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Moray Disease FAQs 1

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

Related FAQs: Moray Disease 2, Morays and other Eels & Crypt, Moray Eels, Morays 2, Moray Eels 3, Moray Identification, Moray Selection, Moray Behavior, Moray Compatibility, Moray Systems, Moray Reproduction, Moray Feeding, Zebra Moray Eels, Snowflake Morays, Ribbon Morays, Freshwater Moray Eels, Other Marine Eels 

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

Gymnothorax meleagris in Hawai'i

Re: Koke/Reticulate Hookjaw Moray; now G. favagineus dis. 05/22/09
One other question; a friend of mine picked up a 16" tesselata six or so months ago and during the last month or so it's taken to laying on it's side. Yesterday I was over at his place to pick up and extra backpack skimmer (in case I needed a separate tank...fingers are still crossed) and noticed it had developed some swelling in the belly are between it's gills and anus. It's also respirating deeply, slowly and with irregularity, though there are no other external indicators and it is responsive to light. In reading through your FAQ's over the years I've read quite a few similar cases but no conclusive diagnosis.
<There are several reasons for comparable swellings esp. bacterial diseases (most probable), carrying eggs, blockage (would be mostly in the rear part of the animal), worms.>
We tested his water and it's all tip-top (only did ammonia cycle but he swears the PH/Phosphates/all else are in normal range). In the event that it is a blockage, as some of the FAQ's suggest, I've heard certain garlic/vitamin solutions can help but given the duration of the symptoms I don't think that's the case. I have some triple sulfa sitting around and suggested we try that in a hospital tank, but if this is parasitic I don't think that will help.
Any ideas?
<Cycled hospital tank with an antibiotic (like Maracyn 2 or another one for gram negative bacteria, and possibly an antithelmic). Stay away from copper and formalin at the usual concentrations.>
It seems like this is usually fatal;
<Yes, usually treated very late/without adequate meds or not at all.>
has anyone ever done an autopsy?
<'¦ as noted above there are several possibilities that have been found in other specimen. Good luck, Marco.>

Gymnothorax melatremus dumped on floor repeatedly, overheated, chilled... what's wrong? 10/16/05 Alright <All right?> I hope you guys can help me quick cause I'm getting impatient and I think that's really the problem here. My question is about Gymnothorax melatremus. I had em in a 10-gallon quarantine tank for about a month. I know the time period was a bit excessive but I saw him at the LFS and had to have him and the tank for him was being set-up. Anyways, in the quarantine tank he was doing more than fine. He ate daily and pooped daily. I did daily to bi-daily water changes on the q-tank. I got em to hand feed and even feed from the top by hand which was great. He even to the side of the tank if you tapped on it. So as it came to moving him (my roommates tried to move him) they got him into a bowl and he slithered right out. <Very common> I wasn't in the room while they were doing this as I was prepping the tank. <Time for new roommates> They didn't even tell me they were doing it as I was planning on moving him myself. Well apparently he fell to the floor and they got em back into the bowl and then he came out again so I rushed in after hearing the commotion and got him into a bucket (high enough where he wouldn't come out). Well after acclimating him for an hour to the tank water I moved him in. <I hope you rinsed him... to clear the dust-bunnies> That night he was swimming all over the place.. guessing he didn't like his new surroundings so I let it go for a bit. During this time period he wasn't eating either.  <... would you?> I tried feeding him his favorite enriched prawns every day and nothing. I tried feeding him with lights on and off. Then I found out the temp was a bit high in the tank…86F. I know I know, so I removed the cover and put a huge fan on it and slowly got the temp down to 79-80. This took about 2 hours.  <Too much change too soon> He still hasn't been eating but I've noticed his facial area around his upper and bottom mouth and nares seem to be a bit inflamed and reddish. Pretty much his nose region. Is this a bacterial infection or am I just being paranoid and should just give him some time? <Likely a bit of both and trauma, and rubbing...> I'm really worried, as I've already gotten attached to this guy. Oh also the param.s in both tanks were the same so that is highly unlikely the cause. Only thing that was different was the temp. The sand type was also different. <Do these statements make sense to you? Me neither> Q-tank sand was normal aragonite but the display tank was oolitic.  Thanks for any help you guys can give me. Mike <Very likely this eel will survive, heal... Bob Fenner> 

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>

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

Ribbon Eel with Nose Leprosy  8/16/05 Hi Guys, I've learned a ton from this site, and/but never been driven to ask a question until now. I've had a ribbon eel in my 72 gallon tank for about 2 years, and watched it transition from black to blue. I noticed when feeding him today (he did eat) that his nasal flares were missing! They were still there when he was fed on Thursday. He seems otherwise happy and has no other fin damage. I've never heard of or seen this before today. My tank has a yellow tang, cleaner shrimp, and a couple of brittle stars that he's been coexisting happily with for a long time, plus a maroon clown that I added a couple of weeks ago (after a freshwater dip). I have never seen any of these tankmates picking on him (or vice versa). Water quality is good (84 degrees, ph 8.2, nitrate 10ppm). I had a sea hare die in the tank about a week ago and release ink, which my AquaC protein skimmer seemed to remove completely over a couple of hours. . . could this be related? <Maybe...> Any other ideas? Do you think the flares will ever grow back? Thanks for your help. Regards, Pat <My first and best guess is that the nasal extension was shorn off by a physical trauma... a quick mis-pass by a sharp rock... and yes, have heard of this before, and yes, should grow back. Bob Fenner>

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

Moray out of water - 6/7/05 Hey there, quick question.... approximately how long can a Moray survive outside of water? <Morays can survive quite a while out of water. All day would be pushing it but within a few hours they have been known to recover.> I came home tonight to find my Moray lying on the floor in front of the door... apparently he jumped out of his tank, Be sure to cover all the open areas where he might slip out. Do not underestimate the size of the open area> slithered around and then dropped about 4 feet to the landing. he was kind of clammy when I  picked him up to put him back in the tank, he immediately started 'gasping' and then just laid there with his mouth open for a while looking like he was breathing hard. Also it seems that his entire slime coat is coming off... any of this seem normal for a Moray that may have been out of water for anywhere from 1-2 hours? <Watch for abrasions, developing bacterial infections. Look reddening and an increase in size of abrasions. treat with an antibiotic, something like Furan2 or Furanace> any suggestions to help him if he's still alive in the morning? <Do a water change some time soon as well ~Paul> Thanks in advance for your help!
Moray  out of water pt. II - 6/7/05
Thank you for the quick answer! One last question (I hope!), would it make  sense that he isn't going to eat right away? <Try and offer some food see what happens, but my guess is he will want to be left alone. I would only feed him every other day or two anyway> I went and got him some squid, also some shrimp... he's not wanting any, he mostly just looks irritated... <I bet!> just hanging out in his hiding spots. <Is this normal behavior? I bet it is. This is likely a good sign> also, he was just moved into this tank yesterday, maybe he's also just getting over the move? <I am sure it has to do with him being out of water. Was this new tank ready and cycled? He may have felt a need to bail the environment. Be sure to secure this tank though> How soon should I expect him to eat something? <Try everyday but keep water quality high. Of grave importance> will his slime coat shedding have any affect on the water quality? <Yes> Should I test for anything specific or just do the water change? 25 %?? <Absolutely. Definitely do a water change of 20-25% nothing to test for> Thanks for your help! You guys are so informative, love the website! <Thanks for being part of it all. ~Paul> ~Tessica 

