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FAQs about Snowflake Moray Eels 1

Related FAQs: Snowflake Morays 2, Snowflake Eel Identification, Snowflake Eel Behavior, Snowflake Eel Compatibility, Snowflake Eel Selection, Snowflake Eel Systems, Snowflake Eel Feeding, Snowflake Eel Disease/Health, Snowflake Eel Reproduction, Moray Eels, Zebra Moray Eels, Moray Identification, Moray CompatibilityRibbon Moray Eels Freshwater Moray Eel FAQs. Moray Eels in GeneralMoray Behavior, Moray CompatibilityMoray Selection, Moray Systems, Moray Feeding, Moray Disease, Moray Reproduction

Related Articles: Snowflake Morays, Zebra Morays, Ribbon Morays

A whole bunch of very small Snowflakes sharing a PVC pipe

Cycling an eel tank, ignorance re nutrition of Echidna, cycling, using WWM  9/5/05 Hello again When I get my 75 gallon tank how would I cycle it if I plan to put a snowflake eel in it. When I first get the eel he will be way too small to eat the fish but eventually he will. <No...> Is there any kind of fish that could cycle the tank that would not be eventually eaten? <All sorts> And if I did put some Chromis or damsels and they were eaten I would not mind, its just nature. But if you know another way that could save some fish from being eaten I am all ears. Sorry to bother you again, but thanks for all your help Patrick Nikiel <Please... use the search tool, indices on WWM... Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/snowflakemoray.htm re this species care, feeding... and elsewhere on WWM re cycling. Bob Fenner> Snowflake eel and tank size 08/26/05 Hello again, <<Hello Laura - Ted here>> Thank you for answering my question. I also recently bought a book that has given me a new idea. I think I will buy a 75 gallon tank for a snowflake moray. Will a 75 gallon tank be able to support its adult size?<<Yes. Please read up on Snowflake eels starting with this link: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/snowflakemoray.htm.>> I have been thinking of tankmates for the eel. I have been thinking about a Lemonpeel Angel but have run out of ideas. Any suggestions?<<There are many fish suitable for a 75 gallon tank. Part of the enjoyment found in this hobby comes from researching the specimens for your system. Please research first before buying any specimen. Of the dwarf Angels, the Coral Beauty and the Flame Angel are hardier than the Lemonpeel. I refer you to this link http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/angels/centropyge for more information. The Lemonpeel should get along with the eel as Snowflake eels rarely eat fish however there is no guarantee.>>  I am also thinking about a cleaner shrimp.<<The shrimp is not recommended. Snowflake eels eat crustaceans and will eat the shrimp.>> Again, any answer is appreciated. Thank you again, Laura Nikiel <<You're welcome and good luck - Ted>> Malnourished Moray 8/23/05 My snowflake eel is about 3-4 years old.  He's about 18 inches long and 2 inches diameter.  He usually eats 1-2 medium frozen shrimp every other day. <Needs a wider range of nutrification...>   Day before yesterday he only had 3 bites (about 1/2 shrimp).  This would not concern me except that tonight he did the same and he has local swelling around and behind his left eye.  About 1/2 inch diameter and 1/4 to 1/2 inch raised.  I'm not sure if I should try to treat this.  As rapid as it has come on, I'm not sure he'll survive if it grows much faster/bigger. R. Rodriguez <Please read re Moray Foods...: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/morayfdgfaqs.htm I would try soaking whatever foods this animal will still take in diluted "aquarium" iodine/ate, Selcon or equivalent... this may be a simple goiter... or other result of avitaminosis. Bob Fenner>

Re: snowflake eel  9/13/05 He died a few days later.  Water quality was good.  Any suggestions as to what could have come on so quick? <The swelling... may have been evidence of an internal tumor, perhaps a cumulative nutritional deficiency... Impossible to say. Bob Fenner>

Snowflake eel question? I have a question about the snowflake eel if you were to place them in a tank of fish it is possible they could outgrow and eat the other fish in the tank? And on one more note which kinds of marine fish may they get along with? (Darell) <This species almost never eats fishes... this question, your other... are answered on WWM... read there. Bob Fenner> - Snowflake Eel Problems - Hello, I have had my snowflake eel for about 8 months.  About a week ago I noticed that its colour was faded and what seems to be its butt has a bubble coming out of it.  <Huh...> Water quality is high, tested weekly.  All other fish (clowns, tang, banded cat shark) are doing really well.  Its diet is frozen or fresh squid, octopus, and shrimp. The local fish store says that it might be laying eggs but not really sure.  <I doubt this scenario. What is more likely that this is either a prolapsed rectum or a tumor - neither of which you can really do anything about I'm sorry to say. Your best bet at this point is to make sure it is still eating and voiding its food, and that its water quality stays tip-top.> Thanks in advance, Mike <Cheers, J -- > 

Crab/Eel Compatibility Hello!  <Hello April> My husband recently introduced a sally lightfoot crab to our 50 gallon breeder reef tank. We noticed the other day he was missing a leg. Today we noticed he is missing two more legs. We also have a juvenile snowflake eel, 3 different types of damsels and a turbo snail...as I have said this is a reef tank. We did have 2 turbo snails but one has seemed to disappear. Is the eel trying to feed in the crab? Could that be why the missing legs? The boy at the pet store told my husband that eels and the crab would be fine together.  <I think the boy at the pet store needs further training. Crabs are a delicacy for eels.>  Also, I thought I read somewhere that this crab needs to get out of the water once in awhile...is that true?  <No>  What could explain the missing snail.. <Maybe died? Is the shell in the tank?>  This eel is very small. He leaves the damsels alone. If we can't have the crab in the tank with the eel then what can we get to eat the algae that wont be the eel's dinner? There is starting to be a lot of algae growing on the sides of the tank. We have never done a reef tank before. Just eels. Thanks for any help you can give.  <On the Wet Web Media Google search, type in the keyword "algae control". You will find plenty of info there to help you out. James (Salty Dog)>

Snowflake moray and cleaner shrimp. hey, I was  wondering if a snowflake moray would eat my cleaner shrimp. Or if he would leave  it alone because it is a cleaner. best  regards Miles >>>Hey Miles, Based on experience, I'm betting he'll eat it. :) In captivity, you really can never tell with these things. Cheers Jim<<< Snowflake moray and a green wolf 2/11/05 Just a quick one, since I can't seem to find anything on this anywhere, maybe you guys can answer it for me. Would a Snow flake moray and a green wolf ell be able to coexist in a 46gallon bow front tank? Thanks in advance Nick <its rather poor mix... the green wolf "eel" is a fast and furious eater (keep sighted) while the moray is not. Without target feeding the latter, it may suffer over time. Do reconsider. Anthony>

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 Albertson's. 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.> Snowflake moray system Hello, I have just ordered a new tank for my Snowflake eel, which I have had for nearly 2 years now, in a 4 foot tank with a humbug and clown fish. <Good idea :D> The new tank is 6' x 2' x 2' , is this big enough for him? <Should be fine.  Snowflakes only get around 30" long or so.> It has 2 overflow boxes and a trickle filter. <This is perfectly fine filtration for a fish only tank.> What over equipment should add to this tank? <A skimmer couldn't hurt, but is not absolutely necessary.  I would strongly advise religious water changes monthly or even more often as well.> And how much water will it hold? <That's a standard 180 gallon long aquarium.> Cheers Jess <Cheers, Matt> Snowflake Romance Hi <Hi, Mike D here> I was wondering if you know anything about Snowflake eel reproduction?<Not as much as I wish I did. I've been told that Snowflakes are protogynous hermaphrodites that change sex as they go through various stages of their life, much like groupers and wrasses.> I have a Snowy who has become rather active,  before I was lucky to see him, but now he swims in and out of the rocks apparently looking for some thing.<This behavior seems to be related to growth and security more than sex, with larger animals having more self confidence in their ability to take care of themselves, particularly in familiar surroundings.> He is eating and looks fine and I have had him for over 2 years now.<The age would seem to indicate that it's at or approaching sexual maturity.> Is there any chance he is looking for a mate? It is spring here in Australia.<That's always a possibility as spawning urges are often triggered by the length of the daylight hours.  It's quite likely that the presence of another, older Snowflake would be the final factor involved, but if they are like many other eels the probability of captive rearing is extremely remote due to their complicated and extended juvenile stages.> Cheers Jess

Eel in a new tank? Howdy, hope y'all are having a great Labor day weekend. I have a quick question. I started a 55 gallon tank on Aug. 4; 46lbs. of live rock were added on the Aug. 21. The ammonia is 0, nitrite is 30, nitrate is 25. I have a canister filter and a BakPak 2. My question if I put a 12" snowflake eel in the tank will it have any trouble surviving. << Yes, don't do it. Sounds like that tank is still maturing and I wouldn't put an eel in there for several more months. >> My experience in the past says no problem. << Boy I wouldn't chance it in a new tank. >> Thanks, Kevin << Blundell >> 

Minimum Tank Size For a Snowflake (8/23/04) Can a Snowflake Eel live in a 42 gallon aquarium all by itself? Thanks for your reply. <Many people say so. Personally, I think a 27-inch eel would be happier in a tank at least 48" in length. hey do actually swim around some. Steve Allen.>

My Snowflake Eel <Hi! MikeD here> I recently purchased a snowflake eel and it hasn't eaten anything. Could you guys tell me what this eel would eat<Two foods almost guaranteed to get it eating are 1) frozen squid or octopus, obtainable at many Greek or Sushi specialty food shops and coastal bait shops (why it isn't carried in the same packages in LFS is beyond my ken), and 2) frozen shrimp of the same variety that you would eat, obtainable from local grocery store seafood sections. As to why THAT isn't readily available at any LFS is another case of the hobby paying no attention to itself and CAUSING its own problems. In my opinion, any predatory species will likely do far better if you get its food anywhere EXCEPT an LFS who should only sell reef safe fish, apparently.> Snowflake Eels Hi, <Hi Pamllen, MacL here tonight> I was wondering if snowflake eels would be fine in a 70 gallon aquarium. <Yes they will.> I was also wondering how big they get and if they would be able to eat a clownfish. <They vary in size but yes they can eat a clownfish.>Thanks for the help. <I'd like to send you to the website to take a look at information about the snowflake moray http://www.wetwebmedia.com/snowflakemoray.htm, Good luck, MacL>

Spotted Snowflake Eel Hello, first time poster here, I have just recently noticed that my snowflake eel has developed a white spot on the lens of each on of its eyes.  My other fish do not display any signs.  My eel has been for the last couple of months, inactive.  It does not appear to be eating and has areas of redness on its skin which appear capillary or vein-like.  His nostrils or breathing tubes are now pointed downward instead of up and out.   << Very good description.  Thank you.>> He also appears to be thinning.   << Is he eating?  Two parts to that question, are you trying to feed him, and is he accepting the food?>> What is going on?  Is this ich?  And, as I have read, in your other postings, is a garlic treatment warranted?  Thank-you. << It doesn't sound like ich, but it does sound like a water quality issue. Is this a fish only tank, or a reef tank, and how are you filtering the water? I don't think Garlic would hurt, but I'm not sure how much it will help.  With eels I don't recommend medications or freshwater dips or things like that.  I do think that feeding him is the important first step, so if you have to use a pair of tongs to hold the food right in front of his face, then do that.>> Jonathon Jones << Adam>>

Re: White spot only on each eye of my snowflake eel Tried feeding him, but he just wouldn't take it.  Used a feeding stick too.  Next I plan to go buy small live shrimp to see if he'll take that. << Live food is a great idea for fish that are not otherwise eating.  It really induces a feeding mechanism in them.>> It is only a 85 gallon 2 stage tank.  I have taken steps to improve the water quality, and it appears better.  What about fungus? << Without a picture I wouldn't want to guess on that.  Either way, good water quality is the key. >> The red vein-like areas are worrying me.  They appear mainly along his ridges and tip of his tail. << I've seen this before and it was usually a sing of poor circulation.  Actually it was over circulation like the fish has too much adrenalin in them.>> He is definitely thinning.<< Do try the live shrimp first.  Also, if it is possible to easily remove the fish, then moving him to a hospital tank is always an option.>> << Adam Blundell >>

