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FAQs about Snowflake Moray Eel Compatibility

Related FAQs: Snowflake Morays 1Snowflake Morays 2, Snowflake Eel Identification, Snowflake Eel Behavior, Snowflake Eel Selection, Snowflake Eel Systems, Snowflake Eel Feeding, Snowflake Eel Disease/Health, Snowflake Eel Reproduction, Moray Eels, Zebra Moray Eels, Moray Identification, Moray CompatibilityRibbon Moray Eels Freshwater Moray Eel FAQs. Moray Eels in GeneralMoray Behavior, Moray CompatibilityMoray Selection, Moray Systems, Moray Feeding, Moray Disease, Moray Reproduction

Related Articles: Snowflake Morays, Zebra Morays, Ribbon Morays

Echidna eels usually don't eat fishes, unless very hungry... But small crustaceans... Crabs, shrimp... make up their diet principally in the wild.

With Tridacnids? With Lions? With crabs, likely other crustaceans
With small fishes?
Not predatory, but may knock over... be too messy to keep with Not a good idea... too likely to get poked. Food if small, eaters if large...
May catch, consume them.

Snowflake eel and Nudibranch; comp.       11/26/17
Hello, this is Jinoo Kim. I have a huge Aiptasia problem in my 90 gallon.
It hitchhiked on some Chaetomorpha and has been spreading. The only fish in there is a Snowflake eel. However, I was wondering if a Berghia Nudibranch would work with my eel.
<Should be fine. Echidnas will gladly consume small-enough shrimps and crabs; but not Nudibranchs>
I don't want a Copperband, filefish, or especially peppermint shrimp because right now I have a budget for a different project. Would these two be fine? Will my eel try eating it? Thank you.
Jinoo Kim
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

My New Pufferfish/es; comp. w/ Muraenids    6/18/17
Hi Crew, your advice has been helpful in managing my tanks and your website is so full of great info! But I haven't seen this question, thus the question.
I am adopting 2 puffers. One is a porcupine puffer and the other is a dogface puffer. They will go with my snowflake and zebra eels.
<Mmm; am hoping the Puffers don't go after the Morays.... biting them, stealing all foods>
They are at least 6-7 years old and the previous owner had them 6 years.
They are both about 5 inches long. Do you thing they will grow much more at their age?
<Well, they can; given good water quality, food....>
Just planning for future tank size if needed because right now they are going into a 180 gallon. I also have a 300 gallon so I'm fine upgrading tanks if I need to, just trying to plan it out a bit. Thanks!
<Do keep your eye on all when you feed, or go by the tank. Bob Fenner>

Snowflake and Puffer Compatibility     6/10/13
Hi Bob and Crew:
We introduced a 14 inch Snowflake Eel into a 100 Gallon tank with our Dogface Puffer last night.
<Mmm, not really compatible... hard/er to feed the Echidna in the system w/ the puffer, and the latter could bite the Eel>

This is a FOWLR, 0 Ammo, 0 Nitri, 5 Nitrate. The Puffer has existed alone for about 2 years. I moved rocks, etc when adding the Snowflake and the lights are off. These are the only two animals in the tank.
It appears there is some aggression, or struggle for dominance. Everything I see on your site shows compatibility should be fine.
<I hope/trust not "everything...">

The eel has, on a couple of occasions, approached the puffer with his mouth open and drawn back at the last second. It appears he goes after him for food and then realizes that he is too big. The Dogface is about 4-5 inches. In turn, the puffer has snapped at him a few times. Other times they appear to cross each others paths just fine. Is this likely an initial acclamation issue; or, do you think we have an individual showing above average aggression?
<I wouldn't place these species in a system of this size together...>
My hope is that you will tell me they are "learning" to coexist.
<They may learn to get along... just make sure that both are getting foods>
if I need to remove the animal, I certainly will. Thanks, as always, for your advice!
<Ah, welcome. Bob Fenner>

Snowflake Eel and Purple Lobster....   4/2/11
<Hey there.>
I wish I was writing in on a more pleasant note but it is as it is... I added a baby Snowflake eel to my 29 gallon Bio Cube (water is all fine) and acclimated him well.
<A tank of this size won't be sufficient for very long. This eel will reach at least 30 inches.>
He is a very healthy and energetic 8in guy. As he investigated my large liverock, he came upon my 1inch long purple lobster's cave... He fought him on a territorial issue and the lobster ended up with a missing claw.
<Lobsters are simply considered food by most Echidna species.>
It was a rookie mistake but this IS my first tank and I thought they would be alright because the place I bought him from had him in a tank full of cleaner shrimp and lived peacefully with them... He (allegedly) never even nipped at one and none went missing:( He and my Coral Banded Shrimp on the other hand have bonded quite well and he eats the eel's scraps.
<Shrimp species that clean fishes (Common Skunk cleaner shrimps, but also Coral Banded shrimps are among them) are - aside most hermits - the only common exception to the rule that crustaceans are eaten by this genus of eels. They are often recognized as useful by the eel and not eaten. But sometimes even they can be attacked.>
My question is; what can I do to help them all get along
<Easy. Separate them.>
and I had planned on adding one or two Ocellaris Clownfish (sorry for spelling <Why?>) in a few days when I see how the bio load is. I understand that there is risk involved but I will keep the eel well fed and away from the Clowns (the eel is about 7-9 in long, I haven't had the chance to measure him though).
<Keep them away from the Clowns? How are you gonna do that, using a divider? Sit in front of the tank with a net 24/7?>
Does this stock sound acceptable?
<I would not mix Echidna nebulosa with small fishes, especially not in small quarters. This species undergoes a gender change from female to male at some point. As this happens many Snowflake eels start eating small fishes (can happen before that, too, on occasions). Overfeeding eels to keep them from their natural food is not a good idea. While they might be too full to hunt you are risking fatty liver disease in the long run or while the eel is still young unnatural fast growth and deformations (Phil Purser called this "power feeding").>
I will put in about 4-6 small cleaner hermit crabs to help clean up.
<If they are well armored their chances are good. However, I've seen E. nebulosa pick hermit crabs out of their shell in a case where the shell was too small to completely hide the hermit.>
I really love the eel and he is well taken care of with a huge amount of dark liverock to live in.
<Build proper caves, incorporate PVC pipes if you need/wish to. Loose rocks can and likely will tumble.>
It is just full of tiny caves and interlinking tunnels. How else can I reduce the bio load?
<Easy. By not adding more livestock. You can also incorporate a strong skimmer, algae refugium with deep sand bed, etc... Read here:
I understand the eel excretes a lot of umm fecal-matter...
<I guess we all do that.>
This is quite disgusting
<Poo in general is not very attractive...>
but what animals take care of fecal matter?
<Cleaner shrimps and hermit crabs often do as well as larger brittle stars.
The skimmer also will, with time.>
My LFS can order just about anything and I am sure something would help...
I can't find help on this anywhere else please any information you can give to keep my eel healthy and happy along with my desired stocking of one or two clowns (my LFS recommended a small puffer as he will be good with all of the open space or a Yellow Tang as I plan to upgrade to a 55 or 75 in December but I know that is still small for them what do you recommend?)
<I'd not add more until you actually have the larger tank up and running.>
I want to keep my eel happy but since he hides in rock all day, I would like a nice fish to look at other than at feeding time. I have done some research but found little please give me your expert advice it would be GREATLY appreciated.
<See here for compatibility: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/snowflakemoray.htm 
and http://www.wetwebmedia.com/snoflkeelcompfaqs.htm .  Read, read, read...
Cheers, Marco.>
Re: Snowflake Eel and Purple Lobster.....  4/2/11
Wow! Thank you for the fast response that message was quite funny by the way and helpful. I have a sub question to ask out of pure amazement. I saw a rare clownfish (can not remember its name!) at my LFS... He was blue and black and yellow I believe and looked like an Ocellaris other than that and was about 1.5in long. They claimed he was incredibly rare and "an honor to have in the store!" ... His price tag was $300.00. Why was he so expensive?
<Probably for being rare and people paying high prices for rare fishes. "Free" enterprise economy.>
Ok, so back on track, the reason I asked was because tomorrow, my LFS makes its monthly fish ordering in which it orders anything you ask for from places all over the world. That is why I would like to know what kind of pretty/interesting fish I could put in. I ask because the eel sits in his cave all day long and makes my tank dull and boring.
<I'm sorry to hear that. However, I personally won't recommend another fishy tank mate for a tank which will be outgrown by its current inhabitant. In larger tanks there would be a number of possibilities for tank mates for such a moray, but simply not in a small volume.>
I understand the need for patience and all but I really would like something to look at most
all times not just when feeding. What would you (an expert) recommend for a small tank with a cleanup crew and 8IN Snowflake eel that can live in a 29 gallon until December?
<My honest answer has to be: I recommend to wait until you have a larger tank. I guess this is December.>
Please answer, I am really rushed and any tips or anything but a link to a website would be GREATLY appreciated. <<!>>
<Deciding about new fishes or buying them in a rush is never a good idea. Take your time. Please read where I referred you to in my last email -- a lot of information on compatibility, systems and so on. Maybe you'll come to the same conclusion that other fishes in a tank of this size are not a good idea'¦>
I have been doing research for about an hour and a half but found nothing that answers my questions and I can't stay up all night as the order goes out at 11am central time. Remember, it doesn't have to be for sure, just some suggestions would help me out a lot... Thank you all a lot.
<Patience. This is nothing to rush into.>
I am sure you always hear this but this site really has given me so much info on saltwater tanks...
<Thanks for your kind words. Marco.>

