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Moray Disease Diagnosis FAQs:  

FAQs on: Moray Disease 1, Moray Disease 2, Moray Disease 3, Moray Disease 4, Moray Disease 5,
& by Species: Dragon Moray Health, Snowflake Eel Disease/Health, FW Moray Disease, Morays and other Eels, Velvet & Crypt,
FAQs on Moray Disease by Category: Environmental, Nutritional, Social, Trauma, Infectious, Parasitic, Treatments

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

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

Eel lost his tail, looking for advice       9/27/18
So I ended up purchasing two black ribbon eels.
<Aye ya; not easily kept. The vast majority die in captivity due to stress, starvation, w/in a month of capture>
I know they are notoriously difficult to get eating but I was ready and willing to put the effort in.
<Ah, good>
I bought 2 because I had read they feel more comfortable in pairs and eat more readily. The larger one eats everything and anything you put in that tank now, to include my fingers which he has no problem
attacking repeatedly. The smaller eel was tougher, I had to work through every type of food I had until I managed to get him interested in a piece of silver side that had flayed a little and looked like a small fish. A couple of days later he took another piece with less coaxing. So after a month of work and getting very good at making dead things look alive I thought I was out of the woods, then the small one didn't come out anymore. I watched and searched but found nothing which wasn't like him, even when he didn't eat he showed up to linger in the water column.
Anyway, I started doing ammonia tests again and my kids thought they saw a green tinge and given that he only ate a little, along with the week missing even after moving rocks to look, I thought he had died in the tubes. Now I didn't want to kill him if he was alive, so I worked out a way to pull a dead eel out of these tubes without causing harm (so I thought). I evacuated the other eel and held him in a net and then put the largest siphon I could get in the PVC and started it. Within moments he passed through and was alive.
<How large/diameter were the siphon and the eel?!>
I was extremely excited and went to prepare a new home in the refugium where i could better target feed him and make sure he was going to make it. However, when I got ready to move him to his new home I noticed a section of him wasn't there anymore...
I can't imagine another fish did this, and I grounded all my rocks so I doubt he got stuck, but I can't believe a siphon was able to rip his tail off. He's still swimming but I don't know what to do to make things better for his recovery (if recovery is even an option). I'm reaching out to anyone and everyone for advice. Thank you for your time.
James Williams
<Likely the tail damage is due more to bacterial/decomposer action than anything else.
I'd be doing what you can to boost this fish's immune system (HUFAs, Vitamins, probiotics added to foods, directly to the water), and maintaining optimized water quality in the hope of tipping the balance to
your Rhinomuraena. Bob Fenner>

Echidna polyzona: Banded Moray    7/17/17
Hello There,
I'm writing to you all in concern over my moray. I've had "her" for six years and in that time she's grown from the size of a pencil to a 26 inch beautiful specimen.
<Full size!>
She has recently become "bloated" to the end of her anal which leads me to believe she is having a problem passing food waste, or the weirder option she is full of unfertilized eggs?
<Not at the end of the anal, no>
She lives in a 46 gallon bow-front with some cleaner crabs, a clown goby and a decent population of snails and feather dusters.
I'm very concerned that it's a nutrient deficiency or bacterial infection.
Any light you could shed on this situation would be sooo appreciated. I was really looking forward to grow old with this eel as she is a member of the family. Is it too early for me to be completely distraught?
Thanks Much,
<Am going to refer you to friend, WWM Crewmember and Moray specialist Marco Lichtenberger here. Bob Fenner>
Echidna polyzona: Banded Moray Here's Marco     7/18/17

