Half banded spiny eel care

Haydeno

I figured that since I rarely see people keep this exact species of spiny eel I would made a quick care guide and give some expectations for anyone who wants to keep this wonderful fish. First off the basic facts. They are one of the smallest freshwater eel species I’ve found maxing out at around 8 inches. They require warmer water and lots of space (at least a 30 gallon long). I’d say mine has done the best at around 75 F to even in the low 80s. I highly doubt you could get one to accept freeze dried food so frozen blood worms, brine shrimp or live foods are required. They are nocturnal predators but don’t let that dissuade you from them. They will come out during the day whenever they feel like it and only the smallest fish and shrimp are threatened by them. I’d say fish fry are what you need to watch out for since I keep tiny rams and otocinclus with my 5-6 inch specimen. They need really clean water. They hate water changes so I’d recommend smaller ones more often rather than bigger water changes less often. When being introduced to a new tank there are 2 common problems. 1 you will not see them for maybe a week on end and 2 they will not eat. To fix the problem of them hiding I would actually recommend having lots of hiding spaces and a more natural environment with sand, live plants, driftwood and caves. To get them to eat I’m not entirely sure on since my 1st eel ate the 2nd day he was in the tank but it seems like having live shrimp/pest snails and offering frozen/live food on a schedule helps. It could have something to do with the shrimp enticing hunting behavior. If you want to keep shrimp with them I’d raise amanos or bamboo shrimp to adult size to give them their best chance but I’m not sure how they’d fair against a full sized eel. For tank mates they’re very undemanding and versatile. Pretty much anything that won’t bully them, have the same water conditions, and are not under 1-1.5 inches works. If you’re going to have other bottom dwellers I’d introduce them after the eel gets comfortable so the eel doesn’t stress and hide as much. These eels are extremely peaceful and I’ve only noticed him bother 3 things. My second, smaller eel (will talk about that later), shrimp, and tiny snails. These are very curious and adventurous fish so again space and stuff to move around, through and under is a must. Now if anyone is wondering about keeping more than one together, I’m not exactly sure what to tell you. I very recently got my second one and I’ve been monitoring the tank very closely. So far I would recommend a 55 gallon tank or larger for 2 and have separate territories on each side of the tank. My larger eel started chasing the smaller one when he first found it and I’m not sure if this is an intolerance to their own species or just asserting dominance but he left it alone with no intervention or hurting the smaller eel. I’ll update this when I observe the two eels more. If you have any questions feel free to ask and I’ll answer as soon as possible.

Update: It is entirely possible to keep more than one as I found someone who keeps 5 or 6 in a 90 gallon tank so I’m going to be going off what they told me. First off lots and lots of hiding spaces. They are social-able to other eels but from what I’ve seen larger ones will chase smaller ones so the hiding places are necessary. I’d recommend live bushy plants, rock caves and driftwood. Also deep sand since they’ll burrow. When feeding is when they said that there can be problems so I’d recommend putting food everywhere in the tank so all eels can separate and eat. Now for breeding! It is possible to get them to breed but rare and I’m still not sure on the ins and outs of it. I’m not sure if they choose a specific mate like rams do but if you manage to get two that will breed the temperature should be around 78-80 F, and when you do water changes you should make the water just barely cooler (only a degree or two) to simulate spring which I’m assuming his their breeding season. Also feed them more than usual. I was never given an explanation on why this helps but it does apparently. Last thing lots of live bushy plants so they can breed and lay eggs in.
 

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