Peacock Eel (Macrognathus siamensis): Care Guide


Common Name(s)Peacock Eel
Scientific NameMacrognathus siamensis
OriginSoutheast Asia
Temperature73-82°F (23-28°C)
Size12 inches (30 cm)
Minimum Tank Size40 gallons
Food & DietCarnivorous diet (prefers live fish food)
Lifespan8-18 years
Water pH6.0-8.0
Tank MatesHatchetfish, Rainbowfish, larger Rasboras, and Swordtail Fish.
BreedingEgg spawner
DiseaseMay be susceptible to Ich and fungal infections.
Peacock Eel
Peacock Eel (Macrognathus siamensis)

Peacock Eel Facts

  • The peacock eel’s body is irregularly colored, with tones of brown, olive, and light red. The eel’s sides are coated in a hazy pattern, with yellowish dots sprinkled around the head and trunk. The color of the abdomen is more consistent and lighter than the rest of the body.
  • They normally have three to six eyespots along the upper back region of the body, which runs parallel to the dorsal fin’s bottom.
  • Peacock Eels are primarily nocturnal creatures that live in slowly moving, densely vegetated sections of rivers and flooded meadows.
  • They require clean water and are vulnerable to parasites, fungal diseases, and the copper-based drugs used to treat these conditions.
  • Peacock Eels are sensitive to changes in water quality, therefore they’re normally reserved for more experienced tropical fish keepers. They’re often bashful in an aquarium setting and take a few weeks to begin eating consistently.
  • They enjoy burrowing in the rear, therefore a sand or excellent gravel substrate, as well as several rocky caverns, driftwood roots, and potted flora for them to hide in, is beneficial.

Peacock Eel Care

The body of the Peacock Eel (Macrognathus siamensis) is elongated and has a pointed snout. The dorsal and anal fins are both prolonged to the caudal fin, which is a tiny fin. These fish can reach a length of over 12 inches (30 cm) and live for 8 to 18 years.

The Peacock Eel’s main color is light brown, with a thin pale yellow stripe extending from the eye to the tail’s base. They’re most commonly seen buried in the soft substrate with only their heads peeking out on the bottom of slow-moving or motionless waters. These locations are frequently densely forested.

These fish come from Southeast Asia’s near-stagnant bodies of water. The Mekong, Chao Phraya, and Maeklong River Basins have the highest concentration of them.

Can Peacock Eel Live in Freshwater?

It’s critical to tailor the underwater habitat to your peacock eel’s requirements. The best course of action is to create an environment that closely resembles their native environment.

Peacock eels are freshwater tropical fish native to Southeast Asia. They inhabit slow-moving rivers with abundant plant and animal life. Fortunately, these fish can withstand a broad range of conditions.

Peacock Eel Temperature

Peacock eels necessitate a unique approach and a review of basic upkeep requirements. Peacock eels prefer warm water, so keep it between 73-82°F (23-28°C).

Peacock Eel Water pH

The optimal pH for a Peacock eel is 7.0, however it can live in a pH range of 6 to 8.

Peacock Eel Size

In comparison to other tropical fish, the Peacock Eel is quite large. The average length of a peacock eel is 12 inches (30 cm).

Peacock Eel Tank Size

The recommended tank size for peacock eels is 40 gallons or more. Some hobbyists have had success with aquariums as small as 20 gallons. However, with a large fish like the peacock eel, we always recommend going bigger.

A larger tank allows you to move around more freely (resulting in better enrichment). It also offers the fish more room to grow to their full size.

Peacock Eel Food & Diet

Because peacock eels are famously picky eaters, their daily diet must be varied and tailored to each individual’s preferences. There are times when this fish will happily consume any meal one day and then refuse it the next. In addition to squid meat, a peacock eel will eat fish fillets. Use fortified dry foods or high-quality frozen products as an additional top dressing.

Peacock Eel Lifespan

Peacock Eel is an investment that will pay off in the long run. While there are no guarantees when it comes to life expectancy, the average lifespan of a peacock eel is between eight and eighteen years.

In general, clean water and a high-quality feed will help these fish reach the upper end of the life expectancy range. Poor care, on the other hand, will only raise their chances of disease and death.

Peacock Eel / Spiny Eel Care, Information and Advice – Macrognathus Siamensis

Peacock Eel Tank Mates

Peacock eels make great community fish. They’re laid-back and prefer to keep to themselves. As a result, you won’t have any problems housing them with others.

