Mastamembel Armatus (Mastacembelus armatus) Lacepède, 1800
Other names: Mustambell Carapace, Coffee Eel.
Family: Hobotnorylye (Mastacembelidae).
Asia: India, Thailand and Sumatra.
Mastamembel Armatus prefers rivers and streams with sandy and rocky bottom, sometimes aquatic vegetation. Also kept in the lowland and coastal marshes.
During the rainy season during the summer months, they can be found in canals, lakes and other areas of flooded plains.
The body of Mastamembel Armatus has a serpentine shape, is covered with small scales and is colored dark brown with a lighter shade of brown on the stomach, the head is silver-beige. The pattern of circles in the form of a net pattern occupies two thirds of the body. Brown stripes stretch in the transverse direction through the eyes of the fish.
There are no ventral fins, anal and dorsal fins are elongated and connected to the caudal fin, numerous small spikes stretch along the back.
Mastamembel Armatus has different natural variations in color, depending on the habitat.
The maximum standard length is 91 cm, the dimensions in the aquarium are more modest.
In general, the fish of the peaceful community, although care should be taken that the neighbors in the aquarium are large enough so that they do not become prey, as this species eats live fish in the wild. Do not hold with small fish, it will be eaten.
It is recommended to keep only one Crustacean Mastacembel in an aquarium, since they can be aggressive to their congeners. Sometimes this can be avoided by keeping the fish in groups of five or more.
Aquarium size 100 cm, a volume of 200 liters. May be contained in a smaller capacity as a teenager.
The aquarium should be well planted with aquarium plants, floating plants can also be used. Abundance of shelters should be provided, as this species likes to hide during the day.
Snags, various caves / grottoes and PVC pipes, all suitable for this purpose. Sand should be used as a primer, as “spiky eels” often like to burrow.
Weak or dimmed lighting will stimulate the fish to leave their shelter more often. A tight-fitting lid is a must-have, as Mastazembel can find “a way to escape” even through a small hole.
Water changes should be sufficiently small portions, as in the wild, this fish mainly inhabits areas with stagnant water. This species feels best when contained in slightly brackish water.
Temperature: 24 – 28 ° C
pH: 6.0 – 7.5
Stiffness: 5 – 15 ° DH
Prefers foods such as shrimp, krill. Live and frozen feeds (Motyl, Piping, etc.) are also eaten with pleasure, but by themselves these feeds are unlikely to be enough to grow and contain large fish.
Some specimens will also receive feed of plant origin, although this happens quite rarely.
The female is more complete when ready to breed.
No reports of breeding in an aquarium.
Life expectancy of 8 – 18 years, depending on the conditions of detention.
Fishes of this family are distributed throughout the waters of tropical Asia and Africa. Mastatzambel Armatus is one of the most common species available in aquariums, along with Macrognathus Siamese (Macrognathus siamensis) and Mastacembelus erythrotaenia. These species are all from Asia, but there are some family members from Africa who sometimes come across the market.
Most of these species are of the genus Afromastacembelus, the most common representative is the Tanganyika Mastazembelus (Afromastacembelus tanganicae).
For the presence of spikes running along the back of the fish, the family Mastacembelidae was called “spiny eels,” although they have no relationship with eels. Spikes can be injected, but they are harmless to humans.