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Kid Reefer
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have had this american eel for 1 1/2 years and he is only about 5 inches long and now he suddenly wont eat! Ive tried the pellets he always has eaten his whole life and chopped up shrimp, what else could i try? He is getting skinnier and not as active... What do i do?
 

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live food often helps trigger a feeding response. Try some live shrimp... or even fish of the appropriate size. I realize the available FW fish are a poor nutritional choice for a SW eel but getting any sort of feed response and nutrition is better than nothing IMO
 

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Kid Reefer
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
live food often helps trigger a feeding response. Try some live shrimp... or even fish of the appropriate size. I realize the available FW fish are a poor nutritional choice for a SW eel but getting any sort of feed response and nutrition is better than nothing IMO
These eels are still very thin at 5 inches long, he is like the width of 2 pieces of spaghetti maybe. I dont know if he could eat live food. Im going to 2 stores later and ill see if i can find something like live brine shrimp that he will eat.. Do you think putting him in a small tank without the small gobies and crabs will help him eat?
 

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Seeing that it is a freshwater/brackish water species, I wouldn't expect any problems from feeding live feeders like guppies. I would go to wherever you collected this eel and dig around for worms, small shrimp and other edibles.

Forcing a freshwater/brackish species to live only in saltwater can lead to malnutrition. The amount of energy expended during osmoregulation can deplete the eels body reserves. This species only spends it's larval stage in the ocean and then travels into brackish and freshwater streams where it remains for the rest of it's life.

http://www.chesapeakebay.net/american_eel.htm

excerpt from link:

What is the life cycle of the American eel?
American eels are the only catadromous fish in the Bay, meaning that they live in fresh water and move to the ocean to spawn.
  • In October, sexually mature eels swim from streams and rivers down the Bay and out to the Sargasso Sea, an area of the Atlantic Ocean west of the Bahamas. In January, the eels spawn there, then die.
  • Tiny eel larvae drift in the ocean for about nine to 12 months, during which time they transform from larvae to the “glass eel” stage. Ocean currents carry the transparent glass eels thousands of miles to the U.S. coast.
  • Before entering the Bay, the glass eels become pigmented. These brown eels, called elvers, are only about 2.4 inches long. Some elvers stay in the Bay, but most continue to swim many miles up the Bay's rivers and streams to fresh water.
  • After a few months the elvers transform into the adult “yellow eel” stage. There they remain for the majority of their lives, until they reach sexual maturity and return to the Sargasso Sea to spawn and die.
 

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Kid Reefer
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Alot of these eels stay in saltwater for extended periods of time, for instance you can catch american eels that are atleast 3x the size of mine in inlets and in the ocean so i dont see how this could be causing malnutrition? Should i acclimate him back to freshwater and see if it helps? Now that it is winter i cant drive to long island and dig for bloodworms but i have 100s of ghost shrimp, all of which are much too big for him to eat. Should i try acclimaing him back to freshwater and then trying to feed him chunks of fish or squid/clam/mussel? Really dont want to lose this little guy...
 

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The eels in the inlet have the option of moving back and forth between freshwater and saltwater. Just because you see eels bigger than yours doesn't mean they have been strictly in saltwater all that time. Keeping a species such as this in an saltwater aquarium longterm is not going to be easily accomplished, if it's even possible at all. They are better left in their natural enviorments to live their normal lifecycle.
 

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Kid Reefer
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Alrighty then ill put him back in freshwater. To do this should i just empty out the tank and acclimate him to freshwater again and put all my hermit crabs and my little gobies in my 4 gallons? could i leave all of the rock in there?
 

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You are not understanding anything that I posted. Going back to freshwater is not going to fix anything. You have chosen to try and keep a species with a difficult (if not impossible) multiple enviorment lifecycle. Most likely this eels instinctive drive to change enviorments is linked to seasonal temperature variations or other water conditions. You cannot simply move it between fresh and saltwater whenever you feel like it and expect to replicate this eels natural lifecycle.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
You are not understanding anything that I posted. Going back to freshwater is not going to fix anything. You have chosen to try and keep a species with a difficult (if not impossible) multiple enviorment lifecycle. Most likely this eels instinctive drive to change enviorments is linked to seasonal temperature variations or other water conditions. You cannot simply move it between fresh and saltwater whenever you feel like it and expect to replicate this eels natural lifecycle.
So what should i do?
 

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WHile I do think this is probably a difficult species to keep, it would not be responsible to try to return it to the wild. Reading the link Jadinop provided I think it appears they spend most of their adult live in freshwater and return to full SW to spawn and die. Lowering salintiy may help. Does your LFS sell live blackworms? BBS? I would attempt live foods to see if you can get a feeding response. In an ideal situation it would be able to migrate to different salinities but that is not really possible in an aquarium

Was it in full SW when you collected it? It sounds like it is too small to be sexually mature enough to be ready to go out to sea and spawn.
 

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So what should i do?
No easy answer to that one. Ideally, you shouldn't have attempted to keep it in the first place. Releasing it back into the wild is not the best option either if it has been kept with non-native species.

I'd get some live feeders and hope for the best.
 
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