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FAQs about "Freshwater" Morays Eel Systems

Related FAQs: "FW" Moray Eels, FW Moray ID, FW Moray Behavior, FW Moray Compatibility, FW Moray Selection, 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, 


Re: a bunch of morays in a bucket      12/29/17
Hello again Neale, Marco and all you nice people at WetWebMedia,
Dear Marco, thank you for your kind and quick reply!
<You are welcome.>
Allow me to continue my previous story. After seeing what they have to offer me today, I told the guy that none of the eels that he offered me are the species I ask for, the brackish-freshwater Gymnothorax tile. I showed
him the pictures from WetWebMedia and that super-cute baby G. tile of yours, he said he will look for it & it doesn't look alien to him, he had seen those, though not as frequently as Echidna nebulosa, interesting eh?
<Yes, both are common eels in Indonesia.>
I remember discussing with Neale (or was it you or Mr. Fenner?) about marine morays entering freshwater (to look for richer nutrients). But, what I witnessed today, are very small baby morays from species which are
supposed to be fully totally marine and not brackish (G. pictus, E. nebulosa, G. richardsonii), and yet they are caught in a river (though admittedly still in the estuarine environment). What are those babies doing in the river?
<Mangrove belts and estuaries are kind of nurseries for many fish species.
The freshwater rivers are rich in nutrients (especially particles of small size), the mud can be used to hide in and the murky water makes it less likely to be spotted by many larger predators.>
How did they, marine morays babies, survived brackish water at such young age?
<So far we don't know the salinity of the water they live in. We also don't know how long they stay there.>
I look at Fishbase, it says that G. richardsonii is totally marine.
<Often occurs in shallow water, doesn't need reefs.>
So how did the baby of G. richardsonii ended up in the river? Chasing shrimps?
<Probably and also to hide.>
The procurer even told me, that if he lower his nets on the estuarium and nearby rivers, those baby morays are what he usually got, along with other eels and eel-like fishes (such as Ikan layur / Trichiurus, a popular food-fish here). He told me that "those from the river and river mouth are not so beautiful colorful, except for tiger eel (Gymnothorax polyuranodon).
If you want colorful ones, wait until I catch eels around the coral reefs in the islands nearby, I can get you belut pita (ribbon eels), very beautiful" Off course I told him that I don't want marine eels, as I don't want
to start a marine tank, and the marine eels that we usually encounter in the Java sea are the larger ones.
<I found marine tanks always easier to maintain. All my brackish eels sooner or later were transferred into marine tanks and lived there for around a decade or longer. Skimmers and live rock make it so much easier to
provide a high water quality.>
G. javanicus and its friends are huge and dangerous! And the legendary Strophidon sathete are also not very alien from our coastal areas and rivers as you know already, and to some people they are delicacies. They do get very big. An FB friend of Mr. Septian caught one of those 3 meters long Strophidon not long ago, here are the picture.
<What a beast.>
Tonight I am watching my eels and feel happy, we have the big fat Echidna rhodochilus on the left and the slim and slithery G. polyuranodon on the right. Now two of my Echidnas has been taught to eat frozen shrimps (thanks
to the directions from WetWebMedia ;) to dim the lights), but the smaller one, after almost 3 months, still prefer live shrimps, just like the new G. polyuranodon.
<Patience. All moray eels I personally knew accepted frozen food sooner or later.
As noted before, try feeding in the dark, try the very same food items they accept alive. Keeping them without tankmates and providing enough caves also helps.>
If there are certain vitamins to make them interested in frozen food, please let me know.
<You can try garlic. There is also hooking bait dip sold in fishing stores, but I would not put this stuff in an aquarium.>
So sorry for the length of the e-mail. As a closing message, allow me to thank Neale, you and all you excellent WetWebMedia crew for assisting me in enjoying my hobby as a brackish water aquarist specializing in eels. New
Year 2018 is approaching, and I wish you all a wonderful New Year!
<No problem. Have a good start into the new year.>
Best Regards, Ben
<Cheers, Marco.>
Re: a bunch of morays in a bucket      12/29/17

<Ben, am deleting your messages as your files continue to be too large. SEE as in READ our requirements. We have limited file space. ONLY send files of a few hundred Kbytes, NOT Megs. BobF.>

Re: And now I have three of them! (RMF, am I quoting you right here?)    12/1/17
>>Clown Loaches in brackish water? Not I, though am back to Borneo in January...<<
Hello Neale and all you wonderful people at WetWebMedia, warm greetings from Indonesia!
<Definitely more pleasant than cold, dark, wet wintertime England!>
As promised, here are further observation from my aquarium. I have good news. Now I have three Echidna rhodochilus. I found a guy who caught two Echidnas from Segara Anakan lake, South Java. This is very far from the original place of my first echidna, which was Muaratawar estuarium in North Bekasi, at the northern part of Java. They are bigger than my older Echidna, maybe about 40cms, and fatter too.
<Very nice additions, in my opinion. I am most envious of your relatively easy access to such a variety of fish-life.>
He put them in freshwater aquarium for many months, together with an Oscar.
They got along well, and indeed they are just as docile as my previous Echidna at home. But knowing how Oscars are, what's stopping the Oscar to consider those much smaller Echidnas as tasty worms? So therefore I bought
them all. I named them Emerson and Wakeman :D
<Nice!>
So, I put them on my aquarium, and indeed, they get along well with each other, and with my older Echidna. They even share the same home pipes.
<This/these species are often sociable. Not 100% reliable, but oftentimes.>
After a few days there are no fighting for space or for food (I have plenty of feeder guppies and river shrimps still in the tank). Mr. Echidna (the first moray) and Emerson are very active, they like to dig the sand and rearrange the pipes and other ornaments. while Wakeman seems to be content on sitting on its pipe, going out only when wanting to terrorize the shrimps and guppies. It's humorous to see Echidna and Emerson digging under the pipe where Wakeman is in, as both his friends are busy digging, Wakeman stuck his head out of the pipe, as if saying "Yo guys, what's going on??".
BTW, you are very correct, echidna rhodochilus are not as "fierce" as the reputation of morays in general public tends to portray them. They never made any attempt to bite me, not even the new ones. When I put my hand on
the aquarium, they just slip around and under my fingers as if swimming around mangrove roots. They seems to have a high "Curiosity" as you said.
<That is very much true for Morays. Altogether lovely fish, and excellent aquarium residents.>
For experiment, I put some Yoyo loaches and clown loaches. All three echidnas doesn't seem to mind, they don't even react when the loaches are entering their pipes. Therefore, these echidnas that I have doesn't seem to
exhibit any territorial aggression, at least for now.
<Interesting.>
My question: The loaches seems to be doing well, they are still as colorful and as playful as ever, so maybe the different salinity level in my echidna aquarium are not significant enough for them. Or maybe loaches does have a
bit of tolerance for low-end brackish? I will move them back to my other aquarium sometime later, but if they seems to be happy with the morays, shall I left them alone, or must I move them back?
<Good question. Generally, loaches are not brackish water. But Fishbase reports Acantopsis choirorhynchos as occurring in brackish water, and there are reports of Clowns in brackish, but I'm very skeptical of this -- though
I know Bob Fenner has mentioned seeing this in the wild, I believe. Still, the loach/moray combo isn't one I'd particularly recommend, and if you see signs of stress, I'd be rehoming one/other of the species accordingly.>
My second question: I am still unsuccessful in weaning my echidna (the old one) away from live shrimps and guppies. It doesn't seem to be interested with frozen shrimps and bloodworms for now. Maybe because there are still some live shrimps and guppies left in the aquarium from the last batch I bought. What are your thoughts about this?
<These Morays do hunt by smell. Try using long forceps or bamboo satay skewers to offer small bits of meat near visibly hungry Morays. Feel free to starve 'em for a week or more if needed! They will, when hungry, snap at
food offered in this way. Do let me direct you to some reading, here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/morayfdgfaqs.htm
While aimed at marine Morays, much the same holds for their freshwater relatives.>
Well, that would be all for now, thank you for your kind attention!
Best Regards, Ben
<And to you, Ben; cheers, Neale.>



Re: And now I have three of them!       12/2/17
Hello Neale and all you amazing people at WetWebMedia, warm greetings from Jakarta, Indonesia, we hope your weekend will be very enjoyable!
<Well, actually rather busy with furniture being moved out of storage -- but let's hope for a successful weekend, anyway.>
Following up our previous conversation about Echidna Rhodochilus and loaches, here are more pictures from my "experiment".
<Indeed.>
As I mentioned, the Yoyo loaches and the Clown loaches seems to get along with the morays; the clowns in particular seems to take an interest in the largest moray (Mr. Emerson), they swims around him and even "resting" their bodies on him when he is visiting the bogwood ornament which I put in a corner of the aquarium. The Yoyo loaches are moving in and out of the morays' home-pipe with no fear and not molested at all. I include the
pictures with this e-mail.
<Neat! While I remain skeptical about the loach/moray combination in the long term, it might well be that you can find a 'happy medium' salinity that suits them both. Certainly such things happen in the wild, at the very edges of estuaries, where freshwater and euryhaline brackish water fish coexist, often in huge numbers. My own local river, the River Thames, as it rolls through London is just such a habitat, mixing freshwater bream and
roach alongside brackish water flounders and eels.>
All loaches so far still retain their colors and cheerful behavior, and still eats like pigs whenever I throw bloodworms at them. No negative impact from the brackish water are seen yet.
<Good.>
No physical changes seen yet. I think I will continue the experiment for a week to see if any negative effects appeared. If any negative effects are showing, I will certainly follow your advice & return the loaches to their
previous (full FW) home.
<Wise.>
The only "bad sign" I observed, is that the guppies, shrimp and Sailfin mollies that I intend to be put as "feeder fishes" (for the echidnas), often get to the bloodworms intended for the loaches FASTER than the loaches themselves. They have this incredible speed and intuition; loaches seems to swims slowly and lazily towards the bloodworms, while mollies, guppies and shrimps moves very fast. Luckily, they seems to only able to take small bits and pieces, while the loaches eats the larger portions.
<Try feeding at night, maybe once or twice a week. Catfish pellets or wafers will be slowly nibbled on by loaches through the night, when the Mollies are asleep.>
Thank you for the feeding tips; I will wait until the morays has consumed all the feeder guppies and shrimps, before trying to put them into "fasting mode". With the exception of largest few shrimps which came from the first
batch of shrimps, that I put in this aquarium months ago... they seemed to have become "part of the landscape" instead of being "feeders", as the morays doesn't seems to molest them at all, even though they will terrorize
and eat the smaller shrimps from newer batches.
<Odd!>
A friend told me that a feeder who survived several weeks without being caught, will have its smell "blended" with the environment, and thus the bigger fishes cannot smell them anymore. Is this true?
<It's certainly plausible.>
Lastly, I am thinking of writing a small article about my experiences keeping the Echidnas. It will be a summary of our discussions here and other info which I gathered both from the Internet and from personal experiences. I hope that article will be useful for all FW moray lovers worldwide. What are your thoughts about this one? As you mentioned, I do have relatively easy access to fishes that are considered "rare" in the rest of the world, so I wish to share my experiences with them.
<Anywhere in mind? TFH in the US and PFK in the UK are two of the best known, but might also think about the likes of Amazonas, a magazine more tailored to advanced hobbyists worldwide, with a particular accent on top-quality photography. They've certainly published many lovely articles on wild-caught species including photos of their natural habitat, capture methods, and so on. Sounds up your street, I'd have thought!>
Well, again I thank you and have a nice weekend!
<Good luck with the article, Neale.>

