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FAQs about Dragon Moray Eels: Health

Related FAQs: Dragon Moray Eels 1, Dragon Morays 2,
FAQs on: Dragon Moray Identification, Dragon Moray Behavior, Dragon Moray Compatibility, Dragon Moray Stocking/Selection, Dragon Moray Systems, Dragon Moray Feeding, Dragon Moray Reproduction, Morays/Eels: Moray Eels 1, Moray Eels 2, Moray Eels 3, Moray Identification, Moray Selection, Moray Behavior, Moray Compatibility, Moray Systems, Moray Feeding, Moray Disease, Moray Reproduction, Zebra Moray Eels, Snowflake Morays, Freshwater Moray Eels, Other Marine Eels,

Related Articles: The Hawaiian Dragon Eel Enchelycore pardalis by Marco Lichtenberger, Moray Eels, Zebra Morays, Snowflake Morays, Ribbon Morays, The "Freshwater" Moray Eels, Freshwater Moray Eels by Marco Lichtenberger, Other Marine Eels

Dragon morays... Hlth. diag., sys. f's      5/3/17
Hey Crew,
I'm a little concerned about CO2 and O2 levels in a basement tank. Set up is a 180 gallon 72x22x24 acrylic tank with 60 gallon sump large skimmer and lots of live rock in sump and display tank. My return pump is actually for a pond.
<Hopefully w/ no metal to corrode, leach into the system>
I have to restrict it with a ball valve to control water flow.
<Mmm; I'd be checking (the stamp AND consumption directly) re watts here. I live in a town w/ very expensive electricity. You may be better off investing in another pump>
I also have a large chamber in the sump with a mass of Cheto to control Nitrates. In habitants are two dragon morays
<Will need more room than this in time>
and a hand full of damsels, snails and crabs. So my one of my dragons has always had a faster respiration then the other but both breath harder at times then other morays I've kept? Is this a Enchelycore thing?
<No and no; s/b about the same>
My tank is in my basement should I be concerned about C02?
<I hope not; but I would check, AND install a CO2 meter>
Not sure how to post videos for you to actually see what I'm talking about
but here is a link?
<Ah, good>
<Mmm; the lighter colored animal IS respiring too quickly to suit me...
What is the water temperature here? I'd lower it to the mid 70's F...
slowing metabolism, increasing DO...), and the rock here? Appears to have a bunch of BGA on it (likely too toxic)... See, as in READ on WWM re limiting this. Do you have a DO test kit? I'd procure one ASAPractical and test here... AND in the meanwhile use a pound or two of GAC in your filter flow path and a pad or two of PolyFilter. Bob Fenner>
As always thank you not only for your reply but also for your service.
You guys are awesome.
Sincerely Brad.
Re: Dragon morays      5/4/17

Thank you Bob,
<Welcome Brad>
-Pond pump ( 2700 gph) is a sealed unit much like an aquarium pump no metal and only 30watts.
<Ah, good; and a bargain watt-wise!>
-I keep the temp @78 maybe I should lower it?
<Yes I would; at least for now... 74-75>
Water quality is as follows ( 0 ammonia , 0 nitrites and below .005-.010 Nitrates.
and rarely ever changes.
<How are Nitrates rendered thus? You may have a toxicity issue w/ chemical filtrants>
-I will read up about BGA
But tank overall has very little algae.
<The purplish red material on the rock is my concern. Need to sample, look under a scope...>
GAC will be added in sump.
<In a bag (likely Dacron/polyester), in the water flow path>
The lighter eel has always been like this but otherwise acts normal.
I do have the returns pointed to the surface and there is a lot of turbulence/ gas exchange.
<Good; this and the skimmer should render DO at saturation (7-8 ppm)>
There is one more thing I didn't mention. I have a auto top off which is feed through a 3 stage carbon filter. I do not have an RO unit. But I would suspect a ton of algae of my phosphates were over the top though.
<Mmm; not necessarily. Again, it may be that other real algae (Thallophytes) are being displaced, outcompeted by the Cyanobacteria>
I work in the auto field and understand trying to diagnose people's issues without actually seeing everything so I appreciate your willingness to give your opinion and expertise.
<Heeeeee! Don't you and I know it/this!>
And yes I will most likely have to re-home one of my beloved eels. Like Marco I absolutely love morays especially Enchelycore sp. thanks again Mr. Fenner.
<Cheers Brad. Will share w/ MarcoL. Bob Fenner>
Re: Dragon morays.     Here's Marco!      5/4/17

Hi Brad and Bob,
both eels breathe rather fast for my taste, especially the lighter one.
As Bob notes , that's not an Enchelycore thing. I'd try slightly reducing the temperature and increase the water flow on the surface even more. In addition, check the pH. Should be at least 8.0, better 8.2-8.4.
Also, ensure that the basement itself gets enough fresh air.
<Thank you/Danke Marco. BobF>

Japanese Dragon Eel HELP!!!!!! Mysterious losses... env.      4/6/17
I was wondering if you guys could possibly shed some light on a problem I'm having with Japanese Dragon eels.
<I will respond here and have sent your message on to MarcoL for his sep. resp.>
I am currently on my 3rd specimen within a 2 year period. The other 2 passed away after being in my current tank after 1 year and about 7 months respectively. Unfortunately, the one in my tank now I fear won't make it
through the night, and has only been in the tank for 1 week.
<Mmm; something wrong here... environmentally likely. Do you measure dissolved oxygen?>
I have a 150 gallon display tank with a 20 gallon sump setup and refugium. I run a protein skimmer, carbon reactor, and biopellet reactor.
<Why this last?>

Temp 78F, ph8.2, salinity 1.023-1.025, ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrate 20-40.
There is about 130 pounds of live rock, sand bottom, and terracotta pots (non glazed) in the main tank. There are also anywhere from 6-12 damsels in the tank at any given time, who do not seem to ever be affected (3 of which have been in the tank since the beginning).
<A good clue>

Diet consists of haddock, striped bass, squid, silversides, shrimp, krill, etc... Every eel has appeared to be in great health. Very active during the day. Very social with anyone that walks up to the tank. Great appetites. However, out of the blue it is like a switch is flipped and they stop eating, begin "gasping",
<This too>

become very lethargic, then die within a day or two. I have tried water changes, antibiotics, antiparasitics, without any luck. The first 2 eels were around 18-24 inches, while this new one is only about 12 inches. Any ideas what could be going on and why it only affects the eels?
<The DO issue comes to mind most prominently. A 150 isn't much room for a large eel... I'd add aeration... mechanically; and check to see that O2 is near saturation (7 or so ppm) here. Bob Fenner>
Thanks for any advice or help, Evan
Fwd: Japanese Dragon Eel HELP!!!!!!     4/6/17
I forgot to mention I have a full cleanup crew of Nassarius snails, blue legged hermits and peppermint shrimp that also appear to never be affected.
<Also leading me to suspect gas solubility issue.
Re: Japanese Dragon Eel HELP!!!!!!     4/6/17

