Fire Eel (Mastacembelus erythrotaenia)
The Fire Eel, also known as Red-finned Eel, is an eye-catching freshwater fish known for its striking red and black striped pattern. Its elongated, eel-like body can grow up to 20 inches in length, making it one of the largest spiny eels.
Fire Eels are generally peaceful and shy, but they can become territorial if they feel threatened. As a result, it's best to keep them with similarly sized, non-aggressive tank mates. Providing a spacious environment with ample hiding spaces is key to maintaining a harmonious community.
Fire Eels should be kept individually as they may be aggressive to their own species. However, they do appreciate the company of other peaceful, large fish that won't compete for hiding spots or food. Keep in mind that their size and potential territorial behavior may pose challenges in smaller or densely populated tanks.
Fire Eels are carnivorous, primarily feeding on invertebrates, such as worms, insect larvae, and small fish. They prefer live or frozen foods, but they can also be trained to accept high-protein pellets or sinking wafers. They tend to be more active during the night, so offering them food in the evening is recommended.
The tank for Fire Eels should be spacious and have plenty of plants, including floating varieties, to create a natural environment. Use sand as the substrate, as spiny eels enjoy burrowing. Provide plenty of hiding spots, as eels prefer to stay hidden during the day. Options for hiding places include bogwood, smooth rock caves, PVC pipes, and plant thickets. Without such hiding spots, they may become stressed and attempt to squeeze into any dark space available, potentially causing injury to themselves. Dim lighting makes eels feel more comfortable and venture out of their hideouts more frequently, so include plenty of floating plants to help diffuse lighting. Clean, well-filtered water is essential, and keep the water movement gentle to replicate the still waters these fish inhabit in the wild.
The minimum aquarium size for a single Fire Eel is 80 gallons, but a larger community tank of 125 gallons or more is ideal. They prefer water parameters of pH 6.0-7.5, dGH 5-15, and a temperature range of 75-82°F (24-28°C).
A secure, tight-fitting hood is essential, as eels can escape through small gaps.
To learn more about this fish, be sure to check out the Additional Information tab.