Snowflake Eel Question Hi. I recently added a 10" snowflake eel to my tank (120 gallons) and I am really enjoying him, however, my fish are disappearing. First, it was my Picasso Trigger, then my clown fish, then my Chromis. I have been feeding him other things like shrimp and squid but I later find that he has taken them off his feeding stick and hidden them in his cave. Is he going to have to be kept by himself? <I would say so lol> He has started to lunge at my yellow tang (which is one of 2 fish I have left besides the eel). Any suggestions would be helpful.<get rid of that eel!!!., IanB><<A piscivorous Echidna nebulosa? I don't think so. RMF>> Thanks Ashley 

Snowflake EEL not eating (or anything else for that matter!) Hey gang.  How are you?  I recently purchased a 6 in snowflake eel for my 120g FOWLR tank. When I first bought it about 3 weeks ago, he found his way to a particular rock that he likes and honestly,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,HE HASN'T LEFT THAT ROCK SINCE THEN! <That is odd... maybe take a look at night with a small flashlight...> Now I know that snowflakes like to hide in rocks but he hasn't come out at all. Not to eat, not to explore the tank, nothing. Do you think he'll stay in there forever? Any foods you could recommend to get him to start eating? <Most any shrimp (sans cocktail sauce or cooking) will do to instigate a feeding response... Maybe even some live ghost shrimp or glass shrimp would really get this eel out and going. Bob Fenner>

Mixed Bag... residual Cu, marine lighting, chemical warfare... Hi crew... daily reader and big fan of the site here.  Hope all is going well for the new CA mag.... love the first one. <Glad to hear that! Adam and I have big plans for the magazine. We've got some great articles by some well-known authors, and several new columns coming up. Look for the next one in early July!> Anyway, I have a few unrelated questions. <Sure> First, I have a FOWLR 35 gal tank with 2 false Percs in it. I also use it for a hospital tank and quarantine tank on occasion. I treat it with Cu once in a while when I have a fish in need from my main tank.  Would it be OK if I put a snowflake moray in it? When the eel gets too big, I want to move it to my main tank.  Will the Cu hurt the eel?  Is the tank just too small?  The LFS says it'll be fine, but you know how that goes. <Well, to be quite honest with you, I'd avoid placing a Moray in this tank for a number of reasons. Copper in it's chelated form will generally not hurt the eel, but I'd avoid putting the fish in there nonetheless. The physical size of the tank (i.e.; the volume of water) will be a huge challenge for you, because of the copious amount of waste material that these heavy feeders will release. Maintaining good water quality (which is very important to these fish) is tough in a tank with this small a water volume. You also have to take into account the amount of water taken up by the rocks. Then you're talking about a REALLY small water volume. And your clownfish may end up on the menu, so that's another reason to hold off on acquiring this fish for this tank> Also, I was reading about the "watts per gallon" rule when it comes to clams, but I see most people who have them use metal halide lighting. I have a 55g tank at work and would like to get a couple clams, but I use VHO's & PC's.  I have (3) 110 VHO bulbs (2 daylight & 1 actinic) and (2) 65w (blue). Is this adequate? <There are many opinions on this. I suppose the best way to look at the lighting needs of clams is to think of them as having the same lighting requirements as demanding SPS corals do. They need a lot of light, and the high levels of light are most efficiently supplied by metal halide. I have seen clams maintained under VHOs in very shallow water, and they were attractive, but I think that for long term success (and that is the goal, right?) metal halide is the best way to go.> Lastly, I have a sea fan and a leather coral.  They both open fully, but I have heard these two can have chemical "warfare". Is this true? (if it's a sea fan, wouldn't it be "fanfare"? ;) haha. Richard. <Hah! Cute joke! Seriously, though, such allelopathic competition is quite possible, especially in a modest sized aquarium between some of these species. I suppose with heavy protein skimming, regular small water changes, and use of chemical filtration media (activated carbon and PolyFilter), they can be kept together over extended periods. Regards, Scott F>

Snowflake Moray age, nostrils  Hi. I have a 30" echidna nebulosa (Snowflake Moray) that I've owned for 9 years. He was 18" when I got him. How old do you guess he is?  <Perhaps a dozen years>  He had come in a group of three good-sized Snowflakes from a wholesaler when I purchased him, so I assume he had been in the wild just previously. He still has great coloration so I don't think he is elderly, as fading colors are often a good indicator of that. My second question is a tough one. This species has short yellow nostrils that protrude approx. 1/8". I have been out on business trips a lot this past year and hadn't realized until recently that my Snowflake's nostrils have changed. The left one protrudes a lot less than before, it is practically a nub. The right one has lost virtually all yellow coloration and is sealed up. Directly behind it now is a horizontal razor-thin groove about 1/4" long that looks open. Do you know if this is a natural transformation as these animals get older?  <Sounds like a "bump in the night" sort of injury. Likely not problematical>  The moray's behavior remains normal. I think it is either a natural occurrence or the result of scraps with his tankmates during feeding time. He has two long-time roommates, a 7" clown trigger and a 10" golden puffer, but I've never noticed him wounded. And outside of the fish chasing after the same food items, I've never seen any aggressive biting. Any thoughts?  <Maybe a nip... maybe a scrape. Altogether not a big worry. Bob Fenner>

Snowflake Moray age, nostrils? 4/1/04  Hi. I have a 30" echidna nebulosa (Snowflake Moray) that I've owned for 9 years. He was 18" when I got him. How old do you guess he is?  <tough to say... could be as young as 12-14 yrs old (some grow fast in the wild and in aquaria). But it could easily be much older as 18" is approaching full size for many>  He had come in a group of three good-sized Snowflakes from a wholesaler when I purchased him, so I assume he had been in the wild just previously. He still has great coloration so I don't think he is elderly, as fading colors are often a good indicator of that. My second question is a tough one. This species has short yellow nostrils that protrude approx. 1/8". I have been out on business trips a lot this past year and hadn't realized until recently that my Snowflake's nostrils have changed. The left one protrudes a lot less than before, it is practically a nub.  <happens with some eels from rubbing (literally) in the confines of aquaria. Is this a small or crowded tank?>  The right one has lost virtually all yellow coloration and is sealed up. Directly behind it now is a horizontal razor-thin groove about 1/4" long that looks open. Do you know if this is a natural transformation as these animals get older?  <not natural in so much that all will go this way>  The moray's behavior remains normal. I think it is either a natural occurrence or the result of scraps with his tankmates during feeding time.  <definitely the latter is contributory>  He has two long-time roommates, a 7" clown trigger and a 10" golden puffer, but I've never noticed him wounded.  <yikes... with the size of those roommates... I do hope this is a very large display (8 feet long... 400 gallons +). Else the tank is undersized IMO>  And outside of the fish chasing after the same food items, I've never seen any aggressive biting. Any thoughts?  <indeed, if this is (sadly) a small commercial aquarium (200 gallons or less), then the symptoms are an artifact of the crowding (physical space and/or tankmates). Do consider what appropriate living space really might be if this is the case. Anthony> Eel Hitchhiker Ought to Go (3/7/04) Hi WWM, <Steve Allen this AM> I would like to seek your advise about keeping the snowflake moray eel. <OK>    I bought a batch of 12Kg live rock this afternoon and now I found there is a 8" to 10" eel that came along with the rock. After searching in the internet, I found its an snowflake moray eel. <Lucky you. I paid $30 for mine. Eels do occasionally show up as LR hitchhikers.> Well here is the problem, I have 4 x 1.5" common clowns, one 2.5" African clown, 4 more about 3/4" fishes, one doctor prawn & a  lot of coral. Should I keep the eel or remove it? How to remove it (easy to catch?). Thanks. regards, ws teoh <Well, you do have a problem. The shrimp is a goner for sure. The eel may not quite be big enough to get the clowns yet, but it will be. The 3/4" fish are already in mortal danger. I'd get him out now. The only way to do this is to remove all of the rock and net him. Be careful: they bite hard, the wriggle like mad, and they can escape through the smallest opening. Good luck. You ought to be able to sell him to a fish store.>

Snowflake Eel LR Hitchhiker (3/8/04) HI Steve, <Evenin'>   Thanks for the advise & VERY prompt response. <My pleasure.> It helps a lot.    I'm awake last night around 4am, just to ensure "no one hurt". Well, I'm lucky. USD$30 for the eel, I'm really lucky. I think I might want to setup my spare tank (30"x 18"x20") for him. <Would be OK for now. Needs 48 inches long later.> However, I have no more chiller to cool the water (I get around 31degC in afternoon in Malaysia), I hope he will survive in there. Will he?  <Well, that's pretty warm alright. No air-conditioning? A fan blowing over the surface might cool it down enough.> Thanks again for the advise. Rgds, ws teoh <and to you in return>

Snowflake question Hi, I just wanted to find out for sure if a snowflake would do nicely in a 66G tank ? thanks a lot <The Echidna nebulosa (Snowflake Eel) should do fine in a 66 gallon aquarium. Most specimens in a captive environment usually do not reach over 2 feet in length, so provided your 66 gallon is long enough (48" or more), it should do fine. Take Care, Graham.>

Moray question hi!<Howdy!> I've got a 40G tank with 20Kgs of live rock, 2 powerheads & a penguin BioWheel 170 filter.  my question is , would I be able to have a small snowflake moray as well as a small lionfish dwarf zebra) in that tank ?  I know the eel alone will outgrow that tank. also, how long would I be able to have them in there until id have to either give them up or upgrade to a larger tank ? <I don't think that either would be very appropriate since they are very messy feeders and your filtration is a bit wimpy.> Or what about a pair of lions instead ? & no eel ? <Still would upgrade you filtration.  A protein skimmer would be great!>  thanks heaps!<You can also find lots of info on our site: www.wetwebmedia.com.  Cody>

New snowflake eel 1/5/03 Happy holidays guys, <You too!  Sorry for the slow reply.  Things have been quite hectic with the holidays and all!> I am fairly new to marine aquariums (only had my 55gal set up for about a year now) and I've never added to much too it, a few damsels and a Koran angel.  I just recently got myself in a little deeper then I really was expecting.  My LFS had a snowflake in one of their freshwater tanks and was asked to re-locate him by a few knowledgeable shoppers.  Well the employees scooped it up and dropped it straight to a salt water tank (yea it freaked out) <Yikes!!  Not very good handling.  I would beware of an LFS that first of all would make the mistake of housing a marine animal in fresh water, and second subject it to such rough handling.> after letting it settle and regain its color I couldn't in any good conscience just walk away from it.  So I now have a snowflake. <Walking away might have been the wiser choice, at least asking them to hold it for a few days to be sure it survived this ordeal.> I have been going over WWM site and I may have missed things concerning this, but how long should I wait before getting worried that the snowflake isn't eating, it had a mighty fright and I was warned that it would probably be a few day (they said it hadn't eaten for some time to the best of their knowledge)?  And how/when should I start to get a bit aggressive in its feeding? <It is quite common for a lot of fish (predators in particular) to go on hunger strikes after stress, and yours certainly has been stressed!  Any kind of raw meaty seafood is appropriate, but you may have to try something living to break the hunger strike.  Live feeder guppies aren't suitable as a staple, but are OK for a one time use to break a fast.  I wouldn't get too worried unless the hunger strike lasts more than 10 days or so or if the eel starts looking wasted.  Best of luck.  Adam>

Re: New snowflake eel 1/6/03 Thank you for you reply Adam no worries about long delay its appreciated, to let you know the eel is still living but still not eating, up to day ten to let you know. I have 3 small damsels in the tank with it so hopefully the eel will eat them not befriend them. <Snowflakes are mostly crustacean predators, so it is unlikely that a small one will go after fast moving fish like damsels unless they are incapacitated.  You may try tempting the eel with a live feeder guppy or live freshwater ghost shrimp lightly speared on the end of a feeding stick (it should be presented moving, but not able to easily escape).  Once it is eating again, it should easily adapt to frozen meaty sea foods.> My water quality has been going a little haywire since I got him but been doing regular changes and proper buffers. (5-10gal every 2-3days) the eel is looking a whole lot better I'm optimistic that he will make it through the stress. <I agree it should make it once it starts eating.> Oh I did ask the LFS to hold him for a few days and they said it was not a possibility,  needless to say new fish store time,  didn't have the heart to leave him in inadequate care.  thx for you help <Definitely a strike against this LFS, but by "rescuing" animals from such conditions, you only support poor care and encourage the store to continue.  We have all been there, but the best way toward the "greater good" is to either try and help the store improve or support those who do it right.  Best Regards.  Adam>