Re: And now I have three of them!     12/4/17
Hello Neale and all you excellent people at WetWebMedia. Greeting from Jakarta!
<Hello Ben,>
(Neale, I hope your furniture-moving experience last week were enjoyable!)
<Wouldn't say 'enjoyable' as such...>
Thank you for your input about my future article. For now, my English-language capabilities are still not so adequate for serious articles in prominent magazines. I need to brush-up my skills first & obtain more knowledge, before attempting to write such serious articles. Again thank you for your suggestions & I will make that on top of my "List of Important Things to Do".
<Hmm... do write to Bob Fenner at this website. He knows much more about the trade than I do.>
Since I am in creative mood, I start by writing my thoughts about FW Morays on my personal website here:
https://sites.google.com/site/houseofharyo/freshwater-moray-page
<Ah, yes! I do think self publishing is a good way to develop your writing skills.>
If you are not busy, please have a look! Your comments and inputs will be very much appreciated! * bowing *
<Have looked, and enjoyed. Would point out "Mr. Bob" is "Bob Fenner", and "Mr. Marco" is "Dr. Marco Lichtenberger".>
This is a work in progress, and will be updated & expanded in the future, when I finally get my hands on a G. Polyuranodon and possibly G. Tile.
<Quite so.>
I was contacted by another hobbyist (the one who sold me my first Echidna R.), that he has access to a shop where they know what a Hydrometer are & possibly has some in stock. If I can actually get my hands on one, I will
do salinity testing on my aquarium, as I am very much interested to know what the numbers are. Then I will do testing on the river near me and the other one in North Bekasi (where they caught my first Echidna Rhodochilus).
This way I can draw a salinity chart, which might be useful.
<Absolutely. I'd have thought a magazine or commercial website would enjoy an article written about 'freshwater' Morays in the wild, with details of their actual environment. One problem the hobby has is when aquarists repeat facts from other aquarists. Sometimes those facts are false, but so embedded in the literature (books, magazines, and now websites) those facts are treated like Gospel! So actually going out to a 'freshwater' Moray habitat, measuring the pH and salinity, and then writing those numbers down is EXACTLY how the hobby moves forwards. Include some nice sharp photos of the habitats, as well as nice sharp photos of your Morays, and I'd think you'd be on your way to a very commercially sellable article!>
Well, that would be all for now. I wish you a wonderful day & will keep you updated.
Best Regards, Ben
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: And now I have three of them!       12/14/17
Hello Neale and all of you splendid people at WetWebMedia. Greetings from Jakarta!
<And to you, greetings from Berkhamsted, England!>
Thank you for your good info about articles, they are very inspiring. I will plan my research and the trips accordingly. I hope I will be able to find the time after the Asian Games.
<Oh!>
Through Facebook, I met a new friend online from Yogyakarta (a neighboring province). He is a fish seller who specializes in FW morays, sourced locally from rivers in southern part of Java. In fact he kept Strophidon
Sathetes on large FW aquarium for months, as well as other "FW" moray types. They said that the longest time he had experienced in keeping G. Tile, E. Rhodochilus and G. Polyuranodon in "freshwater" (freshwater with a
little amount of seawater mixed in) were 2-3 years before those are being sold. He even mentioned that he once had a white-mouth moray in FW for a few months before someone bought it from him. This city will be on my list
of "places to visit" in my quest for getting more understanding about FW moray eels.
<Indeed! This sounds like what'll be a great trip. So many interesting things to learn about freshwater Morays, and you're lucky enough to be able to find out about them in the wild.>
As for my clown loaches, they're still being good friends with the eels, sharing their home pipes in peace. I think they looks so cute together, so I will keep the loaches there for a bit longer. The loaches looks fat and
healthy, and so far still colorful. They often use the long bodies of the eels as "pillows" to "sleep", ha! But again I am very aware that the water I am putting them now is not their usual habitat. With that in mind, what are the sign of "salinity too high" for loaches? Does this include losing their bright colors?
<Possibly. But more likely they'll become skittish, nervous, disinterested in food.>
One thing I noticed is that Mr. Emerson (my largest moray) has been moving this home pipes around a lot these past few days. He dug the sand in and out under the pipes, moving the pipes from one corner of the aquarium to
another. So I guess he must be hungry but getting bored with the live river shrimps and the feeder guppies & mollies.
<Does seem possible. A variety of foods are always a good idea, to round out any vitamin shortcomings in the foods you've used so far. Squid, white fish like tilapia, and clams all good options.>
And to think about it, the river shrimps on my aquarium has grown a bit, they're eating well (they seems to love to eat the leftover body parts of their fallen comrades, or even their moulting friends),
<Normal. Recycling calcium. They're meant to do this!>
and has become rather large, with long menacing pincers. So, not so appealing anymore for the eels (I think, do I make sense? What do you think dear Neale? I think those shrimps are macrobrachium types).
<Many shrimps have larger front claws, so in itself not definitely Macrobrachium. But on the other hand, Macrobrachium are so widely farmed in Asia that the odds of them ending up in the aquarium trade is high. I've
even seen them here in England, though the demand for them is not great.
Not alive, anyway! Very delicious when cooked!!!>
So just a few hours ago, I cut up a large, thawed frozen shrimp and threw it to the aquarium, experimenting, maybe the largest moray would eat it.
And yes, Mr. Emerson opened his jaws very widely and ate the pieces of frozen shrimp in the manner of a snake. It's very interesting to see how snake-like he is when eating. And it was humorous to see him sniffing
around confusedly trying to find the rest of the pieces, right after the river shrimps literally stole the pieces from under his nose, ha! My friends told me that morays are blind as a bat, they only have the sense of smell and the sense of movement (they could detect movements). After seeing how easy it is for shrimps to steal food from under a moray's nose, I believe it.
<Spot on. Indeed, they can be "blinded" by too much smelly food in the tank at once. Like a bright light blinding a person, I guess, making it hard to see things.>
The other two, Mr. Wakeman (the second largest moray) and Mr. Echidna (the smallest, my first moray) doesn't seem to be interested in frozen shrimps for now. I hope they will follow suit soon.
<Quite so. Plus, do offer some white fish as well as molluscs, like clams.
The more variety, the better.>
Well, that's my latest updates for now. Thank you for following my fish stories and being such a good listener. Have a nice day!
<And you too. Cheers, Neale.>

Various types of Morays that are usually caught in the rivers in Indonesia     12/20/17
Good evening Neale and all of you beautiful people at WetWebMedia.
Greetings from Jakarta!
<And a howdy to you too, Ben.>
(Neale, your hometown "Berkhamsted", from the name, which sounds archaic, I assume this is a very old historic town with a castle surrounded by moats.
Must be a wonderful tourist attraction!)
<Well, it's quite pretty I suppose. But it's home!>
I'd like to present some of the pictures from Mr. Septian, my friend in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, who specializes in capturing and selling moray eels from the rivers in that province, to ornamental fish lovers. He had sold them all, but he still has many in stock.
As you can see, he routinely captured the usual suspects of G. Polyuranodons and G. Tiles, but he also had captured some not-so-usual morays in the past, such as Strophidon sathetes, G. Undulatus, and some others I cannot recognize. All were caught in the river, not far from the estuarium, just a few kilometers. Interesting eh? Make me even more interested to go there and sample the water!
<Oh, absolutely! One thing to remember though is vertical stratification is VERY common in estuaries. In other words, dense seawater moves along the bottom of the estuary, like a wedge. Less dense freshwater floats on top.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Estuarine_water_circulation
So you will find freshwater fish in the top few metres, but marine fish at the bottom, and for all practical purposes the two kinds of environment don't mix. Some fish can of course swim between salt and freshwater -- many
puffers for example -- while others stick very much to their preferred salinity. So even if a river estuary is several km inland, the bottom could easily be almost fully marine conditions, whereas the top few metres might be more or less completely freshwater. Strong currents (such as upwelling) can cause mixing, but if the river is slow and ambling gently towards the sea, there might be very little mixing. This means that if you dip your hydrometer into the water next to the riverbank, you might detect a very low salinity; but if you put a baited trap on the bottom to catch fish living there, you might be catching fish from the salty, near-marine environment at the bottom.>
As for my own eels, I will try to feed my eels again tonight with frozen shrimps and squids. Mr. Emerson (the largest) loves frozen shrimps now, but the other two are still not interested. If they reject the squids, I will
make myself fried calamari for dessert ;)
<Yum!>
Thank you and have a nice day!
Best regards,
Ben
<And to you, best wishes, Neale.>




Re: fw: Various types of Morays that are usually caught in the rivers in Indonesia   12/21/17
Marco; thought you'd find this message/post interesting. BobF
Thanks. Indeed is!
<Cheers mate. B>
Various types of Morays that are usually caught in the rivers in Indonesia /Marco   12/21/17

