mates to pair with bichir

These brightly colored fish with inflated heads are a vivid option to add to your tank.

©Lucas Photo/Shutterstock.com

Why They Make Great Pairs

  • The Flower Horn Child is a larger fish and will not argue with the Bichir fish. 
  • They will not fight over food with other fish.

Cons

May pick on smaller fish in the tank.

5. Clown Loaches (Chromobotia macracanthus)

These funky, looking fish are a great pairing for your Bichir fish!

Clown loaches grow to be 7 to 11 inches long.

They will need a fish tank that is 77 to 83 degrees Fahrenheit. These lovely fish come in different color variations. They have a peaceful and playful presence that makes them a great add-on to your Bichir Fish family.

7 best tank mates to pair with bichir

Clown loaches grow to be 7 to 11 inches long.

©LizWinfreyV, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons – License

Why They Make Great Pairs

  • Fast swimmers, which makes it hard for the Bichir fish to catch up.
  • Peaceful, non-confrontational fish.

Cons of Adding Clown Loaches

Medium care is needed. The Clown Loaches may not be suitable for you if you are a beginner with fish.

6. Pink Convict Cichlid (Archocentrus nigrofasciatus)

The Pink Convict is not a fish you want to encounter in if you are another fish. These pretty-looking Cichlids are tough! They can stand up aggressively towards the Bichir Fish if they need to confront them. The Pink Convicts grow to be around 6 inches in length and require a tank of 100 gallons for adequate living space. 

7 best tank mates to pair with bichir

These pretty-looking Cichlids are tough!

©Timmy Toucan – Public Domain

Why They Make Great Pairs

  • The easy care level makes this fish a great addition for a first-time fish owner.
  • An alternate feeding schedule helps prevent food competition and limits the chances of injury.

Cons

They may boss around smaller fish in the tank.

7. Black Ghost Knifefish (Apteronotus albifrons)

The Black Ghost Knifefish has an appearance that’s as cool as its name! It’s important to note that this fish is bigger than the Bichir Fish. The Black Ghost Knifefish can grow to about 20 inches in length. It requires a tank of about 100 gallons with a temperature of 73 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit.

7 best mates to pair with bichir

The Black Ghost Knifefish can grow to about 20 inches in length.

©Pavaphon Supanantananont/Shutterstock.com

Why They Make Great Pairs

  • Despite their fancy appearance, they are low maintenance, making them ideal for first-time fish owners. 
  • These fish are substantially large, which makes it hard to bully them.

Cons 

These fish will fight and challenge other fish for territory and food if they are not in the proper-sized tank.

The 7 best tank mates to pair with Bichir fish can be found in this article. Remember to keep all the fish the same size, and make sure they are in the correct size tank.

Happy swimming!

Pros and Cons of Each Fish Table

FishProsCons
Elephant Nose FishKeeps to themselves.May pick on smaller fish.
Oscar FishWon’t let other big fish bully them.Temper tantrums can be deadly to smaller fish in the tank.
Peacock BassLarge size protects them from being bullied.They like to pick on smaller fish.
Flower Horn CichlidGets along with larger fish.Will not get into food competitions with other fish in the tank.
Pink Convict CichlidEasy to care for.May boss around other fish in the tank.
Black Ghost KnifefishGreat option for first time fish tank owners.May challenge other fish for territory and food if the tank is too small.
Clown LoachesPeaceful, and non-violent fish.Not suitable for beginner fish owners.
The pros and cons of the 7 recommended fish in this article.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Galina Savina/Shutterstock.com


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