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FAQs about Morays Eel Identification 3

Related FAQs:  Moray IDs 1, Moray IDs 2Moray IDs 4, Moray IDs 5, & Moray Eels 1, Moray Eels 2, Moral Eels 3, 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: Moray Eels, Zebra Morays, Snowflake Morays, Ribbon Morays, The "Freshwater" Moray Eels, Freshwater Moray Eels by Marco Lichtenberger, Other Marine Eels

Eel Id: Snowflake/Echidna nebulosa - 10/11/07 Hi, <Hi Steve> I want to buy this tank and the owners said that they have a snowflake eel. But the pics on the web are not what they have. Can you tell by this pic what it is, or tell me who to ask? <Well, it's not the clearest of photos, but it does look like a Snowflake eel to me. One thing to keep in mind regarding these guys is that the splotching/banding, etc, on the body does vary. Please see the photos at this link for comparison: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/snowflakemoray.htm. Also, for future queries, please make sure they are not written in ALL CAPS. I went ahead and took care of it this time, but usually these are returned for correction. Thank you for understanding.> Thanks,
<You're most welcome. -Lynn>

Ultimate Live Rock Stowaway.. Eel Be Comin' Out the LR When he Comes, When He Comes  9/1/07 Hi Crew, <Hi Barbara, Mich with you today.> I have e-mailed you a few times regarding a 72-gallon saltwater tank I am setting up. I put water in it, and on Monday I put 100 lbs of live sand and 75 lbs of live rock in it. Today (Thursday) my husband and I found some sort of eel living in one of the rock's caves! I was expecting maybe a snail or 2, some cool algae, maybe a coral if I was lucky!! <One heck of a hitchhiker!> I searched all of your marine eel pictures and I can't figure out exactly what he is, the only one that looked close was the Zebra Moray. He is brown with wide white bands (hopefully you can see the enclosed picture!). I just want to be sure of what he is so I know if I have to try to get him out and return him to LFS or if he can be comfortable in my 72. <This may be a Banded Snake Eel (Myrichthys colubrinus) He is a challenge to keep and you may want to consider finding him a new home. More here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ophichthidae.htm http://fishbase.sinica.edu.tw/Summary/speciesSummary.php?ID=8053&genusname=Myrichthys&speciesname=colubrinus http://fishbase.sinica.edu.tw/Photos/ThumbnailsSummary.php?ID=8053 If this is a correct ID, the material I am referencing suggests a tank size of no smaller that 180 gallons, and generally this eel is not well suited for the home aquarium. Reportedly this eel is a challenge to feed and a very finicky eater. You might offer glass shrimp if available or try fresh shrimp, scallops or marine fish flesh impaled on a feeding stick. This eel should be fed until it appears to be full, twice weekly. Careful consideration should be given to tanks mates as well as many fish will nip at the eel.> He was out of the water for close to 2 hours with the drive home and me getting the sand in, then the rock, I have no idea how he did it! <Is tenacious.> I will offer defrosted meaty foods, hopefully he will eat. He is curious about us when we come to the tank! <A good sign.> Thanks so much for your help! <Welcome! Mich> Barbara