Snowflake eel and California stingray    8/11/10
I am a big fan of your site and read it very often. However, I can't seem to find the information I need. I have a 75 gallon tank with a 10 gallon refugium (just started). In the I have about 60 lbs of live rock as well as fine sand as a substrate.
I have a small California stingray and a small snowflake eel.
<Not very compatible. See here for Urobatis halleri if this is your ray: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/rays.htm and http://www.wetwebmedia.com/batoidfaqs.htm . The ray is sub-tropical, the eel tropical. One needs a (very) large sandy bottom, the other a reef with many holes to hide in. Both in a 75 gallon tank? Won't work.>
Both are doing great. Their appetites have been really good. The issue I have been having is that when it is feeding time, the snowflake eel becomes very "energetic". Of course I am afraid he will leap from the tank at some point. But the issue is that he at times will nip at the ray and has taken food from the ray's mouth.
<Another reason to not keep them in one setup.>
I have tried using the tong to feed the eel when he is calm in his rock. But as soon as he sees me, he zips to the surface and frantically swims around. The ray does the same. I cannot separate the eel and the ray during feeding time to appropriately feed them. My question is - is there a proper way to feed an eel as to keep them calm?
<No. Have you ever seen morays hunting in the wild? 'Calm' is not among the first descriptive adjectives coming into my mind.>
I do not want to just drop food in in case it goes uneaten. I also like to control the portions.
<Very wise.>
The eel would probably eat until he explodes.
<No, but it would develop unhealthy fat content and liver disease limiting its lifespan.>
The ray would be too busy swimming his laps to even see the food. I realize the eel should not eat daily, but I understand the ray should since he is so energetic. So there are times when I have to feed the ray, but the eel is not due to eat.
<And another reason why they are hardly compatible. Put them into separate tanks and give both the surroundings and feeding protocols they need.>
Is it possible I am not feeding the eel enough and that is why he is so aggressive during feeding time?
<It's his nature. There is no time for manors if you are a hunting eel and want to kill a wild shrimp, crab or fish in the reef.>
Thank you for all the effort you put in your website.
It is comforting to see that other beginners have made the same mistakes I have.
<It's best to only read about the mistakes of others and then avoid repeating them.>
Thanks Greg
<Cheers. Marco.>

Clown bit by Snow Flake Eel   6/17/10
We have a Snow Flake Eel about 18" in length, he came with the tank we bought from a guy moving. We feed him shrimp and was feeding him when our large clown fish about 6" got between the eel and the food, the eel bit the
clown on the under side of his neck and pulled him thru the rock and scraped him up, he has bite marks on his neck by his gill no swelling but should I do anything special ? Clown ate after this and seams to be fine, but what should I keep an eye out for? Thank You for your time.
<Hello Barbara. As should be obvious, these two fish can't be kept together. Clownfish are natural prey for Moray Eels. While it is true Snowflake Eels mostly consume invertebrates, they do consume small fish as well, and in any case their eyesight is extremely poor. So even if your Snowflake wasn't deliberately trying to eat the Clownfish, it's clear that the potential for damage now exists whenever the Snowflake makes a "mistake". Next time your Clown might not be so lucky. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Clown bit by Snow Flake Eel  6/18/10
Thank You for your time.
<Most welcome.>
I was wondering if infection might come from the bite (saliva) what should I look for?
<Kind of a binary thing here. Moray eel bites certainly promote infections, but whether they're actually poisonous is up for debate.
In any case, there's not much you can do either way. Either the Clown lives or he doesn't. Obviously you'll be moving him or the moray to another aquarium at once, since they can't be kept in the same tank. Since the Clownfish is relatively small, he's the obvious choice to move into your quarantine/hospital tank until you decide what to do.>
We are talking about getting the eel out and selling him any suggestions on how to catch him?
<Notoriously difficult. Assuming this is a community or FOWLR system, then removing the rocks will help, and after that it's a two man operation, each with a net, one person aiming to drive the moray into the other one's net.
Chasing the moray into a single hollow container, like a large PVC tube sealed at one end, is another approach. Either way, avoid trying to use your hands to move the animal directly: they can and do bite. Since you will have already moved the Clownfish to the hospital tank by now, why not keep the moray instead?>
Have a good day
<Cheers, Neale> 

My snowflake eel is being attacked by my more eel.
Unknown eel incompatibility -- 03/24/10

My 2 eels have been living together for months in a 46 gallon bow flex tank. I bought the more eel
<No such eel. Do you mean moray eel? There are 200 species from a few inches to 4 metres. It'd have been good to know what species we are discussing. As a side note, the 46 gallon tank is too small for a Snowflake eel alone in the long run.>
after the snowflake and the more eel took over the snowflake eels cave. So I added another hiding spot, he always stays underground so I didn't think anything of it. Now the more eel is attacking the snow flake, he is biting his tail and body and even his head, he try's to pull him towards him or bring him in his cave. I'm so scared for the eel, I broke them up several times, but the more eel keeps going after him. The snow flake is oblivious and keeps getting attacked. I don't think he is going to make it much longer, help me please, what can I do. I feed them regularly. Please help asap.
<Separate them (don't get bitten) and find a new home for one or both (in separate tanks) of them. I'd ask the fish stores around and fellow hobbyists e.g. in forums if someone is willing to take one of them urgently. Also, try to ID the 'more' eel, start here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/morays.htm or send pictures for a proper ID. The possible wounds of the Snowflake eel should be monitored and the water kept as pristine as possible (nitrates <<25 ppm; no detectable nitrites or ammonia; pH between 8.0 and 8.4) to prevent infections. In case of a spreading infection, antibiotic treatment might be necessary. If the Snowflake eel survives and you decide to keep it, plan for a larger tank. Cheers, Marco.>

Re: My snowflake eel is being attacked by my more eel.
Unknown eel incompatibility -- 03/25/10

Thanks for getting back to me, I guess I will take a picture of him.
<I'm looking forward to it.>
He has a white round eye, a skinny long mouth that is always opened, his body is brown with some spots on it. He is about 12 inches long, his head is a darker brown and sometimes he has yellow spots. How is there memory, will the eel remember that he is aggressive towards the Snowflake or will he forget over time?
<Since they lived together for several months before the aggression started it is highly unlikely they will ever get along in anything smaller than a few thousand gallons. Their memory is quite good. But even if they would forget about the other eel, it is most probable the same behavior will start again under the same circumstances such as a relatively small tank for two eels. I'd keep them separated.>
Will adding more caves help and why does the Snowflake keep swimming by the other eel?
<No. This world is simply too small for both of them. Possibly the Snowflake eel is less territorial in this combination.>
Is he aggressive by nature or just dumb?
<The first, although it's likely rather territoriality than pure aggression what your moray eel is demonstrating.>
I appreciate your advice.
<They should be separated. Marco.>
Unknown eel incompatibility -- 03/26/10
That's a picture of my moray eel
<Thanks for sending. I fear it is too blurry to give an exact ID. Any chance for a better picture? There's a number of similar spotted Gymnothorax species, e.g. Gymnothorax prionodon from the Western Pacific, Gymnothorax phalarus from the Eastern Pacific and Gymnothorax johnsoni from the Western Indian Ocean, just to name a few. One would need a clear picture to be sure. Anyway, all the ones that might match your picture coming to my mind at this point get quite large (at least 3 feet, the G. prionodon and the G. johnsoni around 4 feet and a few inches) and are likely not compatible with an Echidna sp. such as you Snowflake eel.>
, the snowflake eel is being attacked by this guy, also can I buy dead squid from a local fish store and feed that to my fish.
<Sure, as long as it is not seasoned and free of preservatives aside vitamin C.>
Do I have to purchase fish from the pet store, or can I buy fish from the local fish store, and save money.
<I do buy almost all my moray eel food on the fish market or fish store. Just ensure there are no additions as written above.>
Sorry to keep asking for help.
<No problem.>
I'm just a fish lover and don't want to harm them. Thanks Craig.
<Take care Craig and for the sake of the eels consider having them in separate setups. Marco.>

