Which Spiny Eel is best for me?

synodontisjack

Jack Dempsey
MFK Member
Feb 20, 2008
1,404
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England, London
Just thought id share a bit of advice on those considering to get a spiny eel to help them to decide whch one.

Spiny eels are a great group of fish to keep, they range in sizes from the 6" zig zag eel to the 1m fire eel!. One thing in common with all spiny eels is thta they have great charachter and many will learn to recognise their owner and become tame enough to take food from hand.

The first thing to take into account when purchasing a spiny eel is tank size as if you own a tank with a footprint of 72"x30" or more then you might want to consider the larger mastacembelus eels such as the fire or tire track eel. But even if your tank is as small as 24"x12" then the smaller macrognathus eels may fit your bill with the zig zag reaching no more than 6". It is imortant to mention that all spiny eels prefer a soft sand substrate as they may be cut by gravel when burrowing. All spiny eels are notoriously difficult to ween onto flake/pellet food and should be started with foods such as frozen bloodworm, daphnia, brineshrimp and earthworms. The larger species will also relish foods such as lancefish, cockles, muscles and prawns.

Here is a quick review of the most common spiny eels available in your lfs:

Peacock eel (macrognathus siamensis)
Max size: 12" (8" more common)
preferred temp: 24-28 degrees celcius
preferred ph: 6- 7.5
min tank size: 36"x 12"
temperment: peacefull
Tankmates: avoid anything small enough to fit in mouth such as male endlers.
Other notes: This species is friendly to other macrognathus eel and is relitivley cheap thus making a great eel to start with.

zig zag eel (macrognathus circumcinctus)
Max size: 6"- 8"
preferred temp: 24-28 degrees celcius
preferred ph: 6- 7.5
min tank size: 24"x12"
temperment: peacefull
Tankmates: avoid anything small enough to fit in mouth (generaly just other fish fry as is not large enough to swallow adults.)
Other notes: costing around twice as much as the peacock eel this fish is still relitivley cheap and is great for those with smaller tanks. lives with other macrognathus.

Macrognathus pancalus
Max size: 8"
preferred temp: 24-28 degrees celcius
preferred ph: 6- 7.5
min tank size: 30"x12"
temperment: peacefull
Tankmates: avoid anything small enough to fit in mouth (normally only very small)
Other notes: costs a similiar price to the peacock eel but is seen in the shops less often it is a great species as it grows larger than the zig zags but smaller than the peacock so is great for the medium sized tank.

Macrognathus aral
Max size: 24" (18" is more realistic)
preferred temp: 24-28 degrees celcius
preferred ph: 6- 7.5
min tank size: 48"x 20"
temperment: semi- aggresive
Tankmates: avoid anything small enough to fit in mouth (anything larger than an adult platty should be safe but it is safer to get tankmates larger than this)
Other notes: this is the largest member of the macrognathus genus growing a similar size to the smaller mastacambelus eels, will tolerate other macrognathus but to a lesser extent than the smaller members.

Tire track eel (mastacembelus armatus)
Max size: 24" - 30"
preferred temp: 24-28 degrees celcius
preferred ph: 6- 8
min tank size: 72"x 30"
temperment: semi- aggresive
Tankmates: avoid anything small enough to fit in mouth so avoid fish under 6"
Other notes: this is probably the most aggresive spiny eel mentioned on this list although not growing as large as the fire eel it will take larger prey. It is best to avoid keeping with other mastacembelus eels, it has been done but is not reccomended, keep 1 specimen to a tank.

Fire eel (mastacembelus erythrotaenia)
Max size: 30" - 36"
preferred temp: 24-28 degrees celcius
preferred ph: 6- 8
min tank size: 72"x 30"
temperment: semi- aggresive
Tankmates: avoid anything small enough to fit in mouth so avoid fish under 4"
Other notes: It is best to avoid keeping with other mastacembelus eels, it has been done but is not reccomended, keep 1 specimen to a tank. This is the largest mastacembelid and is best left to those with very large tanks.

If you have any other questions or want to keep an eel not on this list drop me a pm and ill help you best i can.






 

synodontisjack

Jack Dempsey
MFK Member
Feb 20, 2008
1,404
5
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England, London
Another thing to clear up is that very few spiny eels need brackish water ( they will tolerate upto sg 1.005) but none of the ones you see in the shop require salt as a neccesity.
 

alcohologist

Candiru
MFK Member
Apr 8, 2007
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singapore
awesome thread! did mine nudge you on writing this? haha. great info, i was surprised we don't already have a sticky for something like this. pics would be invaluable for each species.
 

frnchjeep

Fire Eel
MFK Member
Aug 24, 2006
1,726
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Ct
akskirmish;2169143; said:
Max sixe on the tire track is wrong-
Maybe a general rule of thumb-
But I got one bigger then the above size mentioned...
Yeah, all my reasearch showed that the tire track eel grew slightly larger than the fire eel.
 

synodontisjack

Jack Dempsey
MFK Member
Feb 20, 2008
1,404
5
38
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England, London
I m just working from experiance personally ive seen fire eels at 36" and the largest tire track was 30" i dont think its definate but theres alot of contoversy surrounding which grows bigger the tire track and the fire eel.
 

synodontisjack

Jack Dempsey
MFK Member
Feb 20, 2008
1,404
5
38
26
England, London
fro what i found when i googled it just now most sites have the tire track from 70-90cm but most have the fire at 100cm. but as i say im just speaking from personal experiance.
 

killerfish

Fire Eel
MFK Member
Jan 30, 2007
6,069
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Cool tire tracks and fire eels get Very close to the same size fires being slightly larger usually

Peacock eels are safe with anything but fry they have very small mouths so fish like tetras are totally safe with then and are actually good tankmates because of there small mouths small foods are needed
 

Lupin

Viviendo la vida loca!
MFK Member
Will sticky this. If any revisions are needed, let me know.:)
 
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