10 Dinousaur Bichir Tank Mates – List of Compatible Species

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The Dinosaur Bichir, also known as Senegal Bichir, is a unique-looking specimen. The Bichir fish has actually been around for 400 million years without undergoing any major changes.

That explains this species’ ancient appearance. The Dinosaur Bichir, like other Bichir species, looks like a combination between an eel and a snake.

It’s got a long, thin body and scaly skin. Its body is usually light grey, but it can also come in off-white, blue, and even pinkish hues.

This fish also has sharp dorsal fins and a short, rounded tail. If you want to create a unique community aquarium, the Dinosaur Bichir is one of the most interesting fish you can choose.

However, finding tank mates for this fish is quite challenging. The Dinosaur Bichir isn’t the most hospitable tank mate.

It’s also a fish with special care requirements. There are multiple factors you must consider when searching for ideal tank mates that can get along with this fish.

How to Choose Tank Mates for Dinosaur Bichir?

Choosing compatible tank mates is all about finding a fish with matching characteristics.

Ideally, you want fish that are similar enough to get along, or different enough so they don’t bother each other.

This applies to all species, not just the Dinosaur Bichir. So, what characteristics make the perfect tank mate for this fish?

Well, they’re quite a few, and they include:

Size

Dinosaur Bichirs grow up to 14 inches. This factor alone makes them a danger to smaller fish. For this reason, the tank mates you choose must be medium to large-sized.

Choose fish that aren’t smaller than 6 inches. This is the bare minimum to prevent other community fish from getting eaten.

Temperament

Bichirs aren’t the friendliest fish out there. They aren’t outright violent, but they have aggressive tendencies. You’ll have to choose tank mates that are peaceful or semi-aggressive at most.

Peaceful tank mates are the best for avoiding fights in the tank.

Semi-aggressive tank mates are also fine as long as they’re not too large. These fish can defend themselves without hurting your Bichirs.

Tank level

Bichirs are mostly bottom-dwellers. That’s where they roam and feed. If you want to keep bullying to an absolute minimum, I recommend keeping fish that are either middle or top-layer swimmers.

You can also keep Bichirs with other bottom-dwelling fish, with a few conditions. The tank mates should not compete for food.

Both species must also have enough room to claim their own territories. By the way, each adult Bichir requires around 90 gallons of water.

Feeding and diet

Bichirs are carnivorous nocturnal fish. They don’t accept regular fish foods like flakes or pellets. Instead, they require a high-protein diet based on foods such as bloodworms, shrimp, feeder fish, and other small critters.

They also have a special feeding schedule, since they feed at night. Ideally, the tank mates you choose must not compete for food.

You can choose fish that feed in the middle or upper layers of the aquarium.

Herbivorous fish are also a good option, as they won’t eat any of the food you feed your Bichirs. Diurnal fish are best since these species feed at different times than the Bichir fish.

Water Parameters

Finally, the fish you choose must tolerate the same water values as the Dinosaur Bichir. This species requires water that’s 74-82°F, 6.2-7.8 pH, and 4-9 dGH.

Sounds like a lot? Don’t worry! I’ve also put together a list with some examples. If you don’t know where to start looking, why not consider the following species?

These fish meet all the requirements of the perfect tank mates. And there’s a lot of variety with regards to looks as well. Here are ten of the best Dinosaur Bichir tank mates:

1. Oscar Fish

This species is also known as the “Marble Cichlid” thanks to its mesmerizing appearance. It has a dark-colored body and bright orange patterns.

This fish also has an interesting body shape, with a rounded head and fins.

Like other Cichlids, Oscars have the same fiery temperament that makes them difficult to house in community tanks.

But as Dinosaur Bichir tank mates, Oscars are a perfect match.

  • Size: 10-12 inches

They’re not much smaller than their Bichir tank mates. Rest assured they’re unlikely to turn into feed anytime soon.

  • Temperament: Semi-aggressive

Oscars don’t swim around looking for a fight. However, for mysterious reasons, they are usually the ones that end up causing trouble.

Know that this fish is highly territorial. It will bump, bite, and chase any tank mates that enter its territory. As long as their precious space is safe, they won’t have any reason to become aggressive.

  • Tank level: Mostly middle swimmers

Despite their territorial tendencies, Oscars should be fine in a Bichir tank. That’s because these species won’t interact much.

Oscar Cichlids will spend most of their time in the middle layers, while Bichirs lay around at the bottom.