Re Unknown eel incompatibility; now sys. -- 03/27/10
Hey so I'm looking for a bigger tank know, I'm hoping that will help my eel problem. I found a 125 gallon tank but the dimensions are 50 inches long and 60 inches high and 20 wide.
<Won't probably solve the problem of keeping the two together, but should be sufficient for one of your eels.>
I also found one that is longer and not as high and it is also 125 gallons. I want to add a sting ray and a banded shark. Is this a big enough tank?
<Certainly not for a ray and a shark. For the latter two you'd want to consider about 3 times the size or more. Please see http://www.wetwebmedia.com/sharks.htm and http://www.wetwebmedia.com/rays.htm . Also, their compatibility with moray eels is often rather poor in the long run.>
If not what size is the right one, I get confused with the right dimensions, should it be longer and not so high?
Please help, and also what's a good filter can I use my filter for my 46 gallon and buy another filter to add to this one?
<I'd prefer a live rock filtered setup with a large skimmer and strong water movement. Please see here for marine filtration and setups: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/setup/marsetupindex1.htm

Snowflake Eel Question
Echidna nebulosa, compatibility -- 02/08/10

Hey guys, thankfully its been a while since the last time I've needed to call upon your expertise. I really would love to add a snowflake eel to my 125 gallon aquarium. The aquarium has only a porcupine puffer (6 in) Foxface (4 in) and a horde of 12 or so mixed species of damsels from in between 3/4's an inch to 3 inches. While your page on them does say they are live and let live with other fish,
<It also notes that larger, especially male specimens can and often will hunt fishes: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/snoflkeelcompfaqs.htm>
I have had one in a 40 gallon before and it managed to snag some damsels and I was hoping in a bigger aquarium this would be less of a problem.
<It will be a possible problem with a larger Snowflake eel regardless of tank size.>
Also I was wondering if the puffer might present some problems. It leaves the Foxface alone but chases new damsels around and is mildly aggressive.
<They might have some confrontations first, but in general Porcupine puffers recognize an eel as a predator if the eel is not too small and leave it alone. A smaller eel might be bitten. Also, the eel needs lots of caves (e.g. pvc pipes) where it can hide and where the puffer cannot try nipping at its dorsal fin.>
The specimen I am considering has been at the LFS I work at for around a month, is around 7 inches, and is eating.
<Sounds a little small for a 6 inch puffer mate, but should be possible with enough caves and supervised first meetings. However, the damsels might not be safe long term.>
Thanks guys!- Ray
<Welcome. Marco.>

Snow Flake Eel Life Quality -- 10/25/09, now
Snowflake Moray vs. Teddy bear Crab -- 11/15/09

Thanks for the info, I'm currently looking for a 70 gallon bow front to move this guy into and now that I'm armed with so much knowledge I really think that the tank will be bomber.
<Ah'¦ good!>
I have been stocking up on LR slowly in prep for the 70 and I have unintentionally inherited a 2"+ teddy bear crab. I assume the snowflake should take care of this fellow?
<Likely yes.>
The jury is out on who got the large red legged hermit (happened night after the new live rock purchase)
<Not guilty for lack of evidence. Maybe it has just changed houses and is hiding somewhere and waiting for his new shell to harden? In case of its death maybe some other, more dangerous hitchhiker exists?>
, but the more I read about how tenacious the teddy bear crab is the more I worry. Should I pull this guy out and send him back to the store for some credit or is he no threat to the snowflake?
<You have both possibilities in my opinion. A 13 inch crustacean eating eel should be able to stand its ground against a 2 inch crab. In fact small crabs are the perfect Snowflake eel diet.>
Thanks again for your time.
<Welcome. Marco.>

Suitable tankmate for a Snowflake Moray - 05/19/09
Hi Crew!
<Hello Wendy.>
I haven't bugged you guys in a while.
I have a 65 gallon fish only marine tank, been up and running for 5 years.
I currently have an eight year old - 20" Snowflake Moray eel (I know... he's too big for the tank) and an absolute beast of a 4" purple tang (12 years old) I inherited from a friend because he was killing her fish.
<Older Snowflake eels often become fish killer. In contrast to juveniles they have longer, serrated teeth ideal for catching fish...>
I also have a HUGE hermit crab (in a shell almost the size of a pool ball) He is the lone survivor of a trio of hermits, he ate the others. And a 4" banded serpent starfish. They've been sharing the same digs for 3 years now, and get along famously.
I am setting up a 150 gallon tank, to mainly house the eel, but the purple tang and hermit will probably end up with him, since I intend to keep smaller livestock in the 65.
I would like to add something else into the tank, but I'm not sure what will get along with this odd crew.
Choice #1: I have had in the past a beautiful Pogonoperca punctata (clown grouper) which I kept successfully for 8 years before someone who was helping me relocate the tank transported him in too small a container and he poisoned himself. I have access to a 4-5" specimen, but I don't know how he will get along. I know they pose a toxicity problem,
<You are well informed.>
but I have had one before and he was a wonderful specimen.
<I think option one would be a good choice, given the grouper has about 1/3 of the length of the moray eel.>
Choice #2 : Some other type of grouper..... but I don't want something that is going to get HUGE, and some color would be nice. I am partial to groupers, do not like triggers.
<What about a Coral hind/Miniata grouper: Cephalopholis miniata http://www.wetwebmedia.com/c_miniata.htm? Other grouper choices are found here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/basses.htm >
Choice #3: another eel.... but I read here that you can't mix species... So that is probably not an option, but if there is one that would get along with Gollum (the moray) I wouldn't mind adding another.
<You can keep eels of various species together, but it strongly depends on the specific species you are trying. A Zebra moray Gymnomuraena zebra would be a good choice in your case. A Chainlink moray Echidna catenata or a Barred moray Echidna polyzona should work, too. Just ensure there are enough caves for the two eels and watch their first meetings. It would be good if the new eel had approx. the same size as the old resident and was in the new 150 gallon tank first .>
Do you have any other recommendations as for suitable tankmates?
<Groupers and eels are already good choices'¦ See the moray eel compatibility page http://www.wetwebmedia.com/moraycompfaqs.htm and the Snowflake eel FAQ http://www.wetwebmedia.com/snoflkeelfaqs.htm for more options.>
Also, one more question regarding feeding.... I keep reading that these moray eels are only supposed to be fed once every week or two.
<It's well known how often and how much eels eat in nature from examinations of hundreds of stomachs.>
My eel doesn't read, and definitely does not agree..... he is out every morning hunting for food and if I don't feed him he goes after everyone else or attempts to leave the tank. How much food should he be getting? I offer him frozen krill, silversides, Mysid shrimp, and when I can get them fresh clam, mussel, fish and crab. Should I feed him until he stops eating or is there a set amount he should be getting?
<Overfeeding eels can result in fatty liver disease and a shorter lifespan. Twice a week is sufficient, once is well possible, too. Larger shrimps of any kind, mussel flesh, squid, crabs are good choices enriched with vitamins. One feeding should be about as large as its entire head and consist of several pieces small enough to be swallowed. It's not a good option to overfeed the eel just to keep him from eating its tankmates, in such cases usually the wrong tankmates have been chosen.>
Thanks in advance, Wendy
<Welcome. Marco.>

Snowflake Moray Comp.\System\Stocking 3/14/2009
Hello to all you wonderful folks at WWM.
<Hello, He or She who shall not be named.>
I hope I can find a solution to my little friends problem as this is the first time I have had a saltwater tank and a snowflake moray eel.
<I just answered your question about live rock and cycling a day or so ago as I recall.>
So here we go, I have a 29 gallon tank with about 10 to 12 lbs. of live rock and about 25 lbs of live sand. My water parameters are ammonia = 0, nitrites = 0, nitrates = .1, ph = 8.2, and salinity = 1.024.
<So you bought a new test kit?>
Today is Saturday, so Thursday I brought home a 7 to 8 inch snowflake moray.
<Tank is way too small for a moray.>
I introduced him to a tank with no inhabitants, and even tried to feed him within the first few hours. Well he ate a Tetra brand freeze dried vitamin fortified krill that I tore into two quarter inch or so pieces. He ate both pieces and proceeded to swim around and check out all the nooks and crannies of his new home.
<Normal behavior>
Came home from work Friday and all still seemed well and I added a couple of hermit crabs and four Nasarrius <Nassarius?> snails to begin eating some algae and such. The snowflake attempted to "eat" both hermits but was unsuccessful and has since left them alone so maybe he was just checking them out?
<Snowflake Morays do eat crustaceans.>
I never noticed him pay any attention what so ever to the snails and the snails have been pretty much buried in the sand bed since I added them. So late Friday night I went to check everything out and discovered that the eel had lost all its yellow spots and even his eyes had turned white.
<In your previous email, you had high nitrites and you suspected that your test kit was bad. Did you get the new Hagen kit?>
The only part that stayed yellow were his little nostrils. The rest of the black spots were a dull gray color as well and he had a semi swollen red area that I assume was something internal right behind his head.
<As I recall, your nitrites were high according to your LFS.>
Now this morning I awoke to find his yellow color had returned almost completely and the grey spots were once again black like normal, but now he has two lumps on his bottom/belly side about half an inch to an inch behind his head. I attempted to feed him and he grasped the food momentarily and then let it go and didn't show anymore interest in it so I left him alone.
He swam around for a few minutes and has gone into his hiding spot and I have not seen him in a little while. I did check to see if the hermits and snails were still around and I found both hermits and two snails and I think the other two are still buried somewhere and I didn't think the eel would be able to swallow the snails cause of their shells.
<It is possible, but unlikely that he ate the snails. I suspect that this is more environmental. Are you sure about your water quality?>
Any idea as to what might be wrong here? Are the two lumps the two pieces of krill I fed him Thursday evening and he is just constipated? I doubted it because there were no signs of the lumps between his last meal until now. I also caught a little critter I saw scurrying around the bottom and took it to my LFS and he said it looked like an isopod. Are they the culprits and if so how do I fix the eel and rid my tank of the parasites?
<No, not the culprit. Should not have to do anything, the Moray is likely to eat them more than anything else.>
Any advice you have will be greatly appreciated by myself and my new friend. I don't want him to die but I don't really know what to do and the LFS didn't really give me anything to go on. So please be our savior.
<Again, make sure that your water quality is truly good. Also, please, a 29 gallon tank is inappropriate for a moray. A snowflake will get close to 3 feel long when fully grown.>
Thanks Again!!!

