Peacock Eel Care Essentials: Tank Setup, Diet, Tank Mates, Diseases & More!

Caring for a Peacock Eel can be a rewarding experience for any freshwater aquarium enthusiast. When I first started keeping these fascinating creatures, I quickly realized how important it is to understand their unique needs, as well as the importance of proper tank setup, diet, and compatibility with tank mates.

Peacock Eels require a tank size of at least 40 gallons, with a temperature range of 75-82°F and a pH range of 6.5-7.5. They are carnivores and need a varied diet of high-quality frozen or live foods such as brine shrimp, bloodworms, and small pieces of fish or shrimp. They also require a well-decorated aquarium with plenty of hiding places and a soft substrate for burrowing.

Setting up a suitable environment for a Peacock Eel is essential for the health and well-being of your pet. It’s crucial to provide hiding spots, like rocks and caves, and ensure the substrate is soft for them to burrow.

Personally, I made the mistake of using gravel at first, but soon learned that sand is much better for their delicate bodies.

Feeding Peacock Eels a balanced and varied diet is vital for their health. I have found that frozen bloodworms and live brine shrimp are their favorites. Additionally, paying attention to potential diseases and selecting the right tank mates can make all the difference in your eel’s happiness and longevity in your care.

Species Summary


The Peacock Eel, also known as the Spiny Eel or Macrognathus siamensis, originates from Southeast Asia. They can be found in countries like Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam. I’ve always been fascinated by their exotic origins.


Peacock Eels have a relatively long lifespan, typically living up to 10 years or even more with proper care. That’s one of the reasons I was drawn to keep them as a pet.


This eel possesses an attractive appearance, featuring a slender, elongated body with a pointed snout. Their most distinguishing feature is a pattern of eye-like spots on their body, which really caught my attention.


Peacock Eels usually grow to around 8-12 inches in length, making them a manageable size for most aquarium enthusiasts. It’s also essential to provide an adequately sized tank for them to thrive.

Growth Rate

These eels generally have a moderate growth rate. From my personal experience, they reached their full size within a year and a half. Proper nutrition and a suitable environment play a significant role in their growth.

Behavior & Temperament

The Peacock Eel is a nocturnal and generally shy creature. In my tank, they usually hide during the day and become more active at night. They’re also peaceful and may get along with other non-aggressive tank mates.

Male vs Female

It’s quite difficult to differentiate between male and female Peacock Eels visually. However, females tend to be slightly plumper, especially when ready to spawn. It took me quite some time to identify the gender of my eels accurately.

Tank Setup

Tank Size

When I set up my peacock eel tank, I made sure to choose a tank with enough space. A minimum of 29 gallons is needed for a single peacock eel. Since they can grow up to 12 inches, more space is better.


Peacock eels are nocturnal, so I provided my tank with low, dim lighting. This keeps them comfortable and reduces stress.

Filtration & Aeration

A strong filter is necessary for peacock eels since they produce a lot of waste. I used a canister filter for efficient filtration. To provide proper aeration, I added an air stone. This helps maintain a suitable oxygen level.


To mimic their natural habitat, I kept my tank temperature between 75°F and 82°F. A reliable heater and a thermometer are essential to maintain consistent temps.


Peacock eels love to burrow, so I chose a soft, fine-grained substrate like sand. This prevents injury to their delicate bodies while they dig.


I added hiding spots using driftwood, caves, and rocks. This allows my peacock eel to feel safe and secure during the day, encouraging natural behavior.


Adding live plants in my tank not only improved water quality but also provided additional coverage. Peacock eels prefer low-light plants that give them hiding places, such as Java Fern or Anubias.

Water Quality

Water Temperature

When I set up my Peacock Eel tank, maintaining the right water temperature was crucial. The ideal range is 74 to 82°F (23 to 28°C). I use a reliable aquarium heater and a thermometer to monitor the temperature regularly.

Water pH

Peacock Eels prefer slightly acidic to neutral water. I aim to maintain the pH level in the range of 6.5 to 7.5. To ensure accuracy, I test pH frequently using a dedicated test kit.

