Rope Fish Care: Tank Mates, Diet, Size, And More!

Proper rope fish care entails providing them with adequate tank mates, a balanced diet, and the right tank size. These fish grow up to 3 feet long and require a minimum aquarium capacity of 100 gallons.

In this article, we will cover all aspects of rope fish care so that you can ensure your pet’s overall wellness and longevity. Rope fish, also known as reedfish or erpetoichthys calabaricus, are robust and intriguing aquatic creatures that require specific husbandry to thrive. Owing to their size and specific needs, it is essential to provide the ideal environment for them to live and thrive. In this article, we will delve into the ideal rope fish tank setup, water parameters, diet, behavior, and more. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced aquarist, this guide will provide you with all the information you need to keep your rope fish healthy and happy.

Tank Setup

Rope fish are fascinating creatures that can add a unique touch to your aquarium. However, providing the right tank setup is crucial for their health and longevity. In this section, we’ll cover tank size and shape, recommended water conditions, as well as filtration and aeration systems.

Tank Size And Shape Requirements

Rope fish can grow up to three feet long, and they need plenty of space to move around.

  • A minimum tank size of 75 gallons is required for one rope fish, with an additional 25 gallons for each additional fish.
  • A tank that is at least four feet long, two feet wide, and two feet deep provides enough space for rope fish to swim around and remain active.
  • Tall tanks are not recommended because rope fish need access to the surface to breathe.

Recommended Water Conditions

Maintaining the right water conditions is crucial for the health and well-being of your rope fish.

  • The ideal temperature range for rope fish is 75-82°f (24-28°c).
  • Ph levels should be kept between 6. 5-7. 5.
  • Water hardness should be around 5-12 dgh.
  • Regular water changes of 20-30% every two weeks are recommended.

Filtration And Aeration Systems

Proper filtration and aeration are essential for maintaining a healthy environment for your rope fish.

  • Filtration systems should have a flow rate of at least four times the tank volume per hour.
  • Biological filtration is important for breaking down waste and keeping the water clean.
  • Aeration systems help oxygenate the water and provide a current for rope fish to swim against.

With these guidelines in mind, you can provide your rope fish with a comfortable and healthy environment. Remember to regularly monitor water conditions and perform maintenance as needed to ensure the longevity of your pets.

Diet And Feeding

Natural Diet Of Rope Fish

Rope fish are carnivores so they require a meaty diet.

  • Insects
  • Worms
  • Small fish
  • Shrimps
  • Crustaceans

Commercial Food Options

Aside from live foods, rope fish can also consume commercial fish food. Look for high-quality pellet or flake food that is suitable for carnivorous fish.

  • Freeze-dried krill
  • Bloodworms
  • Brine shrimp
  • Shrimp pellets

Be sure to only purchase food from reputable brands and avoid overcrowding the tank with food that will go to waste.

Feeding Schedule And Frequency

When feeding rope fish, avoid overfeeding them. They should be fed once a day with small portions. Overfeeding can cause health issues in rope fish, such as bloating and obesity.

Here are some feeding tips to keep in mind:

  • Feed them during the day, as they are nocturnal and will be more active during this time.
  • Turn off the tank’s filtration system when feeding rope fish to prevent the food from being sucked into the filter.
  • Consider feeding them live food once a week to provide some variety and simulate their natural environment.

Now that you know the natural diet, commercial food options, and feeding schedule of rope fish, you can keep your aquatic pets happy and healthy. Remember, a well-fed rope fish is a happy rope fish.

Tank Mates

Rope fish, also known as reedfish, are an exotic species of fish that are becoming increasingly popular amongst fish enthusiasts. They are hardy and easy to care for, making them a great choice for both novice and experienced aquarists. But what about their tank mates?

In this article, we’ll take a look at compatible and incompatible fish species, as well as the best tank mate options for rope fish.

Compatible Fish Species

It is essential to choose appropriate tank mates to ensure a harmonious and stress-free aquatic environment.

  • African butterflyfish
  • Catfish
  • African leaf fish
  • Bichirs
  • Archerfish
  • Pufferfish

Incompatible Fish Species

It is recommended to avoid some fish species because of their aggressive behavior, which could cause severe stress and harm to the rope fish.

