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FAQs about Snowflake Moray Eel Foods/Feeding/Nutrition

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

Related Articles: Snowflake Morays, Zebra Morays, Ribbon MoraysThe "Freshwater" Moray Eels,


 Take care to not have too many eager eaters in the same system as your Moray.

Snowflake and Zebra Eels     11/1/16
Hi, thanks for the great service you provide. And thanks to Bob for speaking at our San Diego reef club meeting a few mo.s ago.
<A pleasure on both counts>
I have a question on feeding my snowflake and zebra eel. I've had them a week and they are 2-2.5 ft long, in a 300 gallon tank as part of an almost 500 gallon system. They came from a home where they were fed shrimp and squid but will only eat shrimp for me.
<Very common for both these Muraenids>

I read the article on thiaminase and am worried about what to feed them.
Apparently regular shrimp contain that, along with most other things they normally eat from the seafood section. I tried feeding them cod, but only one will eat it but doesn't seem to like it. Cockles, Hawaiian shrimp, Portuguese crab, and brief squid are the only items on the article list that are free of thiaminase (other than fish) that they may eat but I don't
know how to get these food sources. All the seafood I see are not labeled from origin points. I see from FAQ's that Seachem's Vitality is recommended to soak their food in. If I feed them a variety of store bought raw clams, shrimp etc and soak it in that, will their diet be good enough? Thanks!
<For these two eels, shrimp-only diets don't often lead to vitamin B deficiency syndromes. I would continue as you're doing; soaking the shrimp in the vitamin mix; and feeding sparingly. Say once per week. Bob Fenner>

Snowflake Eel question... feeding f'       7/11/16
<Hey Shawn>
I have had a snowflake eel for some time now and I'm having problems getting it to eat at the moment.
<Oh... what have you been feeding? Some food strikes are common w/ Muraenids, but... many times they're resultant from nutritional deficiency syndromes>

The snowflake is about 30 inches long
(I've had it since it was about 6 inches or so)
and resides in a 125 gallon tank with lot of live rock and 4 tank mates. He has had very long stretches of not eating in the past (6 to 8 weeks) and then binges of eating 2-3 shrimp every day.
<Yes; not atypical>
This is the longest stretch without eating, possibly 12 weeks. I'm trying different proteins and he seems to react the best to fresh raw shrimp.
<Needs more than this. AT LEAST the soaking of food in prep.s... Like SeaChem's "Vitality">
Here's the thing: He often goes for the shrimp but every time he takes it he ends up letting go and not actually eating it. Any tips to get him eating again or suggestions of what may be happening here?
<See WWM re Vitamin and HUFA et al. supplementing... I'd also double dose the system w/ iodide-ate>
Tank parameters are all in acceptable ranges but the temperature swings up in the summer heat (maxes around 85 degrees). No tank mates are messing with him.
Shawn Wasson
<Please keep us "in the loop" here. Bob Fenner>
Snowflake Eel question... Marco's go        7/12/16

I have had a snowflake eel for some time now and I'm having problems getting it to eat at the moment. The snowflake is about 30 inches long (I've had it since it was about 6 inches or so) and resides in a 125 gallon tank with lot of live rock and 4 tank mates. He has had very long stretches of not eating in the past (6 to 8 weeks) and then binges of eating 2-3 shrimp every day. This is the longest stretch without eating, possibly 12 weeks.
I'm trying different proteins and he seems to react the best to fresh raw shrimp.
<Needs more than just shrimps. Please read
Here's the thing: He often goes for the shrimp but every time he takes it he ends up letting go and not actually eating it. Any tips to get him eating again or suggestions of what may be happening here? Tank parameters are all in acceptable ranges
<which are? Check for pH (8.0-8.2) and low to medium nitrates (<<30 ppm) and correct if necessary.>
but the temperature swings up in the summer heat (maxes around 85 degrees).
No tank mates are messing with him.
<Check said water parameters and try to carry the diet. Mine always went crazy for cockle (Cardium spp.) and other bivalves. Also read
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/snoflkeeldisfaqs.htm  for similar cases. Good luck. Marco.>

Snowflake eel; fdg.       2/1/15
Hi there, thank you for providing this resource.
Quick question, when feeding my Snowflake Moray prawns (frozen) is it best to take the shells off the prawns or leave them on?
Thanks again.
<Matt, the best way to feed a moray prawns is "occasionally". Mussels and prawns are widely used by fishkeepers, but neither make good staples, and should very much be minority components of their diet (say, 20% of what you feed them). Cockles, white fish fillet, lancefish and squid are better alternatives. Do read:
But to answer your question, whole and shell-on is best, but that assumes the moray is big enough to crunch the shells. Small specimens will need you to cut the prawn into smaller bits, quite possibly shelling them if the moray is really young (say, 20-30 cm in length). Cheers, Neale.>

zebras and Snowflake eel fdg.      7/29/12
Hi there, I have a zebra and snowflake eel that have had for a long time.
Both get along great and lay together. The zebra is about 24" and the snowflake is about 16". I usually feed them twice a week. I give them a shrimp a piece soaked in vita-chem. Lately they have been acting like there starving. Can I feed the zebra more then twice week?
<Yes... and/or more on the days of the week they do get fed>
 I know the snowflake is only suppose to eat once to twice a week. I hope you all are well, Jim
<Thank you, Bob Fenner>
Re: zebras eel     7/29/12

Thank you Bob!
<Welcome Jim>

snowflake eel, fdg./rdg.    3/5/12
To Crew,
I recently wrote you about Majano Anemones and you were very helpful. I hope you can help again. I recently got a snowflake eel from a friend which was feeding him silversides. I have had him about seven days now and cannot get him to take any silversides. Is this normal? Any suggestions?
<Not abnormal for fishes fed exclusively... Read here:
and the linked files above>
<Please learn to/use the search tool, indices ahead of writing us. BobF> 

Snowflake eel-thiamine deficiency?   11/2/11
Hello WWM,
Our snowflake eel stopped eating about three or four weeks ago, but after doing some research online we found out not eating was common.
As we have been watching our eel and trying to feed him we noticed he gets these flashes of breathing really hard and thrashing his body around almost like he has paralysis. We found your website and came with a possible conclusion
that he could have a thiamine deficiency since we have only been feeding him frozen silversides.
<Mmm; yes>
Our tank has been up for over a year. We don't have any numbers for our water conditions but all our other fish and anemones
<Generally a poor idea to house Muraenids and Anemones together; the former being so blind, oblivious that they touch the latter>
are doing great and our eel was doing good <well> for about five months before this started. We were able to catch him and put him in a separate tank by himself with fresh, clean water hoping that this will help him want to eat again. We are going to buy the Vitamin B you mentioned to start soaking his food in.
Is there any advice you can give us about bringing him back to the snowflake eel we had a few months ago or anything else we should/need to do?
<Do look into offering ghost/glass shrimp, live... that you can gut-load>
Is there anything we need to add to his tank that will help him?
<I'd also add a bit of iodide/ate to the foods, water on a weekly basis>
Thank you,
Sharr and Kyle
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Snowflake eel food question 02/13/11
I just bought a small snowflake eel and have been reading up on what to feed it. In addition to the krill, squid, clams etc. can I feed any live food? Are small fresh water fish or ghost shrimp OK every once and a while?
<You can - with caution (!) - , but it is not necessary. Please see
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/fdgfdrartneale.htm  and http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_6/volume_6_1/thiaminase.htm >
If not, what would a good live food be?
<In nature this species mostly eats various crabs.>
I also was ready to buy some frozen Pollock fillets to feed it. The package said just Pollock fillets in the ingredients but on the nutrition it said 160mg of sodium. Do saltwater fish have salt in the meat naturally or did they not mention they added salt?
<These 160 mg Sodium per half fillet are natural content. Pollock is a good choice in my opinion.>
<Don't forget to add vitamins once in a while (about once per week) to any frozen food and to feed a varied diet. Cheers, Marco.>
Re: Snowflake eel food question   2/14/11

Thanks.......What vitamins would be the best out of these 2? Kent Zoe or Vita-Chem Marine?
<Welcome... I'd choose Vita-Chem Marine, which has the needed ingredients following the guaranteed analysis... Kent Zoe may be OK, too, but they don't give much information on the ingredients as far as I know. Cheers, Marco.>
Re: Snowflake eel food question   2/21/11

