Fire eel.. not well?


Feeder Fish
May 15, 2016
Hi all

Very new to all of this, up until last week we only had guppys and tetras and life was easy whilst our ghost shrimp ate all the algae.

So we were offered a lovely 170litre tank, which we adore. We've got some live planted plants in it, plenty of sand for borrowing and there's a good few hiding places.

Now when I bought the fire eel I consulted my man at the store who has never done me wrong, as to the safety with the other fish - all fine he said. Within 3 day's my 3 ghost shrimp are dead. This was a bitter pill to swallow but I did. I've come downstairs this morning and the fire eel is acting very strange.

I first noticed when his balanced seemed off when he was resting, he was vertical folded over and looked very docile. I took him out of the tank to isolate him and he seems to swim perfectly well when taken out of the tank, just a little bit panicky as they would be. I did noticed that around his torso it appears to be bulky and uneven, like something's in there. Like all 3 shrimp maybe, I don't know.

Now along with letting a newbie buy a fire ell and leading to my shrimps death, he also gave me no advice at all on feeding habits of these guys. I have ordered mealworms, but I've quickly realised this isn't the right thing to order? I'm now learning about all these different types of worm these fussy gits might like. Which lead me onto trying an earth worm. There I was, 6am in the garden in my dressing gown pouring water over mud to get an earth worm, to desperately provide a meal. I eventually got one, and he didn't even look twice at it.

I'm worried that tony, my fire eel, may be ill. I need some advice from you pros as the man in the shop just wanted the £25, or so it seems.


MFK Member
Aug 19, 2009
what size is your Fire EEL? I can tell you Mine wont eat Anything but Ghost shrimp! I have seen online and read that they will eat guppies, grass / ghost shrimp, small worms (black worms) and earth worms. They are not really hard to keep and if all 3 of your shrimp have vanished? - Then yes - they are probably inside of him! There is info available online about how to keep them , but here is what I do.

Tank temp is 78-80, give him a place to hide, feed him as many small shrimp as e can / will eat. That's about it really. I am still offering earth worms, and chopped shrimp, but he is not interested. When I drop several dozen grass shrimp in there he goes crazy trying to eat them as fast as he can!

IF you guy is on the smaller side, get Live black worms. I understand most of them like that a lot.

Fish Tank Travis

Redtail Catfish
MFK Member
Feb 28, 2016
Dayton, OH
My fire eels are about 6" long and have gone crazy for frozen bloodworms since day one. I thaw them out and dump them in. There are never any left after a few minutes.

Btw, a 170 liter tank will probably only last the fire eel 12-18 months. These guys regularly reach 24" in home aquariums, and it's not often to see them up in the 36-40" range.

Good luck with it. Keep us posted on how well it does.

P.S. As mentioned, ghost shrimp are a primary food for these fish.