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|Ropefish or Erpetoichthys
calabaricus belong to the
is the sole member of the genus Erpetoichthys.
The rope fish is endemic
to West Africa. Their natural habitat stretches from Nigeria to the
classification is a source of amusement.
erpeton means creepy thing while ichthys means fish. Put it together
and you have one creepy fish. These
eel-like creatures are commonly
referred to as reedfish or snakefish throughout the world. In the U.S.
they are marketed under the name ropefish.
evolved in low oxygenated habitats. Not only
is it capable of breathing oxygen. It can survive without any water at
all for intermediate periods of time. Unlike many bi-breathers they are
not a member of the suborder Anabantoidei. This suborder covers an
array of bi-oxygen breathers such as betta fish and gouramis who use a
lung-like organ known as a labyrinth to consume atmospheric oxygen.
Ropefish do not have a labyrinth. They consume atmospheric oxygen in a
manner unique to their species.
airborne oxygen through its gills. Air
travels down their esophagus and into their swim bladder. Their
modified swim balder absorbs the oxygen from the air and introduces it
into the bloodstream.
unique traits. They lack ventral fins but
have multiple dorsal fins on their back. They also have two sensory
organs that extend from their nostrils. These are used to sniff out
is a large
species. In the wild they will grow up to
36 inches long. It is common for them to reach a length in excess of 16
inches in aquariums. If you intend to keep one you will need a large
appearance and size they are not at all an
aggressive creature. They are, in fact, quite docile. The ropefish is
timid enough to be harassed by more aggressive species, even fish much
smaller than it is. They will, however, swallow their smaller
tank-mates whole when feeding time roll around. They will fend for
themselves just fine in a very large community aquarium devoid of
predators and bullies.
primarily nocturnal species. You need to provide
nocturnal species with caves or hollow aquarium décor to
rest in during
the day. They also feel more at home in a heavily planted environment.
You will want to house them in a well sealed aquarium. Because of their
ability to survive out of water, they have a tendency to venture
outside of their aquariums.
slightly acidic, medium-hard water. Acceptable temperature ranges
They are not known to breed in captivity.
You will be purchasing a species that has recently been removed from
its native environment. In their natural habitat they survive on worms,
crustaceans, insects and smaller fish. They are accustomed to dining on
live food and may demonstrate a reluctance to eat anything else when
they are first introduced to an aquarium. They will readily devour
tubifex and bloodworms. Given time they may learn to tolerate frozen
and freeze-dried food.
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