Re: Ultimate Live rock Stowaway... Marco chimes in re Eel ID! - 09/01/07 Hi Crew, I have e-mailed you a few times regarding a 72 gallon saltwater tank I am setting up. I put water in it, and on Monday I put 100 lbs of live sand and 75 lbs of live rock in it. Today (Thursday) my husband and I found some sort of eel living in one of the rock's caves! I was expecting maybe a snail or 2, some cool algae, maybe a coral if I was lucky!! I searched all of your marine eel pictures and I can't figure out exactly what he is, the only one that looked close was the Zebra Moray. He is brown with wide white bands (hopefully you can see the enclosed picture!). I just want to be sure of what he is so I know if I have to try to get him out and return him to LFS or if he can be comfortable in my 72. He was out of the water for close to 2 hours with the drive home and me getting the sand in, then the rock, I have no idea how he did it! I will offer defrosted meaty foods, hopefully he will eat. He is curious about us when we come to the tank! Thanks so much for your help! Barbara <Just a second (or third) opinion: Looks like a Echidna polyzona to me (bands and yellowish nostrils in combination with the blunt head), but there are several other banded eels and morays eels (e.g. Gymnothorax enigmaticus and many more). If E. polyzona is the species, care and character are similar to E. nebulosa (snowflake), it just stays a little smaller. In my opinion you could keep it in that tank (bigger tank would be better of course...), but it would eat smaller fishes and crustaceans while growing. They can survive quite long outside of the water and some of its relatives are known to leave the water in nature to hunt for crabs between rocks outside of tidal pools. Send a better picture and we'll get you a better ID. What a give-away, I usually have to pay for eels... am just coming back from such a shopping trip. Cheers, Marco.>

Re: Ultimate Live Rock Stowaway.. Eel Be Comin' Out the LR When he Comes, When He Comes... Mitch? Miller? And a one and a two... - 09/01/07 Hi Mitch, <Hi Barbara, Mich with you again.> Thanks so much for your help. <Welcome!> Can the Banded Snake Eel be brown w/ white stripes? <That was my understanding, but rechecking fishbase they are describing as black and white though I though it looked brown in some of the images and looked brown in another book I referenced which had an up-close image. I could very well be wrong. I am far from an eel expert. You've gotten three different opinions. I suspect Marco's vote may be the most likely winner. Do use the scientific names to do a Google image search. You will likely be able to tell which of these three are closest to what your little stowaway looks like. That's what color this one is (I know it was hard to tell in the picture!). <Yes, and not just in your picture either!> I offered defrosted squid last night and he voraciously accepted it! <That is wonderful! I'm very glad to hear.> That seems to be a good sign. <Indeed it tis!> He is more than welcome in the tank but if 180 gallons is suggested it is cruel to keep him in my 72. He has only come out of the rock 1/2 way, any suggestions on removing him from the tank? <I think it is more important to determine who this stowaway is before you consider removal, as Marco's vote would be suitable for your tank.> I will continue to offer meaty foods every other day or so. <I wish you much success! Mich> Barbara Re: Ultimate Live rock Stowaway  9/3/07 Hi Marco, <Hello Barbara.> I appreciate all the expert opinions I can get! <No problem, but I'm more a fan than an expert. Reading your e-mail reminded me to a case we had in a near life fish store, so I had to add Echidna polyzona as a possible banded candidate.> I apologize for the blurry picture, he is voraciously accepting defrosted squid and clam so far. <That's good news. Be careful not to overfeed, if it's a moray. Many appear to be hungry most of the time.> My husband and I will try to get a better quality picture while I am feeding him and send it along as soon as I can. <Looking forward to it. See if you can get a good shot of the head, since most banded morays can be differentiated by characters of the head. A snake eel will also be easily identified that way.> I'm getting attached to him now, so I'd love to keep him, but only as long as he can be comfortable and happy with us! <As soon as we know what it is, I'm confident we'll know how to care for it.> Barbara <Good luck with the camera. Marco.>

Re: Ultimate Live rock Stowaway 9/5/07 Hi Mich, Marco, Bob, crew! <Barbara> After surfing the web and your site, I do believe my hitchhiker is an Echidna polyzona, but I am still trying for an additional photo of him for confirmation or other ideas! I have been feeding him every other to every 3 days and he has happily accepted everything I have offered (including an attempted sampling of the turkey baster I have been using to feed him!). I can't find a lot of information regarding his species, but I remember Marco said it was similar in temperament to the snowflake moray, so I have been researching them as well! <Is very similar in care> Obviously he was not in my original stocking plans for my 72 gallon! I was planning on a Yellow Tang, a Coral Beauty (about 3-4" currently), a strawberry Dottyback, an algae blenny and an orange tailed damsel. If I have room I'd love either a Falco hawkfish or a Twinspot hogfish. I was thinking I may still be able to add the Falco but I'm doubting I'll have space for the Hogfish. I won't have any inverts in this tank (I was already planning on a FOWLR system for this tank, inverts will be in my 30 gallon!). Does this still sound ok? <So far... yes> Thank you for all of your help!
<Welcome. BobF>