  • Cichlids
  • Clownfish
  • Crayfish
  • Goldfish
  • Guppies
  • Neon tetras
  • Angelfish

Best Tank Mate Options For Rope Fish

For the best possible tank mates for rope fish, consider the following options:

  • African butterflyfish: this species of fish is a slow swimmer, making it an easy target for fast predators. Rope fish, on the other hand, are slow and sluggish, making them an ideal tank mate.
  • Catfish: catfish are peaceful creatures that love to hide out in the aquarium. They are compatible with rope fish as they pose no threat to them.
  • African leaf fish: this species of fish is aggressive but remains calm amongst larger fish. Rope fish are much larger than african leaf fish, making them a safe option as a tank mate.
  • Bichirs: these fish species remain motionless on the tank bed. They are generally calm and do not cause stress to rope fish.
  • Pufferfish: while pufferfish may seem too sharp and aggressive, they can safely coexist with rope fish as long as they are not too small, as rope fish can prey on them.
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Overall, selecting the right tank mates for your rope fish is essential to ensure a safe and comfortable habitat. With the right tank mate combinations, you can maintain a thriving aquatic environment while enjoying the beauty of these fascinating creatures.

Behavior And Temperament

Rope fish, also known as reedfish, are unique and fascinating creatures that many people enjoy keeping as pets. These fish are known for their calm demeanor and interesting appearance, making them a popular choice for aquarium enthusiasts. However, as with any pet, it is important to understand rope fish behavior and temperament to maintain a healthy and happy environment.

In this article, we will explore the typical behavior of rope fish, how to address any aggressive behavior, and successfully breed them.

Typical Behavior Of Rope Fish

Rope fish are known for their calm and docile demeanor. They are not very active fish and spend most of their time hiding in the plants or decorations in their tank. They are nocturnal creatures, which means they are more active at night.

  • They love to burrow in the substrate and hide in plants or décor.
  • Rope fish prefer to swim near the bottom of the tank, rarely swimming to the surface.
  • They are not aggressive and get along well with other fish species that are similar in size.

How To Address Aggressive Behavior

Although rope fish are not known to be aggressive, sometimes they may exhibit territorial behavior, especially during breeding season.

  • Provide plenty of hiding places: rope fish need plenty of hiding spots, so provide them with caves and other décor so they can retreat.
  • Avoid overstocking the tank: overcrowding can lead to increased aggression between fish, so make sure you don’t have too many fish in your tank.
  • Separate any aggressive fish: if you have one rope fish that is acting aggressively, move it to a separate tank.

Successfully Breeding Rope Fish

Breeding rope fish can be challenging, but when done correctly, it can be very rewarding.

  • Provide a separate breeding tank: rope fish need a separate breeding tank to reproduce. The breeding tank should have plenty of plants and décor for the rope fish to hide in.
  • Maintain proper water conditions: water temperature should be between 75-82°f (24-28°c) with a ph of 6. 5-7. 5. Conduct regular water changes and ensure the water is well-filtered.
  • Feed them a high-quality diet: providing a high-quality diet is essential for breeding rope fish. They should be fed a variety of live or frozen foods, including bloodworms, brine shrimp, and daphnia.

Understanding rope fish behavior and temperament is crucial to maintaining a healthy and happy environment for these fascinating creatures. By following these guidelines, you can ensure that your rope fish thrive in their tank and continue to fascinate you for years to come.

Size And Growth Expectations

Rope fish is a fascinating fish for pet lovers who enjoy the exotic sight of their aquarium. Apart from their unique appearance, these fish are known for their playful and inquisitive behavior. If you are considering buying a rope fish or already have one, you may be wondering how fast they grow and when they attain full size.

How Fast Does A Rope Fish Grow?

  • Rope fish is a slow-growing type of fish that can take up to three years to attain full size.
  • The growth rate of your rope fish will depend on the environmental conditions they are raised in and their diet.
  • Under ideal conditions, your rope fish is expected to grow around an inch a year.

When Do They Reach Their Full Size?

  • Rope fish is known to reach their full size at around three years old if conditions are optimal.
  • Rope fish can grow anywhere from two to four feet in length, meaning they need a spacious aquarium with a minimum capacity of 75 gallons.

