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FAQs about "Freshwater" Morays Eel Identification

Related FAQs: "FW" Moray Eels, FW Moray Behavior, FW Moray Compatibility, FW Moray Selection, FW Moray Systems, FW Moray Feeding, FW Moray Disease, FW Moray Reproduction, Marine Moray Eels

Related Articles: Freshwater Moray Eels by Marco Lichtenberger, Freshwater Moray Eels, Moray Eels, Other Marine Eels, 

Marble Moray Eel (Anarchias seychellensis)... ID, sys... NOT FW    1/11/12
<Hello Nikki.>
Two days ago I purchased a Marble Moray Eel being told it was a  freshwater fish. Reading some info on the internet told me that he is a brackish water fish.
<First we should determine what fish you have (Anarchias seychellensis would be a rare find and I doubt such a rare fish would be sold as freshwater). Do you have proper pictures you could email?>
I have a tank of about 46cm long, 22cm wide and 29cm tall (I'm not sure of how much litres that is).
<4.6x2.2x2.9 = 29 litres = tiny.>
The tank's bottom  is covered in black gravel, decorated with a few rocks, live plants and a cave. Being concerned of my eels health, I added 1 tablespoon of  freshwater salt (I heard that you shouldn't use marine salt for brackish water) to my tank,
<Actually the opposite... you should use marine salt... And one tablespoon is hardly brackish water...>
dissolving it in a cup before adding it  to my tank. I'm not sure of what the pH level should be, but it is currently about 7.4-8.0. The temperature is about 22 degrees Celsius/ 71 degrees Fahrenheit. I'm feeding him dried blood worms,
<No food for a moray eel if you really have one...>
but I'm not sure if he's eating. The eel himself is almost always hiding in his cave, but sometimes he will swim around in the tank before retreating  back to his cave. My questions are: Is the pH, temperature, salt and food right for a moray eel?
<First we should determine what species exactly you have (there are 200+ moray eels species, some hard to tell apart from each other), then we can discuss the proper environment, which differs from species to species. If your tank really only has a volume of 29 litres (which means there are about 22 litres of water in it) it is much too small for even the smallest dwarf moray species. Most moray eels are actually marine fish and only very few can live in brackish water. Cheers, Marco.>
Re: Marble Moray Eel (Anarchias seychellensis)   1/12/12

Hi, again.
<Hello Nikki.>
Thanks for the advice! I am currently changing my tank to be suitable  for my eel. He is looking a lot better, swimming around and even eating. I heard eels prefer lighter coloured gravel and rocks and I will soon swop my black gravel for white gravel and rocks. I'm also adding one cup of salted water to my tank every day, slowly changing the water to brackish and eventually marine. I went to a pet shop that specialises in marine fish (with my eel) to determine what sort of eel he actually is. The owner said that it is hard to exactly say what eel he is when he is still small, but the owner said he is 90% sure the eel is an Anarchias seychellensis eel.
Here is a picture I took of him:
<Hehe... no Anarchias seychellensis... this is definitely (100%) Gymnothorax tile. Please see here our article on this and closely related species:
Thank you, Nikki
<Welcome. Marco.>

Re: moray identification, FW    11/21/10
I have another moray to identify. These were being sold as freshwater morays. One I am sure is G. tile, the other I thought was polyuranodon but now I'm not sure. I couldn't get a better pic of the G. tile, unfortunately but you can see his coloration. There is also a close-up of the second eel, which is much clearer. -Matt
<Both eels are G. tile. The "unknown" eel still shows the juvenile coloration, which will/should blend into the standard G. tile coloration within about a year or two. Some individuals have the juvenile coloration for a longer time than others. Definitely no G. polyuranodon. For captive care please see: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/fwmorayart.htm
and please hit the shift key from time to time when sending emails to us (makes it easier for me). Cheers, Marco.>

