Erpetoichthys: Greek, erpeton = creeping thing + Greek, ichthys = fish
Reedfish are quite peaceful with fish which are to big to eat. They are well able to tolerate low oxygen conditions because they are able to breathe atmospheric air but this doesn't mean that they can tolerate polluted water.
Erpetoichthys calabaricus is a nocturnal carnivore which preys on worms, insects, crustaceans and small fish. In captivity feeding is no problem, use lancefish, whitebait, blood worms, prawns and earthworms. Reedfish don't normally accept dried food of any sort.
The female has fewer rays in its dorsal fin than the male but there is a slight overlap where both sexes could have twelve rays.
Reedfish have never been bred by hobbyists. Wild caught juvenile fish have been seen with external gills.
The ICUN Red List of Threatened species lists E. calabaricus as near threatened. Loss of habitat through human encroachment by extending agriculture and development leading to deforestation. All reedfish offered for sale have come from the wild.
pH: 6 - 8
dGH: 5 -19
Temperature: 22 - 28°C (72 - 82°F)
Size: 37cm (15in)
Min tank size: 225 litres
Difficulty level: Intermediate
Aquarium type: Community
Swimming level: Lower
Origin: Africa: Ogun River mouth in Nigeria to Chiloango River in Congo Brazzaville.
Habitat: Found in slow flowing rivers and standing waters. Apparently restricted to reedy habitats
Species: E. calabaricus Smith, 1865
Synonyms: Calamoichthys calabaricus, Herpetoichthys calabaricus, Erpetoichthys robbianus, Polypterus erpetoideus