Heteroconger hassi

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Latin name Heteroconger hassi - (Klausewitz & Eibl-Eibesfeldt, 1959)
Local name Spotted garden-eel
Family Congridae - Heteroconger
Origin East Indian Ocean, West Indian Ocean, Australia, Indonesia
Max length 45 cm (17,7")
As aquarium fish
Minimum volume 200 cm (53 gal)
Hardiness Average
Suitable for aquarium Suitable for special aquariums
Reef safe Always reef safe
Aggressiveness Peaceful
Recommended Zooplankton (Cyclops, pods...)
Small crustaceans (Krill, mysis, artemia...)
Beware of
Jumps out of open aquaria

This species is known to jump out of open aquaria.

Acclimatizing of Garden eels

Since these fish are very shy, there are difficulties feeding them at first as they are reluctant to come out of their holes.
Most aquarists report however, that once they appear, they eat well.

One must make certain that there are no aggressive fish in the aquarium and they should not be kept with creatures which dig into the sandy bottom.

It is obvious that these fish must have as short a journey to their final aquarium as possible, as they do not normally have the optimum conditions in the petshop.

Keep in mind

This species ought to be kept in a group of at least three.

Live food

There is a greater chance of success with this species if one can supply a living feed to allow it to adapt to the tank.

Frequent feeding

This fish requires feeding several times a day, especially when newly added.

When the fish can find its natural food in the aquarium it requires less frequent feeding. 

Deep sandy substrate

This species must be kept in an aquarium with at least a 20 cm layer of fine sand.
The layer should resemble the length of the fish.

If necessary topped with another layer if the sand swirls round too much.

Descriptions and further reading
Family description (Congridae)

Eels are a large family, but mainly the subfamily, Garden eel (Heterocongrinae) are relevant in relation to aquaria.

Garden eels live together in groups. They require enough sand in the aquarium substrate to make their small but deep holes, also the more one wishes to keep the larger the sand surface needs to be.

The minimum number kept, should be 3, the optimum is between 6 and 10. Each eel however, needs at least an area of 12 by 12 inch (30 by 30 cm).

They eat zooplankton from the water column, which is difficult to maintain in an aquarium. At first one needs to have live Artemia and preferably a healthy population of zooplankton. Later on they can be fed with frozen foods, provided this can be fed in such a manner that it floats gently past the eels so it can be caught.

Aquarium trade Yes
Distribution Indo-Pacific: Red Sea and East Africa to the Society Islands, north to the Ryukyu and the Ogasawara islands, south to northwestern Australia and New Caledonia; throughout Micronesia (Ref. 1602).
German common names Röhrenaal
English common names Spotted garden eel
Black spotted garden eel
French common names Congre paysagé
Hétérocongre tacheté
Danish common names Plettet koloniål
References and further reading

About references

Scott W. Michael. 2001. Reef Fishes volume 1 - TFH Publications / Microcosm Ltd. - (English)
Raul Roman. 2011. Aquarium Husbandry of the Spotted Garden Eel - Advanced Aquarist - (English)
Bob Fenner. The Conger & Garden Eels, Family Congridae - Wet Web Media - (English)