Sick eels, please help I have a 300 gallon salt water live reef tank. About two weeks ago my wolf eel (had it for 6 months) started hiding, just laying around in one spot and stop eating. He is sick. <Mmm, not necessarily... and this fish is not a true eel, but a Dottyback family member> I asked the guy that takes care of my tank, what is going on? He does not know too much about eels, just that it happens. When I lived in Hawaii I had a 150 salt water tank with a zebra eel for 8 years, he never got sick. <Gymnomuraena zebra is a great aquarium species> Well, today my snow flake eel (I've had him for 9 months) is lying on it's side, I think he is dead. he was fine yesterday. The odd thing about this is that the snowflake eel is lying on the sand and the wolf eel is lying on top of the snow flake eel. <Coincidence likely> Please tell me what you think is going on. Thank you, Robin <Strange loss... I take it you check your water quality often, feed all well... perhaps something the one ate, or touched... Bob Fenner> 
Re: sick eels, please help...
What's really odd is every time the guy who services my tank comes he never checks the quality of the water in the tank. <?!> I questioned him on this and he says, "Oh it's a live reef tank, you do not need to check the water quality." All he does when he comes is refill the back up container with distilled water and cleans the glass. I'm beginning to think I've been put together. <... I beg to differ... most simpler systems can "get by" w/ simple observation of livestock, routine water changes... An expensive, large reef system? I suspect "additives" are being utilized... perhaps a calcium reactor... Everything that is being supplemented must need be tested for... MUST! Else imbalances are a foregone conclusion> The big question..... Does the water quality of a live reef tank need to be balanced and checked. <Uh, yes> One more thing in January I lost 12 beautiful fish to ick. The fish service guy said for me to by some natural stuff (I forget the name) and treat the water. When I could not get or find about 5 of the dead fishes, I asked him to come out and find them in the rocks and remove them, he said, no need they will disintegrate. How true is this. <... if small biomass, this laziness can be tolerated...> Okay, so I just called the fish guy and he is coming out to my house this afternoon, should he be removing the dead eels (I would think so) and checking the water? Please advise. <... I maintained such systems (we had the largest service company on the planet) for about two decades... You should shop around for someone else. Bob Fenner> 

Bloated Moray? I have a Jewel Moray Eel that is 7-8 years old. The eel has been in my tank for 2 years now. Within the last 3 weeks the eel has put on a lot of weight in the stomach area, I only feed once or twice a week and everything has been fine up to now. I'm wondering if it's pregnant? bloated? The eel still moves around and eats but it looks like it's going to burst. <Might be a gut blockage... I would cut way back on feeding it... just some food, once a week> The eel is 20" and tankmates are triggers, lionfish, harlequin tusk in a 125g. and all my water is perfect. Thank you for any advice to save my underwater friend. Tracey <If the blockage continues, I would add a level teaspoon of Epsom Salt per ten actual gallons of water to the system. Bob Fenner> 

Sick Zebra Moray Eel My firm has had a Zebra Moray Eel now for several months and a couple of weeks ago I noticed some white blotches (which looked somewhat like scars) on his skin. He had been eating his shrimp well previous to this discovery (3 X a week - which I realize is probably too many times from reading the other entries), but all of a sudden he has decided that he is not interested in his food anymore, and has not eaten much, if at all, over the past couple of weeks. Also breathing seems somewhat labored and every now and then his whole body seems to jump or act like it is convulsing (kind-of like a human having the hiccups).  I know we have a service company that comes out 2 times a month and cleans the tank, changes the water, checks the chemical balance of the water, etc., so I don't think that would be what's causing his issues, but please tell me if I am wrong in this assumption.  The Zebra Moray Eel is in the tank with several other fish, but they don't seem to be having any problems since I noticed the spots on the Eel.  Do you think there is any reason to be concerned? We would appreciate any suggestions or treatments you could give us! Thanks!  <Tracy, being that this tank is serviced by an aquarium servicing company, I'm thinking they selected the fish to put into it, correct? If so, I would have them come out and take a look/see. It would be hard to make an accurate diagnosis with seeing the fish. Has anyone been cleaning the glass with an ammonia based cleaner? I'm also curious as to the tank size. James (Salty Dog)> 
Sick Zebra Moray Eel - II
As it turns out, we actually pick out the fish in the tank. The aquarium company just tells us what we can and cannot put in there. Besides the eel, we have the following fish (plus a couple of others that I cannot identify): Square spot Anthias, Speckled Grouper, Royal Dottyback, Longnose Hawkfish, Threadfin Cardinalfish, Ocellaris Anemone fish (Clown Fish); Yellowtail Blue Damselfish, Moon Wrasse, and Purple Tang. I have been told the tank is 180 gallons. Hope this helps!  <Tracy, don't know what kind of filtering system is employed but none the less this tank is exceeding its capacity. The eel, grouper and tang all get quite large. My rule of thumb is one cubic inch (not length) of fish per five gallons of water. When tanks become overcrowded, the chance for disease is heightened. I would ask the aquarium maintenance company if they can remove the eel and treat it at their place for resale. You really need to reduce the fish load. James (Salty Dog)>   

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

Tesselata Eel I have a Tesselata Eel the head has slowly deteriorated down to bone I have had this Eel for 8 month. I've had other eel's and nothing like this has ever happened. I've talked to a few people and none of them have seen anything like this either. It's like he has hole in the head. Do eel's get that?  <I suspect that you are not too far from the mark here... Eel's do get bacterial infections that are very likely linked to a good degree with nutrition, water quality... as the neuromast degenerative condition termed HLLE... More to the point perhaps, what can/did you do to reverse this problem? Improved foods, water chemistry... Bob Fenner>

Snowflake Eel Questions (2/4/05) I have a small snowflake eel, approx 9 inches.  It lives with two other tankmates in a 60gal tank with 50 lbs of not-live rock. My ammonia, nitrites and nitrates are almost non-existent (per a test kit). The pH is 8.2. Both of the other fish are fine but the eel appears to have heavy respiration most of the time. It does eat, a lot, and is active at night but during the day it hides under the sand and pokes its head out every couple of hours. The salinity is low 1.019 and I'm in the process of raising it. <Slowly target 1.024 range.> Should I be concerned with the breathing? <Probably not.> I read in a previous post that approx 60 "breaths" a minute is acceptable, this eel is slightly heavier. <Do you mean "heavy" as in  deep and forceful or "rapid" as in fast? Eels tend to have almost gulping respirations that one may thing is "heavy," but a rate of more than 60 per minute is odd.> Also is it burying itself because it is stresses or just likes the dark. <Eels are also reclusive. They hide most of the time. If it comes out and swims about in the light, it is probably hungry. This is a rather small Snowflake, still young. (Mine has grown from about a foot to two feet in 18 months.) It may just be scared like a young child would be. You did not mention what the tankmates are. Perhaps they are big or aggressive?> Any information would be greatly appreciated. <Your parameters are good. I would not worry too much about heavy (rather than rapid) breathing. If it eats well and comes out sometimes, it is probably fine. I have found that whole krill are great eel food, as are other strips/chunks of meaty seafood. I use the seafood gumbo mix from my local Albertsons. Now that he is as big as he is now, mine will take 3 or 4 3" Silversides with 3 or 4 1.5" krill for dessert every 3-4 days.> Thanks in advance, John <Hope this helps. Steve Allen.>

Zebra Moray sick? Is this aquarist learned? Hi all my fish died yesterday in quick fashion after a few days of a couple of them not eating. <!> I checked all the water reading and they were all fine except maybe the phosphate which was 7.6. <What?! This is incredibly high> I think they died of either velvet disease or Brooklynella disease (I found it hard to distinguish between the two). <... my young friend, these two parasitic diseases are easily told apart> Now my question is that I still have a Zebra eel, anemone and blue starfish left in the tank that all seem to be doing ok. Do these have to be taken out and put into quarantine or do I just wait till something physically seem wrong? Will the disease in the water dissipate over time or will I have to do a complete water change? I have a 420 litre tank with canister filter, protein skimmer with dead coral and shell grit. I'm sorry if any questions or info sounds silly as I'm relatively new to the marine keeping game.  Cheers, Shane <Please read... starting here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mardisease.htm  and on to the many linked files re marine disease... in blue, above. You need (obviously) a good introduction to aquarium keeping, health... Bob Fenner>
- Zebra Moray sick? Is this aquarist learned? Follow-up -
Oops my mistake it was the pH low that was 7.6 not phosphate (side effect of shift-work for my error) and it was Brooklynella disease. sorry for my error.  <Please don't apologize to me... apologize to your fish. A pH of 7.6 is quite likely the single culprit, and not a parasitic disease that did in your fish if it stayed in that range for any time. You really should address that issue before you also lose the eel. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marphalk.htm > Shane <Cheers, J -- >