Hello There,
<Hi Doyle.>
I'm writing to you all in concern over my moray. I've had "her" for six years and in that time she's grown from the size of a pencil to a 26 inch beautiful specimen. She has recently become "bloated" to the end of her anal which leads me to believe she is having a problem passing food waste,
<Probably this or an infection with parasites or bacteria.>
or the weirder option she is full of unfertilized eggs?
<Would be swollen in front of the cloaca, not so around it.>
She lives in a 46 gallon bow-front with some cleaner crabs, a clown goby and a decent population of snails and feather dusters. I'm very concerned that it's a nutrient deficiency or bacterial infection.
Any light you could shed on this situation would be sooo appreciated. I was really looking forward to grow old with this eel as she is a member of the family. Is it too early for me to be completely distraught?
<It's too early. Maybe Epsom Salt can offer some relief (see WWM re). Also, if the eel still eats it's not too late to start a varied diet and add vitamins. In addition, check the temperature. Constipation of tropical eels seems to occur more often in colder water.>
Thanks Much, Doyle.
<Good luck. Marco.>

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>

Golden Dwarf Moray issue       10/19/16
<Hi Sam.>
I have a pair of golden dwarf moray eels recently added to my 55 gallon reef tank. PH 8.3, Salinity 1.026, Nitrites 0, Ammonia 0, Nitrates 0, Phosphates >.5 ppm. There are no other aggressive fish in the tank. Today I noticed something wrong with the larger of the two eels that I have not seen before. One side of his head seems slightly distended and there is some sort of protrusion near the lower left corner of his mouth. The color of this protrusion is whitish. Around the protrusion is a small area of redness. I have tried desperately to get a clear image but have failed utterly. Could I be dealing with worms? He has yet to eat like his younger tankmate but I know that morays can go for protracted periods of time without eating.
<Can't tell from the pictures in your other email what the moray is dealing with. I know it's hard to get proper pics, these pics are quite blurry and I'm not sure this is a parasite. If it occurred suddenly, could it be a flap of skin from a wound, maybe a bite from the other eel? Dwarf moray eels don't always tolerate conspecifics and can start fighting for
territory. If it developed with time it is more likely a bacterial infection.>
My suspicion is that they may be linked. Any input you could provide will be invaluable. These are my absolute favorite fishes in the trade and would hate to lose one to parasites. Thanks, Sam Porter
<Check if the protrusion could be a wound and if hostilities occur. If it's a bacterial infection and grows you might need antibiotics. Let's hope the latter is not the case. Good luck. Marco.>

Snowflake Moray -- Disease        1 1 16
Hi Team,
<It's taken seven plus min.s to download one of your pix here in Roatan. WHY don't you, others follow our directions?>

Happy Friday! I am writing to you in regards to a snowflake moray I have kept for nearly 4 and half years. She has recently come down with what appears to be Head and Lateral Line Erosion. I was able to get a good look at the length of her body this morning and there appear to be red lesions along the majority of her lateral line. Recently, I had to adjust my pH (which was scarily low at 7.9) and raised it back to 8.3 safely using a buffer. Could these lesions maybe be an acid burn? Or a parasite?
Melafix has been added to the tank.
<Worse than worthless. SEARCH this on WWM, actually READ>

She has not been eating well for about 2 months now. Pictures of the lesions are attached. She is still breathing under 60 breaths a minute although her breaths do look labored. She has been fed a mix of ghost shrimp, krill, and silversides over the years soaked in VitaChem.
<And re Thiaminase poisoning>

Water Parameters:
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 25ppm (Yes, I know this is a bit high. Doing a water change!)
Gh: 180ppm
Kh: 220ppm
Ph: 8.3
I also stumbled upon this paper associating activated carbon with HLLE. I do use carbon in the system so I'm wondering....
<Mmm; nah. Keep reading re. The etymology of this symptom has been discussed heatedly (at times) for decades.... many contributing factors.... water quality, nutrition, "stress", some Protozoans possibly involved..... And do READ re Echidna health period on WWM; inclusive of goiter. This  fish's throat is overly expanded. I'd be treating the water (and possibly foods) with iodide-ate.
Bob Fenner>
Any advice/thoughts you have are greatly appreciated!
Last thing I noticed is that there appears to be clear mucus-like strings of about 3-4" coming off of her body. Is this her slime coat (and an immune system response?) or is this perhaps a sign of a parasitic/bacterial infection.
Nathalie Rovall

