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Last update: December 20, 2022

13 Best Rope Fish Tank Mates

The rope fish has a unique shape and appearance and can be easily identified in an aquarium. It also has a very peaceful temperament and usually gets along well with other non-aggressive species. 

There are plenty of fish that can serve as great tank mates for rope fish. These include the dwarf gourami, pictus catfish, Siamese algae eater, tinfoil barb, glass catfish, bala shark, and kuhli loach. Hatchetfish, rainbow shark, angelfish, honey gourami, and clown loach are also good choices.

Read on to find out more about the best rope fish tank mates and their physical characteristics and behavior. Happy reading! 

Rope fish tank mates – What You Need To Know

Choosing a good tank mate for rope fish is important. Not all fish get along well with rope fish due to a variety of different reasons. If you have rope fish in your aquarium and want to introduce other tank mates for the fish, it is important to do some research beforehand and find out what species are compatible with them. 

Here are some factors to keep in mind when choosing a tank mate for rope fish.

Temperament

Rope fish are peaceful species that are known for being non-aggressive. They can coexist well with other peaceful, non-aggressive species such as the dwarf gourami and pictus catfish. Avoid introducing aggressive species to the tank since rope fish can’t coexist peacefully with them.

Size

Rope fish have long, slender bodies and can grow up to two feet in length. Avoid pairing rope fish with very small species as they can mistake them for food.

Competition

When it comes to competition, rope fish aren’t particularly competitive and mind their own business. Other aggressive fish might compete with them or even bully them for space or food, so avoid such species as tank mates.

Parameters and Tank Setup

Rope fish are large fish and need plenty of space to move around. The minimum tank size for one rope fish is 50 gallons. If you’re introducing tank mates, you’ll need a larger tank.

Most tank mates for rope fish can thrive at a temperature of 72 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit on average and live in a 50-gallon tank without any problems.

The Best Rope Fish Tank Mates

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1. Dwarf Gourami

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  • Scientific Name: Trichogaster Ialius
  • Adult Size: up to 3 inches in length
  • Compatible with: small, bottom-dwelling fish such as cardinal tetras and dwarf cichlids
  • Water Temperature: 72 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Minimum tank size: 5 gallons
  • Care Level: intermediate
  • Origin: Indian Ocean, off the coasts of India and Bangladesh

The dwarf gourami is one of the best tank mates for rope fish. It is a peaceful, non-aggressive fish that gets along really well with rope fish.

Pros of keeping rope fish with dwarf gourami:

  • The dwarf gourami is very peaceful and gets along well with rope fish

Cons of keeping rope fish with dwarf gourami:

  • The dwarf gourami is timid, so it might be bullied by other larger fish

2. Pictus Catfish

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  • Scientific Name: Pimelodus pictus
  • Adult Size: average length between 4 and 6 inches
  • Compatible with: rainbow sharks, other similar-sized catfish, angelfish, etc.
  • Water Temperature: 74 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Minimum tank size: 50 gallons
  • Care Level: easy
  • Origin: freshwater bodies in South America

The pictus catfish is another fish that can be an excellent tank mate for rope fish. It is a nocturnal fish that is also very peaceful and non-aggressive. It is found in rivers and other freshwater bodies in South America.

Pros of keeping rope fish with pictus catfish:

  • Both fish can coexist peacefully

Cons of keeping rope fish with pictus catfish:

  • No major con of keeping them together

3. Siamese Algae Eater

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  • Scientific Name: Crossocheilus oblongus
  • Adult Size: can grow up to 6 inches in length
  • Compatible with: peaceful, bottom-dwelling species such as the cory catfish
  • Water Temperature: 75 to 79 degrees Fahrenheit  
  • Minimum tank size: 20 gallons
  • Care Level: easy
  • Origin: freshwater bodies in Southeast Asia

The Siamese algae eater is a peaceful freshwater species that is quite popular in the aquarium trade. These fish make great companions for rope fish.

Pros of keeping rope fish with Siamese algae eater:

  • Both fish love aquatic plants, so they can coexist peacefully

Cons of keeping rope fish with Siamese algae eater:

  • No major con, though the Siamese algae eater may be aggressive to its own species

4. Tinfoil barb

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  • Scientific Name: Barbonymus schwanenfeldii
  • Adult Size: average length of up to 14 inches
  • Compatible with: gets along well with most species, including smaller ones
  • Water Temperature: 72 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit  
  • Minimum tank size: 75 gallons
  • Care Level: easy
  • Origin: rivers, streams, and canals in Southeast Asia

The tinfoil barb is a large fish that is commonly described as a gentle giant. This docile fish can be a good tank mate for rope fish. 

Pros of keeping rope fish with tinfoil barb:

  • Both fish get along well 

Cons of keeping rope fish with tinfoil barb:

  • Due to the large size of tinfoil barbs, they may be difficult to keep

5. Glass Catfish

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  • Scientific Name: Kryptopterus vitreolus 
  • Adult Size: up to 3 inches in length
  • Compatible with: peaceful fish such as mollies and swordtails
  • Water Temperature: 75 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit  
  • Minimum tank size: 30 gallons
  • Care Level: intermediate
  • Origin: rivers in Thailand

The glass catfish is yet another peaceful species that can be the perfect tank mate for rope fish. The fish is found primarily in freshwater bodies in Thailand and is popular in the aquarium trade.

