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Moray Parasitic Disease FAQs:  

FAQs on: Moray Disease 1, Moray Disease 2, Moray Disease 3, Moray Disease 4, Moray Disease 5, Moray Disease ,
& by Species: Dragon Moray Health, Snowflake Eel Disease/Health, FW Moray Disease, Morays and other Eels, Velvet & Crypt,
FAQs on Moray Disease by Category: Diagnosis, Environmental, Nutritional, Social, Trauma, Infectious, Treatments

Related FAQs: Moray Disease 2, Morays and other Eels & Crypt, Moray Eels, Morays 2, Moray 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, Other Marine Eels 

Related Articles: Moray Eels, The Zebra Moray (Gymnomuraena zebra), The "Freshwater" Moray Eels, Non-Moray Marine Eels, Snake & Worm Eels

Parasitic worms on Whitemouth moray       7/29/16
Hi guys,
Hopefully you can help with medication options for a moray eel. I started to notice zig Zag like lines just under the skin and they seem to be changing locations. Parasitic worms ? This photo looks a lot like what I see.
<Yeah; nematodes>
I have two eels together a white mouth and a HDM
The Whitemouth is the only one effected. He is eating and growing normally but seems to display irritation, head tic's and jerks. Is this something common in morays and if so what is the best product/ method to treat it?
<Common enough. See WWM Re. Bob Fenner>
Thank you
Brad-
Re: Parasitic worms on Whitemouth moray       7/29/16

Thank you Bob.
<Welcome. And have sent this to MarcoL for his sep. resp. B>

Parasitic worms on Whitemouth moray     /Here's Marco       7/29/16
Hi guys,
Hopefully you can help with medication options for a moray eel. I started to notice zig Zag like lines just under the skin and they seem to be changing locations. Parasitic worms ? This photo looks a lot like what I see. I have two eels together a white mouth and a HDM. The Whitemouth is the only one affected. He is eating and growing normally but seems to display irritation, head tics and jerks. Is this something common in morays and if so what is the best product/ method to treat it? Thank you. Brad-
<Typical lines of nematodes living in the skin. Use a copper und formalin free Anthelminthic in a separate hospital tank or with higher dosage as aerated baths. Treating in the display is much less probable to work and can negatively affect the system. Good luck. Marco.>

Moray parasitic worms, reading -- 10/20/10
Hi WWM
<Taryn>
I was wondering what medication I can use for a Moray Eel with parasitic worms attached to its mouth and tail - I know Copper is not an option.
<Correct... there are a few choices...>
There are dozens of tiny black worms attached that are irritating the skin, leaving red dots where they have detached. They seem to be preventing him from eating.
<Unusual>
Any ideas?
<Yes; read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/fshwrmidcuref.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Thanks...
Taryn

Green Headed Moray Ill. Moray with zig zag line -- 06/14/07 My son has a green headed moray that is about two feet long. <Green headed moray is not among those common names I am aware of and there are several species referred to as yellow headed morays or green morays. Possibly this species is Gymnothorax undulatus and can be seen at http://www.wetwebmedia.com/moraysii.htm  , http://filaman.ifm-geomar.de/Photos/ThumbnailsSummary.php?ID=4905 .>  We have had him for about four years in a 100 gal tank with a Niger. Just recently we noticed that it has a white zig zag line under its neck. The line is under its skin and about 3 inches long. The eel is acting normal and has never been sick. Please help, we can't figure out what the line is and how to get rid of it. <A picture of the line and a confirmation of the species ID would have been helpful for a diagnosis. While the so called lateral line organ is visible as a row of pores at some species, it is also possible your moray is infected with worms (nematodes) living in its skin. See http://www.wetwebmedia.com/moraydisfaqs.htm  , scroll down to subcutaneous worms (medication is also recommended there) and compare. Praziquantel could work, as may other products against worms. Beware that many of those should not be used in a system with invertebrates or live rock.> Thanks. Heather. <Glad to assist. Marco.>
Re: Moray with zig zag line II -- 06/15/07
Hello again. <Hi.> Thank you for the link. <No problem.> You are correct the eel is a Gymnothorax undulatus and the picture of the worms on your site are exactly what he has. How nasty! How did he get them and how can I stop him from getting them again once I get rid of them? <Worm infections most often occur with wild-caught fishes. Many worms are unable to complete complex life cycles in aquaria, but a good (and unknown) number remains. Since the moray eel was in your tank for 4 years without obvious infection, I can only guess the parasitic worms (probably as eggs) were introduced with some (most likely) live material. It is also possible other fish were infected and the worms were able to lay eggs and infect the moray. Some of them are also live bearers. A seemingly less probable scenario would be that the worm eggs were introduced by frozen or live food. If you observed how fast those lines grow, you can estimate when the infection started and thus (knowing what you fed or added to the system) decrease the number of possible sources until hopefully finding a definite answer on how the worms were introduced. If you know the source of the eggs, you should be able to avoid it in the future.> Thank you so much, at least now we know how to treat him. <Good luck. I hope the treatment works. Cheers, Marco.>