Factors That Affect Their Growth

  • The size of the aquarium is critical in determining how fast your rope fish will grow. The bigger the aquarium, the better for their growth rate.
  • Water temperature plays a significant role in your rope fish growth and size. Rope fish prefer a slightly acidic water ph between 6. 5 and 7. 5, and a temperature range of 75-82°f.
  • A suitable diet will provide the needed nutrients for rope fish growth. Rope fish are carnivorous and require a protein-rich diet of worms, mollusks, small fish, and shrimp to grow correctly.
  • The frequency of feeding also plays a crucial role in growth. Overfeeding your rope fish can lead to health problems, such as obesity, which can slow down their growth rate.
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Maintaining the ideal conditions for your rope fish such as diet, water quality, and aquarium size is essential for their growth rate and final size. With careful attention to their needs, your pet rope fish will love to play in a spacious tank while growing steadily into full size!

Maintaining Water Quality

How To Keep The Tank Clean

Keeping the tank clean is essential to ensure the rope fish’s health and wellbeing.

  • Change the water regularly: rope fish produce a considerable amount of waste, so regular water changes are necessary. Change 25% of the tank water every two weeks to maintain water quality.
  • Use a filter: filtration systems help to remove debris and waste from the water. Choose a filter that is suitable for the size of your tank and the number of rope fish.
  • Test the water: test kits help to monitor the water’s quality by measuring ph, ammonia, nitrate, and nitrite levels. Test the water once a week and take action if there are any significant changes.

Common Water Quality Issues And How To Address Them

Inadequate water quality can lead to health issues for rope fish.

  • High ammonia levels: high ammonia levels can happen due to overfeeding or overcrowding. To address this issue, reduce the number of rope fish in the tank or feed them less.
  • High nitrate levels: high nitrate levels can cause health problems, including poor appetite, lethargy, and fin rot. You can address this issue by performing water changes regularly. Cut down on feeding or invest in a high-quality filtration system to help manage nitrate levels.
  • High ph levels: rope fish prefer a ph range between 6. 5 and 7. 5. A ph level that is too high can stress your rope fish, leading to illness and discomfort. You can lower the ph level by adding driftwood or peat moss to the tank.

Helpful Tips For Ensuring The Welfare Of Rope Fish

Here are some helpful tips to ensure the welfare of your rope fish:

  • Avoid placing the tank in direct sunlight or near a heat source. Rope fish prefer cooler temperatures and could get stressed if exposed to direct sunlight.
  • Ensure that there are enough hiding places in the tank. Rope fish will appreciate this as they love to hide under logs and rocks to feel safe.
  • Feed the rope fish a varied diet of pellets, frozen or live food. They also love eating worms, crickets, and shrimps.
  • Avoid keeping rope fish with aggressive fish species. Rope fish are slow swimmers and can get injured or prone to disease if sharing a tank with aggressive fish.
  • Keep the tank water conditions pristine, and provide adequate oxygen as rope fish depend on oxygen to survive.

Can Picasso Triggerfish and Rope Fish Be Kept Together in a Tank?

When considering keeping Picasso Triggerfish and Rope Fish together in a tank, picasso triggerfish care tips are essential to follow. These aggressive and territorial fish may display aggressive behavior towards each other, causing stress and potential harm. It is best to keep them in separate tanks to ensure their well-being and minimize any conflicts.

Frequently Asked Questions On Rope Fish Care: Tank Mates, Diet, Size, And More!

What Tank Mates Can I Keep With My Rope Fish?

Rope fish are peaceful and live well with larger, non-aggressive fish such as cichlids, angelfish, and catfish.

What Should I Feed My Rope Fish?

Rope fish are carnivores and should be fed a diet of live or frozen meaty foods such as worms, shrimp, or fish.

How Big Do Rope Fish Grow?

Rope fish can grow up to 3 feet in length, but typically only reach around 1-2 feet in home aquariums.

What Is The Ideal Tank Set Up For Rope Fish?

A tank of at least 75 gallons with plenty of hiding places, such as caves or plants, and a low water flow is ideal.


Keeping rope fish as pets can be a rewarding experience if you follow the right protocols. Your rope fish will thrive in an aquarium that provides adequate space and hiding places, plus a balanced diet. You can include some compatible tank mates such as tetra fish, corydoras catfish, and other non-aggressive species.

But be cautious about introducing smaller fish that the rope fish can prey on. Remember also to keep up with regular aquarium maintenance and water changes to ensure a healthy environment for your fish. Remember, rope fish can live for up to two decades with proper care, so be prepared to commit to their long-term wellbeing if you choose to get one as a pet.

With these tips and best practices, you can look forward to enjoying the company of your rope fish for years to come.

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