J. A. Smith, 1865
J. A. Smith, 1865
The reedfish, Erpetoichthys calabaricus, ropefish (a name more commonly used in the United States), or snakefish is a species of freshwater fish in the bichir family and order. It is the only member of the genus Erpetoichthys. It is native to West Africa, with its natural habitat stretching from Nigeria to the Congo Basin.
The reedfish has a maximum total length of 37 cm (14.5 in). It lives in slow-moving, brackish or fresh, warm (22-28°C) water, and it can breathe atmospheric air (meaning it is able to survive in water with low dissolved oxygen content) using a pair of lungs. This organ means it can survive for an intermediate amount of time out of water. The reedfish is nocturnal, and feeds on annelid worms, crustaceans and insects. It is sometimes displayed in aquariums. Its genus name derives from the Greek words erpeton (creeping thing) and ichthys (fish). The genus is also known by the name Calamoichthys.
In the aquarium
Reed fishes can easily grow upto 3feet under favourable conditions.
Reedfish are inquisitive, peaceful, and have some "personality". Since they have a peaceful nature, other fish may 'bully' a reedfish, despite its large size, especially in competition for food or space. They have been known to jump out of aquariums and slither around, because they have lungs along with their gills. Although nocturnal, reedfish will sometimes come out during the day, and this can be encouraged by daytime feeding of bloodworms or nightcrawlers for larger fish. Some reedfish also have an inclination to stay close to the water surface, where they will be safe from other fish and will even allow most of their bodies to leave the water at times.
- Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2004). "Erpetoichthys calabaricus" in FishBase. October 2004 version.
- "Erpetoichthys calabaricus". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 27 December 2004.
- "Erpetoichthys". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 4 May 2005.
- L. Fishelson, Zoology, renewed and corrected ed. 1984, Hakibutz Hameuchad Pub. House, Israel 1984. Vol II, p.126 (Hebrew)