Thank you for such a quick response...sadly though, this eel has passed as well. In terms of O2, how do I measure it?
<There are colorimetric assays like for much of what interests aquarists water-quality wise; as well as more expensive electronic meters>
Would the protein skimmer add enough O2 into the system?
<Not necessarily, no>
Could the terra-cotta be leaching some sort of poison?
<Mmm; good question: A point of fact is that there ARE other possible sources of morbidity, mortality here that would disfavor a large Muraenid (over damsels, the mix of invertebrates you mentioned)... I would remove
ALL that is questionable. I might avail myself of PolyFilter... as an aid (via coloring) as to what might be trouble here>
If O2 related, why do you think the larger eels lasted so much longer than the little one, who only survived 1 week and was doing great at my LFS for months in a much smaller tank and a Kidako eel tankmate?
<Can't say directly... but this IS the case... that smaller eels are more easily poisoned, die from env. stress vs. larger. I would have you (it will take a while) read generally re such HERE:
AND the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Dragon morays and parasites ?      1/25/17
Hello crew,
I'm writing to you in hopes that you can give me some advice.
<Will do my best>
Over the last two weeks I have noticed that both of my dragon moray (E. pardalis) have been rubbing their heads and at times even scratching their backs on the substrate. I do not see any visible signs of parasites or skin abrasions and their appetites have not changed.
<These situations... behaviors are almost always related to "water quality">
The two eels are in a 125 soon to be moved to 180 gallon.
<Need more room than this>
Tons of live rock in display and in sump. Oversized skimmer and a Fluval 405 canister with carbon and Chemi- pure. 2 large circulation pumps along with canister and return lines pointed towards the surface for gas exchange.
Water parameters are as follows
Ammonia = undetectable
Nitrite. = undetectable
Nitrate. = undetectable to sometimes below 5.0
PH = 8.2
I feed both eels fresh fish and squid from local grocery store once a week.
I was thinking about dosing tank with Hikari's Prozi-Pro to see if that helps.
<Mmm; Prazi... I wouldn't... would you have introduced a worm pest, parasite?>
I will remove carbon from filtration and remove skimmer cup. If this sounds safe how long should I keep the skimmer cup off?
<I would continue to run the skimmer AND use carbon, likely PolyFilter AND discontinue whatever "supplements", "additives" you use if any>
I don't like the thought of not skimming for long periods.
<Me neither>
The eels do co habitat the tank with several cleaner shrimp and crabs. The shrimp are always cleaning the eels, not sure if this is a sign of parasites or just hungry shrimp.
<Likely mostly the latter>
Either way thank you for taking the time to read this and all of your previous support.
Sincerely Brad
<I wouldn't panic in any case. Eels, Muraenids do "scratch" quite a bit. Not indicative of problems. I'd move ahead full-speed with the move to larger/better quarters. Bob Fenner>
Re: Dragon morays and parasites ?     1/26/17

Thank you.
180 is just waiting on a stand to be built and a game plan to transfer everything and everyone with minimal stress.
<Oh! Do see/read my "moving" articles, FAQs on WWM Re. Cheers, BobF>
Moray eel question. Dragons scratching   Marco's back!   2/1/17

Hey Crew,
I've got another moray question,
My two dragon morays have been exhibiting scratching or rubbing their heads on the rocks. They are in a tank with 4 damsels and 4 cleaner shrimp. The shrimp are always cleaning the morays. Would it be smart to run Prazi-pro through the tank? Water quality is zero or at least Un-detectable. PH is 8.2 and temp 78. Other then the occasional scratching the are acting very healthy.
Thank you for the help.
<Hi Brad, sorry for the delayed reply, just saw the email today.>
I've got another moray question, My two dragon morays have been exhibiting scratching or rubbing their heads on the rocks. They are in a tank with 4 damsels and 4 cleaner shrimp. The shrimp are always cleaning the morays.
Would it be smart to run Prazi-pro through the tank? Water quality is zero or at least Un-detectable. PH is 8.2 and temp 78. Other then the occasional scratching the are acting very healthy.
<I would not add Prazi-pro just because of some scratching.>

Thank you for the help. Brad
<Cheers, Marco.>
Re: Moray eel question      2/1/17

Thanks Marco,
Since my last water change I have noticed a significant decrease on the behavior. Not sure what exactly changed since the water parameters remained fairly similar.
I'm in the process of moving my Dragon eel to a 72x24x22 display tank hopefully it will appreciate the extra room.
Thank you again for your help. I have read almost everything you have written on morays. I am a fanatic over these animals and have kept at least 7 different species over the last 30 years. E. pardalis being my favorite (so far) I must say though I love reading info form reputable and educated people such as yourself. This is a great hobby but unfortunately there is a lot of misinformation out there.
Keep up the great work.
Sincerely Brad
-PS have you written any books just on Moray eels? If so I would love to own a copy. If not you should
<Sounds good and thanks for your kind words. Actually I did write a small book on morays a few yeas ago. But it is in German. A larger one is finished but still waiting to be printed. It will also be in German, though. But there is an issue of coral magazine with some of my article available in English. It's the Sep/Oct 2009 issue. Cheers, Marco.>
Re: Moray eel question    2/4/17

<Hi Brad.>
So since your last email I have had a very interesting change in my eels behavior. Two dragon morays.
The smaller of the two displays a very swollen abdomen and "cloaca"?? Every once and a while. I thought it was just backed up and needed to relieve it self. After a day or so it just went away and I didn't think anything of it. Well this morning I noticed the eel is again very swollen and its anus(?) is protruding like a belly button ( same as last time ) and it
won't leave the other dragon, larger and darker color alone. At first I thought it was aggression but they are not biting each other just a lot of face time and pushing. The smaller very light color dragon moray is usually very shy and reclusive except when this happens. I watched a YouTube on morays mating and my eels body looks exactly the same.
I know morays don't breed in captivity but do they still attempt?
<There are a few documented cases where moray eels produced eggs in captivity. The eel increased their diameter significantly during this time. In at least one case the eels mated and the eggs were fertilized, but the larvae could not be raised. So, it does happen in captivity.>
Is there anything I should do or watch out for besides aggression ?
<In the best case: eggs scattered in the tank... (we demand a picture in this case). If you are less lucky, it's the beginning of some intestinal disease.>
Thank again.
Sincerely Brad.
pS both eels are moving to 180 gallon next weekend.
<Good luck. Marco.>

Dragon Moray Eel issues       1/16/15
You all have helped once before a few years back, hoping for your help again. I have a dragon moray eel that is about two feet long. He is housed alone other than some turbo snails. I do water quality tests and water changes once a week. However over the holidays I got very sick and had a month where instead of doing four water changes only two got done. Nitrate levels did rise during this time.
<Ahh; to how high? Oh, see this below. WAY too high>
The eel has begun chewing his tail and has not eaten since Tuesday of last week. The tail looks very nasty and I am not sure he has stopped. I have begun doing water changes every day
<DO see WWM re other means of nitrate reduction. Do you need help using the  search tool, indices?>
and the nitrates have come down from 160 to 80 and hopefully still dropping. The heat also may have risen higher than I normally let it. I usually keep him at 78-80 and Any experience with this? Any suggestions?
<Yes; and the reading
. Am sending this off to MarcoL here as well (our resident Muraenid resource). He may well suggest med. use... I'd for now be doing what you can to improve the environment. Including use of chemical filtrant/s>
Mark Mazzei
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Dragon Moray Eel issues /Marco       1/16/15

You all have helped once before a few years back, hoping for your help again. I have a dragon moray eel that is about two feet long. He is housed alone other than some turbo snails. I do water quality tests and water changes once a week. However over the holidays I got very sick and had a month where instead of doing four water changes only two got done.
Nitrate levels did rise during this time.
<Ahh; to how high? Oh, see this below. WAY too high>
The eel has begun chewing his tail and has not eaten since Tuesday of last week. The tail looks very nasty and I am not sure he has stopped. I have begun doing water changes every day
<DO see WWM re other means of nitrate reduction. Do you need help using the search tool, indices?>
and the nitrates have come down from 160 to 80 and hopefully still dropping. The heat also may have risen higher than I normally let it.
I usually keep him at 78-80 and Any experience with this? Any suggestions?
<Yes; and the reading. Am sending this off to MarcoL here as well (our resident Muraenid resource). He may well suggest med. use... I'd for now be doing what you can to improve the environment. Including use of chemical filtrant/s>
Mark Mazzei
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
<<I agree with Bob. Improve the environment with daily water changes until you reach nitrate levels <20 mg/l. You can keep this species colder, since they mostly come from colder parts of the oceans. 76 F or 24°C is also okay. See http://www.wetwebmedia.com/HIDragonMorayArt.htm 
and the disease link on top for further information. Also check your filtration: two water changes less should not result in such high nitrates. If the infection you observe expands or does not heal by itself, try antibiotic baths with Neoplex (the antibiotic in this product is Neomycin) or Maracyn if you find some available. Good luck!
MarcoL >>
Re: Dragon Moray Eel issues Thanks for the quick response. I will keep working on the nitrates and keep
watching for more info.
<Ah; do please keep us/WWM informed. Cheers, BobF>
Re: Dragon Moray Eel issues       1/16/15

