Peacock Eel Appearance, Care, Size, Food, Tank Mates & More

We’re excited to share our knowledge and experience in caring for peacock eels, also known as Siamese spiny eels.

These unique freshwater fish are often misunderstood due to their resemblance to true eels, but they have distinct differences that make them fascinating additions to any aquarium.

In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about caring for these beautiful creatures.

From the type of food they eat to the tank size required, we’ll go over everything you need to know about keeping your peacock eel healthy and happy.

Additionally, we’ll provide insight into what types of tank mates work well with peacock eels so that you can create a harmonious community in your aquarium.

Species Summary

Appearance-wise, peacock eels have a unique and elongated body similar to an eel. Their slim and pointed snout adds to their distinct appearance.

These fish are quite striking, with separated dorsal, anal, and caudal fins with sharp spines on the dorsal fin.

Regarding lifespan, peacock eels can live anywhere from eight to 18 years.

Despite their delicate nature, they can be relatively hardy when given proper care and tank maintenance.

In terms of size, these freshwater fish typically average around 12 inches in length but can max out at about nine inches in captivity.

Their smaller size makes them ideal for medium-sized aquariums upwards of 40 gallons.



When you first look at this fish, you’ll notice its strikingly long and slender body with subtle dorsal, anal, and caudal fins that blend seamlessly.

The peacock eel’s appearance is truly a thing of beauty!

Its tan or yellowish-green base coloration sets the stage for eye-catching patterns.

A bright yellow line runs down its lateral line from snout to caudal fin, while three to six black eyespots with a white or yellow perimeter adorn the fish’s rear.

The peacock eel’s unique appearance makes it a fascinating addition to any freshwater aquarium.

It’s easy to see why so many aquarists are drawn to these captivating creatures!

While their elongated bodies may seem intimidating initially, they’re quite docile and shy compared to other tropical fish.

So if you’re looking for a beautiful yet peaceful addition to your tank, consider adding a peacock eel!


If you’re considering adding a peacock eel to your freshwater aquarium, remember that their lifespan can range from eight to 18 years, depending on the quality of care they receive.

As with any living creature, genetics and luck play a role, but providing ideal water conditions and a balanced diet can significantly increase their chances of living longer.

Keeping water conditions consistent is key to supporting long-term health and promoting longevity in peacock eels.

This means performing water changes regularly and ensuring the filter is functioning properly.

Additionally, feeding them high-quality foods such as live or frozen bloodworms, brine shrimp, and small fish will provide them with the necessary nutrients for optimal health.

By taking these steps and monitoring their overall well-being regularly, you can help ensure that your peacock eel lives long and healthy in your aquarium.

Average Size

Watch out for the size of these unique freshwater fish. They can grow up to 12 inches in length and make a fascinating addition to any larger aquarium.

While their max size is impressive, it’s important to note that captive peacock eels will usually only reach around nine inches in length.

This growth rate is largely dependent on the tank environment and care provided.

Care Requirements

When caring for peacock eels, there are several important factors to consider.

First and foremost, tank size is crucial. These fish require a minimum tank size of 40 gallons due to their size and activity level.

Decorating the tank with plenty of hiding places and a sandy substrate is also essential for these burrowing fish.

They prefer a calm environment with reduced water flow and dim lighting.

Regarding water parameters, maintaining a temperature between 73°F to 82°F, pH levels between 6.5 to 7.5, and water hardness between 6 to 25 DH is necessary.

Peacock eels are sensitive to changes in water conditions and require regular maintenance to prevent diseases such as ich or velvet.

Tank Size

For a comfortable living environment and to allow for growth, it’s best to opt for a larger tank size when keeping these fascinating freshwater creatures.

Peacock eels require plenty of space to roam around and reach their true size potential, up to 12 inches in length.

Most experts recommend tanks that hold at least 40 gallons or more.

Aquarium setup is crucial for peacock eel care, and suitable tanks should provide hiding spots and a sandy substrate.

Additionally, the tanks should have dim lighting since peacock eels are nocturnal creatures that prefer low-light conditions.

Keeping them healthy requires proper care through regular water changes because peacock eels are sensitive to water conditions.

This helps prevent diseases like ich or velvet from developing.

Decorating the Tank

Decorating your peacock eel’s tank can be a fun and creative process that allows you to provide hiding spots, plants, and other objects that your fish will love exploring.

Regarding substrate choices, avoid gravels and opt for a sand substrate instead.

This will prevent harm to your fish’s body as they burrow into the riverbeds.

Aim for at least four inches of sand depth throughout the entire tank.

In terms of aquarium plants, there are several options available.

However, keep in mind that these fish are notorious for uprooting vegetation.

Adding floating plants or silk plants anchored to the glass may be a more suitable option if this is an issue.

When looking at tank decorations, faux rock caves or driftwood are excellent choices for creating hiding spots.

PVC pipes can also work well, but ensure no sharp edges could hurt your fish.

