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FAQs about Snowflake Moray Eel Systems

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

Related Articles: Snowflake Morays, Zebra Morays, Ribbon Morays

Rocks, caves, ... and a solid cover... no openings to get out of... the tank!

High Temp.     7/31/17
Hello, this is Kim. In one of my rooms, I have a 29g macroalgae tank. So far it's only growing a baby Snowflake Eel that I'm going to give my friend. The room is decently warm in the summer although it's poorly ventilated, however the tank shoots up to 90 degrees!
I installed an air pump, fan, and I point the powerhead up at the surface. I know high temps kill fish because of lack of oxygen, not heat (unless really high).
<A combination of both...
Higher temperature results in both lower/ed dissolved oxygen and higher metabolism>
This only lowered the temp. to 86 degrees and it's been like that constantly.
<Likely okay>
I don't want to buy a chiller as I dropped so much money into this hobby (bought a 700g recently), kind of broke at the moment. However, everything is doing fine, although the eel has been swimming a lot lately. Breathes normal though. Can I keep it at this temp. throughout the summer, or would it be detrimental in the future?
<As stated, you're probably fine. I would leave the light/s off during the day, all the time (even nights) IF it's this warm>
The room cools down a lot after the
summer. Thank you.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Snowflake Eel unhealthy?      4/3/11
I recently purchased a baby Snowflake Eel (8or9in) to live alone or with a small hopefully eel proof tank mate in my 29 gallon Biocube with plenty of space and a large rock full of great caves. He ate at the store when I purchased him and was taking one breath every 2 or 3 seconds. I have had him for about 20 hours in my tank which is ready with good quality according to my lfs water tester people.
<In the long run, you may want to learn to test the water yourself.>
The tank is a bit murky as he has been digging the sand out of his cave so he has more space and seems not very clear although I haven't let it go for more than ten hours without moving
something, feeding something (my crustaceans), moving rock, evening sand and such...
<I hope this tank was cycled with live rock for a few weeks. See here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/estbiofiltmar.htm>
He is now taking breaths every one second when I watch him why can this be and what can I do to fix it?
<Probably low oxygen in combination with the new environment. The standard Biocube tanks often don't come with a skimmer, which is a very useful gadget when keeping moray eels by removing nutrients from the tank other filters won't get as well as by adding oxygen. It's not uncommon that hobbyists add skimmers to Biocube tanks. The Oceanic BioCube Protein Skimmer is already adapted to this tank type. Also, a little more surface current will be good for gaseous exchange, also adding oxygen to the tank. This can be achieved by a circulation pump/powerhead as they are made by Tunze (Nanostream 6025) or Hydor (Koralia Evolution 550) to name just two examples. Such a pump can be oriented parallel to the water surface in a depth where it does not suck in air. As a short term solution for murky water and low oxygen, you can do partial water changes.>
I am obviously upgrading my tank in a few months for him but for now, he is my top priority of health and safety. I fed him once a chunk of silverside and he only ate like half of it and not
the whole thing.
<Probably still stressed.>
Also, at the fish store I asked them to feed him before I bought him and he ate an entire silverside. He regurgitated it on the way home in his bag like a snake does I guess because he was stressed from the move.
<Totally normal.>
I have heard about adding things to their food would this help? Please any info or tips would be greatly appreciated thanks.
<First of all Silversides (and Krill as a matter of fact) should not make up most of the diet of a Snowflake moray, you can use them from time to time, but not at every feeding. A moray eel diet should be varied to avoid deficiency diseases. Please see this FAQ for feeding questions and diet composition: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/snoflkeelfdgfaqs.htm . You should add vitamins at least once a week (a eel of this size can be fed every two days, if you want to feed every day use smaller meals). Cheers, Marco.>
Re: re: Snowflake Eel unhealthy?      4/3/11
Thank you now he seems to be stuck in my Liverock but I can't tell...
<A moray should not get stuck. Imagine if all the eels getting stuck in coral reefs around the world... would be a very short lived fish family...>
His head is poking out through a little cave but his head is coming like straight up through sand I am afraid he is crushed beneath the large rock and don't know if I should lift the rock to make sure he can move and risk harming him or should I leave him alone until morning it is like 1am here and have to sleep what would you recommend?
<It probably is not stuck. If you feel totally unsure, touch its head (with a tool!) and see if it reacts, moves, retreats or rather fails to get away and panics (which would indicate it is stuck).>
Waiting 8hours then trying to coax him out with food and risk leaving him stuck or attempt to lift the 17lb rock and risk crushing him please respond quick thanks a lot.
<To avoid tumbling rock, you can fix them e.g. with cable wraps to build a stable reef structure. You can also incorporate some PVC pipes, which often become the preferred residence of the eel. Feel free to send an update in the morning.>
Re: re: Snowflake Eel unhealthy? Env.,  4/3/11

