The Fire eel is an interesting exotic fish to keep. With its unique appearance, it is truly a joy to look at! Keeping a Fire eel can be tough but let us make it fun! Let us together explore the 99 facts about FIRE EELS that will surely blow your mind!

  1. A Fire eel got its name because it resembles a true eel!
  2. Even with snake like body and pointed snout, the Fire eel has nothing in common with eels.
  3. Fire eel is a popular tank and commercial fish.
  4. The fire eel is not a true eel! It is a fish which is extremely elongated body and distinctive pointed snout combined with underslung mouth.
  5. Fire eel is part of a group of fishes called spiny eels that also includes tire track and peacock eels.
  6. Fire eel has many small dorsal spines that precede its dorsal fin.
  7. A Fire eel’s body is laterally compressed and flattens as it joins the caudal fin and forms an extended tail.
  8. In dark brown or dark grey, the fire eel’s base coloring is indeed stunning and its belly is generally a lighter shade of the same color.
  9. There are also several bright red lateral stripes and spots that are visible in the Fire eel’s body. These stripes and spots may vary in intensity depending on the age and condition of the Fire eel.
  10. Young Fire eel has markings that are yellow and amber and these markings are changing to a deep red in larger Fire eel. Often the anal, pectoral, and dorsal fins of a fire eel have a red edging.
  11. Fire eel is known to be the largest species in its family and can reach up to 1 m (3.3 ft).
  12. Fire eel dwells in freshwaters of Indonesia, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Pakistan, Burma, Thailand, Malaysia and other countries of South-East Asia.
  13. Slow-moving rivers and flood plains are the known natural habitats of a fire eel.
  14. This fishes are known to be bottom-dwellers and found in places with a muddy bottom.
  15. Fire eels mostly spend their time buried in the riverbed.
  16. While being buried in the river bed, fire eels loves to leave their snout visible.
  17. Fire eel feeds on invertebrates like insect larvae, worms, smaller fish, plant matter, and detritus.
  18. A Fire eel in captivity rarely eat plant matter.
  19. Fire eels are mainly encountered in slow muddy rivers and lakes.
  20. In Asia, fire eels can be eaten and are considered as highly prized species.
  21. Beginner aquarists often consider fire eels as troublemaker because the risk to take in keeping its spines on the dorsal fin.
  22. Fire eel can be dangerous if not handle with care!
  23.  Fire eels can be aggressive and fast to escape when caught and it may hurt any human who is holding it with its spines.
  24. The Fire eel’s spines are not poisonous but the slime it produce is very toxic.
  25. In an unfortunate event that the fire eel bites a person, it is advisable to apply antiseptic to the wound immediately.
  26. Do not touch or handle the Fire eel if you are a beginner and unexperienced.
  27. The Fire eel has an appearance like an eel and it has big eyes.
  28. The body of a Fire eel is covered with small scales.  
  29. Near the anterior border of the Fire eel’s eye, there are its posterior nostrils.
  30. When looking for food, fire eel prefer to go to the bottom with a sensitive fleshy outgrowth on its snout.
  31. At the end of long nose appendage of a Fire eel, there are two tabulated nostrils.
  32. Due to the distinct characteristic of a fire eel, it is often referred to be part of the Mastacembelidae family.
  33. The Fire eel has well developed air-bladder as well as tail and pectoral fins.
  34. The dorsal fin of a Fire eel is divided into two parts.
  35. The anal and dorsal fins of a Fire eel are narrow and long. Both are located at the near end of a caudal fin.
  36. Fire eel has no abdominal fins!
  37. Most Fire eel’s coloring is dark brown.
  38. In some instances, there are four bright red or orange lateral stripes consist of spots and small lines along the body of a Fire eel.
  39. The color intensity of the spots found on a Fire eel varies depending on the age and tank conditions.
  40.  The anal, dorsal and pectoral fins of a Fire eel has red edges.
  41. In the wild, the Fire eel may reach 1 m and in captivity, it can reach up to 0.5 m long.
  42. Fire eels can live up to 10 years and more!
  43. Fire eels are not demanding but note that, it is a predator fish!
  44. The size of a Fire eel can be large so it might be advisable to impose restrictions on keeping it in a tank.
  45. Fire eels need a very spacious tank.
  46. It is recommended to combine them with tank mates that are large enough to not be treated as food.
  47. The scientific name of a Fire eel is “Mastacembelus erythrotaenia”
  48. The Fire eel is a proud member of the “Mastacembelidae Family”
  49. Fire eel is also called as the “Red fire eel” and “Fire track eel”.
  50. The ease of keeping a Fire eel is in medium level.
  51. It is recommended to have a tank with 200 liters (52 gallons) capacity.
  52. The temperament of a Fire eel is predatory.
  53. The tank type ideal for Fire eels are a community of large fishes.