I have one more question....is it okay to feed fresh clams or can they give the eel diseases since they were just live before being open? Thanks
<As long as they are fresh (fresh enough to be safe for human consumption) you can feed them. However, many folks freeze fresh food for a few days to kill off possible parasites. I don't do this, because I think the chance to introduce something is very small and the freezing and thawing destroys at least some nutrients. Cheers, Marco.>

Snowflake Eel, sys., fdg.   8/19/10
Hello gang, hope all is well. My question this time is in regards to a Snowflake Eel. Been in the hobby now for 12-15 years so I have plenty of personal experience but have never had an eel before. Have done lots of reading/research on the issue and wanted your trusted opinion. My system is a 150 gallon FOWLR setup with a 55 gallon tank used as a wet dry/sump in the stand below the tank. No water quality issues to speak of and the tank has been set up for years so it is "old", so to speak. I know it's imperative to make sure that the little fellow will have no escape route out of the tank so I'm trying to concoct the best way to seal off the top of the tank. I was thinking of using egg crate but wanted your opinion on the idea.
<Yes, this works, as does a covering glass (given enough gaseous exchange and not too much heat from the light), most standard hoods or a well fitting frame with rough mosquito net to name a few alternatives.>
Also, I was thinking of making a PVC "cave" of sorts and then burying most of it underneath the substrate; except for the opening that would rest just above the sand bed. Would this be a good way of providing a hiding place?
<Yes it would. Also, create some caves within the reef (can also be done with PVC-pipes) and keep the rock structure together with glue, concrete or at least cable wraps or the eel might make it tumble over at some point.>
Lastly, do they typically eat relatively readily? I have some aggressive feeders in the tank (a tang, trigger, harlequin tusk) and am pretty well assuming I'll have to stick feed the eel. Thoughts?
<Generally Echidna nebulosa are easy to feed, but will cease feeding when stressed e.g. by the move from the shop or if they are feeling unwell. Only buy a specimen that was eating at the store, with all your other fish training in the tank would be difficult. A healthy moray eel won't die from not eating for some weeks, so don't be overly concerned if it takes a while for the moray to take food in your tank. Feed a varied diet of crustaceans, cephalopods, bivalves and fish and use vitamins about once a week. Have an eye on the trigger, sometimes the dorsal fin of a moray eel seems quite delicious to some trigger species.>
<Please read here and the linked FAQs on top of this article (in blue):
<Cheers, 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.>

Snowflake eel issue, fdg., hlth.  04/27/10
Hello There:
I have a fairly large reef system..about 700 gallons. I've had my Snowflake Eel, Nessie, for 7 years. She's surprisingly gregarious.. usually.. with a voracious appetite. Generally she'll eat two whole shrimp, or chunks of scallops, or squid, every other day. I understand eels can go for several weeks without eating...but we are now nearly 7 weeks without hand feeding
<Watch your fingers. I know a guy with a bad scar from an Echidna nebulosa he hand fed for years'¦ He was lucky no important nerve fibres were cut.>
and this is not normal behavior for her. Admittedly, in a tank this size, there's plenty to snack on but she's always had a welcoming relationship with the several cleaner shrimp, and none are m.i.a.
She's fairly listless and seems to have some slim hanging off her.
<Not so good.>
She's about 3 ft long, but the tank has about 300 lbs of rock so it's a bit difficult to see her body unless she chooses to swim, which she's not done lately.
Tank parameters:
NO2 0
NO3 0
pH 8.3
Phosphates 0 - .25
Calcium 420
KH 17
NH3 0
Salinity 34ppm
Copper 0
Temp 81
Magnesium 1240ppm
<Sounds all good.>
Any ideas on what's up?
<If the eel is having problems with its slime coat this can mean severe trouble. Did you use vitamins on its food on a regular basis? If you fed mostly frozen food, a lot of the natural vitamin content was lost during freezing and thawing. This needs to be replaced. In addition some marine foods may contain vitamin destroying enzymes, see http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_6/volume_6_1/thiaminase.htm There's not much you can do in this case except keeping on to try feeding and to watch out if further symptoms occur. Also see here for similar cases: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/snoflkeeldisfaqs.htm  >
How long do these eels live?
<The older ones I found were about 14. I'd say one Snowflake eel year roughly correlates with about 6-7 human years.>
Thanks very much for any info and very much appreciate your site...which is the best on the web. Sincerely, P.Strong
<Thanks for your kind words. Good luck. Marco.>
Re: Snowflake Eel not eating w/cloudy eye - 04/15/10

Thanks for the reply.
What is a bivalve?
< http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bivalvia.htm
'¦ clams, mussels, scallops, cockles'¦>
And what sort of crustaceans?
<Shrimps of any kind (uncooked and not seasoned), crabs'¦>
Frozen? Live?
<Fresh, frozen or live.>
I've tried silversides, krill, and prawn.
<Prawn is a good choice as long as it is unseasoned and not cooked. If frozen vitamins should be added. Krill should only make up a small part of a moray eel (or other predator) diet, it's thought to be related to deficiency diseases. Silversides can make up a part of your eel's diet, but should not be the item fed most often.>
My water parameters are great aside from phosphate; Ammonia 0, Nitrate 0, Nitrite 0, PH 8.2, Temp. 77, SG 1.021-1.022, Calcium is high, in the low 500's but has been for quite some time (not sure why, I don't add calcium and have very few corals). So other than the phosphates and calcium (which I wouldn't think would harm the eel) water is good. Lights are on for 6 hours (white light, 8 hours for blue). a day. Good water flow.
<Sounds good.>
Guess it's back to the wait and see. I'll try to feed him crustaceans and bivalves (once I know what type you are referring to and what bivalves are).
Thanks! heather
<Cheers, Marco.>

Snowflake Eel not eating w/cloudy eye - 03/28/10
<Hi Heather.>
My 7 year old Snowflake Eel developed a glazy eye about a month ago. My local pet store suggested I give it a little while to see if it goes away on its own as it may have been a scratch.
<Usually no big deal if just one eye is affected.>
About a week passed and it hadn't gone away or improved. I started medicating my tank (75g) with Seachem Sulfathiazole which is supposed to cure bacterial, fungal, and protozoan infestations. I have treated four times now and the eye hasn't improved but is also hasn't gotten worse. It's only on one eye. All other tank inhabitants are healthy (butterfly fish, serpent star, coral banded shrimp, reef hermits, tuxedo urchin). Over the course of two weeks his appetite went from being ferocious to declining bit by bit until he stopped eating all together.
<Was this possibly connected to the use of the antibiotic or did it start earlier? If it is possibly connected to the antibiotic, I'd stop dosing, do a large water change and add carbon.>
He hasn't eaten in two weeks. I've tried feeding him everything; krill, prawn, scallops, and shrimp. He shows no interest and will even turn and move the other way if I leave it in front of his face too long. My phosphates are a little high and I'm working to get that down. My Nitrates are a little high as well (10)
<10 ppm is not too high for the eel.>
which may be due to having removed the activated carbon from my canister filter while I medicate the tank. I also need to decrease how often I feed my butterfly fish, that may have contributed to the spike in Nitrates as well. Otherwise PH is good
, no ammonia or Nitrites and temp is at a steady 77 degrees F. Do you have any idea what could be wrong with my eel? Any other suggestions as to what I can do?
<A question would be if you fed this eel with vitamin enriched food. Frozen and dried foods lack important vitamins, which in the long run can lead to deficiency syndromes and a generally weak immune system. If you can get the eel to eat again, add vitamins to the food at every meal until the eye has healed.>
Is this just a sign of old age?
<Could contribute to it.>
I love my eel dearly and have watched him grow from a baby of only 6 or so inches to a giant 2 foot, thick, handsome beast. Thanks for your help!
Kindly, Heather
<I'd check the hypothesis if not eating could be connected to the antibiotic, and also if the slow healing could be a result of a lack of vitamins, and act accordingly. If these ideas are wrong, I fear there is not much you can do except doing larger water changes to avoid unknown environmental problems and trying a different antibiotic (possibly not in the display). Good luck. Marco.>
Re: Snowflake Eel not eating w/cloudy eye, and Vitamin C use f' - 03/29/10

