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Moray Nutritional Disease 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: Diagnosis, Environmental, 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

MANY morays are lost due to poor nutrition, deficiency syndromes. BEWARE of Thiaminase poisoning brought on by too fatty, restricted diets. DO NOT feed shrimp, shellfish or silversides alone. LOOK for a broad mix of fresh, live or frozen/defrosted seafoods.

Golden Dwarf Eel Problems       4/17/17
I have a golden dwarf moray eel that started having some significant behavioral changes about a month ago. He started breathing harder and faster and started refusing food when he would normally eat vigorously.
<The two principal issues of environment and nutrition come to mind immediately... Too little DO, too much organic content and Thiaminase poisoning in particular>
Now he stays on the floor of the tank and doesn't move much, seeming to have a bit of difficulty swimming, though he stays upright and is responsive to stimuli. He moved to a spot where I could get a good look at his body today
and I think his stomach area may be a bit distended and a bit dark. I have had him for about a year during which he has been thriving, and he lived in someone else's tank for some time before he was brought to the store I worked at. I don't know what he was being fed or how often by his previous owner, but I have been feeding him once a week, primarily feeding squid, shrimp, and silversides (squid was his favorite).
<Trouble. Vitamin B issue at least a factor here. DO read HERE:
NEED to change this diet, and likely supplement/soak foods to restore balance>
He is in a 12g
<... much too small...
the other issues alluded to... likely insufficient dissolved oxygen... other variable water quality problems. NEEDS a bigger, more stable world>
with no other fish, just a few snails and hermit crabs, and some rocks from his original tank with plenty of caves and tunnels. There are a few corals, mostly Zoanthids,
and no anemones or other strong stingers. Water parameters are very stable.
Temp: 78 F
Nitrate: <10 ppm
Nitrite: 0 ppm
Ammonia: 0 ppm
pH: 8.4
Salinity: 1.024
<All these values are good>
The tank is very well-oxygenated, and I think I've gotten him to eat a scrap or two of garlic-soaked squid and octopus during this time period, though I am unsure as I had to leave it in front of him and check back a few minutes later as he won't tong-feed anymore. I used to dose iodine for my corals as I was unaware that eels needed this, I stopped about six months ago and have recently taken up dosing once a week again after reading some of your articles. Do you think the possible stomach swelling could be goiter or constipation?
<Possibly; yes>
Is it too late for him to recover, and if not, about what time frame should I expect recovery to occur in?
<Not too late>
I have been worried sick over him and really do not want to lose him. Should I continue to try to offer food? I have not attempted any feeding for about a week. Any other suggestions?
<The Thiaminase reading and action>

Re: Golden Dwarf Eel Problems       4/17/17
Thank you, the article was very helpful. A few follow-up questions:
I bought some Vitality and fresh predator mix food which I soaked and added garlic
to, but it seems like it won't make a difference if he won't eat. I left a small piece of clam meat in front of him and he sniffed around for a bit but just curled around it and did nothing for several minutes until a hermit crab got to it. Can I add a small amount of Vitality to the water to help a little bit?
<Might help>
I know it's no substitute for soaked food, but I want to try and make some progress. How often should I try offering food?
<Read on. B>
Thank you,
Natalie M.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Re: Please help.... bring in another victim of env. dis.. No rdg.     1/25/15
Hi Sir/Madam
<Hi Paul.>
I am seeking some help with my morey lepord erl.
<I guess this should read Leopard moray eel... or maybe Leopard moray Earl.
Yes, Earl would be nice name for a Leopard moray eel. Anyway, from your text I guess you are talking about a Gymnothorax favagineus.>
We have had him for two years he lives in a 800 litre tank with live rock and a skimmer, biomedia and a sock for filterisation.
About a month ago he wasn't eating as regular as normal he is approx. just under 5 ft in length
<that's quite a big fish for a 800 litre tank.>
and normally has two squids a night (frozen then defrosted first)
<You should keep the diet more varied. Also feed various fish filets, mussels, shrimps...>

so we had the water checked and the only issue was the nitrate was on the second colour down from ok.
<You should get a test, where you get real values. Nitrates should be smaller than 20 mg/l.>
We did a 200 litre water change and I cleaned all the rock and filled the tank back up all ok with this, since then this being nearly two weeks ago he hasn't eaten at all, he is moving around still just has no appetite even for sardines.
<You should do more of those water changes until the nitrates are below 20 mg/l.>
Tonight I checked him and his eyes had gone white and he had lost the yellow in his spots so I turned off the lights and left it for five min.s and when I turned them on again his eyes had gone back to brown and his colour had started coming back.
<That's normal. Many moray eels have a lighter night coloration that
changes back after disturbances, esp. turning on the light. People are often upset when they see it the first time.>
I am quite worried now, but don't know what to do as no one seems to know about these fish.
<I see no problem here so far. It's normal for Leopard moray eels and many other morays to refuse to eat for weeks from time to time. The night coloration is also normal. Educate yourself about nitrates und get a test that can measure ppm or mg/l, then do water changes about twice per week until they are below 20 mg/l and keep them there. Also check temperature
and pH, and vary the diet once he is eating again. Please
see http://www.wetwebmedia.com/EelPIX/Moray%20Eels/tesselatedMorayF.htm 
and http://www.wetwebmedia.com/moraysysfaqs.htm  and 
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/moraysysfaqs .htm for morays eel care.>
Many thanks in advance if you can help
Kind Regards Paul
<Welcome. Marco.>

