Rope fish are far-famed beneath many different names, together with Reed Fish, Snake Fish, African Rope Fish and their Latin name Erpetoichthys calabaricus. They belong to the Polypteridae family and fresh species living in slow rivers across West and Central Africa.

They can found in Dahomey, Cameroon, the Republic of the Congo, and Federal Republic of Nigeria.

As you will guess from its name, this fish contains a long body resembling Associate in Nursing eel. This attracts those that are searching for additional exotic pets, since there are not several fish that share this body.

They are to not be unbroken gently although. Individuals usually don’t notice that they will live for 15-20 year in captivity, way longer than most species within the fish tank trade.

If you style their atmosphere properly and keep it clean, then they’re fairly straightforward to stay and take care of. Selecting the proper tank mates is crucial as a result of rope fish ar predators and can probably eat smaller fish (more on this later).

Young juveniles are often found for $10, with larger adults cost accounting $20 or additional.

Typical Behavior

You may realize that they’re additional active at the hours of darkness as within the wild they might hunt at the hours of darkness and progress on their prey. However, if you feed them throughout the daytime, they’re going to eventually become additional active through the day.

They pay most of their time within the lower levels of the fish tank. They will be to the surface to breathe, since they need each gills and primitive lungs. You merely tend to visualize this behavior in oxygen-poor environments.

It is fascinating to observe as they move round the tank. Their body bends into waves like Associate in nursing eel to make thrust that helps them move.

Rope fish are not associate in nursing aggressive species and you usually won’t see them assaultive tank mates. The sole exception is smaller fish could be devoured when being mistaken for food.

One issue to observe out for is their ability to leap.


They look like ropes, snakes and reeds, that is why their names haven’t required to be too ingenious.

It’s their distinct look that makes them such Associate in nursing exotic fish.

They have a protracted cylindrical body that reaches lengths of up to fifteen inches. If you have not done your analysis then their size will take you out of the blue, thus check that your tank is sufficiently big.

Their whole body is roofed in diamond-shaped scales with a brown/green color; this helps them mix into dark areas.

Fins are either reduced or absent. They are not too necessary for movement since their body are often manipulated into waves for thrust. These waves even enable movement onto land, sort of a snake.

The pectoral fins are tiny in respect to the body. They give the impression of being a touch out of place as a result of they’re yellow and positioned right behind the top. There is a fin, however it are often laborious to identify. It is 9-14 rays however, they’re typically unbroken flat against the body.

Ventral and caudal fins are basically non-existent, although you’ll argue that the body is one large fin.

Males and females look similar, thus you’ll struggle to inform them apart once attempting to mate them. It is been recommended that males have additional rays on their fin. This isn’t terribly reliable although as a result of it’s laborious to count the rays within the initial place.

Habitat and Tank Conditions

Though they give the impression of being terribly totally different to most fish, rope fish sleep in similar environments to alternative common fish species. The natural surround for rope fish would be brackish/fresh water in tropical areas. They are typically found in rivers like the Ogun watercourse in Federal Republic of Nigeria.

These areas have heat water with a neutral pH scale, maybe slightly alkaline. Water movement would be low however many lightweight would be obtainable.

You would realize many detritus on the bed like rocks and bogwood. These produce crevices for the fish to cover between till night-time.

They are additionally found in low chemical element environments; they will survive here owing to their primitive lungs.

Tank Setup

It should not be a challenge to setup the right tank.

Cover all-time low of the fish tank with a layer of sandy substrate. The fine grains can make sure that the fish won’t scratch themselves.

Above this layer it’s necessary to put some decorations. Use rocks to create some caves for shelter. They are going to pay loads of your time activity here, particularly within the day if they are not wont to daytime feeding.

Since rope fish are carnivorous, you will safely add plants while not them being devoured. They like well planted aquariums thus you’ll embody Java nonflowering plant and Amazon Swords.

A heater is required to stay the water between 72-82°F. pH scale ought to be within the vary of vi.7-7.8 and hardness ought to be 4-18dH.

They can live stress-free in briny water. If you decide on to stay them in salt water, then limit salinity to one.020.

This predator will produce loads of organic waste thus a canister filter and regular cleanup is good. You don’t ought to add Associate in Nursing pump to stay the water moving, these fish are wont to slow tropical rivers.

