Animal Stories - Peacock Eel

Animal-World Information about: Peacock Eel

The Peacock Spiny Eel with its six attractive 'eyespots' is a very handsome freshwater eel!
Latest Animal Stories
Trish Young - 2011-01-24
I have a gold eel anyone know what breed it is?

JJ - 2010-09-06
Hi I just purchased a peacock eel. Have had it about a week. I am catching it cleaning the fins off of my veil angelfish. And now I notice a sailfin molly fin shredded. It follows the angelfish around and peels the fin to the bone. Has anyone seen this?

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  • T - 2011-01-16
    Peacock eels are carnivorous they love to nip and chase at live fish. They are known to stalk smaller fish or ambush them after hiding in the gravel or sand. Put ghost shrimp in your tank it will help occupy his mind this does not mean he will stop it's in his nature to do so.
Amanda Frye - 2010-12-17
I just bought my peacock eel a day ago and I see it a lot... it seems to be like.. rubbing up against everything in the tank. I was wondering how many times a day that I should feed it? The store recommended frozen brine shrimp because it's easy for them to digest. So I bought that and I've been mixing it with warm water and taking the food to it with a turkey baster. I see him most when I have just gotten back from some place or when I just wake up. Any information or tips you could send my way would be greatly appreciated, I want my eel to have the best possible life with my other fish and I'm extremely attached to him so thanks in advance :)

Michelle - 2010-11-06
We have a peacock eel. He has been in our tank for about 6 months. In the last few days he has been turning upside down and looks dead. When I try to fish him out he flips over and swims away only to turn belly up in a few minutes. This is my first tank and I am not very fish savvy. Any ideas would be nice. Also my water smells like a swamp and looks kind of greenish, but when I test it everything is within normal limits. I have taken samples to petsmart and they also say everything is fine.

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  • Angela - 2010-12-03
    Your tank could be going through new tank syndrome, or, a type of algae is making the water green. This will not clear up on its own. Your'e going to have to clean out your aquarium and everything in it and cycle your tank all over again unfortunately. This takes a month, so you're going to have to set up a new tank (cycle that one too. A tank that isn't cycled is dangerous for fish. The good bacteria hasn't established yet and without the bacteria, the ammonia and nitrates will build up and kill your fish). Your eel might have dropsy (I believe that's what it's called). It's an illness. Normal healthy fish don't flip upside down for no reason. There isn't really much you can do. But just cycle your tank over again. It'll fix your water problems.
  • Anonymous - 2010-12-17
    Hello my name is Shaun and I have been dealing with different fish for a few years. If your eel gets over stressed when putting him in a new tank they release an acid in their body that can cause a break down of brain cells causing a break down in communication between brain and body. Keep it swimming around rightside up and it should rebuild this body-brain communication.
Jeremiah - 2010-03-14
We bought a Peacock Eel about a year ago. He quickly burried into the rocks, and for the first 3 months or so we would only catch glimpses of him (head or tail sticking out of the rocks). Then he dissapeared for 8 or 9 months, during which time we ceased to feed him as we figured he had escaped and been consumed by a dog.
He just re-appeared 2 weeks ago and has enjoyed swimming above ground every day since. He even plays in the bubbles and swims around during the day. He does not seem stressed, but I am not sure what to think now.
I have been feeding him fresh frozen brine shrimp every couple of days (now that I know he is around). The tank is home to several tropical semi-aggressive fish and two two large plecostomuses (sucker fish?).
Does anyone have any thoughts on the best way to feed him? Also, he seems to enjoy one farily exposed rock, and I am wondering if we should find him a better hiding spot. Any thoughts?

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  • Editor's Note - 2010-03-15
    Hi Jeremiah,
    You can always offer more hiding places, but if he seems comfortable with the one he's got, I wouldn't disturb it. It sounds like feeding him the brine shrimp is working out, are you afraid he's not getting enough because of the semi-aggressive fish?
  • Dillon - 2010-03-17
    Ghost shrimp are always a good option, they're fairly cheap (often .39 each) and will hold him for a while. Blood worms are always good as well. They come in the "Lunch Box" and my advice is, let the cube of blood worms dissolve into a cup of water, then use a turkey baster to spray the blood worms into the fish tank. I also suggest that if you do the said method, you do it continuously in the same spot, and eventually he will migrate there to eat. Otherwise, they'll hide and prey on your fish or the babies the fish may or may not have. Also, if he is around the rock he likes it, don't change it now. They do like pipe shaped objects, caverns, and tunnels; any will work for him. For example, I have a Bhudda Head with large holes in the back of it, and on the front, but he'd rather hang out in a plastic plant I have. It all depends on his liking.

    Hope this helps,

  • samuel - 2010-03-22
    I just bought a striped peacock and it seems to be doing great. It was readily feeding on frozen brine shrimp and bloodworms within just a couple hours of introducing it into the tank. Gonna try feeding it some beefheart to beef it up. But yeah, just throw a couple of cubes in the tank and it should swim around the tank sucking them up off the floor.
  • brent warner - 2010-11-03
    I have two peacock eels and a zig zag eel I feed them whole earth worms if you know where he is at drop a worm right where he can see it and it'll go at it like crazy they love earth worms.
  • April - 2010-11-18
    Well mine eats like a horse lol, goes through about 2 oz of blood worms every 4 days! And he is very friendly and smart! I use a weighted wide shallow cup to put live blood worms in at the bottom of the tank, I always put it in the same spot and he caught onto that. So he always goes back to that spot when he is hungry I can put my hand in to settle the cup in and he stays there patiently waiting and nudges my hand super cute I've even hand fed him before. And mine has like 5 really good hiding spots but he prefers to stay in a fake log that you can see into. I think it just depends on the eel.
Greg - 2010-11-17
I bought a peacock eel about 3 months ago they are darling pets. However they are escape artists. One day I decided to buy some blood worms and brine shrimp to feed him and my fire Eel I have a 55gal a 125 gal and a 29 gal tank he and the fire Eel stay in the 55gal. When I came back the peacock was gone. At first I thought the fire Eel had done him in. Then I thought back when the Fire Eel tried to escape and ended up in the filter perfectly fine. I checked the filter and yeah the peacock was there in the filter I tried to scoop him out and he wiggled and fell out scarring his side he died soon after. If you want to know what they like to eat go to wal-mart and get bass worms they go crazy over those and they are cheap!)