Disease recovery question 8/18/05 I'm having trouble finding a solution to the following problem and am hoping you can help.  Approximately five weeks ago I purchased a  Paracanthurus hepatus to add to my 180 gallon reef.  The fish was  dipped and then placed in a quarantine tank for 21 days.  No visible  problems in the quarantine tank, it was active and a great eater.  I added  the fish to my 180 after the quarantine period and it seemed fine for the first  week.  Thereafter I noticed what I thought was ich appear <Can, could be something else...> first on the tang  and then spread to my other fish.   Over the course of the next week,  the disease proceeded to wipe out each and every fish in my tank, except for a  Gymnothorax melatremus, which, as best as I can tell, seems fine.   In hindsight, I was probably dealing with Oodinium rather than ich.  Since  my tank is a reef I cannot treat the disease by way of medication so  my plan is to run the system fallow for approximately 60 days.   <Good>   My question is, will the eel make this effort futile and, if so, do you have any  suggestions for getting the tank back to being able to support fish?    <Mmm, having a fish host, though one largely resistant to this parasite, in place is problematical... but not-moving may be best/better here... and instead risking re-infestation...> Removing the eel will likely require breaking apart the reef, which I would like  to avoid. Thank you for any help you may offer. Michael S. Jacobs <Sorry for your trouble, and the lack of comprehensive response here... If it were me, given the info. provided, I would not move the Moray... would wait out the two months, add only new fishes with assured good health, perhaps some small purposeful cleaner fishes... likely Gobiosoma species, with them. Bob Fenner>
Re: Disease recovery question (Moray, Crypt_) 8/20/05
Thank you very much for your response and your website. I trust your  wisdom and will proceed on that course.  Also, neglected to mention that I  do have two very attentive Lysmata amboinensis that may help.   Anyway, thank you again. Michael S. Jacobs <These cleaners are definitely of value here. Bob Fenner>

Everyone Out! (Getting All Fishes Out From An Infected Tank)  08/08/2005 Hi guys, <Hi there! Scott F. your guy tonight!> My name is Matt and I'm from Sydney Australia. I'm currently battling ich in my 100gallon tank. I also have a 75gal that I've had up and running for about 18months, whereas the 100gal is about 8 weeks old. Now my question is; I have the majority of my fish in QT,  only a couple more to catch. I know inverts are fine to leave in the tank. But I have zebra moray eel that is in the 100gal. I know these guys cannot contract ich due to their protective mucus, so is it fine leaving it in the tank with the inverts for 4 weeks? I cant seem to find the answer anywhere. Your help is much appreciated. Matt <Well, Matt- Morays are rather resistant to parasitic infections, but I would still feel better about removing him for observation. Besides, not having the fish in the tank is one less potential "vector" for the future transmission of the disease. Get everyone out, if you ask me! Good luck in beating this disease! Regards, Scott F.>

