Animal Stories - Zig Zag Eel

Animal-World Information about: Zig Zag Eel

The Zig Zag Eel is a long time aquarium favorite, and it has been known for over 200 years!
Latest Animal Stories
Samantha T - 2008-01-27
I have bred zig zag eels, though it happened quite by accident. They had four sessions or so of babies within a month and a half period or so.
The female was rounder in the mid section but definately shorter then my male. They are very caring and were seen teaching their young to hunt blood worms in the substrate.
Some of the pieces of the puzzle to help them along was an Indian almond leaf added, and the blue light to make it seem like moonlight (the IAL was added to start conditioning my halfmoon betta male also in the tank). Also, I had gone against a lot of people's advice and had bought the second zig zag with too small a tank, the lack of space turned out to never be an issue, and the fry and parents thrived. Unfortunately my female died a few months ago (she was having some issues, almost looked like she was laboring and got something stuck, no other signs of injury or sickness, plus the tank was/is healthy). Her young and mate protected her body as I tried to remove it. They noticed her gone, as well as the fry as I had to start selling them off as they got bigger. The tank is only a 30 gallon... I thought I'd share my beginner's luck.

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  • Kevin Satterfield - 2014-10-02
    I have a few eels in my tank and have been putting together accounts of eels breeding. Please contact me at
Kate - 2012-03-25
My daughter has an eel, when is a good time to feed them since they hide all day? I haven not seen he/she eat yet. We were told to feed it either blood worms or flake food. Have been feeding it flake food because that is what the other fish eat.

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  • Jeremy Roche - 2012-03-25
    I would also try some brine shrimp. Doubt they will thrive or even eat flake.
  • Jeremy Roche - 2012-03-25
    Early morning before lights go on or at night. It will learn to eat around your schedule eventually.
  • Anonymous - 2013-08-22
    Drop bloodworms wherever it hides at dusk. These Eels won't accept flakes I have had spiny eels and never once have they accepted anything but bloodworms and tubifex worms.
Anonymous - 2013-07-01
Quick question. Can you put plecos with mastacembelus? I have a mastacembelus liberiensis in a 75 gallon tank with electric blue jack dempsey, salvini, and a firemouth. I was looking to get a bulldog pleco or a small pleco but can't find a solid answer on their compatibility with mastacembelus.

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  • Anonymous - 2013-07-02
    I was more worried about the eel. Since the eels are so sensitive and I want to know if they could harm my eel.
Amp Lacasse - 2013-03-15
Hi there I have a zig zag eel I purchased about 2 months ago, I was told it was a fire eel by the fish store at purchase but soon realized I was misinformed! Regardless of that point my eel is about 5' in length and I am looking to relocate my family and am wondering the best way to transport the eel. The drive will be at least 17 hours up to about 30 hours depending on the destination my job takes me. So would it be best to transport my tank with my family and I in our vehicle so I can keep everything plugged into a powerful adapter to keep everything running or will the eel survive the drive in a trailer? To be honest I have become quite attached to the eel and would hate for anything to happen on the drive! P.S the eel is currently in a 20g tank so it would be quite easy to transport in my family vehicle but will be moving him to a 55g tank once moved.

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  • Jeremy Roche - 2013-03-16
    I would use a bucket in car to stay warm and get a battery powered pump with airstones.
  • Amp Lacasse - 2013-03-16
    Thank you ill try that
Anonymous - 2013-01-25
It's 45 inches it ate my tiger fish.

anonymous - 2012-12-07
I bought 2 Zig zags and introduced them to the tank along with: neon tetras(5 new 3 were some of the 1st i got), ghost shrimp, angle fish, ruby barbs(some of the 1st fish i had) and a snail i know they might eat the G-shrimp but anything else i should watch out for? (eels attacking/eating anyone else)

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  • Jeremy Roche - 2012-12-08
    Normal best to only have one zigzag depending on the size of tank.  Your biggest problem may be them being territorial towards each other.   Make sure to have enough hiding areas so each can have their own space. As far as the other fish, these eels are normally peaceful but will sometimes grab a fish small enough to fit in their mouth.The ghost shrimp will most likely be eaten as they spend time on the bottom.  The others are really to fast moving and tend to stay out of the eels territory anyways.

Anonymous - 2012-10-09
My zig zag has been in a new tank for 3 weeks. The tank has devoloped brown alge and I came home tonight to find him dying. He is covered in a light fuzz and has what look like red discolouring on half his body. He is still alive(just) but limp. What could have happened?

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  • Jeremy Roche - 2012-10-10
    Tank changes are tough on any fish.  Was the tank cycled? Try doing a really good cleaning.  Maybe even set up a medicated hospital tank.
  • Anonymous - 2012-10-10
    He died last night not long after my question Jeremy. My young son is heartbroken. My new tank has been up for over 3 weeks and he had been in there for around 15 days. He was fine until yesterday as the day before he had eaten blood worms. The tank is cycled and I cleaned the glass, plants and hoovered the gravel and changed about 10 % water last night. The brown alge is still covering everthing. I have 10 other fish in there and they seem fine. Any ideas what I can do. Thanks
  • Jeremy Roche - 2012-10-10
    Sorry to hear that you lost the fish.  Usually caused by Inadequate lighting , low oxygen, or excess silicates and  nitrates, all common on a tank of this age.  All will clear its self out as tank ages.  Adding a pleco will help.  Add more lighting and some air stones.  Probably new tank conditions rather then algae. eels can be sensitive.  The tank will be fine as it cycles more as it sounds like you are doing the right things!


  • Anonymous - 2012-10-12
    Jeremy My sucker fish died yesterday as well. Its awful and dread getting up to look in the mornings. All fish are well today but I cleaned the tank again as the alge is still there. I hope I get the hang of this soon as its bloody upsetting. Thanks
Tavo - 2012-11-29
Hi, I got a zigzag eel 2 weeks ago and the pet shop told me it will live with my other fish. I have molly and blue sharkfish in my tank. Today I found one of my mollys dead with its eyes and tail missing. Would that be from the eel? Should I take the eel back? Thanks

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  • Jeremy Roche - 2012-11-29
    These eels are normally peaceful.  They will eat fish that will fit in their mouth though.  So it is possible.  It could be your shark though.
Anonymous - 2008-03-21
I have one zigzag eel. It is about three inches right now. I just bought it a couple of days ago and it already lets me hand feed it. I have a tank around 25 gallons hoping that it will work, but I know I have to buy a bigger tank at one point. I have only had for like one day but I would recommend it.

sian ellis - 2012-04-07
Hi there

My daughter bought a zig zag eel two days ago at the market - It is for my youngest sons community aquarium. I've just looked it up and seen that it needs these blood worms (not available in zimbabwe!) or earthworms, which I can get (the ones we use to fish with?) Should I just rinse them off then feed it? I see that its best to feed them at dusk - please confirm. Any advice would be greatly appreciated as I'm just used to my ordinary community tank fish - flake food with occasional daphnia. A thought - could i feed it flying ants (easily available in the rainy season here) or some minced beef? Let me know and thanks for the informative forum very interesting. Sian in Harare, Zim

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  • Anonymous - 2012-11-12
    Ummm, I have read that you can feed them earth worms but I would cut them in half depending on the eel's size. I think it would be safe to wash them off first though
  • Jeremy Roche - 2012-11-12
    Always clean anything foreign being placed in the tank.  I have feed my tank ants in the past.  Not sure they would be large enough and actually sink to get to the eels.  Beef of any kind is bad.  Fish do not have the ability to properly digest red meat.