Common Name: Frecklefin Spiny Eel
Scientific Name: Macrognathus maculatus
Other Names: Maculated Spiny Eel, Spotfin Spiny Eel
The Frecklefin Spiny Eel is characterized by its elongated, slender body and distinctive dorsal fin, which is dotted with a series of spines. As its name suggests, the Frecklefin Spiny Eel has a series of freckle-like spots, primarily towards the tail fin, which stand out against its primarily light-brown to olive body coloration. Their intricate pattern and elongated shape make them a fascinating choice for aquarists.
Habitat and Distribution: Originating from Southeast Asia, specifically in regions of Thailand, the Frecklefin Spiny Eel inhabits freshwater streams, rivers, and lakes, often with muddy or sandy substrates. The eel's slender and flexible body allows it to easily maneuver through dense vegetation and even burrow into the substrate.
Size and Lifespan: In the wild and in captivity, the Frecklefin Spiny Eel can reach lengths of up to 10 inches. With adequate care, they can have a lifespan ranging from 5 to 8 years.
Diet and Behavior: Predominantly carnivorous, they feed on small invertebrates, crustaceans, and worms in their natural habitat. In a home aquarium, a diet of frozen bloodworms, brine shrimp, and other protein-rich foods is ideal. They are nocturnal hunters, spending much of the day hiding and becoming active during the evening.
Breeding and Reproduction: Breeding in a home aquarium is quite challenging and not well-documented. In the wild, they likely lay eggs in concealed areas or burrows, with both parents potentially guarding the nest.
Aquarium Care and Tank Requirements: A minimum of a 40-gallon tank is recommended to provide ample space. A soft substrate like sand is necessary for their burrowing habits. Additionally, the aquarium should be equipped with hiding spots such as caves, driftwood, and dense vegetation. They do best in well-oxygenated water with gentle flow.
Ideal Tank Mates: Peaceful by nature, they should be kept with non-aggressive tank mates of similar or larger size to prevent them from becoming prey. Aggressive or very active fish might stress them. It's best to avoid keeping them with very small fish or invertebrates.
Difficulty Level: Intermediate. While they are hardy and adaptable, their specific care requirements, such as burrowing needs and nocturnal nature, can be challenging for novice aquarists.
- Temperature: 73-82°F (23-28°C)
- pH: 6.0-7.5
- General Hardness (GH): 5-12 dGH
- Carbonate Hardness (KH): 4-10 dKH
- Ammonia: 0 ppm
- Nitrite: 0 ppm
- Nitrate: <20 ppm
- The Frecklefin Spiny Eel is named for its unique spotted pattern.
- They can be shy initially when introduced to a new environment but will become more active and curious once acclimated.
- It's essential to have a secure lid on their tank, as they can be potential escape artists, especially when startled.
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