Re: Snowflake Moray Comp.\System\Stocking 3/16/2009
Thanks for the quick response Mike and for the record my name is Frank.
<Hi Frank>
Yeah that was me asking about the live rock the other day. As far as the tank being to small, my plan is to upgrade tanks as the eel grows ( if I have some success that is ) but I figured the 29 gallon would be sufficient for a year or so while it is still in the 8 inch range size wise.
<Not really, This is akin to living in your bathroom, you could, but you would be neither happy nor well adjusted.>
But I want him to have plenty of room too so I promise he wont be in there for a very long time.
<Sooner is better, do read here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/snowflakemoray.htm >
Also I did get the Hagen master test kit and did all my tests and everything checked out as I mentioned earlier. I also went to another fish store ( where I actually purchased the snowflake ) and they said my water was good as well. Now I'm actually going to be away from home until Monday so hopefully when I return, he will be in better shape.
I am also going to take you guys advice and feed him some squid and mussel flesh with some vitamins if I don't lose him to whatever this is. Are Silversides good for him?
<All of the above will be fine.>
As for the isopods, will they not kill him or any other fish i might add like a goby or a Jawfish since they spend most of their time on the sand bed?
<Jawfish need at least 3 - 4" of substrate, not appropriate for this setup.>
Do I not need to get rid of the isopods somehow since they are mainly parasites that will harm fish?
<Not all are parasitic, so really nothing to be concerned with unless you actually see one on a fish, or there are swarms of them.>
I want whatever fish I buy to be healthy and happy. I don't plan on adding but a couple of fish if this goes well but what types might be compatible with the snowflake? Well I will check back with you on Monday with a hopefully positive update so until then thanks so much for your help Mike!
<My Pleasure, please do see about getting larger quarters soon.>

Re: Snowflake Moray Comp.\System\Stocking 3/18/2009
Well I have a little bit of an update.
<Hi Frank>
Came home Monday to find my snowflake still alive.
<Excellent news>
He has made himself a new burrow under one of the larger live rocks and just chills with his little head poking out.
<Normal behavior>
From what I can tell, he still has most of his color but his eyes seem to turn white from time to time. The two lumps are less pronounced but he still seems bloated and I can kinda see what looks like his insides thru
his skin and it looks almost like he has a kink in his side(don't really know how to explain this). He swims around a little but not as much as he did the first few days.
<They do settle down after a few days and won't swim around much during the day..>
I re checked my water when I got back and ammonia = 0, nitrites = 0, nitrates = 0, and ph is about 8.0.
<pH is low - you need to slowly raise this to 8.2 - 8.4, also, what is your salinity and alkalinity??>
I did find all my snails and hermits so he definitely did not eat one of them. I also went to LFS and picked up some frozen squid and some silver sides to start him on a better diet.
They did not carry any vitamins too soak the food in like you guys suggest so what do you recommend I get and where can I find the vitamins.
<Drs. Foster and Smith sells Selcon on line.>
I went ahead and fed him about half a piece of the squid and he seemed to eat it a good portion of what I offered him. But like I said he still looks a little swollen on his belly/bottom side and I've noticed him a few times opening his mouth pretty wide and it almost looks like he is trying to force something out or regurgitate maybe but nothing is coming up (reminds me of a person dry heaving) and he seems to be breathing noticeably heavier(his sides puff out wider than I noticed before all this started).
Any other suggestions?
<Again, make sure all of your water parameters are correct.>
I hate to be bothersome but I really don't want to kill him by doing something wrong or not doing something to help him. Anyways, let me know what you think and thanks a lot.
<Again, do read the linked articles I sent you before>

Snowflake and shrimp, incomp.  12/17/08 9 months ago I noticed something moving in my live rock, I have a 17 gallon Marin tank with one Snowflake eel and some grass shrimps. <Too small a tank, even for this eel.> Today I found out what was the little thing moving inside the tiny holes of the rock, it was a 1 inch long pistol shrimp, he's green and tiny and didn't mind taking out his head and horrible arm to grab everything he can find around the rock. Is he dangerous for the grass shrimps??? <Can be, but your eel is too, will eventually eliminate them anyhow.> or the eel??? <The eel is a threat to the shrimp.> If so, what can I do to take him out???? <In a system this size I would simply tear it apart and remove him if you feel you need to. In time the eel will take care of the shrimp!> Thanks, and sorry for the English mistakes!!! <No problem, it is obvious to us those who are not native English speaker vs. those who are just lazy! Welcome, Scott V.>

Re: Snowflake and shrimp 12/19/08 Thanks for the reply I think I will try to remove the rock first, then I will see how to take the pistol out, and don't worry about the grass shrimp, they've been living with the eel for 6 months now, the eel doesn't hurt them, I was surprised too! <Give it time, if it fits in the mouth it will end up there!> They are so curious about the eel when it comes out of the rocks for food, they even try to touch her with their tiny arms !!! <Curiosity killed the shrimp!> Anyways, thanks a lot. <Welcome, Scott V.>

Lionfish (and snowflake eel) questions, comp.  -- 10/22/08 Hello crew. <Hi Carl.> I am in the process (more than a year so far...sigh) of planning my first SW tank, which will be a 90g FOWLR with a 29g sump/fuge. In the planning process, I have read Bob's original Conscientious Marine Aquarist (I gather there is an updated edition that was recently released... will add it to my "must read" list), a couple other books, and just about anything I can find on the web. Of course, I've gone and gotten myself a bit confused and am hoping you can straighten me out. Although I can't find my copy at the moment, I seem to recall a sample stocking that I found in "The New Marine Aquarium" by Paletta for a similar sized tank was a Snowflake and a Lionfish. But I read on here you don't recommend stocking these in the same tank due to "stabbing" incidents. Can you straighten me out on this one? <It has happened that morays have been stung to death by lionfish, which have hard, venomous fin rays. This may happen during feeding time when snowflake eels Echidna nebulosa get very exited. In return lionfish have been eaten by fish eating morays. The Snowflake/Lionfish combo is often recommended, but does not always work in the long run.> Safe / not safe? Tank too small? Make any difference if the lion was a P. volitans versus a P. antennata? <The P. antennata is less dangerous to a medium sized moray like the E. nebulosa and a better choice here in terms of tank size (ever seen an adult P. volitans?). Personally, I do not recommend lionfish as tank mates for morays at all.> Also, if I went with one of those two (or both depending on your advice), what would you suggest for a cleaning crew? <Hermits well protected against the eel with stable shells are a good choice. Urchins and starfish should also work, as will hard shelled snails. Snails with small or thin shells (like Stomatella) can be eaten by the eel. Cleaner shrimps (Lysmata spp.) are a gamble, may work (especially if in the tank prior to the fish) or be instantly eaten.> Crustaceans are obviously out -- does that mean all cleaning crews are out? Other than the usual light and water approach, is there anything you could suggest for controlling algae? <Yes, adequate filtration with good nitrate and phosphate reduction and giving those algae some competition with desirable macroalgae like Chaetomorpha in the fuge and fast growing easy corals like Capnella in the display.> Many thanks, Carl. <Welcome. Marco.>

Ready for a bamboo shark.... Mmm, no. Sys., comp.    9/6/08 Hello! Ok, I have paid my dues with my 125 gallon tank for the last 3 years and am ready to graduate to a 210 gallon (72x24x29) marine drilled tank. I have a 65 gallon tank to set up as a sump/refugium beneath it. Currently, I have a snowflake eel, bird wrasse, and Blond Naso Tang all still pretty much juveniles. I realize that the 210 is pushing it for a Bamboo shark, but hope it can work for a good 3 years. <Mmm, not really... even starting with a small individual, feeding it sparingly... and the Echidna will likely be killed...> I do have a couple of questions that I haven't seen answered yet. First, I am more interested in the White Spotted than the Brown/Black banded. If my information is correct, these will be about 3" shorter correct? <Mmm, in the wild...> If this is so, does this amount make much of a difference? <Well-worded. No> Also, will I have a better chance of raising one successfully if I purchase an egg, or a small specimen? <The latter> Thanks for your help!!! <I would still hold off here... this animal won't be "happy" in this size, shape system... Will kill the Eel... Bob Fenner>