Hello WWM,
<Hi Heather.>
I have another question regarding my eels health;
I did a 15% water change on Friday, put the carbon back in my canister, and let it run until this morning. This morning I removed the carbon and dosed again with the antibiotic since the eels yellow color was coming back really well prior to the water change and carbon reactivation. I feel the antibiotic was helping to some degree as his color was returning (very pale prior).
<Okay, if the antibiotic is improving the situation use it. As a side note: The Snowflake eels I watched had a paler, less yellow color at night and a coloration with more yellow during day. Many other morays have day/night coloration (independent of your light source), too. Ensure the improvement you note is due to the antibiotic and not the daytime.>
Today I bought Brightwell Aquatics Vitamarin-C and have added one dose to the tank. If his illness is due to (which is highly probable) a vitamin deficiency, is it too late for him to recover?
<Cannot tell for sure. I hope it's not too late.>
Do you think he will be able to ingest the needed Vitamin C to come around?
<Very little.>
While I understand this is probably a hypothetical question, my main concern is whether or not a vitamin deficiency can lead to a "point of no return" or if it's reversible.
<If the animal still was eating, the chances would be better and most symptoms of the deficiency would probably cease when one would feed food vitamin enriched foods. I'd keep on offering small pieces of food.>
Also, since he's incredibly ill, can the dose be doubled without overdosing and causing more harm? (It's not quite clear on that in the instructions).
<Vitamin C can be a carbon source for some bacteria in the tank. It's also an antioxidant and will make the ORP (RedOx Potential) drop (no need to measure this here). You'll notice an overdose by cloudy water about half an hour to an hour after dosing.>
Thanks again for your help.
<One note: Vitamin C isn't the necessarily the lacking substance, however adding without overdosing will not hurt. I'd assume Vitamin B1 http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_6/volume_6_1/thiaminase.htm .>
Kindly, Heather
<Cheers, Marco.>
Re: Snowflake Eel not eating w/cloudy eye - 03/30/10

Hello again,
<Hi Heather.>
This morning I ordered Vita-Chem for overnight delivery. It is a highly concentrated formula of all the necessary vitamins and nutrients for marine fish.
I put the activated carbon back in my canister this morning and will be discontinuing the antibiotics; since I'm almost certain his illness is due to vitamin deficiency, dosing with antibiotics will probably add more stress.
My two newest questions are; how long can eels typically go without food before death? It's been two weeks....he's approximately 2 feet long and an 1 1/2+ in diameter.
<More than two months, two weeks is not very long.>
Secondly since he's not eating and I can only dose the tank with the vitamin formula, what about target feeding? Like how corals are fed? If I put some of the vitamin solution in a sterile empty injection stick like those used to kill Aiptasia, or the feeding device used for corals, and put it directly in front of my eels face and gently released the formula, might he be more apt to ingest some?
<You can try (don't get bitten), but I assume not much of the solution will get into the stomach/digestive tract of the eel. It will leave through the gills, which are used rather for gaseous exchange than nutrient uptake. Also try feeding small pieces of food with vitamins, hopefully it starts eating again within the next weeks.>
Thanks again for your help. This is a heartbreaking and stressful time.
Kindly, Heather
<Yes, but as far as I know you are doing all that can be done. Let's hope for an improvement. Cheers, Marco.>
Re: Snowflake Eel not eating w/cloudy eye - 04/01/10

The Vita-Chem says it is tissue soluble. Does this mean fish, inverts, can absorb the vitamins through their flesh?
<If soaked in it (frozen food). Very little to nothing is going to be taken up through the intact skin of a living animal in an aquarium, little to very little is going to be taken up by drinking (marine fish do drink).>
If so, this may be a good thing since my eel is still not eating. I did a 20g (my tank is a 75g) water change last night and dosed with the vitamin solution.
<Okay, carry on.>
What are the suggestions/recommendations for if/how/when to euthanize a fish?
<Personally I would not as long as there is hope, and a moray eel not eating for just two or three weeks is not a hopeless case. But here's a link to the WWM article by Neale in case you might need it: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/euthanasia.htm.>
I am very reluctant to go that route but am unsure how to tell if my eel is suffering and if so, what the ethical thing to do is. Some days he seems to be getting better, other days he has his head crammed under the underside of a rock and is on his side. I just ran home and he's breathing regularly and is sticking halfway out his PVC pipe, just hanging out.
<If he's regularly breathing and has no spasms I assume it is not suffering.>
I turned off all aquarium lights thinking the dark might help minimize stress as well.
<After several years the eel should be used to aquarium illumination and not be stressed by it. However, I don't think leaving the lights off will do any harm either.>
I do have some mushroom corals, but my eels health is more important to me right now. I haven't dosed with antibiotics since last Sunday and only once. Monday I put the activated carbon back in the canister filter and did a large water change yesterday. I haven't noticed any worsening of the eye since stopping medication. Not sure if I should try medicating again or just stay with the vitamin solution, lights out, and trying to get him to eat.
<Sounds all OK.>
What about live food?
<You can try feeder shrimps or a crab, but I'm not sure you'll have more success here, since the eel was trained to frozen food for many years. Stay away from feeder fishes such as minnows or gold fish. Also continue trying to (gently) offer frozen food.>
Thanks again for all the help! Kindly, Heather
<Good luck. Marco.>
Re: Snowflake Eel not eating w/cloudy eye - 04/09/10

Hello WWM,
<Hi Heather.>
Some good news and a question; my eel started eating.
<That's truly some great news.>
I offered it a very small piece of a silverside on Tuesday evening and after much enticing, he ate it. Then last night he ate two small pieces of silverside (those I had soaked in vitamins).
<Two meals accepted on two consequent days? I think your eel is recovering.>
His behavior has improved, mostly.
But this morning I saw him do something that resembled a seizure; shaking his head and then what seemed like gasping for breath for only a couple seconds, but I fear the moments of satisfaction from him finally eating are being replaced by yet another worry. Can eels suffer from such things like seizures?
And if so, can they still survive?
<Certainly depends on the reason of the 'seizure'. Neural damage vs. 'setting the first or second jaws'. The latter occurs sometimes (maybe here, because the jaws were not used for quite some time) and as a single incident would not be a matter of concern for me.>
In the past he's always had a slight head shake that he did maybe once a day or a couple times a week. Just a few twitches then he was fine. Maybe this recent illness has somehow made that behavior worse. This morning after his head spasm he seemed kind of out-of-it. Normally he notices my presence by the tank and sticks his head out or at least follows me with his eyes. This wasn't the case this morning after his episode. I hope he continues to eat and continues to get better.
<Me too.>
Hopefully he's just still healing and this odd seizure-like behavior will subside.
Any insight?
<Observe if this behavior occurs repeatedly. If not, I wouldn't be concerned.>
Thanks again! Heather
<Welcome, Marco.>

