Conduct, Habitat, and Care Ideas


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When you’re on the lookout for one thing a bit of bit completely different so as to add to your freshwater fish tank, you may wish to think about the weird, stunning Tire Observe eel.

Nevertheless, these fascinating, snake-like fish have a fame for being considerably difficult to maintain, though in my expertise that’s not essentially true.

Learn this information to be taught every thing you must learn about caring for these fabulous freshwater eels!

Tire Observe Eel – At a Look

Tire Observe Eels Information  
Scientific Title Mastacembelus armatus
Widespread Title Tire Observe Eel, White Noticed Spiny Eel
Household Mastacembelidae
Origins Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia, Lao Individuals’s Democratic Republic, Vietnam, Cambodia
Weight loss program Omnivore
Care Stage Intermediate
Exercise Lively
Lifespan 8 to 18 years
Temperament Semi-aggressive
Minimal Tank Dimension 75 gallons
Temperature Vary Tropical 72° to 82° F
Water Hardness dKH 10 to 16
pH Vary 6.8 to 7.2
Filtration/Circulation Price Properly-oxygenated, medium circulation
Water kind Freshwater
Breeding Egg-layer
OK, for Planted Tanks? Sure


Tire Observe eels come from Southeast Asia, particularly Malaysia, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand.

The species is at present listed as being of Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List since these eels are comparatively frequent and extensively distributed. Nevertheless, the primary threats to the Tire Observe eel are overfishing for the pet commerce and air pollution.

Pure Habitat

Tire Observe els inhabit inland freshwater rivers, streams, and marshes, hiding below rocks or the sandy substrate throughout daylight and rising at night time to hunt and feed.

These fish are primarily carnivorous, feeding on worms, small fish, insect larvae, and invertebrates. Nevertheless, the eels additionally eat detritus and a few plant matter.


Tire Observe eels have an elongated physique with an extended snout. The eel’s background colour is mild brown to tan, however the creature takes its title from the irregular, darkish zig-zag markings operating vertically from again to stomach.

These eels are sometimes confused with Zig Zag eels, that are a special species and develop significantly bigger, usually reaching 35 inches lengthy! The 2 species look very comparable as juveniles, so do make sure you test what species you’re taking house earlier than you half with any money within the fish retailer!

Male or Feminine?

It’s virtually unattainable to distinguish between the sexes, though feminine Tire Observe eels could be considerably extra full-bodied than males.

Tire Observe Eel Dimension

Tire Observe eels can develop to a most dimension of round 20 inches within the tank, though wild specimens can get a lot bigger than that.

How Lengthy Does It Take for Tire Observe Eels To Develop?

The Tire Observe eel’s development charge varies, relying on the animal’s dwelling situations, however they are typically fairly sluggish rising, averaging solely 0.5 to 1 inch per thirty days.


These creatures are fairly long-lived, surviving for between 8 and 18 years if given the right care, atmosphere, and weight-reduction plan.

Are Tire Observe Eels Tough To Hold?

We don’t suggest these fish for rookies, since they are often delicate to environmental modifications and will be very shy at first. For that motive, it may be difficult to steer the eels to eat for a few weeks whenever you first add them to your tank.

As well as, Tire Observe eels have very small scales, leaving them inclined to fungus, micro organism, and parasites. These fish are extremely delicate to drugs, particularly these containing copper. Nevertheless, if fed accurately and given the right care, you’ll get to take pleasure in a few years of enjoyment from holding Tire Observe eels.

Are Tire Observe Eels Aggressive?

Though Tire Observe eels are semi-aggressive carnivores, they’ll stay comparatively nicely in a neighborhood setup.

Compatibility and Tankmates

Tire Observe eels are nocturnal and are sometimes shy and peaceable fish that may ignore their tank mates. That stated, these eels are meat-eaters and they’re going to eat any fish or inverts which can be sufficiently small to suit into their mouths.

Tire Observe Eel Excellent Tank Mates

Though you wouldn’t initially think about these creatures as candidates for a neighborhood tank, my Tire Observe eels had been high-quality in a tank with bigger kinds of fish that they didn’t view as a meals supply.