Snowflake Moray: Cleanup Crew -- 04/21/08 Hello WWM Crew; <Hi Cody.> I am a beginner saltwater hobbyist. I started setting up my first tank 5 months ago. It is a 46G + 20G SUMP. I have a 2-3" (sugar sand) sand bed in the main tank. I have 50lbs of Tonga/Fiji live rock in the tank/sump, and have a skimmer and refugium(cheetah/LR) as well. Flow is near 15-20x currently. The LR just finished its 5 week cycling and was moved into my main tank a week ago. I decided to finally put something small into my tank. I initially designed the tank for a Snowflake Moray (hiding places), and to my surprise my LFS had a very nice Snowflake Moray (about 14" long) in. I asked my LFS to put it on hold for me for the mean time, but had a few concerns first. In the mean time my LFS suggested I put something in the tank just to make sure everything is okay with the newly established tank. <'¦testing with fish is not my cup of tea.> So I put 3 Yellowtailed Damsels and some Turbo Snails in right now. The Damsels seem to be doing very well with each other (each claimed a hole in the LR and swim around with each other often) with very little (or no) fighting. <Usually gets worse with time.> First question would be regarding my tank size. I have read up on the internet some sites saying as low as 30G is minimum, however I also read in your FAQs that you'd suggest at least 60G (or even 75G) minimum for this species. I do believe there is sufficient (stable) hiding places that the moray will be fine, but I was curious on your opinion and perhaps some behavioural habits I may look for that might suggest he is not happy with the tank size so I could return him if it's the case. <Not happy behaviour: swimming a lot and searching the upper parts of the tank for an escape. Small to medium specimens can be kept in this tank size for a few years, but in my opinion larger quarters around 75 would be the absolute minimum for a stronger adult... at least you have a sump with a good size. Personally, I believe while your eel maybe ok for now, you'll appreciate larger quarters in roughly one or two years. Some other opinions: Purser (TFH moray author) recommends 55 gallons and Michael ('Reef fishes') recommends 30 gallons. The main problem you should expect will not be a lack of swimming space, but water pollution. You'll need a very good skimmer and adequate water changes to keep the nitrates at smaller levels (at least below 25-30 ppm).> Secondly I have no desire on overloading my tank. Do you think with the 3 Yellowtailed Damsels plus him should be okay? <For now, but likely not for ever.> Also will he be okay with these Damsels? I read Snowflake Morays are often good with other fish, but might eat what fits in their mouth. <Damsels may mysteriously vanish as the eel grows. Large Snowflake eels often have a tendency to start eating smaller tank mates. Large males get serrated long teeth perfect for fish catching.> Finally the only thing I want in my tank is the Moray and a cleanup crew. Of course the Moray eats almost any snails and crabs (and perhaps my Turbo Snails?) that consist of most cleanup crews. <Not necessarily'¦ Some do, some don't. If the snails are large and the crabs are well armoured, hermits may work without problems depending on the character of the individual eel.> What would you suggest as the ideal cleanup crew to include with a Snowflake Moray (for algae and keeping my sugar sand bed clean of detritus)? <I would give well armoured snails and hermits a try, but don't add them at feeding time. The hermits just need to be careful while molting, and if large enough and in strong shells, they are rarely cracked.> I know my tank may not be well established for some critters (sand sifting star?, etc) but would be handy to know what I can add now, and what I can add later on. <A sand sifting star should ideally have a larger and deeper sand bed. With regard to the other tank mates: It would have been better to add the moray last.> Also would you consider it practical to include a crab or cleaner shrimp every now-or-then to help clean the tank (even though he'll just become a tasty treat for the Moray?) <Impossible to tell how it will react to a cleaner shrimp'¦ some accept them, some eat them. If they are eaten I doubt they'll clean very much in the meantime'¦> Thanks a lot, love the site and it's the first page I go to for most of my research on SW questions. Cody <I'm glad you like it. Have fun with your eel. Marco.>

Snowflake eel; comp -- 02/29/08 Hi, my name is Jiahua <Hi Jiahua.> and I have a few questions concerning predatory tanks. I am a beginner in marine aquariums, but have done a great amount of research. <Good to hear.> My 40 gallon tank consists of 1 18 in. snowflake moray 1 sand sifting sea star <Hope the system is old enough and has enough sand to support this star.> I have pvc tubing for my moray and 10 pounds of live rock (that I will get more). My question is that I saw a small 5 inch snowflake moray and a dwarf lionfish at my LFS and I was wondering if I can put either in without my original snowflake eating them. <It may work if you are very lucky, but I certainly would not place the smaller moray in there. Small Snowflake eels in fact have been regurgitated by slightly larger Snowflakes, so they can be cannibalistic towards smaller conspecifics. The dwarf lion may be safe now, but not so 100% safe when the Snowflake is grown (have you seen an adult?). I'm not a fan of keeping morays with lionfish, although this is done often without problems. It's the exceptions, when morays have been stung to death or morays have killed the lionfish, that keep me from recommending them as good tank mates. Also, I don't think your 40 gallon tank can take another large predator, it will get pretty small for the Snowflake alone. I'd upgrade first before thinking about fishy tank mates (equally sized peaceful morays, a smaller grouper species, etc.). Hope this helps, Marco.>

Crabs w/Snowflake? 12/19/07 I have a snowflake eel (about 15")and would like to add something to clean the sand. Are there any crabs that would be OK with the eel? Mitch Wohl <Umm, no... small ones will be eaten, larger ones will likely eat the Echidna... Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/snoflkeelfdgfaqs.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Re: Blind Tusk An Accident Waiting To Happen... Now Snowflake eel as piscivore?  -- 10/30/2007 Hi there Bob?? <Yes, Dave> Ok, so I realize I wrote this in a mad panic as I'm about to head north to visit my ailing relative. I'm back now. Amazingly, Tuskfish is not 'blind' and apparently has eyesight. IF... he is going blind, I've already read your suggestion at frequent uses of Selcon which I was doing about once a week... I will up this to three times a week? <Okay> So yes, Tuskfish seems normal again and lo and behold... I am missing my remaining 6" Bannerfish. If you recall, last week I wrote about my missing 4" Bannerfish. The 4" fishes bones washed out of the Snowflake Moray's den three days after he disappeared and I removed them. I think together, you and I assumed he perished because of his strange behaviours ~ maybe some ailment~ and the eel simply fed on the remains. Anyhow, I can still see the 6" Bannerfish body in the Snowflake's lair. I think my opinion may have changed now... how about yours? <Might be a fish eater...> Remaining in my tank, the eel, Longnose Hawkfish, 5.5" Magnificent Foxface, and my Harlequin Tuskfish. The two bigger fish are $100+ fish. I'm a little uncertain now, as it doesn't appear the Bannerfish's body has been consumed... or if it has, only partly. I fed the eel a large tiger prawn before I left and he ate most of it ~ more than he's eaten in a few months for sure. He couldn't have been starving or even hungry. The Snowflake has been with these fish since May and has always had fish in the tank without an incident. Perhaps both my Bannerfish perished and he dragged them into his lair? As mentioned in my post last week... the eel has ALWAYS shied away from these aggressive eaters. <Perhaps...> Do you think it is time to remove the Snowflake Eel? Or would you recommend waiting to see what happens? <This latter> The water parameters seem in check with the question mark being Nitrates at 20ppm. A few people on message boards suggested it's difficult to ever get Nitrates below 20ppm with a larger eel because of the burrowing and stirring up of sand? <With proper/adequate filtration (denitrification and absorption/biological...) and circulation, is possible> I realize you don't have a crystal ball... but, when fish perish in a tank with an eel... we can't always assume that the eel is guilty, but from your experience will eels bring bodies back into the lair after a fish has died? Thanks a million, tell me where to send the Christmas present! Dave <I do NOT suspect the Echidna as a/the primary cause of demise of the Heniochus. BobF>

