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Mastacembelus erythrotaenia
Fire Eel

 Age of Aquariums > Freshwater Fish > Fire Eel - Mastacembelus erythrotaenia

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Mastacembelus_erythrotaenia_2.jpg (19kb)
Photo Credit: Robin Thomsen

Name: Mastacembelus erythrotaenia
Size TankpHTemp
Origin: Southeast Asia
46 cm 400 L 7.0 26C


The fire eel is a fairly peaceful eel, especially at a young age. These guys love a sandy substrate so they can bury themselves and expose nothing but their heads. Fire eels get along with nearly all aquarium fish, with the exception of bite-sized tankmates. If the eel is purchased small, they will probably not eat small fish that were already there. However, as the eel increases in size, add new small fish at your own risk. Eels' favorite foods include blood worms, and shrimp. Please be aware of how large these guys get before you buy them.

Contributed by Matthew Rickard

I have 2 fire eels in my 700 litre built-in tank. These have grown from roughly 15 cm to almost 1 metre in less than a year. They eat bloodworms and brine shrimp, as well as flakes and sometimes catfish sinkers. They live in a community tank and rarely harass their other tank mates. They share their home with 2 red belly pacus, 1 leopard sailfin pleco, 1 walking catfish, 6 clown loaches and a new addition to my tank is a dragon puffer. The tank is 6.5 pH, 26C and is filtered by 2 fluval bio filters. Has half soft sandy substrate and the other half stones.

Contributed by Jamie

They like to just hang out during the day. Mine would either sit in gravel with his head sticking out or lay around in a black PVC pipe. They are more mobile at night, swimming around like a snake. Fire eels are very well mannered, mine was in a tank with an oscar, a convict, and a pleco and eveyone got along fine. Sometimes the other fish would try to join the eel in his tube. He didn't seem to mind when the oscar did it. For other fish, the eel would kick his tail all around the opening to block entry. Fire eels are very people friendly as well. At first I had to shoot bloodworms at him with a serenge. After a while he'd come up to the top and eat them right out of my hand (much less aggressively than the oscar, I might add). Sadly enough, my eel developed a fungus around one of his gills that eventually spread and he died. I highly recommend fire eels, they are a real treat.

Contributed by a visitor

I have two of these awesome creatures. Both are about 35 cm. They are both males, which was OK for the first few months, but they soon started fighting so I had to split them up. They're hell on plants, but if they have enough other places to hide they pretty much leave the plants alone. Diet is mostly nightcrawlers or krill. They are both very inquisitive and take food from your hand easily. Highly recommended.

Contributed by Richard Wollen

My Fire Eel is very shy. I have heard they usually come out and eat right out of your hand, but mine rarely will come out of the cave she has dug under a big rock. Fire Eels are very tricky, and will get out of your tank if they find an opening. Also, mine will climb into my power filter and stay there for a while, I find that they are very colorful and a nice addition to any tank, as long as it is of a reasonable size, since Fire Eels grow preety big. I keep mine in my 870 liter tank with a wide varaety of African and South American Cichlids, as well as loaches and cat fish. So far I haven't had a problem with her and my other fish.

Contributed by Zutter Gimena

I own two beautiful young fire eels and have had them around for around 6 months. Both are around 18 cm long. They are picky eaters and will only eat small meaty foods like bloodworms or brine shrimp at the moment, although I intend to get them on to earthworms when they are a little bigger. They are easily trained to accept food from your hand. When they haven't been fed for more than a couple days they tend to graze on soft-leaved aquarium plants. They like to burrow, so a smaller non-sharp gravel is preferred on the bottom of the tank, they also seem to like aquarium wood, especially with crevaces or holes to hide in. I've kept my fire eels successfully for a while in a community tank with fish as small as male guppies, although with the expense of their food they now have an exclusive tank. I recommend these fish to everyone who has a passion for larger, intelligent fish.

Contributed by Robin Thomsen

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