Rope Fish- A Complete Guide (Care, Diet, Facts)

Rope Fish, also known as Reed Fish, are a species of fish that has been around for millions of years. They are a species of freshwater fish in the Bichir family. Because of their long, slender bodies, they are frequently mistaken for eels and snakes.

The Rope Fish is found throughout Africa. They are a freshwater species that can also live in brackish water. They are most commonly found in rivers.

Rope Fish are a hardy species that is relatively simple to care for. They are popular among aquarium owners, and keeping them healthy does not require a lot of skill. You can learn more about Rope Fish and their tank requirements by reading on.



The Rope Fish gets its name from its long body. Its scales are also reminiscent of rope braids. These scales are bony and thick.

The Tie Fish color is also neutral, resembling rope color. The majority of their body is green or grey. The undersides of their wings are yellow or another lighter color. The base of their pectoral fins are usually marked with black spots.

There is no color difference between males and females. They can be distinguished by examining their anal fins, which are the fins on their underside.

Male anal fins have 12-15 rays that separate them. They are also typically distinct from their caudal fins. Females, on the other hand, have anal fins with 8-12 rays that divide them. Their anal fins usually merge with their caudal fins as well.

The heads of Rope Fish are flat. They also have nostrils on short tentacles that extend from their heads.

Rope Fish have flat heads. Their nostrils are attached to short tentacles that protrude from their heads. They lack ventral fins and have such small dorsal fins that they are difficult to see.

Rope Fish can grow to be quite long in length. They can reach a maximum length of more than 2 feet. Home aquariums are typically 1 to 1.5 feet long.

Tank Conditions

Because rope fish are so long, they require more space than most in-home species. Larger Rope Fish will require larger tanks, but you should aim for at least 45 to 55 gallons. You should also add 10 gallons of water for each rope fish you add.

Juveniles can be kept in smaller tanks, but only for short periods of time. The first year will account for roughly 70% of their growth.

The Rope Fish lives in warm, neutral water in their natural habitat. They are a freshwater species, but can tolerate low salinity water. Their natural environment may also be slightly alkaline.

The water temperature in home tanks should be between 72 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit. There is some debate about pH levels, but you should aim for between 6.0 and 8.0.

Water hardness (dH) should be between 4 and 18 degrees. The ammonia level should not be higher than 8 ppm. The alkalinity should be between 5 and 20 dkH.

To clarify, pH is a measure of the acidity of water. Alkalinity, on the other hand, is a measure of the water’s ability to resist changes that raise the pH.

The unit of measurement for alkalinity is dkH. This is an abbreviation for “degrees of carbonate hardness.” This is the amount of dissolved minerals in the water. In general, this refers to either magnesium carbonate or calcium carbonate.

A little sea salt in the water is tolerable. It may also have some benefits for water quality. It can also help with disease prevention and treatment in some cases.

Specific gravity is a measure of salinity. The specific gravity for Rope Fish tanks should be less than 1.020.

Tank Set Up

As well as water composition, there are a few other items you need to consider when setting up the tank. Some of these other items include;

  • Filter
  • Heater
  • Lighting
  • Conditioner
  • Air pump
  • Substrate
  • Aquarium test strips
  • Accessories

Filters, heaters, conditioners, and air pumps can help keep water characteristics stable. They aid in the improvement of quality, cleanliness, flow, and heat distribution.

Rope Fish are nocturnal creatures that dislike bright lights. LED lights are the best option if you want to add some light or if you have plants that require it.

Because LED lights emit no heat, they will not raise the temperature of the water. Other lights can cause the temperature of the water to rise in areas closer to the light. This can have a negative impact on the health of your fish, plants, and the quality of your water.

This equipment also contributes to the preservation of the water’s oxygen level. Rope Fish require a lot of oxygen because their gills aren’t as efficient as those of other species.

Rope fish have gills and lungs as well. They occasionally take a breath of fresh air. As a result, you should leave at least one inch of space above the water for them to breathe.

Rope Slithering along the bottom of tanks is a favorite pastime of fish. As a result, you should provide them with high-quality substrate material. This could be sand or small gravel pieces. Large pebbles or stones should not be present in their tank.

Plants are one of the most common types of accessories. You have the option of using either live or artificial plants. Because they like to hide in live plants, rope fish prefer them.

Rope Fish enjoy a variety of other accessories as well. They enjoy having holes in which to hide. Logs, driftwood, and caves are some additional accessories to consider.

Tank Maintenance

When you first start housing fish, you should test the water every 2-3 days with test strips. When you see that the water composition is being maintained, you can spread out the tests. At the very least, you should test the water once a month and after every water change.

Rope Fish are very active and can be quite messy at times. As a result, you must perform more frequent water changes than with other species. You should change 10-25 percent of the water 3-4 times per month for Rope Fish.

During water changes, the fish do not need to be removed. Rope Fish, on the other hand, are notorious escape artists. They have the ability to breathe air for brief periods of time. However, if they are out of the water for an extended period of time, this can be extremely dangerous.

Make certain that the tank is completely sealed at all times. Check that the lid is securely fastened and that any holes have been filled. You should also ensure that the lid has a locking mechanism. Rope Fish can force lids open even when they are completely closed.

Also, ensure that all equipment is in good working order at all times. Examine the airflow and clean the equipment as needed. When you buy tank accessories, you usually get maintenance instructions with them. These instructions would also tell you how to clean the items and if any special tools were required.