Is a snowflake eel clam safe? -- 05/07/07 Hello all, it's Rob again! <Hi Rob.> My new tank is/was working out very well. It is a 5'x24"x16" liner tank, all plywood and rubber liner. It is connected to (via overflow) a 75 gallon that was to be for a few small fish. The liner tank was to be for coral, algae, and critters, essentially a refugium. Until I bought a snowflake eel for the 75 gallon <Wasn't it intended for small fish?>. All was well, until the night before last. I was doing my normal routine, cleaning skimmer, changing water and cleaning the overflow. In doing so, I removed the plastic screen I cut to fit the overflow, knowing the eel would love to find its way out, and forgot to replace it after cleaning! The next day, guess where the snowflake was/is! <Tell me.> I removed all the Chaeto from the liner tank and placed it into the 75 gallon. I also placed a few more live rocks in there as well (in hopes of saving my tiny invert collection!). In each tank there is about 65 pounds of live rock. There are many snails, four or five different kinds, from the live rock and sand I suppose. Micro serpent stars, shrimp, copepods and amphipods. The liner tank has some softies and a 3" maxima! I know eels are "reef safe", (could care less about him eating the hermits!!) but what about clam safe?! The water level is low enough that he cannot escape the tank, so that's not an issue. <You'll need some kind of lid (or gaze) in the long run.> He is only about 8". What are the odds of him being okay with the clam? <He will not eat the clam, but possibly knock it down while exploring the tank. Please see http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/cav1i3/Clam_care/Clam_care.htm for information/care/placement of your clam.> He eats well, shrimp, squid and tilapia, sometimes salmon. I hate to say it, but I like the idea of keeping him in this tank, so neat to peer down on top of its home. Seems more natural I guess! Thanks for your help!! Rob. <You are welcome. Take care. Marco.>

Company for a snowflake eel - 04/26/07 Hi, I have a foot long snowflake. I'm looking into getting another eel. I had a chainlink that bullied my snowflake but he caught me with my guard down one day and found a hole I forgot to recover. Unfortunately these guys seem to be better camouflaged outside of the tank then in it. <Lesson learned? Sad he died. Did additional caves/pipes work for the snowflake?> So on to the question. I liked the chainlink, but I'm wary about my snowflake, thinking the bully came back. So what species can get along with the snowflake, in a years time all will be in a 300 gallon tank <ok> if that helps the selection. (I want to buy now because of all the fish stores near me when I move I have to pay a lot more for these guys). <Choose peaceful (for a moray), medium sized species attaining a similar length. The zebra moray Gymnomuraena zebra gets slightly larger and heavier than the snowflake, but is quite docile. The barred moray eel Gymnothorax polyzona is similar to the chainlink, but smaller. The white eye morays G. griseus and G. thyrsoideus will probably work, too (worked very well for me). If you want a more offensive eel, only consider smaller species (around 2 ft and slightly smaller) such as G. zonipectis, G. polyuranodon, G. tile, Atlantic Golden moray G. miliaris, Abbott's moray G. eurostus. Stay away from larger, aggressive moray eels for the sake of your snowflake. Read http://www.wetwebmedia.com/morays.htm and part II. Be sure that the new moray has the same size as your snowflake. Marco.>

Re: Company for a snowflake eel II - 04/26/07 What stores should I look into for the white mouth eels like the abbot moray? <Sorry, I have no idea, where you are living, neither do I know all fish stores/wholesalers or online sources from which you could order. White mouth moray G. meleagris gets too big for your snowflake. You probably mean white eye (?). White eye or geometric moray G. griseus is imported from the Red Sea. White eye or greyface G. thyrsoideus often comes from Indonesia. Abbott's moray is G. eurostus, it is one of the most common puhi (Hawaiian morays) as far as I know. Ask your favourite store to order from a wholesaler, who imports from the specific area of the species you want. Cheers, Marco.>

Snowflake bit orange toadfish   4/15/07 Hey there Bob and friends,   there doesn't seem to be much info on toadfish anywhere on the web. <Not much...> Just a quick question,...I have a 90 gallon with a dogface, a 6 inch orange toadfish, and a 18 inch snowflake eel. I've noticed the eel doesn't seem to bother anyone EXCEPT the toadfish. Today I came home and noticed the toad's gill on one side looked a little shredded and there seems to be a little piece of cartilage sticking out from the gill area. He doesn't seem stressed and still eating whatever comes near him. (i.e. freeze dried krill, live ghost shrimp)...........and finally the question(s)!!!.....Do you think he'll heal from this/be okay? And is something I can to do to aid in the healing?? Are eels and toads mortal enemies?? <Mmm... not really so much as enemies as the not-well sighted eels desire to keep the bottom "cleared" for their investigation, use... and don't have hands, thumbs to sample, manipulate their universe... only a mouth with sharp teeth... BobF>     ..thanks a million,   Adam B.

Snowflake eel, chainlink eel -- compatibility and system. 03/25/07 Hi again, had a question about my snowflake eels behaviour.  When I first got my eels (chainlink and snowflake (both came from the same tank)) they were buddy buddy hung out same cave and all and at first the snowflake was the adventurous one going all around its new tank while the chainlink hid and refused food. Then I guess they had a fight and he moved on up to the pump in the corner of the tank. I took your advice and made a second cave and he came back down, but sure enough the chainlink had to change caves from time to time which sent my snowflake flying out of its cave and back to its pump. <Need more caves. Once I had a similar case of a moray hiding behind and in my skimmer. It ended when I introduced and in part buried pvc pipes. I made two caves per moray eel and they almost never left them since.> At first it seemed they were the same size, but now I can see the snowflake is smaller. Any thoughts you feel like sharing on this? <Watch their growth carefully, moray eels are known to be cannibalistic in some cases when their sizes were too different.> I'd like to get them living in the rocks again, right now he's using my banded shark as a hiding place. Its kind of funny to watch the shark burrow itself in the sand only to have the eel ruin its burrow in its attempt to burrow and back and forth but I wouldn't risk giving it food while its under him. Also are there any chances a chainlink eel could ingest a small lionfish safely mines missing. <Oh yes. Morays (even of the genus Echidna) can kill and eat small lionfish and lionfish can kill morays.> Thanks in advance. <Cheers, Marco.>

Emerald Crab Missing legs   3/14/07 I have had my new 30 gall. tank running for about 2 and a half months now. <Good for you.  I apologize for the lateness of my reply, my DSL went down for some reason.  I was quite pleased to see that it was up today.> I have a Yellow belly Damsel, Chromis, 14 blue leg hermits, and 2 turbo snails. I also have A Snowflake Eel (who is a baby, I realize he will have to upgrade in tank size as he grows) <He needs to come out now.  He will eat your crustaceans.> and a Emerald crab. Today when I came home I was shocked to see my Emerald crab was missing on entire side of his legs. My question is could the eel have done this (as he is only the size of a #2 pencil) <Sounds like he tried for a snack and was only partially successful.> and if he did should I bring one of the two back to the store. <I would remove the eel.  The guys are opportunity predators, and they mainly eat crustaceans.  This is not to say that some of the smaller fish that you have might not look like an opportunity, because they very well could.> My other question is, will the crab be able to regenerate his legs during a molting period? <Yes.  But he will need protection whilst he is molting.> He is still walking around using his right claw as a form of legs for that side of his body, and seems to be eating normally. <A good sign.> I guess it boils down to me asking will he survive, and will he grow his legs back. <Without the eel, he has a very good chance of making it.> Thanks again <No worries.  Brandon> Ryan

Snowflake eel, blue tang, convict tang comp. problem 03/03/07 Hi WWM Crew, hopefully you can help me with this problem. <Hi Maison. Marco here trying to help.> I have a 150 gallon reef aquarium which is 6 foot long x 2 feet deep x 2 feet wide. For the last week my eel has been attacking all my fish, I have had him for 6 months and he is 24" inches long. Today he tried eating my clownfish and was swimming around the tank. I fed him two days ago and he comes up for more two days later like he hasn't eaten for a week. Is there anything that could have caused this? <It is not uncommon at all that moray eels start trying to eat other fishes without apparent reason even after years of peace. You should find another home for it or the attacked fishes. Carefully feed him a little more until you have an alternative home.> To my other question, my blue tang keeps getting stressed, I have had him for 6 months and he is 2-2.5 inches long. Two weeks ago I added a convict tang and he chased around the blue tang for two days and then settled it out. Now they eat together with no hassle. But my blue tang keeps getting ich. He scratches himself on the rockwork and has scrapes on his body. <Search WWM for treatment of marine ich, lots of information is already available, and hope the convict tang and the blue tang stay peaceful. If not, one has to go, too.> My other fish are 2 ocellaris clowns, 1 longnose butterflyfish, 1 convict tang, 1 valentini puffer, 1 mandarin dragonet, 1 lawnmower blenny, 3 Chromis, 1 blue tang, 1 snowflake eel. Sorry for such a long e-mail, its just that this is urgent. Thanks in advance and please help, Maison in Melbourne, Australia. Re: Snowflake eel, blue tang, convict tang II,  Ich treatment with Tri-Sulfa 03/05/07 I treated the blue tang 2 days ago with Tri-Sulfa Tablets and it disappeared, but today he is scratching again. I might do another medication tomorrow and see how he is going. Could it be my UV Sterilizer? I don't know, if I need a new bulb for it. <Those tablets are reported to only help for a short time (if they help with Ich at all). The UV Sterilizer will only affect the free swimming tomites and works as an additional help. If you know your bulb is old, change it. If the situation is getting worse for the blue tang, consider taking him into a hospital tank. Closely watch the other fishes, too. Avoid treating your entire tank with copper products, they would possibly be bad for your eel. Search http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ichartmar.htm and the related FAQs for proper Ich treatment.> In regards to the eel I will take your advice and see how it goes. If not, I will try to catch him and return him to the local fish store. Thanks, Maison. <Cheers, Marco.>