Good evening Neale and all of you beautiful people at WetWebMedia.
Greetings from Jakarta!
<Hi Ben.>
(Neale, your hometown "Berkhamsted", from the name, which sounds archaic, I assume this is a very old historic town with a castle surrounded by moats.
Must be a wonderful tourist attraction!)
I'd like to present some of the pictures from Mr. Septian, my friend in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, who specializes in capturing and selling moray eels from the rivers in that province, to ornamental fish lovers. He had sold them all, but he still has many in stock.
As you can see, he routinely captured the usual suspects of G. Polyuranodons and G. tiles, but he also had captured some not-so-usual morays in the past, such as Strophidon sathetes, G. undulatus, and some others I cannot recognize. All were caught in the river, not far from the estuarium, just a few kilometers. Interesting eh? Make me even more
interested to go there and sample the water!
<Indeed. Especially the S. sathete looks amazing! Most common in estuaries and can grow well beyond 3 m. I can also see Gymnothorax richardsonii (known as the dish "Bakasi" around the city of Cordova on Cebu) and Gymnothorax fimbriatus in the pictures you sent. All of the above have been reported from brackish waters, even G. fimbriatus. Can't see G. undulatus in the pictures, but it's reported from brackish waters, too, so it's well possible.>
As for my own eels, I will try to feed my eels again tonight with frozen shrimps and squids. Mr. Emerson (the largest) loves frozen shrimps now, but the other two are still not interested. If they reject the squids, I will make myself fried calamari for dessert.
<Kept G. polyuranodon in the past for many years. Various fish species were the favourite food, but shrimps, clams and calamari were also eaten when hungry.>
Thank you and have a nice day!
<You too.>
Best regards, Ben
<Cheers, Marco.>

Re: Various types of Morays that are usually caught in the rivers in Indonesia     12/22/17
Hello Marco!
<Hello Ben.>
Thank you for replying & sharing the info about feeding your G. polyuranodon. I am in the process of acquiring a G. polyuranodon. I hope they are easier to wean off live food than my Echidna rhodochilus.
<Had no problem with either of them.>
To this day two of my three E. Rhodochilus still refuse to eat anything else but live shrimps and feeder guppies/mollies. Especially the small one, it is very picky about the size of its prey; it terrorized the smaller shrimps, but keep away from the larger ones, especially the ones with long pincers :D
<A calm and dark environment without other fishes in my experience makes it more easy to train morays to frozen food. Also, I'd start with the same food items they eat alive. >
Maybe when there are no more feeder shrimps/fishes in the aquarium, they will start looking for extra alternatives. My goal is to get them to eat bloodworms.
<Why would you want to do that? They are not part of their natural diet and not very valuable as a food source for such a fish. I'd aim for a variety of crustaceans and fish with addition of cephalopods and bivalves.>
One of my friend has been able to train his G. Polys to eat bloodworms, I think it's very cool, I offered to buy one of his, but he is very reluctant to sell his eels to me, so I must acquire a newly caught G. Poly of my own & begin training.
Here is a video of his G. Polys, eating bloodworms.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=816Z5mD9NDs
<Poor eels.>
So, you ate morays (G. Richardsonii) during your trip to the Philippines?
Must have been an interesting experience, I imagine a fish that long must have hundreds of long sharp bones, how does the cook handle that?
<See here in Manila:
http://www.marketmanila.com/archives/bakasi-a-la-victor . The bones are indeed a big downer.>
I read somewhere that Strophidon are frequently being caught in the Gangga/Ganges river in India, and the locals regarded them as food-fish. I imagine a 3 meters Strophidon could feed a small family!
<Morays are eaten all around the world. The Romans, who started fish keeping (in Europe at least) also kept morays as a food source. Muraena helena still is often eaten around the Mediterranean as are many species in the Pacific, e.g. in Japan, China. The larger the eels, the higher the content of Ciguatoxins, though.>
I hope one day we will be able to discover the reasons why some species of marine morays has the tendency to enter brackish waters, even all the way to freshwater, while most other morays remained in the sea and has nothing
to do with brackish and freshwater.
<Mostly to hunt (estuaries are rich in nutrients), some maybe to breed, but little research has been conducted with regard to that.>
Well, thank you for the discussions! Best Regards, Ben
<Cheers, Marco.>
Re: Various types of Morays that are usually caught in the rivers in Indonesia    12/23/17

Hello Neale, and all of you amazing people at WetWebMedia,
<Hello again Ben!>
Thank you for informing me about the vertical stratification of salinity in estuariums. I think I have heard of this occurring in Sentani Lake in Papua province. Perhaps the same thing also happening in the rivers of Java, it
makes sense that a few kilometers away from the estuarium, the lower parts of the rivers actually still a bit brackish. Morays are bottom dwellers, and brackish bottoms of the rivers must have suited them well, which could
explain why our friends in Indonesia routinely caught them in such rivers.
<Quite so. Or not! As the case may be.>
I hope one day we will also be able to explain the causes of differences in environmental preferences among the many species of brackish/"freshwater" morays. As an example, G. Polyuranodons are routinely being caught far
inland, which means they enjoy being in FW environment, while G. Tiles are routinely being caught in the river mouths, which are brackish water environment, which means that they could enter FW but much prefer BW.
<Does seem about right.>
Maybe we will be able to explain the differences in behavior in captivity as well, such as: Strophidon will bite, while E. Rhodochilus are more timid and docile (at least mine are).
<Interesting. Definitely keep notes on what you discover, and the more photos and facts you record, the better. Is there an aquarium society in your part of the world? Perhaps give a presentation on what you learn, or write something for their magazine. You might get some extra feedback that will help you expand your knowledge even further.>
Well, thank you for the excellent discussions!
Best Regards,
Ben
<Cheers, Neale.>

Subject: Re: Various types of Morays that are usually caught in the rivers in Indonesia     12/26/17
Hello Marco!
<Hi Ben.>
Thank you for your advice about FW moray feeding, I will put them into practice. I intend to introduce my morays to a variety of food, from bloodworms to frozen shrimps to tilapia fillets, in addition to live food as they have now. Certainly I don't plan to feed them exclusively on bloodworms ;)
<Good to hear.>
Interesting to hear that morays are eaten around the world. I read up about the ciguatera poisoning, sounds horrible. Luckily, I no longer eat fishes which has no scales or no fins or both, thus all types of morays and eels, I don't eat, thus I am save from the ciguatera (hopefully!).
<The accumulation of toxins has nothing to do with fish having scales or not. In addition, almost all fishes, among them almost all eels and all morays, have fins. For example, your morays have dorsal, caudal and anal fins that compose a continuous seam. To avoid Ciguatera simply avoid eating large predatory specimens. Most intoxications are related to barracudas and groupers (both have scales and fins by the way).>
have a wonderful day!
<You, too. Cheers, Marco.>
Best Regards, Ben
Re: Various types of Morays that are usually caught in the rivers in Indonesia      12/26/17

Merry Christmas Neale and all you great people at WetWebMedia, greetings from Indonesia!
<Hi Ben! Merry Christmas to you, too. Going to bounce the rest of this message into Marco mailbox. Do feel he's much more of an expert on these obscure Moray Eels than I am! Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Various types of Morays that are usually caught in the rivers in Indonesia     12/26/17

Merry Christmas Neale and all you great people at WetWebMedia, greetings from Indonesia!
<Merry Christmas to you, too.>
Good news: I finally obtained a hydrometer. Through the directions given to me by another moray fans, I am able to locate a fish shop which sells this hydrometer. It is actually a new booth located in Sumenep, my usual
hangouts. This booth specializes in aquarium equipments imported from China. Super cheap compared to Japanese or Western imports.
Bad news: The shop owner totally has no clue about what is a hydrometer and how to use it. His excuse is: "I don't read Chinese, I don't understand English". Worse news: the hydrometer itself is made in China, the instructions are written in Chinese, and the English translation is confusing. But anyway, I hope i will be able to figure out how to use it. I am happy I finally own one, and I will start testing soon. I will let you know my findings when I am done sampling.
<It's easy. I use one of these too, when a more exact measurement is not necessary. Fill it to the upper line with water und read at the tip of the pointer on the scale you prefer. Left scale for ppt, right scale for SG.>
Thank you for your kind encouragement, I will certainly continue my research. For now I think there are no scientific society of aquarists around here, what we do have are hobbyists clubs, and I am now a member of
Indonesian freshwater morays fans club. However we're all beginner hobbyists and none are expert aquarists trained in aquarium science, unlike you, Mr. Fenner and Mr. Mario. What I will continue doing is to collect some more
specimens (I am aiming for at least one G. polyuranodon and maybe one small G. tile), and making notes on their behavior & living environment. I will also making notes on other morays I found in captivity around here.
<Sounds very interesting. Feel free to keep us updated.>
In fact, in Sumenep there is actually a guy who keep some morays, I include the picture here. There is one echidna nebulosa that looks stressed & swimming around so fast, darting around like crazy. Aren't morays supposed to stay more-or-less stationary at the bottom?
<They spend most of their life in caves or buried in mud.>
Is this behavior due to being put in bare aquarium?
<Exactly. Pure stress. They need caves. I used at least two per eel even in holding tanks when trading them.>
And there are some morays bunching up around the filter and some other under a rock. Looks like honeycomb morays, or maybe tessellated morays? I am not so sure and the shop owner does not understand Latin names.
<Honeycomb moray and tessellated moray are two common names used for the same species: Gymnothorax favagineus. There might also be a closely related Gymnothorax isingteena with jaguar-like spots in the center of the upper picture.>
I think these morays are supposed to be 100% marine species, but perhaps our marine morays population does prefer to hunt in the estuarium.
<G. favagineus is indeed found in brackish waters, but prefers marine environments.>
Well, wish us luck & have a nice day!
<Thanks. Cheers, Marco.>
Best Regards, Ben
Re: Various types of Morays that are usually caught in the rivers in Indonesia     12/26/17