Eye Growths on Fimbriated Eel 12/29/04 Hello, I have a question for you in regard to our eel.  Here is the background on him: Our eel was sold to us as a "yellow headed eel," but as I have researched him on the internet, he appears to really be a Gymnothorax fimbriatus, although his spots are larger than most of the pictures.  We have had the eel for approximately 2? years and he lives in a 75 gallon SeaClear System II tank.  His only tankmate is a 3 inch trigger, which looks like a Rhinecanthus aculeatus, except he has no blue markings.  The eel usually eats every day, although he takes three- to four-day breaks at times (we know he is hungry when he swims to the top during the feeding of the trigger). <All sounds fine, although your could easily reduce feedings.> Here are the specifics of the tank:  Temperature = 74 f/ ph = 8.4/ Nitrate 100(yikes!)/ ammonia = between 0 and .25/ Nitrite = 0/ Specific Gravity 1.021  For good or for bad, this is about what our tank conditions have been for as long as we have had him. <Yikes is right!  Home made coil denitrators, or even more simply a static sand bed in a bucket or other el-cheapo container are very effective and inexpensive.  Search WWM or the web for info.> Yesterday, when we went to feed him, we were shocked to see "growths" (?!) coming from behind the back of his eyeballs (the eyes themselves appear to be fine).  One is small, about the size of a bee bee and whitish-pink.  The other is about twice as large, reddish-pinker, and more lumpy/bulbous.  His breathing is normal and his behavior appears normal.  We immediately did a water change (about 15%), let it go for the night, and in the morning went to our LFS. In the morning, the growths were a little smaller. <Hard to guess what this might be, although since the fish seems to behaving normally I wouldn't panic.  I would suggest adding variety to your fishes diet if you don't already do so.  Avoid any freshwater foods (especially live feeders) and avoid krill.  Silversides, squid and Mysis are all good choices as are prepared "carnivore formulas".  Supplementing with vitamins or injecting/stuffing foods with Nori, Spirulina or other vitamin source is helpful too.  (silversides are easily stuffed/injected).> The LFS said that it sounded like a sinus infection (?) due to high nitrates and to do 2-3 50% water changes over the next week.  My question is: does this sound correct to you?  I have found nothing relating to this on the internet and do not know what to do to help our eel.  Could you advise please?  We are very worried about him.  Thank you for any help you can give!  Kelly <Searching for "Fish Sinuses" is as useless as seeking "Frog's hairs".  Neither exist.  I do agree with a couple of aggressive water changes since water quality could be contributing to the Eel's problem.  Unless the condition worsens, I would continue to perform reasonable water changes (20% a month after the initial biggies) and ensure a varied diet.  Best Regards.  AdamC.>
Eye Growths on Fimbriated Eel (additional info) 12/29/04
Sorry--two more thoughts for you:  Our eel is about 24 inches long.  And regarding his eye growths, he rubs the larger one on the sand or against the rocks.  <This is no surprise, but is of concern since an abrasion may lead to secondary infection.  If it is possible, please send a digital picture.  Best Regards.  Adam>

Sick Moray We have had a snowflake eel for about a year and a half, and he was about a year and a half old when we got him.   He is about 24". We have a 150 gallon FOWLR (with a little coral in the refugium/sump). The water gravity/salinity is around 1.021, nitrates are around 20ppm, nitrites 0, ammonia 0.   About 5 weeks ago we noticed that the eel had lost his normally voracious appetite.  We waited for a week thinking maybe it was some sort of hibernation behavior.   Then we started noticing red/bloody patches appearing on him, at first lightly and then more severe.  He started turning pale and breathing hard.  Although the water quality was not that bad, we began doing bi-weekly water changes of about 20%, thinking maybe there was something undetected in the water.  An aside note: in the sump, we have some polyps and some other coral, about 20 small feather dusters, 15 small starfish, a *lot* of Chaetomorpha Sp. Algae, and a few snails that still seem to be thriving. Now, five weeks later, the eel hasn't eaten anything, he is noticeably emaciated, and he is breathing harder.  The red "scabs" and streaks are prominent, and he is faded.  We don't know what to do.  There are only three other fish in the tank, and their appetites seem to be intact. We're at a point where we don't want the eel to suffer, and we have no idea how to treat him. We also noticed a couple of growths that looked suspiciously like small worms protruding out of his skin along the side of his body, but we weren't sure if these might have been small pieces of skin sloughing off from the sores. Just a little history that may or may not be pertinent:   1.  We purchased a new RO water purifier a few weeks before the problem occurred.  I've noticed a film that appears on newly filtered water while it's still in the plastic water container (before mixing it and adding it to the tank), but when I test the water with a TDS meter it shows 0 ppm.  The water tests absolutely soft as well, and I treat it with a Ph buffer before mixing the salt and adding it to the tank. Could there be chemicals from the DI part of the system that might be causing the eel problems (the film on the water) and that isn't detectable by a TDS meter? 2.  We also purchased a new batch of salt right around the time that we purchased the RO/DI system.  Is it possible that the salt may have contaminates in it or possibly have been prepared/fortified improperly? FYI, the last water change out, I went to a pet store to buy pre-mixed saltwater, but the eel has not improved.  The next couple of change outs, I'll probably continue buy water from the pet store to see if it makes a difference.  At this point, though, I doubt the eel is going to last much longer. Any advice you might have to offer would be greatly appreciated. Thank you. >>>Greetings Cathy, Sounds like a gram negative bacterial infection to me Cathy. More interesting than that though, is what could have caused it? Overcrowding, parasitic activity or poor water conditions are often to blame. However it doesn't sound like you have these issues. If those "worm like things" are actually worms, and not sloughing skin though, then you have your answer. In this case the reddening is a secondary bacterial infection, and the parasite is the primary problem.  Moray eels in general are EXTREMELY hardy, and in my 20 years of doing this, I've never seen a sick one, let alone a snowflake which are as hardy as any of them. Anyway, as I said a gram negative bacterial infection is probable based on your description of the symptoms. If this is the case than an appropriate antibiotic would be a drug such as tri sulfa. Kanamycin, neomycin, may also work. These are very powerful, and you need to follow the directions carefully, and use a hospital tank. If a parasite is also present, (which you need to determine) then you need to manually remove the parasites as the first step. Then a commercial anti parasite med such as "Clout" should be administered first in the hospital tank. After that, follow up with the antibiotic. Good luck Jim<<<

Sick banded moray eel/red sores I have a 3 1/2 ft. I believe a Banded Moray eel. <Gymnothorax zebra?> I recently did not add enough salt to his tank and burned him w/ the fresh water? <Not likely> He now has red bloody spots around his face & neck approx 4 of them, also very white around the face as well. I have since corrected the problem w/his salinity and ph is ok as well. It has been about a week since this has happened. Have you ever heard of this before? Thank you for your response. Stacey Swanson <Have seen moray eels with burns from poor water chemistry, physical damage from scratches on decor, jumping out... if yours is still alive after a week it will likely cure up. Bob Fenner>
He's a tough guy, and is still alive and kicking!
<Ah, good> Thanks for the quick response! <Welcome. Bob Fenner> Stacey Swanson :)