Subcutaneous worms  Bob what are your thoughts on these worms?  Nematodes?  Are they Nematodes?  What is your best advice in form of treatment?  He is asymptomatic and seemingly unaffected by them. Eating, doing well and has been in captivity for a year or so.  The rest of the inhabitants are uninfested , or at least from outwardly perceptions.  Fish only with live rock system that is stable throughout. <Randy, I believe them to be nematodes and the symptoms will be asymptomatic. My question is, does the fish look underweight for its size. My mode of attack for this problem would be to inject the eel's food with Metronidazole and feed him 10 mg of Metronidazole per meal. This might work but I am not sure. I will forward this to Bob Fenner and maybe he will have something better. MikeB.> <Yes, very likely... Perhaps Praziquantel... Bob Fenner>

Parasites & Morays Hi.  Great website! <Thank you> Regarding moray eels, do they ever suffer from internal parasites in captivity?  If so, what are these parasites and how should they be treated?  Are treatments universal to all moray species? <A mix of several Protozoans, nematodes, Cestodes, acanthocephalans... Can be treated (Metronidazole/Flagyl, Flubendazole, Piperazine...) but are rarely done... better to focus on other aspects/factors. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mardisease.htm> I would also like to know how to conduct a freshwater dip in treating a moray for external parasites.  What amount, and at that concentration of Formalin should I use during the dip? <I would not do this. Not necessary in general. Have you actually made a smear and seen something?> Is Formalin advisable, or is there another med that works better?  Are all types of external parasites affected by freshwater dipping?   <As far as I'm aware, yes> If treating for ich, what concentration Formalin is best for long-term exposure in the quarantine tank?  How many drops per gallon? Thanks, William <About 1 1/2 drop per gallon of 37% solution... will give you approximately 200 ppm... I would use a drop of this solution in turn per gallon in quarantine, daily. Bob Fenner>

Zebra Moray and Ich Hi, I have a case of Ick, in one of my tanks. I've moved all the fish to a hospital tank. The only thing left in the main tank is my Zebra moray. I'm thinking I should set up another tank for him. Is this necessary, and would the meds be the same as for the fish?<NO!!! I would recommend a simple freshwater dip for this species with the usual three to four week quarantine for new specimens. Avoid copper compounds, dye and organophosphate-containing remedies as these are deadly to true eels. ( http://www.wetwebmedia.com/zebramor.htm)> I would like to move a few of the fish from the first hospital tank to the second to reduce crowding, especially for the length of time they will be there.<ok> I will NEVER add a fish that hasn't been in a Q tank again. Any help or Ideas will be appreciated. Eric <Do read more about your Zebra moray at this link http://www.wetwebmedia.com/zebramor.htm, Good luck with everything, IanB>

- Copper for Eels? - Somehow, ich got into my tank. Wonder how THAT happened, huh? <I have a hunch.> Well, I also have a new eel (a little one- the first one died after 48 hrs). This one has survived a week and I don't want to kill it.  Some of the fish in the tank have ick and I want to know if I can safely use Aquari-sol with my Gymnothorax polyuranodon. <No - is poisonous to the eel.> I'm afraid to treat it because I don't want to poison in, but I'm afraid not to. <I would isolate it or the sick fish in a separate system and treat them there, away from the eel.>  Thanks. <Cheers, J -- >

Sick eel? I have a 17-18" Gymnomuraena zebra living in a 55 tank who has developed white specks along his body. Is this disease? <Likely ich> History-- Tank: Been cycled for nearly a year. 25-30lbs. Live rock. W/D SUMP. And Canister filter. <Run a full range of water tests and figure out what the stressor was since ich usually doesn't appear out of nowhere.> Feeding. Recently switched from small daily feeding to twice weekly medium/large feeding.  Additions. Only 5-6lbs live rock. <Some of the rock may have been partially uncured, you could have had a slight ammonia spike or a pH drop. Test test test!> Tank Mates. No new additions, 4 small predatory fish. <Since there's no new additions, it's likely the water quality. Check out the goods on ich: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ichartmar.htm as well as the billions of FAQ's about the same subject. -Kevin> Any ideas?  Thanks for your help.  And as I've stated in a previous email, Great book.  Jake, Dallas.