Fish To Keep away from

It is best to keep away from holding Tire Observe eels with extremely territorial or aggressive fish. As well as, spiny eels will eat very small fish and shrimp, so it’s greatest to keep away from these critters as tank mates.

Can You Hold Tire Observe Eels Collectively?

Some spiny eels can turn into territorial and fairly aggressive with their very own form as they mature, so it’s greatest to maintain only one Tire Observe eel except you plan to aim a breeding mission.

When holding multiple Tire Observe eel, we suggest you may have a really giant tank with loads of hiding locations, caves, and rocky overhangs that the people can declare as their territory.


Of their wild atmosphere, Tire Observe eels are omnivores, consuming a different weight-reduction plan of worms, small fish, crustaceans, invertebrates, and bug larvae, in addition to detritus and a few plant matter.

In captivity, spiny eels desire a balanced weight-reduction plan of stay meals, together with black worms, bloodworms, earthworms, and brine shrimp. Nevertheless, these eels may even take frozen meals, which makes feeding them considerably simpler.

Tire Observe eels gained’t often settle for freeze-dried meaty meals, fish flakes, or pellets. Nevertheless, these creatures do eat detritus, so they may scavenge some leftover fish meals from the tank backside.

How Usually Ought to You Feed Your Tire Observe Eel?

Tire Observe eels solely have to be fed twice every week and infrequently refuse meals if fed extra incessantly than that. Observe that should you overfeed your eels, they may cease consuming for a few weeks or much more.

These eels are nocturnal tropical fish, rising from hiding at night time to feed. So, it is best to provide them meals simply earlier than you flip the aquarium lights out.

Tank Necessities

Tire Observe Eel Tank dimension

When selecting a tank to accommodate your Tire Observe eels, do not forget that the 4-inch little creature you’ll see in your native fish retailer can develop to achieve nicely over a foot lengthy! So, you’ll want a tank of at the very least 75 gallons, ideally bigger except you wish to upsize as your pet grows.

All spiny eels are famend escape artists, so it’s important to decide on a tank with a tight-fitting lid or cowl slide to stop any escape makes an attempt.

What To Add to the Tank

A natural-looking atmosphere that intently replicates the eels’ pure habitat is beneficial since that helps these delicate fish to settle in and really feel safe.


These spiny eels are burrowers, so it is best to use a high-quality, sandy substrate or small-gauge gravel.


Tire Observe eels will be fairly shy at first, and they’re primarily nocturnal, so you have to present the eels with loads of hiding locations that they’ll retreat to.

Good selections for adornment in an eel tank embody caves, roots, rocks, and PVC tubing, the place the eels can cover.


Clumps of bushy crops will help to supply shelter for the eels in addition to add to the aesthetic of the tank.

Floating crops additionally work nicely since they create a dimly lit, shaded ambiance that the eels love.

Habitat Necessities


Tire Observe eels want tender to medium, well-filtered water with loads of dissolved oxygen and motion. Ideally, you need the water turnover within the aquarium to be at the very least ten to fifteen occasions each hour.

Undergravel filtration works nicely with eels since that may be very environment friendly at oxygenating the water in addition to decreasing waste. You too can use a canister filter or powerheads with an airstone to realize the specified circulation and oxygenation.

Water Parameters

Water Temperature

The popular temperature for these tropical eels is 72° to 82° F.

Water Hardness and pH Vary

The water pH ought to be on the acidic facet, ideally within the vary of 6.8 to 7.2, with a water hardness of 10 to 16 dGH.


Spiny eels desire a dimly lit atmosphere that offers them the boldness to emerge in daylight quite than simply at night time.

So, attempt to decide on plant species that will flourish in low light situations or use silk crops as an alternative.

Tank Upkeep

Tire Observe eels demand pristine, well-oxygenated water, so that you’ll must carry on high of tank upkeep.

We suggest weekly partial water modifications of round 30% for these fish, and also you’ll must vacuum the substrate to do away with waste and uneaten fish meals. Use a magnetic algae cleaner to clear your viewing panes, however depart the biofilm intact in your decorations.