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.>

Honeycomb Moray eel going crazy    6/13/12
Hi guys,
I have a 4ft Honeycomb Moray in a 420 litre tank. I have had him in for nearly 1 year now, on his own in this tank and have never had any water quality issues.
<So what are the nitrate and ammonia readings actually... 420 litres is quite small for such a large fish...>
Initially the eel was very friendly (comfortably coming out for food and just to swim around the tank in general) this has changed recently.
We all know that Morays like to shift their rock around during the night,
<None of mine does that.>
however, on 3 occasions now in the last 4 weeks he/she has started to go absolutely crazy during the night.
On these occasions the Eel will thrash around in the tank, swimming end to end at speed crashing into the tank edges and generally going crazy between the rocks, stirring up the tank to the point water splashes out onto the floor. I must say that when this occurs it is quite worrying as it is that violent I am scared he will break the tank! After about 15-20 seconds he will kind of chill out and calm down and go back to hiding in his pipes.
On the days following one of these outbursts he will not come out from his pipes and generally looks quite frightened. I must add, his appetite has not changed and continues to eat.
I would like to know if a normal behavior
and if not what has bought it on?
<Don't know for sure... could be related to problems with the nervous system... linked to poor water quality or lack of vitamins... an alternate explanation: sometimes eels suffering from constipation go crazy until the problem is solved.>
and can I fix it?
<Check water quality and food (see WWM re), if constipation is an option try Epsom salt (see WWM re).>
It's almost that when he gets going and causing such a torrent inside the tank he is frightening himself into swimming faster and going more crazy?
Please help and I appreciate your time.
Glen Williames
<Good luck. Marco.>

honeycomb eel, hlth. env. likely 5/23/11
About a month ago I bought a 135g tank and 2' honeycomb eel. It's been in that tank for over a year and doing very well.
<I'd just like to note these fishes can get 6 feet long if we're talking about Gymnothorax favagineus (other eels like M. melanotis have been called honeycomb, too). How is that tank filtered, does it have a skimmer ?>
I set the tank back up at my house and last week I added some damsel fish to see if they will get along or if it will eat them. So far it has not ate them.
<If it is too small and fast, this can work. Not always, but sometimes.>
I feed the eel the other day some Tilapia fillet and he did eat.
<Needs a varied diet, preferably marine fish or salmonids (and larger shrimps, octopus), not cichlids like Tilapia. Add vitamins to frozen foods at least once a week.>
Also had the local fish store check my water and all is well, they did say my tank appears to be cycling again
<Somewhat contradicting information.>
and I should do a water change in a week or so and bring in some more water to check it again.
<If you want our opinion on your situation, it would be good if you could provide some more data. Water parameters that is. Especially salinity, temperature, pH, nitrates, ammonia, nitrites. Proper numbers please.>
Here's my question lately the eel has been acting strange. Every so often it rubs itself back and forth against the rocks hard and fast (thrashing) and turning on its side and rubbing along the bottom of the tank (crushed coral) like its trying to scratch or rub something off. What would make it do this?
<I suspect something's wrong with the water, therefore the above question for your water parameters (proper numbers).>
Could it be some kind of infection or parasite?
<Could be, but is less likely.>
I've been looking at it very closely and I don't see anything. Thanks Bill
<Welcome. Marco.>
re: honeycomb eel, hlth and more 5/24/11