Snowflake Eel question   1/12/06   Would my Snowflake Moray (8-10") be ok in my 10 gallon "mini-reef" for a short period of time? <Mmm, not very> I ask because I need to move his (or her, I guess) 55 gallon to another room in my house, and I don't have anywhere else to put him. In the 10 gallon I have: (1) 2" tank-raised False Percula, (1) 2-3" Pearly Jawfish, (2) Margarita snails, (5) hermit crabs, (1) Emerald crab, (1) 2-3" Serpent star, (1) 1" Lettuce Nudibranch, polyps, frogspawn, mushrooms, 20lbs LS, and 8lbs LR. Any serious trouble or stress for anyone involved in this mix? <Yes... the Moray disrupting all by at times rapid swimming... investigating, bumping into the other life at night...> I know the inverts could possibly meet their maker, obviously I would be gambling. If you recommend this, what's the min/max amount of time to keep the eel in the 10 gallon before re-introducing into the 55? <I would not place this Muraenid here> If not, what do you recommend I do with him while his home is moved? <Mmm, have a friend, or fish store hold it> Also, which medium-sized triggerfish would you suggest keeping with a 8-10" Snowflake Moray in a 55 gallon FOWLR? <None... too big, likely to bite the eel> I'm hoping a Rhinecanthus or maybe a Balistapus Undulatus. The other triggers are either too big or not mean enough! Thanks for the help. WWM has changed my life. MIKE C <Yikes! Mine too! Bob Fenner>

Frogfish/Snowflake Eel  1/2/07 Greetings to the WWM crew! <Hi Gretchen, Pufferpunk here.> I've a small problem, I think I've fallen in love with a frog fish! <Certainly can't blame you on that one!  I'm crazy about these weird, wonderfully camouflaged, lumbering, creatures myself.>   I saw 2 at my LFS a few days ago and have been searching the Wet Web site as well as the web in general, for information since. (Thanks for all the information on the species on your site!)  What I'm curious about is if I could keep one in with my snowflake eel, and if so which would be the "best" suited for such a pairing? The eel (Ichi) currently is in a 125 gal tank with plenty of rock and tubes for him to hide in. He's about 18 inches long, shares his tank with a few hermit crabs and snails and seems to be very docile almost shy. He used to share his tank with a burrfish and they got along fine! (Burrfish died of parasites over a year ago. We were heartbroken, and this is the first thing I've seen that I might like to add into the tank.) <I think this is the best tank mate for a frogfish.  Their teeth are flat, like a person's (for eating crustaceans), not sharp (for tearing into flesh), like other morays.  Been doing a lot of research myself, since I bought a Wartfin frogfish last week, with my X-mas $$$.  I really wanted to get a snowflake eel & a Fu Manchu lionfish but after researching the FAQs at WWM, I saw several Qs where it ended badly, with the frogfish getting stung by the lion.  I certainly don't want that to happen to my little guy!> One of the things I keep seeing is that frogfish are difficult to get adjusted to non-live foods. Ichi gets fed frozen/thawed/soaked in vitamins krill, squid, shrimp, clams and the occasional live crab or ghost shrimp. Is a frogfish likely to get picky about the mix of live and non-live food? (I recall reading something about that happening on another site.) <Exactly my problem now.  I have had the frogfish for a week.  I've been bouncing foods off a thread & hooked it on the tank, so it moves with the current & she won't bite.  I do see her "fishing" upside down in the live rock & I know there are live creatures in there to keep her fed but eventually, that will run out.  I am getting concerned & will probably get some ghost shrimp & gut-load them with foods & feed them to her for some sustenance.  I hear they are supposed to have voracious appetites & hope she takes "dead" foods soon.> I'm trying to find out as much as I can first, and know better than to hurry into any kind of purchase! <You may want to ask to see it eat at the store, to be sure it eats dead foods.  I took their word for it when I asked, because she had supposedly been fed that day.> Thanks, in advance for any information/suggestions you may have! Happy New Year! <Happy New Year to you too & good luck with your frogfish!  ~PP> Gretchen

Re: The New Tank... Snowflake comp.   12/15/06 Just a short note... (I wonder if you recognize my email address by now... I write you so much)... <The name David, yes> Due to all the advice over the years, Mr. Fenner's wonderful book, and my 4 yrs of experience... I am realizing my dream in the hobby.  I wanted a larger tank for bigger critters, including a Moray Eel.  The tank is now up and running thanks to all your help.  Have posted some pictures for your viewing pleasure, I hope they turn out. <Ah, yes. I see them> Feel free to use any of them... I think I have some really good ones of the Snowflake Eel. I have about a 4-5" Foxface in my 20gallon quarantine tank... but was reading through your FAQ's today.  Sounds like your opinion would be that no quarantine would be necessary??? <Mmm, worth doing IMO>   I just want to ensure he is feeding alright before I turn him loose in my bigger tank.  He's been in my quarantine tank for about 24hrs now by himself with the lights off. I've also read through your FAQ's and it seems like a Foxface is a great tankmate for my 16" snowflake eel.  The tank is a new startup... liverock was 'cured' (apparently) when I got it... but I still cured for an additional 4 weeks... <Good>   The tank has been up and running for two weeks with liverock.  I have no signs of ammonia or nitrite and I have a hint of nitrate (damn I forget the specific reading, but it barely showed up on a Salifert test).  I will be doing water changes... about 8 gallons every 4 days for several weeks to help.   In any event, the tank is new. If my Foxface is feeding in my QT, should I add him to the 200gallon setup with the moray eel? <I would wait at least another week...> Or in this case because of a new tank, should I keep him in QT for the full 3 or 4 weeks. Just a comment... the snowflake eel slithers in and around all my liverock at night (I can still see him with my moonlighting). <Yes... the species is naturally nocturnal>   My small 2" yellow-tail blue damsels sleep in the rockwork at night.  If the snowflake eel discovers them in the rocks sleeping... wouldn't he sample them?   <Not really... unless very hungry... Echidna aren't very piscivorous> I know they aren't suppose to be fish eaters, but anything can happen.  It just seems too easy for the eel to hunt down and pick off these damsels or even a resting Foxface at night.  Would the species GENERALLY just pass by the resting fish leaving them alone? <Yes>   I guess I am just paranoid after reading the numerous fish-eating snowflake scenarios on your FAQ's. Merry Christmas!
<And to you and yours. Bob Fenner>

Eels ... mixing Snowflake, Zebra...  11/16/06 Can I put a zebra eel in with a snowflake eel?  <Hi, Michelle here.  They can be compatible.  There is much to glean about these fascinating creatures.  Please take a little time and read over some of the information found on the WWM site to learn how to provide appropriate care for these beauties.>  

Snowflake eel and what?   5/8/06 Hey crew! <Chris> I'm getting ready to move my 30 gal tank to a 120 gal tank and am planning which fish to add.  A friend of mine has offered me a healthy snowflake eel which sounds great.  I am considering doing the bubble tip/clownfish thing as well which raises the question. Do snowflake's tend to eat bubble tip anemones?  I read that they do enjoy invertebrates but have found many aquariums on the internet that have both.  Any help is greatly appreciated. Chris <Mmm, well, more of an issue with the two running into each other. Echidnas and most other Morays have poor vision... and some, at times brisk behavioral activity. I would not mix these two species together. Bob Fenner>

Snowflake Moray Eels... beh., comp.   2/14/06 Howdy, <Hi there> I have two juvenile snowflake eels. They are about six to eight inches long and about as big around as a pencil. I purchased them at the same time. All of the eels were kept in separate hamster balls at the fish store with their own bits of stuff to hide in or under. I have lots and lots of hiding places ranging from PVC. to dead coral to live rock to some macro algae.   One of them has two dark spots on its nose, these spots appear two be part of the nasal cavity. I have seen similar spots on other snowflake noses, but none this dark. Mine are almost purple-ish black. Why are they much darker than any other eel's? <Individual color variation likely... not to be concerned> This eel also has a head twitch. i have seen the head twitch on other snow flakes that did not have these dark spots on the nose. The eel looks neurotic. What causes this head twitch? <Perhaps neurological damage, maybe a genetic anomaly> The one with out the nose spots changes color or tint some times. Most of the time its back ground color is a creamy white like its tank mate, but some times it turns to a pinkish color. It was this pinkish color for the first week i had it and now will randomly change for just a half a day. I know that an eel can change color if water conditions are poor, but mine are fine; 1.024 salinity, 8.3 ph, no ammonia, no nitrites or nitrates, steady 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Plus, the other eel never changes color. Why is this one randomly turning pinkish? <Other factors... perhaps psycho-social> Also, the one with the nose spots and head twitch hides a lot, will eat from my hand, and even slithered into my palm and around my fingers a few times, but avoids the other one. The one with out the nose spots is scared of my hand but out and active a lot, it has claimed ninety percent of the tank and will attack and chase the one with the nose spots. This is so bad that the one with nose spots is only allowed in one corner of the tank with out being harassed. I have been told and read that these snowflake eels should get along fine. I have even seen snowflake eels laying together sharing a piece of PVC. piping many times in many different fish stores. Why do mine not get along?   I really want at least two. Which one should i replace if they don't work things out? Thank you for your time Joe <I would leave together, not be overwrought re these differences. Bob Fenner>