Thanks for your response. Here is an update. I am continuing daily water changes. Yesterday I added Seachem Denitrate yesterday and also a Deep Blue brand nitrate reducer pad and they do seem to have helped. Nitrates were down this morning to about 50 from 90 yesterday. I will continue in this vein unless you a have other suggestions.
>Nope; carry on<
His tail looks slightly improved - a bit less red but still not good.
Hopefully it means he has taken a break from chewing on it. Still is spending less time in his tunnels and maybe breathing a bit more labored.
Any input is welcomed. Thanks,
Mark Mazzei
<The reading Marco and I've suggested. BobF>
Re: Dragon Moray Eel issues. Not a reader      /RMF    1/21/15

Thanks so much for your input on the dragon eel thus far. I do have a wet/dry filter system on this tank and have gotten away with it up to now but reading your nitrate reducing articles....sounds like that needs to go.
I currently am still doing daily changes and have nitrates down to 40ish but that5 is as low as they seem to be going.
<.... read again on WWM re NO3... you were directed there last time>

They have been stable at that for the last 5 days.
His tail was looking less red but today I got a good a view and apparently he is back to chewing as it is red again.
What are your thoughts on antibiotics added to the water?
<... had you read>
Could they help?
Will they kill any good bacteria I have going on? Any particular antibiotic you would recommend? My local aquarium m shop, have recommended this.
<That you READ: http://wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/FishInd1.htm
scroll down to Morays, disease, this species. We can't help you if you won't READ. BobF>
Thanks again for any advice,
Re: Dragon Moray Eel issues     /Marco      1/21/15
Thanks so much for your input on the dragon eel thus far. I do have a wet/dry filter system on this tank and have gotten away with it up to now but reading your nitrate reducing articles....sounds like that needs to go.
, use a strong skimmer to remove a lot of waste before it turns into nitrates. Also have strong circulation for gaseous exchange and high oxygen levels.>
I currently am still doing daily changes and have nitrates down to 40ish but, that is as low as they seem to be going.
<Still too high.>

They have been stable at that for the last 5 days.
<If you are still changing water and the nitrates remain the same: Check the nitrates of the water you use for the changes. If this has significantly lower nitrates it's obvious bound nitrates are leaching back into the tank water. Possibly from the substrate, pad and bound by Denitrate. Try changing the pad and carry on with the water changes.>
His tail was looking less red but today I got a good a view and apparently he is back to chewing as it is red again.
<I have never seen an eel chewing on its own tail. The wounds there are probably from flesh eating bacteria unless you have seen it biting its tail.>
What are your thoughts on antibiotics added to the water? Could they help?
<Very possible. See the recommended products in our former answers.>

Will they kill any good bacteria I have going on?
<Should not have significant impact, however using antibiotic as baths or in a hospital tank is more safe, but more trouble for the fish.
Any particular antibiotic you would recommend? My local aquarium shop, have recommended this.
Thanks again for any advice, Mark
<Good luck. Marco.>

Japanese Dragon eel hole in skin     9/7/13
4 months ago, I purchased a Japanese Dragon eel. The eel has been actively eating and maneuvering between the rocks of my 165 gallon salt tank.
Approximately two weeks after I placed the eel in the tank, one morning I noticed a small bulge between his head and gill.
<Near the throat?>

 As the day progressed,
the bulge was getting bigger. During the evening, I took another look at the eel and beyond my belief, the  bulge popped and a milky white substance excreted from a very small hole.
During the next few days, I kept an one on the area and noticed the pin
size hole was remaining in the same area where the bulge had formed.
However, the bulge was completely gone except for the hole. As the weeks progressed, I elected to purchase a Mappa Puffer.
<Mmm, these animals are going to need a larger world. I'd plan on at least 300 gal.s>

When the puffer arrived and after acclimation,  I placed the puffer into the tank.
<... no isolation/quarantine? A mistake; that you'll painfully regret>

 After a few days I noticed the new puffer had saltwater ick. Following a fresh water bath, I placed the puffer back into the tank.  The following day, I noticed the ick had spread to my prize Blue Face Angle, Red Sea Purple Tang and Harlequin
Tusk. However, I did not observe any ick indications on the eel.
<True eels (as opposed to "eel-like" fishes; non-anguilliforms) often are asymptomatic; but do have, carry>
Since the entire tank had the ick infestation, I decide to treat the tank with Formalin 37%.
<VERY toxic; do see my reading re this biocide on WWM. Does have its place... but dangerous, narrow efficacy>
With numerous water changes and Formalin treatments, the ick has progressively minimized. Currently, only the puffer is reflecting very small granular specks on its fins.
<Might just be the formalin exposure... Need to sample, look under a microscope>
During the treatment, all animals have been eating as normal, including the eel.
Now to my concern.... In the same identical area where the bulge appeared on
the eel, its skin has retreated and now a hole the size of the top of an pencil eraser head has appeared and is exposing the flesh of the eel. The flesh is light pink in color and no bloody tissue is evident. Could the Formalin cause the eels skin to retreat creating a larger hole?
<Yes it could>
Or, could there have been a parasite under its skin which was the original cause of the bulge and the excrement of the white milky substance?
<Possibly; but much smaller likelihood. My first guess would be that this "pimple" was due to a mechanical injury... a run-into something hard/sharp in the system; happens quite often that Muraenids "get spooked"; suffer such traumas. I would still treat (the entire tank) with iodide-ate in the food and directly in the water... for general purposes as well as if this spot might have something to do w/ goiter. Search WWM w/ the term>
Since I have treating the tank with the formalin, might it have killed the parasite under its skin and now the tissue needs to regenerate.
<... Could be; but you're much more likely to kill all your livestock first here>
Currently, the eel is eating as normal and demonstrates no signs of stress.
I have slowed down the formalin treatment since I feel the ick is becoming under control.
<... I'd have used CP... a quinine compound instead>
Based upon my above statement, what would you do with the eel. I prefer to leave it in the tank, however I am prepared to remove and place in a hospital tank if you feel some sort of  medication would be beneficial. The eel is approximately 2 feet long.
<... best to "shoot for balance"... Have you read here:
and as much of the links above as you find it takes to inform yourself>
I anxiously wait for your response!
Best regards,
<Sorry, was too pooped to respond last night. We'll be chatting... Do fight the good fight here. Bob Fenner>

Dragon Moray Eel, hlth.     10/11/12
I have searched your site and have not seen this question before. I have had a dragon moray for about a year and he is probably about two years old.
He has appeared to be in great health the whole time. While feeding today I noticed he has a big (acorn size) lump on the side of his head. Just one lump on one side. Behind the eye but definitely up on the head. Still acting normal and eating normal. Any ideas?
<Tumor like growth can have a number of reasons be it bacterial infections, parasite related cysts or neoplasms. There's not much of a treatment you can do in my opinion without more information e.g. by sampling the lump, which has to be done by a vet. What you can do is provide both a proper environment (especially high water quality) and varied, vitamin enriched
food. Please see http://www.wetwebmedia.com/HIDragonMorayArt.htm, especially the part on captive care. Also, keep an eye on the lump, if it grows you may have to consult a vet or if signs of a bacterial infection appear use adequate antibiotics. In addition have a look at the FAQs on dragon eel diseases, e.g. on top of the article linked to above.>
<Good luck. Marco.>