Thank you so much Marco, It does appear to be a Gymnothorax favagineus pear. No skimmer, just a Filstar xp3, that's what the original owner had been using. I have plans on putting in a sump/bio ball system in this week.
<Personally, I would think about adding a skimmer. It does make it much easier to provide a good water quality by removing waste from the system (which otherwise is only done by water changes, filter cleaning) and by adding additional oxygen.>
That's what I used when I owned a 110g tank and I never had any problems with my fish, zebra moray, blue dot stingray etc... Sold all of it when I moved 10 years ago. Trying to start over again. Also no live rock in the tank yet just dry rock and dry corals. I will get you the water #'s later today. Also I will get him some salmon or shrimp today. Does it need to eat any live fish or is it ok with store bought fish?
<Store bought fish is perfect. I'd not feed live fish at all.>
I used to feed my zebra moray live craw fish, would the honeycomb eat those too?
<Very likely.>
What vitamins should I be adding to the food?
<There's a number of adequate products for fishes on the market. JBL Advitol is one, Vita-Chem is another one and there are more (also see WWM). The product you want should at least contain vitamin C and vitamin B1.>
Also looking very closely at the eel it appears to have some small white dots on its head or the first 3-4". Not sure if they've always been there or if its something new.
<Can you get a good picture? If the spots are arranged in lines these are sensory pores, which are mostly found on the front quarter of moray eels. Cryptocaryon, the parasite causing one common white spot disease (uncommon on eels, though), almost always affects the gills and often the eyes also.>
That along with the flashing or rubbing all over the tank I started thinking that it might be ich.
<Cryptocaryon, see WWM re. Not very common on eels due to their thick skin and slime coat.>
I don't see anything on any of the damsels but they've only been there a few days. A couple of web sites suggest to treat this I should slowly bring the salt level down to 1.009 and keep it there for 4-6 weeks.
<Can work, but is not always reliable, since some Cryptocaryon and other parasites can live in lower end brackish water.>
After reading that I did a water change of 30g and brought the level down to 1.019. And I was going to do this a couple more times till it reaches 1.009, Is this something I should be doing?
<I'd first try to get a proper diagnosis and not rush into a treatment.>
If it is ich can I treat the tank and the eel with medication, one that contains copper?
<Probably not more than once... Don't do this.>
I've read that eels are sensitive to it, that's why I started doing the lower salinity instead. I will send you the water #'s this afternoon when I get home. Thanks again Bill
<Okay. Marco.>

Re: Golden moray needs help -- 12/07/09
Dear Marco
<Hello Bill.>
It's been almost a month since I last e-mail you and the eels are doing great.
<Good to hear.>
They are ferocious eaters and always looking for food. When I last talked to you the Golden Moray had a small thing by his eye(see 1st pic below), didn't think much of it but now, it has grown quite a bit. What is it? A parasite or an infection of some kind?
<Impossible to tell from the pictures. I see no structure, just some white standing out. Almost looks like fungus, but could also be bacterial or a parasitic. Is it soft of hard? Is any structure visible? Also, compare it to Lymphocystis (viral, but harmless) pictures, do you see any similarity with the fish in front of you?>
And how do I treat it?
<What do you feed? Do you add vitamins? How's the water (pH, nitrates?). I'd try to support the immune system of the fish first, which means high vitamin input and low water pollution.>
It's not going to be easy to catch it and put it in a QT tank but I have a 20gallon tank all ready for it.
<Very good. I'd first try to strengthen the immune system of the fish before using antibiotics or an antifungal/antiparasitic remedy.>
See below his eye, a little tiny patch of white.
Now it looks like this:
<Yes, this is some growth for a month.>
Thanks in advance. Bill
<Welcome. Marco.>

Re: Skeletor Eel needs help
Golden moray (G. miliaris) needs help -- 12/08/09

Dear Marco,
<Hello Bill.>
Thanks for the quick reply. Looking at the picture, I think it could be Lymphocystis but not 100% sure. Can't really tell if it's soft or hard. Looks like it's soft and sometimes I wish I could catch the eel and squeeze that white part out like you would squeeze a pimple LOL.
Water parameters are normal... Temp 78.5, Ammonia 0, nitrites 0, nitrates 0, PH 8.2. I don't know about alkalinity since I don't have a test for it. I do add Purple Up once in a while in the tank.
<Sounds all good.>
I feed this eel silversides, shrimp and squid every 3 days till full. Sometimes soaked in Selcon or injected right into the food.
<Sounds good, too. Feel free to also try vitamin products with higher vitamin B1 and vitamin E contents.>
If it is Lymphocystis, I've read in WWM that it goes away by itself in time so I hope it is.
<Me too.>
I'll keep an eye on it and see what happens. I'll keep you posted.
Thanks again, Bill
<Welcome and good luck. Marco.>

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>

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

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

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

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