Moray Disease Diagnosis FAQs:
Moray Disease 1,
2, Moray Disease 3,
Moray Disease 4, Moray Disease
& by Species:
Dragon Moray Health,
FW Moray Disease,
Morays and other Eels, Velvet &
FAQs on Moray Disease by Category:
Related FAQs: Moray Disease 2, Morays and other Eels &
Eels 3, Moray Identification,
Moray Selection, Moray Behavior, Moray Compatibility, Moray Systems, Moray Reproduction, Moray Feeding, Zebra Moray Eels, Snowflake Morays, Ribbon Morays, Freshwater Moray Eels,
Related Articles: Moray
Eels, The Zebra Moray (Gymnomuraena
zebra), The "Freshwater" Moray
Marine Eels, Snake & Worm
Golden Dwarf Moray issue 10/19/16
I have a pair of golden dwarf moray eels recently added to my 55 gallon reef
tank. PH 8.3, Salinity 1.026, Nitrites 0, Ammonia 0, Nitrates 0, Phosphates >.5
ppm. There are no other aggressive fish in the tank. Today I noticed something
wrong with the larger of the two eels that I have not seen before. One side of
his head seems slightly distended and there is some sort of protrusion near the
lower left corner of his mouth. The color of this protrusion is whitish. Around
the protrusion is a small area of redness. I have tried desperately to get a
clear image but have failed utterly. Could I be dealing with worms? He has yet
to eat like his younger tankmate but I know that morays can go for protracted
time without eating.
<Can't tell from the pictures in your other email what the moray is dealing
with. I know it's hard to get proper pics, these pics are quite blurry and I'm
not sure this is a parasite. If it occurred suddenly, could it be a flap of skin
from a wound, maybe a bite from the other eel? Dwarf moray eels don't always
tolerate conspecifics and can start fighting for
territory. If it developed with time it is more likely a bacterial infection.>
My suspicion is that they may be linked. Any input you could provide will be
invaluable. These are my absolute favorite fishes in the trade and would hate to
lose one to parasites. Thanks, Sam Porter
<Check if the protrusion could be a wound and if hostilities occur. If it's a
bacterial infection and grows you might need antibiotics. Let's hope the latter
is not the case. Good luck. Marco.>
Snowflake Moray -- Disease 1 1
<It's taken seven plus min.s to download one of your pix here in Roatan. WHY
don't you, others follow our directions?>
Happy Friday! I am writing to you in regards to a snowflake moray I have kept
for nearly 4 and half years. She has recently come down with what appears to be
Head and Lateral Line Erosion. I was able to get a good look at the length of
her body this morning and there appear to be red lesions along the majority of
her lateral line. Recently, I had to adjust my pH (which was scarily low at 7.9)
and raised it back to 8.3 safely using a buffer. Could these lesions maybe be an
acid burn? Or a parasite?
Melafix has been added to the tank.
<Worse than worthless. SEARCH this on WWM, actually READ>
She has not been eating well for about 2 months now. Pictures of the lesions are
attached. She is still breathing under 60 breaths a minute although her breaths
do look labored. She has been fed a mix of ghost shrimp, krill, and
silversides over the years soaked in VitaChem.
<And re Thiaminase poisoning>
Nitrate: 25ppm (Yes, I know this is a bit high. Doing a water change!)
I also stumbled upon this paper associating activated carbon with HLLE.
I do use carbon in the system so I'm wondering....
<Mmm; nah. Keep reading re. The etymology of this symptom has been discussed
heatedly (at times) for decades.... many contributing factors.... water quality,
nutrition, "stress", some Protozoans possibly involved..... And do READ re
Echidna health period on WWM; inclusive of goiter. This fish's throat is
overly expanded. I'd be treating the water (and possibly foods) with iodide-ate.
Any advice/thoughts you have are greatly appreciated!
Last thing I noticed is that there appears to be clear mucus-like strings of
about 3-4" coming off of her body. Is this her slime coat (and an immune system
response?) or is this perhaps a sign of a parasitic/bacterial infection.
Dragon Moray Eel, hlth. 10/11/12
I have searched your site and have not seen this question before. I have
had a dragon moray for about a year and he is probably about two years
He has appeared to be in great health the whole time. While feeding
today I noticed he has a big (acorn size) lump on the side of his head.
Just one lump on one side. Behind the eye but definitely up on the head.
Still acting normal and eating normal. Any ideas?