Dragon Moray Health Issue -- 03/22/11
I hate having to come to you with a care/diagnostic question, but I can't think of where else to go. I've had an E. pardalis (Japanese origin if that helps) for going on five years... he's about 30". He's been a good eater over the years, but like most eels goes on periodic hunger strikes. He was in a 150 with several other eels and doing well, but at some point (I'd say mid December-early January) went off feeding. Nothing changed during that time period, and none of the other morays exhibited any symptoms of distress. I assumed this was one of his hunger strikes until around 3 weeks ago, when his behavior began to change. He started to tail thrash in the rock frantically, knocking it down.
<Likely a sign of pain, discomfort.>
On inspection, I saw several lesions - they have straight edges, so I assumed this was cause scraping against the rock (I've seen moray on moray wounds; they always seem to be jagged).
<This certainly depends on the teeth that caused the wound and how the bite happened. Are you sure it wasn't bitten and as a result went thrashing through the tank? Anyway, if these lesions are caused by aquarium rocks, this can mean that something is wrong with the slime coat of the fish. E. pardalis can swim along quite sharp coral skeletons without being hurt due to their slime coat. You need a lot of pressure or something sharp or pointed to get through the slime coat and the skin in general.>
I took this as a sign of severe stress and moved him to his own 75 three days later (I filled it with water from the 150 to minimize further stress). Shortly following the move he seemed to calm down a bit, and hasn't knocked over any rock since. He has, however, take to laying sideways and even upside down (as he was tonight).
<Not so good.>
When I netted him to move him, I also noticed a string of whitish matter hanging from his anus (possible blockage?).
<Or some remains of digestion. The intestine is still working very slow during hunger strikes.>
Other notes - he hasn't lost any real weight, become pale or lost color, he isn't terribly lethargic and reacts whenever anyone approaches the tank.
<At least some good signs.>
He also reacts when food is introduced to the tank, and will even sniff at it, but then waves his head back and forth rapidly (think of a dog sneezing) and refuses the food. Water parameters - double zeros with low nitrates, perfect ph, steady 1.23 sg, etc. My primary diagnosis is intestinal blockage, and was thinking of doing a freshwater bath, but I'm concerned about added stress. What are your thoughts?
<For blockage you can try Epsom salt (about 1 tablespoon per 5 gallons). It's not a very strong med (it's basically just Magnesium sulfate), but has helped with blockage of fishes, too. When you are able to keep the oxygen content high in this tank, you can also increase the temperature 2-3 degrees to accelerate its metabolism. Some of the symptoms you describe sound a little like the trunk winding syndrome, which basically is a vitamin deficiency disease (see http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_6/volume_6_1/thiaminase.htm ) and is difficult to treat when a fish does not eat. You can add vitamins to the water, but not much of it is going to be taken up by the fish. The third possibility coming to my mind is an internal bacterial infection, so if the situation gets worse I'd consider a treatment with Maracyn II or a similar antibiotic.>
Best regards, Pat Corcoran
<Good luck. Marco.>
Re: Dragon Moray Health Issue -- 03/23/11

Hey Marco,
<Hello Pat.>
Thanks as always - excellent article. I've always fed a 70/30 mix of fresh/frozen (they eat as well as I do when it comes to seafood),
<Actually feeding mostly fresh, thiaminase free or poor food is a very good practice. Freezing and thawing increases the probability of thiaminase related problems.>
but will look to avoid foods on your do-not list here on out for my other guys.
Right now he's at 72 degrees F; I'll raise that slowly. I'll also grab some garlic/VitaChem solution but I'd like to enhance it with additional vitamin supplements... what do you recommend?
<Many or even most hobby products giving a proper list of ingredients and listing thiamine are adequate. JBL Atvitol and Vita-Chem Marine just to name two examples.>
I've seen other aquarists use Mazuri shark formula.
<Can be used. Tablets are indeed not bad for large fishes, when you can hide the tablet within the food. I suppose less is lost to the water column compared to liquid vitamin solutions you soak the food in.>
Could I buy straight thiamine from a health store, crush it up and add it to the water as an emergency measure?
<This depends on the possible fillers used. Thiamine itself is soluble in water. Some of it probably is taken up through the intestine from the water column, as an emergency measure it sure is worth a try. Avoid bacterial blooms and watch alkalinity, though, because most vitamins can be used as a carbon source.>
I'm also going to try and track down some Atlantic mackerel, unless you recommend something better.
<This should be fine. I often use cod and pollock, which are widely available here.>
If he doesn't start eating on his own I'll go ahead and force feed him. I've never done that with a moray, but have had success with lizards and snakes (any advice you have to share would be appreciated).
<Only weak specimens can be easily force fed in my experience (and at this stage success is unlikely). Tricaine methanesulfonate can be used to sedate the fish, it is sold as MS 222. Clove oil is an alternative, but more dangerous, because it quickly stops respiration. I have used a blender to mix food, vitamins and if necessary meds to a sticky fluid and administered it with a large syringe and a very soft air tube put down the throat of the fish. A trick I saw at another moray keeper was the use of a liquid fishing bait product for freshwater eels to get a moray to eat some vitamin enriched food and avoid force feeding, but neither do I have much experience with such products and moray eels nor do I know if there are potentially dangerous substances in some of them.>
I'm going to treat antibiotics as an absolute last resort... my experience, both first and second hand is extremely limited but none of it is positive.
<I'm absolutely with you on this one, especially since we don't know if this case is bacteria related at all. In cases of clear bacterial infections antibiotics, e.g. applied as baths can save fishes (or humans other animals), but in general they are used much to often.>
Best regards, Patrick Corcoran
<Cheers, Marco.>
Re: Dragon Moray Health Issue 3/29/11

<Hello Pat.>
I've tried every recourse I can think of outside of the extreme during the past week and sadly I don't think he can be saved at this point. He's been laying upside down and twitching for the past thirty six hours and is respirating somewhat more laboriously than he was last week. The only things I haven't tried are force feeding and antibiotics.
<I'm very sorry to hear that.>
I'd be game for either if I could accurately identify the problem, but I feel each of those treatments have a 50/50 shot at killing him regardless of the diagnosis. I'm giving it a lot of thought, but I think if he doesn't improve by tomorrow, and hasn't passed on his own, the best recourse would be euthanasia...
<I'd try the antibiotic (as baths), but as you note there's not much hope. I suppose force feeding won't help here.>
I suppose there must be vets willing to make house calls in the area. I've had two morays jump on me, one die in a weekend tank crash, and that berndti die shortly after shipping, but I've never lost a moray to an unknown disease, much less one I've kept for years. I feel awful.
<I understand. At one point I lost one out of two eels due to what was later identified as a very aggressive and eel-specific Vibrio bacterium. After all I think it was me, who spread this from tank to tank by using the same tools (this is likely not the disease you observe right now, it killed much faster).>
I remember reading about similar issues in morays, including in the wild, and on your site (one of them was with a dragon moray) but no solutions. I'm very interested in finding out what the issue was, be it bacterial, vitamin deficiency or otherwise...
<These do not exclude each other. Deficiency diseases can easily be related to a failing immune system and thus secondary bacterial infections as the ultimate consequence. Even poisoning by organic or inorganic compounds may play a role here.>
do you know of anyone that would be able to do this?
<Not in the US, but I am sure there must be vet institutions (here they are often related to universities), who might be able determine the cause of death by a proper dissection and possibly testing for bacteria. Maybe Bob has something to add, but since morays are not commercially important they play a minor role in vet science.><<Would have to look/search... the various aquatic animal medicine/Vet. schools. RMF>>
I plan to reach out to David Smith at the Smithsonian, but I believe he works more on the taxonomy side.
<Yes, but maybe he knows someone, who can and wants to do proper research with regard to diseases.><<I would definitely ask>>
Thanks as always, Patrick Corcoran
<Take care. Marco.>
Re: Dragon Moray Health Issue 3/29/11

