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Question about the Fire Eel
Fire eel frustrations !! Fdg.
Fire eel - 01/12/2013
Fire eel swollen and floating –
Fire Eel Feeding - 10/25/2012
fire eel seizure
Question About Fire Eel Diet
<Try using earthworms. Fire Eels love them. Set up a composter if you don't have a clean (no pesticides!) garden to collect them from. Bait shops may sell them too. Once settled -- which can take a couple of weeks -- Fire Eels do well on a diet of earthworms, strips of thiaminase-free seafood (tilapia fillet, cockles), and live river shrimp. They will usually eat prawns too, but these contain thiaminase, so use sparingly. Wet-frozen bloodworms and krill are taken as well. Don't waste your time with freeze-dried foods. Do review tank conditions, e.g., no other bottom feeders should be kept with them, and the substrate MUST be smooth sand or fine, smooth gravel. Fire Eels are among those species that aquarists regularly kill; they are very, very demanding and not for beginners. Do read:
Fire eel compatibility 2/3/11
add Figure 8 Puffer to tank? 11/10/10
new Fire eel, Neale's go10/25/10
Hey guys, I just got in a new 7inch fire eel and it looks ok, but I noticed that while it was in the fish store they had it in gravel and any time I would go look at it b 4 taking it home it would be buried in their regular size round gravel. In my tank I've got white and back sand, and sum plants and stuff for him to hide and feel more comfortable. my question is, is there a reason he is not burying himself in the sand but keep chilling at the top of the water in the plants? I've read that ppl talk about this but they say their eel is on its side or upside down. mine is not its just up there not really doing n e thing. don't get me wrong at night he moves around and stuff. but .. how come no burrowing?!? it that ok or what?
thanks for the help guys at WWM :)
<Hello Brad. If you have plants at the top of the tank, especially floating plants, it is very normal for Spiny Eels to tangle themselves up in those plants. In fact spawning seems to take place in floating plants. So if your chap otherwise looks healthy, and better yet, is eating, I wouldn't worry about it. Cheers, Neale.>
new Fire eel, BobF's turn 10/25/10
Hey guys, I just got in a new 7inch fire eel and it looks ok, but I noticed that while it was in the fish store they had it in gravel and any time I would go look at it b 4
<Please, no "net speak">
taking it home it would be buried in their regular size round gravel.
<... please read here:
and the linked files above re Mastacembelids>
A/the choice of substrates with spiny eels is crucially important>
In my tank I've got white and back sand, and sum plants and stuff for him to hide and feel more comfortable. my question is, is there a reason he is not burying himself in the sand but keep chilling at the top of the water in the plants?
<Likely this gravel is too coarse, sharp... painful to its skin>
I've read that ppl talk about this but they say their eel is on its side or upside down. mine is not its just up there not really doing n e thing. don't get me wrong at night he moves around and stuff. but .. how come no
burrowing?!? it that ok or what? thanks for the help guys at WWM :)
<Brad, in future, please run your missals through a spelling/grammar checking ahead of sending.
Re: Sick Eel with White Patches
Thanks, unfortunately the eel did not recover and had to be removed.
<Sorry to hear this.>
This was an extremely fast-moving infection, especially for such a large fish (3'). From zero symptoms to dead in 3-4 days.
<Indeed, very fast.>
Nitrates were tested at 30 or less (per color scale) every month or so, but it is a 400 gallon tank with only 3 fish and 2 (now 1) eels so the biological load is light. Has about 250 lbs of live rock in the main tank and a bioball filtration system in the sump. Water changes 40 gallons every 10 days. I don't have a PH score right now but most likely it is fine given this maintenance.
<Yes, sounds OK.>
Both eels came from LFS about 6 months ago that was trying to get rid of them due to lack of demand. Neither one can be described as aggressive eaters in the sense they will dash out and grab at food, have to put the food on a stick and put it near their mouth before another fish grabs it. So they got plenty food but maybe not the strongest to start. Maybe that is why the LFS was getting rid of them. I will watch the remaining one and continue to monitor tank conditions and consider the hospital tank at the first sign of trouble.
<I'd also add vitamins to its food regularly (at least once a week) to replace anything lost due to freezing and thawing processes. Cheers, Marco.>
Fire Eel Sick 10/21/10
Thank you very much!
I have done as you said and will go out to get some antibiotics today. The sand is smooth so it will not hurt him. I deeply appreciate the help.