<Tumor like growth can have a number of reasons be it bacterial
infections, parasite related cysts or neoplasms. There's not much of a
treatment you can do in my opinion without more information e.g. by
sampling the lump, which has to be done by a vet. What you can do is
provide both a proper environment (especially high water quality) and
varied, vitamin enriched
food. Please see http://www.wetwebmedia.com/HIDragonMorayArt.htm,
especially the part on captive care. Also, keep an eye on the lump, if
it grows you may have to consult a vet or if signs of a bacterial
infection appear use adequate antibiotics. In addition have a look at
the FAQs on dragon eel diseases, e.g. on top of the article linked to
<Good luck. Marco.>
Honeycomb Moray eel going crazy 6/13/12
I have a 4ft Honeycomb Moray in a 420 litre tank. I have had him in for
nearly 1 year now, on his own in this tank and have never had any water
<So what are the nitrate and ammonia readings actually... 420 litres is
quite small for such a large fish...>
Initially the eel was very friendly (comfortably coming out for food and
just to swim around the tank in general) this has changed recently.
We all know that Morays like to shift their rock around during the
<None of mine does that.>
however, on 3 occasions now in the last 4 weeks he/she has started to go
absolutely crazy during the night.
On these occasions the Eel will thrash around in the tank, swimming end
to end at speed crashing into the tank edges and generally going crazy
between the rocks, stirring up the tank to the point water splashes out
onto the floor. I must say that when this occurs it is quite worrying as
it is that violent I am scared he will break the tank! After about 15-20
seconds he will kind of chill out and calm down and go back to hiding in
On the days following one of these outbursts he will not come out from
his pipes and generally looks quite frightened. I must add, his appetite
has not changed and continues to eat.
I would like to know if a normal behavior
and if not what has bought it on?
<Don't know for sure... could be related to problems with the nervous
system... linked to poor water quality or lack of vitamins... an
alternate explanation: sometimes eels suffering from constipation go
crazy until the problem is solved.>
and can I fix it?
<Check water quality and food (see WWM re), if constipation is an option
try Epsom salt (see WWM re).>
It's almost that when he gets going and causing such a torrent inside
the tank he is frightening himself into swimming faster and going more
Please help and I appreciate your time.
<Good luck. Marco.>
honeycomb eel, hlth. env. likely 5/23/11
About a month ago I bought a 135g tank and 2' honeycomb eel.
It's been in that tank for over a year and doing very well.
<I'd just like to note these fishes can get 6 feet long if
we're talking about Gymnothorax favagineus (other eels like M.
melanotis have been called honeycomb, too). How is that tank filtered,
does it have a skimmer ?>
I set the tank back up at my house and last week I added some damsel
fish to see if they will get along or if it will eat them. So far it
has not ate them.
<If it is too small and fast, this can work. Not always, but
I feed the eel the other day some Tilapia fillet and he did eat.
<Needs a varied diet, preferably marine fish or salmonids (and
larger shrimps, octopus), not cichlids like Tilapia. Add vitamins to
frozen foods at least once a week.>
Also had the local fish store check my water and all is well, they did
say my tank appears to be cycling again
<Somewhat contradicting information.>
and I should do a water change in a week or so and bring in some more
water to check it again.
<If you want our opinion on your situation, it would be good if you
could provide some more data. Water parameters that is. Especially
salinity, temperature, pH, nitrates, ammonia, nitrites. Proper numbers
Here's my question lately the eel has been acting strange. Every so
often it rubs itself back and forth against the rocks hard and fast
(thrashing) and turning on its side and rubbing along the bottom of the
tank (crushed coral) like its trying to scratch or rub something off.
What would make it do this?
<I suspect something's wrong with the water, therefore the above
question for your water parameters (proper numbers).>
Could it be some kind of infection or parasite?
<Could be, but is less likely.>
I've been looking at it very closely and I don't see anything.
re: honeycomb eel, hlth and more 5/24/11
Thank you so much Marco, It does appear to be a Gymnothorax
favagineus pear. No skimmer, just a Filstar xp3, that's
what the original owner had been using. I have plans on putting in a
sump/bio ball system in this week.
<Personally, I would think about adding a skimmer.
It does make it much easier to provide a good water quality by removing
waste from the system (which otherwise is only done by water changes,
filter cleaning) and by adding additional oxygen.>
That's what I used when I owned a 110g tank and I never had any
problems with my fish, zebra moray, blue dot stingray etc... Sold all
of it when I moved 10 years ago. Trying to start over again. Also no
live rock in the tank yet just dry rock and dry corals. I will get you
the water #'s later today. Also I will get him some salmon or
shrimp today. Does it need to eat any live fish or is it ok with store
<Store bought fish is perfect. I'd not feed live
fish at all.>
I used to feed my zebra moray live craw fish, would the honeycomb eat
What vitamins should I be adding to the food?
<There's a number of adequate products for fishes on the market.
JBL Advitol is one, Vita-Chem is another one and there are more (also
see WWM). The product you want should at least contain vitamin C and
Also looking very closely at the eel it appears to have some small
white dots on its head or the first 3-4". Not sure if they've
always been there or if its something new.