Looks like Echidna nebulosa to RMF

Re: Ultimate Live rock Stowaway, follow up - 09/26/07 Hello Crew, <Hi Barbara> After much delay (I can't believe it's been nearly a month already) <Me neither> I have been able to take a nicer shot of my hitchhiker. The LFS where I got him told me he was a Zebra moray, but looking at pictures of Zebra versus Barred he looks like a juvenile barred to my inexperienced eye, hopefully you will be able to confirm either way from this shot. <He (more likely a she) is definitely no Zebra moray, his dorsal fin is well visible (vs. hard to spot at Zebra morays), and the coloration of the snout is so unlike zebra morays. In addition, Zebra morays have tiny, white nostrils and no larger, yellowish ones, and so on… It is either a Gymnothorax enigmaticus (forget searching for pictures on the net, there are only a few true ones), or - what is much more likely - a Barred moray Echidna polyzona, as you suggested. Its blunt snout speaks for the latter one.> He has really made me a fan of eels! <Welcome to the club!> He is doing very well, getting along nicely with his tank mates and accepting all foods I have offered; krill, squid, mussel, clam, shrimp, scallops, oyster. <Sounds good.> Currently I am feeding every other day to every three days depending. <Great.> He seems to feel like he should be fed several times a day though! <Typically moray.> Thank you for your help! Barbara.
<Anytime. Cheers, Marco.>

Looks more and more like Marco's ID was right. RMF.

Identify eel? - 07/01/07 Hello, I was snorkeling in Hanauma Bay on Oahu (shallow region atop reef) and saw the attached eel (I think). While the pictures aren't great (sorry), it was a few feet (~3') long and had what seemed like a yellow head. I found information on yellow-headed moray eels, but they didn't seem to have the spotted/speckled pattern evident on their body from the pictures. Thanks for any information. Sincerely, Becky <I see these features... this is almost assuredly a Gymnothorax undulatus... a big puhi! See fishbase.org, WWM, the Net...Bob Fenner>

Moray eel ID - 03/30/07 One more question. Took the picture last week while scuba diving off of Roatan, Honduras. This eel was about 2ft in length.  I also saw three of these eels together, two of which were about 2ft and one was about a foot. They kinda remind me of Snowflake Eels in size, but as you can see are more beige than white.  Any idea what the species is? <I'll give it a try and suggest G. saxicola, a species reaching two ft, sometimes seen in trade. It is rare in the reefs and rather occurs on sandy bottoms; it predominately inhabits the Northern gulf, though. G. conspersus has the same black/white dorsal, but also a dark tail (not visible on the picture, you may remember their tail colour). G. ocellatus is similar, but has well demarcated white spots everywhere. G. moringa lacks the black/white dorsal. You may also try fishbase, they should have an ID key for the moray eels of the Western Atlantic. Maybe someone else in the crew has something to add. Great picture. Cheers, Marco.>

A beauty!