Make sure that your tank contains a tight lid. These fish can attempt to escape if you provide them the chance to leap out.

What Size fish tank do they need?

A rope fish can would like a minimum of a forty-five gallon tank. Larger} one can would like an excellent bigger tank, thus it’s safer to use a 50+ gallon tank.

Try to opt for a tank with the maximum amount floor house as doable, rather than a extremely tall one.

Each extra rope fish you add can would like roughly ten gallons.

  • Rope vivarium Mates
  • Reed Fish
  • Reed Fish by Michał Zalewski (Wiki Commons)

This is a peaceful species thus there are many choices once selecting some tank mates. You simply ought to bear many things in mind.

Firstly, being a predator suggests that they are going to eat fish if they’re hungry, even supposing this isn’t their main food supply within the wild. They won’t be able to distinguish between the foods you provide them and any snack-sized tank mates.

Small fish like tetras, danios, and harlequins can begin to disappear. Any fish you are doing keep ought to be larger than a rope fish’s mouth so they can’t be devoured.

A few smart examples embody Angelfish, Bala Sharks, Clown Loaches, Dwarf Gouramis, Glass Catfish, Pictus Catfish, Plecostomus, Rainbow Sharks, Siamese protoctist Eaters and toy Loaches.

Another issue to think about is that the temperament of the tank mates. Aggressive, territorial species can harass the rope fish. Aggressive cichlids (such as Convicts and Oscars) ought to be avoided.

You should additionally avoid adding invertebrates. tiny shrimp and snail species are treated as food. Some individuals truly value more highly to add these into the tank as a part of their diet (more on this later).

Keeping Rope Fish along

You can keep these fish either on their own or in an exceedingly cluster. Some individuals suppose that they’re additional active in tiny teams, however a gaggle takes up extra space, thus check that you’ll well match a gaggle in your tank before getting.

What Do Rope Fish Eat?

Rope fish are carnivores. Within the wild they might eat crustaceans, insects, and worms. They additionally eat fish, however this can be typically the last alternative.

This means that they’re going to eat tiny fish in your tank, thus you would like to use caution together with your tank mate selections.

They are nocturnal creatures, resting within the day and feeding at the hours of darkness. They will quickly learn your feeding routines although and may begin feeding throughout the daytime.

Though they do not eat vegetation, there are still heaps that you just will feed them.

Usually the simplest choices are factory-made flake and pellet foods, however this species doesn’t continually settle for dried foods.

Meaty frozen foods are the simplest alternative. Smaller fish can blithely eat bloodworms, branchiopod crustacean, and dipteron larvae. Once they’re a touch larger you’ll move onto larger shrimps (like arthropod genus Shrimp), prawns, and even earthworms.

Live foods are often introduced too. They’re a small amount additional partaking for your rope fish and encourage some natural behaviors.

They bank heavily on their sense of smell to seek out food. This generally implies that they’re going hungry if they’re in an exceedingly tank with alternative carnivorous fish.

Feed them simply before you switch out their lightweight.

They can go long periods while not food within the wild however ought to run a gradual diet in captivity. you’ll value more highly to provide them a touch little bit of food everyday (e.g. 1-2 shrimp) or provide them larger parts (e.g. 2-4 shrimp) each alternative day.

How To take care of Rope Fish

It are often frightening purchase a fish like this. They give the impression of being totally different to ‘normal’ fish, thus you may suppose that they’re laborious to worry for. This isn’t true; we’ve already mentioned however they need similar has to most species. A well setup tank ought to keep them healthy.

They’re a hardy species, accommodating a spread of conditions and proving proof against illness.

They don’t cope well with changes in water conditions although, once they’re acclimatized to your tank you would like to take care of their atmosphere.

There are typically some ways to identify malady in your rope fish, symptoms can vary counting on the illness however there are many common ones.

Behavioral changes (such as a loss of craving or reduced movement) begin because the illness takes management. Changes in color or strange markings and wounds will indicate illness too.

Ich could be a common downside, this presents as white spots on the scales.

Adding salt into the fish tank is employed to scale back infections. You would like to feature Associate in Nursing quantity of salt so you have got 2 tablespoons per 5 gallons of water. The key to doing this can be adding the salt slowly over one.5-2 weeks thus you don’t send your fish into shock.

There are several treatments you’ll purchase from stores for numerous diseases, together with Ich.


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