Help with a picky eater

ZZMak
  • #1
I have an 8-inch American eel that I got last winter. She's super playful and bold, and even though she buries herself in the substrate most of the day, she'll pop out and swim around at night. I also have a pump filtration system that she loves to swim up via the waterfall (don't worry it's safe). I currently have her in pure freshwater, and when she gets a few years older I'll start transitioning to brackish and then salt. I don't know if many people own her species, but if anyone could help with some general eel-ish questions it would be nice (since technically American eel are andromedous and are both freshwater AND saltwater for times of their life).
1) How do I get her to eat other foods? I currently have her on a diet of earthworms I find in my yard. The reason for this is because she literally will not try any other foods. She's terrified of fish and will hide for days on end when I put some in her tank. She won't take bloodworms. She loves when the worms are alive, but hates it when anything else moves (like fish or shrimp). When she's hungry she'll tell me by swimming to the top of the tank and then I'll just drop the worm into the water. But it's winter now and I don't now how I'm supposed to find her worms, and I want to vary her diet some. She eats every other night, and when she grows larger I don't know what I can feed her. Can anybody help with picky eaters?
2) Do eel hibernate? I read online that American eel become more dormant in winter. I've given her some extra sand to burry in and lowered the tank temp by a few degrees to let her be aware of the season. I've also noticed that she's been eating less (every 3 days maybe) and is less active. I know she isn't sick, so I'm assuming that it's because of her natural winter cycle. Does this sound right? And will I have to feed her less during the winter months?
Thanks! I'm a first-time eel owner and I've been trying my best, but there really isn't that much info in her species. Anything helps!
Here are some pics of her if you're curious! (I was cleaning her tank, don't worry she doesn't live in a jar)

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ZZMak
  • Thread Starter
  • #51
I was wondering haha. ZZ is my nickname, and Mak is a poppy seed cake I really like. I don't get it that often though, because not a lot of places sell it. But there's a lot of it in New York when I go there!
 

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Dhmario
  • #52
I know they’re classified as carnivorous, but maybe try to introduce some vegetables? Like zucchini and spinach. Wouldn’t hurt to try!
 

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ZZMak
  • Thread Starter
  • #53
Her tank is filled with a ton of weird plants, and I know that my other fish love to eat them, but she hasn't. I don't really expect veggies to work!
 
MonsterGar
  • #54
It is true that they sometimes eat plant foods, although if your eel is not willing to eat most meat food except worms, I doubt it will even notice the plant food.

Edit: ZZMak, you should fill in your account details.

Later Edit: ZZMak, do you know anything about rainbow cichlids?
 
ZZMak
  • Thread Starter
  • #55
Update! After about 2 months, I just got her to eat an entire worm again! I'd noticed that she'd been growing a little more active about 3 weeks ago, so I kept trying to give her food. She'd taste it, take a few swallows, and then decide it wasn't for her....but I kept insisting that she eat at least something. I raised the water temp some to pretend it was spring, and I think that's what did the trick. She finally swam to the lid like she used to and asked for a snack! I gave her a really fat worm and I didn't know if she'd eat it or just shred it and leave the rest like she'd been doing, but she gulped the whole thing down (a little reluctantly, but she ate it)! So I guess I can expect this to be a yearly occurrence, huh? It's funny because my brother's eel ate voraciously this whole time, but I think that's because it didn't have as many fat reserves as Ollie. The poor thing was much skinnier for some reason and still is, and is just starting to beef up a bit. That's why I think it skipped the "hibernation" thing. But who knows?
 

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