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January 21, 2014 PetGuide
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Saltwater Eels

 
  • Group: Saltwater
  • Size: Large
  • Temperament: Aggressive
  • Aquarium Size: Large (55 gal)
  • Swimming Region(s): Bottom
  • Suitable Tank Mates: Large Angelfish, Pufferfish, Lionfish and Tangs
  • Difficulty Of Care: Weekly care

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Eels are one of the most fascinating and one of the most demanding species of saltwater fish kept by aquarists. They are characterized by their long, snake like bodies and scale-less, mucus covered bodies. Unlike most other species of fish, eels do not have separated dorsal, anal and caudal fins. Instead their fins merge together to create a continuous fin ridge along their bodies. Most species of eel are nocturnal and highly predatory. And due to their aggressive temperament should only be kept by experienced aquarists.

Eels are one of the most fascinating and one of the most demanding species of saltwater fish kept by aquarists.

Most species of saltwater eel originate from the Western Atlantic Ocean

Saltwater eels come in an array of colors ranging from green, yellow, brown, grey and black.

saltwater eels 1Most species of saltwater eel grow well over a few feet in length and require extremely large aquariums. Eels are also a nocturnal species and enjoy dimly lit aquariums with plenty of caves and crevices in which to hide. In the wild, eels often live in groups in what are known as “eel pits.” Eels are also primarily bottom dwellers and prefer aquariums with soft sand substrates which they can burrow into.

One of the most challenging aspects of keeping saltwater eels in the aquarium is their extremely aggressive temperament. Most large species of eels are predatory and will quickly devour any species of fish that they can fit in their mouth. Therefore eels should only be kept with large, moderately aggressive tank mates that are able to hold their own ground. Aquarists should also take care when handling an eel aquarium as they can often bite the hands of their keepers when scared or when in a feeding frenzy.

Saltwater eels also produce a significant amount of biological waste and it is important that the eel aquarium has a sufficient filtration system. Weekly partial water changes are also advisable.

When purchasing saltwater eels it is important to observe whether they accept their feed in the aquarium because some wild-caught eels are reluctant to adapt to life in captivity. Eels that have adapted to life in captivity will accept a range of live and frozen foods like shrimp, clams and fish parts. Captive bred eels are also more likely to accept frozen foods and might sometimes need some time before learning to capture live foods.

Most species of saltwater eel grow well over a few feet in length and require extremely large aquariums.

Breeding saltwater eels in the home aquarium is virtually impossible.

Garden Eel, Moray Eels, Snowflake Eel, Wolf Eel, etc.

Photo credit: Johan Fredriksson/Wikimedia; Michael Bentley/Wikimedia


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Chromis

  • Group: Saltwater
  • Size: Small
  • Temperament: Non-aggressive
  • Aquarium Size: Medium (30+ gal)
  • Swimming Region(s): Middle
  • Suitable Tank Mates: Clownfish, Dartfish, Gobies, Hawkfish, Puffers and Tangs
  • Difficulty Of Care: Weekly care
Go to Hogfish

Hogfish

  • Group: Saltwater
  • Size: Medium
  • Temperament: Non-aggressive
  • Aquarium Size: Large (50 gal)
  • Swimming Region(s): Bottom
  • Suitable Tank Mates: Angelfish, Rabbitfish, Filefish, Butterflies, Parrotfish, Puffers and Tangs
  • Difficulty Of Care: Weekly care