  • Feeding and diet: Omnivorous, opportunistic feeders

Oscar fish can get most of their nutrition from high-quality fish flakes and pellets. However, they also require some plants and live foods.

They’ll enjoy the same foods you feed your Bichirs. Luckily, Oscars are diurnal. These two species won’t be having lunch together anytime soon.

  • Water Parameters: 74–81°F, 6–8 pH, 4–18 dGH.

2. Elephant-Nose Fish

This fish gets its name from its funny head shape. Elephant-Nose fish have sloped foreheads and long, downturned “noses”.

Apart from this, these fish also have stout-looking bodies and small, elongated tails.

They look goofy and cute but don’t be fooled. They can be quite mean bullies when housed with smaller fish.

Luckily, they’re well-behaved around large tank mates. This makes them an ideal addition to a Dinosaur Bichir tank.

  • Size: 7-10 inches

This fish is on the smaller side, at least compared to your average Bichir. But the Elephant-Nose is still big enough to be safe around their larger tank mates.

As a bonus, this species doesn’t require exorbitant amounts of space either. You can house one specimen in around 50 gallons worth of space.

  • Temperament: Semi-aggressive

Elephant-Nose fish are hostile to other conspecifics. They become territorial and aggressive when kept with such tank mates. They’re also aggressive and likely to bully small or shy fish in the tank.

Around large tank mates such as Bichir fish, the Elephant-Nose is peaceful and reserved. If a fight were ever to occur between these two species, it’s not the Elephant-Nose fish that’s starting it.

Either way, this fish has a strong personality and can easily defend itself against a touchy Bichir.

  • Tank level: Bottom-dweller

Elephant-Nose fish will occupy the same space as the Dinosaur Bichir. As long as both species have enough space, there shouldn’t be any problem.

The big advantage is that the Elephant-Nose is most active in the evening or throughout the day if the lights are dim. They’ll be resting and not bothering the Dinosaur Bichir during the late hours.

  • Feeding and diet: Carnivorous

This species enjoys foods like worms, insects, insect larvae, and crustaceans. They’ll eat the same diet as their tank mates. However, the two species will be feeding at different times.

  • Water Parameters: 73–82°F, 6.5–7.2 pH, 5–15 dGH.

3. Flowerhorn Cichlid

Flowerhorn Cichlids get the spotlight in all aquariums. This species comes in a variety of colors and patterns and has a tall, stout body.

But the most attention-grabbing thing about them is their bubbly foreheads.

Flowerhorns have equally distinctive personalities. This fish has some aggressive tendencies and acts like it’s the king of the aquarium.

However, they make good tank mates for Bichirs.

  • Size: 10-16 inches

There’s a range when it comes to body size. Depending on the fish’s diet quality and protein intake, you can expect a full-grown adult to reach up to 16 inches in length.

Even the smaller 10-inch fish are more than enough for a Dinosaur Bichir tank mate.

On the flip side, you’ll need at least 70 gallons for one single Flowerhorn. They’re very space-demanding.

  • Temperament: Aggressive

I wouldn’t normally recommend aggressive tank mates for Bichirs. But the Flowerhorn is among the few exceptions.

Yes, this fish has a tough personality and it’s a known bully. Flowerhorns are also very territorial and easily upset.

They will bite, chase, and bump into other fish in the tank. Luckily, this species is a slow and clumsy swimmer.

On top of that, the Flowehorn Cichlid is also diurnal. It won’t interact much with its night-owl tank mates.

  • Tank level: All levels

Flowerhorns don’t have a favorite spot in the tank. Instead, they dominate all levels. You’ll often see them going up or down throughout the water column.

They won’t claim the whole bottom of the aquarium, since they swim all over the place.

  • Feeding and diet: Omnivorous

Flowerhorn Cichlids need a high-protein diet and at least 30% of their food should come from plant sources.

This means they’ll eat a variety of meaty foods including worms, insects, and shrimp, as well as blanched veggies and algae wafers.

They will eat some of the foods you feed your Bichirs. But their feeding schedules will differ drastically.

  • Water Parameters: 80–89°F, 6.5–7.8 pH, 9–20 dGH.

4. Hoplo Catfish

The Hoplo Catfish is a joy to have around. It might not be a colorful species, but they have colorful personalities. Besides, a whiskered fish is always an interesting sight.

If you’re looking for an energetic and adaptable fish for your community tank, this might just be it. Active and curious Hoplos will keep things interesting.