Parasitic worms I need some help!  My Hawaiian Dragon Eel stopped eating.   I notice that he has thin, tan worms all over his body.   The worms are about an inch in size.  The part that doesn't hook into the eel ends in a point.   Please tell me what I can do to treat this.  I know eels are sensitive to many forms of treatment.  He is a full size eel.  Thanks so much for any advice you can give.  Kelly <Mmm, need to have a definitive identification of these worms... to the phylum level. I suspect they're flukes of some sort, and could be treated with an organophosphate. I suggest a pH-adjusted freshwater dip (that will likely result in a bunch "letting go" for microscopic exam.) at this point. Be careful with netting the specimen and keep the dip tank covered and heavily aerated during this procedure. The dip by itself will not effect a cure... as the worms are likely of a type that have direct development and will still be present in various stages in the main tank when/if you return the eel. Bob Fenner>
Re: Parasitic worms
Hi Bob, <Hi Kelly> Thanks for your response. I did do the freshwater dip.  It took 18 minutes for the leeches to let go. (not die, just let go).  Yes, I did say leeches.  I took some of the specimens to an aquarium today.  I was told that they were leeches. <Easy to see with some magnification (and specimens!)>   Unfortunately, these leeches like to live in the substrate.  I had 200 pounds of sand and crushed coral in my tank.  Well, with some help, I actually removed all the substrate and bought more live rock.  The substrate is totally infected with these leeches.  Just looking at them makes my skin crawl.  I am treating the substrate with Clout in a separate container. <This should "do it"> There are no more of these leeches visible in the tank.  Although, he does have two of the leeches on him.  Compared to the hundred that were all over him yesterday, I consider this a huge accomplishment. Once the eel settles down and does not appear so stressed, I will try to pick off the two remaining leeches.  This has been a very long project, but is well worth the effort to save this beautiful eel. <Yes> We have a Titan trigger fish with the eel.  She was sick in the past and had to be quarantined.  We now think she was being infected by the leeches as well. Since last night when we gave the eel a freshwater dip, the Titan has been extremely protective of the eel.  She lies right beside him.  If I am working in the tank near to the eel, she goes completely ballistic.  I have to say a full size Titan trigger and full size Hawaiian dragon eel are a nice match.  Although, I would not add anything else with them. Take care Bob. Kelly <Thank you for the progress report. Bob Fenner>

