African butterfly fish/ Sen bichir questions

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Wizard Lizard

Fish Fanatic
May 3, 2020
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Hope this is the right place to post this. For context I plan in a year or so after I move to get a Sen bichir tank. The idea behind it would be to have a school of breeding endlers to act as a round the clock food source. Based off my reading dinosaur bichirs are one of the few fish who will stop eating when full. So this will be the cheapest and easiest way for me to feed the bichir while also having an excuse to breed endlers. My questions revolve around putting an African butterfly fish(Abf) in a set up like this.

Question 1: sources say Abf should be fed 2-4 times a day, but not to over feed, so would a set up like this be a good idea for them?

Question 2: Sen bichirs at max size can get 18-24 inches. despite the fact that getting to that size may take a while if ever happen would one that size eat an ABF?

Question 3: In a tank with 1-2 Sen bichirs, a dojo loach, and 6 Siamese algae eaters in a 55 long how many Abf should/could I keep, I read they have some social behavior

Question 4: will adult Sen bichirs eat adult Siamese algae eaters?

Question 5: would a bristlenose pleco be safe from an adult Sen bichir? I'd rather have one than 6 Siamese algae eaters but felt it would be too small.
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Big Birchirs will eat anything that fits in their mouth, that includes long thin fish like Siamese algae eaters and smaller but slightly wider bristlenose catfish. A big Birchir will also take an African butterfly fish if it can catch it. However, butterfly fish jump so you might find it dry on the floor after the Birchir tries to grab it, and the butterfly fish leaps out of the tank to get away.

All fish eat until they are full. It's just some fish have bigger stomachs (at least they think so) than other fish.

Guppies/ Endlers aren't the best diet for a fish. You want to vary the Birchir's diet and have it eating a wide range of foods including dry, frozen and live. This gives the fish a more varied diet with more nutrients and the fish will be less likely to go on a hunger strike if the guppies aren't available.
I have 3 Bichirs in my Tilapia tank set up, they live in the plant tank ( 250 gallons ) to keep the bugs down... I was noticing some mosquito larvae, so I also added a group of Mosquito fish, which I'm sure the Bichirs are eating... in a tank full of hydroponic vegetables, & duckweed, that I also feed the Tilapia, I rarely see the Bichirs... I added 3, that were between 3-4 inches long... I finally saw one last week, as the Duckweed is about been all fed, & seems done for the year... in 3 months of summer in that tank, the one I saw was 8 to 10 inches long now... I've been feeding a sprinkle of sinking shrimp pellets, to the same spot in the tank every day, & the only thing I see eating them are the mosquito fish...

I'll be bringing them in, when the weather gets too cold, & I harvest the Tilapia... they'll be going into a 55 gallon with a small school of Silver Dollars ( hoping I can grow my Silver dollars, so they are big enough to avoid getting eaten... as they came in kind of small, & the Bichirs have grown rapidly ), but hoping to transition the Bichirs to also eat some dried foods, once they are in a more controlled environment... I keep the extra Mosquito fish in that tank, hoping to breed them, but I'm sure all will be consumed when the Bichirs are added...

I've read that Bichirs are escape artists so likely your tank will need a cover for them, which should contain the Butterflies... but no guarantee they won't try to eat them... after all I'm worried about the Silver Dollars, & they, at least appear to be more than bite size...

I also have a common Pleco in this tank, at about 8" long, that I didn't know what else to do with... so... I think the bushy's are a medium sized pleco... but there are other more interesting varieties than the common, that get bigger than snack size...
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at a 5 inch maximum size of the butterfly, it's likely more than a mouthful, but Bichir's go to the surface to gulp air, the the butterfly might be tempting... butterfly's are big jumpers, I've had them to 3inches before, I expect a 5 inch would be a powerful fish, which might not be edible, but that doesn't mean a Bichir wouldn't still try... & at the 2-3 inch size as are commonly sold, I think it's too close to snack size
To be clear I also plan to provide frozen and pellet foods for variety and nutrition. I just though that endlers would be a healthy staple as I've been told that guppies are a healthy food and the 2 are closely related. I also plan on getting a small Sen bichir and growing it. So it would grow with this community. That being said I now have more questions.

Question 6: what tank mates would be a good idea for an adult sen bichir? I can't seem to find an algae eater over 6 inches that doesn't get too big.

Question 7: is this whole endler thing a bad idea?
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Pantodon buchholzi is an intriguing fish, but not a good community fish except with well-thought-out tankmates. Nothing active, or nippy below it. It is an ambush predator, and spends all day motionless among floating vegetations, but if food like an insect is dropped on the surface, it can spring into action very rapidly. It has a large mouth, and is inclined to eat or try to eat any surface fish. Best in a pair in a shallow tank.
Would Electric Blue Acara work with the Sen bichir? They are 6-8 inches and wider, not long and thin like the algea eaters.
Blue acaras would be better fish than the algae eaters due to their bigger size (higher body).
I still wanted an algea eater of some kind though, just can't seem to find one in the 7-12 inch range that isn't a fortune to get
Would a rubber lip pleco work? They get bigger than the bristlenose at 7 inches and have a wide body. They also aren't 40$+!
I know how algea works lol, I just really like bottom fish, and with how I do my tanks there will always be a bit of algea. I like my naturalistic setups!
Thanks for all the help everyone! Feeling much more confident about this future project!

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