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Old 02-21-2004, 12:10 AM   #1
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The story of my rope/reed/snakefish

I've had snakefish for, well, going on 5 years now. I remember when I first saw the bizarre creature at petsmart for the first time. I picked a lively one out, and he was trouble from the start. The woman who removed him from the tank lost him twice and had to capture him after jumping from the net and landing on the floor. She was a little squeemish at picking the squirmy beast up but she did it. I named him Jeranimo because of his daring feats.
I have no idea why I didn't piece the facts together that ha might bring this habit into my home, but he promptly jumped out of the tank and died the next day.
I cried. It was sad.
I then went and did a little research on the animal. Now, understand this was almost 5 years ago. Theres barely any information on this animal on the net now. I searched and put together little bits and went back to the store some weeks later. I tried to get information from them but they were clueless. eh. I trusted my new information and bought two new ones.
Like I said, I had done my research, so this time my tank was completely closed up. There was no way this little guys were getting out this time. I named the seemingly happier one Twist, and the other one shout.
Somehow, unexpectedly about 3 weeks later, shout dies. to this day I have no idea why. Maybe he was sick from the beginning, but one morning I walk over to my tank to watch the fish and he's just...not moving, not responding, not living.
It was sad. I cried.
So I almost gave up. I figured that these things are just beyond me and I am doomed to failure in keeping them. I make Twist as happy as he can possibly be giving him plety of plants to hide around and a big boat to sleep inside and hide. He also spent a lot of time playing with the bubbles that shoot upwards in the tank. Its cute.
Weeks pass. Twist is still alive! success!
I hate having one of anykind of animal because I feel like they need some sort of communication, so I get another. Lucky for me he was healthy as well.
So now here I am, still keeping up with Twist and The Other One. My question now is, I have searched for new information and can find everything but how long their lifespan is? Its going to be a sad day when Twist and The Other One pass, I've had them for such a long time! They're actually very pretty, though a lot of people can't stand the look of them. I think they're fantastic.
By the way, i read through a few posts about the fish and some people had asked what they feed them, and mine thrive on brine shrimp.
Its kind of weird, though. Because back in the days of middle school I had sea monkeys which basicly are brine shrimp. Makes me feel kind of guilty. But if it keeps my reedfish going as strong as they have been then its chow.

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Old 02-21-2004, 12:32 AM   #2
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Do you feed only brine shrimp, or do you vary the diet?

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Old 02-21-2004, 12:40 AM   #3
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I have only fed them brine shrimp. Is there something else you recommend?
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Old 02-21-2004, 01:15 AM   #4
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Yeah. You should really vary the diet of any fish. I give my puffers live black worms, but I also feed them brine shrimp ever couple of weeks. They won't eat anything else, otherwise I'd feed them krill etc.

I'd recommend creating a colony of simple feeder guppies (if you've got the guts) and feeding those to the ropefish. I'd recommend against buying feeders frequently, as these can carry disease. You'll save money if you just breed them, as they breed extremely quickly!

Also, try wedging down tubifex worms under rocks for the ropefish to grab. Some people have reported success a) feeding these fish by hand, or b) feeding the ropefish tubifex on a long skewer.
MTS is a blessing, not a disease.
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Old 02-21-2004, 09:40 AM   #5
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The Reed Fish (also known as Rope Fish or Snake Fish), Erpetoichthys calabaricus is a member of the Polypteridae, a Family of 'primitive' African fishes. They grow to nearly 3 feet in length when fully mature, though their serpentine body means that they can do well in an aquarium that would be too small for other fish of that length. Like all Polypterids, Reed Fish can utilize atmospheric air by gulping air at the water's surface.

As you've found...Reed Fish are consummate escape artists and require a carefully prepared aquarium. I've kept them in the past and found that they like almost any 'meaty' food....I've fed mine frozen beef heart, frozen bloodworms, frozen brine shrimp, cichlid pellets, uncooked shrimp, earthworms, etc.

Their life span is 20+ years so you don't have to worry about your fish kicking the bucket on you any time soon as long as you keep them healthy and give them a more varied diet.
Aquarist since 1964
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