west african lungfish

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Small reminder that this cute noodle is still looking for a home. Perls is a West African Lungfish(Protopterus annectens) who I rescued and he is looking for somewhere to spend the next 15+ years. These fish typically grow from 2.5-3ft in length with 2.5 and smaller being more common in captivity. WALs must also be housed alone due to their competitive nature and should not be housed with other fish or conspecifics.

An appropriate size for an adult WAL will be around 90-100gal but they are well paced growers and can be moved up in tank size as they mature. At Perls current size he would be fine in a 40gal Breeder for a decent while. Lungfish are very friendly and curious fish and are an absolute joy to own. If you’re interested in adopting Perls and can provide him with the home he needs don’t hesitate to send me a message.

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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.

The West African lungfish (Protopterus annectens) is the largest of the four lungfish species found in Africa, reaching lengths of up to 2 m. Rather than gills, it has a pair of lungs that it uses to obtain oxygen. When the dry season comes, this fish makes a mucous-filled cocoon for itself and burrows into the mud to keep its skin hydrated.

Photo by Jibran Shariff

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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!

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How can you not be enchanted by this goofball? I don’t know how anyone could consider these fish boring.

For anyone who’s wondering, Linnaeus is a West African Lungfish (Protopterus annectens). These fish are ancient sarcopterygians whose closest relatives, besides the few other lungfish species, are coelacanths and tetrapods. Lungfish, being true to their name, possess a lung that is highly similar to the lung of a tetrapod which they use to draw oxygen from the air. In fact this species is an obligate air breather meaning they must draw oxygen from the air as their gills have lost the ability to extract oxygen from the water column in any significant amount. West African Lungfish can grow to 2 ½ - 3 feet long in aquaria and are an aggressive fish best kept alone.

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Some pictures of Perls while I prepped some plants for his tank. As you can see his back legs are basically gone and a large tail of his tail is as well. Both are in the process of regrowth but it will take a while. He’s such a sweet tiny noodle, it’s hard to believe they can grow into such large fish. I’ve been keeping the lights off to lower stress and help him acclimate. Keep boosting these posts and help Perls find a home!

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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 ½ - 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.