Their scientific name being Anguilliformes, Eels are long snake-like fishes with a smooth and slippery exterior. Though eels comes in different shades and sizes, they are commonly shaded bright brown with black spots. Eels are also carnivores by nature.
They are also known for their low mortality rate. When placed in fresh water, female eels would typically survive around 18 years while male eels survive for 12 years. Eels would spend a large potion of their life in fresh waters, but would reproduce in sea water.
An eel typically reproduces once in their lifetime, however this differs according to their species.For every type of eels holds different needs and responsibilities, but more often that not breeders regard eels as a low maintenance animal.
Theres a common consensus that claims breeding your very own eels is a relatively low-cost investment: in terms of money, time, and effort. In fact, professional Eel breeders can be regarded as a profitable career choice as they do not have to invest as much in terms for raising them. Most Eel breeders start from the comfort of their home by utilising only one big tank
If you’re considering of breeding and raising eels of your own, be sure to read through this article for 10 step-by-step things to consider on being an Eel breeder.
- Market, Demands, and Other Benefits
Before you could invest time in research on breeding eels, you should make sure and fully comprehend if the Eel breeding world would be the right choice for you. Just like any type of animal possible to domesticate (yes all, from iguanas to cockatiels), there are multiple benefits in breeding Eel. One most prominent benefit, however, is the market potential it has.
Eels are a primary source of protein in several popular countries, such as India. The eel market is constantly growing, with high demands all over the world. With a comparatively low investment of time and other costs, breeding eels could generate faster profit than you could imagine.
2. Organizing Your Business Blueprints
Once you weigh out the benefits, you could then start planning and organizing your breeding business. There are many factors to consider, and the list includes physical resources, money, and time.
One of the most crucial factor to plan, that goes hand in hand with budgeting, would be providing the right habitat for your animal. This really depends on your personal goals in this business: you would need to dedicate more tank space if you plan on creating a whole breeding empire.
Finally, it helps that you find connection and networks where you could potentially market your eels beforehand. This would help you provide the bigger picture on which direction you’re heading with your eels. If you plan on marketing your eels on a larger scale, you could start making connections with your local markets, hotels, and restaurants that would be interested.
3. Constructing Your Living Spaces
The first step is to construct the eels’ living space. This means measuring and gathering the right water (check its temperature, amount, acidity levels, etc) and tank space – though some breeders may opt for an outdoor pond. Whichever choice is between the two, you should make sure that these eels are provided with the right amount of mobile space to move around and socialize.
In the chance that you would prefer to invest on a tank, most breeders by default would purchase a glass-based tank, with the measurements of 6-8 m² and allowing 50-75 kg of eels / m². A glass-based tank would not only help the breeders monitor their eels from afar, but would also provide access to sunlight for these eels.
Your glass tank should be able to hold up to 1000-20000 L of clean water, and should include a functioning water filters to ensure a healthy recirculation. This would guarantee a healthy and safe living space for your eels to live in.
However, if you would prefer to invest on an outdoor pond, be sure that the surface of the pond is constructed and layered so that the waters do not seep in to the earth. The ideal measurement of the bond should be around 0,2-2ha with an area that covers around 1-1,5
4. Investing on Your First Eels
After providing the proper living space, the breeders could then start investing on eels. Breeders could purchase their first eels from other breeders, local markets, or even catch one of their own from the sea. To hunt for your own eels, breeders typically invest on fishing nets and place them at their habitats.
5. Primary Quarantined Health Checks
It is advised that you place your freshly caught eels in a smaller tank first. Separating them from your existing and carefully raised eels would avoid the possibility of spreading foreign diseases to your existing farm. That being said, a smaller tank will help breeders monitor and run health checks on their new catch to ensure that they are safe to join the rest of the bunch.
Particularly for younger eels, they can only join the bigger tank if they are in a healthy condition and would have weigh around 5g. At this physique, eels can be fed special pellets to fulfil their daily nutrients. Otherwise, eels with a less healthy physical condition would need to adopt a special diet.
6. The Eel Diet
Living up to being low maintenance, the eel’s diet is relatively versatile. Some breeders would prefer feeding their eels a more organic diet (such as snails, red meat, and fishes) while some would opt for the commercial diets (nutrient infused pellets and other vitamins). Whatever form it may be, it is the breeder’s responsibility to feed their farm a high-protein diet to maintain their health at their best shape.
Of course, it is always wise to consult professionals and do your research in regards to your eels’ nutritions beforehand. Though low maintenance, breeders should not recklessly feed them anything and everything. Different eels would require different nutrients for their different needs. For example, a shortfin and longfin eel should be fed a ratio of 1.5-2:1 (food weight, and body weight).
7. Maintenance and Socialisation
To avoid competition and cannibalism, breeders are required to separate the eels in different tanks if the habitat reaches its maximum capacity. It is also wise to separate these eels according to their different sizes, to avoid the possibility of larger eels consuming their smaller peers. Furthermore, in every 6 weeks, routine check up on your eels should be done assure their health.
8. Growth and an Eel’s Life Cycle
Overtime, your eels would grow several shades darker and would reach up to 8-20cm in their peak adulthood. At this stage (elvers) wild eels would generally migrate to the fresh waters, then to the sea to reproduce, then back again to the fresh waters.
Eels are a subspecies of fish, so adult eels reproduce by laying eggs. At the sea, these eggs would be transported by the water flow to the deeper end and evolve into larva. At around 18 months, they would grow up to become what is called a “glass eel”. These adolescent eels looks just like how they sound like: transparent and clumsy. Once these eels are 2-3 years, most of these eels would reach peak adulthood and is ready to be harvested.
9. Harvesting Your Eels
Before harvesting your farm, be sure that your eels have reached the ideal physique for the market. The ideal size of marketed eels varies according to their clients, but it usually ranges from 150g to a couple of kilograms. However, the ideal physique is not only dependent on its size, but also the eels’ health. Place your eels in clear water, as the quality of their habitat effects their taste. Additionally, for quality reasons, it is advised that breeders stop feeding their eels 1-2 days before selling them.
10. Post Harvest Care
Likewise for any other animal, post harvest care is a crucial step for breeders to ensure the quality of their business. Package your eels in a good portable temporary habitat, that provides them enough space to move, oxygen, and sunlight. The amount of water is crucial to preserve the quality of their skins. As for your existing eels, be sure to do routine post-harvest tank cleaning to maintain their health.
So this marks the end of 10 step-by-step things to consider on being an Eel breeder. Note that regardless of the animal, smart breeders would have to consult professionals and do prior research on more information on how to raise a good quality far. Nevertheless, we hope that this article could be of good use for you in the future!