Hello again Marco,
<Hi Ben.>
Thank you for the information about Ciguatera poisoning. Now I know better which fishes to avoid. Glad to hear that it's not about fins and scales!
Best Regards, Ben
<Very good. Take care. Marco.>

My initial hydrometer readings     12/26/17
Hello Neale,
<Marco here again. Got your email in my inbox.>
This is my initial hydrometer readings. The seawater which I took from the beach of Jakarta, is about 1.020-1.021. My well water is 1.003-1.004, and my aquarium is 1.008 sg. so, this means my aquarium is low-end brackish, am
I right?
<I'd call it mid brackish with about 1/3 SG of average seawater, but you also call it high low-end brackish. >
Best Regards, Ben
<Cheers, Marco.>

Re: My initial hydrometer readings & a new G. Polyuranodon!     12/27/17
Hello Marco, Neale & all you good people in WetWebMedia,
<Hi Ben.>
Thank you for replying & informing me how to use the hydrometer in the earlier e-mail. Glad to know that my hydrometer works. I guess now I officially joined the cult of the brackish water aquarist! :D
<Yes, you have.>
I will keep you informed about my latest (amateur) research into morays. As I mentioned in an earlier (separate) e-mail, I just obtained a G. polyuranodon (finally!) so, more eels to watch and observe. It's a cute fish, just as cute as my Echidna rhodochilus.
<Nice eel. Is among my favourite moray eel species. They are hardy and not very aggressive (for a Gymnothorax). Although they reach a length of around 3 feet with time, they remain quite thin and have a much smaller body mass
compared to other eels of that length.>
Best Regards, Ben
<Cheers, Marco.>
Re: Various types of Morays that are usually caught in the rivers in Indonesia     12/27/17

Hello Marco, Warm Greetings from Indonesia, Merry Christmas to you too!
<Thanks, Ben. Hope you had a good time.>
Thank you for clearing up that "honeycomb moray" and "Tesselated moray" refer to the same species: Gymnothorax favagineus. This species are very common in our aquarium trade. And thank you for informing about Gymnothorax
isingteena's Latin name. It's also rather common here.
I will keep you and Neale updated with the results of my latest findings. I just acquired a G. polyuranodon (Christmas present, Yay! :D ), so now I have one more eel that could be observed in my aquarium :D
<Very good. Looking forward to hear about your observations.>
Best Regards, Ben
<Cheers, Marco.>

Re: My initial hydrometer readings & a new G. Polyuranodon!      12/28/17
Hello Marco, Neale and all you wonderful people at WetWebMedia,
<Hello Ben.>
What species of morays (other than the G. polyuranodon and E. rhodochilus that I already have) that would thrive in my aquarium at 1.008 sg brackish water?
<Gymnothorax tile should work, but in my experience is healthier at higher salinities. Strophidon sathete probably would do well with regard to salinity, but gets too large for usual aquariums. I am not aware of any other morays able to permanently live in mid brackish water.>
Thank you & Best Regards, Ben
<Cheers, Marco.>


Various types of Morays that are usually caught in the rivers in Indonesia     12/20/17
Good evening Neale and all of you beautiful people at WetWebMedia.
Greetings from Jakarta!
<And a howdy to you too, Ben.>
(Neale, your hometown "Berkhamsted", from the name, which sounds archaic, I assume this is a very old historic town with a castle surrounded by moats.
Must be a wonderful tourist attraction!)
<Well, it's quite pretty I suppose. But it's home!>
I'd like to present some of the pictures from Mr. Septian, my friend in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, who specializes in capturing and selling moray eels from the rivers in that province, to ornamental fish lovers. He had sold them all, but he still has many in stock.
As you can see, he routinely captured the usual suspects of G. Polyuranodons and G. Tiles, but he also had captured some not-so-usual morays in the past, such as Strophidon sathetes, G. Undulatus, and some others I cannot recognize. All were caught in the river, not far from the estuarium, just a few kilometers. Interesting eh? Make me even more interested to go there and sample the water!
<Oh, absolutely! One thing to remember though is vertical stratification is VERY common in estuaries. In other words, dense seawater moves along the bottom of the estuary, like a wedge. Less dense freshwater floats on top.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Estuarine_water_circulation
So you will find freshwater fish in the top few metres, but marine fish at the bottom, and for all practical purposes the two kinds of environment don't mix. Some fish can of course swim between salt and freshwater -- many
puffers for example -- while others stick very much to their preferred salinity. So even if a river estuary is several km inland, the bottom could easily be almost fully marine conditions, whereas the top few metres might be more or less completely freshwater. Strong currents (such as upwelling) can cause mixing, but if the river is slow and ambling gently towards the sea, there might be very little mixing. This means that if you dip your hydrometer into the water next to the riverbank, you might detect a very low salinity; but if you put a baited trap on the bottom to catch fish living there, you might be catching fish from the salty, near-marine environment at the bottom.>
As for my own eels, I will try to feed my eels again tonight with frozen shrimps and squids. Mr. Emerson (the largest) loves frozen shrimps now, but the other two are still not interested. If they reject the squids, I will
make myself fried calamari for dessert ;)
<Yum!>
Thank you and have a nice day!
Best regards,
Ben
<And to you, best wishes, Neale.>




"Freshwater" Moray Eel Two Questions, fdg., sys.    4/1/12
I want to start off by first thanking you guys for your wonderful site!
<Thanks for your kind words.>
I have been maintaining my brackish water tank using all of your incredible advice. Well on to the questions....First off I have a 40 gallon brackish water tank PH is at 8, nitrates and ammonia levels are all normal and temp is kept at 80 deg F. Started off by having gravity level at 1.010, but have slowly over time raised it to it's current reading of 1.021. In the tank I have a "freshwater moray eel" or as you refer it to a Gymnothorax tile, a green spotted puffer and a "freshwater" flounder/flatfish.
<Not the best tank mates, these eels can become really incompatible when growing up.>
I first purchased my eel about two months ago and of course he went on a hunger strike, but after raising the salt levels to 1.021 the eel has been eating. My concern is he is eating like crazy! He accepts food by tweezers and his diet is consisting of freeze dried krill, shrimp, muscles, silverbacks, ghost shrimp and tilapia (I like to keep his diet varied). I read on your site that juveniles tend to eat every other day and adults eat twice a week. My eel eats two times a day each time taking two different foods. He doesn't seem to just be stuffing himself because when he has "had enough I guess" he goes back into his cave. Is this normal for him to eat like this??
<Oh, that's what I often ask myself about some people.>
I feed him at a specific time in the morning and at night and he is readily waiting for me, sometimes barely letting me get the food in the tank. When I first got him (assuming its a he) he was very skinny about the circumference of a dime and 11in long. Now he is almost the circumference of a nickel and 13 in long. My question is, should I keep his feeding habits the same, or if not what amount he should eat?
<You offer much more to him than nature does in my opinion. I'd feed significantly less, about the size of the eel's head per feeding. Feeding every other day is sufficient. There are some reports on the negative results of overfeeding moray eels, e.g. by P. Purser in the TFH book and there are examinations of eels caught in nature showing they don't eat every day (some larger species only once per week or less.>
My next question is, I read that when juveniles, the eels live in brackish water and eventually move to full saltwater when older.
If this is true, when should I convert to a full saltwater tank?
<It's easier to maintain, because you can use a skimmer, live rock. You've almost reached marine salinity, so I see no reason to not convert to full saltwater.>
Thank you so much for your time and I look forward to hearing from you!
<Also see: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_4/V4I2/Freshwater_eels/freshwater_eels.
htm . Cheers, Marco.>
Re: "Freshwater" Moray Eel Two Questions   4/1/12

Thank you very much for responding so quickly!
<No problem.>
I am going to reduce my eel's food starting today. Do eels beg?
<If by begging you mean that they expect to get food from a known source: yes. In some areas moray eels accumulate below the nets of large offshore fish farms. Every time the fish within the nets are fed, the moray eels come out to get their share, which falls through the net.>
Lol, because that is going to be the hardest part in reducing his diet. He literally "begs" by sticking half of his body out from his cave and faces towards the surface waiting for me to feed his fat butt when I come in the room every morning. In regards to his tank mates the green spotted puffer and the flatfish, so far the eel is very accepting of them, but I will watch as he gets older to see if he acts aggressively towards them. Thanks again for all of your help!
<Welcome. Marco.>

freshwater <moray> eel tank     5/29/12
I just bought a 45 gallon tank on craiglist and it came with a bichir, 4 cichlids, and a freshwater eel. It is a full freshwater tank and after reading the information on your site i understand the freshwater eel must be in at least .01 salinity.
<No, much more than that. SG 1.005 to start with, and with the understanding adults need SG 1.010 to fully marine conditions. If the salinity is too low, they invariably approach maturity but stop feeding, and then die.>
Is there anyway that i can keep all these fish in the same tank?
<No.>
The guy i bought it from said he's had this setup for about a year and half and the eel for a year and he feeds it crawfish and ghost shrimp. I also have a my own quarantine tank that has had feeder guppies in it for at least 2 months. Is it safe to feed those to it?
<I don't recommend the use of feeder fish bought from the pet store, no matter how long you've kept them. But if you breed your own feeder guppies, and you've dewormed them, then their offspring may be safe. Still pointless and risky, but less immediately dangerous than using store-bought guppies or God forbid goldfish. Much said about "freshwater" moray eels here at WWM; but do also check you aren't talking about a Spiny Eel, which are true freshwater fish, albeit ones that prosper from having a small amount of salt added to the water. All this and more is already up at WWM, so read:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/fwmorayart.htm
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/fwmoraycompfaqs.htm
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/fwmorayfdgfaqs.htm
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_4/v4i3/Spiny_Eels/Spiny%20Eels.htm
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/spinyeelsmonk.htm
Cheers, Neale.>