  • Size: 6-8 inches

As you can see, Hoplo Catfish are on the smaller side. They’re just about the right size for a Dinosaur Bichir tank mate. They’re not small enough to get easily hurt or eaten.

Like other catfish species, Hoplos are also armored with pointy spines. It’s safe to assume this fish can defend itself even against larger tank mates.

  • Temperament: Peaceful

Hoplo Catfish are non-aggressive and get along with most similar-size fish. They won’t represent a danger to their tank mates, as long as the other fish aren’t too small.

They don’t go out of their way to bother anyone, especially larger fish. However, know that Hoplos are very curious and energetic.

They love interacting with others and this might get them into trouble with their more territorial tank mates. Hoplos are also quick swimmers.

You’ll often see them darting around the tank, especially during feeding time. This species is also naturally sociable and prefers living in groups of at least five.

  • Tank level: Mostly bottom-dweller

The Hoplo Catfish spends a lot of time patrolling the bottom of the aquarium. That’s also their preferred feeding spot. Like Bichirs, this species is also nocturnal. So, you’ll need to provide plenty of space for both Bichirs and Hoplos. This will prevent territorial fights between the fish.

  • Feeding and diet: Omnivorous

The Hoplo Catfish is omnivorous and a ravenous eater. Like their Bichir counterparts, they also feed at night.

This catfish will eat most of the same foods enjoyed by Bichirs. This includes things like insects, worms, and small crustaceans.

Hoplos also enjoy eating algae, vegetables, and even flakes and pellets. You’ll have to feed the species in different parts of the tank. Quick-swimming Hoplos might gulp down all the food otherwise.

  • Water Parameters: 64-82°F, 6.0-8.0 pH, 6-18 dGH.

5. Pink Convict Cichlid

Here we have yet another cichlid. The Pink Convict is one of the most popular species in the Cichlidae family. It’s a little smaller than other cichlids.

It’s also hardy, easy to care for, and has a unique look. Its light pink body is quite rare and very nice to look at. But don’t be fooled by its sweet rosy color! The Pink Convict is as feisty as they come.

  • Size: 5-6 inches

Male cichlids grow up to 6 inches in length. It’s just about the minimum size you’d need for a Dinosaur Bichir tank mate.

The Pink Convict is a modest size, compared to its eel-like counterpart. But they have more than enough personality to keep the bullies away!

The best part is that they don’t need lots of room. You can keep one cichlid in at least 10 gallons of water. But more room is always better, of course.

  • Temperament: Aggressive

Pink Convict cichlids are very competitive and territorial. Like other cichlids, they’re very likely to bully smaller or vulnerable fish. That’s why the common recommendation is to keep them with larger or equally-aggressive fish.

They won’t hurt larger fish, but they can get themselves into trouble. The Pink Convict won’t shy away from challenging its Bichir tank mates.

Make sure you provide plenty of hiding spaces. This reckless cichlid will need them.

  • Tank level: All levels

Pink Convicts enjoy both shallow waters and rocky substrates. Don’t be surprised if you see them swimming all over the aquarium.

They will often retreat to the rocky areas with caves and hiding spots though. They also enjoy digging through the substrate. Luckily, this species is most active during the day when the Bichirs are dormant.

  • Feeding and diet: Omnivorous

This fish will eat anything. You can feed it insects, larvae, live foods, vegetables, algae, and fish flakes. They eat all of the meaty foods enjoyed by Bichirs. However, they also eat veggies and dry foods their counterparts won’t consume.

  • Water Parameters: 70-80°F, 7.0-8.0 pH, 9-20 dGH.

6. Clown Loaches

Clown Loaches are colorful, sweet, and playful. They’re the perfect species for any community tank.

Their lively and friendly personalities make them very likeable, at least for the pet owners.

Grumpy fish like Dinosaur Bichirs might think otherwise. Either way, these two species can easily get along. If you have at least 75 spare gallons, you can fit in a group of five Clown Loaches.

  • Size: 12 inches

The Clown Loach is almost as large as the Dinosaur Bichir. Given the similar size, neither of the two fish is likely to bully the other.

Despite their considerable size, Clown Loaches need roughly 30 gallons each. This is the perfect fish if you want to add some color to the community tank but you’re low on space.

  • Temperament: Peaceful

Clown Loaches are virtually harmless to all medium and large-sized fish. They don’t interact much with other species.

Instead, this highly sociable fish prefers swimming and playing with other Loaches. Their playful personalities shine through when they’re kept in groups of five or more.