I'm going to pick up some antibiotics and try a bath; he was right side up when I left for work this morning, and if he's the same when I get home I'll give it a try.
I hadn't thought of poisoning, but he was in a tank with other eels and they're all tip top. He was eating the same food too. I'll test all the water this evening as well.
<Poisoning can be a very slow process, possibly even related to substances we cannot test for. Take diatoms and Dinoflagellates for example, even if they don't occur in masses. Or some heavy metals, which theoretically can be enriched through salt, water and food and later be set free by hydrochemic changes on a small or larger scale. I added this just to note that there can be things included, not easy to diagnose at all. I still think a deficiency disease and/or a bacterial problem occur here.>
Will let you know how it comes out.
Best regards,
Patrick Corcoran
<Cheers, Marco.>
Re: Dragon Moray Health Issue 3/29/11
<Hello Pat.>
Just found this - it's an excellent read. I will likely collect images of the sores on my guy (they look nothing like the ones in their specimens but interesting still)
<This would be good.>
and see if they are interested in performing a biopsy should he die. This study was done 10 years ago, but hopefully they still work on stuff like this.
<Yes, I know this study, I did not note similarities with your case, though. Asking the authors may actually be a good idea, especially if they are still active in the field.>
It also poses a question - what do I do about the other morays that were exposed to him?
<I would not treat with an antibiotic without having a good clue that a bacterial infection occurs.>
Should I proactively treat them if it does turn out to be an infection, or do you suppose I'll be safe if they don't show symptoms. It could just be an opportunist infection related to another problem.
<The latter would be my assumption.>
Here's the article: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC98541/
Picking up Maracyn 2 shortly; please keep your fingers crossed.
<I do.>
Best regards,
Patrick Corcoran
<Cheers, Marco.>
Re: Dragon Moray Health Issue 3/29/11
Final reply for today; apologies if I'm making things complicated.
<You aren't.>
I came home today and the dragon appeared to be in decent shape, so I gave the Maracyn <2?> bath a shot. I prepared it in a Rubbermaid with 5 or so gallons of aquarium water and used a small pump to aerate it. For dosing, I dissolved one packet (20mg) of Maracyn <2?> in aquarium water in a 1 liter water bottle, then used a slow drip into the bath.
<This is 2x the recommended dose for permanent exposure in a tank. You can use up to 3-5x higher doses for baths.>
I monitored him for about 90 minutes and observed no distress. I would have left him in all night but I don't have a lid or an adequate heat source for the tub.
<The time is okay.>
I netted him, rinsed him with aquarium water, then returned him to the tank. I tossed in some vitamin B and a little stress coat.
He looks better. I'm trying not to get my hopes up, but he does look better.
<That's a little fast, but of course good to hear.>
Should I repeat this process tomorrow? Any pointers?
<Yes at least 5 days in a row. Good luck. Marco.>
Re: Dragon Moray Health Issue 3/30/11
Hi Marco,
<Hello Pat.>
Yes, it's Maracyn 2 Saltwater. I agree that such an immediate recovery is unrealistic, but noticed that Maracyn 2 has a dose of b vitamins... I don't know how much he can absorb through respiration, but it could explain it. At any rate he was a little worse off this morning, a bit contorted but not nearly as bad as he's been in the past. I'll double the dose tonight; I've also been doing 5 gallon water changes in his tank daily.
<Sounds good.>
I also plan to call the local aquarium; they have morays there. Do you have any thoughts on a vitamin b or even antibiotic injection?
<Yes, this is possible, but I'd recommend to find a vet for this.>
Has this even been done to your knowledge?
<Morays have been given antibiotic injections in zoos (even tumorous growths have been removed in long surgeries), and a lot of other fishes, too. It's just uncommon in the hobby, because few are willing to consult a vet with experience in treating fishes, except for maybe Koi keepers and there are not too many of these vets around.>
Will update you tomorrow.
Best regards, Patrick Corcoran
<Good luck again. Marco.>
Re: Dragon Moray Health Issue 3/30/11
One last question - Mardel claims Maracyn has no ill effects on nitrobacter and nitrosomonas bacteria, and will not upset the tanks biological filtration...
<...but they also note "it is important to actively monitor ammonia and nitrite levels because during treatment, fish may excrete more waste materials". Make your own opinion from this statement. Well, I did... but maybe I just did not understand why a sick fish has a faster metabolism which isn't compensated by biological filtration...>
The moray is in a 75 will live rock, sand and a 29 gallon sump with more of the same. The only other filter I'm running (other than daily water changes) is a carbon reactor.
<The latter is not recommended when dosing a tank with antibiotics or vitamins.>
Would it be possible to treat him directly in the tank to avoid the stress of being netted 5 days in a row, or do you think the benefits of the bath outweigh that?
<I personally would not use it in a display tank, in a bare bottom hospital tank... maybe... the rock and the sand are certainly hard to predict factors here. I cannot promise that microbial life remains unharmed and what the consequences might be. I can't even tell you how fast the antibiotic is removed in a system with such life.>
I'm going to do the bath tonight; I'll change it up for nights 3-5 if you say so.
<Both ways have pros and cons: The baths are a controlled situation, but dosing the tank likely provides longer exposure times. The baths are stressful, but by dosing the tank you might threaten biological filtration and/or water quality. My choice would be the baths. If you decide to dose the tank be sure to measure ammonia and nitrite levels, as well as pH. Cheers, Marco.>
Re: Dragon Moray Health Issue 3/30/11
Hi Marco,
<Hello Pat.>
I'm going to stick with the bath; I do have some leads on area vets, and it's possible a local university might be able to help. If the bath treatment doesn't work, or has adverse effects I'll consult with an area vet and do a MS222 drip and either injections or a tube feeding of the same with gut load & vitamin slurry (someone suggested the latter as an alternative).
<Sounds good.>
Best regards, Patrick Corcoran
<Wishing you a positive result. Marco.>
Re: Dragon Moray Health Issue 4/1/11

Hi Marco,
<Hello Pat.>
He seemed a bit worse off last night, perhaps a little better this morning. I doubled the dose, did the same drip and left him in for roughly the same amount
of time (90 minutes). He was on his back the entire time and was when I left for work this morning. He also seems to have less control of his movements, though
he was respirating evenly and apparently with little effort. How long does it generally take for antibiotics to have an effect?
<I'm sorry to hear that. After three days you should see an improvement if it is working.>
If it gets to a point where it appears they are not working, I'd like to avoid stressing him further.
Best regards, Pat Corcoran
Re: Dragon Moray Health Issue 4/4/11

Am moving your corr. to Marco's in-box. FYI he's "marked himself out till Fri." BobF
Re: Dragon Moray Health Issue 4/4/11
No problem Bob, he and I have been working on this for a week or so, but can you take a look at the last email? It was actually a question for you regarding correspondence you had.
Subject: Re: Dragon Moray Health Issue
Last email of the day - I've been poking around your site for things I may have missed and found something about a quarter of the way down this page:
It looks like a dragon with a similar affliction to the one I had... looks like Bob working with that guy. The trouble is the story doesn't seem to have an ending... is there any chance you could check your archives or reach out to Bob and see if there's any other details?
Thanks as always!
<Ahh! I see... unfortunately there are more than one or two such "lost" or unjoined threads. Sometimes I can find and match ongoing corr. by the title/subject (using the Google search tool outside the WWM site)... other times... and others there is no further corr.... BobF>
Re: Dragon Moray Health Issue 4/7/2011