<Glad to help Ben. Good luck! Cheers, Neale.>
Fire eel question (Bob, some questions about your Spiny Eel
Unhappy Fire Eel 7/28/06 Hello, <Hi Steve, Pufferpunk here> I'm glad I found this site and I hope you can help me. <I'll certainly try!> I bought a Fire Eel about a week ago. He is about 8 inches long. He ate very heartily the first 3 days I had him (hand fed frozen krill) but now hasn't eaten for the last 2 days. He also seems less like a healthy eel. What I mean by that is that in the beginning, his head was always sticking out of his cave, now he won't stick his head out at all. <That pointy nose of his is for digging in the substrate for worms. Try live blackworms to get him interested. He will also eat bloodworms & eventually large night crawlers. > My ammonia and nitrite are 0 and my nitrate is about 80 ppm. I know that is too high and will probably begin doing water changes twice a week at least. <Woah! No "probably" about that! I'd do 25% daily (starting today), till they're down <20. After that, 50% weekly is recommended. Be sure to clean up any dead plant material & be sure to clean every inch of the substrate, especially under decor.> I also have a problem with my water turning soft, thereby my pH drops. I have driftwood in the tank because my Plecos need it and I was told this would continue to make the water soft. <Stick to soft water-loving fish then, like the Plecos & your fire eel. Angelfish, rams & lots of other neat fish like soft water too.> About every 3 days I add pH stable which raises the water hardness and also the pH as a side effect. Currently, pH is about 7.2 and KH is about 3. None of my fish are aggressive so that is not an issue. <Bad idea, adding products like that. All your doing is causing a constant fluctuation of pH. VERY stressful on your fish. Leave the pH alone & keep fish that will thrive in soft water.> Besides rectifying the water quality, how can I get him to eat again? He still "smells" the food when I try to feed him and he'll also grab a piece or two but then spit it out. I know he wants to eat but won't. Also, any suggestions on being able to stabilize my pH and water hardness on a more long term level (as opposed to having to add chemicals every few days)? <All answered above. Get those nitrates down, try live worms. I hope you have a HUGE tank, mine grew to 2', before I had to rehome him--tired of replanting my whole tank every morning! ~PP> Please help, I really don't want to lose this guy. Thanks, Steve
Fire "Eel", Eye Damage - 10/12/05 Hello <Good morning.> I hope you can help me to help my Fire Eel. When we were cleaning the tank 10 days ago, my eel got a fright and decided to have a 100mph swim round the tank! <Yikes! Hopefully this system is not too small for him to feel secure....> I think he must have hurt himself as I have now noticed that his one eye is totally white (looks blind) and he has a patch above the eye which seems to be getting whiter by the day. <Definitely a concern.... Probably did scratch/damage himself during his speedy stint about the tank.> He is also off his food, not having eaten for three days (very unusual for him). <And not a good sign....> I have bought some Potassium Permanganate (Condy's crystals), but don't know if I can use this as he is 'scaleless' and I have been told to be careful of medications as not all are suitable for eels. <You are correct. Do not use this.... Very, very caustic - will more than likely kill the eel, and can be hazardous to deadly even on stronger fish.> Please help. I am worried about my fat boy! <Bob's recommendation (and I agree wholeheartedly) is to add aquarium salt (the stuff marketed for freshwater aquaria, not marine salt), perhaps at one or two tablespoons per ten gallons, possibly also add Maracyn I & II (erythromycin and Minocycline) as a preventative.... and of course, maintain optimal water quality. Try feeding stinky, attractive foods like bloodworms (live if you can get 'em) or even redworms/tiny earthworms you collect yourself from an area uncontaminated by pesticides/herbicides.> Thanks, -Wendy <Wishing you well, -Sabrina>
Fire Eel Issues - 04/05/2006 I have a fire eel (approximately eighteen inches) in a freshwater tank - think he might about 15 years old - not sure. <Nice!> A couple weeks ago he stopped eating, became lethargic (not sure I spelled that right), <I believe you did.> and appeared to have labored breathing. I dosed the tank with Maracyn II for five days, <Why?> and then another five days with Maracyn. <Again, why? Did you see symptoms of anything aside from the heavy breathing/lethargy? Did you have reason to suspect a bacterial infection?> I have only used Mardel products on him including Coppersafe and occasionally Maroxy. <.... should try not to use medications unless you know there's a disease that must be treated....> He has a couple injury sites that have turned white. <Disturbing. How did he become injured? Tankmate squabble? Escape attempt?> After the second week of antibiotic treatment, he improved, regained his appetite and was swimming like usual. Last night, he stopped eating again. I'm not sure what to do this time around. I/m afraid he might be dying from old age? <In all honesty, this is possible....> I am doing 20-25% partials every 5-7 days. <Ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH readings?