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I decided I would make a thread about this fish since I recently had one and would educate other members on this site about this interesting fish, the Blue Ribbon Eel.

 

Bilikiki-BlueRibbonEel.jpg

 

First off, yes, this is a beautiful fish. In my opinion it is the best looking eel out there. But as the saying goes, beauty hurts. This isn't exactly your $21 Snowflake eel, but its also not your $1,000 Dragon Eel either. This fish, depending where you look, is about $80-$100. Not exactly a cheap fish.

 

Second, every thing you have probably heard and read about this fish is true. I'm a "I've got to see it, to believe it," kind of guy. When I read from various places and heard from various people that the eel would go on a month+ hunger strike, I was saying yeah right. Well, that was true. 

 

Eating--What I would say about this fish, if you get it, make sure it has been eating in the pet store. That would be a great sign.

I decided to wing it, and get it straight from the bag and raise it in my tank with rocks and sand and more space than what fish store aquariums might have. This really meant nothing because out of the hundreds of different feeding combinations, only 1 of them may have worked. That was buying small mollies, converting them to saltwater, and waiting a few weeks for the eel to finally eat them--and have other tank mates (I had 2 tangs in their with him). I noticed one of the mollies was gone 2 weeks later and the only culprit could have been the eel, but no, never saw this fish eat.

 

 

Note: But know, just because the eel has been eating in a fish store, doesn't mean it will just start eating again in your tank right away--heck, it may not want to eat again at all once its changed tanks.

 

Background--If you know or are friends with the person you will be getting the eel from, ask them if they know if the eel was originally caught from the ocean by net, or by cyanide. It was actually a member on here who shared with me an article about the ribbon eel noting that the eel is commonly caught in the Philippines (where they practice a lot of 'frowned upon', possibly illegal, ways of catching fish, notably using cyanide gas). Basically the cyanide gives the fish neurological problems, some less severe than others.

My eel tried to constrict itself, bit its own tail, hit the glass with its head, do a jaw snapping thing constantly, had mouth tissue peeling from its mouth early on, get close or sucked near fans (NOTE: make sure your fan is well covered) and of course tried and eventually succeeded jumping out of the tank. I should note my tank was not fully cycled. I had bought a bottle of that instant bio cycle bottle stuff that makes your tank fish ready. It took a few weeks for the tank to completely cycle, and the eel was already in there. Perhaps some of the phosphate from the rocks and sand that wasn't cycled was harming the fish. Or maybe it was that it was cyanide caught. Or maybe both.

 

Size--If you read around different sites, they'll say this eel should be kept in a 55 gallon or larger aquarium. I want to say that is completely incorrect. This fish looked like it was too big for my 75 gallon. When it was at full extension it had maybe 6 inches to spare from one end of the tank to the other. It was always trying to get out and swim around. I felt like I had imprisoned the fish. I personally would say that since this fish can reportedly get to 4 feet long (mine was 3-3 1/2 feet long), I would not house this fish in a tank less than 180 gallons. 

 

Lockdown--Make your tank air tight, Fort Knox it if you have to, this fish can and will try to escape. Lids are a Must. Overflow boxes and/or double layers of gutter guard in the overflows so the eel doesn't get sucked down the pipes to the sump. 

Mine was good on the whole escape plan until I moved him to my make shift QT where I used window screening over-top and used binder clips to hold it down. It followed the heater cord and with the small crevice of space, squeezed its way out of the tank, and died 2 days later. 

 

 

Newborn--If you get this fish, you may have more success with the black ribbon, the juvenile form of the blue ribbon. If you think about it, these blue ribbons are coming from the ocean a place they've been in for years. But the black ribbons are basically babies. If you get them when their mind is still young, you may be able to get them to mold and adapt to a tank lifestyle. 

 

So would I get this fish again? No. There are way too many "ifs" for me to want to get another. "If I had a bigger tank" "If I had seen it eating," "If I knew where it came from and how it was caught"..If If If.  I guess if I had a huge tank and I've seen it eating sure, but the likelyhood of either is slim to none.

 

Verdict: Get a different eel, unless the "if's" listed above are all "yes's."

 

Eel Jaw Snap

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YdOkfsob9SY

http://www.flickr.com/photos/99635230@N08/10487339536/ 

http://www.flickr.com/photos/99635230@N08/10487329065/

 

 

 

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Here & Here are also great threads to help educate our WAMAS members about your eel journey. Thanks for taking the time to write up your experience.

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Thanks, Nick. Sorry for the loss but grateful that you're able to share a lesson learned for the benefit of others.

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Thanks, Nick. Sorry for the loss but grateful that you're able to share a lesson learned for the benefit of others.

 

Here & Here are also great threads to help educate our WAMAS members about your eel journey. Thanks for taking the time to write up your experience.

Thanks guys. Yep interesting fish--very interesting experience.

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Great info, sorry for your loss of the eel, also, sorry for your skins, better luck next year.  :)

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Great info, sorry for your loss of the eel, also, sorry for your skins, better luck next year.  :)

Thanks you. I had it for 2 1/2 months---1 1/2 months longer than their average aquarium life span, so theres a positive!

 

 

And yes---those Skins of mine---they hurt me more than any fish experience lol

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