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FAQs on Mastacembelus aral, Spiny Eel Fishes

Related Articles: Spiny EelsThe truth about spiny eels; A closer look at these popular but problematic oddballs by Neale Monks, Husbandry of the Barred Spiny Eel, Macrognathus panacalus by Marco Lichtenberger, 

Related FAQs: Spiny Eel Identification, Spiny Eel Behavior, Spiny Eel Compatibility, Spiny Eel Selection, Spiny Eel Systems, Spiny Eel Feeding, Spiny Eel Disease, Spiny Eel Reproduction, By Species: Fire Eels, Peacock Eels, Tire Track Eels, Aethiomastacembelum, Yellow Tail Spiny Eel (Mastacembelus panculus), Macrognathus aral, Zig Zag Eels (Mastacembelus armatus)

Questions Regarding One Striped Spiny Eels    6/21/13
I'm just starting out as a fish keeper and was hoping you could enlighten me on Spiny Eels; more specifically the Macrognathus aral species.  I have been looking for information for this particular eel for several days, but more often than not it seems to be confused with Macrognathus siamensis, the Peacock Eel.
<Really? Macrognathus aral is pretty distinctive.>
I was hoping you could tell me more about Macrognathus aral in general; things like temperament,
<Peaceful but predatory given its size, so choose tankmates accordingly: nothing bite-sized>
social compatibility,
<May be kept alone or in largish groups; twos or threes may squabble.>
and perhaps most importantly, the size they are likely to reach in a home aquarium.
<A fair sizeā€¦ 30-40 cm.>
Will this species of eel live happily in a 55 gallon tank with other fish (roughly 2-3" in size)?
<Yes, provided the tankmates are not bite-sized; deep-bodied barbs and characins would be better than anything long and thin like a minnow.>
Do they possess a large bio-load? 

<Not especially, but like any predator they do consume high-protein food rather than vegetables and algae.>
Also, will LED lighting be too bright for eels in general?
<If the light is bright they'll simply hide away in the caves you will provide for them, or bury themselves in the substrate. Do also be careful they can't jump out.>
If so, what can I  do to reduce the lighting without compromising my plants?
<Use floating plants.>
My aquarium equipment is as follows:
55 gallon planted tank
Sand substrate
Aquaclear 110 and AquaTech 30-60 Filter
Temperature: 78F
pH: 7.7
dGH: 7
Aqueon 48" LED Lighting
Thank you for taking the time to read my questions.  I greatly appreciate any and all advice you can offer me regarding Macrognathus aral (aka One Striped Spiny Eels).
<Most welcome. Cheers, Neale.>
re: Questions Regarding One Striped Spiny Eels    6/21/13

Hello again,
Thank you very much for the information; it's nice to finally have some concise facts to work with!  However, I had a few follow up questions based on your answers regarding Macrognathus aral eels if you don't mind.
<By all means.>
You say they may squabble in groups of two or three; I had planned on getting a male and female eel for the 55g tank.  Will they still have issues (I'm not sure if a male/female dynamic changes anything), or would it be better to just keep one single eel?
<A pair could work well, especially in a biggish tank. Macrognathus are generally quite tolerant compared to Mastacembelus species. But if you have two males, or two males and a single female, then any fish species can become unpredictable.>
I had also hoped to keep Cory catfish (6-8) with these Macrognathus aral, but if the eels grow up to 40cm will I encounter spatial issues with these bottom feeders?  (Note:  I would only introduce the cories after the eels were comfortable and eating well.)
<Macrognathus aral will be fine with Corydoras (except bite-sized ones like Corydoras habrosus). Naturally, you will need to make sure both species can feed well.>
If cories are not an option, would bamboo shrimp be appropriate tank mates?
<Can also work, and with less competition. Atyopsis spp. shrimps enjoy fast-flowing water, which may be tricky if you use a lot of floating plants (which Spiny Eels appreciate) but you may be able to create an aquarium with still and flowing areas by putting filter outlets in the right places.>
I would think that if a 3 inch fish is safe from being eaten by these eels, so would a 3 inch shrimp.
<Indeed. Cherry Shrimp would be dinner though!>
On the other hand, shrimp aren't exactly the luckiest invertebrates when it comes to matters of the food chain.
<You haven't kept Macrobrachium shrimps then! Google them; a few are sold as pets, albeit rarely, the Red Claw Macro for example being a pretty good choice. But the famous ones are giant species like Macrobrachium rosenbergii, which I have seen sold in aquarium shops and these will make a meal out of any aquarium fish they can catch. Lovely animals, but best kept alone!>
Again, I greatly appreciate any information you're willing to offer on this species of eel.  Thank you for your help!
<Most welcome, Neale.>

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