|Color Form:||Brown with red or orange|
|Diet:||Omnivore; bottom feeder|
|Minimum Tank Size:||80 gallons|
|Tank Set-Up:||Freshwater with plants and rocks|
|Compatibility:||Peaceful but predatory|
Fire Eels, the scientific name Mastacembelus erythrotaenia, are freshwater fish native to the river beds of Southeast Asia. Although it is not a true eel, it shares the snake-ish appearance of eels and is one of the larger aquarium inhabitants.
One important thing to recognize about Fire Eels is that there is quite a difference between Fire Eels that live in the wild and those that live in home aquariums. You can expect the Fire Eel in your home tank to grow to about 20 inches (60.8 cm) and live for about 10 years with proper care. In their natural habitat, however, Fire Eels grow to 3.3 feet (about 1 meter) and live twice as long – about 20 years!
Clearly, Fire Eels are more likely to thrive in the wild. However, in the wild, they are also more likely to be chosen for a human snack, as Fire Eels are considered to be a delicacy in Southeast Asia. Locals in Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Pakistan, and Vietnam enjoy feasting on Fire Eels.
Local fishermen would tell the hobbyist to handle Fire Eels with care since their sharp spines emit a toxic slime that you do not want to experience.
Fire Eels are true diggers and burrowers, and in their natural habitat enjoy the slow currents of lakes and rivers, where they happily nest in the mud.
As a result of their natural habitat in Southeast Asian lowland rivers, Fire Eels can tolerate myriad water parameters. Their ideal parameters are:
- Temperature: 75-82°F (24-28°C)
- pH: 6.0 to 7.5.
- GH: 6-12
What Size Aquarium Do They Need?
Fire Eels require a minimum tank size of at least 350 liters.
How Many Can Be Kept Per Gallon?
For one Fire Eel, you will need a tank that is 80 gallons.