Re: Snowflake Eel not eating w/cloudy eye -   4/14/10
Hello Again,
<Hi Heather.>
April 6th, 7th, and 8th my eel ate. He hasn't since then.
<Not so good news.>
He's checked out the food but hasn't eaten any.
<Are you trying crustaceans/bivalves or only silversides?>
Since he went over a month without eating is it possible that his stomach shrunk (much like a humans would) so much during that time that he's full?
<It should be able to eat again and not be full.>
His eye is completely healed, his color is bright, and he's showing less signs of abnormal behavior.
<Great the eye healed!>
However occasionally he'll open his jaw really wide, like he's taking a big gulp of water. Do you know what that is?
<Maybe adjusting its jaws (or "yawning"). I see many of my eels doing that for a number of years, so I would not interpret it as a bad sign. A similar gesture is used to keep away threatening visitors.>
I stopped medicating the tank when he started eating again. I'm wondering if whatever illness he had isn't wasn't completely gone when ended medication but am reluctant to start medicating again if he is in fact healed and is just not eating because he's still digesting the three days worth of (small) meals.
<I would not treat the eel at this point. Not eating is a very unspecific symptom.>
He has been through some stress in the past couple days; a 20% water change with 2 hours of minor disturbance (scrubbing glass, removing parts in tank to clean, etc.) and on Sunday I had to remove my Klein's butterfly fish from the tank as he was nipping at my eel very vigorously (hadn't happened before) and my eel was trying desperately to catch him
<Actually such hunting activity is a good sign, but I wonder why it did not get the butterfly. Maybe the eel is still weak and the butterfly was exploiting the situation and trying to get the predator out of its territory.>
and I could tell he was under great stress.
<This could be a very good reason for an eel to stop eating.>
Every time my eel tried to turn around in time to catch the fish it was nipping him somewhere else. When taking the fish from the tank the entire tank was disturbed as I had to move all my live rock to get him, it was a mess and quite a strain on everything in the tank. My eel has since calmed down but I wonder if all that set him back (volume of stress).
Sometimes he kind of leans to the side when he's just hanging out. I don't recall him resting like that before. He doesn't look stressed or anything, but at times it looks a little odd how he's cocked to the side. I'm sure all fish behavior is different, just curious if some behavior signals something or not.
<If it is lying around totally in the open instead of its caves, that's indeed potentially a bad sign.>
Any further advice/insight would be appreciated. Thanks again for all your help!
Kindly, Heather
<I'd carry on offering food (preferably crustaceans or bivalves), providing clear water (low nitrates < 25 ppm, high pH 8.0-8.4) and avoiding stress. Good luck to you and your eel. Marco.>

My snowflake CornEelius, hlth.  - 09/29/09
Hi guys.
<Hello Brianna.>
I have searched the web pretty decently, and maybe I am just not good at searching the web, but I still feel like the information I have found thus far is insufficient.
I have a 50 gal saltwater tank. I started cycling it last January and got my first 2 fish in late late march: A snowflake eel and a striped damsel. Originally I bought the damsel (who we refer to lovingly as "merle" thinking he would be eaten by my eel eventually, but it is now September and he has not touched Merle.
<Give it some more years'¦>
Anyway. I have my eel, a yellow tang, a damsel and a clarkii.
<Pretty much fish for a 50 gallon tank I believe, especially with the tang.>
I noticed about 2 weeks ago he was twitching violently (saw this on your page already, read it may be a malnourishment or psychological stress issue)...but beyond that, he has developed red sores on his nose and chin, and when I got a closer look at his mouth, I noticed that the top left almost seemed like it was bowing, i.e. almost looks like it has collapsed inward a bit.
My water levels have been fine.
<What? Would need numbers to be helpful'¦ See if the nitrates are below 25 ppm and if the pH is between 7.8-8.4. If this not the case re-evaluate your water change schedule and filtration.>
I had an ammonia issue a while back but it wasn't through the roof and I rectified the situation in a very timely manner. My eel had been thriving up until 2 weeks ago. He hasn't eaten or really made an effort until today. Usually my clarkii attacks the shrimp as I lower it down and the eel will scare him off and take it...At first he showed he was very hungry but stopped bothering when the clarkii came over. He would bite at it over and over but it seemed like he couldn't see it or it hurt him when he bit it.
What does all of this mean?
<After months of rice crackers only, how would a human react?>
I am extremely worried for my bud as he has been quite the character up until recently. Is there anything I can do? I have tried to feed him other things like silverfish and he absolutely shows no interest in anything but freeze dried krill.
<which is far away from a sufficient diet. Training a eel to a new type of food can require a lot of patience and consistency. At some point it will accept the new food, but it can take weeks in which it does not eat. Good food items are a variety of crustaceans, mussel and squid enriched with vitamins for fish. Keeping the diet varied is really important.>
Is it too late to save him?
<Cannot tell, but I do not hope so.>
Please help!!!
<First, check the water quality as written above. Second try to get the eel to eat other types of food and be sure to include vitamins. If the sores increase or the situation becomes worth (like permanent fast breathing or spasms) a treatment with an antibiotic such as Maracyn II in a hospital tank might be the last possibility to help its immune system. See http://www.wetwebmedia.com/snoflkeeldisfaqs.htm and the other linked FAQs above for similar cases.>
Thanks, Brianna
<Good luck. Marco.>

Snowflake Moray Eel- Feeding -- 08/02/09
<Hello Dani.>
I recently got a 12" snowflake moray eel for my marine tank. I have an 80L tank that has been established for 2 years now.
<May work while it is still small.>
Currently there are two ocellaris clownfish in the tank as well as the eel. I researched getting an eel for a while before purchasing one and ensured that the eel had been kept at the store for 2 weeks before taking it home. It was eating frozen krill while in the shop; however I have been unable to get it to eat. I have tried frozen krill, fresh shrimp, muscle, and a small piece of snapper.
<Good choices.>
I know that they eat crustaceans so I collected some small live sand crabs and put them in there as well.
<The younger snowflake eels are crustacean eaters, older ones may start to catch fishes. This is likely caused by the gender change of this species where females become males, which have longer and serrated teeth.>
He has not eaten anything. The first day I brought him home he was quite active however he now he has become a lot less active. He is still moving around though because his position will change throughout the day and night. My nitrates and nitrite levels are 0, the pH is at 8.2.
<Sounds good.>
I know that changing from the store to my home tank would be stressful but I would have expected him to start eating by now, it has been 7 days.
<Can continue much longer'¦>
He is not gilling heavy and seems relatively content in the tank. I have read through all of the other suggestions and have tried everything but squid which I will buy tomorrow. I am wondering you have any more suggestions for how to reduce the stress level on the eel (I am assuming that stress is the issue since water quality seems ideal).
<Yes mostly the move means stress. Does it have enough caves? Anything else seems fine.>
Also, I am really concerned about it and do not want it to die, at what point has the hunger strike gone too far and I should bring it back to the store (since he was feeding there)?
<Many months'¦ a healthy snowflake moray eel will not starve to death. The behavior of your eel sounds absolutely normal. Just do not stress it by grabbing into the tank too much and poking food items into its face. Give it time and a calm environment, have some patience and the eel will start to eat. Also have a look at http://www.wetwebmedia.com/snoflkeelfaqs.htm , http://www.wetwebmedia.com/morays.htm and the other linked moray eel FAQs.>
Thanks for your help, Dani.
<Welcome. Marco.>

"Rescued" snowflake eel- feeding question  4/28/09
Hello! Susann here.
<Hi Susann.>
I have a 72 gallon saltwater FOWLR. I currently have a yellow tang, coral beauty, 2 black and white clowns, a coral banded shrimp and three damsels I have not quite identified. All eat and do well. Tank is stable.
Without going into to crazy detail, I have rescued a TINY snowflake eel that has spent the last 3 weeks in a tank with no filtration, food or anything as it was thought dead.
<Poor fellow.>
When I say tiny, I mean tiny. I don't think the bugger is more than 5 inches long and certainly no wider than a pencil around. I need advice on how much food and how often an animal of this size needs to eat. Also, is
the best way to get long tongs that will reach the bottom of my tank and try and locate his hiding place?
<Yes, so you do not have to grab into the water. The eel will come out when it smells food with time.>
I did feed him a few small pieces of thawed silverside tonight, but did not want to overfeed since he had not eaten in so long.
<Try to keep its diet as varied as possible. Good foods are shrimps of any kind (not seasoned), mussel flesh, squid and fish filet. I'd use vitamins at least once a week. Feed small pieces that together are a little larger than the entire head of the eel every day. When it grows you can feed it every other day, adults can be fed once a week. Small fishes and cleaner shrimps can become prey to a larger snowflake eel.>
Thanks for your help, Susann
<Welcome and good luck. Marco.>

