Mastacembelus frenatus Growth Rate

Narwhal

Jack Dempsey
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Jan 11, 2017
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I am hoping for my LFS to get these in pretty soon. I am curious what their growth rate is, as I have some older feather-fin cats (the largest is maybe 6-7 inches with a mouth between 1/4 and 1/2 an inch) I would like to house with them, and based on what I have seen of juvenile starry nights they are rather small when they come in. The catfish are in a different tank right now, just wondering how fast the eels grow?
 

Josh's Fish

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It's very hard to order in a type of Mastacembelus Spiny Eel and for it to actually arrive as the species labelled (with the exception of Fire Eels, M. armatus and M. dayi)

I've never actually seen the correct fish arrive when M. frenatus has been ordered in. It's usually M. cryptacanthus, an M. armatus variant, a Macrognathus species or an undescribed fish.

Going by a small to mid-sized Mastacembelus growth rate, feeding daily a varied diet of chopped whitefish fillet, mussels, earthworm, insects and small soft carnivore pellets, should get you around half an inch a month til 8-10 inches, then it'll be progressively slower.

Avoid foods which are constipatives such as prawn and shrimp (they also struggle to digest shrimp shells, causing blockages) and also get them off bloodworm or any other microplankton if you can help it.
Being in captivity, they have the opportunity to grow larger, faster and live longer and a regular varied diet rich in nutrition can aid that. :)

Good luck mate and has it arrived yet?
 

Fish Tank Travis

Redtail Catfish
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I really think that there are a lot of factors that go into the growth of a spiny eel. It depends on the size of the tank, quality of water (they don't like nitrates), diet, etc. In particular, the diet aspect can be a challenge. Spiny eels are notorious for being extremely picky eaters. However, if you can get them eating a variety of good foods, they can pack on weight and length rapidly. My larger fire eel put on about 2-2.5" of length in the last two months. In addition, he is getting super fat. Lol. He and my other larger fire eel eat a ton of different high protein foods. They don't like pellets though. Lol.
 

Narwhal

Jack Dempsey
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Jan 11, 2017
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so it has arrived, I am feeding it frozen blood worms through a baster right now, which josh's fish I guess you say isn't ideal (why is that?). is their another small frozen food that would be better, as I don't think I am ready for earthworms or fish yet. Defiantly an African spiny and looks like the google pictures of what is called a starry night eel, which is often called M. frenatus, but it looks nothing like the picture on fishbase for M. frenatus (fishbase has such bad pictures of African spiny eels it is hard to tell), but like josh said it could easily be M. cryptacanthus or M. marchei. It is still rather small and spends most of the time in my Texas holey rock, Will try to get some pictures.
Where do people get earthworms any way? do you just collect from a garden, buy from a bait shop, get them as specific live food?
 

ocellatus

Aimara
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Jan 20, 2006
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You can collect earthworms if you're confident they haven't been exposed to harmful chemicals or feed / culture red wriggler worms in a compost tub and have a never ending supply of live food.

O
 
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FriedFlowerHornFillet

Piranha
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We grew our own worms for our garden compost. I also tried breeding live bearers. Its a very very small drop in a very large bottomless bucket that is a full grown spiny eels stomach. I don't think you can raise enough worms to do anything but provide an occasional tiny snack for them. Transitioning to tilapia and market prawns/shrimp is probably the most cost effective method of feeding. I make my own frozen food by blending the proteins up mixing with boiling water and freezing in ice cube trays. Really great way to get back at room mates stealing your girlfriends jello shots as well.
 

Narwhal

Jack Dempsey
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yeah when it gets big, I hope to get it hand fed trained on shrimp, tilapia and/or pangius
 

ocellatus

Aimara
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Jan 20, 2006
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We grew our own worms for our garden compost. I also tried breeding live bearers. Its a very very small drop in a very large bottomless bucket that is a full grown spiny eels stomach. I don't think you can raise enough worms to do anything but provide an occasional tiny snack for them. Transitioning to tilapia and market prawns/shrimp is probably the most cost effective method of feeding. I make my own frozen food by blending the proteins up mixing with boiling water and freezing in ice cube trays. Really great way to get back at room mates stealing your girlfriends jello shots as well.
Hehe, revenge is sweet, or in this case disgusting :)

Agreed on the tilapia as a good protein source. I was feeding NASA fillet but found tilapia had more protein.

Good work on the frozen food. I make a similar mix, using tilapia, bloodworm, ground Massivore and ground NLS Thera A. Rather than freeze it I mix in flavourless clear gelatin then pour into an ice cube tray. Everyone seems to like it and my TT eel gets the benefit of quality pellets.

O
 

Nerevar

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I've never actually seen the correct fish arrive when M. frenatus has been ordered in. It's usually M. cryptacanthus, an M. armatus variant, a Macrognathus species or an undescribed fish.
I'll be stealing the thread from here on ;p Does not seem neccesary to open a new thread for this (correct me if I am wrong..)

I have had mine for some tome (18 months or longer I believe). Never sure if it was a Frenatus. Can you tell by these pics?









It sits comfortably in a community tank.
 
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