Rope Fish are carnivores, which means they only eat meat. Their diet must include high protein meals. They prefer live feedings, but this is not always the most convenient option for fish owners.

If you do decide to switch them to pellets or flakes, you must do so gradually. They will initially be hesitant to consume anything that is not alive. They will, however, become accustomed to eating processed and frozen foods over time.

Rope Because fish swallow their food whole, hard pellets would be a choking hazard. If you’re giving them pellets, make sure they’re soft. If they are hard, soak them first.

Rope Fish have very poor vision. hey rely on their sense of smell during meals. Pellets or flakes should have a strong odor so that they can find them floating on top of the water. Sinking pellets are also an excellent choice for fish species with poor vision.

Rope Fish may initially refuse prepared foods due to their unnatural odor. Be patient. Again, they will become more accustomed to eating these foods over time.

Having said that, live feedings are preferable and provide better nutrition. Rope Fish will eat almost any small fish or animal.

This includes crustaceans, insects, worms, mussels, loaches, shrimp, and other fish. Their favorite food is blood worms. They will also eat chopped meat if the portions are small enough.

Rope Fish are nocturnal creatures. In the wild, they eat at night and sleep during the day. The majority of owners prefer to feed them before going to bed. Make sure you turn off their lights as well, as this will cause them to wake up.

Rope Fish, on the other hand, will adapt to feeding schedules that occur during the day. But you must be patient with them. Feed in the evenings at first, then gradually shift to earlier times every few feedings.

Juvenile Rope Fish should eat twice a day. Adult Rope Fish do not eat as much as younger ones and only require meals every couple of days. A feeding schedule of once every two days is a good place to start.

Make sure to clean up any leftover foods, as this can lead to bacteria growth. Bacteria from dead animals can infect your Rope Fish and cause disease.


Rope Fish are a hardy species with a relatively long life span when compared to other home tank species. They can live in captivity for 10 to 20 years. Care and genetics are both important factors in the lifespan of a Rope Fish.

As previously stated, escaping the tank and choking are two of the most serious threats your Rope Fish will face. Again, you must ensure that the tank remains sealed. Soak any food that is hard and may be difficult to swallow as well.

In any home aquarium species, there are some diseases and other conditions to look out for. Each of these conditions has its own set of symptoms and treatments. Common indicators include changes in behavior, diet, and appearance.

Some of the most common diseases and conditions found in Rope Fish are as follows:

  • Ich
  • Cotton Mouth
  • Dropsy
  • Velvet
  • Swim Bladder Disease
  • Pop Eye

Both Ich and Velvet are parasites. Bacterial infections cause Cotton Mouth, Dropsy, and Pop Eye. Swim Bladder Disease is a condition that affects the swim bladder.

Swim Bladder Disease, unfortunately, is usually fatal. Other diseases have a wide range of treatments. Medicated foods and water additives are two examples. In some cases, sea salt and other changes in water conditions (such as temperature) are also beneficial.

Try to avoid drastic changes in water or environmental conditions. Also, try to keep all conditions within the recommended ranges. If at all possible, quarantine any sick fish. Before feeding, quarantine any feeder fish for a few days.

If you suspect disease or illness, seek the advice of a veterinarian or other expert.

Tank Mates

Rope Fish, as carnivores, can be aggressive toward smaller species. This includes both fish and other types of animals. Snails, shrimp, crabs, and other small animals are not recommended as tank mates.

Rope Fish tank mates should be medium to large in size. They should also not be an aggressive or overly dominant species.

Rope Fish with poor vision are more prone to injury or malnutrition. They may skip meals or avoid confrontation.

Rope fish thrive in small groups. They are social with each other in groups of up to six. You should have at least 2-3 of them together.

Keep in mind that they are quite long. As a result, make sure they have plenty of room to move around.

Some other tank mate recommendations include;

  • Angelfish
  • Bala sharks
  • Clown,Kuhli, and Yo-yo loaches
  • Dwarf and Honey gouaramis
  • Glass and Pictus catfish
  • Plectostomus
  • Rainbow sharks
  • Siamese algae eaters
  • Barbs


The majority of Rope Fish are captured in the wild and brought into captivity. As a result, breeding rarely occurs in home aquariums. In fact, breeding at home can be extremely challenging.

There are a few steps you must take if you want to try breeding them. To begin, raise the water temperature slightly, as this triggers the breeding behavior. Second, they require a large number of plants in their tank.

Rope Fish prefer to reproduce in plants. Their eggs, too, adhere to the plants until they hatch.

After the eggs have attached to the plants, you must remove both the plants and the eggs and place them in a separate take. Rope fish are prone to eating their own eggs. If this happens, it will not harm the Rope Fish.

Transfer the eggs and plants to a tank with similar water conditions (do not separate the eggs from the plants). After about 3-4 days, the eggs will hatch.

The offspring will look like tadpoles. You won’t need to feed them right away because their yolk sacs will still be available.

Their yolk sac will be gone by the time they are 1-2 weeks old, and you should begin feeding them. Give them brine shrimp babies or other small live food. To avoid bacteria and illness, you must clean up any remaining food or debris.

You will need to separate them as they begin to move around more. Larger offspring may eat smaller offspring at this age. Once they’re a few inches long, you can rejoin them.


Rope Fish can be both visually appealing and social. Each fish species has its own set of requirements. You must monitor a variety of tank conditions, diets, behaviors, and so on. You can now set up your aquarium with the information provided above.

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