> He has a small area of whitish skin on the side of his face. Please give me some suggestions. Linda Itoh Hello, I wrote to you a little earlier and I need to add a symptom I just noticed with my fire eel - his stomach is bloated. <The bloated belly and refusal to eat are troubling.... I would first check (and correct, if necessary) his water quality.... Next, there are a number of things to consider. First, simple constipation. Foods high in roughage content may help with this (adult daphnia, adult brine shrimp....). Secondly, these dropsical symptoms may indicate an internal bacterial infection; if that's the case, there may be little you can do, depending upon what, exactly, is troubling him. You might consider trying to feed with an antibiotic medicated food, though this will (obviously) be difficult if the fellow refuses to eat.... Maintaining optimal water quality and hoping for the best with foods to help reduce constipation may be your best first start.> Linda Itoh <My best wishes to your eely friend, -Sabrina>
Fire Eel Issues - II - 04/22/2006 I have not been doing well with my fire eel. His belly is still bloated and he is not eating. <Yikes!> I have been doing water testing and the results as of last night were: ph 7.5, copper .5 to 1.0, <I still don't understand what you are treating with the copper? Our correspondences haven't let me to believe that you are dealing with ich or other parasites....> nitrite .09, <This should test as zero.... likely you need to do more frequent water changes right now; the copper has destroyed your biological filtration.... And again, why copper?> nitrate (I am still having problems figuring out) I am using tetra test NO3 and color in test-tube matches 25mg on color chart with kit; <Mm, it's in parts per million, no?> however if I divide that by 4.4 I believe that number is 5.68, is that good or not? <You've lost me here; why are you dividing? Is it not displayed as parts per million, or....? And what about your ammonia readings?> I think he has an infection and needs to be treated with antibiotics. <.... this is possible, but not seeing the fish, not having all the data, I really can't tell you what he might need at this point.... If you do suspect an internal bacterial infection, Kanamycin or Nitrofurazone in food is my recommendation.... or at least orally if not in food, if in any way possible.> I have only used Mardel products in the tank. The white injury sites are from him trying to cram into a castle which is too small for him now which I have not taken out yet because he is so panic stricken when I work in the tank I'm afraid he is going to jump out. <If there is an item in the tank responsible for the injuries to the animal, PLEASE get it out of there IMMEDIATELY. Replace it with more decor of a more desirable nature, large enough not to damage the poor fellow. This is imperative; if he's getting wounds from this castle, it needs to go, pronto, in favor of something that won't wound him.> Some years ago I was working in the tank and he took off like a rocket right out of the tank, in the air, and landed on a tile floor. He did recover but has not been the same since. <Yeee-ikes! I can imagine! Sneaky little fellows.... give him more appropriate hiding spaces, things to make him feel secure, things that won't wound him.> I also have been using well water for the past 3.5 years which I treat with stresscoat when I partial. Please give me some suggestions? <This bloating and refusal to eat is hopefully something that can be passed.... I would add a tablespoon or two of Epsom salts (Magnesium Sulfate) per ten gallons of water; this may very well help him pass any blockage. Secondly, I would absolutely quit with the copper, unless you are treating for ich or some such.... adding copper is shooting yourself in the foot right now, with regards to water quality. If you are highly confidant of a bacterial infection, I would recommend treating with Kanamycin and/or Nitrofurazone, again, preferably orally and preferably in food.> Right now, I am just doing partials about every 4-5 days. <You may need to increase this to *daily* with the copper in your tank destroying your biological filtration.... Be testing, *daily*, for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH....> Thank you. Linda <All the best to you, Linda, and don't get disheartened. Spiny eels are resilient fellows, and hopefully yours, aged though he is, can pull through this. Wishing you well, -Sabrina>
Fire Eel Issues - III - 04/23/2006 Sabrina, thank you for your response with regard to my fire eel. I had been treating the tank with copper because the injury sites were not healing like they have in the past. <Copper really isn't very useful for aiding wounds in healing....> I did about a 30-35% water change yesterday and my copper level today is 0.5. I plan on not adding anymore copper. I was thinking if I maintain a therapeutic level of copper it would keep him from getting parasites. <Mm, for the most part, you're not so likely to see parasite issues pop up unless you introduce them; it's bacterial complaints that you need to have concern over.> I have always maintained a level of copper in the tank for as long as I've had him. <With regards for parasite prevention, a more useful and less toxic substance to use is just aquarium salt. Spiny eels don't much like it, but tolerate it FAR better than copper.