You may also wish to add just a few bottom-dwelling tank cleaners to assist hold the atmosphere tidy and free from an excessive amount of natural waste. Nevertheless, don’t add the cleanup crew till your eel is settled in and is consuming nicely.

Well being and Illness

Indicators of Good Well being

Tire Observe eels are nocturnal, rising from their hiding locations below cowl of darkness to hunt and feed. These fish prefer to burrow into the substrate and conceal in caves and amongst dense crops.

Purple Flags

When you see your eels round in the course of the daytime, that might point out an issue.

Tire Observe eels sometimes solely must eat a few occasions every week. Nevertheless, in case your eels refuse to eat, that may very well be an indication that your pets are being affected by a illness or attacked by parasites.

Different apparent indicators of sickness embody purple patches on the pores and skin, ulcers, lumps, lethargy, and hiding away for lengthy durations in the identical place.

What Illnesses Can Have an effect on Tire Observe Eels?

Tire Track Eels

Because of their tiny scales, Tire Observe eels will be very vulnerable to illnesses attributable to fungus and parasites, and most specimens on the market in fish shops are wild-caught. For that motive, we suggest inserting these fish in a quarantine tank for at the very least three weeks earlier than you introduce them to an current tank.

As well as, Tire Observe eels are extremely delicate to lots of the fish drugs which can be used to deal with frequent illnesses. For that motive, you’ll want a separate hospital tank to deal with any sick fish.

Delicate Fish

Tire Observe eels are extremely delicate to environmental modifications they usually can turn into careworn very simply. As with all fish species, stress impacts the eel’s immune system, leaving the creature weakened and extra susceptible to illness.

Be extraordinarily cautious when netting your eels, as they’ve delicate pores and skin, and scrapes and minor abrasions will make the eels much more vulnerable to illness.


Most likely the most typical fish illness that impacts Tire Observe eels is White Spot Disease or Ich, (Ichthyophthirius).

The Ich parasite assaults virtually all freshwater aquarium fish species, and there’s additionally a saltwater type of the illness, too. Ich lives in most wholesome aquariums, the place it waits for an opportunity to assault weak or injured fish. Eels are sometimes extremely careworn and weak when first launched to the tank, so Ich could be a large downside for them.

Indicators Of Ich

The basic indicators of White Spot illness that your eels will show embody flicking and rubbing their our bodies towards the substrate, decorations, and crops in an try to alleviate the irritation attributable to the parasites.

After just a few days, you’ll discover a rash of tiny white spots like salt grains throughout the eel’s physique and fins. Your eels may turn into torpid, breathe extra quickly than standard, and seem typically unwell.

Treating Ich

As we talked about earlier on this article, eels are extraordinarily delicate to the medicine used to deal with Ich, and also you’ll most likely want to make use of simply half the producer’s beneficial dose when treating them.

To be on the secure facet, ask the specialists at your native fish retailer for his or her recommendation earlier than treating your eels.

Can I Breed Tire Observe Eels?

It’s not thought that Tire Observe eels have been bred efficiently in captivity, largely due to their dimension and aggressive nature.

So, many of the specimens you discover in pet shops are wild-caught. Thankfully, the species is just not thought-about to be in danger, they usually breed abundantly within the wild.


Regardless of their unique look, Tire Observe eels are extensively accessible in pet shops all over the world, the place they promote for upward of $20, relying on the specimen’s dimension and markings.

Last Ideas

I hope you loved our information to the unique, stunning Tire Observe eel. When you discovered the data useful, please share the article.

Tire Observe eels are considerably territorial and belligerent towards their very own form, so we suggest holding just one specimen except you may have an enormous aquarium with loads of hiding locations the place the eels can retreat to in the event that they wish to.

That stated, these spiny eels can stay in a neighborhood tank with bigger fish and invertebrates that gained’t be seen by the creatures as meals.

Most Tire Observe eels are wild-caught and plenty of don’t settle nicely in a captive atmosphere. So, we suggest these fish for skilled hobbyists quite than newbie fish keepers.

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