In the aquarium, eels can be fed a varied diet of fresh and frozen meaty foods like shrimp, crabs, scallops, and similar items. It is not unusual for an eel to go on a "hunger strike" and not feed for several weeks at a time, especially after a stressful event like being moved to a new home. It is best to continue offering foods until the eel chooses to feed, but be sure to remove uneaten food items; live feeders or appetite stimulants may encourage feeding. Most eels, especially larger individuals, only need to be feed every two to three days.
May spend most of its time hiding, provide plenty of rockwork and caves; aggression varies; may try to eat small fish and crustaceans; escape artists.
Marine eels hold a special fascination for aquarists, but their care requirements often make them poor choices for most home aquariums. Most grow too large for even very large tanks, and keeping up with water chemistry and dietary needs can quickly become too much. It's important to research the mature size and habits of any particular species you may be considering before purchasing any eel.
Though eels may appear timid and inactive, most of the eels commonly offered in the aquarium trade are predators, and their capacity for speed and agility should not be underestimated. Eels tend to establish a "home base", spending much of their time peering into the aquarium from a hole or cave in the rock. They have poor eyesight, but they "see" with their keen senses of smell and taste. They usually lay with their mouths open, displaying their impressive rows of teeth, taking in the water to sense if food is near. They tend to be more active at night than in the daytime, but if they smell food in the water, they can become rather erratic and unpredictable.
Many eels are territorial and aggressive, so they usually cannot be kept together in an aquarium. They will not bother corals or stationary inverts, although they may topple rock and coral colonies as they move around the tank. Their natural diet includes smaller fish and invertebrates like crabs and shrimp; tankmates, should be chosen carefully since an eel may prey on smaller tankmates.
If you do choose to keep a marine eel in your home aquarium, avoid hand-feeding eels and be aware of the eel's location when feeding and maintaining the tank. While eels are not venomous, their mouths are full of bacteria and even minor bites may become infected. The tank should be covered tightly (weights or lid locks may be necessary for larger eels), as eels are experts at escaping from aquariums.
We always suggest that you do further research before adding a new pet to your tank. What we have provided for you are guidelines and suggestions. If you have any further questions or concerns, please contact our fish room at 717-299-5691 ext. 1213 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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