Gymnothorax tile... sys., beh.    1/18/12
Hi there
<Hello,>
A few days ago I purchased a Gymnothorax tile and had some problems. Luckily you guys at WWM was there to help me and my eel looked great after adjusting my tank.
<Good.>
The pH is currently about 8, I'm adding 1 cup of salt water to the tank every day,
<Meaning what? You do need a specific gravity of about 1.010 at 25 C/77 F; in other words, about half the salinity of normal seawater, or about 15 grammes marine aquarium salt mix per litre of water (about 2 oz per US gallon). What you can't do is estimate salinity with spoons or cups. Get a hydrometer!>
I have caves, plants and rocks in the tank and my eel is eating very well. Yesterday I saw that my eel was just laying next to the plants in my tank. This morning when I checked again noticing that he was still laying on the same place. Again this afternoon I checked and found he was still laying on the same place. It's very hot here, temperatures reaching 38 degrees Celsius, can this cause the tank's water temperature to rise and be the cause for my eel laying on one place?
<Yes.>
I checked for parasites and infections, but he looks the normal brown, greyish colour with white, 
yellow spots.
Thank you
Niki
<This tank needs to be cooler. Do water changes and/or float sealed tubs of ice in the short term; longer term, move the aquarium somewhere colder, like a basement, or else buy a chiller. Marine fish (and this is a marine fish for all practical purposes) are VERY intolerant of temperature extremes. This tank needs to be at 25 C/77 F, varying no more than a couple degrees either way across the day. Hmm'¦ do read, research:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_4/V4I2/Freshwater_eels/freshwater_eels.htm
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwmoraysysfaqs.htm
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/temp_faqs.htm
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/chillersmar.htm
Cheers, Neale.>

Regarding the brackish moray eel (commonly sold as freshwater)    10/2/11
Hello.. I just want to ask a simple question. Well, my LFS has a brackish moral eel (they say that it's freshwater, but what do they know, right?)
<Apparently not about this animal's needs>
So yeah.. I'm interested in buying one.. I know that they require brackish water conditions.. I just want to ask that the LFS has the eel in freshwater conditions. So, if I were to buy it, should I just shift it
directly to a brackish tank with a specific gravity of around 1.011 or should I acclimatize it to brackish water? And if I should acclimatize it, would you please give me some tips on how to properly do so?
<Should be shifted to brackish, but slowly... perhaps a thousandths (0.001) per day or two... with the addition of pre-made synthetic sea salt (not table, kosher, ice-cream... types), or real/natural seawater if you're close to a clean source. Mmm, please read here:
http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwmorayart.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Recently purchased freshwater snowflake eel   9/11/11
Hello all, yesterday I picked up a freshwater snowflake eel for my currently freshwater tank. The petstore told me I might have some problems getting the eel to start eating. Which is fine, both yesterday and today he was very active swimming around everywhere. To my understanding, he was getting used to the tank. Later today he seemed to have stopped moving and started settling in, but then I noticed he was lying on his back. Since I first noticed this it has continued. He still swims around for bits at a time but then he comes back down and when he does he is occasionally on his back or side and I'm not sure why. Is this a sign of illness, is this normal? If illness what can I do? His breathing doesn't seem particularly heavy or fast or anything. But I've had him for a day so I'm clearly not experienced to make such a judgment. I'm hoping I'll hear that he's fine and its just something he'll do but if not please let me know how can I can better care for this creature. Thanks for all your help.
<Hello Aria. The "freshwater" Snowflake Eel is in fact a brackish water to marine species, and the pet shop should have told you this. Indeed, you should have hopefully learned this before buying such a challenging pet.
The most common species traded is Gymnothorax tile but there are one or two others sold from time to time. They all have very similar needs. What you describe -- not wanting to eat -- is extremely common when these eels are kept in freshwater conditions or brackish water that isn't salty enough.
You need at least 25% normal marine salinity, i.e., about SG 1.005 at 25 C/77 F for a young specimen, and for long-term care, about 50% normal seawater salinity or greater, i.e., SG 1.010-1.025 at 25C/77 F.
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/fwmorayart.htm
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/BrackishSubWebIndex/bracsystems.htm
Once settled down, they feed readily on small live foods like river shrimps, and quickly take good wet-frozen and fresh foods such as cockles and tilapia fillet. Minimise the use of Thiaminase-rich foods such as prawns, shrimps and mussels. Do not use feeder fish at all.
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_6/volume_6_1/thiaminase.htm
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/fwmorayfdgfaqs.htm
Morays are nocturnal feeders and prefer shady tanks, but given time, will feed during the day. But to start with, place small bits of food in the tank during the evening with the lights out. Don't overfeed.
Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Recently purchased freshwater snowflake eel   9/11.5/11

Hey, I know they are brackish, I should have indicated that prior. When I said it is currently freshwater what I meant was that I was going to acclimatize the tank to brackish once I got the eel.
<Would get this fish into brackish water ASAP.>
I have a couple of dragon gobies in the tank intending it on being a dragon goby/eel tank.
<Dragon Gobies need brackish water, and won't live indefinitely in freshwater. Surprisingly perhaps, Morays aren't good community fish, and often bite fish they can't actually kill. Be very careful when keeping them alongside other fish. Has been done, yes, but "your own mileage may vary".
Would prefer an Echidna species to a Gymnothorax species if that was your aim; Echidna spp. feed primarily on invertebrates rather than fish, so are less prone to biting.>
Sadly, this morning, my eel seemed to have passed, lying on his back not moving. Clearly something was wrong as of last night. I will admit, I am not well versed in tank maintenance but I thought I new enough to be trustworthy with these creatures.
<They are actually very easy to keep. But they DO NEED brackish water, and keeping them in freshwater even for a few weeks DRAMATICALLY reduces your chances of success. The irony is that in marine aquaria most moray eels are considered very hardy fish!>
My Goby's have been in the tank for two months now and they are fine and thriving, as far as I can tell. My question is, what could have gone wrong to cause the eel to get sick and die within two days of purchase, and how could I have reacted to treat the guy?
<Maintained too long in freshwater. Weeks, months at the retailer, and then weeks, months at your home. All too stressful.>
I want another eel but as I'm sure you'll suggest, not to get one until I can resolve my tank issue, so please, any help would be greatly appreciated.
<Do read Marco's piece; it covers everything you need to know. These are really very hardy animals, but upon purchase acclimate to brackish water conditions immediately. No less than SG 1.005, and preferably 1.010.>
Like I said, I thought I did my research but I guess not enough.
<Good luck next time. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Recently purchased freshwater snowflake eel   9/11.5/11

 I've been going through the posts you've sent, and I appreciate all the help you've been providing so far. If you don't mind, I do have a question or two.
<Sure.>
First off, if I add salt into the tank what are the chances my eel (who is actually not dead but just moving very little to not at all) will turn out alright?
<May help; certainly can't harm.>
If salt isn't enough what else can I do? Further, my understanding was to do a slow acclimatizing of the tank. At what rate should I be increasing the salinity of the tank?
<The problem is the filter bacteria rather than the fish -- these brackish water eels and gobies can acclimate to seawater from freshwater within an hour. They have to, when the tide comes in! But filter bacteria need to be gently coaxed into brackish/marine mode, so you have to go slowly here. If your tank is a freshwater one now, you can raise the salinity to SG 1.003 today without any risk to your bacteria, but after that, you'll need to make small changes weeks or months depending on how big the change. If you look on my web site there's an application called Brack Calc that converts specific gravity to salinity (including grammes of marine salt mix per litre) for any given temperature (25 C being normal). Use this to estimate how much salt to add to your aquarium. For example, let's say you remove 50% of the water in the tank, and replace with water at SG 1.006, i.e., 10 grammes marine salt mix per litre of water. Because you've changed half the water in your tank, you have half SG 1.000 and half 1.006 in the aquarium, for an overall salinity of SG 1.003. Perfect! Use a hydrometer if you have one to check, but weighing out the salt is close enough for this.>
Thank you so much, I have been looking online for tips as well as emailing you, I just really want my eel to live.
<Marco L. has written extensively on these eels, and there's much here at WWM you'll find useful. Good luck, Neale.>
Re: Recently purchased freshwater snowflake eel   9/11.5/11

<PS. the link is:
http://homepage.mac.com/nmonks/Programs/brackcalc.html
It's free, and works on Mac and Windows. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Recently purchased freshwater snowflake eel   9/11.5/11

Thanks, I found it. I'm pretty sure my eel is officially dead. There are black spots now on his stomach and he's not moving at all. Unless you advise otherwise, I will be removing him from the tank soon. In doing a water change I added sea salt
<Marine aquarium salt, not "sea salt" used for cooking or tonic salt/aquarium salt used in freshwater tanks. Must be marine aquarium salt mix, like Instant Ocean, Reef Crystals, or similar.>
to my tank (as suggested by the store) and the salinity of my tank looks to be just under 1.004.
<Fine.>
I know you said its safe to bring it to 1.003 right away, should I be concerned by this slight elevation?
<No.>
Also, at this point, how much should I be raising the salinity per week or two weeks or whatever?
<The aim would be to go to SG 1.005 in two weeks' time, then leave it there for a few months. After, say, six months, or sooner if your Moray stops eating (a common problem when it isn't salty enough for them) incrementally raise the salinity, for example from 1.005 to 1.006 in two weeks, then 1.006 to 1.007 in another two weeks, and so on. This gives time for the freshwater bacteria to die back and the marine bacteria to multiply. By the end of the year, it'd be nice to have the tank at 1.010.>
And now that the salinity is being raised do you think I can get another or should I wait?
<You might want to leave the tank with just the Dragon Gobies for a couple of weeks just to make sure ammonia and nitrite levels are zero. No point adding MORE livestock if the filter bacteria aren't happy. Go slow. Better to delay adding new fish for two weeks than to buy your Eel tomorrow and end up with a nitrite spike and sick fish.>
Also, I got the pet store to check my water levels and according to them everything is ok.
<Would, at minimum, own a nitrite test kit and a pH test kit, plus the hydrometer.>
Let me know if I'm on the right track and if not how to properly orient myself. thanks!
<Do read, go slowly. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Recently purchased freshwater snowflake eel 9/12/11