He is ok! He has found so many holes and caves in my rock I never even knew of. Thank you a lot.
<Welcome. Take care. Marco.>
Re: re: Snowflake Eel unhealthy? 4/3/11
He came out! good thing I waited... He is still breathing quite heavily and at some times will tilt his head straight up and open his mouth almost like a snake regurgitating its prey when it has to run but he doesn't regurgitate anything and eats well...
<Lack of oxygen. Feeding won't help here.>
My tank is a 29 gallon the nitrate levels are a bit higher than recommended for a long period of time and said that may be it.
<You should correct this.>
I also noticed when I feed him some live freshwater ghost shrimp, he regurgitated it partially then swallowed it back. His head kind of twitches when he does this and I don't know why.
<Still, lack of oxygen. I would not feed the eel for a few days (not a problem for it) until you get this problem solved.>
What can I do to help him?
<See past emails. Water changes, skimmer, surface agitation...>
I moved the filter pump so it shoots a little air around and water breaks the surface a bit but that hasn't helped. I got some Nutra Cycle Organic Waste Remover designed to help break down his large "fecal-matter" and help with the tanks cleanliness.
<Won't help much here.>
I also added three hermits and am getting a serpent star on Thursday.
Anything else I can do? salinity is around 1.023 and temp is 80. Thanks a lot! I have also added a Blue Damsel so I can see how he acts around small fish (it is bigger than he can swallow but still...).
<Can be missing all of a sudden at one point. Won't help much with the prognosis if other fishes are eaten.>
The Clownfish I talked about earlier is apparently a Platinum Clown it is 300 dollars and genetically made pretty crazy looking fish I might send a pic when I start looking more into putting Clownfish in my tank and have questions. Oh yes, do you all think that a fifty five long would be okay for an eel, anemone, clownfish, serpent star, and possibly a dogface puffer?
<Well, I certainly don't. A dogface puffer is a big (almost one foot) and massive fish that even for itself should not be kept in anything below a 125 gallon tank (and with tank mates you'll need much more space). The moray will also need more than 55 gallons in the long run, have you ever seen an adult of this species? In addition, I noted that they can eat Clowns especially after their gender change in an earlier mail already...
Thanks a lot. Sorry for grammar. I know the rules but I have been really really busy these past weeks...
<If you want us to answer you, we want you to take the time to use proper grammar and spelling. Simple as that. I'm no native speaker, but I still I saw "alot" to correct. 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, carpet surfing   5/23/10
I just moved my fish and live rock into my 75 gallon tank. It was about a 20 minute ride for them all. Everything went well except my snowflake escaped out of his Styrofoam box and fell a few feet during his drip.
<Typical of these escape artists!>
I quickly gathered him up and got him back in his box, boy is he slimy.
<You are lucky you did not get bit!>
They have been in their new tank for about 3.5 hours and I have noticed that my snowflake his puked up his shrimp he ate yesterday morning. Should I be worried?
<Though not the best thing for them, I would not be particularly worried.
I have seen these things pronounced dead, looking like jerky come back after being placed back in the tank. His reaction is not unheard of. At the least he was very stressed here. Nothing to do except give it time and a good home.>
Thanks Dave.
<Welcome, Scott V.>

Snowflake Eel Jumper
Another Snowflake eel carpet surfing -- 01/26/10

<Hello Matt.>
I recently purchased a snowflake eel. I covered the holes in the lid of the aquarium as I was aware that they are notorious jumpers. I acclimated him to the water and put him in the tank, he seemed to take the acclimation well. I then left for the evening and I returned 6 hours later to find him on the floor, motionless. I put him back in the water in the bucket I had acclimated him in, although it appeared a lost cause. Despite having lint all over him and appearing to be dead he began breathing and moving. I put an airstone in the bucket and went to sleep for the night. In the morning he didn't seem well again so I acclimated him once again to the tank's water and put him in. He seemed alright, although he was breathing very hard, taking big gulps with his mouth. Today he is looking very weak, and has a clear mucus looking substance under his chin and partway down his belly, and is still breathing very hard. There is a lionfish and longspine urchin in this tank as well, and it is a 70 gallon tank with good water parameters. Is there anything I can do to save this eel?
<Good water parameters like pH between 8.0 and 8.4 and nitrates <25 ppm and being well oxygenated (skimmer, surface circulation)? Also offer enough caves (e.g. tubes), so the eel can hide from the lionfish. They are not always perfect tank mates. I hope there's not too much internal damage, especially dried gills. The dried mucous being replaced is a normal occurrence. There's not much else you can do, but generally eels recover from such adventure trips.>
Any swift answer would be appreciated as I have no idea how much longer it may survive.
Thanks, Matt
<Welcome. Marco.>

Snowflake eel problem
Snowflake eel carpet surfing -- 01/24/10

Hello, had a quick question for you about snowflake eels. I read your post you already made on unusual behavior but none were quite my problem. My eel jumped out of the tank one night.....the one night after having him for 3 months that I leave the lid open....anyways I found him the next morning on the ground...(carpet) still alive, barely, so I immediately threw him back in the tank. He thrashed around a bit...but soon acted fine and when to a normal spot in the rocks. But since then he has not left that spot or eaten in a week. I was curious if being out of the tank for so long or the fall, could have given him brain damage or something to cause him not to eat. Or if maybe he's just in a recovery period or something.
<Shock and stress are likely the reasons your eel is not eating. That's normal. Can take days, weeks, sometimes months. Generally no problem. I hope it has no additional damage. Offer enough caves, space, high water quality and not too aggressive tank mates to help.>
Any help would be Awesome!!!! Thanks.
<Welcome. Marco.>