Question about snowflake eel regurgitating. Fdg.  12/20/08 My snowflake eel is about 12-14" in length and has been regurgitating rather frequently after feeding. For the first three months I mainly fed the eel frozen krill and have recently switched him to mainly silversides and some squid on occasion; I plan I varying his diet <Don't plan, do it. E. nebulosa are crustacean eaters. A varied diet should consist of mainly unseasoned shrimps, but also squid, mussel flesh and fish. Vitamins should be added about once a week when you are feeding frozen food. They are not needed when you are feeding a varied diet of fresh food.> much more and adding a vitamin supplement rather than the garlic I'm using now (favored over vitamin supplement by my local LFS). <Obviously, garlic cannot replace vitamins.> Is this semi-normal behavior? <No.> Could it be due to overfeeding? <Yes. Everyday feeding is not necessary. Feeding every two or three days is fine. Morays do not eat every day in nature and are often caught with empty stomachs.> Any other possible causes I should look into? <The diet as mentioned above should be your top priority. Water quality should also be checked. Quality of the food should also be questioned if only one type of food is regurgitated.> Any thoughts on this matter are greatly appreciated! Feeding consists of 1-1.5 full silversides or an equivalent(quantity) alternative. <Per day? Too much.> The tank is a sixty gallon Uniquarium with 2-3" crushed coral and roughly 60lbs of live rock; considering increasing this slightly. Water parameters are as follows: Temp 77 F, SG 1.024, Nitrites 0, Nitrates 20-30 (working on this with partial water changes(5ga) and gravel vac every other day) <Yes, this should be improved.> , PH 8.2, Alk 2.9. Thanks for your time. -Joey <Cheers, Marco.> PS: you helped me answer some questions I had about my Coral Beauty Angel, and I would just like to let you know that he appears to be on the mend! <Ah, good to hear.>
Re: Question about snowflake eel regurgitating.  II - 12/20/2008
I do feed the eel every 2-3 days as you suggest. <Okay.> I will go to the LFS today and start him on a proper diet. <Very good.> As for the water quality, it's been hard to keep the nitrates in check with the eel regurgitating every other meal. I have been doing a five gallon water change every other day for about a week now. Should this frequency/amount of water be increased, or decreased? <You can continue the water changes in terms of frequency and amount until the nitrates decrease. Remove any uneaten food you see. If your Uniquarium does not have a skimmer (some do, some don't) this would be a helpful addition. Further information on nitrate control is found here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/nitratesmar.htm > Thanks so much for the response. �Joey. <Welcome and good luck with your moray. Marco.>
Re: Question about snowflake eel regurgitating II. - 12/21/2008
Yes, I do have a protein skimmer, however, it does not seem to produce much waste. I have increased my maintenance on the skimmer and am now cleaning it every day in hopes of improving productivity. <If this does not help you still can exchange or pimp your skimmer. In some models you can add a wooden airstone and air pump. A deep sand bed in a refugium or even the tank itself is another option for nitrate removal.> Good reading on the nitrates, thank you. I didn't realize that 5ppm was the recommended max for inverts. <Yes, for most of them.> One question: If the nitrification process is ammonia to nitrite to nitrate...does this mean that if nitrites are at zero then I'm on my way to lowering the level of nitrates as well(with respect to the nitrification process)? <No. Nitrification in a well cycled tank should be so fast, that ammonia and nitrites never accumulate in concentrations measurable by test kits available in the hobby. Only the end product, nitrates, should be measurable.> I know this is off topic, but I've been considering slowly removing most of the crushed coral and replacing it with live sand(currently 2-3" substrate). Would this be worth the trouble? <Only if you plan to use a deep sand bed, a DSB. For shallow beds the grain size is less relevant.> I have three Naso snails at the moment...would I benefit from increasing this <Naso snail is a term used for many snails'¦ I'm not sure if you have a larger or smaller, algae eating or scavenger species. Generally, you could add at least three more, even if you have a medium sized to larger species, as long as you don't have predatory species.> and maybe adding a type of sand sifting fish. (along with routine gravel vacuuming during water changes of course) <Sand sifting gobies can help to keep the sand visually clean (and may decorate the live rock with substrate), but when your snowflake eel grows they might become prey.> Thanks again for the quick reply and confidence in knowing I'm getting a reliable response to my questions. <I hope your eel will get well again soon.> Merry Christmas to all at WWM �Joey <Merry Christmas to you, Joey, also on behalf of the crew.>

FAQs about Snowflake Moray Eel Disease/Health -- 10/22/08 Hi WetWeb Crew <Hello Katie.> I have had a snowflake eel for 2.5 years (from about 20cm to 40cm long). For the first year he was very active and got very excited at the first smell of food entering the tank. He ate anything and everything. He loved mussels, prawns, squid and Krill (fortified with vitamins). For the last six months he has been very reclusive and fussy with food. He spends most of his time hiding behind rocks in his conduit home - he used to be a lot more social. He used to come and eat out of my hands at the top of the tank. Now I have to take the food and put it in front of his face. He won't take the mussel or prawn anymore, but will eat squid and krill. About six months ago the area on the top of his head became white. This white area is getting larger over time and I am getting quite concerned about him. <Understandable, can be serious, fatal.> He doesn't come out much anymore and doesn't seem to have much energy. Do you have any idea what is wrong with him? <You did not mention the size of its tank, water quality or co-inhabitants. Check the water quality first. Long term declining health is often related to bad water quality. Nitrates should be below 20 ppm at least. If they are not, do a series of water changes until they are and re-think your filtration system. Also check pH, which should be above 8.0 and the salinity. If the nitrates are below 20 ppm all the time and the other parameters are okay, too, I would consider a lack of nutrition. All the foods should be soaked in vitamins at this stage, and personally I'd stop feeding krill until its health improves. In addition, it does not have to be fed every day, feeding every few (2-3) days is fine for a 40 cm moray.> (I don't actually know that it is a male - looking through the thread though it's interesting that everyone thinks their eel is male!) <The small Echidna nebulosa are mostly females, larger ones often males. Size is not a 100% gender indicator. With a little experience you can see if you've got a male or a female by looking at the front teeth. Males have longer front teeth with fine serrations. That seems much more reliable than size.> Many thanks for your help. Regards, Katie <Good luck. Marco.>

Feeding snowflake morays -03/16/08 I recently purchased a 4 inch snowflake moray. I have been keeping it in a container in my tank. <Can't stay in there forever...> In the fish store I purchased it in it ate a shrimp , but when I brought it home it refused to eat. I would like to know what is wrong with it? <It's likely stressed. Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/snowflakemoray.htm Best,
Sara M.>

Snowflake moray eel; not eating -- 02/15/08 I've been looking at your site, and I really like it. <Glad to hear that.> I have a snowflake that's about 18 months old. He's been great with everyone in the tank. <So far so good.> I also understand the eating, and not eating habits of these guys, but mine has now gone more than TWO months without eating. We've tried everything. He is just not interested. He otherwise seems normal. We have been feeding him the frozen Sally's krill shrimp almost exclusively. I read on your site that that might be a problem. <Yes, can. Moray eels need to be fed a varied diet to stay healthy. Good you read the FAQs!> We've tried silver sides, but he won't eat them. We've tried fresh large shrimp, he won't eat that. When does this endanger him? <Depends on his general condition. You'd probably notice if he became significantly thinner. Something might be wrong with your water quality. Check it. Other food items you could try are mussel and clam meat. Cheers, Marco.>

Snowflake moray eel; not eating; nitrates; additional information -- 02/15/08 Hi again. I forgot a couple of things. The nitrates in our tank are quite high. <There you go'¦ How high?> We have quite a few fish, 4 tangs, 2 black Percs, 2 wrasses, 1 midas blenny, 1 lawnmower blenny, 4 blue/green Chromis, 1 fire shrimp, 1 coral banded, and 2 skunk cleaners. <Tank size? Many of your fish and crustaceans may possibly become prey, when your Snowflake eel grows up.> They all get along quite well. We feed them a lot. The guy who takes care of our tank doesn't seem to be concerned about the nitrates, but your site says that could be a potential problem for the eel. <Yes, bad water quality -- aside stress due to moving - is one of the main reasons for moray eels stopping to eat. How high are the nitrates actually? If they are above 20 ppm bring them down with a series of water changes and re-think your filtration and maintenance protocols. Chances are good, he will start to eat again in that case. Good luck. Marco.>

Recently purchased snowflake eel won't eat -- 01/28/2008 I checked your FAQs to get some advise on how to get my eel to eat. <Also see http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_4/V4I2/Freshwater_eels/freshwater_eels.htm for some general feeding tricks also useful for marine eels.> I recently purchased him 1/28/08. <May take a few days, weeks until it starts eating, be patient.> He's about 8 to 10 inches. My question is if you put squid, octopus or the shrimp you suggested in the tank will my other fish eat it too? <Yes.> I have a Trigger, Clown fish, 2 Damsels. <The Clown and the Damsels may be eaten when the Snowflake grows.> Will they eat the food before he has an opportunity to eat? <Yes, especially at the beginning. Use a tool, e.g. a feeding stick if you do not want that. Cheers, Marco.>

