For the first time we have obtained this highly interesting, small spiny eel. The species rarely grows larger than 20 cm and inhabits China and parts of Vietnam. According to its origin, care in unheated aquariums is recommended. In Sinobdella the dorsal, caudal and anal fins are fused together, in Asian spiny eels this is otherwise a sign of large species. From all other spiny eels, the animals differ in the peculiar nose/nozzle region. For us aquarists, the shining white edge of the anal fin is an eye-catching characteristic.
The coloration of S. sinensis (there is only one species in the genus) is individually very variable. Among each other, the animals are peaceful, as one knows this from spiny eels generally. Small fishes are potential prey, other, bigger species are not considered further. One should choose soft sand as ground, in which the spiny eels like to dig themselves. If this possibility is missing, the spiny eels tend to get skin infections. Frozen and live food of suitable size is taken, especially worm food. We assume that settled animals also feed on granules, but there is still a lack of experience.
For our customers: the animals have code 455233 on our stocklist. Please note that we only supply wholesale.
We import the beautiful fire eel, Mastacembelus erythrotaenia, on a regular basis from Indonesia, usually large specimens, 30-60 cm long. These fish are about as thick as a forearm. Most recently we obtained again four specimens, 50-60 cm long. However, two of them looked totally different. They lack completely the red stripes and spots which are so characteristic for M. erythrotaenia.
We asked Ralf Britz, researcher at the Natural History Museum, London, and one of the leading specialists for that group of fish, for his opinion. He answered that most probably our new imports are Mastacembelus unicolor or – at least – what currently is thought to be M. unicolor. Our sincere thanks once more to London!
The species Mastacembelus unicolor has been described scientifically back in 1831 by Cuvier. This description based on unpublished data and specimens collected by the naturalists Kuhl and van Hasselt, who died at an early age in 1821 and 1823 in Java. They left an important collection of fishes and accurate drawings of fish. Such a drawing also exists of Mastacembelus unicolor. One can clearly recognize the unusual stripe over the pectoral fin and the white seam running along the whole of the dorsal, caudal, and ventral fins. So our new imports – obviously a pair – look at least very, very similar to M. unicolor.
Our pair currently has a light murky skin, but we are sure this will vanish after the fish have settled. Hopefully we are able to import more of these beautiful animals!
For our customers: the fish have code 426726 on our stocklist. Please note that we exclusively supply the wholesale trade.
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.
We could import this new discovery – a spiny eel – for the first time now from Burma. Initially I thought it would be a member of the M.-armatus-group, but the specialist for spiny eels, Ralf Britz from Natural History Museum in London led me to the idea to take a closer look on the caudal fin. Indeed this fin is fairly separated from the dorsal and the anal fin in Mastacembelus sp. „Nargis“ , while it is merged with these fins in the M.-armatus-group. Ralf thinks that M. sp. Nargis is closest to M. caudiocellatus, but of course he also says that more and detailed observations have to be done to proof this. In the meantime it is best to name the fish Mastacembelus sp. „Nargis“.
It is much likely that Mastacembelus sp. „Nargis“ belongs to the medium sized members of the genus and will attain a maximum length of about 25 cm or so. Our (short) experience with the fish shows that it is as peaceful, gregarious and secretly as one expects from a member of this relationship.
For our customers: the fish have code 426215 on our stocklist. Please note that we exclusively supply the wholesale trade. Available in limited numbers only!
Text & photos: Frank Schäfer