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Asian Spiny eels - Tire Tracks, Fire, Peacocks.
Water parameters; pH 6.5 - 8 generally, but neutral to slightly hard preferable. Most species seem to do better in slightly brackish conditions, but if water is on hard side they should be OK. Water quality should be excellent however, they can be very susceptable to bacterial infections. External filtration recommended for larger fish.
Tank layout/size; Some Eels, such as Peacocks, only grow to little over 12", so will be fine in 2-3ft tanks. Whereas Tyre Tracks and Fire Eels can eventually get to 1 meter in length so when mature they will need bigger tanks (5ft +) with a tight fitting lid. They are real escape artists! Provide plenty of hiding places such as plastic drainpipe, bogwood and rock for security. Make sure these are secured however, as stated previously they love to burrow and big Eels can dislodge decor easily! Use sand or very fine, smooth gravel as subtrate to prevent injury and infection. If possible real or false plants should be added in dense thickets in a couple of areas, again for security. You will see your Eel more often during the day under these conditions.
Tankmates; Anything not too agressive! Barbs, both small and large (Tinfoils, Spanners, Bala's etc), larger Rainbows and non agressive catfish are ideal. Some larger Eels will take small fish/fry, so bear this in mind when stocking. I have a pair of Peacock Spiny Eels in a 48"x18"x18" tank with a pair of Paratilapia Pollini 'Big Spot' Cichlids and 3 young Synodontis Notatus catfish. The cichlids can be territorial and agressive at times but don't bother the Eels much. They'll occasionally chase them off but there are many hiding places provided in the tank and they seem very happy! The cichlids aren't even half grown yet so obviously the Eels will be moved eventually.
Feeding; Small Eels relish bloodworm and brineshrimp (preferably frozen) and small earthworms. Larger Eels like larger earthworms!! Also frozen prawn and cockle and mysis shrimp are taken, but Earthworms are eaten with real gusto and, once the Eels are used to their owner, can be fed by hand.
Comments;When buying your Eel check that it has no injuries or slimy skin/spots as this is a sure sign of illness/stress. If visible ie. not hiding! the Eel should seem alert, exploring all areas of the dealers tank and its tank mates... If buying a larger Eel check that it has good 'girth', for example, if buying an 18" Fire Eel it should be approx 1.5"-2" thick. 30" Fire Eels can be up to 4" thick!
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