Snowflake Eel Bite -- 11/28/2007 Hi! <Hello.> I have read through the posts on snowflake morays. I could not find an answer to my question. I care for a 300 gallon tank at the junior high where I teach science. I have had a snowflake eel in my home aquarium and have never had a problem like this. Today while trying to feed the inhabitants of the tank, at school, the snowflake eel was wildly thrashing in and out of the tank. I had some silversides for him and the lion fish so I grabbed one with me fingers to give him (I know, not recommended ) anyway, he latched onto my finger and would not let go without some coaxing. After he let go I had several small piercings in my finger, and was bleeding. I cleaned the injury with peroxide, but was wondering - do they carry any weird bacteria that could be infectious. <Several dangerous bacteria have been found in the mouths of moray eels, among them Vibrio and Pseudomonas. If the wound swells, is becoming severely red or you feel insecure about what to do, visit a medical doctor. In addition many (probably all) moray eels possess a weak toxin produced by club shaped cells in their skin, that might be transferred by a bite. Dizziness and tremendous pain are reported symptoms, but the toxin is so far not considered very dangerous (perhaps only to allergic persons).> I don't know where else to seek an answer. <The aquarium magazine TFH had an article on moray bites in its September issue. Possibly will be at WWM some day, too.> Living in Cheyenne, Wyoming doesn't afford me a wealth of expert advise. <So far I am not aware of anyone, who died due to a moray eel bite, but I am aware of some people, who had to go to the hospital, some because of infection, some because of massive loss of tissue (larger eels). Although most moray eel bites heal without infection and further problems, I'd stop hand feeding. Fingers and silversides are not the healthiest diet anyway. Clam and mussel meat, squid and crustaceans should be used to alter the diet.> Thanks in advance for any info you can provide. <Hope that helps. Cheers, Marco.>

Snowflake eel not feeding -- 09/27/07 I have read a lot of info regarding the feeding of snowflake morays on your site. <Okay.> I recently purchased a small eel and I have tried feeding my 4 inch eel <cute> squid, shrimp, mussels and krill <good selection, but at his size you could also try Mysis>. It hasn't eaten for 3 days, since I purchased it. I keep it in a small container to separate it from my trigger. <Should immediately go into a real, well filtered tank with a tight fitting lid or bring it back to the store. It will not survive too long in inadequate quarters. Triggers are not always good tank mates for morays, because they may nip at their back fin, which can result in wounds and secondary bacterial infections. It depends on the personality of the trigger, though.> I have a piece of live rock in there, but I move sometimes to try to feed it. <Moray eels should always be allowed to hide. They need to have some shelter. If you stress your eel when trying to feed it, it simply will be scared and not eat. Would you eat while someone was moving your house around?> Is it not eating because it is stressed in such a small container or is it something else? <Exactly, stress. The first thing a stressed eel does, is stopping to eat. Put it into a well established marine tank, give it a few days to settle in and your chances with a snowflake eel are very good it will eat. See the last answer for a link to feeding tricks. Guppy or molly fry, and preferably small feeder shrimp would be the last alternative to try.> Thanks for your help. <You are welcome. Marco.>

Snowflake Moray feeding -- 09/26/07 Hi, <Hello Michelle.> I have a snowflake eel, about 10", in my 75gal FOWLR tank, with 2 clown fish, a Chromis, a yellow-tail damsel and a LTA anemone. I have read that they should only be fed twice a week. <Yes, 2 or 3 times a week is sufficient. Can be reduced to 1 time a week or even less when fully grown.> My eel will begin swimming around the tank chasing after my other fish and snapping at them, and jumping at the top of the water for food every day. <They never know when they have enough and get pretty active when smelling something to eat. Don't feed too much, overfeeding results in obesity, liver diseases and eventual death of the animal.> I feed him 1-2 krill each day to keep him from chasing my other fish. <Feeding it to make it peaceful is not a good strategy and krill is no good moray food at all. Feeding only krill can be deadly in the long run. Provide a much more varied (and vitamin enriched) diet consisting of unseasoned frozen sea foods such as clams, squid, prawns, shrimps, mussel flesh, scallops etc. Feed krill more occasionally than regularly.> I don't want to overfeed him but I also don't want him to eat my other fish. Is it ok to feed him this much? <Feeding 2 or 3 times a week is no problem, more can become a problem. I'd suggest to feed a piece of food as large as his head per meal (or smaller pieces with the same entire volume).> How can I keep him from chasing my other fish like he does? <Only by separating them. While they mostly eat crabs in nature, quite a number of snowflakes starts hunting fish in the confined space of an aquarium. Depends mostly on the personality of the moray eel, their 'childhood experiences', as well as on the size of the other fishes. Snowflakes leave most fishes alone, which are at least half as long as themselves, but be aware that in exceptional cases they can kill larger ones. Adults can start to hunt fish from one day to another, possible related to reaching sexual maturity or their natural sex change.> Thank you for your help, love your site (and book). Michelle. <No problem. I'm glad you like the site and Bob's book. Marco.>

Snowflake moray feeding -- 08/27/07 The snowflake I have is eating the tide pool Sculpin I had in the tank. Are these a food that would be similar to us humans eating candy bars, or is this a good source of healthy food for it? <If the Sculpin are quarantined and free of parasites, they can be fed, although the snowflake moray's diet should consist primarily of crustaceans.> The tide pool Sculpins came from the pacific ocean, legally, and were dipped in freshwater before putting in the tank. <That won't help much with regard to parasites, especially internal worms.> They were in the tank before the eel was put in it. I did research on the feeding and care, and many sites and folks I spoke with say its okay to feed them guppies and such freshwater live feeder. I see on your site, that is not good. <Many freshwater fish contain an enzyme that destroys vitamin B. Guppies, however, can be fed, just ensure they are parasite free. Personally I prefer to feed a wide variety of frozen foods (different shrimps, crabs, crayfish, mussel flesh, squid). Beware that some snowflake eels also eat snails and very few even ornamental clams.> I have also feed frozen shrimp cubes, and Mysis cubes, and a mix of krill, shrimp, Mysis cubes. How safe is store bought 'fresh' seafood? <Safe in general, but should not be seasoned. Freezing kills many parasites and bacteria and leaves most of the nutrients, although vitamin supplements can be added from time to time to replace any vitamins lost during the freezing and thawing process.> Should it be dipped in freshwater - even though its frozen to kill any parasites/bacteria that live in the ocean and not in freshwater? <Not necessary in my opinion. Just thaw frozen food before feeding and prevent the thawing water from getting into the tank.> Thanks so much for your advice. Today is the first day I have found your site and I am so glad that I did! Newbie to Sea Life. <You are welcome. Hope that helps, Marco.>

Snowflake eel; dislocated jaw; 12 gallons; malnutrition -- 07/30/07 Wet Web Crew, <Chris> I have a small snowflake moray eel that hasn't eaten in over a month. <Can happen. Hopefully it will survive another one.> His breathing appears labored, and he doesn't look well now. A few weeks ago, I noticed that his lower jaw was deviated to the side, almost as if someone had kicked him and dislocated it. <Likely an accident with a tumbling rock or a pump.> This roughly corresponds to his reduced eating, though I can't confirm the timing precisely. His jaw definitely wasn't crooked for the first 15 months I had him. He lives alone, so the possibility for accidents seems small, though he does like to slither into the back of my 12 gallon NanoCube and curl up near the pump. <You had him for 15 months and he is still in a 12 gallon NanoCube? That is no adequate tank in my opinion. Even if he was tiny when purchased and carefully fed, it should have outgrown this tank in a few months. Hope your water quality is sufficient and upgrading is being considered.> I don't know if there is a screen on the pump intake (it's buried down deep). I'd hope there is one, but the designers might have omitted it if they were relying on the big sponge filter. This sounds like a reach, but I can't explain why his jaw is visibly out of whack and he can't eat. I've been watching and waiting, periodically offering him food and hoping his jaw would heal. <Yes, they are hardy, I have seen healthy living wild specimens even with missing parts of the jaws and the gills. However, if your specimen doesn't eat sooner or later, it is doomed. Try to offer some small pieces of prawn or tempting mussel flesh, even Mysis might be swallowed due to its small size. If no food item works, force feeding with a tube or a veterinarian (x-ray, relocating the jaw if possible) are the solutions left.> I worry whether I was underfeeding him, and this somehow led to a disease of his jaw. <Unlikely, they do not need much food. Underfeeding a small eel would be feeding less than a piece of food (size of the mouth) per week. Large specimens can be fed every two weeks without getting thin.> I had been feeding him krill. <Very bad as the only food. Needs much more variation and vitamin addition and if indeed the only food offered for 15 months likely is another or even the reason for the bad condition of this eel leading to deficiency diseases caused by malnutrition. A growing young eel without a proper diet likely has weak bones, tendons and muscles, which are more easily damaged.> Any thoughts on how this might have come about, and on what I might do to save him? <Hope that helps and good luck with your moray eel. Marco.> Thanks, Chris.

