Video of Spotted Garden Eels at feeding time in author’s aquarium.
Shot of author’s garden eel aquarium showing large open sandy area dedicated to the six Spotted Garden Eels residing in the display.
When at rest, Miguel discharges very little voltage. But whenever he’s moving or feeding….ZAP! ZAP! ZAP!....this display sounds like a thunderstorm. And, that’s when a light bulb appeared overhead. If an Electric Eel’s energy can be monitored and represented on a display in the Aquarium, why not harness this flow of extra electrons to spark conversations about eels, freshwater fishes and energy conservation with a worldwide audience via Twitter?
Probes in the water detect the Electric Eel’s discharges. The leads are connected to an amplifier and LED meter. Even though the eel doesn’t power this system, the display helps Aquarium guests better understand how Electric Eels vary their underwater bursts of electricity.
Walker, Braz. 1976. The spiny eels. Aquarium News Journal5:2/76.
It is virtually unheard of for eels to breed in the home aquarium.
American Eels are easy to keep in the aquarium as long as they are kept the aquarium. Eels are amazing escape artists. By day, captive eels usually remain buried in the aquarium substrate, or under rocks or other ornaments. By night, they are restlessly active, and will try to eel their way out of the tank or up filter intake tubes, where they risk getting mangled by the filter's impeller blades. Eels are also fond of swimming up the outflow of "bio-wheel"-type filters and into the filter chamber. To prevent escape, the aquarium should be covered with a tight-fitting hood or canopy. If the cover includes a plastic strip that attaches at the rear, make sure that the strip is completely flush with the top of the aquarium and not turned up over tubes, air hoses, and other aquarium items that enter the tank. Cut openings in the plastic strip to fit snugly around tubes and hoses; should any openings remain, plug them with filter floss as if you were adding insulation to a drafty window or door. Fry guards are a must for filter intake tubes. Avoid the use of undergravel filters, since eels will swim down the lift tubes and get trapped under the filter plate. And if it doesn't interfere with tank aesthetics, an added precaution is to lower the water level a few inches from the top. I'm sad to confess that nearly every eel I've kept has foiled my attempts to confine it. Even when I've thoroughly sealed the top of the tank, I will knock something loose during feeding or maintenance, or unintentionally leave the top open after feeding them before I go to bed. Given an opening, an eel will go through it. If an eel does not come out at feeding time, it's best to assume it has escaped. Immediately check under the aquarium stand or cabinet and the surrounding floor area, then expand the search in widening arcs away from the tank. Since eels can travel short distances across land in the wild, it may have traveled across the room. Check under rugs, floor mats, and anything else the eel could hide under. If there is another source of moisture or water in the room, like a drain pipe or a sump pump, check there. If the floor search fails, then turn off the filter and dismantle the tubes while holding them over the aquarium. Check inside filter cartridges as well. These packets often contain trapped food and provide a snug hiding place for thigmotactic eels.