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

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

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

Re: Snowflake Moray Comp.\System\Stocking: Follow up, to the follow up, to the follow up...:-)> 3/19/2009
Hello there Mike. Its Frank AGAIN!!!
<Heheh... Hi Frank...>
Well Destro (the snowflake) seems to be doing really well. All the swelling seems to have gone away and I think I know why. I mentioned before that I had a couple of hermits in there with him and that he had not bothered them. Well yesterday when I came home from work, I noticed what looked like hermit crab legs with little pinchers and maybe even eyes (basically just some guts left over) laying on the side of his rock and both of my crabs were still completely intact so apparently he ate him some crab before I brought him home and couldn't digest it fully or it got stuck so he forced it back up.
<Hmm.... possible, but more likely that one of your hermit crabs molted.>
It is funny that I didn't see any sign of that for the first day or two and then all of a sudden it started to make him swell up like that. Does that sound like that was the problem to you??
<Again, possible, but I still suspect that it was environmental\shipping stress.>
I did try to feed him a small piece of silver side tonight and he gobbled it up and went back in his hole so I guess I will feed him again maybe Saturday. That sound alright??
<That will be fine.>
Also you asked about some additional water parameters so I thought I would get your input on these.
<That is fine. - 1.024 - 1.026>
alkalinity= about 250-260 my chart says between 150 and 190 is ideal so what should I do about this???
<Alkalinity does tend to be high in new tanks. With regular water changes it will come down.>
also my calcium=300 or so and I need to get that up to 400-450 or so do I not??
<To grow Coralline algae or to keep calcium loving invertebrates, yes; otherwise, I wouldn't worry too much. Also, your high alkalinity is keeping your calcium down.>
So any more suggestions on all this would be great and I really appreciate all of your insight, so get back to me when you get a chance and thanks again.
<My Pleasure>>

Question about snowflake eel regurgitating. Fdg.. sys.  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.>

Bioload impact Miniatus v Snowflake  6/24/08 Thanks for your suggestions and advice in the past. It's very much appreciated. Here's a short one (to ask anyway); which is a greater bioload, and by how much, a mature Miniatus Grouper or a Snowflake Eel? <The grouper. It has roughly twice the biomass and similar, maybe even a little more activity. I recommend a much larger tank for an adult Miniata grouper than for a Snowflake moray.> I'm guessing the grouper due to its girth, <I agree.> but maybe the moray if it's more active <'¦No.> which makes up the size difference. Jeff <Cheers, Marco.>

Re: Bioload impact Miniatus v Snowflake  06/25/08 That's as I suspected. Thank you Marco. Well then, how would a Zebra moray fit into the bioload spectrum? Jeff <Because they get larger than Snowflake eels and more stout, their biomass is larger. But they do not eat significantly more (they are even less active than the Snowflake eels in general and hide very often), so my answer to your question would be: somewhere in between). Cheers, Marco.>

Eel in filter 04/07/2008 hi there, <<Hello, Andrew today>> So i have been on vacation for a week and let my snowflake moray eel alone with some acclimated ghost shrimp for food. However the night after i got back, my eel got into the filter, but it didn't get out because of the hood. any suggestions as to how to prevent this from happening again? <<A medium gauge mesh or zip tied egg crate is usually the best to stop this from happening>> thank you, Jiahua Zhang <<Thanks for the questions, hope this helps. A Nixon>>

Snow flake in upper end brackish tank? (RMF, please check)  2/24/08 hey guys and gals, ????????????????????????????????? I just recently set up a 40 long as a brackish tank. its been running for about 5 days already and I put in some "test mollies" to see how the water is. the mollies have been eatin and seem fine. my ph is 8.2, SG is .014 and I have a mixture of sand and crushed coral. I originally was going to get a "fresh water" (really brackish) moray eel (g. tile) but ended up getting a 7" snowflake. I slowly acclimated it over 2 hours into my brackish tank because it came from full salt water. its been about 5 days and it seems to be doing fine (eating well). can this specie be kept in a upper end brackish tank? has anyone done this with a snowflake or am I ultimately cutting his life short? thanks!------------------> Ronnie <Gymnothorax tile is indeed an estuarine moray eel and tolerant of a wide range of salinities, but to the best of my knowledge Echidna nebulosa is not. While it may do well for a while at a reduce salinity, I can't imagine it can be kept indefinitely in brackish water, at least not below SG 1.018. There is nothing to stop you maintain brackish water fish at SG 1.018+, and indeed Monos, Scats, etc will positively thrive in marine and near-marine conditions. So I would suggest that doing that would be a better way to keep this fish. Alternatively, return the Echidna nebulosa to the pet store, and keep your eyes peeled for Gymnothorax tile. Finding Gymnothorax tile is not difficult; it is quite a widely traded species, and any half-decent aquarium shop can get it in as a special order. Cheers, Neale.> <<Hard to say/state which species this young person is referring to... I'd put the onus on them to look up, identify... RMF>>

Re: snow flake in upper end brackish tank? (RMF, please check), not brackish...    2/27/08 its not g. tile its echidna neb. <Mmm, please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/snowflakemoray.htm and the linked files above. This Moray should be kept in full-strength seawater. Anything less will shorten its life-span. Bob Fenner>

Re: Aquarium Set up, Marine Stocking and Equipment, Snowflake Eel sys.   9/10/07 Hi, <Hello> Thank you for your response. I am distraught about the eel. I wanted it to be my focal point of my tank, being I wanted to start with a 55g, should I increase to 60-75g? <That would be the bare minimum for an eel, 100G or more would give you more stability.> <Chris>