When kept alone, the Clown Loach becomes timid and reserved. I wouldn’t recommend it. This can increase their stress levels and make them vulnerable to bullying by more aggressive fish.

  • Tank level: Bottom-dweller

Clown Loaches swim, play, and feed at the bottom of the tank. Their high activity and energy levels also mean that they’ll swim all over the low levels of the water column.

Luckily, Clown Loaches are active during the day. Their presence shouldn’t bother nocturnal Bichirs, especially if there’s enough room in the aquarium.

  • Feeding and diet: Omnivorous

The Clown Loach is a bottomless pit. They will scarf down anything small enough to eat. This means they enjoy the same foods as their Bichir tank mates.

However, Loaches don’t shy away from algae, veggies, and fish flakes either. These two species have very different feeding schedules. I wouldn’t worry too much about the fish competing for food.

  • Water Parameters: 78°-85°F, 7.4-7.8 pH, 5-12 dGH.

7. Jack Dempsey Cichlids

This fish is named after the renowned professional boxer and world heavyweight champion Jack Dempsey.

You’re probably not surprised to learn that this fish is quite aggressive and a total badass. This Cichlid should be kept far away from small and timid fish. However, they’re better-behaved around large and equally aggressive fish like Bichirs.

  • Size: 10-15 inches

This cichlid is just the right size. It can even grow slightly larger than the average Dinosaur Bichir. I’d say it’s a good thing the two species are so similar in size. This greatly evens out the playing field between such boisterous species.

  • Temperament: Aggressive

Cichlids are infamous for their aggression levels. The Jack Dempsey is no different.

This fish is a relentless bully around small, timid, or otherwise vulnerable tank mates. You could say that Dempseys and Bichirs have plenty in common.

Like Bichirs, this species is also extremely territorial. Given that both fish have strong personalities, it’s unlikely that either of them will fall victim to bullying.

In fact, these two fish will keep each other in check. Both species are perfectly capable of defending themselves.

  • Tank level: Middle and lower-level swimmers

Jack Dempsey Cichlids occupy the middle and bottom levels of the water column. They aren’t true bottom dwellers. But, like all Cichlids, they enjoy digging through the substrate.

They usually swim closest to rocky decorations and caves, which they claim as their own. They might come across their Bichir tankmates quite often.

However, if you provide enough room and hiding spaces, this shouldn’t be a problem.

  • Feeding and diet: Carnivorous

In the wild, this species consumes a diet similar to the Dinosaur Bichir’s. This cichlid will eat worms, insects, small crustaceans, and feeder fish.

However, unlike their counterpart, cichlids also accept fish flakes and pellets. Anything high in protein will do. The two species also have different feeding schedules, as Cichlids are diurnal.

  • Water Parameters: 72–86°F, 6.0–7.0 pH, 9–20 dGH.

8. Black Ghost Knifefish

In some ways, the Black Ghost Knifefish looks similar to a Dinosaur Bichir. That’s because this fish has a similarly-ancient appearance.

It’s got a scaleless body and no dorsal or caudal fins. Its thin, rod-shaped tail and smooth look have earned it the name of “knife fish”.

Also, similarly to the Bichir, this fish has very poor eyesight. But the commonalities don’t stop there.

  • Size: 20 inches

The Black Ghost Knifefish is slightly larger than the Dinosaur Bichir. However, the size difference shouldn’t pose any problems.

This Knifefish gets along well with medium-sized fish. However, you’ll need at least 80 gallons if you want to keep just one Knifefish.

  • Temperament: Semi-aggressive

The Black Ghost Knifefish is mostly peaceful when kept with other similar-sized species. Despite their considerable proportions, these Knifefish are shy and reserved.

They don’t act tough or intimidating around other tank mates. So, they’re unlikely to provoke their Bichir tankmates.

This fish only becomes aggressive and competitive when kept with other Knifefish. So, to minimize their pushy behavior, it’s best to keep them alone. This will also save you a lot of space.

  • Tank level: Mostly bottom-dweller

This fish prefers swimming close to the substrate and hiding spots. If you have tall-growing plants, the Black Ghost Knifefish might also venture further up into the water column.

Make sure to provide plenty of hiding spaces to accommodate both Bichirs and Knifefish. Both species are nocturnal and like claiming safe spots as their own.

With not enough territory to go around, the fish might become hostile to one another.

  • Feeding and diet: Carnivorous

This fish eats the same foods as the Dinosaur Bichir. You can keep both species happy with a combination of worms, insects, larvae, shrimp, and small fish.

