The Ropefish is a very fascinating oddball fish that has a snake-like appearance and the ability to breathe both air and water!
The Ropefish (Erpetoichthys calabaricus), also known as the Reedfish, Snakefish, or Rope Eel, is a very popular and unique member of the Polypterid/bichir family. It is very eel-like in appearance and is sometimes referred to as a an eel, although it is not a true eel. It is an extremely hardy species that is very versatile. All Ropefish and bichirs posess a modified swim bladder that allows them to breathe atmospheric air and live in water that is very low in oxygen. In fact, they are often able to live out of water for extended periods of time as long as they remain moist.
The Ropefish is primarily nocturnal, but will often become active during daytime hours once established in an aquarium with plenty of driftwood, rockwork, and other hiding places. It is not a particularly aggressive fish, but it will eat fish and invertebrates that are small enough to be considered prey. It will generally ignore all other tankmates. Adult bichirs can sometimes be territorial with one another, but they just as often will share hiding places and be completely peaceful with one another. While it is an extraordinarily hardy species, the Ropefish requires a large aquarium with plenty of floor space and powerful filtration.
Ropefish and Bichirs are not afraid to jump or leave the water, so a tight-fitting lid is necessary to prevent them from escaping the aquarium. They also must be able to come to the surface to breathe air occasionally or else they will drown.
Feeding is relatively easy for the Ropefish. It has not yet been commercially bred in captivity, so it will sometimes ignore dry foods, at least initially. It should primarily be fed a varied diet of frozen and live meaty foods such as bloodworms, shrimp, and prawns, but it may eventually accept sinking dry foods as well.
What We Like About This Fish:
- Unique eel-like appearance
- Exceptionally hardy and adaptable.
- Unfussy regarding diet
- Ideal "community" large fish/predator
- Will not eat plants
RECOMMENDED TANK PARAMETERS:
- Temperature: 73° - 86° F (23° - 30° C)
- pH: 6.0 - 7.5
- KH: 5 - 20 dKH
- Minimum tank size: 45-55 gallons
- Diet: Carnivorous. Requires a variety of meaty live, frozen, and dry foods
- Social behavior: Peaceful with species too large to be considered prey
- Origin: Western Africa