Re: New snowflake eel 1/15/03 Hi Adam,  Just wanted to thank you for your advice just wanted to say the eel is eating.  Multiple times tempting it with squid finally worked. Thanks Again <Good to hear!  I was pretty sure he would come around.  Adam>

- Snowflake Eel Antics - Hey Crew HAPPY HOLIDAYS, <And to you as well.> Yesterday I got a baby snowflake eel.  He is about 8" long.  The guy at the store said that I should feed them one cube of this stuff called Formula one every other day.  I put in a cube last night and he seem interested but he didn't eat it.  I'm not worried about him not eating but is there any other foods they can eat I saw someone say supermarket squids, shrimp, and scallops but is there anything else. <All of the above -these fish will accept just about any meaty food, but the Formula One should do just as well.> Also the guy told me they were escape artists so we but a screen over the top of the tank and overflow but this morning he was in the overflow! <So now you know from personal experience - they really can find just about the smallest space to slip through.> He looked liked he was doing ok but the water down there was probably really bad. <Nothing to worry about.> I got him out and put him back in and covered the overflow spot better now.  If he does it again should I do something different like rinse him in regular water before putting him back in, he's the only one in the tank right now and there was plenty of water for him to swim around in the overflow. <No need to rinse - it's just tank water in there, not like a sewer or something.> And one last question do you know if there is a way to tell if it's a male or female. <Not externally, as far as I know.> Thanks Adam <Cheers, J -- >

Snow flake eel Follow up (1-2-03) Hey thanks for all of your help I called the place where I got him and they said they feed him clams so went and got some and now he's eating thanks for all of your help <Glad to here he is eating! Thank you for writing!> Adam

- Snowflake Eel Antics, Follow-up - Hi thanks for the reply now I have some other questions.  Ever since I got him he has been opening and closing his mouth a lot and I was wondering if this is normal? <I don't think it is abnormal.> Also today I got some from shrimp and tried to feed him that and he always back away like he was afraid of it what should I try now? <Perhaps it is your presentation, for instance if your hand were in the tank... I would put the food on the end of a feeding stick and let the eel come to it. Do read this article on keeping eels: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/morays.htm > Before I got him I checked the water quality and it was good.  Also are they sensitive to high levels of copper like sharks because I have two powerheads and I'm not sure if there's copper in them or not. <There is likely no copper in your powerheads - would be bad for their placement in the market if this were not so. To answer your question though, yes... eels are very sensitive to copper.> If there is would he be acting weird right now and could that be the reason for not eating. <Probably just getting used to its new environment, and wouldn't call any of the behavior you describe as weird.> I think I made the food size small enough for him to just eat but he hasn't.  Right now I'm trying to feed him with a skewer. <Give it time.> One last question:  I think I heard their bites were venomous or toxic or something is that true? <Moray eels aren't venomous, but they've been known to have various bacteria in their mouths that can complicate a wound incurred from their bite. In a similar way, a bite from a fellow human would be cause for concern, and humans aren't venomous.> Thanks Adam <Cheers, J -- >

Eel With a Big Appetite (12/24/2003) Hi guys! <Hi there, Steve Allen today> I'm a big fan of the site. been a frequent visitor to the website, but this is my first time to actually write.  Most of the hobby's knowledge that I acquired is due to the WWM crew. Anyway, on to the reason I am writing to you. a sad experience: I have had a fish only tank for about 10 months now, but have helped my father with his reef tanks for over 10 years.  I really wanted a FO tank because of the wider variety of fish I could own.  I fell in love with a pair of eels that a local pet store had: a beautiful 2.5 foot zebra eel and an 18 inch snowflake eel. <interesting and attractive indeed. I have a snowflake about the same size.>  They have been with me for 8 months, and now I am faced with a dilemma.  All the research I did, concluded that these two eels would not harm my fish.  especially the zebra, which eats only crustaceans <but will occasionally take the opportunity to eat a small fish if it can get it.>  I know that the snowflake eats fish, mainly smaller ones (I feed him sand eels soaked in ZOE). <Actually, Snowflakes eat mostly crustaceans too. Check the WWM articles about these two eels.> I had a large Volitans lionfish, an anglerfish, a 5 inch clown and Niger triggerfish, and a 6 inch harlequin tusk.  The eels had never pestered them, nor tried to consume them. Well, all of my fish died (except my eels!) a month ago, and I got depressed. <So sorry. Were you able to figure out why?> I'm barely starting to buy fish again. Recently, I bought a beautiful 5 inch Foxface lo. <Another beauty--I have one too.> I had him for about 3 days, and he was just starting to lose his shyness.  I then purchased a nice semi-adult passer angelfish and a yellow tang. <You should go slow and quarantine all new additions for a month. Read the WWM quarantine articles.>  The angelfish is a little bigger than the Foxface and the tang is a little smaller.  The eels left them alone. until tonight, just about an hour ago, actually.  I fed the eels a couple of nights before I got the new guys. I was showing off my new fish to a friend and fellow hobbyist, when, in the corner of my eye, I saw a jerking motion. I turned and saw the snowflake eel with the Foxface's head in it's clutches.  The Foxface struggled, but in vain. the snowflake eel swallowed it before I could get a stick to disturb him. <wow> We couldn't believe that he attacked and ate a fish, and that he could swallow something that much larger than him!  That eel had a $34 meal.  I caught him, and he's in an acrylic "aggressive fish container" and I'm debating whether to find him a new home or ask the pet store to take him.  I really do not want to chance it with my two other new fish, especially the angelfish.   Have you guys heard of anything like this with a snowflake eel? <Yes, see the WWM FAQs if you want to read other tales.> I read they were the least to eat piscine tank mates and one of the few eels that are good with other fish!   Well, I was just hoping to share my story to caution others on buying expensive fish if you have a possible tenant that would have a taste for an expensive meal. Thanks, Patrick Garcia <So sorry you had to deal with this Patrick. It just goes to show that no carnivorous fish can be trusted 100%. My Snowflake leaves all of it's tankmates, including a 4" Rabbitfish, alone. Rabbitfish are venomous, so It also is a bit of a surprise that the Eel went after it. It does sometimes tussle with my trigger over a piece of food. I am surprised it swallowed such a big fish, but eels do seem more like snakes than fish. Don't beat yourself up about being unable to keep him form swallowing the Rabbitfish. It would almost certainly have died of its wounds if you had--better to let nature take it's course.  In your shoes, I would be very hesitant to keep an eel that has a taste for fish. It might leave them alone if you keep it well-fed, but you can never be sure at this point. You'd hate to lose that beautiful, expensive Passer. Perhaps the best thing to do is take it back to the LFS. Most will give you 1/2 retail as a store credit.>

- Sick Snowflake - Can someone please help me? <I can try.> I have a snowflake eel that is dieing.  He is about 5 weeks old and was doing fine 2 days ago, but last night I found him just lying on the bottom of the tank.  It looked like he might have gotten his head stuck under a rock but I don't think so because when I pulled him out there wasn't any resistance.  He tried to swim but all he did was slide across the bottom of the tank upside down.  It looked like the front half of him was rigid (unable to move) while the back half of him was able to move.  Now this morning all he does is lay there gasping for air.  Someone please help.  I have since changed 20% water and noticed my pH a little low so I added some buffer to help raise it and added an air stone to my filter to try adding more oxygen. He has also only been feed frozen shrimp since I have had him. PLEASE any help would be greatly appreciated. <My friend, it sounds to me like you've done everything that can be done at this point. Sometimes it just happens that we [meaning it's happened to me too] get compromised livestock that appears relatively healthy but quickly deteriorates in our care. I'm not sure I can do much beyond offer my sincere hope that this eel pulls through - time will tell.> Thanks, Mark Tank-30gal long Ammonia-.25 Nitrite-0 Nitrate-15 Salinty-1.025 Ph-8.2 Dkh-11 Calcium-400 <Cheers, J -- >

Snowflake Eel FW? 11/03/03 <Pufferpunk here> can I put a snowflake eel in freshwater, and will it live. <No, it is a saltwater fish.  Keeping a fish in conditions unnatural to them will lower their immune systems, causing disease & shorter life span = early death.> <Pufferpunk>

- Eel Behavior - Hi, I just got a snowflake eel it started to come out but when it tried to the other fish go up to it turn sideways and make it go back under the rock. why is this? <Hard to say, but perhaps some indicator of territory. I think for the most part fish are distrustful of their eel cousins, but could also be [in this case] because the eel is a new arrival. But honestly, there is no way to know the motivations of fish.>  thanks, Joey <Cheers, J -- >

- SFE (?) Stopped Eating - Hi guys, Hope everything is well.. My SFE has stopped eating and need to know if I should be worried or any suggestions on how to fix it. <Pardon my lameness - SFE... I had to ask Anthony, he thought it might be Snow Flake Eel? I'm not familiar with SFE, but Snowflake Eels, sure... they sometimes go on hunger strikes.> I feed my tank Frozen Krill and brine shrimp and occasionally throw a crayfish in. <I'd do that a different way and only throw in brine shrimp occasionally, or not at all if you can. Instead feed more of the meaty foods - squid, shrimp [krill, prawns, tiger, Mysis, etc.], clams/mussels.> I actually broke down yesterday and through a couple of goldfish in to see if I could entice him to eat however unfortunately my Lionfish turned into a pig and ate everything that I threw into the tank... Any suggestions. <Hmm... do attempt to feed the eel (?) I hope that's what it is, directly with a feeding stick, wiggle small chunks of food in front of its face, that should help.> Thanks for your help Chris <Cheers, J -- >

- SFE Stopped Eating, Follow-up - Hi J Yes, snow flake eel is the animal in question, <Ahh good, I hope Anthony sees this.> I'll try the feeding stick tonight and will try and pickup some squid etc. from the local supermarket today. Will let you know how I make out. <Sounds good.> Chris <Cheers, J -- >

- SFE Stopped Eating, Follow-up II - Hi J, Didn't work <Give it some time.> Picked up some fresh squid and put it right in front of his face and he wouldn't touch it (clown trigger loved it by the way) Also attached a live gold fish to the stick as well and he wouldn't touch it either.  Did a quick check on my levels and found my Nitrates were sitting at 60 ppm so did a water change...Will test them again tonight and if still high will do another. My salinity is sitting at 1.019 so is a little light as I try and keep it fluctuating between 1.020 and 1.022 depending on evaporation.  Any other suggestions...I don't think he has eaten in a week so am afraid of losing him. <Don't be overly concerned. These fish can go several weeks without food.> Let me know thx <Cheers, J -- >

Eel Antics Dear Crew: I thought I would share an amusing (in retrospect) episode my Snowflake Eel put me through last night in hopes that others can avoid a similar situation. My eel is a little over a foot long and about the diameter of an average adult index finger. I have a 180G AGA pre-drilled tank. I thought I had every exit sealed. Last night I couldn't find him. After an extensive search including the floor, I finally found him. Somehow he had gotten over the overflow and was alive and well between the two walls of the overflow! I despaired about how to get him out, fearing that I would have to cut off the overflow. I decided to cut out one of the plastic pieces between the slits at the bottom of the outer wall where he was hanging out. He immediately swam out into the tank and ate heartily. Still fin today. I plugged the hole I had made and then created barricades at the tops of the overflows using a length of vinyl tubing cut in half lengthwise laid rounded side down wedged between the overflow top and the glass cover.<I am glad that everything turned out ok> Thanks for all your help since I started in this hobby last Christmas! Steve Allen<your welcome, IanB>