Small fish should be avoided due to their size. Peacock eels, despite their delicate demeanor, will consume tiny creatures. Neon Tetras, a common communal fish, are not an option. Snails, crabs, and other small invertebrates are in the same boat.

To protect the peace, stick to fish that are bigger than the peacock eel’s mouth.

Compatible Tank Mates

When kept in a species-only tank or a community aquarium with huge fish species that won’t be mistaken for food by the eels, peacock eels are generally calm creatures.

They can, however, easily be added to multi-species tanks. They shouldn’t be kept with little fish because they’re bigger.

Despite their loving nature, they can’t help but devour smaller animals. Hatchetfish, Rainbowfish, larger Rasboras, and Swordtail Fish are all good tankmates for the Peacock Eel.

Incompatible Tank Mates

Peacock Eels do not get along with other peacock eels, therefore just maintain one.

Peacock eels are carnivorous predators that can’t be maintained with small fish, snails, crabs, amphibians, or mollusks since they’ll end up on the menu.

Are Peacock Eels Aggressive?

Peacock eels can be hostile toward smaller fish, but they don’t fare well with species that are far more aggressive. They can make excellent tank mates if they are surrounded by the right fish.

Peacock eels get along with other peacock eels of the same breed as long as they’re of similar size.

Peacock eels can get along with peaceful fish, but you need keep an eye on them to make sure they don’t harm the less aggressive fish.

When peacock eels and their tankmates are all “semi-aggressive” fish, they are the safest.

Swordtails, rainbow fish, and ottocinclus cats are examples of fish that are safe among peacock eels.

Peacock Eel and Cichlid

Because the Blood Parrot Cichlid is a hybrid, it has sparked considerable debate among fans. Although hiding areas are required, it gets along well with other schooling fish of similar size. It prefers to hang out in the middle of the tank, occasionally colliding with the Peacock Eel on the bottom.

Peacock Eel and Cory Catfish

Corydoras get along swimmingly with Peacock Eel. They spend the majority of their time in the bottom of the tank, and they’re hardy enough to put up with a curious peacock Eel. They also come in a variety of species, so you’re sure to find one you like.

Peacock Eel and Angelfish

Despite its ferocious appetite, it is a peaceful fish. It’s also a slow-moving fish, making it vulnerable to communities of faster-moving species. It, like the Peacock Eel, moves at its own pace, making it an excellent tank companion.

Peacock Eel and Pleco

Pleco is a bad choice for Peacock Eels. While young plecos are frequently quiet and peaceful, they rarely remain so as they get older. In general, plecos do not thrive in quiet or semi-aggressive environments. If you want to keep a Common in a community tank, you should pair it with a group of aggressive cichlids such as Oscars or Green Terrors. Your pleco will develop in tandem with the rest of your raucous neighborhood.

Peacock Eel and Betta

While Peacock Eel and Betta may be compatible as tank mates as juveniles. While Bettas tend to show aggression towards other colorful fish that resembles a male Betta, this would not be an issue with Peacock Eels. They have significantly different color patterns and body shapes. However, Peacock Eel and Betta fish may not be compatible as tank mates in the long term. Due to their obvious size difference, this may stress out the Betta fish. Even if the Betta fish may not be eaten by the Peacock Eel, a full grown Peacock Eel would be too much for the Betta fish.  

Peacock Eel and Dwarf Puffer

Peacock Eel and Dwarf Puffers would not be compatible as tank mates. Due to the significant size difference, it would put the Dwarf Puffer in danger. Dwarf Puffer are small fish that only reach 1.5 inches in size. They generally swim slowly, but they become inactive at night when the Peacock Eel are actively feeding. This combination can create disturbance and stress for the Dwarf Puffer.

Peacock Eel and Neon Tetra

Neon tetras should always be kept in groups of at least a half-dozen, as they are a shoaling species that requires the company of other neon tetras. Because of their aggressive nature, Peacock Eels will not thrive in a community tank with Neon Tetra. Neon tetras will be eaten by larger Peacock Eels at the first opportunity. The general rule is that if the Peacock eel’s mouth opens wide enough to swallow the neon, it will be swallowed sooner or later.

Peacock Eel and Oscar

Peacock Eel and Oscar fish can be good tank mates. Both fish are large freshwater fish, but they inhabit different sections of the tank. Therefore, there would be minimal confrontation, even when placed in the same tank. The only thing to be aware of is that there is enough space in the aquarium for both fish.

