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Erpetoichthys calabaricus
ReedFish, RopeFish, SnakeFish

 Age of Aquariums > Freshwater Fish > Rope Fish - Erpetoichthys calabaricus

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So many people have stated that these fish are escape artists. I've kept two, the first was a wonderful pet who was long lived in a tank that eventually went bad. The heater went berserk, killing most everything. The second rope fish was in a similar disaster, different heater though. He escaped out of the tank only to die of dog hair. Neither fish ever left when the tank was in normal swing, even though the entire back part of the tanks where uncovered. I think that there are a number of things that measure into this. I fed them quite a lot, feeder guppies and flake food mainly. I kept both with baby stink pot turtles (about 3 cm in diamter) and baby soft sheld turtles, as well as a mixture of juvenile freshwater fish.

I found that these fish are somewhat nocturnal, but I have gone into the habit of breaking nocturnal fish out of their habits by leaving tank lights on for several days consecutively (it's an honest accident that seems to work well, I never do it on purpose). Once these fish acclimate, they are very friendly, they do the eel thing and will hide while leaving their head out, so they know what is going on. They burrow well in my river rock, which is pebbles about 3 cm in diameter. They where both in a 200 liter. The room and variety of hiding spots, plus the manageable roommates might have influenced these guys to not jump ship. These guys will be seen swimming up and down the front of your tank in full day light and basking on a large rock, or wrapped around a large piece of fake seaweed. They will happily eat any bite sized tankmates, but won't harass your other fish, I have witnessed no fin nipping.

Contributed by Joseph Kelly

My boyfriend Joey and I have had two rope fish for a couple of years. They were a gift to Joey. We recently bought another one to add to our family. But a week after we got it, I discovered one of my older rope fish stuck in the fiter tube, I am sorry to say it past away. So know we are back down to two. A couple of days ago I came home and first thing I always do is see if the fishes are OK. I started worrying when I only say one, so I looked in the filter tube and all over the ground couldn't find it. I was finally relieved when I found it in the outer filter. They are wonderful fish to have and I recommend them to everyone. They are just very calming fish. Every fish is unique, I guess, because ours are up and about all day long.

Contributed by Yesenia Velasquez

I had a wonderful ropefish that was like a friendly seamonster out of a children's tale. Olive green with an orange throat and the sea monster spikes that rose in a row of fins on its back, it had the friendliest face and the most personality of any freshwater fish I've ever had. It loved my tank that I had in my studio apartment in Venice, California back in 1987, and especially loved my neons. I see that's a common occurrence from these pages of rope owners! I had tons of rocks and plants and snails and it would wag around the whole domain like a rambunctious puppy at feeding time. It ate flake food, freeze-dried tubifex, neons, and a never ending supply of snails and guppies. It got out once, and I found it between my fresh and saltwater tanks and put it back in. It ate from hand when I tried to make sure it got its share -- it was like having a pet, not just an exotic and beautiful species. He got pretty big though, and it didn't seem right to keep him in the 130 liter tank, so I brought him back to the store. But I loved that fish and remember him like a dog or a cat, and I'm glad to see there are others who appreciate them like I did. They look like perfectly miniaturized Frank Frazetta sea serpents, and have the sweet disposition of a sheep dog.

Contributed by Casey Fahy

I have four beautiful Rope Fish, the larger of them being about 35 cm long so far. I have read that these fish are nocturnal, yet the only time they had behaved as such was when there was a predatorial fish in the tank. I had a red-tailed catfish that I recently sold due to its growing size. Since then my Rope Fish are extremely active all day long. I made sure to fit their habitat requirements, dark substrate, lots of hiding places (natural rock caves) and a lot of plants. I am in love with the antics they carry on with all day long. I do have 2 Blue Dragons, 3 Weather Loaches, and some Bumble Bee cats as tankmates and everyone gets along great.I only encountered one weird occurance, since introducing what is believed to be the alpha male, the other 3 Rope Fish changed colour to an olive green from a yellow green, very nice contrast. I recommend these fish to any experienced aquarist.

Contributed by Jacqueline Owchar

These pages have enough comments to give the reader a basic idea on the topic. Further comments are still very welcome (through the site's contact form) as long as they provide new and/or advanced information not yet discussed in the existing ones.

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