- Snowflake Eel Tank - You told me not to post the same thing twice, but each time I posted I received two different answers which were, "<The 5 gallons really does not make much of a difference. I would say you are ok, if you keep the snowflake by himself and perform regular water changes. good luck with this fish>" "<Actually, that is likely the bare minimum. So in you case I would say the five gallons makes difference. I would like to say that the middle ground tank would be more like a seventy-five gallon tank. Not to say it can't be done, but be sure that the eel is you main display piece and build around him. -Paul>" So if you read the 2 responses they are different answers, <Well... you also corresponded with two different people, so you're bound to get a difference in opinion - now you're going to get a third.> I just wanted to make sure I will not hurt or kill the fish by making the wrong decision. Thanks for your time in responding to my answers but I will just ask my Local Fish store when I go tomorrow. <I think there is some agreement between the two statements, and if one reads the entire question & answer, they are really more similar that you might think. Here's the rub - yes, you can keep a snowflake eel in a 55 gallon tank - ideally by itself. You were not specific about this, but if you chose to keep additional fish, the 55 would be on the smaller side of comfortable for those fish and the eel. So... a 75G tank would be better. There are few to no situations when a larger tank is not better.> Cheers, J -- >

Feeding Snowflake Eel Hi. <Hello!  Scott V. here> To feed my fish, a snowflake eel and puffer, how would you suggest feeding them. <Carefully> I Have read conflicting suggestions, just drop the food in the tank or take a feeding stick or tongs to do it. Which one would you recommend? <Well.  I would say "try it."  If you're lucky, and can just drop the food in, then you will have no problems.  However, be sure to watch carefully.  I would suspect the puffer to hog all the food before the eel even becomes interested, if it ever becomes interested in food just floating around in the first place.  Another danger is that food will go uneaten and cause further problems with the tank.  I think it would be worth a try once to see what happens, but I think you will end up feeding the snowflake with tongs to make sure 1. It's eating, and 2. Nothing is going to waste and polluting the tank.  The puffer may be finicky, but I think it's likely to happily eat either way> Thanks so much guys <You're welcome.  I hope I was of some help  :)  Scott V. >

Our snowflake eel and copper treatment 09/10/03 <Hi Cheryl> "Flakey" (how original) our snowflake moray jumped out of the tank the other day and flopped around for awhile (2-3 minutes) until he went limp.  I plucked up the courage to throw him back into the tank.  I'm afraid the experience may have injured him as he hasn't eaten since (3 days ago).  Or could it be that I began a copper treatment for our lion fish (who has a parasite) the same day that Flakey jumped out and he's affected by that instead?  He's not his usual perky, swim around the tank self.  Just wants to stay in one spot and refuses his favorite food....shrimp. Any advice gladly taken, Cheryl Cooper <From the page on snowflakes, "I have had go-arounds with other pet-fish writers, culturists, public aquarium staff re "remedies" involving muraenids. They are sensitive than most fish species to these treatments. Copper and malachite IF utilized MUST not be overdosed NOR treatment periods extended for these species. I know this from hard-won first hand experience, re-collecting Morays killed by "No COPPER" treated tanks in San Diego, and readings of other to-be-trusted writers experiences. " Go here to read the rest. Unfortunately, copper is pernicious in aquariums, permeating and contaminating the rock work and sand. Here's more on copper: www.wetwebmedia.com/copperus.htm , I suggest you go and read up on these two subjects. At the least, he should be in a QT till you finish the treatment, you may also want to look at using PolyFilter when you're done the copper treatment, it will help remove it from your system. Good luck, PF>

Snowflake eels I am interested in buying a Snowflake eel for my saltwater tank but I just want to know if I stick my hand in the tank will it attack or bite?<no he won't, or shouldn't anyway> Also I saw that you recommend at least a 60 gallon I just bought a 55 gallon does 5 gallons make that big of a difference? Thanks <The 5 gallons really does not make much of a difference. I would say you are ok, if you keep the snowflake by himself and perform regular water changes. good luck with this fish>

Snowflake addition - 9/9/03 I am interested in buying a Snowflake eel for my saltwater tank but I just want to know if I stick my hand in the tank will it attack or bite? <Not likely, BUT it is possible. Be very aware of him at all times. Feed with some feeding tongs (find them on various marine retailers) and use a spotter for cleanings. Keep those water parameters crystal clear, mate> Also I saw that you recommend at least a 60 gallon. I just bought a 55 gallon does 5 gallons make that big of a difference? <Actually, that is likely the bare minimum. So in you case I would say the five gallons makes difference. I would like to say that the middle ground tank would be more like a seventy-five gallon tank. Not to say it can't be done, but be sure that the eel is you main display piece and build around him. -Paul> Thanks

Snowflake Moray Stopped Eating >Hi crew, >>Greetings Lorenzo, Marina today. >My snowflake moray stopped eating and hid away a month ago. My pH dropped below 7.9-8.0. >>OUCH! >Now the pH was restored to a normal pH range of 8.0+, but few days have elapsed and moray haven't yet started eating again. What can I do for it?  Help me, please.  Thanks a lot, Lorenzo >>Lorenzo, if the pH has bounced (changed up or down more than a tenth or two of a point) then this will not only SEVERELY stress the fish, it can kill it.  I would do a large water change, and wait, then try again.  If he's lived through the pH changes, he's probably just not "feeling well", and water changes will only help (do be absolutely certain the pH matched).  Best of luck, Marina

Snowflake Moray (8-6-03) Quick question:  I am setting up my 180 tomorrow. I plan on putting a couple of pieces of PVC (black) under the rockwork as a hideaway for my snowflake eel. Current size of eel is about 15" long and 1/2 inch diameter. Should I use 2" PVC or 3" PVC for anticipated full-grown size.<You could probably get away with 2" but 3" would be best.  He will love it, I have been thinking of doing this for my zebra moray.  Let me know how it goes.  Cody> Thanks, Steve Allen

Strange Events in the Middle of the Night (& Questions About Lighting) Howdy Crew! <Steve> It's way too late for normal people to be up, but an aquarist with problems loses sleep sometimes! I had a weird one today. I have a 1+1/2 foot Snowflake Eel in an 18T QT with an Emperor 280 and an airstone. When I woke up this morning, the eel was gone! I thought I had the tank sealed up tight. I looked everywhere in the small basement bathroom where I keep the QT-he was nowhere to be found. I have an open vat of LR curing on the floor below the tank, so I figured he maybe got lucky and fell into it. Not having the time to deal with it, I went about my day's activities. Around midnight, I decided I had to ascertain his fate before I could sleep, so I pulled all of the LR out of the bin and guess what-no eel. I was beginning to think he'd been abducted by aliens. The last place I hadn't looked was inside the filter. Sure enough-there he was! That filter has a BioWheel and it had it's cartridge plus PolyFilters padding in it. I still can't figure out how that eel got past the BioWheel, but he is only about a half inch in diameter. I swear that eels are not fish-they are piscine snakes. I always wanted a python, but my wife said it was her or a snake, not both. This eel is the next best thing. Now if I could just get him to eat-arrgh! I've had him for 10 days now. Acts fine & swims around, but I can't seem to interest him in anything. I use a prong and have tried: frozen Hikari krill, raw & cooked shrimp, various disgusting raw seafoods from Albertson's, and life ghost shrimp-all to no avail. (The 3" Picasso Trigger I have instantly downed 3 of those ghost shrimp in 3 snaps.) Any suggestions? <squid, capelin, non-oily fish (salmon)> BTW, my 180 was delivered today. Setup is on Thursday. I've been having a hard time deciding on lighting. It is FOWLR and will contain the eel (if it doesn't starve), the trigger, a bird wrasse, and a harlequin Tuskfish. The three sections will be covered with glass lids. I was going to go with a pair of AGA 36" twin tube standard strip lights end-to-end plus possibly a separately-timed 24" in the front of the middle section with an actinic to help simulate dawn/dusk. However, I am wondering if I would be better off with a single 72" CSL SmartLite with 2 96W power compacts. What do you think? Also, are Moon-Lites of any value? They seem rather expensive. <Power compacts are cooler and more bang for the buck, and moonlighting is not necessary at all for a system with only fish> Anyway, now that my eel is safely back in the QT, I'll sleep now--at least until I start fretting again about his hunger strike. Thank you so much for all of your thoughtful & helpful advice, Steve Allen. <best, Chris>

Snowflake moray Bob, Hi my name is Tyler.  I am very new to this hobby.  I have my first tank in it's cycle right now, which is a 75g AGA with LR and some soft corals.   Anyways I would really love to have a snowflake in my tank eventually, and my LFS always has them in.  The one thing I haven't been able to find out has to do with the shrimp-goby pair and keeping a snowflake.   On your site under the general section about morays, you state that they generally leave symbiotic shrimp alone, under the snowflake section you state that they are crustacean feeders and will certainly eat them (crustaceans) in an aquarium environment.  So I was wondering if the Snowflake pretty much left the shrimp-goby pairs alone, or if the shrimp was going to be it's next meal.   Thanks a bunch for your help.  Amazing site too! Awesome for a newbie. -Tyler <Unfortunately the Snowflake is very likely to eat the shrimp. I would not place these animals together. Bob Fenner>

Snowflake Eel Lifespan Bob, I was wondering what you have learned to be the average lifespan of a snowflake eel in captivity?  I have had mine for over 10 years and it was close to full grown when it was given to me.  It appears that he/she is dying and I was hoping to determine what their age is. Thanks, Keith <Do know they do live into their "teens"... but no definitive record for oldest. Sometimes public aquariums post such data. You might want to look at the Waikiki Aquarium site. Bob Fenner>

Snowflake eel is sick Help Please Ok My eel is know swimming allover my tank and he hasn't stop for about 3 days and he goes pale for long period of time and then he goes back to normal color I don't know what I need to do can you please help me I don't what to lose him.  <Sorry for the delayed reply.  I would first check your water as I am guessing something is amiss in this area.  Cody> Thank you Jodie

I Don't Get It!!! How's it going?? great I hope >Pretty well, thank you. ok to the point seasoned tank keeper, and this is the first time I've ever asked for help on line I either find the answers or figure it out.   >Ok, I'll do my best. this is really getting to me, my snowflake 2nd I've owned in 5 years did what I read on your site the heavy breathing, just prior to that his size seemed to increase quite a bit he looked as if he bulked up, which I felt good about, stopped eating though, thought he had gorged himself last feeding was a great eater (but had to hand feed) which wasn't a problem diet was consisting of blanched squid, octopus, shrimp, etc.. >Curious as to why you blanche it.  Unfortunately, I'm having a bit of trouble picking through the information you've provided here.  I've never, ever fed my marine fish cooked foods. then just to spice it up like we are supposed to I gave him and puffer and trigger heck every one would jump in on the feast small frozen then defrosted no heads or tails, gutted and de-boned Smelt (common  small fish) which was inhaled... >They take them whole in the wild, I would give them whole in the tank, too, but would also have on hand enough water for a 30%-40% change next day (for the subsequent poop-a-thon). My water is crisp aeration fine lights pumps filters heater are dialed in all levels of water testing are on the money.. >This tells me nothing. my other fish are all fine my feather dusters, polyps and whoever else may be present are all doing fine as usual  SO WHAT THE HECK KEEPS HAPPENING THIS IS THE 2nd ONE AND THE 2nd TIME, the breathing problem the no eating, then the changing to white and finally convulsions ending with the big bowl.  HELP ME PLEASE TELL ME SOMETHING OR THINGS maybe other than water quality, or parasites and attacked by anemone. >I'm sorry, but if I'm not allowed to suggest those things then there's not much else I can do for you.   its something else and its something very specific and I want to know what it is.. I wont be able to rest easy until its figured out and I learn what and about it.. Thank you I hope you'll Be able to put my mind at ease for a moment.  DEANO >Unfortunately, without more information (including the *very* pertinent information of water quality parameters), feeding schedules, length of residence, time in quarantine, and the actual names of the other residents, I can't offer much of an educated guess.  From the little you have provided, I can't help but wonder what, if any, effect feeding cooked foods to the animal might have.  If this is the second eel you've had leave this earth this way, then I would look to husbandry practices, as I've known these fish to be exceedingly hardy and difficult to kill.  I would assume that if you have other invertebrates doing well in the system that they would be your "canaries in a coalmine", which of course would tend to rule out water quality, but I don't believe in automatically ruling everything out.  At this time it *appears* to be one of two things (this is off the top of my head--sorting fish disease, assuming it's disease, is quite a tricky business) infection, or poisoning.  My advice is to get him into his own quarantine system ASAP, and I don't think that starting him on a regimen of Spectrogram would hurt at this point.  I'm sorry I can't offer more help.  Marina

