Australian Lungfish 8-10cm

Australian Lungfish 8-10cm

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Sleepy Cod 10cm

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Australian Lungfish 8-10cm

Neoceratodus forsteri

The Australian lungfish is a pinnacle in rare and oddball fish but is one of the hardest aquarium species in the world to acquire due to a few reasons. The Australian lungfish is a CITES-listed protected species with the wild collection being strictly prohibited, along with that they are not so easily captive bred.

These beautiful fish have been bred successfully in captivity after a lot of research and effort. The broodstock was originally collected from the Brisbane area under strict monitoring and conditions of the breeder's license. The Lungfish themselves are one of the oldest species of fish in the world dating back more than 100 million years meaning they existed before the dinosaurs and are also considered a bridging species between fish and amphibian evolution.

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Lungfish

Australian Lungfish 12-15cm

 

The Australian lungfish is a pinnacle in rare and oddball fish but is one of the hardest aquarium species in the world to acquire due to a few reasons. The Australian lungfish is a CITES-listed protected species with the wild collection being strictly prohibited, along with that they are not so easily captive bred.

These beautiful fish have been bred successfully in captivity after a lot of research and effort. The broodstock was originally collected from the Brisbane area under strict monitoring and conditions of the breeder's license. The Lungfish themselves is one of the oldest species of fish in the world dating back more than 100 million years meaning they existed before the dinosaurs and are also considered a bridging species between fish and amphibian evolution.

They get the name lungfish because of their unique anabantid-like breathing behavior. When water oxygen levels are not optimal such as during drought conditions the lungfish has the amazing capability of coming to the surface of the water to take a large gulp of air. This amazing feat is one of the main reasons they have been able to survive virtually unchanged for this long. Because these lungfish have been legally bred in captivity, they are all fitted with microchips for identification purposes and come with a certificate of authenticity which is sort of like the birth certificate for the fish.

This will include the microchip number, genetic origin, and captive breeding details. In terms of their physical appearance, the lungfish may look relatively drab in colors but they have varying shades of brown with a bright orange or cream underbelly. Each lungfish is unique in the sense that as they age, they can develop black spotting and blotches adding great contrast in the body. Their scales are also a very notable feature as they are extremely large and harden as the fish grows to make armor-like protection. Lungfish also get upwards of a meter long and the oldest living captive lungfish was estimated to be 80+ years old!

 

Tank Recommendations for your Lungfish

The Australian lungfish is not a fish for everyone, obviously indicated by their price but also because of the fact that they get to 1.5 meter+ (4.9 feet), live for 80+ years, and weigh around 43 kilos. Because of this, they need a dedicated owner who can provide them a home for this long. As a bare minimum they would need an aquarium that is 8 feet long, 4 feet wide, and 2-4 feet tall. as juveniles though they can be kept in a smaller grow-out aquarium as it may be better to target feed and make sure they are not being out-competed with other tank mates. They are also fairly flighty as juveniles and can get spooked easily, because of this it is always safer to have a tight-fitting lid. They are also more nocturnal when younger however by keeping dim lighting, a darker substrate, and lots of hiding places this can be avoided and in fact be more beneficial for the fish. they can be kept of a sand or gravel substrate but the ideal setup would be a sand substrate, with smooth river rocks and large, smooth pieces of driftwood. 

 

Suitable Tank Buddies

Because of their sheer size, there are a lot of fish species that the lungfish can be kept with however when juveniles it is always better to keep them in slow-moving fish or nano fish which may not outcompete them for food. They can be kept with small fish as well because in no way are they predator fish. However, one thing that should be considered especially when they are juveniles is that their pectoral fins and tail fin are very soft and delicate which can be nipped by more aggressive fish.

 

Usually Compatible

Native Australian rainbowfish, Tandanus catfish, Australian bass, barramundi, and most peaceful aquarium fish.

 

Sometime Compatible

Larger growing aquarium species may outcompete the lungfish and semi-aggressive species such as geophagus, convict cichlids, and other South American species.

 

Rarely Compatible

Highly aggressive species such as Dovii cichlids and similar territorial species may pester the lungfish constantly.

 

Feeding your Australian Lungfish

So far, these lungfish have been eating worms and sinking fish foods and they are surprisingly easy to feed. When they are first added to the aquarium, they may not eat for 2-3 days which is perfectly normal, they may also choose to only eat when the lights are out of in a secluded area. They will however eat a wide range of foods provided to them such as a good quality sinking pellet, frozen bloodworms, and live black worms. They are slow eaters and because of their slow growth and metabolism, they do not eat a lot of food either.

More Information
Scientific Name Neoceratodus forsteri
Care Level Hard
Common Names Australian Lungfish, Queensland Lungfish
Diet Omnivore
Fish Family Neoceratodontidae
Lifespan (years) 80
Max. Length (cm) 150
Min. Tank Volume (l) 2600 liters
Origin Australia
Reef Safe Yes
Sociability Peaceful
Venomous No
Water Conditions 24-26° C (75-79° F), pH 6.0-7.0
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