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Old 09-18-2008, 01:12 AM   #1
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Garden eels

Ok so I've seen these in the public aquarium and LOVE them. The are so cool looking and really entertaining to watch. I understand that they are quite difficult to keep unfortunately. I don't know much but i heard that they wait around and snatch most of their food that passes by in the water column making them quite hard to feed with out having a lot of food floating around in the tank all the time. So i guess what i'm looking for is just any experiences if anyone has kept them or more likely just info on what it does take to keep them. by the way this is not for the tank in my signature. It would be in a much larger tank i'm hoping to set up down the road. Right now this is what i know about them

need deep sand bed to burrow
like to be in a small comunity
difficult to feed (looking for more details)
need peacful community of fish as they are quite docile

Any additional details or info or just correcting what ever false impressions i have here would be greatly appreciated.

Saltwater Aquarium Fish for Marine Aquariums: Garden Eel

edit: I'm making the assumption that these would be added once the tank it well established and water parameter swings and new tank issues would not be a problem. So for this little learning experience assume that water parameters are good. SG= 1.025 and nitrates < 5ppm
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Old 09-18-2008, 02:33 AM   #2
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I just saw these eels at the Georgia Aquarium. They are very cute and it was very interesting to watch the whole tank of them bob up and down together. They did catch bits of food as it drifted by. I talked to the assistant curator about them (just a little bit; we had so much to talk about!) and she said they weren't suitable for home aquaria. The sandbed depth needed is 12-15 inches. She was helping out another aquarium or zoo that was having a hard time with them. I can't really tell you much more than that but I did see that Live Aquaria recommends them for zoos and similar institutions. You could try giving Live Aquaria a call and see what they can tell you.
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Old 09-18-2008, 04:42 PM   #3
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Thanks i kinda of figured that i would have to start digging for info but i thought i would give it a shot and see if anyone knew more about them.

Quote:
she said they weren't suitable for home aquaria
I suspect this is probably the case but i will look into it a bit more and see. I won't keep them if i can't provide a proper home but i am willing to do a lot to try and have them because they are so interesting. So we shall see.
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Old 09-29-2008, 12:07 PM   #4
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I just saw these little guys yesterday at my LFS, they sell for around $50 CDN. They had an aquarium with a few of them, orange and green ones... always drifting around, or popping down and hopping up somewhere else. It was a regular community tank, not very large, around 60g. They weren't very big either, looked like very long colorful worms. I asked them about it, and they said they live no problem in a community aquarium, the sandbed was only around 2", but they seemed happy.
I don't know how large they get though, or about feeding. I saw a tiny crab crawl up one of them, then the garden eel disappeared under the sand and the crab fell on his back, which was fun to see.
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Old 09-30-2008, 04:41 PM   #5
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Here's some info I found:

Garden eels are the hardest of all eels to keep in the home aquarium. They require lots of special planning and care. These eels need to spread out, so the tank needs to be quite large because if the males are too close to one another, they will fight. The sand also needs to be at least one-half foot deep or the garden eels will hurt their tails by trying to drive into the bottom of the tank when forming their burrow. There also needs to be an artificial current to bring them their live food. All of these factors make garden eels hard to keep at home. Their population remains stable, but if too many are collected in the pet trade and sold in pet stores, they may decline.


Did You Know?
Sneaky snake eels dive deep into the sand, far from a colony of gardens eels. The snake eels then slither their way underneath the garden eels' burrows, attacking them from underneath.
Large triggerfish dive bomb garden eel colonies, digging them out of the sand when the eels try to hide inside.
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Old 10-01-2008, 12:47 AM   #6
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Thanks for the info. I think i could provide a deep enough sand bed and the space. It would be in a 180 gallon tank. My main concern would be keeping them fed.
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Old 10-01-2008, 11:12 AM   #7
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I think keeping them fed will be easy enough, they mainly eat eggs and little animals floating by. (Up to 500 animals in one feeding!). If you get some food (i.e. fresh frozen shrimp) and blend it a little until it's small. Shut off your filter/sump, and just keep your power heads on... then it should be fine. The powerheads will circulate the food by the eel over time, and they'll eat. After a short while you can turn your filtration back on. The main thing here would be mixing slow-moving fish in the aquarium too, so they won't eat up all the food before your garden eel has a chance.
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Old 10-01-2008, 02:18 PM   #8
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Yeah its something i'll have to look into. When my tank is closer to being set up i will probably see if i can find a book on them or something to find out exactly what thier diet consists of. Hopefully with the filtration i'm looking at setting up with minimal skimming they might be able to pull a decent amount of food left over in the water colum.
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Old 10-01-2008, 09:00 PM   #9
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Pat, I'll get you some information as it was a recent topic on a listserve. From what I understand, depth of substrate is the easy part and they do have territorial disputes so they need room between burrows. I'll see what I can dig up from past emails for you All in all, they are definitely for "expert" aquarists and I don't even recommend their sale on an everyday hobby level.
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Old 10-01-2008, 09:28 PM   #10
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Thanks, Yeah depth of supstrate is really not what i'm to concerned about. More of a concern is being able to provide a proper diet and if they are prone to infection or disease. I haven't totally planned out the tank yet but i think i should have enough to keep a few in there but i'm not sure if the like to be in a larger communit or not. I would have to do A LOT more research before i ever put them in a tank to ensure that i could provide a proper home. I'm well aware that they would be difficult to keep at best. Any info you can find would be much appreciated. Have no fear dediated AA readers. I do not under any circumstances intent to purches these eels unless i'm sure i can provide for thier needs. Thanks for all the input so far.
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