Another snowflake jail break - 03/28/07 Hi, <Hi Aaron, Marco here.> my moray got out last night and I'm just wondering if he going to be alright. He was still alive, when I picked him up, but when I put him back in the tank he threw up his food. Is this normal? <sign of stress.> He is only 30 long and I'm worried he is going to die. <Chances for survival are rather good.> I would also like to know how often should I feed him if he is alright. <If the 30 is in cm every day to every other day, if it is in inch twice a week.> Thank you in advance. Aaron. Just me again. His skin is peeling. I know that's normal when they get out. <Yes. Can take several months until it is completely healed.> Is there anything special that I can do? Thanks, Aaron. <Provide pristine water quality and soak his food in vitamins to prevent secondary bacterial infections.> Snowflake eel, Chainlink eel -- compatibility and system. 03/25/07 Hi again, had a question about my snowflake eels behaviour.  When I first got my eels (Chainlink and snowflake (both came from the same tank)) they were buddy buddy hung out same cave and all and at first the snowflake was the adventurous one going all around its new tank while the Chainlink hid and refused food. Then I guess they had a fight and he moved on up to the pump in the corner of the tank. I took your advice and made a second cave and he came back down, but sure enough the Chainlink had to change caves from time to time which sent my snowflake flying out of its cave and back to its pump. <Need more caves. Once I had a similar case of a moray hiding behind and in my skimmer. It ended when I introduced and in part buried pvc pipes. I made two caves per moray eel and they almost never left them since.> At first it seemed they were the same size, but now I can see the snowflake is smaller. Any thoughts you feel like sharing on this? <Watch their growth carefully, moray eels are known to be cannibalistic in some cases when their sizes were too different.> I'd like to get them living in the rocks again, right now he's using my banded shark as a hiding place. Its kind of funny to watch the shark burrow itself in the sand only to have the eel ruin its burrow in its attempt to burrow and back and forth but I wouldn't risk giving it food while its under him. Also are there any chances a Chainlink eel could ingest a small lionfish safely mines missing. <Oh yes. Morays (even of the genus Echidna) can kill and eat small lionfish and lionfish can kill morays.> Thanks in advance. <Cheers, Marco.>

Stuck eel... coat hanger...  - 12/29/06 Hello again crew. <Wayne> This one I know is not a repeat question. Today, my snowflake eel got in my overflow.  He seemed stuck, and tired.  I waited for 2 hours for him to come out on his own.  He didn't...So I decided to get him out myself.  I used a wire hanger, the kind that's painted. I thought maybe there would be copper in the hanger?  Decided to take the chance anyway.  I got him out after about 30min of fishing.  He was definitely stuck. Can the wire hanger have any ill effects on my tank? WS <Mmm... don't know... am pretty sure they're made mainly of steel/iron... the paint, coating? I would be running a pad of PolyFilter, possibly some GAC in your filter flow path just to be on the safe side... and adding screening to keep that Eel in place. Bob Fenner>

Egg-Crate Cover and a Snowflake Moray Eel   12/14/06 Morning fish friends... <David> So I have read every piece of literature on your website concerning snowflake eels.  My 200gallon semi-aggressive predator/large fish tank will revolve around my eel.  I had precise fit glass tops made to prevent the eel from possibly escaping... however, this seemed to prompt the temperature of the tank to increase to 32oc over 3 days. <Yikes... need some (small holes?) venting> Only two small blue-yellow tailed damsels are in the tank at this point.  I removed the glass covers (what a waste) and setup a fan on my sump. Overnight, I have dropped and can likely sustain a water temperature of about 26/27oc.  I realize this is within the safe zone, but a little high.  I'm positive I can maintain this temperature without fluctuation. I considered a chiller, but my aquarium room has no suitable place to vent the hot air exchanged.... And will likely further heat my 90 gallon reef tank (also sitting at 27oc).  I'm in Calgary, Canada and it's December... would never have thought this would be an issue.   <Oh yes... aquariums, water... thermal addition, retention... through lighting, pumps... appreciable> Anyhow, I am exploring a small air-conditioning unit for the room in the next few weeks. <Mmmm... might be necessary... at least expeditious> Anyhow, I need a cover for my tank that will allow air circulation.  I am planning on getting sheets of white egg-crating to fit securely on the rim within the top of the tank opening.  As well, am having 2x4 wood blocks cut... one block for each end of the lid cover to add weight to the cover as well as to elevate my PowerCompact lighting.  I can barely fit my index finger through the holes in the egg crating and therefore figure there's no way my snowflake eel (picking him up today from the store) will fit through as he is about as thick as possibly three of my fingers. <Yes, this will work>    I have one 2x65 watt 24" Corallife PC fixture (about 10lbs) and one 2x95 watt 36" Corallife PC fixture (about 15lbs).  I'm actually surprised that I don't hear about or read about more people that are using egg crating as a cover for their tanks... <Is a "stock" item in many parts of the aquarium world... and as you state, virtually unknown in others... I strongly suspect your note here will go a long way in reducing the latter> would prevent most non-small fish from exiting the tank, great for ventilation, easy to add most foods... cheap!! <Yes... do look for the stronger Styrene variety... lasts much longer w/o breaking... both easy to cut with a "Jigsaw" and a fine blade> Questions: 1)  Using the 2x4's to elevate my lighting to further allow air ventilation under the lighting and over the water.  It will just be about an inch from each side of the lighting fixture on the wood... the lens protecting the bulbs shouldn't be in contact with the wood... <Correct!> and even then, the lights don't heat up that much... they both have two fans on them.  This wouldn't be a fire hazard or anything, would it? <Could be with direct contact...>   I mean, people have wood canopies, etc...   Just checking... <These often need insulation...> 2) Snuggly fit plastic egg crating weighted down by 4 - 6 2x4's that are 24" long... plus the light fixtures on top of these... should be more than adequate to prevent a snowflake eel too thick to fit through the holes of the egg crating??? <Yes>    Of note, there is about 4" of room between the top of the water level and the bottom of the egg-crate cover... I'm thinking further to my security plan... the eel wouldn't have as much 'push' or 'thrust' outta the water to be able to seemingly poke and push with the water level dropped as such. <Agreed> 3) I also have a loose piece of egg-crating covering my overflow box that covers the top to prevent fish from going overboard.  The loose egg-crating is not fastened so as I can clean in there... however, my output manifold (water from sump pump back into main display... manifold consists of a T and about 8" of 1" pvc on either side of the T with spray nozzles) rests on the egg crating with a downward force... as the flex hose goes over the side of the tank via an elbow to the aforementioned T. The water pressure on the manifold provides weight to the egg crating cover.    Even though it seems snug... now that I have typed this... maybe I need this modified. <Perhaps> While I think of it.  My retailer has in a batfish.  It's big and black with red tinges... <Mmm... a Pinnatus... exceeding difficult, rare to stay alive in captivity> It's possibly the most magnificent fish I've seen for sale over the years.  I wouldn't dream of introducing this fish to my tank now... but in a couple of years when my tank is fully cycled and operating smoothly... would this batfish make a good roommate for my snowflake eel? <Read on my friend> I am also considering a Antennata/Radiata/Zebra Lion (one of), angel, tang, Foxface, maybe a wrasse... If I don't think of a hundred more questions this month... have a great Christmas! Dave <And to you and yours. Bob Fenner>