> Today my nitrite is 0.3 mg/liter, and NO3 is 50mg/l. I am using tetra tests with color charts measures reading in mg/l. <I see. mg/L is the same as ppm (parts per million). Thus, you have .3ppm nitrite and 50ppm nitrate. You most certainly need to do some hefty (or heftier) water changes; spiny eels don't appreciate high nitrates.... I would quickly strive to bring this much lower; 20ppm at a maximum, less if possible.> The only test chart I see with ppm's is the copper chart. I am thinking I need to another partial today; but I just don't know. <Yes, absolutely.> My ammonia is 0 according to the tetra test color chart reading from 0 thru 5.0. <Get the nitrite to zero, and the nitrate down.> Interestingly, after I did the 30-35 partial he actually ate some food last night; <Ah! Good!> but still looks very uncomfortable, and is still bloated. I thought the bloating was due to a bacterial infection which is why I'm thinking he needs antibiotic. Can you tell me where I can Kanamycin in the oral form? <You might have to mix it yourself, or take a look at http://flguppiesplus.safeshopper.com/234/cat234.htm?590 - they have an antibacterial medicated flake with Oxytetracycline, which might also be effective.> The only antibiotic I keep on hand are the Maracyns. I did not put Epsom salts in the tank yesterday because of the partial and he seemed to have gotten some relief from it. <The Epsom cannot cause him harm, even if he were in perfect health, and may help *immensely*.> I'm so distraught over the possibility of him not making it through this. <Get the nitrate down.... Discontinue copper.... Add Epsom.... Maintain impeccable water quality (ammonia and nitrite at ZERO, nitrate less than 20ppm and preferably closer to 5ppm).... Wait a few days, then begin with antibiotics in food if no improvement is seen. At least, that's what I would do.> Thank you for your help. -Linda <All the best to you, -Sabrina>
Fire Eel Issues - IV - 05/13/2006 Hi Sabrina, <Hi, Linda!> I'm writing again with regard to my bloated fire eel. He is hanging in there; but he is obviously not comfortable. I added the Epsom and have discontinued the copper since April 25th no copper. The copper level is holding at 0.25 ppm, <I continue to urge you to get this to zero.> 0 ammonia, 25 mg/l nitrates, <Really needs to be lower still.> <0.3> nitrites, <Needs to be zero. ph is holding at 8. <Yikes!> I have read that fire eels like a lower ph so the 8 concerns me. <Yes, me too, a great deal.> However, at this point I'm so frustrated with what to do, maybe the pH8 is not a significant problem. <Mm, it is a problem, I think. Many/most fishes are very tolerant of a wide-ish range of pH, but spiny eels really should not be in a pH this high. Dangerous.> After our last email conversation he was not eating so I put Maracyn II in the tank for 10 days, he starts eating and swimming around. He will not eat flake food, shrimp, bloodworms or earthworms. <Disconcerting that he won't take worms....> He eats shrimp pellets and algae wafers. Since I stopped the copper his welt-like blisters are getting white-ish and he is scraping along the bottom of the tank. <Still signs of irritation, perhaps at the nitrite, nitrate, copper, or that very high pH - or something else in the water, even.> I have done partials every 2-4 days, however he seems really stressed after a partial. I am on well water here and I did a hardness test on it - 14 dGH - and 13 dKH. <Kinda high, there.> I have always used water right from the well, and am now wondering if I should be using water from the tap which is ran through a softener. The tap water reads 1dgh and 12 dKH. <I would advise against the softened tapwater; this can be even more trouble than it's worth. The very hard, high pH of the current water, though, is troubling. I would like to suggest that you try doing a couple of water changes (carefully, and spaced apart in time) with some water from a Reverse Osmosis filtration unit or even store-bought bottled water - I don't know where you are, but many places have water stores where you can fill up a 5g water jug for a buck or so with straight RO water. Just BE CAUTIOUS of this, as the pH of the purified/bottled water will be much, much lower than the pH of the tank - you do NOT want to lower his pH too quickly.> My aquarium readings as of yesterday are 18dgh and 10 dKH. I had to have my husband help me with these tests. Very complicated for me. <And very kind of your husband, too - thank him for me.> Seems like he has skin problems since we moved from city water to well water. <Bingo....> I'm probably just grasping at straws at this stage. <I very strongly feel that the bulk of this animal's problems are environmental. I would actually hold of from medicating at all (aside from the Epsom salt, I would use that again after your next water change). I would like to see this critter VERY slowly (as in, 0.2 a day) go down to below a 7.0 pH with as close to zero nitrate as possible (below 20ppm at the least), zero ammonia, zero nitrite, zero copper, and lower hardness with the use of RO/bottled water. I really think a more accurate environment may be the whole key here.