Marbled Lungfish (Protopterus aethiopicus)

Also known as the Leopard Lungfish, the marbled lungfish is a species of lobe-finned fish found throughout Northeast Africa. Like other lungfish the marbled lungfish can breath air using a special lung like appendage. Using their ‘lungs’ these fish can live in streams and swamps that are dry for long periods of time, emerging when the water returns. Marbled lungfish usually inhabit rivers, swamps and floodplains where they feed on molluscs, fish and insects. The marbled lungfish is also one of the few animals that have had their genome’s sequenced it also has one of the largest genomes of all vertebrates at an outstanding 133 billion base pairs long!



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The many stages of Linnaeus begging for food. He loves to be hand fed algae wafers! For those of you unfamiliar with Linnaeus he is a West African Lungfish (Protopterus annectens). Unlike most modern fish which are in the class Actinopterygii (this includes 99% of fish spp), lungfish and their distant cousins the coelocanths belong to the class Sarcopterygii. This is the class that gave rise to the first tetrapods, so lungfish have some very odd physical characteristics for a fish. This includes teeth coated in true enamel, lungs homologous to tetrapod lungs, and a four chambered heart.


This is a protopterus. It is quite adorable, actually. (Am I cheating if I start with lungfishes?). It’s a lungfish, which is supercool, and his fins are like long strings (pectoral and pelvic actually) while the caudal is all one with the dorsal/s in a lovely dificerca. The one I saw was as long as my whole arm. (and it was dead).

Lobe finned friends! Collect all 8?

Neoceratodus: Australian lungfish, living

Ichtyostega: early tetrapod, extinct

Protopterus: African lungfish, living

Periopththalmus: Mudskipper, one genus of many, living, convergently evolved bro.

Eusthenopteron: Large predatory lobe finned fish, extinct

Tiktaalik: Lobe finned fish/Tetrapod ancestor, exctinct

Latimeria: Coelacanth, living

Clarias: Walking catfish, living, convergently evolved bro


There’s another lungfish at one of the LFS in my area. If anyone wants him let me know! He would be $50 plus shipping. He is around 5-6in and is in good shape with dark colors. This is a Protopterus annectens, common name is the west african lungfish. If anyone does want him I’ll buy him and we can work out shipping and such, I’d really like to see him go to someone on the fish community here so I have someone to talk lungfish with!


Happy Easter from Linnaeus the lungfish! He got all dressed up in his easter bunny costume! He and the other fin children got “candy” in the form of blocks of frozen blood worms and daphnia. I’m unsure is Linnaeus will stick as a name but well see. He’s becoming quite friendly and is beginning to recognize me as the food giant. In other news things are pretty hectic at so I may not be as active the next few weeks. I promise some fun articles and loads of pictures when things settle down.


Now that Linnaeus is done his QT period in the 20g I gave him a rather modest upgrade to a 30g I had sitting in my attic. Seeing as these fish are pretty slow growers there’s no need to push him into a giant tank while he’s still a fairly small size, especially when the species spends 70% of the time sitting in one spot. And it’s very important to move these guys up accordingly so they can reach the surface easily to breathe. I added in his old substrate (Caribsea Supernaturals Sunset Gold) mixed with some generic black sand I had laying around. I wanted to create a darker accented substrate to try and bring out his natural colors a bit more. And I added a few more plants to his tank as well; dwarf lilies, two Anubias bateri var. nana, and some contortion vals. Hopefully once everything grows in it will look fantastic. I also purchased a Current LED freshwater fixture and so far I love it. There are so many settings and lighting variations, there will be a review of it coming soon! I’ll get some better pictures of Linnaeus and his new set up once things settle in and the water clears up a bit more.

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How to torture a lungfish. I’m calling it ‘mental stimulation’. This was just a little treat, his main diet is algae wafers, New Life Spectrum pellets, frozen bloodworms, and Grand Sumo pellets. Linnaeus is a West African Lungfish (Protopterus annectens annectens), and if you have 100+gallons to dedicate to a fish that may eventually get 3ft long and live 20+ years I definitely recommend lungfish. They’re friendly, really cool from an evolutionary standpoint, and most importantly, very weird.


West African Lungfish (Protopterus annectens) from June(?) is still available at my LFS. It is a fairly small juvenile around 5-6in. Missing most of his back right “leg”, which will grow back in. If you’ve read my posts on them before you’ll know WALs get around 2 1/2 - 3ft in length and do best when housed alone. I suggest a starting aquarium size to be 30-40gals but they will need a large aquarium as they grow. Typically any tank 90gal or larger will suffice for a full grown adult. They are very long lived and this species tends to live 20+ years in aquaria. WALs are not sexually dimorphic so it’s sex is not clear unless an ultrasound or probing is performed. (I tend to just use male pronouns but it doesn’t matter)

I’d love to get him in a home with someone here in the fish community. He’s priced at 40 but if someone really wants him but can’t afford his price tag let me know and we can work something out. I have a huge soft spot for these oddballs and want to do everything I can to get him somewhere ideal. Even if you can’t take him reblog this and spread the word! Let’s help find this unique fish a forever home.