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Old 09-17-2008, 03:50 PM   #1
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American Eel habitat

I have a small (~4 inch) eel in my 30-gallon tank. The tank has a gravel substrate with some plants. The plants have a small amount of soil around the roots of each one.

The eel likes to stay burrowed in the gravel during the day. It only comes out at night or when it smells food in the water. I've had it about a month, but for the first two weeks I saw it maybe once while it was adjusting to the new surroundings. This past week I've noticed that it has a red spot on the top of its head. It doesn't hold still long enough for close inspection, but I think it's a bloody spot. Could this be from scraping its head on the rough gravel? It's aragonite, crushed shells mostly. I've noticed that the eel prefers to burrow into the softer spot near the roots of one of the plants. I don't know if it's just established a burrow in that spot or if it's seeking a softer material.

I'm fairly certain it's not getting attacked by tankmates. The only other carnivorous fish in the tank is a 1-inch hogchoker sole that is also completely inactive by day, and doesn't burrow at all. I have provided an area of sand for this fish, but I've never seen it rest there.

Have I provided this guy a proper tank bottom?
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Old 09-26-2008, 01:30 PM   #2
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It's more then likely the substrate. It is recommended to use sand with eels as this will not damage them as they burrow.
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Old 09-26-2008, 01:57 PM   #3
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Thanks for the reply. After I made this post, he recovered quickly and I see no further evidence of injury. On close observation it looks like the gravel has been able to support his tunnels after he leaves them, and he now has several permanent burrows he uses. He's also becoming accustomed to my presence, so I've been able to watch him moving slowly or laying on the bottom without scaring him into hiding. He even comes out during the day now when I put food in the water.

I'm thinking I'll expand the sandy area anyway, as the sole has started to use it. The eel hasn't shown any interest, but maybe he would if the area were larger.
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Old 09-26-2008, 01:59 PM   #4
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Sounds good.. keep us updated
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