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Old 06-07-2004, 05:09 PM   #1
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Ropefish (Erpetoichthys calabaricus)!

OK, I have to admit that I did something dumb and risky: I purchased a fish on impulse without extensively researching it first. But, this is such a friggin cool fish! So cool, I got two!
Pic is in my gallery.

The lfs told me that they will grow to about 12 inches and should not be kept with anything that can fit in their mouths. They prefer live foods like blackworms, but will eat sinking shrimp pellets and cichlid flakes. Oh, yeah - did I mention that they are jumpers and escape artists too?!

In fact, as soon as I opened the bag, one flung himself out and into my kitchen sink (good think I had the strainer in the drain). Neither one sat still for the entire 30 min acclimatization period - they both escaped into the aquarium and claimed a big resin adobe-house ornament as their home.

This fish is so reptilian in both appearance and movement. What better addition for a Southwest-styled tank than a fish that resembles a snake. they are nocturnal and dislike bright lights, so I may have to get some moonlights to enjoy them at night.

I also acquired a firemouth and a green severum. Pics of these beauties are in my gallery too.
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Old 06-07-2004, 05:38 PM   #2
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Nice looking pics!!
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Old 06-08-2004, 05:08 PM   #3
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COOL!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 06-08-2004, 10:29 PM   #4
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QTOFFER....

You're going to love your Erpetoichthys calabaricus!! They are Polypterids and may exceed the 12 inches that your LFS stated. I had one that reached 24 inches (although it took about 10 years) and I've heard of them exceeding that. They are long-lived, air-breathing fish that certainly classify as 'living fossils'.

You're absolutely right about their being escape artists. Be careful even around the area where your filter fits the back of your tank. Any opening that is even remotely large enough for them to fit through should be carefully closed off or you'll find them wriggling along on your floor. Their scales are relatively resistant to water loss and they can utilize atmospheric air so they can survive out of the tank for hours (not that a floor is a suitable environment for a fish).

You probably won't have to limit your viewing time to the dark hours. Once they have become acclimated to their surroundings you'll find that they will come out more often and for longer periods of time. I've had great success with these fish feeding them frozen bloodworms and beefheart along with the occasional suitably-sized earthworm. They'll also eat very small ghost shrimp, small fish and the occasional small frog if they have an opportunity. I never personally tried frogs but I have a friend who would go out and collect little frogs at a local stream and sacrifice them to his Reedfish. Though I don't have any Erpetoichthys now, I'm sure they'll also happily take to such fare as Hikari sinking carnivore pellets and Hikari food sticks.

Nice purchase!!!
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Old 06-09-2004, 09:27 PM   #5
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Thanks for the additional info, Fruitbat!
I've been feeding the ropefish Hikari shrimp pellets. I've read about the beefheart, but it sounds messy - is it?. Do they sell it frozen at the lfs or do I get it from the butcher shop?

Both ropefish are quite active at night - they like to sneak up on and spook the firemouth. I'm glad to hear that these amazing fish will gradually come into the open more often. It's been a bit disappointing not to be able to see them without a flashlight fitted with a red filter. Which brings me to the question: are they getting enough to eat? I've never actually seen them eat. I know that ropefish have terrible eyesight and find food primarily by smell and passive electrolocation.

So, I've been using a long plastic tube to direct the sinking pellets directly into the house ornament where I know they like to hide. I've also been adding the pellets at night because during the day, the two cichlids are on top of anything I put in the tank within seconds. At the very least I know that I have two healthy cichlids with hearty appetites.
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Old 06-09-2004, 10:02 PM   #6
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Very Cool QTOFFER. I'm jelous. I want some too *LOL*

I'd avoid feeding beefheart. It can be bought frozen but it is very messy. Go with blackworms if you want to give them a treat!!!
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Old 06-09-2004, 10:11 PM   #7
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Back when I kept Erpetoichthys, the beefheart (the frozen stuff) didn't last long enough in the aquarium to make any sort of a mess. They were in a tank with other Polypterids and the fish made VERY short work of any beefheart I put in the aquarium. What they missed, the Synodontis cats that shared the tank with them took care of.

I think that your Reed Fish, once they've gotten acclimated, will have less trouble finding the food, though the cichlids will always be more aggressive feeders.

Hmmm....you only have four aquariums....looks to me like you're in need of another one to toss the cichlids into. Then you could stock your 58 gallon with a couple of smaller Polypterus species and maybe an African Knife Fish (Xenomystus nigri) and a few Congo Tetras (Phenacogrammus interruptus) and maybe even a pair of African Butterfly Fish (Pantodon buchholzi). Oh...wait....that's the tank that I'M planning to set up in the near future!!!
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Old 06-11-2004, 04:58 PM   #8
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MY ROPE

check out MY ROPE
http://www.aquariumadvice.com/photop...00&ppuser=1741
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Old 06-11-2004, 08:31 PM   #9
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I'm jealous, IXTA, your ropefish actually comes out!. Very nice pics - my favorite is the one of him scarfing down his dinner!
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