African Pike Characin 钻石火箭 4.5"
An ancient fish
The Pike Characin is the only representative of the family Hepsetidae. It exhibits numerous special features that distinguish it from other characins. These include a simple form of auxiliary respiration using the swimbladder as a lung, which allows these fishes to survive in oxygen-poor swamps. Assorted anatomical peculiarities demonstrate that nowadays the closest relatives of the Pike Characin live in South America, specifically the species of the family Ctenoluciidae, which are likewise sometimes maintained and bred in the aquarium. This means that the ancestors of the two groups lived at a time when Africa and South America still formed parts of a single land mass. Various features of the cranial structure clearly demonstrate that Hepsetus is the most ancient of all the characins that still exist today.
Hepsetus odoe is found in practically all tropical and subtropical bodies of water in western Africa, from Senegal to the Okavango Delta. The species thus exhibits a high degree of ecological tolerance, but nevertheless inhabits mainly swamps and areas of still water. It is absent from the desert regions of the north and the entire Nile basin, and the African Rift Valley is the boundary of its distribution to the east.
The perfect predator Its dentition and its body form identify the Pike Characin as a predatory fish. The dentition consists of sharp, pointed, canine teeth (the technical term is caniniform teeth), the comparatively large caudal fin permits a lightning-fast attacking lunge, and the coloration – brownish or olive bars
on a light background – provides excellent camouflage.
How large does Hepsetus grow?
The Pike Characin grows to 30 cm long on average.
Pike Characins in the aquarium
Hepsetus odoe are wonderful and interesting study objects in the
aquarium. They are peaceful among themselves and towards other
fishes that don’t represent potential food. Only if they have too little
space are Pike Characins likely to indulge in quarrelsome disputes
among themselves. All in all, Hepsetus can be classified as fairly shy,
and are liable to be intimidated by cichlids half their size. Ideal
tankmates include peaceful bushfishes (Ctenopoma), bichirs
(Polypterus), and/or lungfishes (Protopterus).
Fortunately feeding is easy, as these fishes will accept deep-frozen fish
as food without problem.Whole,deep-frozen Stint are the ideal staple
food for Pike Characins of upwards of 12 cm in length. If necessary
these fishes will also take strips of fish fillet,but this food should be the
exception rather than the rule.
The chemical composition of the water plays no role, and the water temperature can lie between 18 and 30 °C. The aquarium doesn’t need to be all that large, as Hepsetus are quiet fishes that don’t swim around a lot. The minimum dimensions suggested are around 4 x the actual body length of the fish for the long side and 2-3x the body length of the fish for the short side of the aquarium. The depth of the tank is of lesser importance. Plants are ignored by Hepsetus, but the aquarium should not be too brightly illuminated as otherwise the Pike Characins will be shy. There is much still to be learned about these fantastic fishes, and for this reason it would be a good thing if more aquarists were to undertake the maintenance of the Pike Characin. Were this fish to be bred successfully in the aquarium – there have been no reports of this to date – then, as in the case of so many fish species, this might help to clarify important details regarding the life history of Hepsetus odoe.