Snowflake eel, not reading, sys.   8/19/06 Hi. I asked a question about a light a couple of days ago. I have a 30g tank <Too small for the species above> with 16 pounds of sort of-live rock. I upgraded the light to an 18" 20,000K daylight lamp which is on for 13 hours and off the rest. I know this is still pretty dull for growth <Growth of?> but it's all I could get! Hope is a decent improvement... anyways, my next series of questions relate to my future fish purchases.  I want to get a snowflake eel. <Don't like bright lighting either...>   First of all, I realize that my tank is less than minimum size, but will it do? <No>   Next, my filtration system (besides live-ish rock and live sand) is a Penguin 200 BIO-Wheel power filter. Because of the small tank size and the amount of waste an eel creates, is this filtration going to be sufficient or is there anything that I must add/change? <Need more... a skimmer for instance> Lastly, IF I can get the tank to an eel-friendly state, would it be possible to also house a dwarf lion fish? Thank you so much, you guys rock! <No. You could have answered all these and more by simply reading WWM. Bob Fenner>

Stocking Level/Merry Christmas  - 03/12/2006 Hi-<Hello John.> I was wondering if I would be able to put a small snowflake eel in my 30 gallon tank. This eel in the LFS is no longer than a pencil. The tank is 30" long and is equipped with a 9 watt uv, Skilter 250 modified skimmer, ProClear model 60 wet dry filter, 5 Rio 600, and 30 pounds of porous live rock. The other inhabitants would be an ocellaris clownfish and watchman goby. Are these fish compatible? <At this stage they would be.> The eel would only be in the 30 gallon for about a year, then would be transferred to a 55 or 70 gallon tank next x-mas. Would the eel be ok? <I wouldn't.  That eel will soon outgrow the 30 gallon tank.  Wait until Christmas.  James (Salty Dog)> Thanks  <You're welcome.> Euphyllia cristata and Echidna nebulosa... and Aiptasia control  - 02/20/06 Dear Mr. Fenner or crew member that answers,    <Jessica>   Just a couple of follow up questions.  Regarding the below mentioned E. nebulosa, what would you consider the minimum for housing him indefinitely? <... 150, 200 gallons plus, uncrowded...> It is possible that I could trade in a few of my smaller tanks (and there are plenty) that have housed freshwater fish over the years for a predrilled standard 125 (I have been collecting tanks and freshwater fish since the ripe old age of 8).  I would probably have to use cinder blocks for a stand (it would look like my neighbors car), <Heee!> or wait until I can next get to my dad's shop to build one, which could take a while, but would the tank work no matter what I set it on? <? As long as the stand/support is stable, strong, planar, level...> I have read so many different minimum requirements, 50 gallons on DrsFosterSmith.com, 60 in the article on WWM, and all sorts of variations up to a recommendation of 100 gallons on other places on the web.  I am thinking the 125 will work, but I want to be sure first.   What are the ideal dimensions for housing such a beautiful species?   <The bigger the better...> Could I fill it 3/4 of the way (which would render the pre-drilling useless, unless I lower the overflow boxes somehow), with a cover and still have a happy eel? <Not indefinitely... which was your question/concern> I am thinking that with the lowered volume, maybe I could simulate intertidal pools for him to get into (the overflow boxes), maybe place some treats in there from time to time.        Also, on a side note, I obtained the below mentioned E. cristata/divisa from my friend, and it looks great in the rocks, half way up, right under a 175w 10000k MH lamp and very near an 800 gph powerhead (the powerhead is on the back of the tank, pointed at the front and makes a nice sweeping current through the tank, the coral is in the direct path of the ricochet current).  I still do not notice sweeper tentacles, and I wonder if I should? <Not necessarily... but might at night, after feeding if you looked... and very likely if you placed another Cnidarian close... or it chemically influenced the system>   It seems to eat if I place meaty food on its tentacles (formula one, prime reef, or Mysis and human grade shrimp, scallops and squid, all used in Mr. Fenner's marine mash recipe from CMA) Is there any way to tell which coral I have without dissection/microscopic investigation? <Euphyllias are rather distinct... usually just looking at the polyps will give you a species ID> Not that it makes that big a difference to me, but I would like to label my display museum style so when the nieces/nephews/friend's children come over I can encourage them to read/learn for themselves, much as you do here on WWM.  Is it possible that I have the wrong genus in identification, since there are no sweeper tentacles? <Not likely> (I have looked at all the pictures I can find on the net, I am certain it is a Euphylliid, but I am no expert.)      Another side note, I have found a useful strategy for removing Aiptasia from my rocks that doesn't involve chemical or biological controls.  With great patience, I have shaded the Aiptasia from the light.  While they may be less light demanding than their more desirable counterparts, in my experience, they are no less light loving. <Agreed> I have found that the shading makes them migrate to the substrate, where I simply use tongs to pluck them from the aquarium.  I often have had to "redirect" the anemone's path with more shading or by turning or moving the rock, but I have successfully removed 14 Aiptasia anemones this way (over the course of about 1 1/2 months).  I also have not seen a mass reproduction that I was wary of after reading about chemical controls or other methods like scraping.  Once they were plucked, they were gone.  I now have an Aiptasia free display, in case anyone is interested.  I harbor some of them in a 20L under regular fluorescent lighting to play with.  It is interesting to watch them eat bits of shrimp or whatever I drop in there.  In a sense, I have a dedicated display for anemones, as they are the only thing there, except a few rocks.  I will remove rocks and said anemones when I next QT something.  I just wanted to enjoy having an anemone for a while, and Aiptasia has been suggested by some on WWM (not without hesitation).    <Thank you for this>   One last thing.  My fish (green Chromis and a Firefish) have been eating the meat that I am feeding the coral.  Can I just feed them the marine mash (every other day or so), or should they have flakes and pellets, too? <No need for the latter> I believe the flake and pellet food for the fish is producing phosphates in the aquarium, and I do have some algae growth that I could live without.      Thank you for your investment in my tank's well-being.  You folks are the greatest.      Best regards,   Jessica Groomer <Bob Fenner> Eel Selection  - 2/15/2006 Hi Bob, <Todd> I have a 90 gal tank, its not finished cycling yet however I am planning ahead.  I really would like to have an eel in the tank when it is time, and I have read much about what there is to consider.  Since my tank will be a reef community tank, crustaceans will be abundant.    <?> The "praised" eel I keep reading about is the Snowflake Eel, and coincidentally also the one at the LFS that really got my head stuck on the idea of having an eel.  My biggest concern, is the crustacean that this eel likes to eat. <Crustacean> I have images in my mind of placing this great eel into the tank and the next day any emerald crabs or cleaner shrimp have been devoured.  