Zebra Moray Ills? Hello Bob, <Hi, MikeD here today> I have two Zebra Moray Eels in a 125 UK Gallon tank. One eel which is of 2.5ft which I have had for 18mths, the other is of 18inch and was recently introduced in to the tank just over 3weeks ago. The only other tank mate is a six inch snowflake eel.<Shouldn't be a problem here with the combination> The tank is well filtered with a large prism protein skimmer. All chemical levels are okay. Ammonia 0ppm, Nitrite 0ppm, Nitrate 20ppm, ph 8.o<OK> I have a cave made of gutter piping imbedded in the coral sand with four outlets for the eels to live.<Fine as long as they will use it. Keep in mind the zebra morays get quite large!> The larger zebra moray eel has not fed for 5days, paying no interest in food at all, and for most of today laying upside down with his head out of the cave.<This isn't unusual, and actually normal for morays being fed quite heavily> After the lights went off tonight he/she swam out of his cave and I noticed his girth was swollen to nearly twice its normal size, from behind his/her head to his rectum. I had noticed over the last week or two his girth was slightly larger but not to the concerning extent of the above). His respiration is also slightly more erratic.<THIS is sign for concern. You may want to consider quarantining this fish for treatment> The two zebra eels seem to get on very well, swimming and laying together most of the time. Could this be a pregnancy!<Possible, but not likely, given their small size.> surely not in such a short time?<LOL! Even fish can react strongly if one is a "10" **grin** I have tried to look up on the internet but have not found any information on this subject.<IF it's pregnancy, they may well spawn for you, but rearing has not yet been accomplished on a home level due to the long planktonic elver stage. My suggestion would be to wait for a day or two, and if the larger fish doesn't show signs of improvement, remove it to a quarantine/hospital tank and treat for constipation, possibly a bacterial infection> Your prompt help would be most appreciated in this hour of need. <Hope this helps a little> Many Thanks Darren Adams

Sick Zebra Moray Eel <Hi, MikeD here> I have a 2 ft eel that up to very recently was doing well. I found him today breathing rapidly with his head leaning on a rock (left side) and with only his right gill pouch protruding out more than I ever noticed before.<That's not good> My first thought was that he has something caught in his throat as he usually breathes evenly through both pouches.  When he tried to move positions, I noticed that his body quivered and like one would with a chill or seizure. I fed him 4 days ago 3-4 silver slides but not interested in eating now.<This is part of your problem....I'm surprised it ate them at all. These are specialized crustacean predators, requiring a diet of shrimp, lobster, squid and crabs> I had him for about a month or so and his diet consists of these fish (silver sides).<OK...this is part of the problem. These are an oily, fatty fish not normally suggested for these> That was the store told me to feed him.<Ouch! So much for stores. God only knows how long they were feeding it these. He lives in a 120 gallon aquarium with 2 angels 1 squirrel fish and a clownfish.<Good combination.> Occasionally the small black angel fish (about 2-3 inches) has tried to peck at him but otherwise there is no stress from other tank mates.<Do you have enough LR so that he can stay completely hidden, with just his head exposed?> He was well until recently and the only change I made before his condition changed was to do a water change and I expected that this would improve the environment not make things worse.<Likewise> The PH is 7.9-8.0 . Ammonia and nitrites is zero and nitrates is 5   Could this be due to some bacterial infection from  bad fish food, bad chemistry or diet issues?<All three is possible and likely. My only suggestion would be try a good antibiotic regimen in a quarantine tank and make a trip to the supermarket for a diet change. Raw shrimp ought to be eagerly welcomed if it can be tempted to eat.> What can I do to help him?<Keep your fingers crossed too.> I appreciate any help that you could offer. Linda.
Sick Zebra Moray
<Hi, Mike D here> Thanks for your speedy response. I wish I had received the instructions from the store on the crustacean diet at the outset.<me too> I tried to give some raw shrimp to give to the eel but he unfortunately was not interested in eating.<That's not good> I have a lot of live rock creating hiding places but nothing enclosed like a cave where there is only one way in and out.<Many people bury PVC pipe in the substrate so that the eel can use it like a tunnel with just the head protruding, the normal position for them.> I did take notice that the little black angel is very aggressive towards the eel and took every opportunity to nip at his body. I did not think that this was so much a problem.<It isn't. Many fish will "mob" a moray whenever they see them out, much like crows with a hawk.> The eel still moves around the tank but not swimming as before but rather on the gravel dragging his body (body appears stiff).<Swimming wasn't a good sign either, but it sounds to have gotten worse>  I wonder if  he has sustained a bunch of wounds from this fish?<Doubtful...they make wallets from this tough hide, plus they secrete a very heavy slime coat> I did remove the aggressive fish from the tank.<put the angel back and remove the eel for treatment> Can you tell me what kind of antibiotic product I should obtain for the tank? Should I be adding anything else to the tank?<I suggest NEVER treat you fish in your main tank. It can destroy the bacterial balance, causing the whole tank to cycle at times, create a bacterial bloom that's often fatal, and/or some products, like copper will actually chemically bond to the LR and substrate. I suggest keeping a 10 or 20 gal. tank around to press into service as a hospital tank (do a search under "hospital tank" and you should find a wealth of information on filters and such. A good antibiotic is Nitrofurazone and Furazolidone>  like that stress coat product?< Probably not necessary as eels secrete a copious amount of slime already.> Thanks so very much for your help!!<The very best of luck to you> Linda

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 >>

-Cletus the slack jawed eel-  I have a 2' snowflake eel. I notice that is jaw is crooked. <Have you been abusing your eel?!> What would cause that? <Haha, I've seen some like that, even in the ocean. I wouldn't worry about it unless it appears that he has trouble closing/opening the mouth. You might also want to contact your local orthodontist ;) -Kevin>  Thank You Brian

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

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

- Sick Snowflake - Can someone please help me? <I can try.> I have a snowflake eel that is dying.  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 -- >