> I have purchased Maracyn Plus Biospheres Antibacterial (Sulfadimidine and Trimethoprin). Do you think this would help with the skin welts?<Mm, I would hold off on medicating this animal any more than absolutely necessary at this point and see how an improved environment affects him.> Please give me your thoughts. <You've got 'em now, and I hope they help some.> Thanks, -Lyn <All the best to you and your eely buddy, -Sabrina> Fire Eel Issues - V - 05/15/2006 Hi Sabrina, <Hi, Linda!> I'm writing with an update on my fire eel. After I read your last reply, I did a small partial - only five gallons of aquarium water - did I replace with store-bought bottled water. I'd like to explain something to you that my husband explained to me before I give you the numbers. I have been testing the PH with a tetra test kit that reads from 5,0 thru 10,0 and the aquarium water has been reading an 8,0. He brought in the ph kit for our pool water that reads in tenths from 7.0 thru 8.0. We tested the aquarium water (before small partial) to see if it matched my ph of 8. It did not - it read 7.6. <A big difference.... I would test this against another aquarium test kit, perhaps at your local store; many/most stores will test your water for you for free.> We did the partial and the ph on the tetra kit read 7.5 and the pool kit read 7.4. <This is a difference that could be charted up to human error.... is very close.> This was on May 14th. Tonight, I just did the ph readings and they are unchanged. The nitrites and nitrates are also unchanged. The dGH is still 18 but the kH is down to 8. <One last time. Ammonia and Nitrite MUST be ZERO. Nitrate MUST be as low as possible; below 20ppm at the least, preferably even at or below 5ppm for this sensitive animal. These things aren't options, but criteria on which your eel's life hinges. The pH is next in line of importance.> The magnum filter was clogging up pretty good so I changed that tonight. <Likely a/the "source" of high nitrate in your tank.> My fire eel has stopped eating again - 3rd night in a row - since I stopped the Maracyn II - he has stopped eating. <This could very well be coincidence, to be quite honest. These animals can sometimes stop eating once in a while.> I feel like I need to treat him with something especially since he has stopped eating again. <Bob and I and a few other folks were just talking about this tendency in aquarists; a desire to throw a medication at a problem.... This is a very, very unfortunate tendency, and probably kills more organisms than it saves.... Granted, I do not know you or your pet, but I still feel that throwing medication at the fellow's condition when there are KNOWN problems with the water that must be corrected is folly.> What would be in the Maracyn II to make him eat? <Can actually be coincidence.> I can't determine if he is breathing easier or not since the partial - I don't think so. IF he starts to look worse and I decide to medicate him, would it be safe to use the Maracyn Plus Biospheres? <I can't recommend either, to be honest. Not until the water quality is rectified. Fixing the water quality is *imperative*.> In your last reply, you had suggested doing a couple of water changes carefully spaced apart. <Mm, as far as spacing them apart, what I'm most concerned about is not decreasing the pH too quickly.> Do you think another water change should be done in the next day or two, or more towards the end of the week? <I would say NOW, and urgently so, until that nitrate reading is down.> And, I'm thinking another 5 gallons of bottled water and 5-10 gallons well water. By the way, with regard to CopperSafe - I was reviewing my emails with you guys and noticed the very first one a Bob Fenner replied to and I got the impression he was okay with using CopperSafe. I was just wondering about the difference of opinion. <I am actually sitting with him now, he's right next to me.... We've talked, and he does agree that maintaining copper on spiny eels is not a good idea. They just don't do well with many medications. If you like, a direct quote from his Mastacembelid article: "Spiny eels don't respond well to toxic dye and metal medications." http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/matacembelids.htm . I do believe he misunderstood that you had intended to use copper as a constant preventative in the water.... I believe, and I feel that he does too, that this is a bad idea.> Thank you for your reply - again. Lyn <Please do go ahead and read over the article and the FAQs file linked to it, if you would.... hopefully you might find some other piece of insight that would be of help to you. Wishing you well, -Sabrina> Fire Eel fdg., sys./comp. 4/1/06 Hi Crew! <Michael> Hope all is well in Wet Web land. I have a feeding issue with my 12" Fire Eel. I purchased him 8 days ago from my LFS and since then I have not been able to get (him or her) to eat. <Happens... Mastacembelids don't like changes... and being "moved" is a biggie> (We will assume its a he)............. I have tried feeding him frozen bloodworms with no luck and have just tried frozen krill even though I could not find any documentation supporting krill to feed him. <Some will take... but takes training on to> He is in a 94 gallon corner tank with plenty of caves housed with a red empress, Hap Ali, sunshine peacock, yellow lab, pike cichlid, <These are aggressive species...