"Freshwater " moray eel Mr. Fenner, First, like everyone else, I have to thank you both for your excellent book and the responses you post on WWM. They were both very helpful last year when I set up my first reef, which continues to thrive thanks to your advice. <You are certainly welcome. Thank you for the acknowledgement> I am writing to you regarding the eel that is commonly sold as "freshwater snowflake moray," which I am using as the centerpiece for a brackish tank. I recently purchased one at 18" that has turned out to be a fantastic fish. (Just recently came off its hunger strike...big relief for me!) <Ah, yes> First, has the scientific name for this eel changed? I see it on WWM referred to as Gymnothorax polyuranodon, but I have seen it referenced elsewhere as Echidna rhodochilus.  <Hmm, well this is a valid name for one of the "marine/fresh Moray species": http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/SpeciesSummary.cfm?ID= But the former is also freshwater and a valid species: http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/SpeciesSummary.cfm?ID= And there are a few others that are occasionally imported for aquarium use... So, both do come to ornamental aquatics through the Philippines, but are separate/different species.> Second, I have found reliable information on this animal hard to find. I have read the synopsis here and on Fishbase, as well as on Ruben Tolen's brackish site, but I have found little else on the web. I am primarily confused on the salinity this animal needs to be kept at as an adult. 1.010 is about what/where I've seen them kept by the trade... as juveniles. The Echidna I suspect should be kept in NSW, Near Seawater, conditions as an adult> I always see it referenced as a brackish fish, but reliable responses from other aquarists on AquariaCentral and FishIndex suggest it requires marine conditions as an adult. I am prepared to provide for it either way, but I would like to know what environment will be best for it. Thanks for your time and your expertise, Jason <Actually either or both of us need make a trip down to a large/r college library here (unless you have BIOSIS/Zoological Record access at home/office... Go back to Fishbase.org and click, follow under "references"... and if you have time, inclination, to the library you go, and have a reference librarian show you how to do a computer bibliographic search. Like: http://wetwebmedia.com/litsrchart.htm Be chatting, Bob Fenner> Re: "freshwater " moray eel Mr. Fenner, Thanks for the quick reply! The freshwater moray that I own looks more like the echidna rhodochilus from these pictures, as does the animal labeled as Gymnothorax polyuranodon on WWM: http://www.aquariacentral.com/species/db.cgi?db=fresh&uid=default&ID=0580&view _records=1 Does Gymnothorax polyuranodon display enough color variation to account for this difference in pictures, or is the photo on WWM (or AC) possibly mislabeled? <Don't know about the range of color, patterns in this species... all the ones I have seen have been rather bland... if these were indeed G. polyuranodon... But do know (for sure) about the possibility of mislabeled images identified by myself! These are definitely due to error.> Also, I happen to be student at Virginia Tech, which unfortunately doesn't help as our library does not have the text cited for rhodochilus on Fishbase. I will look into Interlibrary Loan and see if I can get lucky...I will let you know if I find out anything interesting. Thanks again, Jason <Yes to the interlibrary loan... Do check to see if you have BIOSIS on campus. Bob Fenner>

Just got a "freshwater snowflake eel" Ok at the risk of sounding like an idiot...I just got an eel...the guy I bought it from said it was a freshwater moray snowflake eel, he seemed to know what he was talking about and was fairly helpful...the eel is about 6-8 inches long and in a 10 gallon tank... water is entirely fresh and clean...I got some frozen silversides from the guy I got the eel from and was wondering if this is a good food for him? I threw a few in there, about an inch square cut from the package, I let it thaw and then dropped them in front of his hiding place (a plastic decorative aqua-gator with hollow belly and mouth open) he didn't move for them...I have fish gravel rocks on the bottom and a filter that I got from Wal-mart...I guess I just need to know exactly what steps I need to take to make this a happy healthy eel that isn't going to die on my fiancé.....she will be crushed....please help me....I know that all this is probably in the FAQ but I wanted it personally...if you could send a reply to my e-mail address I would be extremely grateful....thanks a lot.....Mike <you are correct my friend. There is so much to say, and at times we are pressed so dearly for time to try to keep up with e-mailed queries that restating covered topics can be difficult. The eel species needs to be ID first as a true fresh, brackish or marine species. The 10 gallon tank is obscenely small whatever it is. Diet will depend o species again, but is likely to include crustacea (live shrimp (ghost/grass), crayfish, krill, cocktail shrimp frozen). If it seems to respire fast it may need salted water indeed. Please browse articles and FAQs starting here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwmorayeels.htm Best regards, Anthony>