My second concern, is that the eel grows to two feet.  Although my tank is 4 feet long and should be sufficient for space for a Snowflake Eel, I am hoping to avoid very large specimens so that I can have more healthy living space for more inhabitants.   <Will eat the crustaceans, eventually grow too large for this tank> The other Eel species I have read about that peaks my interest that may be a better fit (if I can find one) would be the Pacific Golden (Gymnothorax melatremus).  I may be way off but I would think that the small size of this Eel would deter it from eating larger (more expensive) "show" crustaceans and also help with my goal to maintain a lot of space for a higher quantity of smaller inhabitants (instead of having a few big fish I would rather have several smaller fish and variety). My method of thinking, again maybe way off, is that the eel should be one of my first tank inhabitants so that it can have first choice for the cave in the tank that it likes best as it's dwelling before other tank inhabitants "make their homes" ( I have several suitable cave area's in the rock and there is one particular large cave that if I was an eel, It would be my first choice). Would you recommend that the smaller Eel would be better for what I am hoping to accomplish in the big picture? <I wouldn't give such advice w/o knowing what else you intend to stock.>   Is the snowflake actually a better choice because of other reasons?  Should I abandon the idea of having an eel at all if they need to coexist with crustaceans, or is there perhaps another species that I should consider? <I would not stock an eel with a "community" tank...> I am new to salt water, and I think I should stay away specimens that might require the care of a more "experienced aquarist".   <I'd try other, smaller fishes than... or settle on a FO system... or build your collection around the/an eel species...> Thanks in advance,  and you have an excellent resource here - I have used it several times already as I learn my way through my novice marine experience. Todd <Keep studying Todd... you'll soon know what your choices are. Bob Fenner> Euphyllia cristata and Echidna nebulosa  - 2/4/2006 Dear crew,    <Jessica>   First of all, if I could thank you once for each time you have already saved me from myself....you would never again hear words that weren't coming from me.  I use this website everyday since I decided to set up a salt water tank.  I have probably logged a thousand hours here, but luckily, no one is counting.  Suffice it to say, "Thanks a million."    <Welcome>   On to the questions.  I finally got a 125 up and running, after replacing a cracked panel and plumbing a closed loop, cycling for 5 weeks, all the while curing live rock, and then cycling a little more when I added the rock.  Tank inhabitants and parameters:   Salinity: 1.023-1.024, depending on whether or not I have topped off for the day, I seem to need about four gallons a day in top off.  pH: 8.3-8.5, again dependent on time.  Total Ammonia: 0.0  Nitrite: 0.0 Nitrate: 0.0 (Controlled with 25 gallon weekly water changes, plus hardly any livestock right now).  Ca: averages 400  Alk: 9-10 dKH.  Phosphate: 0.1 (must be from food for the fish)   Also, running a 60 gallon sump with protein skimmer, producing about 1/4-1/2 cup every one to two days, some activated carbon, and PolyFilter pads are on hand if necessary.  Judging by the smell when I empty it, the skimmer is performing quite well.  Coming soon, a 20 or 30 gallon upstream fuge, planned to be fed skimmed and filtered water from the sump and gravity drained to the display. <Sounds good> Also coming soon: test kits for Iodine/ide, silicates, and dissolved oxygen, mostly because I want them, but some because of what I am about to ask.  Livestock: 5x C. viridis, 1x N. magnifica and whatever is living inside the ~110 lbs. of live rock (there is also some rubble in the sump).      Question 1:  How does this sound for a stocking list? I would like to add 2x A. ocellaris, 1x Z. flavescens, and 1x V. puellaris for fish, 2x T. crocea clams (in another 6-7 months), and for corals, well, this will be more difficult. <Fine thus far>   I know that it is not recommended to mix softies with stonies, however, how dangerous would it really be to have 1x T. peltata (on top of the rocks, center of the tank, under a 175w 14000K MH lamp, the other two lamps are both 175w 10000K), 2x T. geoffroyi (on the substrate in front of the rocks), and then throw some Xenia in the mix? <Could> I would like to add the Xenia, also on top of the rocks, at both ends of the aquarium.  I know this stuff grows like crazy, but I have decided I like it, and a tank full of it is ok with me.  The other coral I would like to add is either a E. divisa or E.  cristata, I am not sure which.  This is in a friend's tank, who would like to get rid of it.  I don't know why she has it, but she doesn't want it anymore.  It is healthy and not causing a problem in her tank, she is just indecisive.  If this coral would be appropriate in this mix, where would be the best place to put it?   In the rocks, or on the substrate?   <On the rock, about half way up, maximally exposed to light, current> I have read that some Euphyllids prefer the substrate, with low flow. <Really only Catalaphyllia... all others are found on hard substrates in the wild... even Plerogyra... that appear to be on the sand> This one seems to not have tentacles that come out, so I am thinking the rock would be ok as far as it not jeopardizing other corals (I have watched it all night before, it just deflates, but otherwise seems to do nothing. Also, it seems to eat meaty seafood that is put in her tank, it will "catch it" and the food slowly sinks into the tentacles, but I don't know where it goes from there.)  Can this work?    <Yes>   Question 2:  I know a guy who has a 9"-10" E. nebulosa in a 30 gallon tank.  We (me and the guy) both know this won't work.  What I would like to know, is can this eel live happily (or more happily, at least) in a 50 gallon tank? <Not indefinitely>   I have one that is 36x18 footprint, and it would at least be better.  I would like to take this eel off this guy's hands, but I don't want it to be as miserable as he looks right now (I suspect he may have some nutrition problems, as well).  If this eel is the only tank inhabitant, can I have him?  He has been known to eat fish, so I don't think I would risk putting anything else in with him, and the lighting for the tank won't support many fancy corals, so I would do FOWLR for him.  If you were me, would you take him? <... not to keep forever in a fifty> (Of course, weekly maintenance and the extra expense don't really matter, we have enough aquarium stuff laying around, with the exception of a skimmer, that it won't be hard to outfit, and what is another 50 gallons of water when you already have about 400 captive gallons?  Just a drop in the bucket!)    So, I am looking forward to your input as an experienced aquarist.  I am really enjoying my first saltwater tank.  Thanks to you folks at WWM, I haven't QT'd anything that wasn't healthy (not that I have made many purchases anyway), and my tank is already flourishing with coralline growth, the Chromis are growing and beautiful, and Flick, the Firefish is a hoot.  What great times these are, huh?      Thanks for all you do,   Jessica Groomer <Glad to see this positive note, history and attitude! Bob Fenner>