Hey Marco,
<Hi Pat.>
A few updates. I wrapped up the antibiotic treatment Saturday, so last night was his first without a dose. He seems to be a bit more active, but is still failing to maintain equilibrium and is a bit twitchy.
<Reminds me again of the winding-trunk syndrome of freshwater eels. Neurological problem, in the case of the freshwater eel related to thiaminase.>
His wounds appear to be healing but are still there.
<Any good picture?>
I offered him a bit of mackerel and he refused it (still twitching his head back and forth like a sneezing dog). I'm going to let him recoup for a couple days and then reassess.
Another diagnosis that's crossed my mind is internal parasitic infection. I'm not sure if his symptoms are a result of permanent damage (nerves, muscles etc), or if they're something that can be reversed.
<To me this sounds like neural damage, sometimes reversible, often not.>
I'm also still considering force or tube feeding him. At this point the trouble is there isn't a single vet in my area that has experience doing this - that includes a local University (one of
the best vet schools in the country) and the local Aquarium. I met someone via forum who works at an Aquarium in Florida that has experience force feeding sharks, I may see if he has any pointers.
<There are not many, who have done this. You'll find what I did in an earlier mail.
You've been a tremendous help so far... does anything else come to mind?
<Success or failure will tell how helpful this was. What would be needed is more data, research, things, which probably will not happen in the small field of moray eel medicine. I would never give up, but don't have much hope, even if I've seen eels completely recover from an half-dead state. The zoo of Arnhem (Netherlands) has done a large surgery on a moray eel tumorous growth, Phil Purser also notes some medical details. Maybe these are two possible sources for additional opinions.>
Best regards, Pat Corcoran
<Take care, Marco.>
Re: Dragon Moray Health Issue 4/7/2011
Hi Marco,
<Hello Pat.>
I just got home - he's laying on his back once again. I noticed there seems to be a small lump on his belly, an inch or so behind his gill vent. It's not very pronounced, maybe a few inches long and appears to be larger on his right side. Any thoughts on that?
<Hard to interpret from here. This area is generally slightly pronounced due to the organs behind (the heart, the parts which would compose the thyroid gland in humans). Maybe one of them is swollen due to an infection. On sharks with this area enlarged iodine supplementation is often recommended.>
It seemed like when he was in the antibiotic bath he was more active; I'm not sure if that's a function of the antibiotics themselves, the vitamin B or just the stress of being netted and moved. Any further guidance would be great.
<You can add an iodine supplement here to the water. At least it will not hurt.>
Best regards, Patrick Corcoran
<Good luck. Marco.>
Re: Dragon Moray Health Issue 4/7/2011
Last email of the day - I've been poking around your site for things I may have missed and found something about a quarter of the way down this page:
It looks like a dragon with a similar affliction to the one I had... looks like Bob working with that guy. The trouble is the story doesn't seem to have an ending... is there any chance you could check your archives or reach out to Bob and see if there's any other details? Thanks as always!
<Bob has already answered this. As far as I remember there never was a positive or negative final report - like so often. Marco.>
Re: Dragon Moray Health Issue 4/14/2011

Hi Marco,
<Hello Pat.>
I wanted to check in... I've no real updates; the dragon's condition seems to have stabilized but he still hasn't eaten and still sits upside down from time to time... the bump is still there as well. I'm going to continue monitoring him before administering anymore treatments or attempting another feeding.
<Okay. I still do wish you good luck. Think about adding some iodine.><<Yes. B>>
Also wanted to share a cool picture I found on one of the forums (please don't reprint);
<Yes, I've seen this. We won't post the picture, but let's at least link to it to give other readers the opportunity to see it: http://www.monsterfishkeepers.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=604208&d=1302666942 .>
I thought you might enjoy it. It was apparently taken on a dive in Maldives. Any thoughts? Do you suppose it's a new species or just a color mutation?
<'¦or a disease. Except the head there is little detail visible that would allow an ID. I'm not convinced that this is a new species'¦>
Either way it's pretty cool.
<Yes, thanks for sharing.>
Best regards, Patrick Corcoran
<Cheers, Marco.>
Re: Dragon Moray Health Issue -- 4/14/11

I will give the iodine a shot... I plan to try and feed him again in the next week or so as well. Two of the wounds I described early on in this chain appear to be healing, though there's another that hasn't... it could be new. I need to take some pictures to keep better track.
On the moray ID, good call... G. favagineus/isingteena
<Not this eel.>
and javanicus also come from that area, the coloration behind the white area, as well as overall head shape looks like the former.
<Hard to tell just from this picture, size is also unclear to me. I was thinking about G. flavimarginatus, G. javanicus and last not least G. breedeni also. It's not uncommon in the area. Also, the eyes appear cloudy (could be only the picture, though), which is seen a lot on this species (likely not a disease, though). If this eel is not very big G. breedeni is my guess.>
I wonder if it's a color form or a disease...
<Yeah... one of these two options likely. One would really need more info, better pictures to offer a better interpretation.>
Here's one more for you... I hope this one's more challenging. It was taken off Easter Island; I found it looking for sources of E. ramosa (I've got a few leads on that, hoping to have one before the year is out). At any rate, it's labeled "Yellow Head" but the spots rule out fimbriatus, and it appears to have Enchelycore like jaws. The only thing I could think of is G. eurostus. Any ideas?
<You are 100% correct with your ID. Slightly bowed jaws by the way are a typical characteristic for G. eurostus.>
Pictures are attached for you, the link below will bring your readers to the gallery should they want to take a peek.
<Thank you very much.>
Best regards, Patrick Corcoran
<Take care. Marco.>
Re: Dragon Moray Health Issue 4/19/11
As I mentioned in one of our last letters, I noticed what I thought were new lesions a few days, or maybe a week ago. They were small, less than an inch, so
I began to plan for another round of antibiotics - this time I chose Furan 2 as it states it is for lesions on the box.
Today I found a damsel that's been with the moray in the 75 the whole time on the floor of the tank. Half of it was rotten away and white.
<So this problem may not only be related to the eel.>
I saw it swimming last night. The dragon had been behind the rock for a day or two... I guess I've been busy but I didn't notice. I pulled him out. I took the attached pictures
today. He didn't look like that the last time I saw him... his skin is just rotting off. He's still alive, but barely. He isn't actively respirating as far as I can see. I have him in a Maracyn bath now, my immediate inclination was to try one more time but I've decided now put him down tonight. I can't stand putting him through any more of this.
Do you have any idea what this is? Have you ever seen it before?
<Probably flesh eating bacteria. Usually an eel's slime coat in combination with the immune system should be able to fend off such infections. The immune system of the eel probably completely failed and the opportunistic infection can spread rapidly. The damsel showing the same symptoms does bother me. Either these are very aggressive or there's also something wrong with the water. If you have not already I'd check measurable water parameters.>
This animal came in contact with most of my others, directly or indirectly over the past year... what should I do about them?
<I fear there is not much you can do except watching out for symptoms, and providing a vitamin enriched diet in combination with perfect water quality to ensure strong immune systems. I'd also break down and disinfect the tank the moray and the damsel were in.>
He didn't look this way as recently as Friday... I saw small sores but not like that. I can see three layers of flesh.
<Sorry to hear it went that way.>
Best, Pat C.
Re: Dragon Moray Health Issue 4/20/11
He's gone. Thanks for all your help Marco.
<Sorry to hear. I think you tried everything that could be thought off based on the information you and me had available. In the end I think it suffered from opportunistic bacterial infections, which may be related to a declining immune system due to whatever reason (deficiency, genetic disposition, viral, maybe even age...). Marco.>

Re: Dragon Moray Health Issue 4/20/11
Thanks again Marco. I'm going to break the 75 down this weekend, perhaps rebuild it at some point.
<E.g. when G. zonipectis is available... Cheers, Marco.>