- Re: I Don't Get It!!! - Ignorance... a/the high price to individuals, society. RMF <Greetings, JasonC here...> Ok details huh!!! <They are helpful, paints a more detailed picture...> You know it would be cool even to throw some possible reasons my way... <What would you like me to say? Solar Flares?> Just so we are current in our chat the eel died yesterday morning. <I'm sorry to hear of your loss.> Also 2 eels in a 5-6 year time frame isn't too shabby, <It's not excellent either... these fish live much longer in the wild, and even in captivity - as Marina mentioned before, the devil is in the details - two eels in five years is not great odds.> the first ended up like this recent one because of fish Gang Warfare ha ha ha. <That is funny why?> And by the way maybe you have "a canary program working for you" myself well,,, Id shove a human in for my dirty work and wouldn't think once about it.. <Pardon? You do understand the "canary in a coalmine" comment was directed at other inhabitants of your tank, which would under normal circumstances bail out long before your eels - without such an indicator, one needs to look for the problem elsewhere.> Lets put it this way, if someone asked me about you and that you were covered in spots, pale and had a mild fever,, not being a doctor, id say maybe chicken pox, maybe measles, maybe even German measles, even though I haven't seen you or even knew what you looked like. <But you could be 100% wrong making assumptions like that - I could just be wearing makeup or have a high metabolism, or both.> I was offering some answers to question using general knowledge!! <And perhaps too general.> Now you seem to have to hear and see also deal with tons of stuff in the fishy business.. so just by the symptoms, it sounds like? <It sounds like a problem.> or maybe its? but then it could be???? you hear me????? <I hear you, do you hear you?> I already told you tank and water are crisp which means there fine....... <And that means nothing to me either - the demise of your eels tells a different story. It is too easy to quickly say "The water is perfect." when in fact, it might not be.> I cant see what giving you good readings will accomplish except ruling out water quality which I already said is GOOD. <Good to you and good to me could be two different things - it pays to compare. In addition, there may be something about your husbandry practices which is amiss... > So ill humor you with it anyways. 100 gl tank 83lbs live rock Marshall and Tonga 2 -1 inch live sand front to 2/3 back of tank thick to thin Dual overflow boxes to sump trickle more rock trickle Lego trickle foam through a polisher then to another sump and this lil giant pushes it back into tank by way of triple split flex joint flow connectors 1 upish 1 downish 1 sidish a Jager Meister heater in 2nd sump keeps us fuzzy feeling about 74 -78 Nautilus protein skimmer in 1st sump works just fine 4 bulbs 2 really bright  white compacted 1 purple kind a blue (makes your clothes look funny) and then 1 sun light pinkish orange color  48 inch reg V-HO HO HO timer says you and you come on then in 2 hrs you come on then 2 more hours and then you come on we all stay on for 6 more hours then I go off then 2 hours later 2 more  go off  then 1 hour later purple done till the morning 5 years old  almost eligible for social security benefits residents are as such 1 ylw tang 1 pwd blue 1 Porc puf 1 mar clown 1nigger trigger 1 big jaw blenny 1 juv emper 1 purple psycho- crom and I used to have a 2 yr old snow flake 2 dusters lrge hula hula  1 small carpet anem green polyps purple polyp pink polyps  and lotsa lotsa coralline I feed once a day and that's the way it works best for us and for 5 years so far 20 gal changes 1 every 2 weeks every other day top offs pure clean cosmostized water Kalk who once a month dripped in 1 per 1-2min ratio speeded up at night with lights out. So now these are the results I get from all that stuff: Grav 1.021-1.023 PH8.25   ALK 3.5   AMM 0   Nitri 0  Nitrat15/20 mg/l (ion) PHOS .05   CAL 425   IRON.12  Dissolved OX 7.0  Carbon Diox  2.3   blood type  A.O.K I bet any eel would be stoked to kick it at a pad like this, like I said my water and tank are "CRISP" Now please can you offer some specific illnesses <Specific? No, I can't. As Marina suggested, you should at least start by not cooking the food any more - these are eaten raw in the wild, and will do your captive charges much more good if fed this way - could be you've got a nutrient deficiency because of the blanching. Could also be that your system is on the edge of being full - something that cannot be tested for is the bioload, and it could very well be that as crisp as you think the water is, with the addition of another large messy eater, that the actual 'quality' of the water is stale, and not as 'crisp' as a handful of tests would indicate. While I'm on the crowding issue, you may have had social issues which while not completely apparent might have been working against your eel this whole time. Likewise, you may have just obtained compromised livestock which went for as long as it was going to go. It's difficult to be more specific than that without a post-mortem examination under a microscope.> THANK YOU DEANO <Cheers, J -- >

Aggressive Moray Eel >Hi, >>Hello, Mike. >I think my snowflake moray is eating all of its smaller tank mates.  I have a 85 Gal Acrylic aquarium with  a lot of rock for hiding.  The fish inhabitants are a 4" yellow tang, 6" red emperor snapper and a 20" snowflake moray eel.  The fish that have disappeared in the last two weeks are a 3 lined damsel, 2 tomato clowns and just recently a 3 1/2 " Niger trigger.  I suspect the moray for several reasons, one the fish are accounted for the previous day  then gone the next morning.  Also I saw the moray foraging through the crevices in the rocks finding the trigger sleeping and harassing him.  A couple of days later the trigger had a bite mark on the top of him.  Now he is just gone, no trace of the trigger at all.  By the way these fish (excluding the clowns) have all been coexisting somewhat peacefully for about the last 4 months. About three weeks ago I moved the two tomato clowns from my other tank into this one, they disappeared in about two days then the damsel disappeared then the trigger. I don't think it is the snapper, as long as he is fed he pretty much leaves everyone alone. I have been feeding them more goldfish lately, that is the only change in the last 6 mo. Any info would be greatly appreciated.  Mike >>Yes, Mike, it's definitely the moray.  He should be removed ASAP, they are known for this kind of behavior, and are tricky to have co-habiting with other fish (*especially* fishes of the tasty sizes you've described).  Also, please, do NOT feed any marine fishes goldfish.  Generally, goldfish are just terrible as feeders for any fish, but it's especially true of marines--this has to do in large part with the fats found within a Goldie's tissues.  You would do much better (as would the fish) if you trained them to take marine foods such as squid, krill, clam, octopus, and shrimp from a feeding stick (unless they'll take it floating).  Good luck catching the Snowflake, and I'll advise you to be very careful when netting and placing into bag or bucket, they can move VERY quickly, and I've been doinked twice by them.  If you are bitten, do NOT pull away, as this will just make the wound worse, he *will* let go, pretty much immediately.  Marina

Learning From Tragedy Today is a sad day. Neb, our snowflake eel turned stark white, and it looked as though the other fish were starting to bite him. <Sorry to hear that!> We've had Neb for about 8 months, he was a juvenile that doubled in size during the time we had him in our 90-gallon tank. Our other fish (1 clown, 1 niger trigger, 1 dog-faced puffer) seem fine. We noticed that the niger trigger was starting to go into Neb's plastic tube that's buried in the sand. Could the trigger have stressed Neb out? <Quite possible. Despite the predatory reputation of Snowflake Eels, they are generally somewhat shy and reclusive in their habits, and will simply not compete with more aggressive fishes like triggers and puffers> We are also wondering if the diet was okay, we were feeding Neb shrimp soaked in vitamins on a skewer. <Well, that's not a bad component of his diet. However, all animals should receive a varied diet, consisting of other foods, like krill, chopped squid, clams, etc...Variety is important. Good though on the vitamin supplementation, though> Really sad to lose that beautiful creature. Any insight you might have would be appreciated. Thank you, Connie <Hang in there, Connie. I'm sorry to hear about your loss, but I know that you've learned something, so that's why this tragedy will not have been in vain. Don't let it dissuade you from growing and learning in the hobby. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

A Snowed Out Snowflake??  3/19/03 Hi Guys,<Hey David!  Phil with ya today!> I read the FAQ's and other info on the snowflake on your site,  I've had my eel for a couple years, bought it at about 8 inches and now it is 20+ inches.  It was a dark brown with the normal yellow highlights and white "snowflakes" but now it has turned mostly white (with-in a couple days). I feed it randomly shrimp/silversides/squid twice a week soaked in Zoecon, the tank is a 180 reef with a huge skimmer all water parameters are normal.  Is this color change normal, or is it sick? (it also didn't eat this week, but it is well fed so I'm not worried too much).<After talking w/ Ananda we came up with some questions for you... lol.  Can you tell us your exact water parameters?  How is the eel turning white... is it getting pale or is it turning white like it has dandruff?> Thanks for any info,<Get back w/ me and we can kick this problem!  Phil> David

What's The Deal With This Eel? Hi, <Hello! Scott F. here today> I just wondered if you could answer me a question please, I have a 117 UK gallon tank with a 2.5ft Zebra moray, 6 inch French angel and a Sailfin tang. I would like to put a 12inch snowflake moray in the tank as well would he be compatible with my current fish. I have 2 70 gallon external filters with good aeration and circulation. Your comments would be much appreciated. Kind Regards, Darren Adams <Well, Darren-from a "space"  and compatibility aspect, I suppose that it is possible to include this fish, as these eels generally will stay in their chosen cave, and not display excessive territoriality. However, I am more concerned about the long-term husbandry issues caused by this bioload in the tank. Both the French Angel and the tang eat a lot of food, give off a respectable quantity of metabolic waste, and just get plain large! The moray will also give off lots of waste products, as you are no doubt aware. I think that adding another larger fish with somewhat "messy" eating habits can be problematic in the long run. I'd hold off, unless a larger tank is in the future. As it is, you need to really be on top of the maintenance in this tank, with regular, frequent water changes being one of the main tasks, not to mention the need for efficient filter media cleaning and replacement. I say enjoy the wonderful selection of fish that you already have! The Sailfin Tang is an absolutely gorgeous fish, and you'll really enjoy watching him grow! Regards, Scott F.   