<Can you get a good picture? If the spots are arranged in lines
these are sensory pores, which are mostly found on the front quarter of
moray eels. Cryptocaryon, the parasite causing one common white spot
disease (uncommon on eels, though), almost always affects the gills and
often the eyes also.>
That along with the flashing or rubbing all over the tank I started
thinking that it might be ich.
<Cryptocaryon, see WWM re. Not very common on eels due to their
thick skin and slime coat.>
I don't see anything on any of the damsels but they've only
been there a few days. A couple of web sites suggest to treat this I
should slowly bring the salt level down to 1.009 and keep it there for
<Can work, but is not always reliable, since some Cryptocaryon and
other parasites can live in lower end brackish water.>
After reading that I did a water change of 30g and brought the level
down to 1.019. And I was going to do this a couple more times till it
reaches 1.009, Is this something I should be doing?
<I'd first try to get a proper diagnosis and not rush into a
If it is ich can I treat the tank and the eel with medication, one that
<Probably not more than once... Don't do this.>
I've read that eels are sensitive to it, that's why I started
doing the lower salinity instead. I will send you the water #'s
this afternoon when I get home. Thanks again Bill
Re: Golden moray needs help -- 12/07/09
It's been almost a month since I last e-mail you and the eels
are doing great.
<Good to hear.>
They are ferocious eaters and always looking for food. When I
last talked to you the Golden Moray had a small thing by his
eye(see 1st pic below), didn't think much of it but now, it
has grown quite a bit. What is it? A parasite or an infection of
<Impossible to tell from the pictures. I see no structure,
just some white standing out. Almost looks like fungus, but could
also be bacterial or a parasitic. Is it soft of hard? Is any
structure visible? Also, compare it to Lymphocystis (viral, but
harmless) pictures, do you see any similarity with the fish in
front of you?>
And how do I treat it?
<What do you feed? Do you add vitamins? How's the water
(pH, nitrates?). I'd try to support the immune system of the
fish first, which means high vitamin input and low water
It's not going to be easy to catch it and put it in a QT tank
but I have a 20gallon tank all ready for it.
<Very good. I'd first try to strengthen the immune system
of the fish before using antibiotics or an
See below his eye, a little tiny patch of white.
Now it looks like this:
<Yes, this is some growth for a month.>
Thanks in advance. Bill
Re: Skeletor Eel needs help
Golden moray (G. miliaris) needs help -- 12/08/09
Thanks for the quick reply. Looking at the picture, I think it
could be Lymphocystis but not 100% sure. Can't really tell if
it's soft or hard. Looks like it's soft and sometimes I
wish I could catch the eel and squeeze that white part out like
you would squeeze a pimple LOL.
Water parameters are normal... Temp 78.5, Ammonia 0, nitrites 0,
nitrates 0, PH 8.2. I don't know about alkalinity since I
don't have a test for it. I do add Purple Up once in a while
in the tank.
<Sounds all good.>
I feed this eel silversides, shrimp and squid every 3 days till
full. Sometimes soaked in Selcon or injected right into the
<Sounds good, too. Feel free to also try vitamin products with
higher vitamin B1 and vitamin E contents.>
If it is Lymphocystis, I've read in WWM that it goes away by
itself in time so I hope it is.
I'll keep an eye on it and see what happens. I'll keep
Thanks again, Bill
<Welcome and good luck. Marco.>
Concern for Hawaiian Dragon... beh., hlth.
1/24/07 I purchased a 20" dragon for my LFS and he is
currently in QT at the LFS. I go up there almost everyday and feed on
Wed and Sat (grouper, snapper, shrimp). I have noticed that sometimes
he is only using one pouch to breath. <Not atypical... not a large
concern> I have smaller eels at home and they have never done this
so I am really concerned. The guys at the LFS don't know a whole
lot about eels and I am getting scared. Please Help!!! Thanks D <I
would not hold off on buying, moving this Moray on this basis, and
would feed it more like twice a week at this size. Bob Fenner>
Re: Koke/Reticulate Hookjaw Moray; now G.
favagineus dis. 05/22/09
One other question; a friend of mine picked up a 16" tesselata six
or so months ago and during the last month or so it's taken to
laying on it's side. Yesterday I was over at his place to pick up
and extra backpack skimmer (in case I needed a separate tank...fingers
are still crossed) and noticed it had developed some swelling in the
belly are between it's gills and anus. It's also respirating
deeply, slowly and with irregularity, though there are no other
external indicators and it is responsive to light. In reading through
your FAQ's over the years I've read quite a few similar cases
but no conclusive diagnosis.
