Tire Track Eel

Tire Track Eel
Quick Facts :: Tire Track Eel (Mastacembelus armatus)
Care Level: Moderate
Temperament: Semi-Aggressive
Maximum Length: 30″
Minimum Aquarium: 250L
Water Conditions: 22-28C, KH 10-16, pH 6.8-7.2
Diet: Carnivore
Range: Southeast Asia
Family: Mastacembelidae
Species: Eels



Track Eel is a species of ray-finned spiny eel look-alike that is native to many parts of Southeast Asia ranging from India and Pakistan to Thailand and Vietnam.  The Tire Track Eel has a variety of other names including spiny eel, zigzag eel, white-spotted spiny eel and leopard eel.  Like many freshwater eel species the Tire Track Eel is not a true eel but a species of elongated freshwater fish that closely resembles the appearance of a true eel. Many freshwater aquarium hobbyists prize this species for their size, coloration and snake like appearance. This appearance includes elongated anal and dorsal fins that are connected to the caudal fin. Their eyes have brown stripes running laterally through them.  Their back has a dark tan color and a head that is a light beige color. Their body color is a lackluster brown to a tan on their belly. The body also has one to three darker longitudinal zigzag lines that connect to form a distinct reticulated pattern that is restricted to the rear two-thirds of the body.

Due to their large adult size of nearly 2.5 feet in length, the Tire Track Eel needs a larger aquarium to be properly housed. While smaller tanks can be used while young, the Tire Track Eel will eventually need a 125 gallon or larger aquarium to comfortably keep an adult specimen. Tire Track Eels need an aquarium setup with a deep soft substrate consisting of sand or a sand gravel mix that will allow them to burrow and forage in the substrate. As this species is known to both forage in the substrate and burry itself within the substrate, the aquarium decor should be designed with this in mind. Tire Track Eels should be housed with medium to large semi-aggressive species like large loaches, Gouramis, Knifefish, Geophagus, Acara or similar species. They will see smaller fish species as prey items.  They are territorial towards their own kind.

Tire Track Eels are nocturnal carnivores.  They eat insects, insect larvae, various species of worms and other similar meaty fare. In the aquarium the Tire Track Eel will eat with full aquarium lighting or in partial lighting conditions. They need a varied diet of foods ranging from live earthworms or black worms to frozen or pellet foods ranging from krill, plankton, tubifex worms, brine shrimp, frozen bloodworms, cyclopeeze or krill. They will forage in the substrate for plant roots or in search of insect larvae, so keep this in mind when designing an appropriate aquarium setup. Feed them at least once a day as much as they will eat in a few minutes.  Do this multiple times if an increased growth rate is desired.


For more information please call 02 9570 4646 or

Email us: enquiries@hurstvilleaquarium.com.au


Hurstville Aquarium


3/110 Queens Road
Hurstville NSW 2220, Australia
Phone: (02) 9570 4646