Snowflake eel   1/7/06 Hi, <Hello Monica>   I have a few questions. First, I got a snowflake eel 4 days ago, and he has vanished. He is not in any of the rocks, filters, gravel, tubing, or on the floor around it. Literally, it vanished. I've read that they jump, but how far could it go? I have checked the entire room. Do they bury themselves? Doing a water change, I took out all the rocks and siphoned the gravel, but I can't find him. Any suggestions? Unfortunately, I think it will be too late, but I would like to know. Also, I have my water tested often, regularly, my ph is between 7.8 and 8.2, my salinity is 2.2-2.4. I have gotten very good at maintaining these numbers, but for some reason, my fish keep dying. One at a time, they start to appear sick, then die. They first are sluggish, then stop eating, then they disappear, and a day or two later, I find them dead. What could be happening? Is this normal? I have lost a Copperbanded butterfly fish, 3 porcupine puffers, a bi-color angel, a panther grouper, a blue tang a tomato clownfish and a black and white snapper. It has gotten ridiculously expensive to just replace the dead fish. Any suggestions? The only thing living well are damsels, a yellow tang, a coral beauty, and a bi-color Pseudochromis I have a dwarf lion fish and another porcupine puffer in there also that appear to be doing well, but are only a few weeks old. I am so frustrated, I am about to give up, maybe you can help. Any suggestions? <Monica, you should, if not already, be smelling the eel.  The snowflake is a notorious escape artist and housing them requires a tight fitting cover.  Believe me, he just didn't disappear.  As for your other problems please let me know the tank size you are trying to keep these fish in.  James (Salty Dog)> Thanks for your time, <You're welcome>   Monica Atkinson