Water Hardness

I found that keeping the water hardness between 5 to 15 dKH works well for Peacock Eels. It’s essential to strike a balance, as both too soft and too hard water can negatively impact their health.

Water Changes

Regular water changes are a must. I replace 20% to 30% of my Peacock Eel tank water with dechlorinated water every 2-3 weeks. This practice helps keep water chemistry stable and removes excess waste and debris.

Tank Maintenance

When I first got my peacock eel, I learned quickly that tank maintenance is crucial for their health and well-being. Regular water changes play a significant role in keeping the environment clean. I change about 20-30% of the water on a weekly basis to maintain a consistent water quality.

Peacock eels are known to produce a lot of waste, so I also make sure to have a high-quality filtration system in place to remove dirt and debris. This helps maintain a stable cycle of ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels. Additionally, since peacock eels are sensitive to changes in water parameters, testing the water every week is essential to avoid any sudden fluctuations.

Peacock eels like to burrow, which means using a soft substrate like sand is vital. This prevents them from getting injured while they explore the bottom of the tank. Personally, I use fine-grained sand as it’s both soft and easy to clean with a gravel vacuum.

Another important aspect for my peacock eel’s tank maintenance is aquatic plants and decorations such as driftwood, rocks, and caves. These provide hiding spots and help them feel more secure. Be sure to clean them periodically to prevent algae build-up or the growth of harmful bacteria.

By keeping these factors in mind, I’ve successfully maintained a healthy environment for my peacock eel, ensuring it thrives and exhibits its unique and fascinating behaviours.

Tank Mates

Compatible Fish Species

When I was setting up my peacock eel tank, I researched compatible fish species to ensure a harmonious community. Peacock eels can coexist with peaceful, similarly-sized fish, such as:

  • Tetras: Guppies, Mollies, and Platies
  • Cichlids: Angelfish and Discus
  • Catfish: Corydoras and Plecos

Remember, peacock eels are nocturnal, so adding daytime-active tank mates can create a well-balanced environment.

Incompatible Fish Species

While planning my tank, I also identified the incompatible fish species which should not be housed with peacock eels:

  • Aggressive species: Tiger Barbs, Red-Tailed Sharks, and large Cichlids
  • Fish with long fins: Betta, Gourami, and Goldfish
  • Small fish: Neon Tetras, Cherry Barbs

During my experience with peacock eels, I’ve learned that incompatible tank mates can stress or injure them, and even pose a risk to their well-being. So, it’s crucial to choose your tank mates wisely.


What To Feed

In my experience, I’ve found that Peacock Eels enjoy a varied diet consisting of live or frozen foods such as bloodworms, brine shrimp, and small fish. I have also successfully offered them sinking pellets.


When it comes to feeding frequency, I usually feed my Peacock Eel every other day. This ensures they remain healthy and active but avoid overeating.


Here are a few tips I’ve found helpful when feeding my Peacock Eel:

  • Live foods: I often use live foods in their diet to trigger their natural hunting instinct and to add variety.
  • Feeding time: Peacock Eels are nocturnal, so I typically feed them in the evening when they are more active.
  • Using tongs: I’ve found using feeding tongs helpful to target-feed my Peacock Eel, ensuring they get their share of food without overfeeding tank mates.
  • Monitoring intake: Pay close attention to your eel’s intake as they can be shy eaters. If they’re not eating, try adjusting the types of food or the feeding time.

Common Diseases


As an experienced aquarist, I can confidently say that Peacock Eels are susceptible to certain diseases, such as parasitic infections, bacterial infections, and fungal infections.


For parasitic infections, watch for rapid breathing, loss of appetite, and ulcers. Bacterial infections will cause red, inflamed gills, and skin lesions. Fungal infections result in fluffy, cotton-like growths on skin and fins.


Parasitic Infections: I have found that using a parasite treatment, like Prazipro or API General Cure, is effective. Just make sure to follow the recommended dosage instructions.