<There are several reasons for comparable swellings esp. bacterial
diseases (most probable), carrying eggs, blockage (would be mostly in
the rear part of the animal), worms.>
We tested his water and it's all tip-top (only did ammonia cycle
but he swears the PH/Phosphates/all else are in normal range). In the
event that it is a blockage, as some of the FAQ's suggest, I've
heard certain garlic/vitamin solutions can help but given the duration
of the symptoms I don't think that's the case. I have some
triple sulfa sitting around and suggested we try that in a hospital
tank, but if this is parasitic I don't think that will help.
<Cycled hospital tank with an antibiotic (like Maracyn 2 or another
one for gram negative bacteria, and possibly an antithelmic). Stay away
from copper and formalin at the usual concentrations.>
It seems like this is usually fatal;
<Yes, usually treated very late/without adequate meds or not at
has anyone ever done an autopsy?
<'¦ as noted above there are several possibilities that
have been found in other specimen. Good luck, Marco.>
Sick Zebra Moray Eel My firm has had a Zebra Moray Eel now
for several months and a couple of weeks ago I noticed some white
blotches (which looked somewhat like scars) on his skin. He had been
eating his shrimp well previous to this discovery (3 X a week - which I
realize is probably too many times from reading the other entries), but
all of a sudden he has decided that he is not interested in his food
anymore, and has not eaten much, if at all, over the past couple of
weeks. Also breathing seems somewhat labored and every now and then his
whole body seems to jump or act like it is convulsing (kind-of like a
human having the hiccups). I know we have a service company that
comes out 2 times a month and cleans the tank, changes the water,
checks the chemical balance of the water, etc., so I don't think
that would be what's causing his issues, but please tell me if I am
wrong in this assumption. The Zebra Moray Eel is in the tank with
several other fish, but they don't seem to be having any problems
since I noticed the spots on the Eel. Do you think there is any
reason to be concerned? We would appreciate any suggestions or
treatments you could give us! Thanks! <Tracy, being that this
tank is serviced by an aquarium servicing company, I'm thinking
they selected the fish to put into it, correct? If so, I would have
them come out and take a look/see. It would be hard to make an accurate
diagnosis with seeing the fish. Has anyone been cleaning the glass with
an ammonia based cleaner? I'm also curious as to the tank size.
James (Salty Dog)>
Sick Zebra Moray Eel - II As it turns out, we actually pick
out the fish in the tank. The aquarium company just tells us what we
can and cannot put in there. Besides the eel, we have the following
fish (plus a couple of others that I cannot identify): Square spot
Anthias, Speckled Grouper, Royal Dottyback, Longnose Hawkfish,
Threadfin Cardinalfish, Ocellaris Anemone fish (Clown Fish); Yellowtail
Blue Damselfish, Moon Wrasse, and Purple Tang. I have been told the
tank is 180 gallons. Hope this helps! <Tracy, don't know
what kind of filtering system is employed but none the less this tank
is exceeding its capacity. The eel, grouper and tang all get quite
large. My rule of thumb is one cubic inch (not length) of fish
per five gallons of water. When tanks become overcrowded, the chance
for disease is heightened. I would ask the aquarium maintenance company
if they can remove the eel and treat it at their place for resale. You
really need to reduce the fish load. James (Salty Dog)>
Snowflake Eel Questions (2/4/05) I have a small snowflake
eel, approx 9 inches. It lives with two other tankmates in a
60gal tank with 50 lbs of not-live rock. My ammonia, nitrites and
nitrates are almost non-existent (per a test kit). The pH is 8.2. Both
of the other fish are fine but the eel appears to have heavy
respiration most of the time. It does eat, a lot, and is active at
night but during the day it hides under the sand and pokes its head out
every couple of hours. The salinity is low 1.019 and I'm in the
process of raising it. <Slowly target 1.024 range.> Should I be
concerned with the breathing? <Probably not.> I read in a
previous post that approx 60 "breaths" a minute is
acceptable, this eel is slightly heavier. <Do you mean
"heavy" as in deep and forceful or
"rapid" as in fast? Eels tend to have almost gulping
respirations that one may thing is "heavy," but a rate of
more than 60 per minute is odd.> Also is it burying itself because
it is stresses or just likes the dark. <Eels are also reclusive.
They hide most of the time. If it comes out and swims about in the
light, it is probably hungry. This is a rather small Snowflake, still
young. (Mine has grown from about a foot to two feet in 18 months.) It
may just be scared like a young child would be. You did not mention
what the tankmates are. Perhaps they are big or aggressive?> Any
information would be greatly appreciated. <Your parameters are good.
I would not worry too much about heavy (rather than rapid) breathing.
If it eats well and comes out sometimes, it is probably fine. I have
found that whole krill are great eel food, as are other strips/chunks
of meaty seafood. I use the seafood gumbo mix from my local Albertsons.
Now that he is as big as he is now, mine will take 3 or 4 3"
Silversides with 3 or 4 1.5" krill for dessert every 3-4 days.>
Thanks in advance, John <Hope this helps. Steve Allen.>