Ropefish and Birchirs - Feeding

Ropefish and Bichirs Feeding.Feeding my fish some yummy beef heart
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Ropefish are a fascinating addition to freshwater aquariums. They have unique habits and behaviorisms that will lend character to any aquarium and make for hours of educational entertainment. With proper care and conscientious feeding habits, Ropefish can live for years as undemanding and intriguing specimens.
Feeding Ropefish and System, Selection 12/4/16
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Feeding Ropefish
Ropefish are active, albeit not the cleverest of predators. They have a preference for meaty and live foods such as bloodworms and other small worms. Small chunks of shrimp, fish, squid, or earthworm work equally well. Be mindful that Ropefish are piscivorous and will eat small fish, shrimp, and snails if they can locate them. Polypterus & rope fish feeding...EW
Photo provided by FlickrTire track eel feeding, ropefish attacks pleco
Photo provided by Flickrbichir ropefish tyretrack eel feeding time
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I'm getting a little worried though because I have yet to see her eat anything despite my efforts to make sure she has food available. I know that Ropefish are nocturnal and that they have poor eyesight so at feeding time I've been shutting everything off in the room leaving just enough light for me to be able to see her moving around. Once I see her I'll drop a cube of frozen blood worms or beefheart right in front of her head, but she swims right by it. By the time she comes back around it's pretty much gone courtesy of the other fish. I can't keep dropping blocks of food in the tank, but I obviously don't want her to starve. Ask any snake or eel owner about their lids and you'll hear the same thing. Creatures with long, easily controllable bodies are masters of escape. Any tank intended to house a Rope Fish will need to be outfitted with a secure cover, which locks or weight on top of it, with no holes being anywhere near as large as the Rope Fish. If your set up requires an open area you can instead use a mesh net to keep the Rope Fish in the tank.

Even tanks with lower water levels, well below the top of the tank, are not safe without lids. The Rope Fish is capable of much higher jumps than other fish and can easily clear the aquariums glass sides.

Rope Fish can be shy and love to hide in holes, caverns and underneath live plants. Providing these forms of cover are essential for a stress free Rope Fish and help deter any aggression.

Rope Fish appreciate tank length much more than height. If you have the option to choose between a standard, tall and breeder tank, pick the breeder. This tank shape will also make working with the tank over all easier.

The final note here is filtration and cleaning. The Rope Fish can be a messy or clean eater, depending on what you feed it. It is also a much larger fish than most hobbyists are used to keeping. For these reasons you will need to either increase your tanks over all filtration or perform more frequent water changes. I prefer the second route, as it keeps the water clean, provides more nutrients for the plants and costs a lot less. Mine used to like to spend the daylight hours in a cave I had for them. I had to place the pellets righ in the cave so they would eat them. I would feed the rest of my fish and while they were eating, I would place sinking pellets in the cave for them. It took a day or two, but the rope fish caught on to it and started eating.I have kept two of these marvelous fish for easily a year now. It is great fun to place drift wood(not waterlogged) in the tank and have them crawl up and over it. I have found that they adore shrimp pellets oddly enough. They will also eat small crickets given the chance. Simply put the crickets in the water and they should drift towards the glass wall(If they don't cep them out) this is a fun trick once your ropefish have learned to eat effectively from the surface. You can easily train them to do this by putting freeze-dried bloodworms on the surface. The blood worms will stick to the side of the glass at the water-line and the ropefish will cruise along the class and chomp down on the bloodworms. Once they have learned this, they readily accept crickets when they see them. Mine are out in open water constantly, maybe holing up in a cave for a minute or two every 20 minutes. As mentioned in before articles, keep your lids closed and duck tape or seal all filter gaps, or heater opening in the lids. They relish live earth worms. Feed them earthworms weekly or bi-weekly as available. You will see a big boost in energy and in willingness to be seen. I keep mine with a 6 inch Polypeterus senegalus, a 12 in Polypeterus orntapinnis, a African Butterfly fish, a Brown Knifefish, a unicorn blood parrot fish, and a Red Tail shark. From: Brad Janzen