- Moray Compatibility - hello bob, <Actually, it's JasonC today...> I have been thinking about buying a snowflake moray for a while now but can't decide if my other fish are going to be compatible and I wondered if you could advise me. <Actually, I'd be more worried about the eel being compatible with the fish.> My tank is a 6 ft by 2 ft by 2 ft reef tank and is stocked with an emperor tang, flame angel, Lemonpeel angel, a pair of common clowns in an anemone, mandarin, glass goby?, purple Firefish. <Those smaller fish would be in serious jeopardy of becoming dinner for a snowflake eel.> I wondered if I could get a really small one and bring it up on dead food e.g. gamma fish. <You could, but you couldn't stop it from growing, or remaining an eel... it would one day be large enough to consume a number of those fish.> Also my tank is open on the top to allow for my metal halide lighting will this be a problem? <A huge problem - eels are consummate escape artists... you need a top with no gaps or holes as the eel will find them.> Hope you can help Ian <I'm afraid to say it doesn't look like an eel is for you. Consider a dedicated system for the eel. Cheers, J -- >

Snowflake eel not eating I have a snowflake eel in a 75 gal. tank, with two damsels.  The ph is 8.6, 0 nitrate, 0 nitrite, 0 ammonia.  I have had the eel for just shy of a year.  He has been eating regularly until recently he is not eating as frequently.  He used to eat daily to every other day.  Now he eats maybe once a week, and only one shrimp.   More recently he has started to look like a balloon is forming on his head. <?> There is no other sign of illness other that the head looking like he is a bottle nose.  He isn't actually less active as he was never a big party guy in the first place.  I am afraid I am going to lose him.  I am sure you are very busy, but Nessie really needs your advice.  Please email me with any help  you can.  Thank you sooo much.   Brightest Blessings Julie <Your pH is a little high, but this should not be the root cause. I encourage you to try other species of shrimp (perhaps frozen, defrosted krill) and to add a vitamin and HUFA supplement to this (perhaps Selcon) ahead of offering. Snowflakes do occasionally go on feeding strikes, even lose weight, but almost always return to feeding. Bob Fenner>

Snowflake moray Thank you very much for writing me back.  Yesterday morning Nessie passed on.   I can not for the life of me figure out what I did wrong.  I had tried different foods for him, but he would only eat dried shrimp. <Sorry to hear of your loss> I have a lot of "rock" anemones (don't know how to spell it).  At least that is what I am told they are.  They are a brownish color and look like the trees in a Dr. Seuss book.  I have lots of them and some of them have a base the size of a quarter.  Is it possible that the anemones stung Nessie, causing his head to swell, and possibly causing his death? <Unfortunately yes. Please see here re these Glass Anemones/Aiptasia: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/cnidaria/anthozoa/aiptasia/aiptasia.htm>   This was my husbands suggestion.  I guess at this point it is not important.  I do not think I will subject another eel to my ignorance.    Again thank you for getting back to me. Brightest Blessings Julie <Peace to you. Bob Fenner>

Why are our fish slapping the new eel? We just put a Snowflake Eel in a tank with a few damsel fish and every time  Eel tries to come out from his rock, the other fish back into his face and slap him. Why are they doing this??? <Is your tank realistically large enough for the eel? If yes, the fish are probably trying to get comfortable with the critter that will likely eat them in the near future> Thanks, Tanja <You're welcome! David Dowless>

Can a snowflake moray eel co-habitate with a red lobster? <Likely to eat the lobster eventually. -Steven Pro>

Re: Concerned eel owner, eel worsens! Please HELP I'm beginning to become embarrassed by this never ending thread of questions...I will try to make this the last one.  <no worries!> A brief refresher, I've got a foot long snowflake which I felt was breathing hard. At your advice, I checked salinity as well as aeration and both turned up within healthy parameters. I'd dismissed my earlier concern as simple anxiety over a new acquisition when my eel to a turn for the worse. His breathing has increased, he hasn't shown the slightest interest in food since I've had him (over a week), he lies head down in bare view, and generally seems on the verge of death. Consequently, I am in a state of panic mixed with despair.  <could there be any metals present in the water? Recent medication or copper? Have you done a large water change to see if that relieves him (if not it tends to rule out water quality and leans towards pathogen or health condition)?> I can't figure out what is wrong. Could it be disease?  <possible> He does seem to have a white stringy substance around the mouth but it may just be something from off of the live rock. Is there anything I can do? Is there a special food that might be particularly enticing? <the tentacles of squid (Calamari whole)> I've tried shrimp, krill, squid and even live feeders.  <unless small ghost shrimp or live crayfish... resist freshwater feederfish... deficient> Should I try to give him a freshwater bath or would that only hasten his demise?  <unlikely helpful here> My quarantine tank is still cycling.  <the QT does not need to cycle necessarily, my friend. Use aged water and aged filter media (live rock, filter floss, etc) from the display tank and do daily water changes until the chemistry levels (if it even wants to spike at all). Later keep a sponge filter running in the main display at all times to be prepared (and spare the need for a full time QT bio resident like a damsel> Again sorry to continue question you so much concerning my eel. I'm new to the hobby and so have a very strong emotional investment in the creature. Your help and expediency are greatly appreciated.  <alas... we have no specific symptoms to act upon. If you are willing to do small daily water changes for 7-14 days if necessary, the QT may be better off for him. Else... continue to do large water changes in the main display and look for a solid symptom. I regret that I cannot be more helpful but without sight or symptoms... I'm at a loss. Kindly, Anthony>

Breeding snowflake eels Since I am going to take your advice and go with the snowflakes, how many would be able to fit in a 55g?  <that would be relative to size and time held there. Many juveniles when small but alas this will not help you. They do not pair up or life-mate conspicuously as some other fishes do. And as such, two adults at 18-24 will be perhaps too much bio-load for a 55 gallon aquarium if fed well enough to be kept in breeding condition> I would like to get about 5 of them cause my chances of having males/females would be greater.  <agreed on the statistics, but I have no idea on how to help you sex or find a pair> Also what is there temperament like?  <overall very well behaved> Could I stick my hands in the tank?  <usually yes, but all eels must be respected and watched carefully> I am going to try and use the wooden squire to feed them off of cause I would know they were eating and it would also be neat. I Will get to work on this. Thanks a lot! <agreed... feeding tongs and skewers are always recommended with eels> John P.S. Any extra advice? <alas, no my friend beyond good fish husbandry (varied diet, superb water quality, large aquaria, etc)... you have the exciting challenge of being a pioneer to teach us all! Anthony>

Snowflake Info Anthony, I may have some help for you. Considering all of the advice the WWM crew gives me, I figured I could return the favor.  <much appreciation!> I know little about corals, plumbing, etc., but I know snowflake morays very well. I have had my present specimen for seven years and a previous one for two. John wrote you yesterday asking about sexing them. They are suspected to be protogynous hermaphrodites.  <ahhh, yes... many eels are hermaphrodites. I did not know this about snowflakes> Basically, there is a school of thought that some Snowflakes apparently "change" into males at about 17", their teeth become sharper and more serrated in the upper jaw than females. Have him read Scott Michael's Reef Fishes Vol. #1 for a good outline on this species. Michael refers to this tooth phenomenon.  <excellent reference!> I had read a slightly different account of this elsewhere also. My snowflake is approx. 28", and I have noticed that the teeth in his jaws and roof of his mouth have indeed become more sharp, in the shape of arrowheads. BTW, this change occurred sometime after he reached 20" --  <very interesting!> I didn't notice specifically when. I cannot state that "he" is actually a male, as I have not attempted breeding him.  <try placing a TV remote control on one side of the tank and see what side he migrates to :p > Also, reassure him that Snowflakes are indeed quite mellow 95% of the time, never bothering other tankmates. I can handle mine in non-feeding situations. However, at feeding time they often get very boisterous, snapping at everything in their search for food. I've been accidentally bitten a few times and instantaneously released after mine realized his error, but nonetheless he drew blood. An adult's jaws (not just the teeth inside) are sharp and unbelievably strong.  <not to mention remarkably unsanitary... needs good medical attention often> Feeding tongs are certainly advised if he intends to feed several at once. FYI, they love supermarket squid, scallops and shrimp (fresh, not canned). Buy a 1/4 lb. at a time and then toss in the freezer to kill potential parasites, etc. before thawing out portions to feed.  <excellent point about freezing... and yes, Squid (tentacles!) are especially stimulating to eels> A great animal! Hardy and long-lived too -- mine was 17" seven years ago, so he's probably 10+ years old and showing no signs of advanced age. Wish John the best of luck. <your kindness will be repaid in kind I'm sure... thank you> Anthony, one quickie for you: I know you dislike siphon overflows and powerheads,  <true for most tanks yes> but I will need more circulation in my tank upon its redesign...Long story short, I cannot drill a 2nd overflow. So, which is the lesser of two evils for circulation only, two Tunze powerheads or a siphon overflow hooked up to an external pump?  <the Tunzes are AWESOME! And I would NEVER sleep well in a house with a siphon overflow system... too many overflows and fires/hazards> I'm leaning toward the Tunzes due to fear of potential siphon or return line leakage/spillage someday.  <failure is inevitable in the 3 year picture for most overflows... really the 1 year for most> If you prefer a siphon, which brand for a 180g?  <I literally wouldn't take a siphon overflow for free... rather pump up to a refugium and use the display for a sump to get max flow in a two tier system> Thanks. Steve w/Predators.  P.S. The Ginas from Providence told me they are immune and unafraid of your "garlic force field" :) <outstanding... now if we can only find some that are attracted to men of Mediterranean extraction that look like they are wearing Mohair pajamas with their shirts off. (Ha! Chia pet chest) :P Kindly, your furry friend... Anthony>

Snowflake Eel Tankmates <<Greetings, Steve, my apologies for not replying sooner...>> I have a 28" Snowflake Eel in a 180 (soon to be FOWLR). He had been in this tank with a second eel before. I am considering keeping the Snowflake with one of the following: G. tesselata, E. pardalis, or G. meleagris. G. tesselata is the same animal as G. favagineus, correct? <<in an attempt to sound smart, I looked these up on fishbase, but was unable to find G. tesselata.>> I assume the Tesselata will simply get too big eventually to humanely keep it in a 180? <<Well, fishbase has the G. meleagris can reach up to 120cm... that's a big eel.>> Or too hungry, maybe eating my Snowflake or others? <<perhaps.>> I have never seen a live G. meleagris, only pics, and web info differs wildly on it. On your site it says G. meleagris reaches 40 inches --too big for this tank too as an adult? <<Too big for a 180, yes...>> Temperament is...??? <<Unknown, but it part of the group known for ciguatera poisoning, so caution is advised.>> E. pardalis is the best choice size wise, right? <<Yes... also quite the looker.>> I have a 6" Clown Trigger w/ 2 years of history in there that is very well-behaved 50% of the time with new arrivals and tortures the other 50% of them. My gut tells me he will be ok with a good-sized new eel (he has been a model citizen with the Snowflake), but long-term as the trigger grows might he look at those Dragon nostrils as tasty "fish sticks" when he is bored? <<There is always the possibility. Friendly clown triggers are the exception, and not the norm... at least not for the ones with a couple of years in them.>> are I've heard enough stories about Clowns nibbling on Lionfish fins to worry... I know you are tempted to simply say "Clowns are unpredictable" but I trust your gut instinct too. <<My gut says, "who knows." Is very hard to predict.>> Thanks for the usual great input. By the way I appreciate this wonderful site being free--I make sure to click-through to your sponsors to help pay those bills for you. <<Ahh good, that's the way it is supposed to work.>> Steve <<Cheers, J -- >>

Snowflake moray eels I have recently bought a snowflake eel and it is freshwater, it is nothing like the yellow and white ones it is a grayish brown, is it truly a snowflake eel or is it just an eel that shopkeepers call a "snowflake eel"? <There are various brackish eels. Do see here, http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwmorayeels.htm, for some information and pictures. -Steven Pro>

Snowflake Moray Questions Hi Bob, I bought a Snowflake Moray today and I have a few questions. Should I be worried if it never accepted food (shrimp) that day? <No, not unusual to take a few days to settle in and get used to your offerings.> And when should I expect a Snowflake to begin to eat? <Going to depend on your particular fish and its personality.> One more question if you don't mind. What is the best way to feed a Snowflake? Thanks, Tyler <I prefer to use aquarium tongs. -Steven Pro>

Snowflake eel I have a question regarding my eel. I have had him since December and all has been well with him until recently. In April he was moved to a 55 Gal aquarium and seem to adjust very quickly. Last week I left for a week long vacation leaving my mother in charge of feeding and when I got back the water was pea soup green I'm assuming due to her over loving and over feeding them.  <agreed. yes, quite possible. High nutrients favoring a unicellular algae bloom> I tested the water and the phosphates were high and the salinity was a little higher than normal so I did a water change  <which actually can make the green water worse for importing fresh mineral salts/nutrients...heehee> and now that I can see the fish and eel again I have noticed that the eel is making little jerking motions with his head almost like he is having ticks or something. He isn't doing it to rub or scratch on anything but he is doing it a lot and didn't really eat too well tonight and started jerking his head a lot when I offered the food to him.  <hmmm...interesting> I don't see any marks or spots on him but he did leave his usual rock and instead curled up inside a barnacle skeleton with his head out. There is also a blue damsel in there who seems a little jerky too but the puffer, yellow tang and cow fish seem fine. Could this be caused by the phosphates?  <unlikely> Have you seen this behavior before? If so what can I do to correct it? <not sure... but do add fresh carbon and a PolyFilter right quickly. Many strange behaviors are manifested by toxins in the water. I'm speculating that especially if the tank is in your room... you Mom took the opportunity to clean the dungeon that you call your quarters...heehee. Even without chemicals on the tank itself (glass cleaner, etc)... anything fumous in the air (like air fresheners, carpet shampoos, aerosol sprays, etc) WILL get sucked into the tank by pumps and filters and absorbed at the waters surface (like an open glass of soda or water in the fridge taking on other odors/flavors like pepper or onion. Anyway... the water changes and chemical filtration I suspect will bring them back on par soon. If there were temperature changes... look out for an impending parasitic infection. Kindly, Anthony>