Bacterial Infections: My personal favorite treatments for bacterial infections are API E.M. Erythromycin or Maracyn II. Ensure proper dosage and follow the entire treatment course.

Fungal Infections: For treating fungal infections, I suggest using API Fungus Cure or Seachem Paraguard. Remember to follow the treatment regimen for the best results.


Following are my personal tips to prevent these diseases:

  • Maintain clean water by performing regular water changes once a week.
  • Ensure proper filtration and good water parameters.
  • Keep stress levels low by providing ample hiding places and avoiding overcrowded tanks.
  • Feed a varied and nutritious diet to boost their immune system.

By adhering to these guidelines, I have successfully managed to keep my Peacock Eels healthy and thriving over the years.

Signs of a Healthy Peacock Eel

I remember the first time I saw my Peacock Eel swim gracefully in the tank, I knew I had to ensure its well-being. A healthy Peacock Eel will display certain traits that signify it’s thriving.

For instance, vibrant colors and patterns are a great indicator of good health, especially the intricate patterns near the face.

Active behavior is another crucial sign. When they’re healthy, they’ll frequently dig through the substrate or explore their surroundings.

Moreover, a healthy Peacock Eel will have a strong appetite, eagerly eating the food you provide, like frozen/live bloodworms, brine shrimp, or daphnia.

It’s important to pay attention to their physical condition too, such as clear eyes and the absence of any cuts or lesions on their skin.

I noticed all these traits in my Peacock Eel and felt satisfied knowing it was in the best possible health. Monitoring your Peacock Eel for these signs can help you ensure their long and happy life in your tank.

Signs Your Peacock Eel is Sick

I noticed my Peacock Eel behaving strangely one day, and it turned out it wasn’t feeling well. Here are some signs to look out for if you suspect your Peacock Eel is sick.

  1. Loss of appetite: One of the first things I noticed was that it wasn’t eating as much as it usually did. If your Peacock Eel isn’t eating or is eating less than usual, this may be a sign of illness.
  2. Lethargy: Another indicator of sickness can be reduced activity levels. When my eel became sick, it was hiding more often and swimming much slower than before.
  3. Unusual swimming: If you notice your eel swimming erratically, on its side, or near the water’s surface, this may indicate a health issue.
  4. Changes in appearance: Watch for any changes in your eel’s physical appearance. This can include:
    • Cloudy eyes
    • White or discolored patches on the skin
    • Red or inflamed areas on the body
    • Bloating or swelling
  5. Labored breathing: I noticed my eel was breathing heavily when it was sick. Keep an eye out for rapid gill movements, as this is a sign that your Peacock Eel is having difficulty breathing.

If you notice any of these signs, it is crucial to take action immediately. Consult with a veterinarian or aquatic specialist for advice on treatment and follow their recommendations to ensure the health and well-being of your Peacock Eel.


Breeding Setup

To breed Peacock Eels, I started by setting up a separate breeding tank. I made sure the breeding tank had a soft sandy substrate, plenty of hiding spots, and gentle water currents, which helps create a conducive environment for breeding.

How To Breed

I gradually adjusted the temperature to around 78°F and provided them with live foods to stimulate breeding behavior. After observing for some time, I noticed the male chasing the female, a sign that they were ready to breed. The female then laid the eggs, and the male fertilized them.


After the eggs were laid, I gently removed the adult Peacock Eels from the breeding tank. I kept the water quality optimal, maintaining a neutral pH and proper temperature. As the eggs hatched, I fed the fry with infusoria and fine powdered foods until they grew bigger and could eat larger food items like daphnia or baby brine shrimp.

By keeping the breeding conditions stable and providing proper care, I successfully raised Peacock Eel fry into healthy, thriving adults.

