Peacock Eels or scientifically called as Macrognathus siamensis, is one of the most common pet eels because of their attractive and spiny look. It is quite easy to understand why they’re called ‘peacock eel’, as the decorative ‘eye spots’ in their back are easy to notice. They can have three to six eye spots. There are many variations of this eel, and they differ in colors and design patters on their skin, depending on their place of origin. However, they’re predominantly light brown in color, with a stripe of thin pale yellow line that runs from its eyes straight to the base of its tail. Their eyespots runs from their upper back down to the base of their dorsal fin. They are also known by other names, such as Peacock Spiny Eel, Spot-Finned Spiny Eel, Siamese Spiny Eel, and Striped Peacock Eel.
Peacock eels are not actually Eels; rather, they’re fish that resembles eels. They’re actually missing two things that will make them eels – bones such as real teeth and they have so many fins, which is a characteristic of a fish. Their elongated body however, gives them the title of ‘eel’. Unlike most eels and fish with ‘eel’ in their name, they don’t usually get too big, with adults reaching just under a foot in length.
Peacock Eels are tropical fish found in Asia, especially in Maeklong, Charo Phraya, Peninsular and Southeast Thailand. They live in slow-moving rivers with thick vegetation, as well as flooded fields with still waters. As with many eels, they’re nocturnal animals, and they bury themselves (except their head) in fine sands and silts throughout the day. They only emerge at night to feed on worms, crustaceans and insect larvae.
Peacock Eel Habitat
Their relatively small size, beautiful colors and patterns, and being able to share the same tank with other aquarium animals made them a favorite choice among aquarists and enthusiasts. They’re great in long and large aquariums, can easily adapt and easy to feed. They’re friendly, and they get along with others of its kind, as long as they’re about the same size. However, don’t get along with other species of eels.
Owning Peacock Eel as a Pet
A 29-gallon aquarium can suffice, but preferably 55 gallons or more if you plan to have them share their aquarium with other fishes. A good rule of thumb is a gallon for every inch of full-grown eel. Which means a 10-inch eel will need a 20-gallon tank.
Also, make sure your aquarium has a tightly-sealed lid, as they are very capable of jumping out.
The aquarium should also be well-oxygenated and frequent water change of about 30% of the water volume once a week helps maintaining the right water condition for this pet.
When cleaning, peacock eel owners should have aquarium vacuum cleaners to take out food debris and waste from the tank. However, experts suggest leaving biofilm on décor and rocks. Thus, the best option out there is a magnet algae cleaner.
They also love a dimly-lit aquarium, so if your tank is in a well-lit room in your house, you better provide floating plants to help block out the light.
Substrate and Hiding Places
For the substrate, they prefer sand or fine gravel, as they’re rock dwellers in nature and love to burrow to the sand. Also, it’s good to put plenty of hiding places inside your aquarium, such as rockwork, large stones, etc. Also, because they’re nocturnal, you need to provide plenty of hiding places, such as caves.