- Quick Moray Death -  Hi folks,  First, thank you for all of the time and effort. Your site has been an invaluable resource. My question concerns the (surprisingly) rapid demise of a Goldentail moray I added to my tank recently.  Background: I have a 40 gallon set-up with a good amount of live rock aquascaping, plenty of hiding places. Two powerheads, protein skimmer, Emperor BioWheel carbon filter, and an external UV sterilizer to assist in disease control. The last piece I added to help crash and hold down the Tomite population after a lengthy and ultimately unsuccessful fight with velvet. All that remained were 6 hermit crabs and a dozen snails.   Since I've invested a good deal of money and time, and since the tank is otherwise very healthy (well-established biofilter, lots of natural critters/foods on the rock, <5ppm nitrate, no nitrite or ammonia, 8.3 pH), I opted after months of letting it go fallow to start up again slowly, with a small moray and one maybe two fish. Idea was, with the help of the UV filter, to never let the disease take hold again by limiting the stress factors and number of available hosts.  I got a 3.5" raccoon butterfly to clear the many Aiptasia that had developed (which he did in a matter of hours several weeks ago), and was all set for the moray. I ordered a Goldentail (Gymnothorax miliaris), and after letting him settle into the fish store for nearly a week, I picked him up. Despite breathing a bit hard in the store (i.e. visibly harder than a Whitemouth moray in the same tank), he'd outwardly looked fine.  I followed all instructions I read here re water (78 degrees, 1.024 salinity), tank set up (well sealed, secured rockwork), acclimatization, etc. Didn't dip him or anything else extra-stressing. He had great hiding spots which he took to immediately, and all was well. The butterfly pretty much left him alone and v.v., and I left him alone for a few days with dimmed lights.  The problem is, I noticed almost right away that he was breathing strangely. His mouth was opening wider than I was used to seeing (in stores and while diving), and periodically, esp. when even moderately stressed (person moving in the room, etc.), he would seem to gasp or cough, sometimes to the point of violently gagging. I noticed also that only one of his breathing pouches seemed to be working well, while the other barely had any flow and even seemed a bit swollen. This continued for days, and although he got slightly more active, and his baseline breathing settled down some, he continued the coughing/gagging, and never showed any interest in food. Finally, after about week, I called the fish store, reminding them about my special order and my mention of the breathing in the shop, and asking if the gagging it was a big deal. They said, no, it was not uncommon.  Since I saw no discoloration of the eel, it was not trying to escape at all, and showed no other sings of stress... and since the water conditions remained good... they weren't worried. Then, the next morning, he was dead, in the same position I left him that night. I'm thinking I was sold a sick eel.  Questions:  -- Have you heard of this kind of gagging behavior, and if so, any ideas as to what it might have been? <Have head of, but never witnessed it. No idea at all what would cause such behaviour... would have to see it happening to make a guess.>  -- During my bout with velvet, in the absence of a quarantine tank, I medicated the display with Ruby Reef's Rally (copper free, uses Acriflavine, Aminoacridine, .24% formalin) -- could residuals have impacted the eel after nearly 100% worth of water changes and months of carbon filtering since the medication? <Possible, but really doubtful if you've been running carbon for months.>  -- Is there anything I could have done, or should do next time, differently? <Yes... if there's any doubt when you see the fish at the store [and sometimes when there's not concern], you should leave the fish there, even if it's special order. Put a deposit on it if you must, but let the LFS eat it if things don't go well... no reason you should absorb the cost of poorly selected livestock.> I still want an eel and can't bear to see another larger population of fish get wiped out...  BTW, by contrast, the butterfly (a species often mentioned as being sensitive to water conditions) continues to thrive, even eating out my hand.... <Out of all of the butterflies available, the Raccoon is one of the toughest.>  Thanks much  <Cheers, J -- > 
- Quick Moray Death, Follow-up - 
Thanks for your perspective. <My pleasure.>  FYI, the store had two more in stock and replaced it sight unseen. <Excellent.> They agreed that he was probably a goner under any circumstances, so they absorbed the cost as if I'd left him with them for a few more days. <Glad to hear it.>  The new one is (and was in the store) noticeably different. More active, curious, and responsive... and its breathing is far more relaxed, even when swimming. Plus, it's nearly fully golden, which is a bonus. All good. <Indeed.>  Cheers,  Brent  <Cheers, J -- > 

- Mysterious Moray Eel Death - Dear Sirs: I've posted a thread regarding my Black-Edged Moray Eel and his mystery disease on a few fish boards.   For your reference, following is one of those threads: http://www.predatoryfish.net/ibforums/index.php?act=ST&f=25&t=43763&s=075e7de76595133d63615f8a2ea24a70 Any thoughts as to what the problem could be? <I think the most likely answer is a tumor, sorry to say.> Unfortunately, I don't think my moray is going to make it but, perhaps future owners of morays who encounter a similar problem may be able to save theirs. <Not sure this is a 'curable' problem or one that can even be diagnosed in advance.> Thanks. Richard. <Cheers, J -- >

What's The Deal About Copper With Eels? Hi, after reviewing several other questions, I'm still not sure that I have one basic question answered fully. Can you put copper in a tank with a moray eel? <No, it is deadly to most eels in a non-chelated form! And I would not use copper in a display tank> I have a 90-gallon fish only tank with a 20 gallon wet dry sump.... housed in the tank are a 4" miniatus grouper, a med. Foxface, a med. Bird wrasse and a 1' Goldentail moray eel. <Wooahh! Quite an animal load for this tank...Larger quarters are in the future, I hope?> After adding the bird wrasse 10 days ago, he's come down with ich or some sort of parasite.... a freshwater dip revealed several things falling off of him. <Sounds like a parasite...FW dips can be remarkably effective in attacking parasites...> I do NOT have the capability of setting up a quarantine tank for introduction or for disease treatment, so I'm left hearing several different things about copper use in an aquarium housing in an eel. Some say NO SeaCure, use CopperSafe. Some say NO copper period.... My first question is.... can I use SeaCure copper for 14 days at .15? What about the other type of copper? If you do not condone any copper use... What is your suggestion? <Well, as mentioned above, chelated copper is your safest bet if you go the copper route. Freshwater dips are a safe bet...Hope this clears up things a bit...Regards, Scott F.>

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 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

Zebra Moray (6-11-03)  I have a 17-18" Gymnomuraena zebra living in a 55 tank Who has developed white specks along his body. Is this disease? <If they look like little grains of sugar on him it is most likely disease. Look here and see if you can find anything helpful: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/parasiti.htm .> History: Tank: Been cycled for nearly a year. 25-30lbs. Live rock. W/D SUMP. And Canister filter. Feeding. Recently switched from small daily feeding to twice weekly medium/large feeding. Additions. Only 5-6lbs live rock. <Some thing may have come in on the rock.> Tank Mates. No new additions, 4 small predatory fish. Any ideas? Thanks for your help And as I've stated in a previous email, Great book. Jake Dean <Hope this helps, Cody.> Dallas. I was the author of the above post http://www.wetwebmedia.com/zebramfa.htm and wanted to follow up. As I watched him daily the white spots, in a sort of ameba shape, covered 99% of his body and within days became recessed bruised and bloody sores. I took him to the LFS to which they said "This is bad" (comments of a belt or a wrist watch band didn't sit well with me) "but try this" - Kanacyn, "If that does not work let me know and we will switch meds." I treated him in a hospital tank for 25-30 min.s. at a time, every other day, and cutting the dosage in half then returning him to his tank. It didn't work. Triggers waiting for a meal started nipping at his rotting and bloody tail. I researched to next Med. and decided on Triple Sulfa. Once daily in the hospice tank, 1-1.5 hours, three rounds. Within two days his activity was back to normal and he was eating. That was nearly three weeks ago, he is doing great. He has barely visible scars and his tail is slowly retaking it's original shape and color. thanks -Jake
Sick Zebra Moray (8-6-03)
As I watched him daily the white spots, in a sort of ameba shape, covered 99% of his body and within days became recessed bruised and bloody sores. I took him to the LFS to which they said "This is bad" (comments of a belt or a wrist watch band didn't sit well with me) "but try this" - Kanacyn, "If that does not work let me know and we will switch meds." I treated him in a hospital tank for 25-30 min.s. at a time, every other day, and cutting the dosage in half then returning him to his tank. It didn't work. Triggers waiting for a meal started nipping at his rotting and bloody tail. I researched to next Med. and decided on Triple Sulfa. Once daily in the hospice tank, 1-1.5 hours, three rounds. Within two days his activity was back to normal and he was eating. That was nearly three weeks ago, he is doing great. He has barely visible scars and his tail is slowly retaking it's original shape and color.<Thank you for the follow up, it is always nice to hear what happened.  Good to hear of success!  You will love this guy, I have 1 myself and he is my favorite.  Mine is very tame and will wrap around my arm and take food from my hand at feeding time.  He would appreciate a bigger tank in the near future though.  Cody> thanks -Jake

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

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

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

Eel woes revisited 4/15/03 Thanks again, Can you refer me to the person who wrote the following to you guys. <alas, no... we do not save a single e-mail addy and even cannot refer to queries as little as one day old... they are cleared as soon as they are answered. Its hard enough just keeping up with the replies let alone a database of addys (besides... we have no desire/intent to keep or share a mailing list: privacy for all)> She seems to be having the same problem that I am having. If you can't give me her e-mail  you can give her my e-mail address, I would really appreciate it. name: Ron location: New Jersey I want to see if she figured out what was wrong. The following was at http://www.wetwebmedia.com/moraydisfaqs.htm on the bottom of the page.