Snowflake Moray Eel--need advice Mr. Fenner, I bought my daughter a Snowflake moray eel (Echidna nebulosa) about 2 months ago. Every thing was going fine for the first month in a 20 gal tall eclipse 2 system tank with 20 lb's cured live rock and 20 pounds aragonite live sand....till I added a green wrasse (Halichoeres chloropterus). <This system is too small...> Both fish seemed to get along fine for a little while even with stiff competition from the wrasse for the feeder goldfish we had been using to feed the Eel. <Better to skip the feeders (Please read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/goldfshfd.htm), and instead feed the Eel crustaceans via a "feeding stick"...> Tank chemistry was holding stable at 8.2 pH, 1.023 SG, 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites and less then 10 nitrates. Temp held constant at 75 degrees F. Then the ammonia levels started to climb rapidly . We did water changes and used ammonia lock to try to control the ammonia levels to no avail. <You sound like you've been studying and are conscientious> We went out and purchased and set up a 55gal low tank, 4'x18"x18" with a hang on duel bio wheel filter. Transferred the live rock and sand from the 20 gal, used the old bio wheel from the eclipse to spark the tank, including cycle additive to help mature it. Waited a week and transferred the eel and wrasse. The wrasse adjusted very well but the eel is not eating and is showing skin abrasions from running into the live rock as he has become very agitated every time we turn the lights on. He has been in the new tank about two weeks, tank chemistry level show all parameters are fine. We can not induce a feeding response with cook shelled shrimp, FS squid, feeder gold fish or FS brine shrimp. <Mmm, Echidnas don't "move well", and definitely do not like bright light. One idea: add a length of PVC pipe, more rock to the 55 for hiding out of the light> I've invested close to a $1000.00 in keeping this $50.00 eel alive for my daughter's emotional sake, and my personal pride. I need some expert advice as every tank parameter I've checked indicates the tank is optimal for this critter. Please help me before I make the eel into sushi. Sincerely, Brian Lichner <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/snowflakemoray.htm and the FAQs linked to this article beyond, and share our correspondence with your daughter. In all likelihood your Eel will "rally"... and start accepting foods again. Do add the "habitat" and devise a "stick" to offer shrimp down in front of this animal when the lights are low or off. Bob Fenner>

Snowflake eel Bob, <Anthony in your service> I have an eel that is approximately 18" long. I don't know how old he is. <that makes two of us <smile>> His neck has slowly been getting larger and he has slowed way back on food intake. The swelling began on his right side but now seems to be on both sides. He is visibly larger about 1 1/2" below his head. He looks like he really wants to eat but seems reluctant to do so. I have been able to get him to eat very small pieces of food but after swallowing one piece, he won't eat again. Is there anything that I can do? Thanks, Art Riggens <Art, I have had this question a great many times and would be surprised to be mistaken here. My guess is that you have allowed yourself to get into a routine of feeding this eel a single food or limited group of foods (like silversides or freshwater feeder fish). If so, you eel, like many before him, is dying of a secondary condition mitigated by a dietary deficiency from the limited diet. If that is the case, I'm afraid that the eel is in dire straights. Unfortunately, if you tell me that it has been eating 8 different foods, I would be puzzled and still unable to help. A drastic change or improvement in the diet with Selcon soaked food might help incidentally, but it still sounds like a more serious problem. I will file this message in Bob's mailbox to see if he can share any insight or another perceptive. He is away traveling at present but will be checking his mail. Best regards, my friend. Anthony Calfo>

Snowflake Moray Eel Question Dear Sir: I am considering adding a snowflake (or other species of moray) to my 75 gallon tank.(80lbs live rock 3-4 in sand bed, 4" Sohal tang, 2" clarkii clown, a few corals) I bought Florida aquacultured rock, and while the life was (is) amazing, the small crabs and mantis shrimp are getting out of hand. I have been catching some of the crabs with a trap, but I think they might have figured it out :( I haven't seen the mantis but am hearing a lot of popping, and something has been killing some of the crabs. <Could be a pistol shrimp.> Also something killed one of my clowns (I had a pair). I could move my shrimp to my refugium? would the moray kill my snails, hermit crabs? <No & yes, respectively.> I have a DAS aquarium and I run the skimmer 24 hrs a day, could I handle the bio-load? <For a small snowflake, yes.> Or am I just like the old lady who swallowed the fly who swallowed the spider who swallowed the bird? <A bit of that. There are some other fine trap ideas other than the ones commercially available. A tall glass jar bait with food at the bottom and positioned vertically but so that crabs can go in. Too slippery to climb out for crabs, but not for shrimp. Also, baiting food inside a nylon stocking. -Steven Pro> Thanks for the help, D. Joe Hall

Eye Glasses for Snowflakes? <<JasonC here, Bob is away diving.>> We are having a debate over whether snowflake eels are blind or not? <<I think the word would be far sighted (I always get these mixed up) meaning they can only see things clearly close up.>> I have been told several times that they cannot see and that they use their smell and kind of a radar system that uses or feels vibration to locate their food. <<And they do, but doesn't make them blind. Most terrestrial snakes would be similar to this - poor eyesight in trade for an amazing sense of smell.>> Could you please help us clarify if this is a true thing or not. <<Did I clarify?>> Thanks a lot! Darlene Schroeder <<Cheers, J -- >>

Snowflake Moray as Mantis Shrimp Hunter Bob, Had an additional question and also wanted to say how much I liked your site. <Okay, thanks> I was thinking about adding a small snowflake moray to hunt down any mantis shrimp in the tank. Will the snowflake eventually find them all? <If "they're" small enough, the Eel hungry enough, possibly> Thanks again, Marc <Be chatting, Bob Fenner>

Snowflake Eel Question I have a 70 Gal Saltwater tank with the following; Lunar Wrasse Trigger Porcupine Puffer and another puffer Sand Sifting Goby a couple of Damsels, We feed every other day. We used to feed every day but we cut back to extend water life and not spoil them. We notice the eel comes out more than when we fed every day (looking for food ??) <yes, likely> This AM we found the Sand Sifting Goby dead (white about 3.5" long - orange spotted) , reddish color on top and bite also on top of his body. Questions; Do you think the eel bit the goby ? <not necessarily... just as easily bit/scavenged as dead/dying from unrelated cause> Was it nibbled on by the Lunar Wrasse (we saw him nibbling on it this am also) after he died ? <yes...most tankmates would scavenge this morsel> Would the eel start attacking my other fish if we keep feeding every other day ? <no guarantees... but unlikely. Every other day is reasonable. Some eels don't want to even eat that often. Try judicious experimentation to see if behavior changes much between schedules> Should we feed the eel only every day again ? <unlikely that any eel would feed daily indefinitely... kindly Anthony>

My Snowflake eel is really starting to tick me off! <Bryan...chill dude. Take another hit off of that water pipe that you keep telling everybody is a protein skimmer and lets take care of this, bud. Anthony> during feedings he becomes very aggressive. sometimes nipping at my porcupine. tonight he grabbed him by his tell and jerked him around pretty good. it didn't appear that the porcupine has any injury other than to his heart.  he seems a bit shaking up and is hiding out for now. <alas...some have a personality more enthusiastic than the books describe for this generally agreeable species. Perhaps your eel hasn't read the same books that we have?> I've read in the past of many attacks by eels on puffers but I can't seem to find them when I need them.  ..is this relationship just not going to get along? thanks! <tough to say... although increased feedings almost certainly won't help any but the truly starved. Nonetheless...lets try to apply some behavioral enrichment with the hopes of tempering your eels wild ways. Try feeding some appropriately sized crayfish (or ghost shrimp if your eel is still small). You'll need to do this already for the puffers teeth in the long run. Some think that a heavy shell-on diet will settle such predators to chill after a good meal because of the tough, but necessary, digestibility of the matter. Indeed, you may simply have an aggressive eel. Sorry my friend, Anthony>   

Snowflake Moray, Nitrates, Clown Trigger Hi Bob, I have a 28" Snowflake Moray in a 180 gallon tank. I have had him for six years, during which time he has grown from 16". His appetite is great, eagerly eating silversides and supermarket-bought squid, scallops and shrimp. He is also pretty active for a moray, swimming about in the full light of the tank during the day. He gets along well with his tankmates, which consist of an 18" Jewel Moray, 4" Bursa Trigger, and 7" Clown Trigger. About four weeks ago, I noticed a white spot on the outside of his eyeball. I assumed it was the result of a scratch from the usual tussle at feeding time, or perhaps from accidentally scraping up against a rock. However, the spot has not gone away. It is covering 25% of his eye, and is the color of "whiteout" you use on typewriter paper (not really grey or cloudy). The shape is irregular. His behavior is still very good. He never scratches and isn't breathing heavily, nor has his appetite diminished. But, I'm puzzled as to how to rid him of this. The only step I have taken is to lower the SG to 1.017, hoping to discourage/ kill possible parasites. I'd rather not medicate if it is not necessary, and I don't have a quarantine tank large enough to house this bruiser should I decide to pull him out & medicate. Suggestions/ ideas on what this is? <Probably a bacterial infection from some sort of physical damage. Try using one tablespoon of Epson salt per 5 gallons of water. It will help to remove fluid from behind the eye and allow the eel's immune system to rid itself of the infection.> Also, considering the hardy yet heavy feeders I am keeping (with the probable addition of a fifth fish, likely a grouper or large angel), <The grouper would be a better choice.> what should my nitrate ceiling be? I'm consistently struggling to get it to 40ppm. Is that unrealistic? Is 60-100ppm acceptable long-term with these fish? <I do not think anything over 40 to be acceptable. Try increasing the frequency and/or amounts of your water changes, aggressive protein skimming (with these guys you should have a full collection cup of skimmate the color of hot tea to coffee daily, and possibly the use of purified water.> Also, how large and aggressive do you think the clown trigger will get in this tank? <Fairly large and fairly aggressive. I am frankly surprised you have had not trouble with him and the other trigger, yet.> He has a moderately bad trigger "attitude", ok with his present company, but with some temper tantrums (biting the glass when unfed, tossing shells around, etc.), and has killed a 7" Harlequin Tusk added to the tank. Thank you for your advice! You are a great resource! Steve <Thank you for the compliment. I will be sure to pass it along. -Steven Pro>

Feeding a Snow Flake Eel We just recently purchased a Snow Flake Eel and we have not seen him eat any food (frozen shrimp, Krill) since (4 days ago). <No worries here... they can/do go without eating for weeks in the wild, captivity at times... especially if not "too skinny" at this point or tiny in size> We notice they come out at night, (at least when its mostly dark). <Mostly so... in the wild... but learn quickly to feed during the days> We thought of introducing the food with a stick down to where he sits, but will fear the other, Porcupine Puffer, Trigger, Lunar Wrasse, and other small damsels, will try and get the food before I get a chance to get it close to the Eel. <Indeed they will... you need to devise a working strategy (feeding the other fishes listed) for getting food to this eel... with a feeding "stick" likely and poked into where it can eat in peace in the rock work> Also , will this Eel try to jump out while I try to feed at night ? Will it sit still at the bottom (where he sleeps) and allow me to bring her the food ? . I understand they can last days or weeks without eating, how do we know ? Do these things bite if you try to catch them ? <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/snowflakemoray.htm and the FAQs beyond. Bob Fenner> mm

