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Pet Information: Zig Zag Eel
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"Thank you for this information! It turns out my eel is a Zig Zag and not a Tire Track, which I doubt I would have learned anytime soon. Considering there are differences in the optimal conditions for keeping each type of eel, I can begin slowly making any necessary changes. As mentioned, I bought mine when she (?) was much smaller, and the marks were not as distinct. 
I also wanted to add a piece of advice for those who have extremely shy Zig Zag Eels, don't give up! I've had mine for over a year, and I ended up naming her Agora, short for 'Agoraphobia,' because she NEVER came out. When I had a problem with my large tank, I had to split everyone between 4 (10) gallon tanks for the last several weeks. During that time, I started hand feeding her using freeze dried food, including tiny whole shrimp and brine shrimp cubes (which could be broken into smaller pieces). 
To start there are a few things which I believe contributed to my success that should be taken into account. When I moved Agora to the smaller tank, I had already had her for over eight months. She was eating in the larger tank, but she never came out. I then let her settle into the new tank for a few weeks before I begin working with her. I also feel it's important to do this while they're small for two main reasons. The first is that, like with most animals, it's easier to train younger pets. The second has to do with the possible biting issue that could arise from hand feeding, which I will go into after I explain how I worked up to hand feeding in the open.
To begin, I always turn off the tank light when I hand feed her so that she's more comfortable. I then gently lift the lid and hold it at an angle during feeding. At first, I used long tweezers to hold the food right in front of or just in wherever she was hiding. I was lucky since she immediately accepted the foods. Over time, I moved the tweezers closer to the surface, but I still fed her in a place with a large ornament she could continue to hide in or next to. 
Once she was comfortable, I started varying use of the tweezers and my fingers. It took over two months to get to where she would comfortably eat from my fingers. She even got to where she would pop her head out of the water when the food got close to the water! 
At this point, I slowly started moving where I put the food into a more open area, going a little further every few days. I only did a few bites out in the open per feeding so that she wasn't stressed by being forced to go out for food. Again, I was lucky in that Agora was quick to realize she wasn't in danger. Now she will take food anywhere! 
In order to prevent her from biting me every time I stuck my hand or fingers in the tank, I also worked to train her to only go after food. The reason I said it's best to do this when they're small, is because I basically let her nip to me countless times until she learned that unless she smells food, there won't be any. Since Agora and other eels of the type don't have teeth, it barely even felt like a pinch when she got me. However if I were trying to train a much larger email, their jaw would likely be powerful enough for a bite to be painful. 
Next I'm going to work on her letting me pet her, but I haven't quite figured out how yet. I don't want to put my whole hand or arm in the tank, mostly to prevent introducing anything harmful to the tank, but also because I would like to teach her to come to me. Since she's going to go back into a 55 gallon tank, teaching her to come to me for rewards seems a much better goal then only been able to pet her when she's on the bottom of the tank. If I succeed, I'll share how I did it!"
"Christina Migala DeMott"

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