Sick eel... Hi Bob, <Anthony Calfo in your service> I would greatly appreciate your advise. I've had my Gymnothorax funebris for about two months, and I thought he was doing great until I noticed some dark gray spotting on the lower portion of his body and fin. These spots almost look bruise like. He eats like a pig, and I do my water changes weekly. Unfortunately, Charlie did escape briefly about one week after coming to live with me. I'm wondering if this episode could be the cause of this problem, <quite possibly... eels are prone to true fungal infections and similar looking bacterial infections.> and what (if anything) can I do? He is in a 125 g tank with live rock and several pieces of coral.<little or nothing to be done in the display tank. A QT tank with a Furan based medication may be necessary if the patches do not abate within a few days or if they become more turbid. Do be alert and prepared to remove to QT promptly if necessary, bacterial infections with scaleless fishes like your eel can be quite difficult to navigate/cure> Thank you so much, April <best regards, Anthony> Ok. back to my eel. I am trying Maracyn can't tell if it is working, <it is a useless and outdated medication... gram-positive Erythromycin. Even if effective, most bacterial infections in fishes are gram-negative> it has been 6 days now. Thinking of trying Spectrogram by Aquatronics, how long should I wait? <you must always finish the full antibiotic treatment (5-7 days)> I tried to look real close with a flashlight at the spotting and I thought maybe it wasn't bacterial or fungal at all. But, maybe it was a break down in the slime coat. Do morays regenerate this slime coat if the slime coat is damaged? <indeed... but they also get skin infections easily. Please be sure to only medicate in a QT tank as the antibiotics will wreck your displays bio-filters. Use a broad spectrum antibiotic next if necessary> Thanks once again. <best regards, Anthony>

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

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

Zebra Moray Eel Looking ill help required Hi I am quite concerned about my 2.5ft Zebra moray eel over the last couple of days he has been spending a lot of time laying with his whole body upside down with his head flat on the floor of his cave. <Not a good behavior> He seems to be eating fine on his present menu of tiger prawns and the water tests, aeration and circulation are all good. <Real values please> One thing I have noticed is that his breathing is a little much shorter but more rapid, I may be worrying about nothing but could you just confirm if this seems normal. <Moray breathing rates can/do vary> His tank mates are a sail fin tang and a French angel in an 85 UK gallon tank. <A bit crowded... I would check on the alkalinity (aka alkaline reserve) of the water. Easy for small volumes with large bioloads to lose such in short order> As always your help would be much appreciated Kind Regards Darren Adams <Cheers, Bob Fenner>
Re: Zebra Morey Eel Looking ill help required
Thanks for your reply, the water readings are ammonia 0, nitrate 40ppm, <Would like to see the nitrates kept below 10 ppm> nitrite 0, and ph 8.4, I always us RO water and do a water change of 7-10 UK gallons a week, would there still be alkaline in the water. <Likely so, gauging from your high, constant pH.> The eel is still swimming round at night, but again today he was laying upside down. The tang is just 3 inches and the angel 5 inches. If you think I should test for alkaline it will get a kit tomorrow but if that is fine do you have any other suggestions. <Perhaps to try changing the diet a bit (to other crustaceans) and maybe augmenting this with a HUFA, vitamin and iodide mix (available through TMC in the UK... by Tropic Marin, Microvert. Bob Fenner> Kind Regards Darren

Re: please help quickly!! hey guys-     it appears my Hawaiian dragon moray is dying. i have him in a 265g tank. he is lying out inj full view upside down, losing colors, mouth shut and barely any gill movement. ph is about 8.1 and my ammonia alert reads safe and the salinity is .024, temp 81F there are no obvious signs of disease or parasite. he lost his appetite about 2 weeks ago and has not eaten since. i don't know what to do please help, Justin <Yikes. Sorry for the delayed response (have been out for a few days). First, I would not trust the Ammonia Alert... do get/use a test kit in addition. I do hope you tried a massive water change here... there might have been some sort of poisoning involved here. What is the history of the care of this animal? What have you been feeding it? What other organisms are being kept with it (gives clues)? Bob Fenner>
Re: please help quickly!! Moray health
bob-      i had bought him 3 months ago. he has always been healthy, i fed him shrimp w vitamin supplements for the first month and a half, then switched to squid, a which point he stopped eating about two weeks ago. the eel has died. Tankmates were 5 asst. damsels, Koran angel, red hermit, blue spiny lobster and a black long spine urchin. if you have any ideas please let me know, i would like to know what caused his death so i can learn from this sad experience. p.s. all other fish and inverts are alive and well. <Sorry to hear of your loss... this is one of my favorite species of marine fishes... always exciting to collect in Hawai'i. Don't know what the cause is, but would vary the diet with all morays. Bob Fenner>

Zebra Moray Looking ill I have come home from work today to fine my 2.5ft Zebra moray lent against a rock with only one of his breathing pouches working he seemed to feed okay last night and I have never noticed this before. Is this normal and if not how should I treat it <Likely nothing... Do what you do to check water quality, assure that there is adequate aeration, circulation... Otherwise, I would not treat this fish. Morays, and other eels sometimes just seem to "breath from one side". Bob Fenner> Your help would be much appreciated Darren  
Re: Zebra Moray Looking ill
Thanks for your reply I have checked the water and its all okay except .25 on the nitrite test, <This is a little troubling... is your biological filtration sufficient? I would slow down to stopping feeding till this reads zero> ph 8.4, ammonia 0 and nitrate 20, the tank also has good aeration. I can not remember whether I have ever seen him breath though the right hand air pocket is it usual that they are some times made redundant and should I do anything if he does not start to use this again, he seems slightly agitated and not his normal self. <I'd chalk that up to the nitrites... or rather, the source of the nitrites> I am very worried as I have only had him a couple of week and everything seemed okay till today. <Do boost your biological filtration. Please read here re: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/setup/filtration/biological/biofiltr.htm Bob Fenner> Your help again would be much appreciated, Darren

Moray With Cloudy Eye Hello! It's been awhile since I've written - hope all is well with you! I have a large (and growing) 2'9" peppered moray eel currently residing in a 75g with a medium red Volitans lionfish. Seems happy and is eating well. A few months ago he came down with what I believe was Popeye. I say believe because I've never seen it in person and am unsure what exactly it looks like. <Do look into the disease FAQs on the wetwebmedia.com site for more information> A series of water changes over  the course of  a week cleared it up 100%. Now he has it again. Two days ago I noticed his eye looked cloudy/puffy again. I decided to see how it looked in the morning and go from there. It looked the same, so I fed him, tested the water, and everything checked out great. This evening however his eye appears to have sank into his head (is this possible or am I seeing things?) and he has some sort of off white cloudy looking swelling going on near that eye on the top of his head. <Well- this can be caused by an injury (if it's just one eye) that may have become infected. In the absence of other symptoms, I'd probably rule out Oodinium or Cryptocaryon, but do check the wetwebmedia.com resources for a confirmation> I did a 30% water change after testing and again, water param.s were fine. Ammonia/nitrite were zero. Nitrates were 30ppm (a little higher than usual, but not enough to cause a problem like this right?). <Well- declining water quality is often implicated in infections with morays- it's a slight possibility> pH is 8.2 and water temp is 78. He is still acting completely normal, and I'm at a loss as to what has  suddenly gone wrong with him lately. Why two outbreaks? What am I doing wrong? I do bi-monthly water changes but I'm going to bump that up to weekly and see how things play out. Any other suggestions? I have had this guy for over two years and he's a part of the family - I don't want to lose him. Thanks for any advice you can offer! <I'd definitely look into doing smaller, more frequent water changes to keep up the water quality. Use aggressive chemical filtration from PolyFilters and carbon to keep up high water quality with reduced organics. I'd consider treating the fish with an antibiotic in a treatment tank if this condition worsens (stay away from non-chelated copper medications), or do investigate the use of Epsom salt in the treatment tank as a possible way to reduce the swelling. I think the first step is to review your husbandry procedures, as you indicated, and to execute procedures to increase water quality to levels even better than you already have achieved.  Hope that these ideas help. Good luck! Scott F.>

