Black spotted garden eels can look just like plants sticking out of the sandy bottom of the ocean and can be mistaken for a bed of seagrass moving in the current of the water by divers. These colonies of spotted eels can be upwards of thousands at a time.
Most of their lives they live in the sand bottom of the sea. They build their homes, these burrows, by digging their strong tail into the sand. They emit a slimy mucus that strengthens the sand and prevents it from caving in. These burrows act as safety houses because when the eel is confronted with a potential enemy they swim tail-first into their burrow and hide.
In the aquarium make sure you give them a thick layer of sand of at least 20 cm deep in order for them to dig in comfortably. They do best in a group of at least 3, but preferably keep 5 and more. Keep them in an aquarium with non-aggressive fish, otherwise their food will be taken away before they get a chance to eat as they are known to be shy and finicky eaters. They need to eat multiple times a day to thrive. They will eat zooplankton and live artemia in the beginning and then later you can get them used to frozen foods.
Spotted garden eels live most of their lives in these self-made burrows, which they will only leave to find mating partners during spawning season. Males are known to fight each other over territory or other females. They have a similar courtship ritual to seahorses, they entwine their upper bodies together while having the bottom parts separately in their own individual burrows. This mating show can last for hours. They release their fertilized eggs into open water that hover away over the bottom of the ocean with the current. When they hatch the young eels swim freely, until they are big enough to dig their own home in the sand.
In conclusion, another interesting and entertaining marine species for the home aquarium guaranteed of lots of hours of viewing pleasure!
|Heteroconger hassi||Up to 40 cm.|
|West and East Indian ocean, Australia and Indonesia, and New Caledonia, Red Sea and East Africa||Temperature: 23 – 28 °C|
Sg: 1.020 – 1.025
|They look like curious worm-like creatures sticking their head out of the sand but they are in fact a species of eels.|