Since both species are nocturnal and feed at the bottom, you’ll want to feed them in separate locations in the tank. That’s to ensure that both fish have a fair chance at feeding.

  • Water Parameters: 73-82°F, 6.0-8.0 pH, 5-19 dGH.

9. Electric Blue Acara

The Electric Blue Acara is a medium-sized cichlid best known for its mesmerizing looks. This fish has a bright blue body and shimmery scales.

Watching this fish’s glistening skin reflect the light is a show in and of itself. Unlike most cichlid species, the Electric Blue Acara has a mild temper. Thus, this fish can coexist with both peaceful and semi-aggressive tank mates.

  • Size: 6-8 inches

Even the smallest Blue Acara’s large enough to coexist with a Dinosaur Bichir. I wouldn’t worry about this fish getting accidentally eaten.

With regards to space requirements, a single Blue Acara should have at least 30 gallons worth of space.

  • Temperament: Peaceful

Unlike other cichlids, the Blue Acara is calm and non-aggressive. This sociable fish keeps mostly to its group and doesn’t bother other fish in the tank.

It doesn’t have strong territorial tendencies either. You won’t see the Blue Acara chasing or bullying other fish that swim close by.

  • Tank level: Middle and lower-level swimmers

This curious and active cichlid enjoys a little bit of everything. The Blue Acara likes wide, open swimming spaces. It also likes visiting the more hidden areas like caves and other crevices. It will spend a lot of time in the middle layers of the water column.

Occasionally, this fish will venture down into Bichir territory. Blue Acaras enjoy resting close to caves and rocky areas.

They also love digging through the substrate. Don’t worry though! This fish is an exceptional swimmer that can flee very quickly.

  • Feeding and diet: Omnivorous

This fish requires a high-protein diet with the occasional greens thrown in for good measure.

You can feed them the same foods you’d feed your Bichirs. Luckily, the two species feed at different times because Acaras are diurnal.

  • Water Parameters: 68–82°F, 6.0–7.5 pH, 6–20 dGH.

10. Silver Dollar Fish

Don’t have a lot of room in the aquarium? If you still want some tank mates for your Dinosaur Bichir, look no further!

The Silver Dollar Fish is both a highly compatible and space-economical option.

And while we’re at it, this goofy-looking fish will also make a statement piece in the community tank. Their comically-flattened bodies and small heads are hard to miss.

  • Size: 6 inches

This silver fish is among the smallest species on the list. However, they’re large enough to be safe around Dinosaur Bichir tank mates.

Their tall, round bodies also make them appear larger than they are.

The best part is that you won’t need that much space for them. Given their small size, Silver Dollar fish need no more than 10-15 gallons each.

  • Temperament: Peaceful

Silver Dollar fish are mellow and timid. Around their conspecifics, they become sociable and a bit more confident. Because they’re a schooling species, they need to be kept in groups of at least five fish.

Around other tankmates, the Silver Dollar fish is skittish and easily startled. Clearly, this isn’t the type of fish that bullies others. You know it for a fact that these silver fish wouldn’t try to provoke their tank mates.

  • Tank level: Middle and top-level swimmer

The Silver Dollar fish is curious and active. It needs a wide-open swimming space. Thus, they’ll occupy the middle and upper levels of the water column.

This is perfect for a Dinosaur Bichir tank mate. These two species won’t interact much, since they occupy completely different spots in the aquarium.

  • Feeding and diet: Omnivorous

This species is omnivorous but prefers a diet heavily centered around plants. It enjoys the occasional goodies such as brine shrimp, daphnia, or bloodworms.

However, most of its diet can consist of algae, other aquatic plants, green vegetables, and even certain fruit! Their Bichir tank mates will be thrilled! More of the meaty foods for them!

  • Water Parameters: 75-82°F, 5.5-7.5 pH, 4-18 dGH.

Conclusion

As you can see, there are plenty of tank mates to choose from. Even when we’re talking about a large, feisty fish like the Dinosaur Bichir.

Each fish I’ve included on this list makes a great potential addition to the community tank.

I’ve included a variety of species of medium and large sizes, with distinctive looks and beautiful colors. I’ve included both peaceful and semi-aggressive fish, too.

Depending on your preferences and the space you have left, some fish might be better than others. The choice is up to you!

avatar I’m Fabian, aquarium fish breeder and founder of this website. I’ve been keeping fish, since I was a kid. On this blog, I share a lot of information about the aquarium hobby and various fish species that I like. Please leave a comment if you have any question.

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