Dead snowflake eel; improper diet and tank mate -- 07/24/07 I had a small snowflake eel (maybe 8 inches long) in my 30 gallon tank for about 2 months and he seemed very healthy and happy since the first day I got him, regularly hand fed him one good sized piece of freeze dried krill every 3 days. <Hee! Until they grow and get you. However, freeze dried krill is not useful as the main food at all. If you carry on feeding that to a young moray eel, he never will live long enough to mutilate your hand. Varied, frozen and untreated sea food makes an adequate diet and even this should be improved occasionally by adding vitamins.> Yesterday morning I woke up and he was sprawled out in the gravel and his stomach was so bloated that it looked like it was going to pop, and he died a few hours later and he went flat as a pancake so I'm guessing he didn't happen to eat something he shouldn't have. Any ideas on what could have happened? <Improper diet followed by a weak general condition and a deadly problem with digestion.> The only conclusion I could come to was maybe some kind of parasite or possibly he was stung by the lionfish I added the day before? <The latter is an alternative possibility. Typical symptoms are spasms and erratic swimming. You should be able to see a tiny wound in that case. Those two do not always mix well, especially in a 30 gallon tank. It also could have ended the opposite way. I'm sorry for your loss, but please do some more research on the needs of your pets before you buy them the next time. Marco.>

Snowflake not eating, discoloration = inadequate food, high nitrates -- 06/05/07 Hi WWM Crew! <Hi Jesse.> I have a 55 gallon FO aquarium, which I've had set up for several months now. I bought a 7.5" Snowflake Eel about 2 weeks ago, and when I first got him, he seemed to be doing fine. He was fed feeder fish (rosy reds) at the pet store. <Bad practice, this species is totally inadequate as a feeder fish. An enzyme (Thiaminase) contained in these fish destroys vitamins in your moray eel.> But I fed him freeze-dried krill after I bought him, and he was eating really well. <Not much better. Go to the supermarket and get some (uncooked) sea food such as mussel flesh, squid etc. While you are shopping visit the LFS, get some vitamin supplements for fish and (if your are running low on salt) a new bucket of salt, because you'll need to do lots of partial water changes. You may want to tell them feeding rosy reds, minnows, goldfish and such to other fishes will harm them.> Then a few days later, he stopped eating. I thought maybe it was because I was overfeeding him earlier, because I read online that if you overfeed them, sometimes they go a couple weeks without eating. But then today, when I woke up and turned the tank light on. I looked at him, and he was a lot lighter-colored than he was yesterday. There was an area near his head, a couple inches long, where he was all pale and white, and the big black spots were gray instead. But all the rest of his body was still the normal color - light yellow with big black spots. And the white part of his body looks fatter than I think it used to be. He still looks the same, it's horrible! He also seems to be breathing a bit heavier now, too, but it could just be my imagination. <In the white area he probably is producing too much mucous. Your Snowflake moray is really in a bad condition, probably due to a vitamin deficiency and high nitrates. Possibly the thick mucous coat makes your eel look heavier. I hope it's no swelling from a bacterial infection.> I also recently (after I bought him) read that feeding them freshwater feeder fish will cause liver disease for the eel - do you think that's what it could be, since that's what he was fed at the pet store? <Not all freshwater feeder fish are bad, rosy reds are.> Does anybody know what it is, or has anybody here ever experienced this before? Please help me!!! Here are my water parameters: pH: 8.3 Temperature: 77° Salinity: 1.023 Ammonia: 0 Nitrite: 0 Nitrate: 60-70 Thanks --Jesse. <Those nitrates are way too high. Certainly they are adding to the bad condition of your moray eel or even predominately cause it. You need to decrease them by daily partial water changes to below 20. Try feeding him small pieces of squid or mussel (they love both) soaked in vitamins, but don't stress him too much by hunting him with the food stick/tweezers. If he does not eat, hope improving the water quality will improve his condition. Also hope there are no bacterial infections in the areas the mucous production is disturbed. When your moray eel survives, think about improving filtration of your tank. Those nitrates are way too high. Think about a larger tank, more live rock, a refugium/sump with DSB and algae, and a larger skimmer. 55 gallons will hardly be enough for a snowflake eel in the long run, even if there are no other fishes. They are hardy, I hope he pulls through. Good luck. Marco.>

Eel not eating; crowded tank -- 04/13/07 Hi, <Hi.> I have a 55 gallon tank w/ 75 gallon sump. <Large sump.> I have 3 damsels (yellow, green, blue w/ yellow tail), 2 clowns, Coris wrasse, pink bar goby, 2 urchins, 5" Foxface, 4" dogface puffer and a 17-18" snowflake eel. I know, too many fish, right? <Definitely. The dogface puffer needs around 100 gallons by himself.>. They seem to all get along. <Just a question of time until the trouble begins.> My problem is the eel hasn't eaten in weeks. <They often refuse to eat for weeks. Sometimes because of stress, sometimes due to high nitrates and/or inadequate food, sometimes without apparent reason.> In fact, he runs away from food. When I first bought him, I fed him a large whole raw shrimp a day. <Shrimp only diet is bad. You need to vary his diet to prevent deficiency diseases.> Now he turns away from all food.  Unless he is eating scraps off the bottom at night, I think he is wasting. Can I get your input? <Reduce your stocking. Check your nitrates (should be below 20). Do water changes 2 or 3 times a week until they are. Provide a varied diet (squid, fish, mussel flesh, prawns) for the eel. Enrich the food with vitamins. Feeding twice a week is enough. If healthy, he can go without food for at least 2 months. Hope he has not suffered to much due to the shrimp only diet and the overstocking. It is well possible your moray eel eats your small fishes some day if he gets well again. Use your free time to read a lot about stocking and especially about eels at WWM. Lots of information is already available. Cheers, Marco.>

Small Snowflake Eel Feeding  3/11/07 Hello Crew, <Hi Mike, Pufferpunk here> Yesterday I purchased my first eel, a snowflake, after waiting a month for the store to get one in.  Although I asked for one approximately 10 inches as per your recommendations, they only had two that were about six inches each.  Long story short, I got one of them and he is awesome and very active.  I am unsure however, what to feed such a small eel.  So far I have gotten him to eat some freeze dried plankton and I also bought some formula 1 frozen food.  I will eventually switch to krill and shrimp I was just wondering if you had any other recommendations for feeding such a small eel. <Those foods are good.  You can also try small pieces of silverside or other fish & gut-loaded ghost shrimp, as a treat.  He should be eating out of your hand fairly quickly.  Mine likes to chase frozen Mysis shrimp around the tank.  His eyesight isn't very good.  I defrost all my frozen foods in Zoe vitamins.  A big warning--be sure to either keep your water level down a couple of inches, or cover your tank VERY well.  Every possible escape route must be blocked (I prefer to keep the water level down).  I actually found mine on the floor, when I forgot to lower the water level.  Luckily he was still damp & when I put him back, he swam away.  ~PP> Thanks, Mike Turner

