Macrognathus aculeatus

18. April 2017

Once more we obtained from India (Bengal) wonderful Eyespot Spiny Eels. The fish are of adult size and 12-15 cm long. The only complicated thing in this species is the scientific naming. The Eyespot Spiny Eel attains a maximum length of about 20 cm and ist one of the most colourful species of all spiny eels. One should be very careful during the acclimatisation, as the fish tends to develop a fungus in small wounds, but once the fish is settled it is very hardy and long living.

Formerly it was thought that there is only one species of Macrognathus, namely Macrognathus aculeatus, with an extremely wide distribution over South and Southeast Asia. Nowadays only individuals from Indonesia are thought to belong really to M. aculeatus. The small, striped Eyespot Spiny Eel from Bengal and Bangladesh is still named „Macrognathus aculeatus“ in many books and scientific articles on freshwater fishes of the region, but it´s proper name is – according to the most recent scientific research – Macrognathus aral.

One should keep this beautiful fish in a tank with a well structured equipment – roots, stones, caves, plants – and a soft bottom. Very small fish will be eaten, but against all other fish and conspecifics the Eyespot Spiny Eels are very peaceful. Settled fish will usually accept even granulated dry food, but frozen food items (bloodworm, large Artemia etc.) should be offered, too. Eyespot Spiny Eels spawn often in aquaria; males are smaller and more dainty than the females. Astonishingly these bottom-dwelling fish prefer the roots of swimming plants to spawn in. It is most likely that this hinders the eggs to sink in the deep muddy bottom in the natural habitats of the fish where the eggs would suffer. Spiny eels do not take any further care for their eggs.

For our customers: the fish have code 425155 on our stocklist. Please note that we exclusively supply the wholesale trade.

Text & photos: Frank Schäfer