> and 2 cats (4" and not sure the type). All fish are between 4-5 inches. I understand that there is some good competition for food for him and have found ways around that. I have tried using a feeding stick to spear the krill and have used the stick which acts like a turkey baster as well to blow the bloodworms by him. He has had ample time to eat both. My latest attempt today was to put the bloodworms in a shot glass and to lay the glass in the tank (and yes, I took the Jack Daniels out of the shot glass first). <Heee, good idea to both> The bloodworms stayed in the glass and the cichlids left the food alone. I left that in there for a half hour and watch patiently to see him not eat. I have read and re-read your archives and understand that they can go on hunger strikes for weeks at a time but I guess I would really value your input on my situation. Aside from not eating he does look healthy and acts fine. Thank you in advance for your assistance! Michael J. Bukosky <I would try some live worms... likely "black Tubifex" if you could find, or other... placed in a container as you've done here... but really, the best scenario is going to be to place this fish in a less-agonistic setting... completely covered top, with "soft" rounded substrate, diffuse lighting and soft/er, more acidic water than some of the fish you list prefer. I would do this move if this spiny eel does not feed within another week. Bob Fenner>
Earthworms 'N' Eels - 03/07/2006This is just a note for those eel lovers or those wanting to embrace the eel so to speak. <.... I might pet one, but hugging is maybe not quite in my plans.> A couple of years ago I bought 4 eels for my hundred gallon aquarium. Two fire eels and two tire track. Sadly someone left the lid on the tank askew and I lost one a couple of weeks ago. <Aww! So sorry to hear this!> It was about 18 inches long. I still have three left that are about that size, one is a good 23 inches long. They share the aquarium with a sun catfish, a drift wood cat, a tiny (but extremely swift) zebra loach, a very fat clown loach which I bought at the same time (he's a good 10 inches long) a spotted perch, a dojo and a pair of spotted catfish that act like they're on crack. I love my eels but let future eel owners be warned, they'll eat you out of house and home. They pick at flake food in the morning, ah but at night they go through 3 of the large cubes of frozen blood worms and whine for more. I'm thinking that someday in the future I will find just one very enormous eel in that tank, all other fish having become snacks. Do you know if eels might eat fishing worms? <Yep. Especially at that size. I recommend culturing your own, to be sure they are in good health and nutrition. Google "vermiculture". You can start with worms in your own yard, provided you haven't used any pesticides, herbicides, etc.> I'm curious but haven't tried offering any. <I'm sure they'd love 'em. Try small worms, not big fat Nightcrawlers.> I was kind of hoping that the larger worms might just fill the tanks up a bit quicker. Luckily I can say that none of them have had an ailment in the years I've had them. (knock on wood) and I don't want to encourage anything a live food might bring in. <Agreed.> So if you have any information on earthworms for eels please let me know. It would be much appreciated. <I say give it a try - I've seen even smallish (<8" or so) spiny eels take small worms.> Thanks Jo <All the best to you, -Sabrina>
Fire eel 11/3/05Dear Robert, I wrote to in July with regard to my 10 year old fire eel (in 90 gallon tank) that I have always treated with the Maracyn and CopperSafe. You recommended I get a copper (ion) test kit to monitor the copper level because Stresscoat (which I use all the time) can remove it over time. I purchased a freshwater kit by Aquarium Pharmaceuticals which reads from 0.25 thru 4.0. My measurement today is .25. Is this a treatment level? <Yes... tween 0.15 and 0.30 ppm of free cupric ion> My old kit by Aquarium Systems (which I cannot find replacement packets for) read 0.15 thru 0.2 on the chart and it stated that this is a therapeutic treatment if maintained for 10-14 days. I also would like your opinion on this: my fire eel has these blister like, or more like welts, on his sides. He has had these for sometime - they are not new. It reminds me of a hive like a human would get on their skin. And, he has grown up with a Pleco that appears to have an uncanny affection towards him. It's like their glued together, though I suspect the Pleco is sucking the slime off of him. <May be> Again, this has been going on for years. Your comments, please. Thank you. Linda I. <I would keep an eye on the Pleco... try to keep it weaned away from the eel... perhaps with algae wafers... offered toward the evening/lights out. Bob Fenner>