Sick Eel My zebra moray is approx. 2ft. long. it has developed two spots on its head. They are similar in size and location. there is a spot over each eye. The spots are red and meaty looking. they are raised and about the size of a BB if not a little larger. can you help me figure out what's wrong? I need some insight on how to cure this problem. Thank you, Terry Haymore  <Hi Terry, I suspect water quality (nitrates) first, so please test your water parameters, feeding, filtration, etc. If you find nitrates are not the problem, write us back with your tank stats so we can narrow this down for you. I would start with water quality. There is much more on Zebra Morays at: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/zebramor.htm Water quality is key to this eel.  Hope this helps you, Craig>
Re: Sick Zebra moray eel
Craig, <Hi Terry> The distributor called me today and faxed a picture taken from a marine atlas. The spots on my eels head is caused from over feeding. I would like to thank you for your assistance. Terry Haymore <Ahh, just as I thought!  Overfeeding is contributing to poor water quality.  If you test your water I bet you get a high nitrate reading....change water, maintain and upgrade filtration, perform substantial water changes to get those wastes down as they are irritating your Eels sensory organs. IOW, burning in urine, feces and decaying food.  Ouch!  Good thing it's a weekend!  Go for it!  Craig>

Gymnothorax favagineus Hi Mr. Fenner, Stumbled onto the Wet Web Media site this morning in desperation for help in treating my eel. <Glad for the first... the second...> Tessy, our Gymnothorax Favagineus has been with us for some nine years, and until recently has been extremely healthy. We have housed her in a 125 acrylic aquarium this entire stint with the same filtration, of undergravel filtration with 850 powerheads, Eheim filtration, with surface extractor. Tessy, is about 3 and a half feet long, is fed once every other week, to every third week. Her diet consists of squid only, she has had tank mates in the past but since eating a beautiful grouper about six months ago (they were together for years?), has been by herself. I removed a four inch in diameter by 3+ foot piece of PVC that she liked to be in, but looked bad in the aquarium. <Okay> That's the long story, here's the problem. Though she still is eating regularly, but sparsely, she seems to be choking on the second or third squid piece. More noticeable, and a huge concern is externally, she possess a bumpy mucus like membrane, about 12inches towards the middle part of her body. Also, her head area has shed her outer most layers of skin, and showed signs of hemorrhage/bleeding. This has been for about six weeks, and I have had an aquarium business before, so I am somewhat familiar with marine fish. This one has stumped me, so I'm in dire need of direction. <Ahh, could be... a resultant infection from...? Getting stabbed swallowing the grouper?... A resulting condition from a lack of nutrition?... an exclusive diet of squid can't be all that good for your Tesselata... A result of some of the above, none of it, stress from having its home/PVC pipe removed....?> In treatment of Tessy, since I don't like to medicate, I thought first to add some aloe Vera based Kordon product, then this past week I gave a go of the Melafix Treatment for seven days. This seems to have helped some, lets say it has "stabilized", but not cured the problem. I did a water change, @ 25% this morning, I use a nitrate reducer, have to do frequent water changes, bi-monthly due to continued elevated nitrate levels. PH is good 8.2, temp. @ 80, add buffer to raise PH, salinity @ 1.022.  <All good things for a large captive aquatic animal in a small space... might lower the temperature a bit... to among other things increase gas solubility, lower metabolism...> Seems to also be looking for additional oxygen, been breathing labored. Any help to this problem would be appreciated, going to try another week of Melafix? Thanks, Blake <Do lower the temperature, add a long airstone at least along one side of the 125... maybe another powerhead... if you have a canister filter, I'd rig this up with a couple, three units of Chemipure or equivalent... And I'd do all this ASAP. Bob Fenner>

Mexican dragon moray with White-Spot Bob, I am the proud owner of a Mexican dragon moray eel, recently I introduced a lion fish approx 6" in length not as large as my eel, with him was introduced white spot which I have now cleared with the use of a copper compound,  <WOW... you are VERY lucky not to have lost the eel and the Lion. They are both scaleless and quite sensitive to organic dyes and copper! The election to use it was very ill-advised> the rest of my fish are eating but my eel has now not eaten for 3 weeks <I am not surprised... at least some copper poisoning here. Please do a large water change or two and use PolyFilters to dilute residual copper ASAP. What's worse is that for having dosed the tank, your calcareous media (gravel, shells, coral decorations) have been nearly ruined (absorbed copper and they will continue to leach). Keep the PolyFilters in and you might be fine with the gravel/sand/rocks. BUT... please!!! research and apply proper quarantine procedure for all new fishes. You could buy have a dozen QT tanks for the price of one dead dragon moray eel. It is critical my friend. Please read up on it in the archives hear at WWM (articles, FAQs, etc)> I have contacted the vendor they are not worried about him not eating but I am not only for the monetary value but we are really attached to him.  <they can go many weeks without food> I am running an Eheim pro II a protein skimmer (red sea)  <do consider upgrading this skimmer if you are not getting a full cup of dark skimmate daily from this unit. You should in any predatory fish tank. Do review this skimmers reputation on the message boards (and in archives) for insight and possible modifications> I have an 8 watt UV filter which I have just replaced the Lamp after 5 months initial use,  <use heavy carbon and fine floss prefilter for this unit to work at all... very slow flow too> I use water produced from an RO unit.  <aerate and buffer this water always before use> I have in the tank, 1 tang, 1 lionfish, 1 eel and a porcupine in a 180 litre tank. I carry out regular tests on water quality and am showing good levels what else can I do to make him feed. <time and as above> Please help me Chris Head <best of luck, Anthony>
Re: Mexican dragon moray with White-Spot
Dear Rob, I just thought I would let you know that my Mexican Dragon has now eaten, <Thank goodness. Good news> I have got the copper levels to zero it has taken several water changes to achieve this but I have got there. I contacted the retailer who suggested using copper as a treatment and they had no idea that copper was catastrophic when treating for white spot with an eel in the tank, <What? Ridiculous> they even tried to cover their tracks by phoning one of their suppliers to establish their treatment and were told that it was not advisable. <Of course... at least their supplier is/was "in the know"> Thank you for all your help and in future I think that they will think twice before recommending this type of treatment with scaleless fish, you might have saved a lot of distraught people like myself. I shall if you don't object contact you with any further problems that I get with my tank for your invaluable help. P.S. Even my wife is happy with the eel and that is saying a lot. Chris Head <Real good. Thanks for the heads-up. Bob Fenner>

Treating Eels? (carefully) I have completed the freshwater dip and now the trigger is being treated in the QT (with copper based meds).  <very well...kudos to you for the effort to use a QT tank!> My question is should I dip and hospitalize the two eels?  <hmmm... while I am categorically strict about QT and medicating (if necessary) all new, stressed, sick or infectious fishes... the eels offer exceptions. In this case (Ich) they are not know to carry Ich but rarely if ever. They are also sensitive to FW dips and should not ever be exposed to copper as scaleless fishes. In a nutshell... if they are not showing any signs of disease, leave the trigger in a proper QT for four weeks and the eels in the display. The display without a viable host (and some gravel siphoning in duration) will run fallow. Although no guarantee that a recurrence won't happen... nothing is ever a guarantee... even the trigger with meds will not be rendered pathogenically sterile... parasites will just be reduced to a manageable level> My QT is a 40 gallon (I guess I got room for all of them in there). I read that eels are pretty resistant to ICH but not sure if the ICH will hitch a ride on them until the others get back in the tank.  <not likely... tomites rest in the gravel...hence gravel siphoning> Please advise. Thanks! I also have a 46 gallon soon to be reef (just a neon Pseudochromis, blue devil damsel, a 1 inch yellow tang, about 7 turbo snails, about 8 red legged hermit crabs, a burgundy sea star, a sand sifting sea star, and about 45 lbs of LR with one unidentified mushroom (I guess) and one unidentified polyp (hitched a ride in on some LR from the LFS. I have not had any problems with this system (knock on wood!!!) After reading some FAQ's I will be upgrading my skimmer ASAP. Thanks for all the help. <a pleasure and happy reefing! Kindly, Anthony> Jeff