Moray Eel/Ich We have an moray eel in my tank, and one of our tank inhabitants came down with ich (treating with copper in our quarantine tank). Anyhow, we noticed our moray occasionally scratching the side of his head on the sand and we think he has ich in his gills as well.  <possible> I know they are fairly hardy and don't get infected often,  <correct> but what is the best treatment for the eel ? I know of the following treatments, but don't know which is best for a scratching moray: -Formalin in q-tank - long term exposure -Formalin/fw dips <above two are possible with observation (and a covered lid on FW dip bucket...hehe)> -Copper/Cupramine (I thought eels are sensitive to copper, not sure) <very correct> -Hyposalinity and raising temp. <stimulating but may not effect a cure alone> Is there a recommended treatment for moray eels, and anything that should definitely be avoided ? Thanks <yes... Never copper or organic dyes (blue, green, etc)> Jim <best regards, Anthony>
Moray Eel/Ich II
Anthony, thanks for the helpful info. <always welcome> Should I just wait and see if the moray gets better on its own ?  <not if you are pretty sure he's got it. I'd opt for a careful Formalin treatment in QT> What do people mean when they say it is 'hardy' ? is it hardy in its resistance in getting it, or hardy in its ability to fight it off without being reinfected by the parasite ? <both... but they rarely get common white spot disease> I've been watching it for the last day or so and I've only seen it twitch its head once it was doing this every 2 min or so before). The problem with these morays is that you generally can't see when/if it gets bad ? is there any telltale symptoms on an eel before the "I'm breathing rapidly and about to bite it" look ?  <a lot of gill scratching would be an indication of severity> Does this mean its getting better ? I know the ich parasite falls off to reproduce and it needs to attach to something. Is that 'attachment' ever the fish itself ? I mean, could a parasite just lodge itself in the gills of a fish/eel, and just split up and reproduce there and re-infect ?? ?  <I'm not certain, but I do not believe this to be true... they drop to the substrate as cysts and hatch into free-swimming buggers from there> Is there a need for it to fall 'off'. OK, so I should avoid copper. <yes.. always on scaleless fishes> Formalin is ok for dips it sounds (yes, I know about their ability to slither and get away :), but shouldn't be used for long term exposure.  Hmmm, sounds like it might be better to see if it'll fight it off. . . Jim <I'd be willing to simply give it a 2-4 week stay in QT with a week or more of a normal formalin dose. Keep up with the water changes too (daily from the bottom for the first week to siphon tomites) Anthony>
Moray Eel/Ich III
Ok, sat there for a half hour watching this thing this morning and again just now. No twitching or scratching at all. Normal breathing (he never had fast breathing, but did scratch every min or so a few days ago) and activity. I know the parasite is quite aggressive and goes through 'stages' where it looks like you're improving and then it comes back full force. . . . So not sure if I'm in that lull period, or if he's just fighting it off on its own without any help... Your call, what do you think ? He's in a makeshift 20 gallon q-tank with a cleaner shrimp and a few snails/hermits right now. Should I just watch and wait or go for the formalin ? Damn, eels are hard to diagnose. . . Jim <if you are hesitant to medicate, I would advise a small daily water change for 8 consecutive days. Insure proper water temperature and quality (testing). In a bare bottomed aquarium, daily water changes have been demonstrated to break the cycle of parasitic infection but you must do it every day without fail by siphoning from the bottom. 3-4 gallons daily should be fine. Best regards, Anthony>
Moray Eel/Ich IV
Not necessarily hesitant to medicate, just debating whether to play that 'species hardy' card or not. My hospital tank is currently being occupied with a tang that originally started this whole crypto process. That has copper which we don't want to do with the eel. <agreed> The eel was removed to a quarantine tank a few days ago when I noticed it scratching. I see a twitch here and there but no scratching. I believe a twitch here and there is quite normal for eels.  <a little bit with all fishes once in a while> What's in this tank right now is 4" sand, a few pieces of live rock, a filter cycled), several hermits, snails and a cleaner shrimp. . . Would you medicate this tank with formalin ?  <hell no :)... as a rule, never medicate in any system with calcareous media (rock, sand, gravel...absorbs or tempers the medication and can ruin the media)> Don't think I can vacuum the bottom of a tank that has sand and expect that to be effective. . .  <I can't be any clearer or more emphatic, my friend. A proper QT is a bare bottomed vessel for many reasons. I do not think siphoning a sand bottom will be adequately effective. Will it help...yes, probably. Will it effect a cure, doubtful> If I medicate the tank, do I need to hunt down and remove the snails/hermits and cleaner shrimp ? ?  <again...they cannot be medicated as inverts (like the parasites!?!)> Also, what dose of formalin are you talking about ? the two drops per gallon for extended immersion right ? Not the short term dip amount right ??? <correct if using a 38-42% solution> Jim <regards, Anthony>
Moray Eel/Ich V
This brings up an interesting thought then. If its possible to break the ich lifecycle with vacuuming the bottom of the tank (religiously, since the crypto parasite falls off in the am daily) - then couldn't the same be accomplished with a vortex diatomaceous filter? Assuming in a small enough tank (10/20gallon), and a higher powered vortex to create enough suction flow at the bottom of the tank - wouldn't this be even better than vacuuming the bottom since it runs 24/7? <That would also be assuming that the diatom filter could capture eggs and tomites and I am not sure about that. Besides, you would still need to clean the filter daily to remove them from the system. The water changes have the added benefit of stimulating the immune response of the fish, too.> Just wondering. Thanks. Jim <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>
Ich/Diatom Filters Re: Moray Eel/Ich V
Robert, correct. <It was actually me, Steven Pro who responded previously.> The assumption would be that the pump pulling water will be strong enough on the bottom (or you moving it around every am around the tank) to draw the eggs/cysts into the filter. <I was not too worried about this.> It appears the 'cysts' of a crypto parasite are 200 to 400 microns. Diatomaceous filters generally filter down to about 1 micron, a bit higher to be safe. <This was where I had my doubts the diatom filter would be effective.> But yes, the key for success are probably the following : A) Adequate current draw from the bottom of tank (preferably bare bottom) to insure that tomonts are sucked in. Or physically moving it around the entire tank bottom to facilitate this B) back flushing of the entire filter with fresh water every day to remove captured tomonts. I think I may try this within ich magnet the next time I have a fish with ich - just to see the results and whether this works. What do you guys think? Jim <I still think you are better off with the daily water changes. -Steven Pro>