Eel  ID, probably no moray eel  2/28/07 Are there any moray species that stand on their tails and have their throats inflated? I have heard of tulip eels doing this which are supposed to be very aggressive. I do not have any good pictures of my fish to help determine if he is a moray or not, but the LFS sold him as a moray. <Moray eels rather hide instead of standing on their tails. They inflate their throats while breathing. To get an idea of the ID a good picture is necessary. Without a picture you should try looking at http://www.wetwebmedia.com/congridae.htm and http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ophichthidae.htm and http://www.wetwebmedia.com/morays.htm for marine eels. Have a look at http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/anguillids.htm and http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/matacembelids.htm for freshwater eels. Check the related FAQs, too. Also check FishBase by entering the family names you found on WetWebMedia and selecting 'all fishes' to get a link to photos. For the swamp eel check Monopterus alba. It has a very typical head much unlike a real moray.> I do not know growth rates of the swamp eel but my fish has not grown but little in length but he has gained some girth and he has eaten quite a bit for a year now. He also no longer has a pointed tail it is rounding out with possible fins can not see close enough. Am I in a bad situation if mine is a swamp eel with my Gymnothorax tile? <I would not recommend keeping any of them with other fishes maybe except their own species. May work for years, but even the scat is potential prey. Read the freshwater moray articles on WWM.> So far they are both sharing the tree root ornament to hide in peacefully. I have my toad fish and red scat and the G. tile has no problems with them either and even lies on top the toad fish when out. I have seen people with swamp eels on monsterfishkeepers.com, but they are in fresh water. I have a brackish setup. The main question I have if this is a swamp eel should I be looking into finding him a new home at some point? <Yes. Swamp eels need fresh water to lower end brackish water, the moray eel needs high end brackish or full strength marine water, both are incompatible.> Thanks for your advice on this. <You are welcome. Cheers, Marco.>

Re: moray feeding and behaviour     2/12/07 On www.monsterfishkeepers.com there is a person whose avatar looked like my eel. He said it was a tulip eel scientific name Monopterus albus. Do my picture suggest this maybe true and my eel is not a moray of some type? <Mmm... possibly... your images were not clear or well-resolved enough to identify> What does xanthistic refer to? I was just curious as I did not see this under the various species list. <A type of/genetic condition that is characterized by a lack of skin pigmentation... but not albinism... which includes the eyes...> I would like to know if an oyster toad fish is venomous or not and how big they can get in captivity? <Is and you can find this information on fishbase.org> This is a rather cool fish and the only one I know of having the distinction of being the only fish to travel in outer space. <Mmm, not so... a few species have been used for various types of "zero gravity" research over the years> Thank you very much, Richard <Bob Fenner>

G. favagineus???? - 02/07/2007 Bought a leopard eel, but doesn't really look like pictures on web he is about 18" long slender round light brown body with brownish/purplish spots all over, and spots get bigger as they move towards his tail  his front jaw hangs over bottom (overbite) the only flat part of his body is around his tail, always lays with head out of sand, need help to find info on him, <Search WWM re: Gymnothorax favagineus, see if this is your animal (I hope not...).> thanks a lot. <Anytime, AdamJ.>

Leopard Eel II ...We can only work with what you give us - 02/09/2007 Not nearly as many spots, the spots are a lot bigger and more spread out. <Okay, it's possible that your animal is in juvenile coloration, 18" is a juvenile. ....have you seen an adult G. favagineus? At any rate unless you get me a photo I'm not going to be able to help you any further. Sorry. Adam J.>

Moray Eel ID  7/31/06 I was in a Live Fish Store and saw an eel called a panther eel and they said otherwise it was an unidentified species. It was in brackish water at a setting of 1.008 and it sure looked like a moray. There was a picture on this site http://animal-world.com/encyclo/marine/eels/eels.php that has the exact colors that this specimen had. The price of this eel was $100 and it was about 8" long but from the information I have obtained I am assuming that it will eventually need to be in a full marine setting. Am I correct? <Yes.> The picture I saw on your site of the Muraena lentignosa otherwise jewel moray has the same type markings. Are there color variations within this species? What I saw had white spots encircled by black rings on a dark brown body. Are there other species other than a jewel moray that have these type markings? <The color variations on this species can range from black, gold, brown, and white.  The appearance of the markings will change slightly with age also.  This eel is one of the smaller species of morays, attaining a length of 24".> Thank you very much. <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>

