Spotted Garden Eel


The spotted garden eel that peeks out its long body from the sand!
It has a very cute appearance with striped patterns and orange colors, and it is a hidden popular creature in the aquarium, but do you know why the spotted garden eel burrows into the sand and what kind of food it eats?
Let’s learn more about the cute spotted garden eel!



~ Basic information. ~

Animalia Chordata Vertebrata Actinopterygii Neopterygii Elopomorpha Anguilliformes Congroidei Congridae Heterocongrinae Spotted Garden Eel genus Spotted Garden Eel.

Length 35㎝.

Tropical Indian and western Pacific Oceans.
In Japan Kochi Prefecture to the Ryukyu Islands.




Spotted Garden Eel’s Q&A.

What is the origin of the name Spotted Garden Eel?

It is called “spotted garden eel” in English, but in Japanese it is called “chinanago”.
This time, we will introduce why it is called chinanago in Japanese and its origin.

The chin part of chinanago is because it looks like the face of a dog called “Japanese Chin”.

The anago part is the fish anago (Conger eel) as you would expect.
The nishiki part of nishikianago (Splendid garden eel) is because it has a beautiful color like a woven fabric made of silk thread, so it is called nishikianago.

Isn’t the orange Spotted Garden Eel the Spotted Garden Eel?

When you hear “spotted garden eel”, you might imagine a fish with white body and black spots and a fish with orange stripes.

You often see them in the same tank at the aquarium, right?
Actually, the one with black spots is called “spotted garden eel”.
The one with orange stripes is called “splendid garden eel”.

They are definitely related, and the only difference is the pattern of their bodies, but when you see them at the aquarium, let’s call them by their respective names, “spotted garden eel” and “splendid garden eel”.


What does Spotted Garden Eel look like?

When you say “spotted garden eel”, you might think of its appearance of poking out its face from the sandpit.
That appearance is very cute, but what is curious is the appearance under the sand.

The lower half of the spotted garden eel has fins and such like normal fish.
As the biological classification of Anguilliformes and the name “anago” suggest, it is easy to understand the overall appearance by imagining eels or conger eels.


Why is Spotted Garden Eel diving to the ground?

The only reason why the spotted garden eel burrows into the ground is to protect itself from predators.

The spotted garden eel digs the sand vertically and dives into it.
The spotted garden eel secretes mucus from its body and hardens the hole so that it does not collapse.
By hardening the hole and preventing it from collapsing, it can escape quickly in case of emergency.


What does Spotted Garden Eel live like?

The spotted garden eel is diurnal, meaning it sleeps at night and wakes up and starts moving when the sun rises. Also, the spotted garden eel lives in groups of several to several hundred individuals, but the largest group ever confirmed is said to be 10,000.

The spotted garden eel prefers places where the tide is fast, and it waits for the plankton that comes riding on the tide by sticking out its face from the hole and eats it. Therefore, when the group of spotted garden eels is waiting for food, they are almost all facing the same direction. The spotted garden eel is said to have very good eyesight, and it seems to be able to distinguish the types of predators. (Currently under ecological investigation)


Can I pet a Spotted Garden Eel?

When you keep a rare animal, you may need to follow the laws set by the country. This time, we will introduce whether you can keep spotted garden eels at home in Japan.

You can keep spotted garden eels as pets with a little ingenuity.

The things you need are
・An aquarium (30 cm for 2 spotted garden eels, 45 cm for 4, and 60 cm for 8 are guidelines).
・A filter (a hanging filter is recommended for aquariums less than 45 cm, and a top filter is recommended for aquariums more than 60 cm).
・Sand (about 15 to 20 cm thick, coral sand with no corners and fine grains is recommended to prevent injuries to the body).
・Artificial seawater (spotted garden eels live in the sea and cannot survive in freshwater).
・A lid for the aquarium (it is safer to have one because there are many accidents where they jump out of the aquarium and die).

Spotted garden eels have a timid personality, so it is difficult to mix them with other fish.
They may get scared and not come out of the sand and starve to death.
You can put them in the same tank with splendid garden eels, which are their spotted garden eel companions, but they may fight, so please keep them in a larger tank than the above guidelines or in a small number.


I want to go to the aquarium to see Spotted Garden Eel, but where is it?

Currently, spotted garden eels are popular at aquariums, so they are exhibited at various aquariums and will continue to increase.

Aquariums where you can meet spotted garden eels.
・Otaru Aquarium.
・Sendai Umino-Mori Aquarium.
・Aquamarine Fukushima.
・Tokyo Tower Aquarium.
・Marinpia Nihonkai.
・Kyoto Aquarium.
・Kinosaki Marine World.
・Toba Aquarium.
・Churaumi Aquarium.
・Nifrel etc.




Type of Spotted Garden Eel.

・Spotted Garden Eel.
・Splendid garden eel.
・Taylor’s Garden Eel.
・Black garden eel.
・zebra garden eel.
・Galapagos garden eel.
・Pacific spaghetti eel.
・Sharp nose garden eel.
・Whitespotted garden eel.
・Hawaiian garden eel.


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