Thank you so much for everything. Your website and what you guys do is awesome and of great help. Just to clarify, the sea salt I got was instant ocean sea salt, I assume that's still ok since you seemed ok with the salinity level my tank is now. Once again, thank you so much.
<Glad to help. Yes, 1.004 should be fine for now, but as/when you get a nice, healthy, fat-looking Moray settled in and feeding, you will want to gradually inch that upwards towards 1.005 for the first 6-12 months, and somewhere between 1.008-1.012 thereafter, or sooner if the Moray goes off its food. These are really very straightforward animals to keep, provided you understand their need for brackish water and a diet with not too much Thiaminase.
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_6/volume_6_1/thiaminase.htm
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/fwmorayart.htm
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/morays.htm
Cheers, Neale.>

True Freshwater Moray found? Impossible? 02/06/09 Hello, Hello Moray Experts :) <Hi Trevor.> Trevor here with some fairly interesting things to discuss, it seems, perhaps, as supported by about.com and Fishbase that there is, perhaps a true freshwater moray? Even the About staff seem to have been confused at first but say it's confirmed. If not it seems they should be corrected ASAP because it was very misleading if they're wrong. <Feel free to do so, the text is around since a few years.> The eel in question is Gymnothorax polyuranodon. <Ah know it, kept it.> Supposedly they've dug deep into their research, whatever that may be, and found that this moray lives primarily in fresh water. It seems suspicious, as I look over to my Gymnothorax tile next to me and think that they must be confused. Certainly, it's a brackish fish, as they list it as venturing into brackish water, right? <G. tile mostly occurs in mangrove swamps with high salinities or 100% marine salinity during the dry season. It also travels up river mouths, possibly to get rid of parasites or to breed. In captivity it does best in a marine tank.> I found all this somewhat interesting and wondered if it could really be true. One more question, would you happen to know the pricing on this "Spotted Freshwater Moray?" <The ones in Europe cost the equivalent of about 60-80 USD in the stores, they only available every few years.> Even if they are brackish, I've been thinking about getting another moray. These are quite attractive. Fishbase: http://filaman.ifm-geomar.de/Summary/SpeciesSummary.php?id=17227&lang=English <I exchanged your link, because the English server seemed to be down when I tried.> About.com's "Freshwater" Moray list: http://saltaquarium.about.com/cs/eelprofilesindex/l/blfweels.htm Thanks, Trevor <Trevor I know the text at the site you linked to and have most of what is known to science re this eel as well as own experiences and reported experiences of others from the pet fish trade. As you can see G. polyuranodon occurs in various habitats from freshwater to marine, was found as far as 30 km away from the coast. Its even speculated this eel could be catadromous (living in freshwater, but travelling to the sea at breeding time), you can call it an euryhaline fish. With regard to its captive care, Ive tried everything from freshwater to marine and have to state that they did by far the best in a marine tank, while the ones left in freshwater at the shop did much less well, refused to eat with time, looked much less vibrant. So, G. polyuranodon does much better in freshwater than its G. tile cousin, but still at some point of care you will not be able to avoid salt completely without endangering the health of the animal. But it is a great pet and truly justifies the additional costs related to a marine setup. Have a look at the WWM articles on freshwater moray eels: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/fwmorayeels.htm and http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/fwmorayart.htm No pet moray without salt. Sorry. Marco.>

Re: True Freshwater Moray found? Impossible? II, fdg., sys.  02/07/09 Hey again Marco, <Hi Trevor.> Well, a question about the other eel, (not G. tile, but polyuranodon). How hard is it to get them to eat? <Just the same a G. tile or other morays. May take days to weeks, but given pristine water conditions and salt theyll eventually start eating. G. polyuranodon is a little more shy, and although they may become longer than G. tile, they are even slimmer and remind me somewhat of ribbon eels.> My G. tile eats just fine in his brackish water setup and even comes out to investigate his tank at night. ...and one last thing. Is it normal for a G. tile to bulk up? <Yes to some extent about once a year I notice a slight gain of girth. I guess that may be prior to their breeding time. With age they also become a little more stout.> I've seen the small, skinny ones all the time though, I'd like mine to pick up some weight. He does eat regularly, but he just does not eat all that much. It's as if he's set to eat a predetermined amount every day. <Just dont overfeed. This can cause liver problems in the long run. If it does not want to eat anymore, its okay.> He's healthy, a deep gray/blue color with tiny bright-yellow spots on him. The mollies don't stand a chance, and the bits of squid, octopus and silversides are relished as well. I try and rotate his diet to give him enrichment and some good nutrition. I think I'm doing everything correctly so far. <Yes. You can add fish vitamins once a week to the frozen foods.> The eel is very responsive to food and is always looking out across the room from his PVC pipe that's buried in the gravel. Speaking of gravel, is it better to keep them on sand or gravel? <Does not matter.> The guy at the fish-specialty store told me morays prefer sand to gravel but... I always see them in reefs where there's no sand, and they certainly don't hang out in the open all day although I do know from videos online that they come out at night and hunt for fish among the rocks and coral. <As G. tile comes from mostly mangrove swamps and estuaries, a fine grained substrate like sand does resemble its natural environment more closely. However, for captive care it does not matter, the usual aquarium gravel or even better crushed coral is fine. Just avoid substrates with sharp grains. Personally, I prefer sand for the moray tanks, too, for the purpose of natural denitrification, which takes place in well populated marine sand beds. As a side note, many moray eels do not inhabit the reefs, but sea grass beds, gravel fields and muddy bottoms.> Any further advice? Thanks, Trevor. <You seem to be doing very well. Marco.>

Gymnothorax tile, hlth./env.  9/25/08 alright, i got one of these guys out of a freshwater tank, however he didn't seem to be doing so well. <This species never does well in freshwater aquaria, at least not for long.> then i researched and found that he was a brackish water species. so i added sea salt, but added too much over a long long period of time. my salinity is 1.025 as of now and let me tell you, he has grown at least 6 inches and is doing great in full marine water. <Not a problem for this species. Wild fish live in river estuaries, and can tolerate rapid changes in salinity well. Maintenance at marine salinities is not harmful, and in fact mid brackish (SG 1.010+) to full marine conditions are perhaps the ideal.> is this eel actually a marine eel? <He can be, without any harm at all. In the wild they don't live permanently in the sea, but like most brackish water fish, will do just fine in a marine tank.> he seems to be doing better in the full marine than he was in the brackish water! he's in a 12o gallon tank, FOWLR. <I'm sure he's very happy! Enjoy your pet. Cheers, Neale.>

29gal G. tile 09/06/08 I have a 29 gallon tank that for the longest time was brackish with HOB filters. I once had 3 GSP's in it, but they grew up and were given to a friend. It now houses a g. tile of around 10 inches. I have moved the sg up to 1.025 from 1.015 and ph to 8.4, got some actinic and 10k lights, and a SuperSkimmer that isn't giving any problems other than the skimmate is wetter than I'd like. <Should be adjustable with the water-level adjustment dial.> I put 9lbs of live rock in there, with more to come as money allows. <Good.> Strangely, the eel has really taken to the LR, he seems much happier with it around. There are also mollies of various sizes, a population that has been in the tank for food since it was first cycled. I'd say, maybe 3 left over an inch that he hasn't eaten and perhaps 30 under a half inch, the eel waits until they are bigger to eat them. <Interesting!> Everything else in the tank is zero, nitrates before dumping the liverock in were barely being kept under control. Waiting a few days to test after adding the liverock. Is there anything you can suggest to keep the nitrates under control between water changes? <Replace the HOB with a powerhead and more good live rock (up to one pound per gallon or even a little more). That alone might solve the issue if your freshly mixed water is free of nitrates and the tank is not overfed. Another possibility would be to use an overflow (secured with a net or mesh because of the moray) and a second tank (aka sump) with a refugium with a DSB and macroalgae. Reduce the number of the Mollies, if the eel does not eat them as they are growing. Also see http://www.wetwebmedia.com/nitratesmar.htm and the linked FAQs.> I am considering building a coil denitrifier to keep the water changes to every 2 weeks instead of twice a week. <Would be a possibility, too. Many construction plans are found on the internet. However, if this thing does not work as intended, it can poison your tank. So, when you decide to take this path Id recommend to invest into a RedOx (ORP) measuring device and ideally an automatic shut-off if the ORP in the water flowing/dropping back into the tank is too low. Cheers, Marco.>

Snow flake in upper end brackish tank? (RMF, please check)  2/24/08 hey guys and gals, ????????????????????????????????? I just recently set up a 40 long as a brackish tank. its been running for about 5 days already and I put in some "test mollies" to see how the water is. the mollies have been eatin and seem fine. my ph is 8.2, SG is .014 and I have a mixture of sand and crushed coral. I originally was gonna get a "fresh water" (really brackish) moray eel (g. tile) but ended up getting a 7" snowflake. I slowly acclimated it over 2 hours into my brackish tank because it came from full salt water. its been about 5 days and it seems to be doing fine (eating well). can this specie be kept in a upper end brackish tank? has anyone done this with a snowflake or am I ultimately cutting his life short? thanks!------------------> Ronnie <Gymnothorax tile is indeed an estuarine moray eel and tolerant of a wide range of salinities, but to the best of my knowledge Echidna nebulosa is not. While it may do well for a while at a reduce salinity, I can't imagine it can be kept indefinitely in brackish water, at least not below SG 1.018. There is nothing to stop you maintain brackish water fish at SG 1.018+, and indeed Monos, Scats, etc will positively thrive in marine and near-marine conditions. So I would suggest that doing that would be a better way to keep this fish. Alternatively, return the Echidna nebulosa to the pet store, and keep your eyes peeled for Gymnothorax tile. Finding Gymnothorax tile is not difficult; it is quite a widely traded species, and any half-decent aquarium shop can get it in as a special order. Cheers, Neale.> <<Hard to say/state which species this young person is referring to... I'd put the onus on them to look up, identify... RMF>>

Re: snow flake in upper end brackish tank? (RMF, please check), not brackish...    2/27/08 its not g. tile its echidna neb. <Mmm, please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/snowflakemoray.htm and the linked files above. This Moray should be kept in full-strength seawater. Anything less will shorten its life-span. Bob Fenner>

