West African lungfish aquarium

West African lungfish (Protopterus annectens) aquarium care

West African lungfish (Protopterus annectens) aquarium care

HomeWest African lungfish – Protopterus annectens

Aquarium fact sheet

  • Origin: West African lungfish is endemic to Africa
  • Lifespan: about 20 years
  • Adult size: 100 cm (40 inches) recorded
  • Native climatic conditions: tropical
  • Care Level: very easy
  • Availability: no restrictions; These lungfish species are available readily with local pet shop; somewhat difficult to get very young specimens; may require ordering and importing specimens;

Aquarium management

  • Minimum aquarium size: 100 gallons
  • Type of water: freshwater; can withstand low salinity;
  • Tank level: bottom dweller; provide easy access to reach the water surface for breathing air
  • Water flow: maintain slow water flow
  • Filtration: required for removing feed and organic waste
  • Water exchange: frequent water exchange is required as the lungfish is a messy eater; the feed debris must be siphoned off to reduce pollution;
  • Lighting: subdued lighting
  • Water temperature: 75-86° F (25-30° C)
  • Water pH: around 7.0
  • Substrate type: Sand with a few bog wood pieces for hiding places in the aquarium
  • Live plants: can be kept to create hiding places
  • Decorations: big size decorations with smooth surfaces (the fish may swallow smaller pieces); bog-wood is preferred

Biology and behavior in aquarium

  • Temperament: aggressive and lethargic
  • Tank mates: should be kept alone; attacks tank mates
  • Diet type: carnivore
  • Feeding: accepts meat, earthworms, pieces of fish meat, live food (fish, shrimps, worms) and pelleted or formulated feed; avoid hand feeding; when hand-fed they may give a nasty bite
  • Breeding: in nature West African lungfish breeds in rainy flooded conditions; have not been bred in captivity; juveniles of these lungfish species have external gills and feed on insects and insect larvae

The West African lungfish is very easy to keep in a fish aquarium. The fish live long and grow big and the hobbyist must be ready for shifting to bigger aquarium. As these fish are exotic and are brought from wild, they must be quarantined and treated for at least ten days so as not pass on any infection to the tank mates. The aquarium must be clean enough for not infecting these lungfish.

Reference: http://www.fishbase.org/summary/Protopterus-annectens
Image source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Annectens.jpg
Image author: Takada@mex | License: CC BY-SA 3.0
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