Fire Eels, Cestodes, and Praziquantel - 11/01/2005Hello Crew! I have a 2 1/2 foot Fire Eel that appears to have tapeworms. He appears very healthy and gregarious in all respects, but periodically he discharges some white, flat, many inches long, substance which appears to cause him some discomfort, resulting in thrashing about the tank to dislodge it. Does not appear to be normal waste or a normal way to evacuate based on the discomfort involved and the color. <Could indeed be tapeworms.... or other worms.> I have not been able to isolate any of this substance as the rest of his tank mates devour it immediately, <Ugh.> which of course means they also have worms if that is what they are. <Agreed.> He is fed live worms and I know they can be carriers of tapeworms which has caused my concern. <Good concern.> I know he shouldn't have any medications with copper, and I was also concerned because he is scaleless, or nearly so anyway. Some of his tankmates are also loaches and Botias, so I have to worry about them as well since he is too big to quarantine and they and the rest of his tankmates would probably have to be treated as well, anyway. However, all his tankmates also appear to be quite healthy. What medication or treatment would you recommend? <Praziquantel would be my first choice, followed by Levamisole or Piperazine.... There are a number of products available for aquarium use, one being "Prazi-Pro". Any of these medications (or others for Cestodes) will need to be administered via food, I believe.> Thank you for your time. He is a sweet little fiend, and I don't want the worms to cause him problems in the future. I wasn't able to find anything by performing a search for this item in your website. <Glad to hopefully be of service.> Marcia <Wishing you well, -Sabrina>
Fire eel, copper use 7/22/05Dear Robert: <Linda> I have had my fire eel about 10 years and he is about 18-19 inches and very well rounded. <How nice... great pets, very intelligent> He is very aggressive and spooks easily and has had several injuries to his body over the years. Only on one occasion did I almost lose him - my local aquarium shop said it sounded like an infection in his gills - heavy breathing - not eating or swimming. I treated the tank with Maracyns I and II and CopperSafe and he recovered. I have used these products ever since, and having read on your webpage that eels are sensitive to copper I wonder if I should stop. <Mmm, no... just "be careful"... not to over-expose> I recently moved ( and the fire eel) to a new home which is on well water and I regularly treat the water with StressCoat and CopperSafe. May I have your opinion on this treatment plan. Thank you. Linda Itoh <Mmm, I would get, use a copper (ion) test kit... and know that StressCoat will remove/precipitate copper. Bob Fenner>
Fire eel purchase in the GWN>I would like to buy a fire eel but I do not find any store of fish which has some can you help me please >>> What city do you live in? It is hard to find you a store without knowing where you live. Oliver sorry, I'm living in MontrÃ©al >> Try Nature Pet Center on Newman in Ville LaSalle, they can likely order it for you if they do not have them, speak to Robert. If not, maybe Big Al's Aquarium Services on Boul. Des Sources. Speak to Daniel. Keep in mind that fire eels will get four feet long... Good Luck, Oliver.
Fire EelsHello- I came across a website that had your email address and some information on the fire eel. A friend of mine recently purchased a fire eel and would like to get some more info. Would you happen to know how one goes about determining the sex?? <Not able to do... externally... as far as I'm aware> Also, is it ok to put more than one eel in your aquarium?? <Yes... a docile (though does get large) species toward fishes bigger than mouth-size, including other Mastacembelids. Bob Fenner> She would really appreciate any info you could give on the subject. Thank you, JB Hampton
Purchasing some spiny eelsI was thinking about purchasing some spiny eels from an online store. Is it wise to have a striped peacock, a Zig Zag, and a fire eel all in the same tank? <Not problematical in terms of them getting along, feeding/foods, having different habitats if this is what you mean> Also, the site I was planning on ordering from said that spiny eels eventually needed 29 gallon tanks... but I read about people having to put them in 100 gallon tanks, what's the minimum size I can have for one and does it affect what size of tank I need if I have one of each of the aforementioned spiny eels? <Mmm, at least a hundred for the Fire Eel... gets quite large over time, in good health... the others could live in 29 gallon systems (well-covered!). Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/matacembelids.htm and the Related FAQs (linked, in blue, at top)> I read that the eels will eat crustaceans, so I assume a blue crayfish would be a bad tank mate... Is it wise to order online? Or would you suggest going to a local breeder or distributor? Thanks in advance. <Both sources could work... or be trouble. The spiny eels are quite tough if cared for well, and doomed if not... Seeing them ahead of purchase is definitely a bonus, better start if you can find, order them locally. Bob Fenner>