Pros of keeping rope fish with glass catfish:

  • Both are peace-loving fish so they can coexist easily

Cons of keeping rope fish with glass catfish:

  • Glass catfish are quite sensitive to changes in water parameters

6. Bala Sharks

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  • Scientific Name: Balantiocheilos melanopterus
  • Adult Size: up to 13 inches in length
  • Compatible with: angelfish, rainbowfish, and tinfoil barbs
  • Water Temperature: 72 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit   
  • Minimum tank size: 120 gallons
  • Care Level: easy to intermediate
  • Origin: rivers and lakes in Southeast Asia

Bala sharks are known as miniature sharks due to their shark-like appearance. They are also quite non-aggressive and have a peaceful temperament.

Pros of keeping rope fish with bala sharks:

  • Both fish can coexist peacefully

Cons of keeping rope fish with bala sharks:

  • Bala sharks need to be kept away from smaller fish since they can eat them

7. Kuhli loaches

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  • Scientific Name: Pangio kuhlii
  • Adult Size: 3 to 4 inches in length on average
  • Compatible with: tetras, guppies, mollies, and corydoras
  • Water Temperature: 73 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit    
  • Minimum tank size: 20 gallons  
  • Care Level: easy
  • Origin: rivers and lakes in Southeast Asia

The kuhli loach is a small freshwater fish with an eel-like body. It is a peaceful, bottom-dwelling species that can be an excellent tank mate for rope fish. 

Pros of keeping rope fish with kuhli loach:

  • Like the rope fish, the kuhli loach is quite peaceful and docile

Cons of keeping rope fish with kuhli loach:

  • Aggressive fish can bully kuhli loaches

8. Hatchetfish

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  • Scientific Name: Gasteropelecidae
  • Adult Size: up to 2.5 inches in length
  • Compatible with: tetras and corydoras
  • Water Temperature: 72 to 81 degrees Fahrenheit     
  • Minimum tank size: 20 gallons
  • Care Level: intermediate
  • Origin: freshwater bodies in Panama and South America

The freshwater hatchetfish is a small fish found in freshwater bodies in Panama and South America. They are usually peaceful fish that get along well with other peaceful species such as the rope fish. 

Pros of keeping rope fish with hatchetfish:

  • Both species can coexist peacefully due to their docile nature

Cons of keeping rope fish with

  • No major cons

9. Rainbow Sharks

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  • Scientific Name: Epalzeorhynchos frenatum
  • Adult Size: average length between 4 and 6 inches
  • Compatible with: gouramis, barbs, rainbowfish, etc.
  • Water Temperature: 72 to 79 degrees Fahrenheit      
  • Minimum tank size: 50 gallons
  • Care Level: intermediate
  • Origin: large rivers in Southeast Asia  

The rainbow shark is yet another fish that can be a good tank mate for rope fish. While the fish can get aggressive in captivity, it is peaceful towards rope fish. 

Pros of keeping rope fish with rainbow sharks:

  • Rainbow sharks are usually peaceful with rope fish

Cons of keeping rope fish with rainbow sharks:

  • Rainbow sharks can get aggressive and territorial if they don’t have enough space

10. Angelfish

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  • Scientific Name: Pterophyllum 
  • Adult Size: up to 6 inches in length
  • Compatible with: guppies, dwarf gourami, swordtails, and hatchetfish
  • Water Temperature: 78 to 84 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Minimum tank size: 20 gallons
  • Care Level: easy
  • Origin: freshwater bodies in tropical South America

Angelfish make excellent companions for rope fish. They are peaceful towards them and are also quite easy to take care of. 

Pros of keeping rope fish with angelfish:

  • Angelfish are peaceful towards rope fish

Cons of keeping rope fish with angelfish:

  • Angelfish need plenty of space as they can grow up to be large
  • Angelfish can exhibit territorial and aggressive behavior if they’re stressed

11. Honey gourami

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  • Scientific Name: Trichogaster chuna 
  • Adult Size: around 3 inches in length
  • Compatible with: guppies, barbs, neon tetras, and mollies   
  • Water Temperature: 71 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit 
  • Minimum tank size: 10 gallons  
  • Care Level: easy
  • Origin: rivers and lakes in Bangladesh and India

The honey gourami is a peaceful and shy fish that is found in rivers and lakes in Bangladesh and India. Its peaceful nature makes it a good tank mate for rope fish. 

Pros of keeping rope fish with honey gourami:

  • Both species can coexist peacefully

Cons of keeping rope fish with honey gourami:

  • Aggressive and active fish can intimidate the honey gourami

12. Clown Loach

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  • Scientific Name: Chromobotia macracanthus 
  • Adult Size: up to 12 inches
  • Compatible with: most non-aggressive fish and other clown loaches
  • Water Temperature: 75 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit 
  • Minimum tank size: 100 gallons
  • Care Level: intermediate to difficult
  • Origin: inland freshwater bodies in Indonesia

The clown loach is a very peaceful and docile fish found in inland freshwater bodies in Indonesia. Its peaceful temperament makes it an excellent choice when it comes to choosing a tank mate for rope fish. 

Pros of keeping rope fish with clown loach:

  • Both fish are peaceful in nature and can coexist without any problem

Cons of keeping rope fish with clown loach:

  • No major con

Final thoughts

To sum it up, selecting the right tank mates for rope fish – or any other fish for that matter – is very important and should be done before a new species is introduced to an aquarium. 

In this guide, we listed the 12 best tank mates for rope fish and described their physical characteristics, behavior, and other properties in detail. We hope you found it useful!  

Ian Sterling

I've been keeping fish for over 30 years and currently have 4 different aquariums – it's an addiction. I'm here to teach you everything there is to know about fishkeeping.

I also use this site as an excuse to spend lots of money on testing and reviewing different aquarium products! You can find my reviews here.

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