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Eels - Moray

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Eels - Moray

Gymnothorax_favagineus_2.jpg

Moray Eels are the most common eel in the aquarium trade.  The following species are good candidates for captive life.  They require a tightly sealed top that securely snaps on and has no gaps.  Sand is a good substrate; however, your eel might occasionally bury themself in deep sand, so limiting the sand bed to an inch deep will allow you to see them better.  Moray Eels have no scales making them very sensitive to medication.  Research treatments for eels prior to administering meds (avoiding medications when possible).

 

Provide plenty of live rock with caves and crevices, making sure that the rock is stable to prevent the powerful eel from toppling the structures.  Products like E-Marco 400 aquascaping cement can be used to fix the rock together (zip-ties and epoxy are also sometimes used).  Provide at least three long caves (PVC pipes can be used) for your eel to explore and to take shelter within.  The more comfortable it is, the more likely you will see your eel.

 

Tank Mates

A single Moray Eel is usually best.  Moray Eels consider any fish or crustacean that is small enough to be swallowed, to be food.  However, you can usually keep larger fish with the more docile species (although there are occasional reports of Moray Eels biting larger fish during feeding time).  Large wrasses can be used to reduce problem pests; and it's not unusual to see displays of Lionfish along with Moray Eels.

 

Filtration

Due to size of Moray Eels and the amount of food fed, excellent filtration and water changes are very important.  In addition, a protein skimmer will aid with keeping up water quality.  Make sure that your eel does not have access to any of your filters where it can be injured.

 

Diet

Be careful when feeding, as a moray's bite can be severe (and they don't easily let go); plus wounds can be subject to bacterial infections.  Moray Eels have powerful jaws and sharp teeth that can even crush clam shells.  Despite reports of people hand feeding their eels, you should always use a feeding tool (tongs or feeding stick) instead.  Eventually you might be able to simply drop food nearby.

 

Moray Eels can go without food for a couple of weeks and may initially refuse to eat.  However, generally, they should be fed at least once a week.  Young Moray Eels are usually fed more frequently than adults.  People typically feed juveniles every other day, while adults are often fed a substantial meal two or three times a week.  Instinctually they are nocturnal predators, so try feeding after the aquarium lights turn off; although they might learn to come out during the day to feed.  They tend to use smell over sight to locate food.

 

Moray Eels will eat most meaty seafood that it can swallow, including tank mates when hungry.  Provide meaty chunks of fish (like silversides) and crustaceans (like shrimp, crab, krill, and other seafood), occasionally treating your eel to chopped squid, and live fish and shrimp.  Without live food, consider soaking frozen food in a vitamin supplement like Selcon.

 

Golden Dwarf Moray Eel (Gymnothorax melatremus)

Max Size: 1'

Minimum Tank Size: 50 gallons

Care level: Easy

Temperament: Semi-aggressive

Reef Compatible: With Caution

Origin: Indo-Pacific, Africa, Hawaii

 

Jeweled Moray Eel (Muraena lentiginosa)

Max Size: 2'

Minimum Tank Size: 50 gallons

Care level: Easy

Temperament: Aggressive

Reef Compatible: No

Origin: Central America, Eastern Pacific

Muraena_lentiginosa.jpg

 

Golden Banana Moray Eel (Gymnothorax miliaris)

Max Size: 2' 4"

Minimum Tank Size: 100 gallons

Care level: Moderate

Temperament: Aggressive

Reef Compatible: With Caution

Origin: Western Atlantic

Species Notes: The Golden Banana Moray Eel is the same species as the Fire Coral Eel (except in a rare yellow form)

Gymnothorax_miliaris_(goldentail_moray_eel)_(San_Salvador_Island,_Bahamas)_3_(16171148365).jpg

 

Japanese Dragon Eel (Enchelycore pardalis)

Max Size: 3'

Minimum Tank Size: 100 gallons

Care level: Easy

Temperament: Aggressive

Reef Compatible: With Caution

Origin: Japan

ToraUB.jpg

 

Snowflake Eel (Echidna nebulosa)

Max Size: 3' 4"

Minimum Tank Size: 50 gallons

Care level: Easy

Temperament: Semi-aggressive

Reef Compatible: With Caution

Origin: Indonesia, Melanesia

Species Notes: Well suited for life in captivity. It's mild mannered and easily adjusts to a captive diet.  Snowflake Eels typically don't get much larger than 2' in captivity.

Snowflake_moray_in_Kona.jpg

 

Zebra Moray Eel (Gymnomuraena zebra)

Max Size: 5'

Minimum Tank Size: 75 gallons

Care level: Moderate

Temperament: Semi-aggressive

Reef Compatible: With Caution

Origin: Fiji, Indonesia

Species Notes: The Zebra Moray Eel is a docile species that is an ideal moray for the community tank. It poses little threat to other fish and is often out and about during the day rather than at night.  Crabmeat is part of its diet in the wild, and will be appreciated while in captivity.

Gymnomuraena_zebra_by_NPS.jpg

 

Tessalata Eel (Gymnothorax favagineus)

Max Size: 6'

Minimum Tank Size: 180 gallons

Care level: Easy

Temperament: Semi-aggressive

Reef Compatible: With Caution

Origin: Sri Lanka

Gymnothorax_favagineus_2.jpg

 

Yellow-Edged Eel (Gymnothorax flavimarginatus)

Max Size: 8'

Minimum Tank Size: 300 gallons

Care level: Easy

Temperament: Semi-aggressive

Reef Compatible: With Caution

Origin: Indonesia

Species Notes: Needs two or three substantial meals per week.

Yellow_Margined_Moray_Eel.jpg

 

Note: The Spotted Garden Eel (Heteroconger hassi), belonging to the Congridae family, is sometimes found in the aquarium trade.  However, it requires expert care and isn't a Moray Eel.

 

Photos by image.png.764b7df6a2818ad7ca0b4ddd2d888742.png

 

Saltwater Fish Index

 

Edited by seabass
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