JT - 2010-04-05
The fish in the picture is not a peacock eel, it is a tire track eel (Mastacembelus armatus) which can potentially grow to more than 36 inches. I have one with a very similar pattern that is currently about 13 inches and still growing at about an inch per month.

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  • Editor's Note - 2010-04-05
    Actually, the one pictured is a Peacock Eel, though not an overly pronounced eye spot pattern. This is probably because of its age. It is still doing well, and is now about 18 years old and it is about 10" long.

    Its common name the 'Peacock' Eel is derived from the approximately 3 to 6 ocelli or 'eyespots' found along the base of the dorsal fin. This fish will only reach about 10" (25 cm).

    Due to yours already being 13" long, it is more likely a Tire Track or a Zig Zag Eel.

    The Tire Track Eel has a series of irregular dark markings along the entire length of its body, reaching from the top of its back down to its belly. And yes, the Tire Track Eel can reach up to 35 inches (90 cm).

    The Zig Zag Eel is patterned with a series of irregular dark markings, but the pattern is only on the upper two thirds of the body leaving the lower portion mostly plain. It also grows up to 35 inches (90 cm).
  • JT - 2010-04-19
    I know for a fact that it is not a peacock eel. I guess it is possible that it has some type of dwarfism (though I am doubtful that this is the case), but at that age it should be around 36"+. btw, tire tracks can get to more than 35 inches, I have seen them up to 40 inches. Anyway, if you don't want to believe me, then I guess that's fine, but I have solid proof that it is a tire track eel, like I said before, mine is at 13 inches and has almost the exact same patterns, there is just a bit more of a zig-zag pattern to it, but it still has the spots where the zig-zags should be and lacks any pattern on the lower 2/3 of the body- this is actually a very common pattern fo tire track eels, I have seen many with the same pattern that have been up to 28 inches and still growing, so there is no way you can tell me that they were not tire tracks. If you are interested in finding out for sure (since you don't seem to believe me) then I would reccomend joining, which is a very large forum with many experienced members including a few that have degrees in marine biology and other fish/aquatic animal related majors, and I know that there are quite a few members on there who have many years of experience with spiny eels. btw, if you do decide to become a member there, you can look at my profile (my username is drgnfrc13) which includes multiple pictures of my eel so you can compare it to your eel and see that I am giving you correct information. The main reason I am so concerned about the proper identification of your fish is because this is an informational website that I know a lot of people who are new to the fish keeping hobby view to decide what fish they can keep in their tanks, and I don't want them to see this then see a fish just like it at the lfs and buying it for their ten gallon, then have it suddenly outgrow their tank within a year. I have seen far too many 20 inch fish in 12 inch wide tanks owned by people who were told they would only grow to "x" amount of inches. So please look into it, false information is worse than no information at all.
  • Editor's Note - 2010-05-04
    Thanks again for your input and concern. Your care and description information fits the Tire Track Eel very well.

    The information on this page is only about the Peacock Eel or Spot-Finned Spiny Eel, Macrognathus siamensis. These fish only reach about 11.8 inches (30 cm) in length.

    Regarding the picture, I can only tell you that the fish pictured did have the much more pronounced 'peacock' patterning when it was young. Its patterning has faded with age, yet its size is true to the species. We would love to get a picture of a specimen with a more pronounced 'peacock' patterning.
  • Hayden - 2010-09-01
    You're wrong. It is a peacock eel. It's just not a striped peacock eel. Tiretrack eels are darker in color and do not have spots, but have a pattern that somewhat resembles a tires track.. do your research before you try to outsmart one of the most informational aquarium websites.
Craig Jensen - 2010-07-11
I brought about a 7in. peacock eel home from work about a month ago. I put him in a 55 gallon tank with a couple young female Jack Dempseys, a young male Electric blue Jack Dempsey, a small high fin pleco and 2 young clown loaches. Since the JDs are still small I use this tank to grow out some plants and my eel loves them. It especially loves to lay between a log and large bunch of hornwort when its not swimming all over the tank or enjoying one of the many caves. This is eel is a great fish and my especially is not shy. Needless to say it is fast becoming one of my favorite fish.
-note- I do know how large my loaches and pleco will become. As a responsible fish keeper I have already have plans for them to get moved into a bigger tank as they start to outgrow this one.

dylan - 2010-06-06
Don't worry I have two striped peacock eels and they don't get out in my 55gallon tank trust me but they do disappear for a wile like in the sand or rock and won't see them for months on end but they show up after awhile.

KR - 2010-03-11
Got a new peacock eel recently. Typical behavior hides during the day and comes out at night. Very heatly and plump. However I found out recently that I have to go out of town for two weeks meaning she will be by herself for two weeks potentially. The employee at the pet store who is quite a spiny eel fan said she would be okay as long as I put about 1/2 Oz of live blood worms in the tank. Which was her current diet when I bought her. I am wondering if I would be wrong to take his advice and leave her for two weeks. What do you think?

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  • Dave B - 2010-03-15
    The eel should be okay for that amount of time. You can also buy one of the pyramid vacation feeders that can reduce the amount of time he goes without food. As you can see from other comments, they often go for a week or two without feeding