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Old 06-01-2013, 03:48 PM   #1
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Tire Track Eel Questions

Well, I have a bit of a sad story to tell first. I had a wonderful tire track eel for a little bit over a month and I can definitely say he was the most interesting fish I had ever owned.
Unfortunately he came down with what I think might have been Velvet, but what may very well have been a bacterial infection. Nonetheless, I caught it too late and he passed away last night.
I would like to figure out what it was that killed him and what i can do to prevent it in the future.
These videos showed very bizarre behavior that concerned me greatly. Take a look at let me know if you have any information about what might have done this to him.
IMG 3597 - YouTube
IMG 3598 - YouTube

This eel was an impulse buy while shopping at PetCo but I would love to replace him with another.

Doing some research on eels to make sure I do it right this time, I came across a large number of testimonials saying how fun and "interactive" fire eels are. I've seen videos of the fire eels wrapping themselves around their owner's wrists and generally just having a good time.
While my tire track eel did eat out of my hand, he had not shown any signs of playfulness, he was still very skittish. Is this a trait of tire track eels?
Will a tire track eel be just as interactive as the fire eels I mentioned?

In addition to this, I would like to know what type of environment I should be keeping these eels in. I know I will need to upgrade to a 150gallon tank within a year or so of owning one, but I figure that keeping him in a 46 gallon while he is a juvenile should be fine. I have sand, but I'm not sure if it's soft enough for an eel. I'll come back later with the specific product I'm using.

Help me out guys, I'm relatively new to this but eager to learn. I just want the best for my fish.
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Old 06-01-2013, 04:22 PM   #2
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A few basic questions:

Did you cycle your tank?

What are your water parameters?

The second video looks to me like loss of slime coat. Quite a few things can cause this, the usual suspect being high ammonia.
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Old 06-01-2013, 04:42 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by DragonFish71 View Post
A few basic questions:

Did you cycle your tank?

What are your water parameters?

The second video looks to me like loss of slime coat. Quite a few things can cause this, the usual suspect being high ammonia.
My tank was mostly cycled but I was a bit impatient and put my fish in a week early before it finished. (As a result of my impulse purchase)
As far as ammonia goes, it was very stable at .5ppm or lower for the first two weeks I had him but then i had a spike at about 1-1.5ppm for the next week. I monitored the water daily and did my best to get it back down to appropriate levels.
For the last weekand a half and at the time of his death, the water was back at .5ppm for ammonia. I was doing a 40-50% water change every 10 days or so and in the process I did my best to suck up old food and fish waste to reduce the levels.

I showed both videos to two LFS's and one said that it was ICK and the other said that he had never seen that before.

It might be worth noting that I also have my Gourami and Plecostomus in the same tank and they seem to be doing fine. Although the eel was scaleless, he may have been much more susceptible to this kind of thing. I just want to pinpoint what it was exactly so I do not make this mistake again.

EDIT: With each water change I was also adding appropriate levels of API StressCoat+ which I assume would have helped him retain his slime in addition to conditioning the water.
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Old 06-01-2013, 05:38 PM   #4
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If you have any ammonia the tank is either not cycled or going through a mini cycle. In your case the tank was not cycled yet. Spiney eels are not very hardy.
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Old 06-01-2013, 07:20 PM   #5
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Ich would have shown as salt like spots. It's didn't look like fungus at all either. It looked like the slime coat was shedding. Scaleless fish tend to be more susceptible to shedding the slime coat, regardless of what you use, like Stress Coat, and are more sensitive to non- perfect water conditions.

Since he is dead, I'd suggest letting your tank finish it's cycle, then let it mature a bit before adding a new one. I'm betting once the tank is mature, and you stay constant with your maintenance habits, you won't have a problem.
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Old 06-01-2013, 09:40 PM   #6
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Ich would have shown as salt like spots. It's didn't look like fungus at all either. It looked like the slime coat was shedding. Scaleless fish tend to be more susceptible to shedding the slime coat, regardless of what you use, like Stress Coat, and are more sensitive to non- perfect water conditions.

Since he is dead, I'd suggest letting your tank finish it's cycle, then let it mature a bit before adding a new one. I'm betting once the tank is mature, and you stay constant with your maintenance habits, you won't have a problem.
That's very unfortunate to hear. I was hoping that it wasn't a fault of mine, but i guess this is a lesson learned to not take shortcuts.

As for my other question, when I go to replace him, should I go for another tire track or should I go for a fire?
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Old 06-01-2013, 09:48 PM   #7
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Go for a peacock eel or a zig zag eel. Tire tracks and fire eels get to big for your tank and you shouldn't buy a fish with plans to upgrade within a year. Maybe get the 150 then pick up the eel of your choice.
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