Erpetoichthys calabaricus CareSheet

The Erpetoichthys calabaricus Ropefish is an unusual fish with a snake-like appearance and the capacity to breathe both air and water!

The Ropefish (Erpetoichthys calabaricus), also known as the Reedfish, Snakefish, or Rope Eel, is a Polypterid/bichir family member that is both popular and distinctive. Although it is not a real eel, it has an eel-like look and is occasionally referred to as such. It is a hardy plant with a wide range of uses. Ropefish and bichirs have a modified swim bladder that enables them to breathe atmospheric air and survive in oxygen-depleted water. In fact, as long as they stay wet, they can survive for lengthy periods of time without water.

The Ropefish is usually nocturnal, but if established in an aquarium with lots of driftwood, rockwork, and other hiding spots, it will frequently become active during the day. It is not a very aggressive fish, but it will devour tiny fish and insects that qualify as food. All other tankmates are often ignored. Adult bichirs may be territorial at times, but they also often share hiding spots and are perfectly amicable with one another. The Ropefish, despite its extreme hardiness, demands a big tank with lots of floor area and strong filtration. Because ropefish and bichirs are not frightened to leap or leave the water, a tight-fitting cover is required to keep them from escaping. They must also be able to surface to breathe air on a regular basis, or they may drown.

The Ropefish is quite simple to feed. Because it hasn't been professionally grown in captivity, it may sometimes shun dry meals, at least at first. It should be given a diversified diet of frozen and live meaty items including bloodworms, shrimp, and prawns, although it may tolerate sinking dry foods in the future.

Requirements for keeping Erpetoichthys calabaricus

Temperature: 73° - 86° F (23° - 30° C)
pH: 6.0 - 7.5
Minimum tank size: 45-55 gallons
Origin: Western Africa
Average adult size: Up to 16 inches