Peacock Eel and Snails

Snails should be avoided at all costs. Peacock eels, despite their soft demeanor, will consume snails.

Peacock Eel and Tiger Barbs

They grow to be around 2 1/2 to 3 inches long as adults, which is large enough to avoid being eaten by larger fish but tiny enough to keep a school of them in a small tank. Set up a species-specific aquarium with a half dozen of each color variety of tiger barb, complimented by real plants, for a spectacular show.

Peacock Eel Tank Setup

  • Choose a fish tank: Peacock eels require a large enough aquarium for swimming and vegetation. They require a very large tank to thrive, so think about how many eels you want before deciding on a tank. Peacock eels thrive in tanks with a capacity of 35 gallons or more.
  • A decent rule of thumb is to have a tank that can hold one gallon of water for every inch of full-grown eel that will be housed in it.
  • Pour water into the tank. Peacock eels are delicate freshwater fish that need special water conditions to thrive. Making sure the water is adequately treated can go a long way toward assisting your peacock eels in adjusting to their new surroundings and staying healthy.
  • Remove chlorine and chloramine from the tank’s water with a water conditioner.
  • Peacock eels are “brackish” freshwater eels, which implies they prefer some salt in their water. To keep your peacock eels happy and healthy, add one teaspoon of aquarium salt per gallon of water in the tank.

Substrate for Peacock Eel

Peacock eels are borrowers who spend a lot of time buried in the sediment at the bottom of your aquarium, so make sure they have lots of places to burrow.

To keep your aquarium clean and parasite-free, use aquarium gravel or freshwater aquarium sand from a pet store.

Peacock eels prefer fine gravel for burrowing if you’re going to utilize gravel.

To provide the greatest possible environment for your peacock eels, add four inches of substrate to the bottom of the tank.

The most crucial requirement is a thick layer of sand substrate. Peacock eels are burrowers who prefer to bury themselves in riverbeds. Gravels, rocks, and pebbles can injure the body of the fish.

Make a sandbox with a four-inch-deep sandy bottom.

Then, throughout the tank, add several hiding locations. Make use of a variety of decorative items that your fish can slide into. Faux rock caves, driftwood, and PVC pipes are all terrific choices.

Peacock Eel Breeding

It is extremely difficult to breed peacock eels in captivity. Most people would say that in a closed habitat like a home aquarium, this is impossible.

These fish spawn in the wild during the rainy season, when the environment floods. If a couple intends to start a family, they will court each other by chasing each other about.

Females then lay sticky eggs on plants that float in the water. The eggs will hatch in three or four days.

Some breeders believe that supplying a steady flow of freshwater to a closed habitat will simulate flooding and promote spawning. In an aquarium, however, simulating those conditions is practically difficult. As a result, peacock eel breeders have struggled.

If a new breeding approach is discovered, we’ll be sure to update this guide to include what others have found to be successful.

Peacock Eel Disease

Diseases affect peacock eels in the same way they affect any other tropical freshwater fish. They are susceptible to all of the common health issues.

White spot disease (also known as Ich) is a common problem to watch out for. It’s a parasitic ciliate that spreads swiftly in a community tank. White spots appear all over the body as a result of the condition.

While it is a fatal condition, it is also very curable if detected early. Any diseased fish should be quarantined, and over-the-counter medications should be available to relieve symptoms.

Peacock eels are also susceptible to fungus infections. Fungal infections usually present as woolly growths on the fish’s skin, mouth, or gills. Infections, like Ich, can spread if you don’t treat them.

The good news is that with careful care and tank maintenance, many of the most common aquatic diseases can be avoided.

Keep an eye on the water quality on a frequent basis. Check the temperature and pH levels to make sure the environment is ideal for your peacock eel.

Perform partial water changes every two to four weeks to avoid significant issues. Ammonia and nitrate levels will be kept low with a 25% change.

Where can I find Peacock Eel for sale?

Peacocl Eel can be found at almost any pet store in your area. So, if you’re interested in getting one, simply head to the local pet store in your area. It’s also available for purchase on many internet platforms such as Amazon, eBay, Etsy, and others. The convenience of shopping online is that you can have your item delivered right to your home.

Peacock Eel prices vary according on their sizes and inches.

Fish Laboratory

With decades of collective fishkeeping experience, we are happy to share the fish care tips that we've picked up along the way. Our goal at Fish Laboratory is to keep publishing accurate content to help fishkeepers keep their fish and aquarium healthy.

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