Ropefish (Erpetoichthys calabaricus)

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Erpetoichthys calabaricus

208 Litres (55 US G.)

25-50 cm (9.8-19.7")


1 - 1.010


6.0 - 7.5

26 -30 °C (78.8-86°F)

8-20 °d

1:1 M:F

Pellet Foods
Flake Foods
Live Foods

10-20 years



Additional names

Ropefish, Reedfish, Snake Fish, Snakefish, Dragon Eel

Additional scientific names

Calamichthys calabarica, Calamichthys calabaricus, Calamoichthys calabaricus, Calanichthys calabaricus, Erpetoichthys calabaris, Erpetoichthys robbianus, Herpetoichthys calabaricus, Polypterus erpetoideus


Only identifiable by the anal fin, males have 12 to 14 rays, females have 9 to 12 rays.

Tank compatibility[edit]

Should be kept in groups of 3+ as they are sociable fish.
They can swallow fish whole that are approx. 1 1/2 - 2x their body width. Make sure if you have them with other fish that the other fish are of decent size but not aggressive. Do not put them in a tank with fast swimming or territorial bottom dwellers.


A carnivore, feed bloodworms, sinking shrimp pellets, and other meaty foods, may take a while to wean onto anything but live/frozen foods. They hunt by sense of smell, not sight. A varied diet is the most ideal, sometimes they become bored of the same thing over and over.

Feeding regime[edit]

Feed once or twice a day, this fish is mainly nocturnal so try and feed after lights out.

Environment specifics[edit]

This fish must be kept in a tank with an exceptionally well-fitting cover as they are true escape artists and can get through the smallest of gaps. If they do escape they are capable of surviving for several hours out of water and can get a surprising distance away from the tank, this means they can be saved if found in time.
The tank should be decorated with dense planting and hiding places in bogwood. Excellent filtration is essential and low-end brackish conditions can prove beneficial to the Reedfish's long-term health.


A peaceful nocturnal fish. Said to get along with other Ropefish, but proven untrue in some cases.
They enjoy hiding inside objects and in plants and prefer a decent amount of cover for them to hide in. They will come out during night time to feed on small fish. If it hiding place is stolen it may become more aggressive.


A very distinctive fish, it is exceptionally long and rope-like with no ventral fins. The dorsal fin is broken up into 10 or 11 finlets which are rarely raised so rarely seen, the anal fin is also rarely seen, see sexing. The body colour is usually a muted green with the belly being yellow and there are black spots at the base of the pectoral fins.



External links[edit]