29. Lungfishes (5)

Protopterus annectens Nigeria

24. January 2018

There are four species of lungfish occuring in Africa. It is sometimes pretty difficult to distiguish them. In any case the Westafrican Lungfish (Protopterus annectens) is the most common one in the ornamental fish trade, although „most common“ has to be seen as very nuanced. These fish become almost a metre long and are very quarrelsome against conspecifics. So only few specimens become imported per year.

The animals we currently have in stock are between 15 and 25 cm long. So the largest of them are already sexually ripe. The only species of African lungfish in which a scientific research has been done in respect of external differences of the sexes is P. annectens. According to that the males have a broader and longer head compared with the females.

Despite their breathing through lungs many specimens of P. annectens have external gills over a very long period. These external gills are typical for all juvenile lungfish and remind one in larvae of newts and salamanders. Each individual of P. annectens can be recognized by the pattern. There do exist animals with a contrasting leopard pattern, but others from the same locality can be uniform beige. So the coloration does not express anything about locality or sex. 

It is quite astonishing, but these large fish prefer small food items. Of course small fish will live always in danger of becoming eaten in the company of lungfish, but they definitely prefer worms or granulates for food.

For our customers: the fish have code 167603 (15-20 cm) and 167604 (20-25 cm) on our stocklist. Please note that we exclusively supply the wholesale trade.

Frank Schäfer

Lepidosiren paradoxus

29. March 2017

The South American Lungfish is a very interesting fish, but it has only very drab colours. The usual pattern is mudcolour, eg brownish, greyish, sometimes a bit blackish. But why should an animal that lives in swamps and feeds on snails show bright coloration? On the other hand: astonishingly enough, very young specimens, like the ones we obtained recently from Peru (6-9 cm long) are very pretty! The fish are pitchblack and have golden-yellow dots. Against conspecfics the youngsters are very peaceful. This cannot be said about the adults! Pictures of adult specimens can be seen here: http://www.aquariumglaser.de/en/fish-archives/lepidosiren_paradoxus_en/

For our customers: the fish have code 265501 on our stocklist. Please note that we exclusively supply the wholesale trade.

Text & photos: Frank Schäfer

Lepidosiren paradoxus

17. November 2015

Only recently we introduced to you our lungfishes imported from the Congo (http://www.aquariumglaser.de/en/news/protocheirodon-pi/).
Now we received the even rarer cousin: the South American Lungfish,
Lepidosiren paradoxus, from Paraguay. There is only one species extant
in South America, namely this living fossil. We usually import them as
small young fish from Peru, the specimens we now have in stock are
uniformly brown subadults, which are 35-40 cm long. Against conspecifics
these fish are extremely snappy, we had to put them in separate tanks
(one fish per tank) immediately. The mouth of that species is very
special. At the tip of the mouth is a small, round opening. It looks as
if the fish would try to whistle or if it imagined to have a longtrink
with drinking straw. In the real life these fish prefer to feed on

For our customers: the animals have code 265506 on our stocklist. Please note that we exclusively supply the wholesale trade.

Text & photos: Frank Schäfer

Lungfishes from the Congo

3. November 2015

quite a long time we were able again to import juvenile lungfishes from
the Congo. Currently the animals are 12-20 cm long. Three species of
lungfish are known to occur in the Congo: Protopterus aethiopicus, P.
annctens, and P. dolloi. At least two of them, namely P. aethiopicus and
P. dolloi are represented in the current import, maybe even the third
species, P. annectens. We keep the animals together (this is still
possible as the fish are very young, but lungfish are famed for their
aggressivity against conspecifics); as young lungfish of the different
species look very much alike we have listed the fish under only one
position on our stocklist: Protopterus sp. Zaire (the old name for the

lungfishes are predatory fish and suited only for specialists. The
animals become large: P. aethiopicus is said to reach 2 m, P. annectens 1
m, and P. dolloi 1.3 m in length. Nevertheless these fishes are very
interesting for specialists and institutions, because lungfishes are
“living fossils” and show a number of interesting features. For example,
they move the threat-like fins as if they were arms and legs.

pugnacity against conspecifics seems to be least in P. aethopicus and
strongest in P. dolloi. P. annectens is in between the two. In P.
aethiopicus and P. annectens it often seems that the biting is a result
of an error, because the fish simply try if the opposite is food.
However, lungfish have strong jaws, so bites can cause serious wounds.
Even the keeper should be careful not to be bitten. On the other hand,
the ability to regenerate lost parts of the body is extraordinary strong
in lungfish. In any case one should be aware that it might be necessary
to keep each individual in a separate tank on its own in a long time
sight. When lungfish are kept together the keeper has to observe them
daily for aggressive acts or biting, so that he can react in time. In
our fishhouse a well proven method is to put greater masses of rude
green pond filter wool in the tank of Protopterus. The fish will crawl
inside the wool and bites actually don´t happen anymore.

For our
customers: the fish have code 167004 (12-15 cm) and 167005 (15-20 cm) on
our stocklist. Please note that we exclusively supply the wholesale
trade. Available in limited numbers only.

Text & photos: Frank Schäfer

Protopterus aethiopicus congicus

6. July 2007

Freshly arrived: Marbled lungfishes (Protopterus aethiopicus) rank among the genuine survival artists. For respiration they are dependent on atmospheric air, if one refuses them the admission to the surface, they can drown in the water (aquarium). The air breathing allows them, however, a nearly amphibious way of life. So they are able to withstand desiccation on floodplains by aestivating in cocoons. Contrary to some other lung fish species the marbled lungfish is quite remarkably colored and at least as young individuals well suitable for the maintenance in aquaria.(Photo F. Schäfer, Text K. Diehl)

Angaben zum Tier
Herkunft Kongo, Congo River
Name Protopterus aethiopicus Zaire