Echidna rhodochilus ID   12/6/06 Hi I was wondering if the photo of the Echidna rhodochilus on your site is wrong because it doesn't match the one on fishbase.org, or is theirs wrong. <Mmm, I do believe both images are of the same species... the one shown: http://fishbase.sinica.edu.tw/Photos/PicturesSummary.cfm?ID=11709&what=species is of a "natural" specimen... that has eaten much more live food material, had better water quality. Bob Fenner>  

Eel ID (02/24/04) Hi I attached a photo and I wanted to know what eel this is. Mostly I want to know how big will it get like in thickness and length or other information thank you. <Hi! Ananda here tonight... the file name seems to indicate the species: Gymnothorax polyuranodon -- though it does not look quite like other photos I've seen of that species. If you think the file name is not indicative of the species, and to find out more basic info, head on over to Fishbase: http://www.fishbase.org ...just type "Gymnothorax" in the Genus field and check the results. --Ananda><<Is G. tile. RMF>>

Yellow finned eel ID I emailed a while ago about a new unidentified eel I had gotten, and I finally have pictures to aid in the ID process. He's about 8 or 9 inches long, about as wide as a pen or a AAA battery at his thickest point. He eats like a pig, and will come searching around the tank if I pour in a little of the water I used to thaw krill or prawn with. (Even if I stick my fingers into the tank after touching some)  <I think what you have is Echidna rhodochilus Bleeker 1863, "Freshwater White-Cheeked Moray". You can see this animal on our site here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwmorayeels.htm> I found a white color variant Siderea thyrsoidea (white eye moray), and want to add it to my tank very much, but as it is probably close to a foot in length and maybe as big around as a nickel or larger, but I worry that my little yellow finned beauty will be eaten. <A valid concern. This latter animal will grow much more quickly than your current one> He is currently in a 38, and I can quarantine the white eyed in my (hopefully "eel proof") ten gallon a little longer than normal until I get my 75 up and running in a month or two, but do you think they will bother each other even in there? <Too likely so to suit me> It will be mostly dwarf lionfish; a dwarf zebra lion, a dwarf fuzzy lion, a Fu Manchu, 3(?) leaf fish, a cockatoo Waspfish, and the two eels. I have some shrimp in the 38 with the little guy, and he hasn't bothered them yet. I worry that my current little guy will get too big and eat the white eye moray in time too, since I don't know what he is (hoping not a longtail moray). Scott Michael's Reef fishes book states that white eye morays are not a threat to other eels, and regularly share holes with them, but it doesn't really say what kind of size difference is a safe margin for that statement. I would really like them both, and I worry that because my LFS does not get white eye morays in very often and I can't seem to ever find them on the internet,  <Look up both these species on fishbase.org> that I won't see another one, especially a white one. If I really need to, I can even keep the white eye in my 10 until my 75 is up, then keep him in there and my little guy in the 38, but I'd like to put them together. From the pictures, do you have any idea what my little guy might be? I have more picture, and although they're blurry, I can send them if you need them. Thanks, Valerie Hess p.s. I have already tried fishbase.org and I looked at EVERY SINGLE eel picture they had, but it didn't help. <Mmm, use their "Google Photos" patch on the (double lift click the image on their species identification pages) extended photo/s pages. Bob Fenner>
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