  54. The Fire eel has an Omnivorous diet.
  55. The ideal temperature of a Fire eel is 24-28 °C (75-82°F).
  56. The recommended pH of a Fire eel is 6.8-7.5
  57. Water hardness should be 6–15 dGH to be able to keep a healthy Fire eel!
  58. Fire eel can grow up to 1 m (3.3 ft)!
  59. To keep one adult species of the fish you will need a tank larger than 350 liters (77 gallons), with 5 cm (2 in) thick sandy bottom and large number of shelters made of snags, flower pots, bunches of coarse leaved and floating tank plants, that will make the bottom a bit shadowed.
  60. Fire eel adores hiding!
  61. Fire eel likes burying itself in a sandy bottom and it is quite possible that this fish will dig some tank plant roots and damage them.
  62. Fire eel is a nocturnal kind of fish.
  63. During the day Fire eel, hides under snags and stones.
  64.  It is a must to make sure that there are no cracks in the tank otherwise fire eel will easily escape from the tank through the tiniest slit.
  65. Since the Fire eel demonstrates aggression towards its own kind, keep it alone in a tank but it may have a company of some active and peaceful tank fishes.
  66. Optimal tank water parameters for the Fire eel are the following: temperature 24-28 °C (75-82°F), pH 6.8-7.5, water hardness should be not more than 15°.
  67.  High-performance Aquarium Filter and regular water renew up to quarter of the total tank volume is a must when keeping a Fire eel.
  68. Fire eel likes it when there is some water flow in a tank.
  69. The Fire eel can be he fish is timid and it ignores its tank mates, if it can’t eat them.
  70. Fire eel maybe timid but it will still eat small fishes.
  71.  Fire eel shows aggression towards its king and it’s not recommended to keep a couple in one tank.
  72. There is no point in putting a couple of Fire eel together since it is very difficult to obtain the fish eggs.
  73. Usually Fire eel is kept together in community tank with large cichlid fishes, such as Oscar fish, Green terror, Angelfish or Arowana and Bichir.
  74. When the Fire eel recognize its owner, it can be hand feed and this usually happens quickly.
  75.  Fire eel should be fed with any live food, dry and frozen foods.
  76. In the wild, the Fire eel is a known predator and it preys on insects larvae, worms, snails and even small crabs.
  77. Unlike the male Fire eel, the female Fire eel has a paler coloring and larger in size.
  78. Fire eel is a very challenging species to breed in captivity!
  79. Some people use special hormonal injections to be able to breed a Fire eel but this doesn’t guarantee success.
  80. The Fire eel becomes reproductive at the age of two years old.
  81. To breed the Fire eel in captivity, a tank of 400 liters and more capacity is needed with a ceramic tube in it or a net stretched over the tank bottom.
  82. The following tank water parameters are optimal for the breeding of Fire eel: temperature 28-29 °C, water hardness about 10°, pH from 7 to 7,2.
  83. To create powerful aeration and filtration in the tank of Fire eels, it is best to put four sprayers in different tank corners.
  84. The Fire eel that are used for breeding should be fed with live fish food like bloodworm, tubifex and insects larvae.
  85. During breeding, the male Fire eel haunts the female Fire eel all over the tank and then catches her near the ceramic tube and squeezes up to 50 yellowish eggs from the female Fire eel.
  86. In general, through the whole spawning period the female Fire eels can lay 700 to 1000 eggs.
  87. It is advisable to decrease the lighting to its minimal after the Fire eel’s breeding value and the eggs should be processed with methylene blue.
  88. The egg stage of a Fire eel can lasts about 48-72 hours.
  89. Larvae except the Fire eel’s yolk bag have a gular sac.
  90. In 12 days,  the larvae of a Fire eel starts feeding!
  91. It is recommended to have a Brine shrimp as the Fire eel’s first food.
  92. Small portions of food for the Fire eel should be put in several places of the tank 5-6 times a day.
  93. Young Fire eel can grow fast! It can grow from 4.5 cm up to 7 cm in a month!
  94. It is recommended to turn off the filter to avoid injury if there is a presence of a Young Fire eel.
  95. Daily water renew (up to 10%) is a must in a Fire eel’s tank!
  96. Removing Metabolic byproducts and food leftovers immediately in the Fire eel’s environment is a must!
  97. Young Fire eels can be put into ornamental tanks with bottom substrate layer that doesn’t exceed 3 cm.
  98. It is a must for keeping a Fire eel to turn the bottom substrate at least once in a month.
  99. Young Fire eels that are two weeks old tend to start getting coloring like spots and lines. Later on, the young Fire eel’s body gets darker.

Kudos! You made it! These facts may come in handy when you are planning to keep a Fire eel. Note that, there are no facts that can really describe how great it is to keep a Fire eel. May these facts guide you to be brave in keeping a true firecracker in the mirror, the Fire eel!

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