Black Shark and Fire Eel - Out of the Frying Pan and Into the Fire! Hello, hope you can help me! <I will indeed try.> I have been looking for quite a while and trying to decide what to purchase for my tank or if I need to buy a larger tank if it is needed! I am wondering if a black shark 2" long and a fire eel 9" long will be good tank mates? <No, black sharks (Epalzeorhynchos bicolor) are said to be very hostile fish. I've read many sites saying how their red tailed Black Sharks have really hurt some tank mates. I would think that it would pester a fire eel.> I know that black sharks are aggressive, but are they to aggressive if they grow together! <They will eventually be mean... their nature won't allow them to be nice forever. No sense putting an eel through that. Here is a quick bit of info on the black sharks. http://aquarium.wendellarhoads.com/blshark.shtml They seem to list what had happened to their tankmates.> I have heard and red that balas, red tailed sharks, or rainbows and good possible tank mates, what about black sharks? <larger rainbows wouldn't bother an eel at all. The others you run a risk.> Would a lot of hiding places for the eel make a difference or keeping the black shark well fed make a difference? <It would help, but wouldn't take care of the underlying issue that the fish would be mean to the eel. I suggest that if you want these two fish, you think about having two separate tanks for them. Then you can enjoy both without worry. Good luck -Magnus.> Help Needed!!! Thanks CHO, IA
Puffers I have one question, but first here is my tank set-up. 20 gallon tank with whisper filter and heater (it always stays at 76.5 degrees) inside are two dwarf puffer and three Buenos Aires tetras. I want to add a fire eel. Can I? What I mean is can I add the eel with out It killing the puffers? <No, I wouldn't add that to the tank, I really think that a fire eel will try to eat the dwarf puffers. Even if it doesn't eat them, it will surely stress the tiny things out. I would suggest setting a tank specifically for the eel if you really want to get one.>
Fire eel diet Hello, I have been reading your website for a while, it's wonderfully informational. I purchased a Fire eel a while ago. She is now about a foot long and is living in an over turned decoration for her own personal cave. Her half of the aquarium is covered in a healthy layer (4") of black moon sand, to not scrap her belly if she ever decides she wants to burrow. The tank mates are 3 fire red dwarf Gouramis, 2 Opaline Gouramis, and an angel fish. The eel loves ghost shrimp, can't seem to feed her enough, but my pet stores can't seem to keep up with just my purchases per week. Two Eel questions: (1) Feeding: What consists of a good healthy eel diet? What are all my options? <Many things... ideally natural food items like worms (including earthworms, grubs (larval beetles) like mealworms, ghost/glass shrimp... small bits of cut meats, fish flesh> How can I keep my eel healthy and full but not break the bank? <Culture (not you! the food)... and collection in the wild. Do look into growing night crawlers, meal worms et al.> How much of these options should I feed her? <At a foot in length... maybe every other day, enough food to where the fish appears "full"... not bulging> Should I stock a smaller aquarium of just shrimp or something for her and feed her daily like the other tank mates or keep her on a feast a week schedule (I understand that's more like what their natural feeding habits are)? <Better to not feed too frequently or too much... (2) Future: Ideally or acceptably, what size tank should she be in when she is full grown? <This may come as quite a shock... but a few hundred gallons. Take a look on fishbase.org re this Mastacembelid species... It does get quite large eventually. Bob Fenner>
A Very Good Fishy Story (well-adjusted Fire Eel) I have a fire eel, quite a crazy and yet good story, just though I'd share it. I bought a fire eel the other day in Fort Wayne, IN, from a retailer who had it in an aquarium with green terrors, jack Dempseys, Flowerhorn cichlids, African Synodontis, and an EXTREMELY AGGRESSIVE banded Headstander. Fort Wayne is about 5 hours from where I live, and due to traffic, it waited 6 hours in a bag for me to get it home. When I got it home, it acclimated instantly. I have read stories on your website about them getting diseased easily and those refusing food, but mine is completely disease-free, and ate so much beef heart that his stomach swelled to the size of Chicago. He is fat and happy, and even likes to come out and lurk around during the day. Just thought I'd share the story. <Thank you for sending this along. Bob Fenner>
Why does my fire eel have yellow markings? >Hi,
>>Hello, Marina tonight. >I have had a fire eel (now about
9") for almost a year. He was about 4" when we got
him. He used to live in a 25 Gallon Eclipse (eel proof) until I bought
the new 90 gallon tank back in March. Quick cute story- thought I lost
him last winter. Went missing for about 2 months. Turns out
he was living in the hidden compartment eating bloodworms as they got
sucked up the tube. No worse for were, but bigger. Didn't suspect a
problem until the water level on the filter was way too high. Anyway,
he lives with a couple of zigzags, a black ghost, a golden Gourami, 4
pearl Gouramis, 5 red Serpae, and a tiger barb. Normal for the tank is
flake, frozen beef heart and frozen bloodworms. The big question.
Whenever I see a photo of a fire eel it has red markings. Mine is dull
yellow. Any ideas? Thanks in advance either
way. Great site! >>I've seen them both ways, and
have always assumed that it's just a variance on
coloring. Try this link for some ideas http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/matacembelids.htm
>>I hope this helps. Marina