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

Eel scratching Dear WetWebMedia Crew, <Anthony Calfo in your service> I have a quick question about my eel. I recently (about 2 weeks ago) purchased a chain link moray about 9" long. It is in a 10 gallon quarantine tank with an empty conch shell, two small pieces of live rock, a heater, and small outside power filter. The eel has been eating small pieces of raw shrimp since the second day I had it. Within the past few days, I have noticed the eel seems to be rubbing itself against the shell, the glass, or on the rocks, usually in the head area. It acts as though the gills may be irritated. There are no visible signs of external parasites. I was wondering if maybe there is some parasite that is living in/attached to the gills and this is causing the scratching? If so, what course of action should I take? Thank you. Sincerely, Jason <possibly, but you must be sure before medicating... eels and other scaleless fishes can be quite sensitive to various medications in water. Are you sure that there is absolutely no ammonia, nitrite, nitrate etc.? This could just as easily irritate the gills. If the water quality is confirmed stable, then you may have a parasite infection. Begin medicating with Formalin or Quick cure at half dose for twice the time to be conservative. Look for stabilization or improvement in 3-5 days or be prepared that another cause/course of treatment is in play or should be. Kindly, Anthony>
Re: eel scratching
Hi Anthony, <cheers, Jason> Thanks for the advice. Both my eel and email are at work so I didn't respond sooner. Tank conditions are: temp. 78F, ammonia 0 mg/l, nitrite 0 mg/l, nitrate 20 mg/l, pH 8.2, salinity 1.023.  <all reasonable...just don't let the pH get any lower> I change about 1 gallon of water per week.  <still a larger water change would be more appropriate> I have noticed the eel gets real active, almost agitated, immediately following a water change. It swims all around the tank before settling down after about an hour. I have also noticed the scratching symptoms seem to occur most often after I feed the eel. It eats well, then a few minutes after the feeding, it starts to rub up against the tank walls/bottom or the decorations in the tank (maybe it doesn't chew its food enough).  <admittedly... consistent with a gill parasite. Becomes obvious in cases of increased respiration like after feeding> There are still no signs of external parasites.  <they do often start and can sometimes stay in the gills> For now, I think I will wait and see how the eel does.  <yes, despite above... I do agree. They are hardy in general, but sensitive to meds> I do not have the particular medications that you suggested on hand but can order them. I do have Greenex (I know is not a favorite), OrganiCure, and CopperSafe.  <none of these for the scaleless eel please> Thank you again. Jason <best regards for you and your eel. Anthony>

Weathering the Storm...Fish Disease Bob, <Actually, Bob is out of town and Anthony Calfo and I were asked to fill in.> Hope all is well. My tank is still in fallow stage (I assume by reading reply you know what my situation is). Going on a month. Salinity 1.017 and temp 84 Deg. Quarantine fish doing great. Let me tell you what I have actually done since 12/24 and you can be critical if warranted. I ran copper for the first three weeks, fish cleared up but were sluggish and not eating very well. After 3 weeks and 2 freshwater dips, removed copper, with water changes and carbon. The difference no copper makes. The fish follow me around tank and would probably nip at my finger if I let them. My reason for removing copper was two fold. One, I think copper is a necessary evil. The less the better. Second, I knew that the fish were going to be quarantined another month at least (Your input) and would have time to observe them and make sure they are rid of parasites. I really don't think I could be doing all this without healthy fish. My point is what you consistently preach, finding healthy specimens and then quarantine is undeniable. You wouldn't have to read all this if I had bought your book and found your website before my first introduction of fish. Back to situation. The eel that you suggested I remove did not happen. I removed every piece of live rock to catch him and could not find where he was hiding. He was actually out of water probably 15 min, put rock back in tank and assumed he had perished. About three days later, there he was, waiting for me to feed him. My question, how does this effect things. Has my month of going fallow been a waste (I didn't understand what you meant in last e-mail by "space-vector". Sorry, but I took it that he was going to be a problem with hermit crabs etc. He has never had or seen any sign of parasite on him, so I was hoping he would not act as a host for parasites. He is the one thing that lets the kids stay involved will I go through this down time. One last thing, since I removed copper from quarantine tank (do you think I should put it back in Q tank?) <If the it refers to copper back in your quarantine, my answer is no. You said yourself the fish are "doing great".> my Q tank does not have Ammonia problems, and in fact, it was if the tank immediately cycled (it had been up and running for about one month), hence that fact I don't have any major problem with longer fallow time if you suggest. Finally, I don't want to take up your whole weekend, is there any way to know how parasite free main tank is after fallow time? <Eels are notoriously tough and generally disease resistant. Keep a close eye on him and examine him as best you can. If he is parasite free for a three full weeks, with you watching him closely, he is probably OK and so is the tank.> Thank you for all your help I wouldn't bother you if I didn't really want to care responsibly for livestock. My kids and I are big divers and have great respect for the fish. David

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

Zebra Moray Hello Bob, Thank you for all the wonderful information on your site. I love my Zebra. "Mongo" was the first fish I purchased a year ago, and he is my pride and joy. He has grown 2.5 feet since I purchased him to an impressive 4.25 feet total now. However, in the last week he has been demonstrating very alarming behaviors. He has begun to lay on his side or slightly upside down, and has rather evenly spaced discoloration patched along the ridge of his back. It almost looks like scarring but none of my other fish are messing with him. He also will not eat. His diet has, until now consisted of krill and live Fiddler crabs and he has always been amazingly active. I performed a 50% water change 2 days ago as my pH was at an all time low of 7.6. <Ugh, there is/was your problem.> I know this is probably a major concern <You eel and I agree whole heartedly.> (my nitrite was at 0, my ammonia at .25 and my nitrate at 50-250) <One out of three is not good. Both ammonia and nitrite should both be zero and your nitrate, anywhere in that range, is too high.> but none of my other inhabitants are showing any symptoms. <Give them time> I have a Navarchus angel that is my indicator fish and he is the picture of health it seems. <For now> During two outbreaks of ich, the angle picked it up but I treated the tank and no other fish were affected. I have always thought the Zebra was one of the hardiest. <Hardy but not immune to everything.> Why would he be having problems when the others seem to be okay? <Merely a delay in reactions.> Incidentally my tank is a 115 gallon with 2 triggers, a jeweled eel, Mongo (the zebra), a Lunare wrasse, a Navarchus angel, and a lipstick tang. Please, I am sure you are busy and you must get contacted all the time with problems and questions, but I love this fish, I will give up all the others to make sure he is okay,... can you please help? <Water quality, water quality, water quality> Thank you for your time, Jack Garrett <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Sick eel... Hi Bob, <Anthony Calfo in your service> I would greatly appreciate your advise. I've had my Gymnothorax funebris for about two months, and I thought he was doing great until I noticed some dark gray spotting on the lower portion of his body and fin. These spots almost look bruise like. He eats like a pig, and I do my water changes weekly. Unfortunately, Charlie did escape briefly about one week after coming to live with me. I'm wondering if this episode could be the cause of this problem,  <quite possibly... eels are prone to true fungal infections and similar looking bacterial infections.> and what (if anything) can I do? He is in a 125 g tank with live rock and several pieces of coral. <little or nothing to be done in the display tank. A QT tank with a Furan based medication may be necessary if the patches do not abate within a few days or if they become more turbid. Do be alert and prepared to remove to QT promptly if necessary, bacterial infections with scaleless fishes like your ell can be quite difficult to navigate/cure>

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