G. miliaris vs. E. nebulosa   1/21/06 Hello all at wetwebmedia, hope all is well? <Seems to be, thanks> Firstly, thank you for the continuation of your outstanding website and for all the conscientious advice you give. I wonder if you could spare me some of your expertise? <We'll see> I have a Goldentail Moray Eel (Gymnothorax miliaris) that is currently 12 - 14 Inches long and as thick as your first finger. She is in a large aquarium all by her self (has been since September 2005). The little beastie is feeding very well on chopped sprats, squid, mussels etc. Her aquarium contains a plethora of ocean rock formations and large barnacle shells (which she slinkily glides through - great fun to observe the exploration of her world!). I have been thinking about adding a Snowflake Moray Eel (Echidna nebulosa) in with my existing Goldentail. The thing is, my LFS has several in stock, that are all feeding well on squid, mussels, cockles etc... but they only measure 9 - 12 Inches and are about as thick as your little finger. Are the two species compatible? I am concerned that the Goldentail will try to eat the Snowflake like a piece of aquatic spaghetti!?!? <Should get along for a good long while if not indefinitely... best to introduce muraenids (if at all) when small. Miliaris is not "very" piscivorous and the Snowflake almost not at all... Bob Fenner> Any advice will be greatly appreciated. Regards Chris Naylor

Snowflake eel habitat and tankmates  - 1/6/06 Hey guys, doing a little research here planning my tank that goes up this week.  I have a 75 gal Reef Ready tank with plans of housing 1 single Volitans or Russell's Lion and a Snowflake eel. Since the Snowflake can have a tendency to eat fish (FAQ has several cases), I thought I'd add the Lionfish first and let him put on some size first.  So at what size should the Lion be before I add the eel and do I need to worry about the Lion trying to eat the Eel AND/OR the Eel trying to eat the lion? <You can start doing your researching here.   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/snowflakemoray.htm  and here,  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/lions&rels.htm  Joe, there is a wealth of information on the Wet Web Media.  Please look and get information there before sending queries.> Second question, I've read about the PVC tubing for an Eel home/hiding place.  I was thinking about placing a 3' section of pipe along the entire back of the tank behind the rockwork with 45 degree ends that come out in Live rock caves.  Is 3" pipe necessary (as recommended) for a Snowflake...or would 2" suffice?  <I'd go with what is recommended.> Lastly, What is the max girth of a Snowflake Eel? <In captivity they will seldom exceed 24" in length so I'm guessing maximum girth at this size about 1 1/2-2.0 inches.  Keep in mind these guys are escape artists and a tight fitting cover is a must.> Thanks for having a great Website with a wealth of knowledge. <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Joe

My puffer bit my eel  12/13/05 Hello wetweb. <Holy hello it's Michael Maddox with you today - have had zero time for 'ol WWM as of late :(> I'm hoping you can suggest some remedies to help my poor snowflake eel. He was burrowing under the rocks in the tank and   scraped himself up pretty good. Most of these wounds were healing, but the other day my stars and stripes puffer decided to bite him.   Now the poor eel has a couple of puffer mouth sized wounds on his back and they're not looking so great. Do you have any suggestions   for treating these wounds. I'm moving him to an isolation tank, but i think his wounds could use some more active treatment as opposed to   hoping they heal. <I would treat him with a broad spectrum antibiotic (make sure to dose appropriately and do not cease treatment early per mfg instructions) and keep him well fed.  Provide him places to hide (PVC tubes work perfectly) and monitor the water quality carefully.  He should heal fine.  Might I recommend putting him in a separate aquarium, and\or finding one of them a new home in the future?  I can guarantee you this will happen again> thanks <Anytime> Dan <M. Maddox>

What do Echidna eels eat?  11/24/05 I was told that Banded Coral Shrimp and Snowflake Eels can live harmoniously together almost like Shrimp Gobies and Pistol Shrimp. Is this true or have you heard anything to confirm this because I'd always assume they would end up as food for the eel. Thanks <Mmm, no to mixing these. This genera of eels consumes crustaceans (crabs, shrimp) for food. Bob Fenner>

Snowflake eel tank  11/15/05 Hi In my last email you said I might be able to keep a snowflake eel with my two aggressive fish. But now I am wondering if there is room in my tank for the eel. I have the Niger trigger, 7 inch. A Klunzinger's wrasse, 6 inch. A mated pair of maroon clowns, female 4 inch. and male 2 inch. A Naso tang, 5 inch. A pearlscale butterfly, 3 inch. And a Talbot's and blue damsel. All these fish are in a 125 gallon tank, is there room in this tank for a small snowflake eel? Thanks for your time. Patrick Nikiel <I would not place this or any other Moray species in this setting... too much food competition... mostly. Bob Fenner> 

Eel compatibility  11/9/05 Hi, I have a 125 gallon saltwater aquarium. I have been wanting to add an eel to this tank. I am worried that either my 7 inch Niger Trigger or my 6 inch Klunzinger's wrasse would harass it. <Might> Neither of them show much aggression to my other fish. The trigger is shy and docile and the wrasse swims about constantly. I read that both large triggers and wrasses could harass eels. I am thinking a snowflake eel is what i would add, but I think they are docile eels. There are lots of hiding places in the live rock and i will add PVC pipe for the eel to hide in also. Would you recommend a more aggressive eel for this tank than the snowflake, or should I just not add an eel at all? Thank you for your time. Patrick Nikiel. <The Snowflake is a good choice, one of my faves... It might prove hard to feed it amongst these other fishes... so I would plan on getting, using a "feeding stick" to provide food right down in front of its face... and of course keep an eye on the Trigger and Wrasse re possible negative interactions... possible but not likely percentage-wise. Bob Fenner> 

Moray compatibility  09/13/2005 Hello again I was wondering if I could keep a snowflake eel with any species of sand sifting goby. I know snowflakes rarely eat fish but I read you should not mix bottom dwelling fish with morays. Your website's very helpful and thanks again  <I'll rephrase a statement you made:  "you should not mix any fish that a snowflake moray can swallow." In that case, knowing that snowflakes can attain a length of two feet, I'm thinking the goby may become dinner someday.  James (Salty Dog)> Patrick Nikiel

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

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

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

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

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

Re: brittle stars >thanks for the links, I just had a pet store to tell me I couldn't have an eel with my brittlestar cause the eel would eat it <Mmm, no... this species mainly eats crustaceans in the wild. Take a look under the species name, Echidna nebulosa, in the scientific literature, e.g. fishbase.org. Bob Fenner>

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Eel Hitchhiker Ought to Go (3/7/04) Hi WWM, <Steve Allen this AM> I would like to seek your advise about keeping the snowflake moray eel. <OK>    I bought a batch of 12Kg live rock this afternoon and now I found there is a 8" to 10" eel that came along with the rock. After searching in the internet, I found its an snowflake moray eel. <Lucky you. I paid $30 for mine. Eels do occasionally show up as LR hitchhikers.> Well here is the problem, I have 4 x 1.5" common clowns, one 2.5" African clown, 4 more about 3/4" fishes, one doctor prawn & a  lot of coral. Should I keep the eel or remove it? How to remove it (easy to catch?). Thanks. regards, ws teoh <Well, you do have a problem. The shrimp is a goner for sure. The eel may not quite be big enough to get the clowns yet, but it will be. The 3/4" fish are already in mortal danger. I'd get him out now. The only way to do this is to remove all of the rock and net him. Be careful: they bite hard, the wriggle like mad, and they can escape through the smallest opening. Good luck. You ought to be able to sell him to a fish store.>

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

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

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

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

Snowflake eel question? I have a question about the snowflake eel if you were to place them in a tank of fish it is possible they could outgrow and eat the other fish in the tank? And on one more note which kinds of marine fish may they get along with? (Darell) <This species almost never eats fishes... this question, your other... are answered on WWM... read there. Bob Fenner>

Cycling an eel tank, ignorance re nutrition of Echidna, cycling, using WWM  9/5/05 Hello again When I get my 75 gallon tank how would I cycle it if I plan to put a snowflake eel in it. When I first get the eel he will be way too small to eat the fish but eventually he will. <No...> Is there any kind of fish that could cycle the tank that would not be eventually eaten? <All sorts> And if I did put some Chromis or damsels and they were eaten I would not mind, its just nature. But if you know another way that could save some fish from being eaten I am all ears. Sorry to bother you again, but thanks for all your help Patrick Nikiel <Please... use the search tool, indices on WWM... Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/snowflakemoray.htm re this species care, feeding... and elsewhere on WWM re cycling. Bob Fenner>

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