Water Parameters

Maintaining proper water parameters is crucial for creating a healthy and thriving environment for your peacock eel.

To ensure their well-being, you should invest in an aquarium filtration system that can handle the size of your tank.

A good filtration system will help maintain the quality of the water by removing harmful chemicals and contaminants and keeping the water circulating to prevent stagnation.

Regular water testing is also essential to monitor the tank’s pH levels, nitrates, nitrites, and ammonia levels.

This information will allow you to adjust to keep your peacock eel safe.

Aim for a pH level between 6.5 to 7.5, with a general hardness range of 6-25 DH.

Additionally, it’s important to perform regular water changes to remove waste and debris from the bottom of the tank while replenishing vital nutrients for your fish to thrive.

By keeping these factors in check, you can provide a healthy home for your unique pet!

Possible Diseases

Watch out for common diseases like Ich and fungal infections to keep your freshwater community tank healthy and thriving.

Prevention techniques like regular water changes, monitoring water conditions, and providing proper nutrition can help avoid these diseases.

However, your peacock eel can encounter health problems even with the best care.

Identifying infections early is crucial to ensuring a quick recovery.

Common symptoms of Ich include white spots on the fish’s body and flashing behavior (scratching or rubbing against objects within the tank).

Fungal infections typically appear as cotton-like growths on the fish’s skin or mouth.

If you notice any signs of illness in your peacock eel, quarantine them immediately and seek treatment options such as over-the-counter medications or consulting with a veterinarian specializing in aquatic animals.

You can ensure a healthy life for your peacock eel by staying vigilant and taking swift action when needed.

Food and Diet

When it comes to feeding your new aquatic friend, peacock eels are a bit picky and require high-protein foods such as insect larvae, bloodworms, and brine shrimp.

These creatures have specific nutritional requirements for their health and longevity.

They are naturally carnivorous and prefer live or frozen foods over dry pellets or flakes.

Targeted feeding with a pipette or syringe is the way to go, ensuring they get the sustenance they need before other tank mates can steal it.

Meal frequency is another aspect of peacock eel care that requires attention.

Most owners find that these fish only eat two or three times per week.

However, this may vary depending on the fish’s appetite and activity level.

It’s important not to overfeed them as this can lead to digestive issues and poor water quality in the tank.

Dietary supplements such as vitamins can also be beneficial in maintaining optimal health for your peacock eel.

By providing a balanced diet, you’ll help ensure your pet lives a long and healthy life!

Behavior and Temperament


If you’re looking for a shy and docile addition to your aquarium, peacock eels might be right up your alley.

These fascinating creatures prefer to burrow in the substrate during the day and only come out at night!

Their nocturnal habits make them perfect for those who want a peaceful tank during the day but an active one at night.

These fish are not aggressive towards other species and can get along with most fish, except for their kind.

As they are territorial against those of their species, it’s best to keep just one peacock eel per tank.

Peacock eels have unique temperament and behavior that makes them quite fascinating.

They’re quite shy compared to other popular tropical fish, requiring plenty of hiding spots throughout the tank.

They like dimly lit tanks and prefer reduced flow in water.

Burrowing is normal, healthy behavior for them, so don’t be alarmed if they spend most of their time under the substrate.

These fish can add biodiversity to your tank while bringing peace and tranquility through social interaction with other species.

Tank Mates

These freshwater fish are compatible with other peaceful species, making them great additions to community tanks.

However, it’s important to remember that they can be territorial towards their kind and may become aggressive if they feel threatened.

Avoiding small fish, snails, crabs, and small invertebrates is best when choosing tank mates for your peacock eel.

These animals are likely to be seen as food by the eel.

Instead, opt for larger fish such as rainbowfish (like Forktail), rasboras, swordtail fish, and hatchet fish.

By selecting compatible species that won’t compete with or harass your peacock eel, you can create a harmonious environment where everyone thrives.


Unfortunately, it’s a difficult task that most breeders have yet to accomplish due to the specific spawning requirements of peacock eels.

Breeding challenges arise because these fish only spawn during the rainy season when their environment floods.

In addition, they require very specific water conditions that are hard to replicate in a closed environment like an aquarium.

Some breeders theorize that a constant freshwater supply could simulate flooding conditions and trigger spawning.

However, successful breeding techniques have yet to be discovered even with this technique.

If you want peacock eels in your tank, purchase them from a specialty fish store or online retailer since they are not commonly found in pet stores.


Overall, peacock eels can make great additions to your freshwater aquarium if you provide proper care.

Thanks to their unique appearance and interesting behaviors, they will be a conversation starter among fellow fish enthusiasts.

To ensure your peacock eel thrives, keep their tank clean, provide plenty of hiding places and cover, and feed them a varied diet.

Choose tank mates carefully and avoid aggressive or territorial species that may harm or stress out your peacock eel.

Following these guidelines and providing a suitable environment, you can enjoy many years of companionship with this fascinating fish.