Snowflake eel, dietary needs not on WWM?...I don't know...   3/11/07 Hi Crew, <Hello.> I've been avidly scanning all of the responses in your forum but can quite find the answer I need. <Okay I'll see if I can help.> I have brought a small snowflake eel, about 7-8 inches in length that I am bringing home tomorrow and I need to know just what to feed him. <You didn't see that in the FAQ's or the articles? This is well documented both in Bob's articles and in other emails posted in the FAQ's. These animals make up their diet mostly of invertebrates....crustaceans. Generally speaking are hardy and compared to most eels mild mannered. I would feel comfortable using almost any meat of a marine origin, mysids, Mysis, krill, squid, clams, scallops.....and so on.> I have got some small pieces of squid, fish, prawn (I think you call it shrimp) <We use both.> and mussel but I have read a lot about making sure they have something with a shell on it as it's good for their teeth. <Occasionally but I would get the animal feeding readily before I worried about this issue, is not an immediate concern for a new acquisition.> Can you recommend something small enough that he would be able to eat? <See above.> His mouth is just so tiny. Thanks so much for your help. <Of course> Jessica from Australia. <Adam from California.>

Snowflake Moray Eel... fdg.    7/13/06 Hi First of All I Would Like To Say What A Wonderful Website You Have. <Thank you> Second I have A Snowflake Moray Eel and I've Had Him For About A Year Now. I Noticed That His Bottom Jaw Is a Bit Crooked....is This Normal <Mmm, does happen... from early development genetic anomalies, injuries...> and is there anyway that it will return to normal... <Not likely> and third he's about 9 inches and a year old like I said but he only eats Krill or Shrimp nothing else is he just picky or do have any ideas to get him to feed on other things...he won't touch fish flesh that's all i know... Sincerely Mike <A bit of practice... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/morayfdgfaqs.htm and the SubFAQs file on Echidna/Snowflakes as well. Bob Fenner>

Snowflake Moray Eel Feeding  7/5/06 Hello, <Hello James> My Snowflake Moray eel is now 3 years old.  He will now only eat frozen prawns (defrosted of course).  He won't eat calamari or any   type of fish.  Is there any other food I can offer him.  I'm sure prawns all the time will be bad for him. <Since the Snowflake is a nocturnal predator, you may want to try feeding him  different foods some time after the lights are off, see if that doesn't trigger a change in his food selection. Another possibility is that you are overfeeding him and he may not be hungry enough to eat other foods offered.  If prawns are all it will be, do soak the food in a vitamin supplement such as Selcon.> Many thanks, <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> James.

Snowflake Eel/Feeding   6/8/06 Hey I just got a new Snowflake eel a few days back. I tried feeding it frozen brine shrimp but he wouldn't eat it he just would stick his head out and let it go right by him. <Very obvious that no research was done on your part before the purchase.> Now I'm not too worried because he is in a new tank and all, but I'm just wondering maybe he couldn't see them if they were too small. <There are no brine shrimp in the reef and they offer little or no nutritional value.> The eel is still swimming around quite a bit even after being its 3rd day in the tank should I be worried or is this normal habits for being in a new environment. <Do read here and related links above.   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/snowflakemoray.htm> Thank you, <You're welcome.  Please, in future queries, do a spelling/grammar check.  Just do not have the time to edit queries.  Thank you.  James (Salty Dog)> Ryanee

Vomiting Snowflake Moray 11/6/05 Hi, I have a snowflake moray that is driving me insane (He's about 14 inches). He was eating very well (2 Silversides everyday) but 3 weeks ago, he started to eat the Silversides and then vomit them up 30 min.s or an hour later. He then progressed to only occasionally eating a Silverside and a few pieces of Krill but now every other meal, he vomits and it is killing my water quality as well! <I would not feed much fish flesh, silversides to Echidna genus eels... and not this frequently period... Something crustacean based once, twice a week maximum...> Do you have any idea what is wrong with him? -- water quality is fine, nothing has changed in the tank and he appears very healthy? I am concerned because he has gone from big eater to hardly anything Any help greatly appreciated <Cut back on frequency, amount of food, and type... Bob Fenner> 

Planning Moray Meals  9/12/05 Hello! <Hi! Scott F. with you today!> I got 2 Snowflake Morays not too long ago for my breeder aquarium... The guy at the LFS told me to feed it frozen shrimp. Would this be a good diet for them? Thanks, David <Well, David- frozen shrimp can certainly be a good nutritional item for your eels, but you really need a diverse set of menu items, such as squid, clams, strips of fish, etc. Variety for fish, just like people, is very important. Feeding any one items exclusively is not a great idea. Be sure to diversify these fishes' diets, and you'll be pleased with the results! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

- SFE (?) Stopped Eating - Hi guys, Hope everything is well.. My SFE has stopped eating and need to know if I should be worried or any suggestions on how to fix it. <Pardon my lameness - SFE... I had to ask Anthony, he thought it might be Snow Flake Eel? I'm not familiar with SFE, but Snowflake Eels, sure... they sometimes go on hunger strikes.> I feed my tank Frozen Krill and brine shrimp and occasionally throw a crayfish in. <I'd do that a different way and only throw in brine shrimp occasionally, or not at all if you can. Instead feed more of the meaty foods - squid, shrimp [krill, prawns, tiger, Mysis, etc.], clams/mussels.> I actually broke down yesterday and through a couple of goldfish in to see if I could entice him to eat however unfortunately my Lionfish turned into a pig and ate everything that I threw into the tank... Any suggestions. <Hmm... do attempt to feed the eel (?) I hope that's what it is, directly with a feeding stick, wiggle small chunks of food in front of its face, that should help.> Thanks for your help Chris <Cheers, J -- >
- SFE Stopped Eating, Follow-up -
Hi J Yes, snow flake eel is the animal in question, <Ahh good, I hope Anthony sees this.> I'll try the feeding stick tonight and will try and pickup some squid etc. from the local supermarket today. Will let you know how I make out. <Sounds good.> Chris <Cheers, J -- >
- SFE Stopped Eating, Follow-up II -
Hi J, Didn't work <Give it some time.> Picked up some fresh squid and put it right in front of his face and he wouldn't touch it (clown trigger loved it by the way) Also attached a live gold fish to the stick as well and he wouldn't touch it either.  Did a quick check on my levels and found my Nitrates were sitting at 60 ppm so did a water change...Will test them again tonight and if still high will do another. My salinity is sitting at 1.019 so is a little light as I try and keep it fluctuating between 1.020 and 1.022 depending on evaporation.  Any other suggestions...I don't think he has eaten in a week so am afraid of losing him. <Don't be overly concerned. These fish can go several weeks without food.> Let me know thx <Cheers, J -- >

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My Snowflake Eel <Hi! MikeD here> I recently purchased a snowflake eel and it hasn't eaten anything. Could you guys tell me what this eel would eat<Two foods almost guaranteed to get it eating are 1) frozen squid or octopus, obtainable at many Greek or Sushi specialty food shops and coastal bait shops (why it isn't carried in the same packages in LFS is beyond my ken), and 2) frozen shrimp of the same variety that you would eat, obtainable from local grocery store seafood sections. As to why THAT isn't readily available at any LFS is another case of the hobby paying no attention to itself and CAUSING its own problems. In my opinion, any predatory species will likely do far better if you get its food anywhere EXCEPT an LFS who should only sell reef safe fish, apparently.>

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

Malnourished Moray 8/23/05 My snowflake eel is about 3-4 years old.  He's about 18 inches long and 2 inches diameter.  He usually eats 1-2 medium frozen shrimp every other day. <Needs a wider range of nutrification...>   Day before yesterday he only had 3 bites (about 1/2 shrimp).  This would not concern me except that tonight he did the same and he has local swelling around and behind his left eye.  About 1/2 inch diameter and 1/4 to 1/2 inch raised.  I'm not sure if I should try to treat this.  As rapid as it has come on, I'm not sure he'll survive if it grows much faster/bigger. R. Rodriguez <Please read re Moray Foods...: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/morayfdgfaqs.htm I would try soaking whatever foods this animal will still take in diluted "aquarium" iodine/ate, Selcon or equivalent... this may be a simple goiter... or other result of avitaminosis. Bob Fenner>

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

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