Stocking Fish Tips: Slowly add fish to your tank. Never go out and buy a bunch of tropical fish because your tank’s bio-load won’t be able to handle it. Slowly adding fish gives your tanks biological filtration a chance to catch up.
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Tire track eel (Mastacembelus armatus) is a species of ray-finned, spiny eels belonging to the genus Mastacembelus (Scopoli, 1777) of the family Mastacembelidae, and is native to the riverine fauna of India, Pakistan, Sumatra, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Viet Nam, Indonesia and other parts of South East Asia. The species was named Mastacembelus armatus by Lacepède in 1800. The other common names for this popular aquarium species are zigzag eel, spiny eel, leopard spiny eel and white-spotted spiny eel. This species is not only a popular aquarium fish but also as a food fish in its country of origin.
Mastacembelus armatus is a large elongated fish that has a snake-like body without pelvic fins. Its anal and dorsal fins are elongated and are connected to the caudal fin. The dorsal fin is preceded by numerous spines. The back is dark beige in color while the head is silver-beige. The body’s color is dull brown and the belly is a lighter shade of brown. The body may also be marked with brown circular patterns. The body also have one to three darker longitudinal zigzag lines that connect to form a distinct reticulated pattern that is restricted to the dorsal two-thirds of the body. The eyes have brown stripes running laterally through them.
Mastacembelus armatus can reach up to 36″ (91 cm) in its natural habitat but does not usually exceed 20″ (51 cm) in captivity.
Despite its eel-like appearance, Mastacembelus armatus is not considered a true eel.
Mastacembelus armatus are nocturnal fish that thrive in highland streams, lowland wetlands, still waters, coastal marshes and rivers with sandy or rocky riverbeds and heavy vegetation. They are common during the tropical summer months and will dwell in canals, lakes and other floodplain areas during the flood season.