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Ropefish - Erpetoichthys calabaricus

Ropefish - Erpetoichthys calabaricus

Scientific name: Erpetoichthys calabaricus

Common name: Ropefish

Family: Polypteridae

Usual size in fish tanks: 75 - 90 cm (29.53 - 35.43 inch)


Recommended pH range for the species: 6 - 7.5

Recommended water hardness (dGH): 4 - 18°N (71.43 - 321.43ppm)

0°C 32°F30°C 86°F

Recommended temperature: 26 - 30 °C (78.8 - 86°F)

The way how these fish reproduce: Spawning

Where the species comes from: Africa

Temperament to its own species: peaceful

Temperament toward other fish species: aggressive to smaller

Usual place in the tank: Bottom levels


This carnivore is a nocturnal hunter of insects, crustaceans and worms.


Male Rope Fish have more rays on their caudal fin causing it to be wider when compared to female Rope Fish.


These egg layers deposit their eggs on plants and other flat surfaces. The eggs take approximately 3 days to hatch. Captive breeding is reportedly unsuccessful.


The Rope Fish can be found throughout West Africa from the Niger River to the Congo.

Short Description

The Rope Fish has the ability to breathe atmospheric oxygen which allows it to be able to live out of water for periods of time. This fish can be found in areas of water that are oxygen depleted due to this ability. This is a very docile fish that tends to get picked on because it will not defend itself. Be sure to choose tank mates that are of equal temperament to keep a Rope Fish’s stress levels down. They get along with their own species and can often be found hiding as a group when more than one is kept in the aquarium.


Bought by from One picture was provided by our contributor. Also thanks to Sarah for pictures.

Ropefish, picture 1 Ropefish, picture 2 Ropefish, picture 3 Ropefish, picture 4 Ropefish, picture 5 Ropefish, picture 6 Ropefish, picture 7 Ropefish, picture 8 Ropefish, picture 9

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