Product recommendations for Peacock Eel:

  1. Tetra Whisper Bio-Bag Cartridge: These filter cartridges can help keep the water clean and clear in your Peacock Eel tank.
  2. Seachem Prime: This water conditioner can help remove harmful chemicals from tap water and make it safe for your Peacock Eel.
  3. API Aquarium Test Kit: Regular water testing is crucial for maintaining a healthy environment for your Peacock Eel, and this test kit can help you monitor the levels of ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate in your tank.
  4. Fluval Plant and Shrimp Stratum: This substrate is specifically designed for planted aquariums and can provide a natural-looking environment for your Peacock Eel.
  5. Hikari Sinking Carnivore Pellets: These pellets are specially formulated for carnivorous fish like Peacock Eels and contain high levels of protein and other essential nutrients for healthy growth and vibrant coloration.
  6. Hydor Koralia Nano Aquarium Circulation Pump: This compact and efficient pump can help improve water circulation in your aquarium and provide your Peacock Eel with a more natural environment.
  7. Zoo Med Laboratories AquaSun LED Aquarium Hood: This energy-efficient LED hood can provide ample lighting for your Peacock Eel tank and help promote healthy plant growth.
  8. CaribSea Eco-Complete Planted Aquarium Substrate: This substrate is specifically designed for planted aquariums and can provide a natural-looking environment for your Peacock Eel.
  9. Omega One Freeze-Dried Krill: This tasty treat can provide your Peacock Eel with a high-quality source of protein and help promote healthy growth and coloration.


In my experience, caring for a Peacock Eel can be a rewarding and enjoyable hobby. These fascinating creatures are beautiful and full of personality, making them a unique addition to any aquarium.

A crucial aspect of maintaining a healthy Peacock Eel is the tank setup. Ensure that the tank has a large enough size, proper filtration, and hiding spots for your eel to feel safe and comfortable. Adequate water temperature and lighting will also contribute to a thriving environment.

When I first started caring for my Peacock Eel, I quickly learned that a varied diet is essential. Providing high-quality meaty foods, such as live or frozen bloodworms, brine shrimp, and earthworms, will keep your eel happy and healthy.

One of the most significant challenges I faced was finding suitable tank mates. Peacock Eels can be shy and reclusive, so it’s important to choose peaceful, non-aggressive companions that won’t bother them.

I also recommend staying vigilant for potential diseases and learning how to spot early signs to ensure a timely treatment. Prevention is undoubtedly better than cure, so maintaining a clean, stable environment is key.

Lastly, I want to mention that patience is critical when caring for a Peacock Eel. It may take some time for your eel to adapt to its new home and begin to display its unique behaviors. But once it does, you’ll be captivated by its elegance and grace.


What tank size is suitable for a Peacock Eel?
In my experience, a minimum tank size of 30 gallons is required for a single Peacock Eel. As they grow, upgrading to a 50- to 75-gallon tank is recommended.

What are the ideal water parameters?
It’s crucial to maintain the water temperature at 73-82°F, pH between 6.0-7.5, and water hardness of 5-12 dKH.

Do Peacock Eels require hiding spots?
Yes, they do! When I set up my tank, I ensured there were enough plants, rocks, and caves for my Peacock Eel to feel secure and hide.

What can I feed them?
They prefer a diet of live and frozen foods such as bloodworms, brine shrimp, and blackworms. My Peacock Eel loves snacking on these treats!

Suitable tank mates?
Ideally, fish that are peaceful and larger than the eel work well. I have successfully housed mine with gouramis, larger tetras, and catfish.

Are Peacock Eels prone to any diseases?
Like most fish, they can get affected by diseases like Ich and fin rot. Always maintain good water quality to minimize the risk.

Can I keep more than one Peacock Eel?
Yes, you can. Just ensure there’s enough space (add 20 gallons per new eel) and hiding spots for each individual.

Remember, consistency is key for Peacock Eel care!

Reference: Wikipedia.


Hi there! My name is Jacob, and I'm the founder of this Pet people blog that talks all about aquarium and fishkeeping. I've been passionate about fish and aquatic life since I was a kid, and I've spent countless hours learning about different species, their habitats, and how to create the perfect environment for them to thrive in.

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