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HALF BANDED SPINEY EEL (Macrognathus circumcinctus)

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The Half-banded Spiny Eel Macrognathus circumcinctus is one of the smaller spiny eels. Although not considered to be true eels, the body shapes of all members of the spiny eel family, Mastacembelidae, are definitely eel-like. It has a long pointy snout at the end of a elongated body.

If you've hesitated to purchase a spiny eel because of the size of your tank, this fish may be just what you are looking for. The maximum size for this handsome fish is just under 8 inches. Juveniles up to about 3 inches in length can be kept in about 10 gallons, but larger specimens will need a bigger area. Adults will need a tank that is 36 inches in length and about 35 gallons. Make sure you have a tight fitting cover as these guys are escape artists.

This eel is one of the spiny eels occasionally referred and sometimes confused with the Tire Track Eel Mastacembelus favus and the Zig Zag Eel Mastacembelus armatus. Yet it has a uniquely different color pattern from the other Asian spiny eels. Rather than being a diamond or 'zig zag' type patterning, its markings are roughly vertical. This give is more of a banded appearance, and thus its common name. Other common names it is know by are Belted Spiny Eel and Large Spiny Eel. Large Spiny Eel is kind of a misnomer, as it is actually a very small eel!

Not only is the Half-banded Spiny Eel relatively small, it is also quite hardy once acclimated. You may not always see it though as it is nocturnal and sometimes will hide for long periods of time. Generally it's a good community fish if kept with tank mates that are too big to fit in its mouth. Smaller fish, those under about 2 inches, may get snacked on.