Snowflake out of water Hello Mr. Fenner, <Elizabeth> Situation #1 You've always been so wonderful with information in the past and I'm hoping that you can sate my curiosity once again.   We have a snowflake eel in a small predator tank (75 gallon).  We've had him since he was the size of a pencil and now he is 14" and has quite a "sturdy" built. <Like me!> He's always been a voracious eater and be it shrimp, squid or octopus he always gets the lion's share at every feeding (his tankmates are a two and a half inch Niger and a 3" stars and stripes puffer).  When I fed them this morning, the eel was nowhere to be seen.  When I later (2 hours) mentioned this to my hubby he went to investigate and Mr. Magoo the eel was curled up on the carpet behind the tank, crispy and dried out!  First instinct had us put him back in the tank and he immediately began to move and hid after about a minute of reorienting himself.  We've really searched and there are no holes that could accommodate escape so he must have managed to push up the small sliding glass where I feed them. <Can do so> We have since braced it with electrical tape to ensure that it doesn't happen again.   Whew, now to my questions, firstly, how long can they survive out of water? <Depending on temperature, humidity, initial health... hours...> To be as "crispy" as he was it must have been a minimum two hours from the time I fed and noticed him not there until we found him behind the tank.  Should I remove him and put him in our QT? <Mmm, not at this point> Should we have done something else like rinsing him etc. before putting him back in the tank? <Yes... best to dip out some system water, soak, get off "dust-bunnies", then place in main or other system> We just went on instinct to return him as quickly as possible and frankly we were shocked that he wasn't dead and actually swam immediately on hitting the water.  Hopefully it will never happen again but I'd like to know the proper protocol as a just in case.  Thanks for any advice you can offer! Situation #2 Our 250 gallon tank features an Emperor Angel that we've had since he was a one inch juvie.  He is now almost six inches and in full adult coloration.  (he's more like a puppy than a fish and I know I probably shouldn't get attached but with his personality I can't help myself.)  We recently had a 1000' gallon display tank built in to our family room to accommodate our batfish <Neat!> and the tank is now almost five months cycled and the bat and his mates are doing well with all parameters good and basically the same as the 250 gallon tank.  I want to move the angel in but don't know if I should do a full quarantine on him as if he was a new fish before putting him in the big tank or if I should just QT for two weeks or so making sure that all looks good before moving him in.   <I would simply net the angel, place in a bucket and drip-acclimate it to the new system's water and place> Also, Randy the E. Angel and our biggest cleaner shrimp (a sucker that is almost 4"s and has been in the tank for as long as the angel) spend much time together with the shrimp "riding" on the angel doing it's work, should we move this shrimp with the angel or just let the smaller cleaners in the big tank take over? <I would move them together... carefully matching specific gravity in both systems...> I want to make this transition as easy on the angel as possible.  Thanks again for any advice that you can offer. Best regards at this holiday season to you and all at WWM! Elizabeth Turner <And to you and yours. Bob Fenner>

Snowflake Eel Escape  11/28/05 My snowflake eel escaped. <It happens.> I woke up and it was dry, although flexible I guess. I put it back in tank after hearing about it coming back to life.  <Yes have seen them survive 12 hours + in dry conditions and recuperate.> Anyhow, it starting breathing and hid in his normal hiding place. It seems to be okay except it's dried skin is shedding/coming off <Quite normal.> and kind of looks like snake. Is this normal and should s/he be okay? <May be okay... hard to say at this point. Likely very stressed out.> What should I do to help it? <Wait a day or so and begin offering it food (but do no be surprised by a feeding strike possibly a few weeks in length) and provide pristine water conditions.> (Besides duct tape the hood's flap down?) <Well yes, I would find an efficient way to prevent this in the future, Adam J.>  <<Look to vinyl/plastic window screening, apply something similar to what is used for snake tanks (escape artists extraordinaire!).  Marina>>

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Snowflake Eels Hi, <Hi Pamllen, MacL here tonight> I was wondering if snowflake eels would be fine in a 70 gallon aquarium. <Yes they will.> I was also wondering how big they get and if they would be able to eat a clownfish. <They vary in size but yes they can eat a clownfish.>Thanks for the help. <I'd like to send you to the website to take a look at information about the snowflake moray http://www.wetwebmedia.com/snowflakemoray.htm, Good luck, MacL>

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

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

Snowflake moray system Hello, I have just ordered a new tank for my Snowflake eel, which I have had for nearly 2 years now, in a 4 foot tank with a humbug and clown fish. <Good idea :D> The new tank is 6' x 2' x 2' , is this big enough for him? <Should be fine.  Snowflakes only get around 30" long or so.> It has 2 overflow boxes and a trickle filter. <This is perfectly fine filtration for a fish only tank.> What over equipment should add to this tank? <A skimmer couldn't hurt, but is not absolutely necessary.  I would strongly advise religious water changes monthly or even more often as well.> And how much water will it hold? <That's a standard 180 gallon long aquarium.> Cheers Jess <Cheers, Matt> Snowflake eel and tank size 08/26/05 Hello again, <<Hello Laura - Ted here>> Thank you for answering my question. I also recently bought a book that has given me a new idea. I think I will buy a 75 gallon tank for a snowflake moray. Will a 75 gallon tank be able to support its adult size?<<Yes. Please read up on Snowflake eels starting with this link: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/snowflakemoray.htm.>> I have been thinking of tankmates for the eel. I have been thinking about a Lemonpeel Angel but have run out of ideas. Any suggestions?<<There are many fish suitable for a 75 gallon tank. Part of the enjoyment found in this hobby comes from researching the specimens for your system. Please research first before buying any specimen. Of the dwarf Angels, the Coral Beauty and the Flame Angel are hardier than the Lemonpeel. I refer you to this link http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/angels/centropyge for more information. The Lemonpeel should get along with the eel as Snowflake eels rarely eat fish however there is no guarantee.>>  I am also thinking about a cleaner shrimp.<<The shrimp is not recommended. Snowflake eels eat crustaceans and will eat the shrimp.>> Again, any answer is appreciated. Thank you again, Laura Nikiel <<You're welcome and good luck - Ted>> Cycling an eel tank, ignorance re nutrition of Echidna, cycling, using WWM  9/5/05 Hello again When I get my 75 gallon tank how would I cycle it if I plan to put a snowflake eel in it. When I first get the eel he will be way too small to eat the fish but eventually he will. <No...> Is there any kind of fish that could cycle the tank that would not be eventually eaten? <All sorts> And if I did put some Chromis or damsels and they were eaten I would not mind, its just nature. But if you know another way that could save some fish from being eaten I am all ears. Sorry to bother you again, but thanks for all your help Patrick Nikiel <Please... use the search tool, indices on WWM... Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/snowflakemoray.htm re this species care, feeding... and elsewhere on WWM re cycling. Bob Fenner>  

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