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.
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