Guide to Eel Culture, Part 2 Feeding Management

Feeding Management

1. Maintain proper feeding levels throughout the culture period.

  • Remember: Monopterus albus is a progynus (female first) species. The ones that are below 40 cm are females and those above 60 cm are males. The in-between length group turns cannibal
  • Segregate the fingerlings which cling to the water hycinth roots. Take out the weed and tap it over a net. The fingerlings will fall down Repeat for a few days until there are no more fingerlings left in the tank. Maintain in a separate tank or aquarium until they are pencil size. Then, transfer to a new tanks.

2. Use only mud from the pond in case of a nursery pond until the hatchings develop into fingerlings.

3. Add flour or vitamin pre-mix to the eel’s natural food to make the consistency of stiff paste (so that the food does not dissolve in water and spoil the water quality).

4. Give food individually or in combination of two or more. A natural food, such as fingerlings of other cheaper fish, is the most preferable food.

5. At fingerlings stage, feed eels with a lot of aquatic insect which can be produced naturally in stagnant water bodies.

6. Collect garden snails from the ricefields to reduce snail population eating rice and feed to the eels

7. Consider the following factors in feeding the eels:

  • size (length) of the fish;
  • total weight of the biomass (all fishes in total); and
  • climatic conditions, such as atmospheric temperature

An ideal temperature for eel to feed properly would be between 20-35°C.

Eel’s Natural Food

  • fish fingerlings
  • earthworms
  • snails
  • aquatic insects
  • silkworm pupae
  • slaughter house wastes (cow, carabao, chicken liver, intestine, chicken skin, etc.)

Tip: Silkworm pupae, if available locally, is an excellent food for the eels. Live earthworms can be given directly to the fish. They can also be ground in the form of paste along with other fish and/or snails.

Tips on Feeding

  • Always feed the eels at a fixed feeding point and time
  • Eels can be fed in trays made out of local materials. The feeding trays should be removed a couple of hours after each feeding. The trays should be designed in such a way that there is minimum or no spilling of the food in the water. Leftover food will deteriorate the water quality. Siphon leftovers using a PVC pipe.
  • To begin with, the feed should be placed at the bottom of the tank and then gradually moved to the surface within a span of few days.
  • If the eels feed on the surface, observe them everyday from any diseases or strange behavior.
  • If dried feeds are used, grind them into powder or paste using a domestic type grinder. It facilitates the storage of food for longer periods.

Harvesting and Transporting

  1. Harvest according to the needs of the market and the growth of eels.
  2. Harvest partially or completely. If you have more than one tank, harvest completely so that the next lot is ready in the new tank before harvesting.
  3. Harvest during feeding time when a net can be placed under the feed.
  4. Make sure not to injure the eels as it may, besides causing death, lower the price in the market.
  5. Starve the eels in holding tanks before transporting live to the market.
  6. Clean the tanks properly after harvesting and sun-dry for a few days before stocking new eels.

Economic Benefits

There being no established market for Monopterus eels, this economic feasibility is based on existing market of local variety of eels, the Anguilla species (locally knows as igat, palos or casili).

For an initial fixed investment of P6,300 and a production of P5,590, a farmer can obtain a net return of P14,410 per eight months or P1,801.25 per month.

Ecological Implications

Some farmers who have introduced Monopterus eels in their rice fields have noticed a marked reduction in the snail population as these are natural feed for the eels. However, some farmers have come across the problem of dike boring by eels, thus making it difficult for them to retain water in their rice fields. The ecological implications of these species is the wild are being studied. It is therefore recommended to raise eels only in cemented tanks and not let them get into natural systems.

Rice fields eels, once introduced into the rice fields, can serve as predator against golden snails which have become a pest in some Asian countries, particularly the Philippines and Vietnam.

Earthworm can be cultured in backyards (Vermiculture) and can be used as supplementary feed for the eels. The compost produced by the worms can be used as fertilizer for vegetable gardens. The eels in rice fields also reduce the amount of insect pests thus increasing the rice production.

For more information contact:

Dept.of Agriculture
D.A. Compound, Elliptical Rd.,
Diliman,Quezon City
Tel. Nos. (632) 929-6065 to 67 / 920-3991 / 928-1134


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