Snowflake eel <<Hello, JasonC here helping out during the holidays.>> My husband got me a beautiful 11 inch eel for Christmas and I thought I had a proper lid for him but now I realize that I probably don't. The lid is all glass and pretty heavy and covers all except where the filter goes but somehow last night he jumped out. <<this is a common eel talent.>> He was in front of the tank on the floor so do you think he was strong enough to lift the cover? <<likely, yes.>> I read your link on eels when I got him the day before yesterday and remembered that you said if this happens not to give up immediately and to rinse him and put him back in there but I don't know how long I should leave him. I don't want to dispose of him if there is any chance of him reviving but looking at him I have my doubts. <<is he swimming about, taking food?>> When I found him he was kind stiff and not moving and filmy looking. <<oh my...>> I don't know how long he was out on the tile but he was kind of stuck to the floor with some slime although he wasn't totally dry. <<hmm... the slime was likely the eel's mucus coating, beginning to dry out.>> How long should I leave him in there and if by some miracle he does revive do you know if the pet shops sell some kind of filter cover? <<I'd leave him in until all hope is lost - these are pretty tough customers and with some luck the eel will rally. Most likely quite shaken/stressed from being aired-out. As for the tank cover, perhaps [unless you have one in the house] you might reciprocate the eel gift with a Dremel gift for your husband. This way you can modify the plastic strips that can be attached to the back of a glass cover so that it has a tight fit. Then... put some rocks on the cover or something of similar weight.>> I am so sad for him. <<me too, but there is good reason to be hopeful. You need to think like an eel and then try to secure the top as much as possible - which sometimes is still not enough it seems. Eels are the Houdinis of the fish world, with the exception of the octopus, and as such you need to take action if you want to keep it for any period of time. Good luck, cheers. J -- >>

Re: Snowflake eel No, he isn't swimming or even moving for that matter and he is starting to peel now. I guess he was just out too long. <Don't give up on this fish... I have seen almost "dried up" jumped-out specimens make remarkable recoveries/resurrections. Do keep your aeration high and testing ammonia, nitrite... Bob Fenner>

Re: Snowflake eel He didn't make it. The LPS has one the size and thickness of a pencil, seems healthy and is eating, Do you think he is too small? <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/snowflakemoray.htm Bob Fenner>

Brittle stars hello , I have a green brittle star, in my tank, and I am wanting to buy a small snowflake eel, do you think they will get along ok <Yes, these two should. This species of Moray doesn't eat starfishes, and the Green Brittle Star should leave the Eel alone. Some info. on the Snowflake can be found on our site here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/snowflakemoray.htm and the Star here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/brittlestars.htm Be chatting. Bob Fenner>

Re: brittle stars >thanks for the links, I just had a pet store to tell me I couldn't have an eel with my brittlestar cause the eel would eat it <Mmm, no... this species mainly eats crustaceans in the wild. Take a look under the species name, Echidna nebulosa, in the scientific literature, e.g. fishbase.org. Bob Fenner> Re: brittle stars ok thanks for all the information , is there anything you can tell me about my snowflake eel that I have some more advice other than the website, again thanks for replying fast later <Nothing more that is in the site, articles, books... Bob Fenner>

Re: Snowflake Moray ok 1 more question if it isn't any trouble, I have a 20 gallon tank with a snowflake eel, I am planning on getting a bigger tank when I can afford one , is it ok in the 20 ,  <If this Eel is small, you have a good/complete cover over the tank (they do "jump" out), keep up your maintenance... probably okay> do you have msn messenger <No my friend. Bob Fenner>

Snowflake Morays Bob, My questions are about Echidna nebulosa. What is the lifespan for these amazing creatures in the wild and captivity?  <Several years possibly in both... the record in captivity is about fifteen years> Also , is crushed coral a suitable substrate for them? Great website! <Yes... and have you seen the piece on this species I've recently added? Here: http://wetwebmedia.com/snowflakemoray.htm Bob Fenner> Thanks, Joe

Moray Eel Hi Bob, I have written earlier about a problem I had with massive fish loss. Well, I lost all of them with the exception of my Snowflake Moray. I am now starting over and moved my eel to a quarantine tank. About 7am this morning I checked on the eel and it escaped. I looked all over before leaving for work and was unable to find it. So I left it for dead and will tear apart my basement later. Well, I returned around 11:30am to begin my search and found the eel beneath my freezer ALIVE. Have you ever heard of an eel surviving out of water for 4+ hours? <Yes... depending on temperature, humidity... for a day or more.> This seems pretty amazing. Ed <Keep any holes in the top covered! Bob Fenner>

Re: Moray Eel Hi Bob, Since I placed him back in the tank after being out for 4+ Hours the Eel hasn't been eating. Is it to late?  <No my friend. Not too late... offer food two days from now> How long can the eel last without eating? <Many days to weeks> Is there a technique that you know of to get it to eat? Any ideas would be helpful - I'd hate to loose him. Thanks, Ed <Don't lose yourself... Bob Fenner>

Snowflake Eel Hi Bob, I have a snowflake eel that just attacked my medium sized Lionfish and ate his tail and torso area.  <Wowzah, unusual> He attacked during a feeding of frozen silversides. He has also killed and tore apart a red starfish and chases my yellow tang around the tank during feeding time. Is this normal and what do you suggest?  <Identification to assure this is Echidna nebulosa... RMF>

Snowflake moral/y eel  Hi Bob,  A co-worker of mine recently bought me a baby snowflake eel. Today is  actually the third day it's in the tank. The tank is 10 gallon with lots of live rocks for it to hide.  <This is a small world for this species...> Water parameters are good as I have mushrooms in it. Also have two damsels.  <An even smaller one...> The eel eats very well. I feed it krill and formula. I noticed today that  the top portion of the head is yellowish instead  of just white. When I got it, it looks to be pure white. Should I be worried? <No... natural> It looks quite healthy to me and feeds readily.  By the way, I have a powerful pump on the side of the tank to deter it from  trying to escape to the top. <This won't discourage it entirely... keep the tank top covered completely...> Water circulation  is quite powerful.  Thanks. Richard Chang  <Please read through the "Moray Eel" section and related FAQs pages on the site: www.WetWebMedia.com and plan on upgrading to a larger system... soon. Bob Fenner>

Snowflake Moray Bob, I just received my new eel. My cover, however, concerns me. My tank is Plexiglas and with the heat of the lights, the cover has sustained some warping. I have taped off all, that I know of, openings to which he/she could escape. By sealing/taping off all areas, can this degrade the water quality?  <Not likely... especially if amongst pumps, airstones, there is air being introduced into the system continuously> My other concern is, could their be a build up of gas or bacteria given the limitation of air circulation and evaporation from the top of the tank? Thank you, Doug <Do rig up either the venturis of powerheads or a simple airstone/pump set-up to add air... And consider the possibility of attaching Plexiglas (you can just silicone it into place) barriers upright around the cut outs instead to keep the eel (and other livestock) in place. Bob Fenner>

Snow Flake Moray Bob, I have a few quick questions for you. First: I have read that Zebra Moray's are compatible with community tanks, because their diet doesn't mainly consist of fish, i.e......Damsels etc. So with that, does the Snow Flake Moray fall within that same description and will my smaller inhabitant survive? <Yes, to the largest extent, these morays/muraenids prey on crustaceans... Will generally only eat the smallest of fishes, only if very hungry> note...I have not inverts. Second: What would be the smallest, in length, specimen I should purchase from my LFS? <Ten inches or so... these fish do very well captured, shipped when small... Their only shortcoming as very small specimens is their ability to squeeze out of the smallest openings in aquarium tops...> Third: If you recommend a small specimen, how and what would you feed it? <Frozen/defrosted crustaceans of a few sorts... krill, mysids, caprellids, amphipods...> Thanks for your help, Doug <You're welcome. Please read over the Moray (family Muraenidae) section and associated FAQs files archived on the site: www.wetwebmedia.com for more. Bob Fenner>

Lots of questions Hi Bob, its been a while since I've written and I've got a few questions for you. #1: For the past year I've had a Snowflake eel. About 5 days ago he quit eating, and yesterday he died. :( I'll admit water quality probably wasn't great, Nitrates were on the high side and there was quite a bit of green algae. But ammonia, nitrites were 0 and have been since I got him. The other fish show no signs of disease or anything. Any guess what could have caused him to die (are they really that sensitive to water quality?) He was a baby when I got him, is the average of an eel really that short? Any insights would be most appreciated. <Bizarre, and troubling... No to short life spans for Echidna nebulosa... they live for several years in captivity. Maybe a toxicity problem related to the algae you allude to... or a cumulative chemical/physical insult from "poor water quality", additives... A nutritional deficiency? Latent internal parasitic infection?> #2: About a month ago I noticed some tiny (maybe a Centimeter at most) worm looking things growing on the side of my tank amidst the algae. Since then they have multiplied greatly and are all over. Any clue what it could be - I haven't seen any visible movement from them, but they are definitely multiplying. Would it be dangerous to anything? <Many, many possibilities... likely not deleterious, even more likely little you can do about them... I'd just keep on keeping on with maintenance> #3: I want to find a replacement for the eel...I was toying with the idea of getting a banded shark egg. I only have a 50 gal tank (rectangular) and there are only two other fish in the tank (a porcupine puffer and a flame angel). Would this be a bad idea? I don't have that many decorations so I could make swimming room. Just a thought, your input is appreciated. If you think this would be okay, I need some kind of info on what to do after the egg hatches. <IMO, yes... these animals are not easy to keep in mixed tanks (starve, get picked on) and produce copious amounts of wastes... Keep looking> Thanks for all your help. Steve Weatherly >> Be chatting, Bob Fenner

Eel health concern Hi bob!     As you may remember I've got a snowflake eel. I've got a couple of health questions about him. A couple days ago I noticed he had a rather large lump on his side. Today I noticed he has two now in close proximity to each other. There's no discoloration or anything. I know snakes get a lump where their food is...does the same hold true for eels? I've been feeding him whole frozen silversides. Also his breathing pattern seems to get kind of fast frequently I was wondering if you could give me an idea about how many inhales per minute to look for. (he's a little over a foot I would guess). One final question...I bought him some frozen mussel, its looks like it might be a compilation of some different kinds mushed together and he REALLY doesn't like them...Is it safe to feed him canned clams that are for human consumption? (just seems like he might like whole clams better) Anyway, I appreciate the info. Thank you once again. Steve >> Thank you for writing (back). The lumps are a little troublesome. No, eels don't really show "bulges" after big meals (except in the tummy area sometimes). These are hopefully transient. At any length there is not much (nothing I would) to do re the appearance... On the clam issue, yes, I'd leave off with any food your fishes are not accepting, and, yes, human intended foods can be offered. But, let me be clear here. This genus (Echidna) and one of other fave morays (Gymnomuraena) are not piscivorous (fish eaters) as you know, and have pebbly type teeth that are not capable of tearing their food.... So, we, must offer foods in swallow-size chunks. Therefore, please cut bits of the clam, shrimp, etc. up that can be taken in one gulp! I give your eel good chances of self-healing from the bumps... Bob Fenner

Q: << Hey bob, Will a snowflake moray attack a yellow tang and how and what would I go about feeding it. Also is a Banded Cat shark a good idea with tangs or are they more of a single species animal? >> A: The odds are good that a Snowflake Moray (Echidna nebulosa) and a Yellow Tang (Zebrasoma flavescens) would get along fine. They actually can both be collected in similar habitats in Hawai'i. The Morays can't see very well (but are great jumpers!), so you'll need to develop a regular feeding regimen of placing something meaty (fresh or frozen shrimp, clam, fish) attached to a "feeding stick" that you can buy or make from a dowel of plastic or wood... right near the eels nose (best around night time). The Yellow Tang will probably not compete with the eel at all. Banded Cat Sharks are amongst the few (Epaulette and Bamboo shark families) that do at all well in hobby set-ups, but I'd hold off on outright promoting their keeping. They are best kept in specialty or species set-ups as you hint. These two families of sharks will eat tangs as they sleep, laying on the bottom at night... otherwise they spend most of the day just sitting on the bottom.

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