Acclimating a moray eel from freshwater to brackish  03/23/07 I am considering getting a Gymnothorax tile from an LFS that has a relatively small one 6-8", but is in freshwater. I have a brackish water tank and was wondering what exactly I would need to do so that he would be ok. <Put the moray eel into a container with aeration and add a lid. Slowly add water from your brackish tank for about one to two hours until the water in your bucket consists of about 70-80 percent of tank water. Carefully transfer the eel to your display tank. You may also use drip acclimating. Their natural habitats in part have diurnal cyclic salinity changes, so this procedure can be considered safe. I did use it to transfer them from freshwater to marine and did not experience any problems.> Would I have to place him in a separate tank and slowly raise the salinity? <It is not necessary, but you could do that, if you had a cycled tank with a lid. Do not increase the specific gravity more than 0.003 per week to avoid killing filter bacteria.> How much time would it require for this process? I have a 5 and 10 gallon tanks not in use and if I could get away with it I was wondering if one of these would suffice to get him acclimated to brackish. From my understanding suddenly placing fish in lower salinity is not nearly as dangerous as placing them in higher levels. Is this true? <In general: yes.> As far as feeding goes, would ghost shrimp be suitable along with guppies with this species? <Yes, but only to get it to eat. Their diet should be more varied, frozen seafood from the grocery store is perfect.> Thank you. <Welcome. Cheers, Marco.>

Eel needing a hiding spot 03/08/07 Hi, I realize there are tons of questions posted and Ive read a lot of them. Unfortunately, I also have school work and the tons of projects that arise every time I look at that tank. Anyway my most recent problem is a nitrite spike. <Nitrites (not to be confused with nitrates) are quite toxic and should only occur while cycling a tank.> The fish are taking it well with the exception of the princess parrot, <Good luck with this fish. I hope he is big enough. Have a look at http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pufferFAQs.htm and search for princess parrot.> who is now waiting it out in a local fish store, while I fix the problem. Anyway, because of this spike Im trying to find out about my snowflake eels recent new behaviour. Him and the chainlink eel used to pal around in the rock pile I put together for them. I recently restacked the rocks to keep other fish out that didnt need to be in there. The new stack seems to allow for more light to get in through the cracks. The chainlink eel is still in the rocks, but the snowflake is wrapped around my pump at the top of the tank in a darker corner. He usually eats when offered and Ive been using the eating as an indicator that they are not getting too stressed out by this latest nitrite spike (the chainlink still voraciously seeks food). Either way, is this new hiding spot of his, because theres too much light in his old spot <probably> or an indicator that the nitrite is pushing him a bit too far <wont be good for him anyway.>. Please let me know so I can help him fast if he needs to find a new home for a little while. -James Williams. <An excellent article with ideas for hiding spots for moray eels is found at: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_3/cav3i1/eels/Eels.htm. If possible remove both of them to another tank until your nitrite problem is solved. That way you will also have the possibility to rearrange your rocks or to install tubes as hiding spots if you like them. Cheers, Marco.>

Freshwater Moray Eels I really appreciate the time that you took for this site. <Ah, you're welcome. It was made for you.> I would like to buy a fresh water Moray Eel. I guess I need some help and no one in pet stores really know anything about freshwater. I am going to put it in a 75-100 gallon tank. What kind of sand should I put down?  <Something fine/r... and calcareous. Please see the "Marine Substrates" section and "Moray Eels" under the Marine Index (the freshwater species are touched on there)> Is possible to order a fish through the mail? <Certainly> Can I feed them gold fish? And better yet how about a book on fresh water moray. This would really help. <Not really goldfish, but other live or frozen/defrosted meaty foods. Take a look at the WWM site cited, then fishbase.org then your search engines under "Freshwater Morays"> Thanks, Michael <Be chatting my friend. Bob Fenner>

Re: Freshwater Moray Eels Thanks for getting back to me. I have called all over the place in Virginia looking for a "fresh water moray eel' I have had 0 luck! Do you know of a place that I could order one through the mail or call. <Take a look at the livestock etailers listed on our site (www.WetWebMedia.com) Links Pages> I have also had no luck looking for a book. <See the "Moray Eels" section on the WWM site> I figure that I will get a 75 gallon tank with heaters that will keep the tempter a 70-80.{F}. I will have a 2 caves in it so that it can hide and the sand that you recommended. I will buy a power filter. Do you think that I will need a skimmer? <Probably not a skimmer if you are going to try keeping the water entirely fresh... do take a look through Fishbase.org under the term "freshwater moray". Bob Fenner> Thanks again, Michael Davis

Gymnothorax polyuranodon Hi Anthony! I <Cheers my friend... and an update: THIS JUST IN: Bob Fenner was recently spotted in a quiet inlet snorkeling with what appeared to be a cluster of helium balloons tethered to his back. When asked what the deal was with the helium balloons, he claimed that he had difficulties securing proper diving gear in this remote location. However, the beer cans strewn about the boat deck and piled up against the helium tank near the tape recorder tell a different story. Look for a Christmas album from Bob this December> just bought a 'freshwater eel'. Noted in past FAQs that you have recommended addition of salt to the water so that they might survive in the long run.  <yes...depends on the species. Many are born in freshwater and venture out to the sea. As such, they really cannot be considered freshwater. Brackish is often better. Your species is actually a more freshwater tolerant animal. Still... some salt would be nice. Do read more: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwmorayeels.htm> But if I have Bichirs in the tank will the salt affect them? I read that they are true freshwater species. What about fire eels that are a foot long? Will the salt affect them as well? Do fire eels need salt?? <the fire ell is an "Asian" fish (Sumatra, Indochina, Thailand, etc) that prefers soft, acidic water... nothing like your Gymnothorax polyuranodon. Essentially... one of the two is going to be compromised with regard for pH, alkalinity and salinity to a lesser extent. Still... they are hardy... it may not be much of a problem. I must admit that I wouldn't mix them... but if you do not intend to try to breed them you may be just fine> I keep dwarf puffers in the tank as well. 15 of them actually. They are pretty small at the moment. I heard someone say that if these puffers are swallowed, they will actually inflate such that the aggressor will have no choice but to spit the puffer out. My concern is if the puffer makes it into the stomach and then inflates. Will it kill my eels?  <certainly, but is more likely that their toxic flesh will kill the eels first...hehe> My grouper (abt 12cm) ate one of my puffers and then looked like he wanted to puke it out... But by then he had already swallowed it. He looked pretty uncomfortable after eating the puffer... I am monitoring the situation and will let you know if the grouper makes it through the night! =P <please do> Thanks so much for your advice on medicating fire eels. You are much funnier than Bob. Hahaha... (no offense meant to Bob of course) Well I look forward to your insight once again. Thanks a bunch!! <ahhh... thank you kindly, but you haven't been around Bob enough. He has an enormous funny bone (insert your own joke here). Hehehe. Best regards, Anthony>

Re: Gymnothorax polyuranodon Hi Anthony! Thanks again for your SUPER fast response! <that's what you get when you post a question to someone that doesn't work a real job <wink>> Here are more questions... I am now in doubt as to what species my eel really is. It could be a tile, polyuranodon or rhodochilus. I'm pretty confused now. I want to keep this eel for a long time so I have noticed your recommendation for some salt to be added. However, I noted in your last msg that the polyuranodon is ok in freshwater?  <lets be clear about this... it is more tolerant of freshwater and brackish water than most morays... but it is not ideal by any stretch of the imagination... please do read Bobs articles/archives on this species> So does that mean its not necessary to add salt?  <not even close, my friend... I personally would keep this animal at 1.005-1.010 SG> What about the other 2 species I mentioned above? Do either of them have good long term prospects in freshwater? <1.005 is safe and a recommended bare minimum for the true moray eels> My eel is about a foot long and its roughly the thickness of an index finger. Its not eating yet but I just got it yesterday so...  <I won't be surprised either if it begins to do better when more salt is added. Do use a hydrometer too please> Anyway it looks pretty pale in color (pinkish/translucent) and its mottled with pretty light yellow spots. Sort of yellow... Its design looks something like your pic of the polyuranodon except that it does not have such striking color distinction. It just looks pale. Any idea which one it is? <couldn't say for certain without seeing it and even then...?> Assuming I do add salt. My tank is about 15 US gallons. Its a 2 ft tank measuring 60x30x35cm. Does that mean roughly 1 gram of salt per gallon? Your recommendations in the FAQ is one teaspoon (5gms) per 5 US gallons?  <that will get you in the ballpark, but a glass hydrometer is less than ten dollars and is quite easy to use... highly recommended> I also keep a caecilian and dwarf puffers in the tank. I think the caecilian is able to tolerate 5 gm.s per 5 gallons... Any comments? If I just put 5 gm.s for 15 gallons will it make any difference at all to my moray?  <all will tolerate the low end of the recommendation for certain> Does salt make the water more acidic or basic? <neither...unrelated> I read your site's article on salt. It says,"5.5g gm.s is sufficient for 294 gallons of water." Then the next paragraph says," For simple osmoregulatory stress protection, on an indefinite basis, one can use 1 to 3 mg/L of salt. This would be equivalent to one teaspoon of salt added to 1,453 to 484 gallons of water!" Is this contradictory or does the second Para just refer to 'SIMPLE stress protection'?  <again...you'll want to use a hydrometer and aim for 1.005 to 1.010> What's osmoregulatory stress anyways? =)  <respiratory distress...typically rapid breathing in eels that are too salty or not salty enough> This might sound like a stupid question but I'll ask anyway... If salt can distress freshwater fishes at the concentration stated above, then what happens when the salinity hits 1.010? How will this salinity adversely affect true FW fishes? <easier on the moray but harder on the spiny eels> Will fire eels be able to withstand 1.005 - 1.010?  <the lower end for sure...but not comfortably at the higher end> I assume Bichirs and dwarf puffers can but can fire eels take it? I also read that spiny eels have internal parasites? Is this harmful to them? Should I feed mine some medicine or do I just leave the internal parasites alone? <all wild fish may have them and many captive are likely as well. Do not medicate unless you need to> Do plant fertilizers affect Bichirs or eels (morays and spiny) adversely?  <unlikely in low doses> I have a huge piece of driftwood in the tank. It turns my water a very slight brown. Is this good for my eels?  <delightful for the fire eel...but not natural for the others> Do dissolved plants affect water chemistry greatly? Do dissolved plants and my wood turn the water more acidic or basic? <significantly and more acidic.> I decided to ask more direct questions 'cos I thought that it will aid you seeing as how you have such a unique way of answering everyone's questions. Hope this helps you. Thanks a bunch!!! <thank you for saying so <smile>. Do look into a local aquarium society for networking and shared info too... they really are great places for info beyond the Internet. Kindly, Anthony>

