I think these ropefish are the best type of fish that I have had yet. About 3 years ago I had one for a couple of months who was very tame, loved to swim through my fingers and eat from my hands. But he was always looking for a way out of the tank, until one day he did and I was unable to save him. Now I have another ropefish that I've had for over two years now, and with no escaping problems. This one is very shy and gets along with all other tankmates, including tetras, ram cichlids, sharks, etc. and a polypterus. However, when I thought he was lonely and brought home another ropefish for him, he attacked the new one and nearly killed him (who was of the same size). Regardless from what everyone has told me about them, I think that they are very hardy and amusing, but should not be kept by beginning hobbyists.
I remember when I was a child and lived in Japan that these fish were sold in markets (alive) for making soups. My Mom bought some for dinner and when we got them home I sat and watched them swim around a plastic bowl. When cooking time came along I realized what my Mom had in store for my new friends and I protested and pleaded with her not to cook my new pets. She was pretty upset at the fact that everything was already prepared for these guys to boil but after shedding my river of tears she gave up and dumped them into our Goldfish tank. I sat and watched them for hours. To this day it makes me smile to see these guys in the pet store.
The Weather Loach grows to a adult size of around 15-20 cm. It gets around 2 cm in diameter and is relatively peaceful. It should not be kept in any tank smaller then 100 liters, and you should keep a pair or more. Stay away from sharp substrates, as this fish likes to burrow. It's an active fish, very interesting to watch and full of personality. It's also a cold water fish, and Goldfish make great tank mates. A temprature around 21-24°C would suit this fish well. They prefer the colder waters as they come from cold streams in China, and parts of Asia. It is an easy fish to keep, Peas are a favorite. It will also eat flakes from the service. You'll hear it making sucking noises at the water surface at feeding times. Something that sometimes scares people is when they see their new Weather Loach shedding it's skin. A slimy film is often seen floating around the tank, and caught on the filter intake. This is natural. Weather Loaches are good planted tank inhabitants. They don't eat plants.
I have had my Weather Loach for about 2 months. The pet store said that it would evenually burrow and it has not yet to even tried to burrow! This fish is my favorite because of the peacefulness, coolness and fun! I love to just sit on my bed and watch him! I recommend this fish to everyone!
I admit it, I am hooked on Weather Loaches. I have had many different types of aquariums and many types of fish over the past 15 years, but my favorites by far are my two spotted Weather Loaches! My first Loach, Mr. IVAN WHISKERS, is 6 1/2 years old and about 18 cm in length. My other Weather Loach, Mrs. IVANA WHISKERS, is 5 1/2 years old and about 16 cm in size. They are housed in a 190 liter sub-tropical community tank). They love to burrow in the fine gravel substrate and lie on the hill of large rocks or lounge on the tops of plants. The Weather Loaches are very easy going, and get along with my Angelfish, Danios, Barbs, Tetras, Gouramis and even with a large (20 cm) somewhat cranky Spotted Plecostomus. They seem to be able to survive temperature fluctuations, new tank mates, the occasional disease, etc, and are very hardy fish. I have noted that when I first got Ivan, he was very lonely and hyper all the time (as the only Loach in the tank). I suggest that people keep at least two. Mine are inseparable when eating, sleeping or playing chasing games. They will eat ANYTHING. I feed them a combo of flake food, shrimp pellets, algae/spirulina wafers and color enhancer. As they age, their brown spots get larger and darker on the lighter gold background. Recently, it looks like Ivan has gotten very fat around the middle. He is as happy and hungry as ever, but I wonder if "he" is a PREGNANT "she"...I have not observed any courtship dance and this Loach "pregnancy" may be wishful thinking.
Anyone who gets one of these great fish should be very aware that they are incredible ecape artists. I never thought mine would get out through the tiny crevases around my filter hoses, but unfortunately he did and I was not able to save him in time. I was so sure that he couldn't get out that I passed my fingers through all of the gravel before realizing that the "impossible" must have happened. He squeezed himself out and his already dried body was found behind my tank cabinet. They are great bottom feeders with lots of character. I really miss the guy. Cover even the smallest of holes in your aquarium top!!