Lungfish are a group of ancient fish that can be found in Africa; South America and Australia. There are a total of 6 species of lungfishes which is sorted into to different families. 4 of the 6 species can be found in Africa. The lungfish gets there name from the fact that they can breed atmospheric oxygen by using lungs similar to those who were found in early amphibians. This adaptation allows them to survive in waters with very low oxygen levels and to survive out of water. The lungfish group once contained many more species then 6 but all other lungfish species are today extinct. They had their glory days during the Devonian era and hasn’t changed much since. Scientists believe that the Australia lungfish looks the same way now as it did 100 million years ago.
The Australian lungfish belongs to one of the families Ceratodidae while all other species of Lungfish found in African and South America belongs to the other Lepidosirenidae.
Lungfishes in the Lepidosirenidae family have the ability to survive even if the water they live in dries out. They do this by digging their way into the bottom where they lay in wait for the next rain fall. The African Lungfish has yet another adaptation that allows them to survive in very arid climates. They cover their body with a secretion which hardens into a leather like cocoon in which they can keep moist even if the next rain fall is a long time away. They lower their metabolism during the hibernation period which allows them to be able to stay alive for long times on their reserves. The Australian lungfish doesn’t hibernate.
The Australian lungfish is CITES protected. There are however licensed breeders that are allowed to raise Australian lungfish and sell a part of the result to the aquarium trade even if the export regulations are strict. These pond breed fish are usually expensive and you should expect to be forced to pay up to 750$ or even more for a Australian lungfish that has been imported to your country, Albino specimens of this fish is extremely expensive.
All Lungfish species can grow very large. They have similar demands on its owner.
Lungfish can depending on species grow to a max size of 1.2-2m / 4-6.6 ft. They are very aggressive and predatory and are best kept in aquariums without any other fish present. The aquarium most be very large and can be decorated according to the owner s own taste as long as sharp object are avoided, even if a few hiding places of suitable size is appreciated by the lungfish. They are very tolerant with regards to water values and do well in most waters but neutral to slightly acidic waters are preferred.
Lungfish of the species Protopterus annectens annectens.
Lungfish are very easy to feed and will eat just about anything that fits into their mouth (secure heaters and other equipment) Suggested foods include fish, crayfish, crabs and any other type of meaty food that isn’t to fat. (Avoid pork) They will accept pellets after training.
There are little known about breeding lungfish in aquariums but most species can be breed in ponds. The Lepidosirenidae family builds nest to place their eggs in and the eggs are protected by the male until they hatch. Young fry has gills and usually spend their first weeks hanging on leafs in dense vegetation. Simulating the rain season might be the secret behind breeding these lungfish in aquarium.
The Australian Lungfish deposits their eggs on the bottom and doesn’t build any nests. The eggs hatch after 3 weeks and the fry grows very slowly.
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