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Macrognathus circumcinctus - Half-banded Spiny EelMagyarul / Hungarian
Macrognathus circumcinctus - Half-banded Spiny EelMacrognathus circumcinctus - Half-banded Spiny EelMacrognathus circumcinctus - Half-banded Spiny EelMacrognathus circumcinctus - Half-banded Spiny Eel
  • Scientific name: Macrognathus circumcinctus
  • Synonyms: Mastacembelus circumcinctus
  • Common name: Half-banded Spiny Eel
  • Group: Other fishes
  • Habitat: Southeast Asia; Thailand, Malay Peninsula, Sumatra and Indonesia
  • Size: 20 cm
  • Biotope: Found in medium to large-sized rivers and flooded fields with sandy bottoms, and with dense vegetation.
  • Social behavior: Nocturnal fish, aggressive towards conspecifics. Small fishes may be eaten, but larger individuals make appropriate tankmates.
  • Diet: Carnivorous; All kinds of live foods, such as tubifex, small fish, brine shrimp, mosquito larvae, and bloodworms. Frozen foods are accepted too.
  • Breeding: Very rare in the aquarium.
  • Tank: Minimum 130 litres
  • Population: 1 fish for 130 litres
  • Decoration: A soft substrate of sand and peat is necessary because the animals bury themselves during danger. Use dense edge and background vegetation. Floating plants dim the light and help alleviate the fish’s shyness.
  • Temperature: 23-28 °C
  • pH: 7-7.5
  • Hardness: 5-15 NK°
  • Lifespan: 10-15 years

Description: The Half-banded Spiny Eel is one of the smaller spiny eels, although not considered to be true eels, the body is definitely eel-like. Its body is basically light brown covered with creamy speckles. There are a series of roughly vertical bands which only appear about halfway down the side of the flanks. From there, they taper towards the belly where they join with the corresponding band from the other side of the fish. The dorsal fin is light brown, and it has around 10 faint eyespots at the base, but these are much less prominent that those of the other commonly traded Macrognathus. This eel is sometimes confused with the Tire Track Eel (Mastacembelus favus), but it has a different color pattern with its markings are roughly vertical, that give its banded appearance, and thus its common name. There is a yellow color form of Macrognathus circumcinctus in which the black pigment is either totally lacking or present in small amounts. Both the dorsal and anal fins are extended back to the caudal fin, which is very small. They are nocturnal and will bury themselves in the fine sand substrate during the day, coming out at night to feed on invertebrates and small fish. The aquarium must have a tight fitting cover as Half-banded Spiny Eels are escape artists.

It is almost impossible to identify the sexes, though a mature female may be more full bodied. Little is known about attempts to breed in an aquarium. When they are kept in a small group they might spawn, though it is not documented what makes them spawn. Feeding the fish well and performing substantial water changes appear to be important. Their courtship lasts for several hours, where they chase each other and swim in circles. After vehement mating the female lays, over 1000 eggs, clear as glass, which are 1,2 mm in diameter. The eggs hatch after 3 days, and the fry become free swimming after another 3 days, when they are 6 mm long. The fry can be fed with small live foods.

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