Set up an aquarium for one of these oddballs — but only if you’re a dedicated long-term hobbyist.
Iggy Tavares, Ph.D. |
Tropical freshwater fish come in a multitude of shapes and sizes. Popular fish tend to be colorful, generally small- to medium-sized, hardy, easy to breed and easy to maintain in the aquarium. Today, though, many aquarists are looking for something out of the ordinary to keep as pets. This is where fish that have come to be termed “oddballs” come in. They are generally not pretty fish, tend to be larger and have special requirements to keep them alive and healthy in the aquarium. Here are some oddballs to consider: the ropefish, striped spiny eel, ornate bichir, African butterflyfish, plus a small oddball called the scarlet gem badis.
Also known as the reedfish or snakefish, the ropefish (Erpetoichthys calabaricus) has a flattened head and elongated body covered in nonreflective olive green or brown scales. Its color and body shape make it snakelike, but its fins betray that it is in fact a fish. It has two sensory organs extending from the nostrils, and it gulps air at the surface and stores it in its gas bladder, which doubles as a respiratory organ. The ropefish can grow to 15 inches.
Want to read the full story? Pick up the June 2012 issue of Aquarium Fish International today.
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