Japanese Dragon eel and Cryptocaryon 11/30/10
Hi good day Marco
<Hi Kellvin.>
I am quite confused right now:) My dragon eel tank was infested by Ick.
<What other fishes are in there?>
I understand that I can't dose medication because of the eel, any option that I remedy the current infestation of Ick? Hyposalinity to 1.009? Is it safe for the dragon eel?
<Yes, should work, but is not always a reliable cure (some Cryptocaryon strains don't care that much about salinity). My preferred method would be to remove other fishes into a hospital tank to treat them separately and leave the moray eel in its tank without other fishes for at least 4-6 weeks. Chances are good it won't be a carrier, especially if it is healthy.
Please see http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ichartmar.htm to get familiar with this disease and its treatment.>
Thank you and sorry for asking you so many question. Kellvin Lim
<Good luck. Marco.>

Hawaiian Dragon Moray Issue, sys., hlth. 11/10/10
Hello crew,
<Hello Josh.>
I'll try to make this short as I'm sure you have plenty to get to. About a month ago I stumbled upon a 32" Hawaiian dragon moray with tank and everything for a price I couldn't run away from ($500). Basically the lady didn't have any idea what her husband had left her with. To get to the point, when I got the eel home and moved (I took all the water with me) I checked the water and realized that the nitrates were 100 ppm+ and all they had been feeding it were silversides and krill. I immediately started with the water changes, and have now got the nitrates down to about 30-40 ppm.
Still not great, I know, but it is getting there and I'm trying not to do to much at once to avoid to much stress on an animal I know a lot of people never get a shot at owning.
<This issue needs to be addressed. Changing from high nitrates to low nitrates fast is not very stressful for a fish given a stable pH (it's like getting some fresh mountain forest air for us), the other way round is much
worse (this would be like coming from the forest and moving into a hardly aerated basement office).>
My problem is, in the last week or so I have noticed that the nostril flares on the front of the eels face were turning red. Today I checked him over, and one is nearly gone with the other looking not to excited about
still being there.
<Bacterial infection.>
He also was eating like a champ when I got him, and now just acts mildly interested but just twitches and turns away at any food I offer. It has only been about a week and a half without eating, not much for an eel I would imagine, but I can't help but think it is somehow related to what's going on with his nose area.
<You are certainly right.>
One of his eyes is also slightly cloudy looking, but I had just chalked that up to poor water quality for such a long period of time in his past home, so I'm not really to worried about that at the moment.
<Probably also a part of the infection.>
Anyways the ammonia is 0, nitrites are 0, nitrates are 30-40 as stated (and getting better), salinity is 1.024, temp is 77 degrees.
The tank is 120 gallon with probably about 50-75 lbs. of live rock, 80 lbs. of black reef sand, and 10 or so assorted damsels. It has a wet-dry filter, with an average protein skimmer, and a Hydor Koralia 1 powerhead in the tank for more flow.
<If this is the only powerhead in a 120 gallon tank it should be close to the surface and almost parallel to force as much gaseous exchange as possible without bringing air bubbles into the water. If you have another powerhead available add it. In moray eel tanks of this size I personally use powerheads moving about 2.500 gallons per hour or sometimes more to move the surface in addition to a skimmer.>
Since I got him I changed his diet to clams, shrimp, haddock, and squid (which he loved)....feeding him twice a week. I also began adding Brightwell Aquatics Vitamarin-M, and Brightwell Aquatics AminoMega with HUFA's to his food one time a week.
<What you feed sounds very good.>
It just drives me crazy, having improved everything about his conditions and seeing him now acting lethargic, hanging his head over rocks and just kind of laying (not supporting himself I guess). He does sometimes seem to "scrape" the side of his face along some of the rocks in the tank like something is bothering him. And there is the obvious loss off the nostril flares and not eating. So basically I am at a loss on what to do with this one.
<What I would do: One or two large water changes to get the nitrates to 20 ppm or lower, probably re-think the surface current, check pH. If this does not help within a week (not a good sign), a treatment with an antibiotic such as Maracyn 2 might be necessary.>
Any ideas would be greatly appreciated, Josh
<Good luck. Marco.>
Re: Hawaiian Dragon Moray Issue 11/11/10

Man, you are quick with the help, I really appreciate it.
<No problem.>
I thought sure I had remembered to add the pH info......at any rate, the pH in the tank is 8.2.
<Sounds fine.>
Upon reading your response I checked the pump coming up from the wet dry, that they had on there, and it's only pumping about 400 gph or so at the head pressure it is at. So, the next addition will be a Supreme Mag 9.5 pump in the next week I think. I took the existing 400 gph Hydor powerhead and put it up at the surface on one end of the tank, along with directing the wet dry return up towards the surface in the middle. In addition I went and got another Hydor powerhead, the 1,050 gph and put it on the other end of the tank blowing across.
<This should help a lot with water movement and gaseous exchange.>
Did a 50% water change today, and hoping to do another 1 or 2 before the weekend is out. He looks a little better, showing less red in the affected area of the nostrils anyway. And he seems to be a little less lethargic and more alert.
<These would be good signs. Hopefully he will recover again.>
Probably going to try to feed him a little in the next day or two. I really don't want to have to medicate, but I guess if that's what it comes to it has to be done. Just makes me really nervous.
Anyways, thank you so much for the help. Any other thoughts, I'm all ears.
<Sounds good so far. I'd be interested in the progress of the situation.
Cheers, Marco.>
Re: Hawaiian Dragon Moray Issue 11/17/10

Hello again Marco.
<Hi Josh.>
I wanted to thank you for your help with my Dragon Moray.
I got the nitrates down to about 15, and now that he is mine, plan on keeping then there. I went ahead and added the Mag 9.5 pump yesterday, in addition to the powerheads I had already added last week. So the tank is turning pretty good, especially at the surface. All of the red has gone from the affected areas, and the other nostril flare never fell off.
<That's good news.>
It looks normal again, and the one that had gone away looks healed and hopefully will grow back?
<Yes, very likely it will.>
One eye is still a tad cloudy looking, but I wonder if it's just going to be that way.
<Probably this will go away, too, until both eyes look the same.>
He ate a little squid last night when I tried to feed him, first food in 2 weeks, so that was a relief.
<Very good.>
All of his color is back, and he is back in his spot and acting normal. I'm just glad I didn't have to medicate. Just goes to show one doesn't always have to jump to "worse case scenario."
<Hope for the best, plan for the worst.>
Took care of the obvious, and the eel did the rest himself, pretty tough bugger. The only thing I'm thinking about doing is investing in a chiller.
With that Mag Drive pump my temp. is running at about 82 or so. I would think he would probably like it a little cooler, but I could be wrong.
<No, you are right. Something between 72 and 77 F would be my choice.>
Anyways, thanks for the help and advice, if nothing else it kept me from freaking out and over thinking things. Hopefully I won't have a reason to be bugging you about this fella again. -Josh
<Have fun. Marco.>

Japanese Dragon Eel and clown trigger. 9/14/10
<Hello Kellvin.>
My fish store is bringing in a Japanese Dragon Eel for me. 25-30cm.
Currently I have a show Clown Triggerfish 25cm and a Banded eel and some grouper. Can the dragon eel be kept together?
<Nothing I would recommend.>
Lastly, can dragon eel tolerate Seachem Cupramine?
<Although it might not die instantly, no moray eel should be brought into contact with copper containing products of any sort.>
Thank you with God Bless. Kellvin.
<Cheers, Marco.>
Re: Japanese Dragon Eel and clown trigger.
Japanese Dragon Eel and clown trigger II, 09/15/10

