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FAQs on Ropefish Reproduction

Related Articles: Bichirs & Ropefish, Family Polypteridae

Related FAQs:  Ropefish 1, Ropefish 2, & Ropefish ID, Ropefish Behavior, Ropefish Compatibility, Ropefish Selection, Ropefish Systems, Ropefish Feeding, Ropefish Health, & FAQs on: Bichirs 1, & Bichir Identification, Bichir Behavior, Bichir Compatibility, Bichir Selection, Bichir Systems, Bichir Feeding, Bichir Disease, Bichir Reproduction,


Ropefish collecting in the wild questions      5/10/18
I have been scouring the net for months collecting as much info on Ropefish as I can find. I’m attempting a breeding project with them and I’m trying to write a very detailed paper. My question is about how they are collected in the wild. I’ve been trying to find someone to correspond with that has seen them collected or knows how they are collected and I really want to find pictures or better yet video of the habitat they are being pulled from. Also it would be nice to speak to someone about what the locals know about the fish and what they know about them breeding. I saw a post on here where Neale mentioned speaking to someone at Interzoo who was associated with their export from Nigeria and I would love more info on that.
<Actually, am pretty sure that was me relating the anecdote. If memory serves, the gentleman told me that a group places a fence of woven reeds about a shallow, emersed planted area where Ropefish congregate, and sometimes using a local/organic poison, narcotize the fish, pulling the plants out and gathering them for export>
I really appreciate any help you can give or anyone else you might know that I can contact. Thank you so much.
Hayley Cox
<Don't know re reproduction; but pretty sure they and some of the related bichirs have been captive-produced. Will ask Neale Monks re. Bob Fenner>
Re: Ropefish collecting in the wild questions   /Neale   5/11/18

I know they have been bred a few times with the offspring making it about 18 weeks at the longest before dying of unknown causes.
<Indeed, these have been less often bred than Bichirs.>
So I’m trying to figure out if simulating wet and dry season will help keep the offspring alive.
I’m also trying to find any info I can on how they are collected because I feel like something that is happening when they are collected might be hurting our chances of tank breeding them.
<Ah, a good way of thinking. I would also have you look into their actual ecology. Erpetoichthys is increasingly recognised as an amphibious fish rather than a fully aquatic one. Waterlogged vegetation, swamps, and other complex habitats are where they live, and their familiar sidewinding locomotion is precisely how they move across wet land. They are well adapted to breathing air, can spend hours on land so long as they are wet, and may well actively avoid clear water where competition (or predation) from other fish is too strong. In other words, we're looking at something more like a Mudskipper than a typical fish. I'd use Google Scholar to learn more. There's plenty of information out there.>
And I’m wondering if they have different techniques in different areas where they are caught. Similar to how some fish are sedated for shipping and thing like that having an impact. I appreciate your fast response and am excited to see if anyone else has any more info or a connection to someone with more info I can talk too.
<One thing I'd be thinking about is their clearly obligate need for air rather than water. Newly hatched fish may well be adapted to very shallow water, well away from predators, but in turn, reliant on being able to locomotor to the surface to gulp air. It may well be you'd want to hatch the fish in very shallow water, maybe a couple cm, maybe even less, to replicate this ecological niche more accurately. Warm and humid air will be part of the mixture too; if anabantids are any indication to go by, breathing cold or dry air can have a strongly negative impact on survival rates.>
<Hope this helps, Neale.>
Re: Ropefish collecting in the wild questions      5/11/18

That actually helped a lot.
I really do think that the dry season in particular must have the most to do with fry survival.
<May well be.>
I have added a “turtle” dock to my set up and covered it with moss.
<Ah, yes, sounds about right to me.>
I have observed them leaving the water onto the dock and eating terrestrial insects offered on the dock such as wingless fruit flies.
<Indeed, does seem a substantial part of their diet in the wild includes terrestrial insects collected during such excursions.>
I also have “jungle” style plants that allow the ropes to rest at the surface by sitting on the plants trying my hardest to simulate the reedy swamp like condition of their natural environment.
I really am having a hard time finding video or pictures of them in the wild and also finding the “poison” used to catch them and exploring if that is discouraging tank breeding.
<Can't help here, I'm afraid. I'm not aware of 'poisons' being used to catch this species.>
I’ve been doing a lot of research on the ecology of the fish and find that some of the studies on locomotion and oxygen intake done in the 80’s have been the most helpful. I had not however thought about the humid air they breath as fry might have something to do with the success rate.
<Good luck! Neale.>
Re: Ropefish collecting in the wild questions      5/11/18

The only reason I say “poison” is because I don’t know what they are using. The only info I’ve gotten says they are collected by people using a fence like structure to fence off a reedy area and the “use a chemical to sedate or knock out” the fish so they can be easily collected. Any ideas on the exact way they collect this species.
<None, I'm afraid.>
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Ropefish collecting in the wild questions      5/15/18

I finally found where they were taking about the wild catching on here and it was bob Fenner can you forward this convo onto him?
<I don't have any further useful input. BobF>

Ropefish Hi, I just recently bought 2 rope fish.  When I paid for them there were 3 in the tank and they were all about 5"/6" long, 2 days later I picked them up. One was about 9" long and its belly is orange and its top is a brown/blackish color.  the other one was still about 6" long and has an orange belly but its top is sort of an olive color.  Does this differentiate sex? <Not as far as I know. More to do with size/age> I tried looking up the sex on fishbase.org, but I don't really know anything about fish so the information didn't help me any :( If you can help I would really appreciate it. Thanks <Six inch specimens are small for this imported species. Bob Fenner>

Reedfish repro. Another quick question, if I may... Have reeds ever been bred in captivity? <Not as far as I'm aware. There are some captive and wild reports of Bichir species spawning> I have one male and two females and I think I may give it a go sometime in the next few years by simulating flooding and moist clay banks. <A worthy experiment. Life to you. Bob Fenner, who has met folks who have businesses wild-collecting the species, had them himself.> ~Ben

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