Keeping A FW Fahaka Puffer with SW Snowflake Eels  1/5/07 Hello, <Hi Hector, Pufferpunk here> First off, great source of information! I am glad I found it and I have already referred some people to it. <Fantastic!> I have a Fahaka puffer that I got when he was 2" long.  He is now 7" long. I see that he is freshwater by reading your forums. My water is kept just below 1.002 SG.  I have two snowflake eels in the same tank. My concern is for both the eels and the Fahaka. Is that SG too high for the Fahaka and or the eels?   <Below 1.002 will not affect the Fahaka but the eels need high-end BW or even better, marine conditions.> It seems he will eventually eat the eels from what I've read here.  So far he has eaten two algae eaters already but both were introduced to the tank after he was a bit larger, unlike the eels. He has been in the tank for 5 months the eels are two years old.  They had encounters when the Fahaka was small and the eels have chased him away. I have caught them laying skin to skin (freaked me out!) but they seem to have a healthy respect and equal affinity towards each other at this point. <Just don't be surprised one day, if your eels are maimed/eaten.  I'd get them in a higher salinity, without the puffer--he is a FW fish.   ~PP>   Please advise, Hector

Re: Keeping A FW Fahaka Puffer with SW Snowflake Eels. Acclimating from BW to SW  1/6/07 Great! Thanks for the response. I just set up a SW tank. You think the eels should be placed in that tank? <Only if you have cycled it 1st.  Try Bio-Spira for an instant cycle.> What is a proper way to acclimate the eels from low brackish to marine conditions? <Personally, I would cycle the tank with FW Bio-Spira & slowly raise the SG .002/week, until you have reached your desired salinity.  Otherwise, if it  is already a cycled SW tank, use a drip system. Put the fish in a bucket below the tank you will be moving it into, covered by water from the tank the eels were living in, about 1" over its head or a little deeper, so they are comfortable.  Tie a knot in an air hose until it drips enough water into the bucket to raise or lower the SG in the bucket .001/hour.  ~PP> Thanks a bunch!

Raising pH in Brackish Tank, "FW" Morays  7/11/06 Hi, <Hi John, Pufferpunk here> I am writing with a few questions for anyone who may have the time to answer them for me. All help is greatly appreciated. <I can certainly try!>    I have in my possession a "Freshwater" Moray Eel, about 14 inches in length. He is currently in a 55 gallon tank (48"x12"x18") with about 1/2" of gravel on bottom. I saw him for sale a while back and did some research on him before making the decision to purchase. The specific gravity of salt in the water is 1.008, according to my recently purchased hydrometer. <I prefer refractometers--much more accurate--hydrometers can be off as much as .005.  You might want to compare the reading on your hydrometer, with a refractometer, to see if it's true.> Ammonia, nitrite, nitrate levels are all at zero. I believe the pH is a little low for him, ranging at just over 7.5. I've had him for just over two weeks now and am having problems. :(   My first question is should I raise the ph level? <I would, BW fish prefer a pH of around 8.> He is a lone inhabitant, other than food (a few guppies ranging from very small to about an inch in length and a few ghost shrimp I put in yesterday). I'm not sure of the exact pH level he would be happiest in so I figured it wouldn't hurt to ask. Second, would he be happier if I kept him on live or switched him to frozen? I bought some frozen krill for him but he isn't taking to that very well. If it's better for him to be on frozen, what is the best way to switch him to frozen? One person I talked to said that I should not let him eat one day, then try frozen the next and if he doesn't take to it then give him some fresh and to just keep trying that making the gaps in-between feedings longer, until he breaks and eats the frozen krill. <You will have to "train" him to eat frozen foods (hopefully you are defrosting before feeding).  You can spear the food with a wooden stick (like the ones they use for kabobs) or you can get a plastic one at your LFS.  I'd take away his live food for about 3 days before trying this.  Then you will have to entice him, by wiggling the food around by his face (preferably in the evening, during "regular" hunting hours).  You could also bounce the food off a thread (use a needle to go through the food) but don't tie a knot in the end.  I would try a variety of foods, including silversides, people shrimp & any other odds & ends you see for sale in your grocery/produce store.> My other problem is with his breathing. He is breathing rapidly with the same symptoms of another eel I read about in one of the FAQs on your site but I don't believe that low salt is the problem. Like I said the salt level is at 1.008 SG. What else could possibly cause this breathing problem? He is not eating as much now as he used to. Is it because I'm trying to switch him to frozen or because he is sick? He is displaying no outward signs of any parasitic infestation or bacterial infection. Is there the possibility of internal infection? <Heavy breathing can be a sign of ammonia/nitrite issues, affecting the 02 levels in the water and/or burning their gills.  How long has that tank been set up?  Are you doing regular weekly water changes?  You should be seeing some detectable nitrates in a cycled BW tank.  How was the tank cycled?  How quickly did you raise the SG?  It should be only raised by .002/weekly water changes so as not I'd test the water again.> My last question is due to fact that he is a brackish water fish. Could I put substrate at the bottom of his tank instead of the standard fish gravel that he is in now? <This actually goes back to your pH question & how to raise it & keep it stable around 8.  It is recommended to use crushed coral or aragonite as substrate in a BW tank.  Since you only have 1/2" of gravel in there, you could just add another inch to that.  If your gravel is dark though, you may not like the look & want to change it out completely for the buffering substrate.> He seems to be doing just fine with the gravel--he is burrowing down under some rock I have in his tank during the day.  Kind of like a natural rock structure that he swims through and sleeps under. <Yes, they hang out in burrows during the day & hunt at night.> I have some knowledge about aquariums but I don't know everything <Ha, me either!> and hopefully you guys can help me learn a little more about this guy. I've had him for just over three weeks now. Anything you guys can share is greatly appreciated. Thanks for your time and have a great day. John R. Ayer <Thanks John I will (today's water change day) & enjoy this interesting creature!  ~PP>

Re: moray growth cycles   7/18/06 Thank you for your quick response. I have read that morays can live over 30 years. <Yes, there are public aquarium records of this and longer lifespans> Based on your information and my observations, I am almost certain my albino will have no problem making it over a year and would not be surprised to have him around for a long time. When I first got the snowflake he went right into hiding and did not venture out for a week. My albino would not go into this area while it was hiding <Muraenids are by and large non-social species... Don't associate with conspecifics or other members of their family> and only my leopard bushfish and butterfly goby would go into the area with him. After he finally ventured out my albino went back into the area but so far the snowflake has been staying out and not even trying to hide except when the lights are turned on abruptly. For the week during the snowflakes hiding period the albino seemed like it did not bother him he seemed so easy going and seems not to let stress get to him. I have had the albino now almost 6 months but only about 8 days for the snowflake. If the snowflake can settle down like the albino he may live a long time too. The main factor is now they are in a 10 gallon tank <Way too small...> with plans to get a 125 gallon in the near future but may get a 55 first then transfer to the 125. I have other fish that I will eventually need a 55 for that are freshwater only. I appreciate your help. <Welcome. Keep monitoring your water quality, and keep that lid tight! Bob Fenner>

<Ongoing: brackish to marine> albino moray in a larger system... Still not reading... and raising RMF's BP   7/24/06 I have written you before on my albino moray believed to be of the species that I currently have in a 10 gallon tank. I would like to know if a 30 gallon tank would be large enough for him? <... have you read where you've been repeatedly referred to?> A friend said he would give me one since he was getting out of freshwater and getting into saltwater system with a larger tank. I did not know if I should put my eel in it or take my bichir and friends in it. So far my moray has never tried to escape and I have had him for a while with no lid on my tank. When he is at the top of the tank he is either hanging off the thermometer and ammonia sensor or laying on top the heater trying to catch guppies. His length is from the top of the gravel his head comes just under the black trimming of the tank on top. I so far like the idea of his eating live food and according to information I have read he will remain small enough to continue eating ghost shrimp and guppies based on the assumption his species is correct he will not get much larger than he is now. <Will most likely be dead soon> One last note about nitrite levels you said they should be 0 and I had said they were very low. I was going by what the test by Tetra gave me a match at less than 0.3 mg/l. Is this a good reliable test? <Mmm, middling> I have a rather unusual final question regarding filtration. Would using the filter that came with a whole set up like a 55 along with a small bio wheel that was for 20 gallons be of any help or would I be better off getting a bio wheel for that size alone? <Bigger is better> With a moray involved I do not feel comfortable with a standard filter alone. Thank you very much I want this albino to be as happy as he can be and so far my experiences with this one has all been positive. He seems so inquisitive and easy going. <Please... read: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwmorayeels.htm and the linked files above. RMF>

 Info about Gymnothorax tile eel   2/10/06 Greetings, <Salutations> I have a Gymnothorax tile eel AKA (Freshwater Snowflake Eel) and I have questions concerning his well being. Right now he lives in my 45gal Brackish water tank and seems to be doing quite well. I have had him for nearly 8 months and he is currently on a diet of squid. <Need to expand this diet> However I did some research on him and several articles say that this species does better in a marine type environment. <Some do... with size/growth> Is this true? Second most of my research says that this particular species can survive in a brackish environment but not for long term. I currently have a 65gal saltwater tank that I am currently establishing that at this moment has no fish or animals of any sort. My question to you is this, would my Gymnothorax tile eel do better in a marine type environment or can I leave him in his current brackish water home? <Would be better in all marine> Second, if I were to transfer him to my marine aquarium can you recommend a procedure to minimize the stress on the animal? <Matching present spg, increasing some 0.001 to 0.002 density per week by adding/changing out water of increasing saltiness> I have done a lot of research on this animal but it is hard to separate fact from fiction. I would hate to loose him due to my ignorance. Many thanks in advanced Mike Hoefnael <Welcome. Bob Fenner>  

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