Hi Marco,
<Hello Kelvin.>
Thank you for your quick respond. You mean that the Dragon eel will attack the groupers 15cm to 20cm and the trigger? Thank you very much.
<I rather see problems with the banded eel in the long run, which may/will get eaten as soon as the Dragon eel is able to. Groupers of adequate size are generally better tank mates for eels than triggers. They often
accompany eels in the wild, the two even hunt together. In addition, a Clown trigger of 25 cm can pose a severe threat to a young (25-30 cm) dragon eel. Therefore, I consider the fish community you asked about as not so ideal. This does not mean it won't work in every case, but implies that the chances are not too high. Consequently, I won't recommend it.>
Regards Kellvin
<Cheers, Marco.>
Re: Japanese Dragon Eel and clown trigger.
Hi Marco,
<Hello Kellvin.>
Oops I forgot to ask you, can I add my Clown Trigger of 25cm on my 300g tank consist of angelfish average size of 6-10 inches? Thank you.
<Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/clntrigart.htm. Younger Clown trigger can often be kept with various larger fishes, but once grown many if not most of them become rather aggressive towards their tank mates.
Bob put it this way: "almost always becomes something of a total terror with growth/age". Consider this when putting the trigger with other fishes.
Regards Kellvin
<Cheers, Marco.>
Re: Japanese Dragon Eel (comp.) and clown trigger. -- 09/25/10

Hi Marco,
<Hello Kellvin>
It's me again. Sorry for popping you so much question.
<No problem.>
I have had my Japanese Dragon eel, it is only 20-25cm.
I had taken your advice seriously and sold off all my large groupers and clown trigger. Currently in the Japanese eel tank, I have a pair of 6-7 inches Meredith angelfish, a Six barred angel, a Queen angel, a French angel and a Koran angelfish.
<Should work as long as your eel is so small, but an adult Dragon Eel (in about 1-2 years) can pose a problem even to large angels.>
All are about 6-7 inches too. The Japanese eel did not bother them like wise. I have a Banded eel (Echidna polyzona) maybe 3-5cm larger than the eel.
<E. polyzona is relatively harmless ('Snowflake Eel league'), another banded eel, Gymnothorax rueppellii (also called yellow head) would be a different story.>
I am afraid that it will attack my Dragon eel, what do you think?
<If they have enough caves (which is essential when trying to keep several morays together) they should get along, sometimes some small fight occur at the beginning. So, I'd monitor their first meetings and feedings equipped with a net. However, since the Enchelycore pardalis (Dragon Eel) gets much larger and more aggressive than its cousin, it will endanger the banded eel at some point in time. Remember, with about 3 feet total length expected the Dragon Eel will become a large predator.>
And I have a Miniata grouper (Cephalopholis miniata ), a black saddled coral grouper (Plectropomus laevis) and a Threadfin Snapper (Symphorichthys spilurus) all of them were 5-6 inches respectively. Can I mixed them with the baby Dragon eel? Please kindly advice.
<I'd let the Eel grow a few (2-3) more inches to be on the safe side. In a large system (>>500 gallons) they might even be long term compatible with your Eel.>
Thank you
Regards Kellvin
<Cheers, Marco.>

Re: Japanese Dragon Eel and clown trigger. 9/26/10

Hi Marco,
Thank you very much. I had learnt a lot from you.
<You are welcome!>
Regards Kellvin.
<Very colorful specimen. Cheers, Marco.>

Japanese Dragon Eel and clown trigger.; now angelfish with Cryptocaryon - 06/10/10
Hi Marco,
<Hello Kellvin.>
It is me again. My angelfish is infested with Ick. I can't dose any copper or medication because of the Japanese Dragon eel in there. What can I do? Please advice me. Thank You.
<Separate them (for at least four weeks until the last symptoms have disappeared) and treat the angelfish (as well as all other non-eel tank mates) in another tank. See here (and in the linked FAQs to learn about this disease and its treatments: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ichartmar.htm). A healthy eel is quite unlikely to become a host (blood toxins, toxic mucous).>
<Good luck. Marco.>
Re: Japanese Dragon Eel and clown trigger.
Japanese Dragon Eel and clown trigger.; now angelfish with flukes - 10/09/10

Hi Marco,
<Hello Kellvin>
My angelfish have no Ick as mention previously. In fact they are flukes instead.
<How can one confuse these two diseases? See http://www.wetwebmedia.com/parasiti.htm, Trematodes (also called flukes) mostly occur only on freshly imported fishes.>
So I am going to treat it with Praziquantel. Can dragon eels withstand this medication?
<Eels have been treated successfully with Praziquantel. However, to avoid negative consequences on the small and possibly larger invertebrate life within the tank, I'd definitely treat in a separate hospital tank. Cheers, Marco.>

Dragon Eel is slipping away -- 2/21/09 I have had an 18-20 inch Dragon Eel for 6 years. He's always been blind as a bat but is otherwise a hearty eater, healthy as a horse. He is of course beautiful, and they are no longer exporting this fish from Japan so he's essentially irreplaceable. Tank is 240 gallons and is kept clean, and is professionally serviced every month. Water quality has remained good throughout (I am a big believer in over- filtering a tank). He has survived a very wide range of tankmates. <And eaten some likely> About 4 months ago the tank had to be moved from a location about 7 miles away to its current locale. The only 2 fish that came along with the eel were a porcupine puffer (about 10 inches) and a Harlequin Tusk (5 inches). Not a lot of fish for a big tank, but hey, the economy. Since the move, the eel lost its appetite, eating only occasionally. Diet includes prawn, silversides, and "Variety Supreme" (or as we call them, "gumdrops"). <Mmm... not what I would use... Do you supplement, add vitamins, HUFAs?> I chalked his loss of appetite up to stress related to the move, since he otherwise exhibited no symptoms. But then about 6 weeks ago one of the 2 heaters in the tank burned out and the tank got a little cool for a few days (about 8 degrees F below normal). He stopped eating altogether and started to experience some sort of seizures. Once the heater was replaced he seemed to improve a bit (he finally moved back to his hidey-hole for a couple days, for example) but has demonstrated what I can only call neurological deficiency ever since, having trouble swimming, not eating at all, and occasionally hanging out upside down. <Bad> Now, 6 weeks later, he stall won't eat, he lies upside down in the middle of the tank. His breathing seems labored. He has lost lots of weight. But otherwise, he is asymptomatic--no obvious disease, no sores, no color change apart from being slightly paler -- nothing. Just starving and wasting away. I am contemplating euthanasia at this point. <Mmm, not quite yet> I don't have a sick tank or the budget to buy one, really, unless I believed there was a really great chance of it being successful. Do you foresee any hope at this point or should I admit the inevitable and put the fish down? Or is there something obvious I have missed? Thanks for your consideration, Brian Maffitt <Look into one of the commercial "appetite stimulants" sold in the trade... Selcon, Seachem's "Garlic Guard"... and raise the temperature to 82-84 F.... This and other Muraenids can recover from long bouts of non-feeding. Bob Fenner>

Re: Dragon Eel is slipping away 2/21/09
Thanks so much for your response. A follow-up--he has a white curling emission coming from the opening in his midsection, is could possibly be a worm, or maybe he's just pooping? I could send a picture if it would be useful.
<Would be. B>

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

Concern for Hawaiian Dragon... beh., hlth. 1/24/07 I purchased a 20" dragon for my LFS and he is currently in QT at the LFS. I go up there almost everyday and feed on Wed and Sat (grouper, snapper, shrimp). I have noticed that sometimes he is only using one pouch to breath. <Not atypical... not a large concern> I have smaller eels at home and they have never done this so I am really concerned. The guys at the LFS don't know a whole lot about eels and I am getting scared. Please Help!!! Thanks D <I would not hold off on buying, moving this Moray on this basis, and would feed it more like twice a week at this size. Bob Fenner>

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