How to Keep Your New African Rope Fish Aqualand’s inside info on Erpetoichthys calabaricus
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Origin. All ropefish come from Africa. None breed in captivity. As a result, their price never drops.
Snake lovers can’t resist these guys.
Ropefish look like a foot-long snake.
Those two little extensions on their nose really add to their
snake-like look. Snake haters
can easily resist them. Ropefish look and move like underwater snakes.
They are not. They are
not eels either (which they also resemble).
They are true fish. However,
unlike regular fish, they breathe atmospheric air. They absorb their
O2 via their intestines. Their surface breathing trait may
contribute to their tendency to wander out of their tanks. They love
to bail out and boogie at night.
Foods. Consider ropefish a picky eater. In our experience, these guys seem to prefer live worms – tubifex, earthworms, blood worms, or glassworms. Ghost shrimps also make tasty snacks. They also like the frozen versions. After thoroughly inspecting them, they eagerly eat smaller chunks of nightcrawlers. (Snip them with scissors.) They also eat frozen brine shrimp and any fish they can catch after you turn the lights off. They will eat frozen beef heart and other formula foods. They will not eat flake foods – regardless of brand. Most learn to eat sinking cichlid pellets. Last but not least, they also enjoy ghost shrimp, rosy reds, and neon tetras. Large ropes will eat swordtails.
Poor Competitors. You drop their food in the water and all the other fishes eat it before your ropefish even knows it’s feeding time. They just sit there looking unbright. (Because they are.) Put their food in right before you hit the sack. Once you turn off their lights, your ropefish has an advantage. They can smell the food. They “bump” it a few times before gulping it down. That’s why it’s amazing they can catch live fishes. Must catch them while they snooze. We occasionally see them hit fast -- like a bass.
Poor Mixers. Faster fishes eat their lunch. Larger fishes intimidate them. Rougher fishes bully them unmercifully. Ropefish have absolutely no way to fight back other than running and hiding. Luckily they have those tough ganoid scales. And since they eat small fishes on the night shift, you need to mix these guys carefully. Gouramis make a good mixer. Swords and moons tend to disappear.
Caves: Provide your ropefish with a choice of caves. They like to curl up in their caves then come out and prowl for food starting somewhere around dusk. Several will bunch together in one cave.
Water. Because ropefish breathe atmospheric air and absorb it in their intestines, they can live in crummy water. We do not recommend keeping them in crummy water. Their gut respiration helps them adjust to shallow waters that warm up very fast in the hot sun. These guys do not like the sun or bright tank lights. Give them a hiding cave.
Jumpers: Like all long, snaky-looking fishes, ropefish will snake out of any uncovered tank at the earliest opportunity – especially if picked on by other fishes. Keep yours well covered or lower the water level (or both).
Tough Skin. Hard nacreous scales give ropefish a tough, protective skin. If you see one on the floor, re-catch him in a wet net or he will probably grow fungus all over his body. We cannot report much success at treating this ugly fungus.
Breeding. You will not breed your ropefish.LA
Polypterids grow to half the length of your ropefish. Same data applies to these guys.
On the Other Hand. "I
just wanted to tell you that the information you have supplied on
ropefishes is sadly mistaken.
Other Comments. Gee. I hope I was at least half right. Remember to take special care when feeding your ropefish. They cannot compete with speedier species. Also, adding a few snails to your clean-up crew helps keep their water cleaner. LA
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