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Eels / Mastacembelidae / Spiny Eel

Spiny Eel
Macrognathus aculeatus

SYN: Macrognathus maculatus
PD: An elongated fish with a long snout. The back and flanks are dark brown in color, while the belly is light brown to white. A fine yellow line extends from the tip of the snout, through the eye, and to the rear of the fish. The upper parts may be marked with faint bars. The upper part of the dorsal fin has three obvious eye-spots.
SIZE: To 14" (36 cm), although not usually larger than 8 (20 cm) in captivity.
SS: Other Mastacembelus and Aethiomastacembelus species.
HAB: Southeast Asia; fresh and brackish waters in Borneo, Java, Sumatra, Thailand
S: bottom
TANK: A tank measuring 24 (61 cm) with a volume of 20 gallons (75 L) is adequate for fish up to 5" (13 cm) in length. Specimen longer than this must be kept in larger tanks. Follow recommendations for M. circumcinctus .
WATER: pH 6-8 (7.0), 6-35 dH (10), 73-79°F (23-26°C), some salt can be added if desired
SB: A peaceful fish ideal for a community tank containing fish over the length of 3" (7.5 cm). Often shy when first introduced, but may become friendly once acclimated. Gets along well with own species as long as they are similar in size.
SC: Large Gouramis, Knifefish, Giant Danios, large Loaches, Loricarids, Eartheaters, Acaras, Cichlasomines, Asian Catfish
FOOD: Live; Tubifex, fish fry, Brine Shrimp, mosquito larvae, bloodworms, Cyclops.
SEX: Only distinguishable when mature-females plumper
B: This eel has been bred in captivity. Use water with the following values: a pH of 7.2, water hardness from 35-40 dH, and a water temperature of 77-81°F (25-27°C). Use a large tank and condition the pair well on a varied diet. Make biweekly water changes and keep the tank very clean. About 1000 clear eggs are laid around the base of plants and rocks. They hatch in 3 days and the fry are free swimming after 3 more. Start feeding with small nauplii. Later the young can be fed with white worms and chopped Tubifex worms. The fry, under the right conditions, will grow very quickly.
BP: 9. Breeding is very difficult.
R: Several color variants exist. The peacock and the striped peacock are some of the more common. Macrognathus species can be differentiated from Mastacembelus by its characteristic bumpy or ruffled area on the lower part of the fleshy snout. These two genera can also be distinguished by the distinct separation of the dorsal, caudal, and anal fins of Macrognathus . Keeping spiny eels at a high temperature proves to be detrimental to their health.
DC: 4. A robust fish that requires live foods.


By Rhett Butler   Mongabay.com