Strange growths on my snowflake moray Hi, Hopefully you can help me. First, a little background on my tank. I have a relatively new (just finished cycling 2 months ago) 55 gallon tank. It has 50lbs if live rock and 40 pounds of aragonite. 2 powerheads, 2 50 watt heaters, HOB filter, and a protein skimmer. The latest numbers from my water test seemed ok to me: Nitrite, Nitrate, and Ammonia levels all around 0. pH was at about 8.2. Temperature stays around 78 degrees and the salinity reads at 1.022. <all good> I bought a snowflake moray about 6 weeks ago (first fish into the display tank). He was about 9 inches at the time and seemed to adjust rather quickly when placed in the display tank. Found a hiding spot in the rock right away and eats without a problem. When I bought him, he had what appeared to be a fleshy string that hung off of him on his underside. The man at the pet store said that it was normal, so I did not worry about it. I have noticed, however, that there are more of these things on him now. When I look a little closer, they look almost like worms. There are about 10 of them now, most are located near his head.  <very unlikely to be living worms but do inspect closer to confirm> He still behaves normally and eats krill shrimp a couple of times a week. I have only noticed him try to scratch himself on a rock once. Is this some sort of parasite?  <is more likely to be sloughing mucous> If so, how can I treat it?  <we have to be careful here because the eel is scaleless and can OD easily on meds> I do have a quarantine tank up and running, but I don't even know how I would get him out of the display tank since he hides inside his rock pretty well. <lure out with food. Do look closer to the nature of the strings (use magnifying glass on the tank. Also pay attention to see if they are random and moving day to day (mucous not parasites) or definitely stay fixed in place> Any advice? Thanks, mike < a scarlet eel cleaner shrimp may be helpful and a pleasure to add to the tank at any rate. best regards, Anthony>
Re: White spot and moray eels --> TREATMENT
Anthony, Thank you for your response. <very welcome> I have a 1600 litre display tank with one Koran Angel, one Naso tang and the Snowflake. Both the Koran and Naso have white spot for some time now (4 months) the cysts are visible. I cannot see anything on the Snowflake. <typical with eels> I have two quarantine tanks (100 litre) with mature filters. I intend to quarantine the two fish and treat with copper. <and please consider freshwater dips as well or instead of (angel is copper sensitive a bit). Formalin is an option too> I am at loss as what to do with the Snowflake. Should I quarantine the Snowflake and treat for white spot ? If so, what is the best treatment for Morays. The snowflake is large (23 inches). Do you think it could be to big for a 100 litre quarantine tank for six weeks? <with the other fish in a proper QT for 4 weeks, the pathogen is likely to wane without a viable host. And no tank could ever be sterilized... so it may be enough to leave the eel in peace> I am also trying to establish how this parasite was introduced.  <like all people/animals... we are always carrying small amounts of potentially pathogenic organisms that flare or become expressed when we are stressed. Temperature fluctuations or drops in the main tank are the common cause> I do water changes with natural sea water pumped by a large public aquarium. The water comes from the Atlantic ocean. Average temp 15 degrees Celsius.  <Oh my heavens!!! This is a guaranteed way to import parasites. Much reading to do on use of NSW. I never recommend it for how inconsistent it can be and how much work needs to be done with it to prepare it. The public aquariums have industrial ozonizer that we hobbyists don't>> Do cold water parasites, like white spot, adapt/survive in warm water within 3 hours of raising temp to 26 degrees Celsius? <many easily can, yes> I look forward to your response. Mike Niese <synthetic seawater is reliable and consistent. Tried and true. My sincere advice... best regards, Anthony>

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