Ghost Ribbon Moray? Pseudechidna, Rhinomuraena?  7/4/06 Hi, <Hello there>             I am looking for a little information/advice I bought what I am about 90% sure is a ghost ribbon moray thanks to your wonderful site. The local fish store has had him for about a month and I thought he was really cute. He is quite reclusive and really doesn't venture out a whole lot, hopefully that will change. <Can... with a good deal of time going by, calm surroundings> He is about 1' 6" to 2' and seems really healthy. I told the guy at the fish store I was interested and he was telling me that they are very hard to keep and almost never eat in captivity. <This is so> He almost talked me out of buying him, I told the guy at the fish store that if he would eat in front of me I would buy him. The eel ate two ghost shrimp. Now what I need is any and all the information you are willing to give on this beautiful creature. <What little I know is posted on WWM... do  have an article coming out in TFH on Rhinomuraena... that pretty much rehashes the same. See fishbase: http://fishbase.sinica.edu.tw/Summary/speciesSummary.php?ID=10216&genusname=Pseudechidna&speciesname=brummeri Is this your species?> As of right now he is in only a twelve gallon nano <Much too small... take care that this fish doesn't "exit straight up"> for one more week when he will go into me 100 gallon show tank. Please any and all advice and information is welcome, I can find next to no information on these guys. Also is it possible to keep more than one in a 100 gallon long tank? Thanks again for the help. <Mmm, no... not a social species. One to a system unless it is huge. Bob Fenner>

Moray Species? Yes...   7/2/06 Hi Crew!    <Arthur>   I bought a moray 3 weeks ago and I am guessing that I purchased a Stout Moray I would just like to have a second opinion on the specie <Species... the other is "money"> my eel belongs to. If ever it's a Stout Moray, do you have any tips on feeding/keeping my eel or all of those I find in your feeding FAQs can be useful? Lastly, can you give me any articles I can read about Stout Morays, their characteristics/behaviours?      Thanks,      Arthur   - Hope this time the pictures will be of help! :D <Mmm, of the three species commonly labeled as such by Fishbase.org, I'm guessing you mean Gymnothorax eurostus? http://fishbase.sinica.edu.tw/Summary/SpeciesSummary.php?id=6662 Can't quite make out identifiable characteristics from your "above" pix other than to state that this does look like a Moray of some sort... Likely piscivorous... Have you read through our materials on this family: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/morays.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Re: Moray Specie?   7/3/06 Thanks Bob!      I'll just visit the sites you suggested and hopefully get something out of it.      Arthur <Real good. Please do send along "side" pix of your Moray, progress reports re your experiences. Bob Fenner>

Re: Moray ID, beh.    7/13/06 Hi Bob!    <Art>   As requested, I tried my best on getting the best SIDE shot you asked for. Though the lighting might not help since the bulb I have in my tank is color blue. To help you distinguish it further the moray I have has a brown skin from snout to tail and fades to white around its belly with yellowish spots. In image IMG_0591 you may notice an elongated nostril (which may suggest the moray I have is in the Gymnothorax eurostus species). If you really cant distinguish it I might rule out that it is a stout moray;)    <Is there a gold/ish rim about the eye? The head here reminds me of Gymnothorax miliaris: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/morays.htm>   Anyway, I would also like to ask if its normal to morays to be shy? <Oh, yes... most species are extremely so, particularly "when new"> Since mine is hiding under and behind its rocks all day long. The only time I see it out is during night time and in under poor light condition since I don't want to startle it. Lastly, what is the indication when a moray does not gape/open its mouth from time to time? <That there is sufficient oxygen... little stress...> Because one thing I know about Moray is that they open their mouth to breath. I catch mine usually like its in suspended animation. The only consolation I get from my moray is that it is able to hunt from time to time.      Thanks again.      Arthur <Appears healthy from your photo, description. See fishbase.org re this species as well. Bob Fenner>

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