Help please Tesselata Eel swallowed  zip-lock sandwich bag.    6/13/12
Hello my name is Elise, I have a four ft Tesselata Eel. While I was getting ready to feed him (his name is Scar),
he came up and grabbed the bag of food and swallowed it whole. The bag is a zip-lock sandwich size and had one piece of baby octopus about four inches long with a half a cup of Kent's brand Zoe. The bag was open. This happened
on Sunday, June 10th, 2012 about 8pm pacific time. Scar is swimming normal, and does not seemed stressed. He burped a little bit of the octopus and looked as if he was trying to find food directly after the burp. What should /could I do for him.
<I fear there is not much you can do yourself. It still is possible the bag will be leaving the eel at the front or rear end if it has not already.
Eels can vomit undigestible pieces of their food such as fish bones after days, so there still is a chance the bag will leave the fish. Personally I would not do anything except searching the tank for the bag unless unusual behaviour occurs. In this case the fish should be sedated and the bag removed. You'd need a vet to do that.>
Thank you in advance,
<Good luck. Marco.>

Tesselata Eel, hlth. 12/18/11
My boyfriend and I have a Tesselata Eel. He has had it in a 75 gal tank for almost 6 months.
<You know this species reaches 5-6 feet?>

Recently the eel has not had much of an appetite.
<Can happen.>
We then started to realize that it has what appear to look like black splotches, it is not its original black spots, these spots are more lighter than the original spots.
<Can't produce a proper picture in my head. Can you send one?>
She has also started to lose her color.
The stress has gone up as well as there being some ammonia (which has gone down) and the ph level has risen.
<The environmental problems likely are the cause of your eel's apparent disease (?). Check your water parameters. Nitrates should be <25-30 ppm (the smaller, the better), pH preferably between 8.0 and 8.2. Nitrites and ammonia should never be measurable. If this isn't' the case you likely need to change filtration or water change schedule. You'll also likely need a much larger tank in the near future.>
We have done almost a full water change as well as 25% water changes (quite a few).
We have tried contacting many other people but have not received a response. If you could help us out that would be greatly appreciated.
<Aside what is noted above: Provide a varied diet with vitamin additions.
The worst things done with respect to feeding is just feeding silver sides or large krill. Poorly fed eels are more prone to diseases.>

Thank you for your time, VT
<Good luck. Marco.>

HELP.. Hungry eel can't eat! -- 07/10/09
Hello all.. hope you can help'¦ We have a medium sized Tesselata eel for about a year now. He has always been an aggressive eater. For approximately the last two weeks when we go to fed him a shrimp, he acts very hungry.. trying to find the shrimp. Once he finds it he grabs it and acts like he wants to eat it, but can't chew it or swallow it, no matter how small of a piece we try to feed him. His breathing seems normal, water parameters are normal. We have approximately 1500 gallons total, same filtration, but separated into 5 tanks. He is in one of the tanks by himself and all of the other fish are fine. I see lots of article and have experienced fish that loose their appetite for one reason or another, but he seems to still have his appetite, just unable to get it down. Any suggestions?
<Sounds like a problem with its pharyngeal jaws/their ligaments or less likely a swollen throat, maybe due to physical injury or possibly due to a shrimp only diet related deficiency disease. Did the eel happen to eat anything sharp, are you missing a fish with sharp spines, a trigger, filefish etc. that might have jumped into the eel tank? Options are: sedate the animal and force feed (vitamin enriched food) and examine it (together with a vet) or try to let it heal naturally providing perfect water quality. Since moray eels can got without food for months, I'd use the second option first and if this fails try force feeding. Good luck. Marco.>
My Tess Thanks 7/26/09

You Hey everyone. I wanted to shoot you a quick note to say thank you from myself and my Tesselata eel. After a major move of his 300 gallon home he ate once and then didn't eat again for a couple of weeks. As soon as I decided it was a problem, I came to WWM and did some searching on Tess's and lack of feeding. Turns out I didn't have enough flow in the aquarium to ensure optimal oxygen saturation. I pointed the returns at the top of the water and added a Koralia 8 Magnum to the aquarium. He ate a big sardine Ryan
<Congratulations on your discovery and rescue. Bob Fenner>

Question for Mr. Fenner, Moray hlth., injury 6/17/09
I have a white eye moray that has been getting a skin disorder on his head.
It is starting to get worse. Could this be diet related?
<Mmm, no, not directly... Looks much more like a physical injury, perhaps with a secondary infectious component>
I only feed raw shrimp to him and my Zebra moray. It looks like his skin has just peeled off. Any suggestions?
<Mmm, yes... I'd expand the diet here... see WWM re feeding Muraenids>
I have been in the hobby for 5 years and consider my water quality to be pristine. The Zebra moray is perfect.
Thanks for any help.
<Bill, am going to share your email with Marco Lichtenberger here... he is much more up to date re eels, their husbandry. Bob Fenner>

Question for Mr. Fenner, and Marco
White eyed moray; dis. -- 06/17/09

I have a white eye moray that has been getting a skin disorder on his head. It is starting to get worse. Could this be diet related?
<Not directly, but indirectly as Bob already noted. A not-so-varied-diet can easily result in a weak immune system and consequently even a small scratch can become infected quickly. This looks like a possible bacterial infection.>
I only feed raw shrimp to him and my Zebra moray. It looks like his skin has just peeled off. Any suggestions?
<Varied diet and vitamins. If it does not stop or if the eel stops to eat: antibiotic baths or preferably antibiotic treatment in a hospital tank. An antibiotic for gram negative bacteria should be tried.>
I have been in the hobby for 5 years and consider my water quality to be pristine. The Zebra moray is perfect.
<Should also get a varied diet and vitamin additions.>
Thanks for any help. Bill
<Good luck. Marco.>
Re: Question for Mr. Fenner

I greatly appreciate your help Bob. Thanks
<I am happy to try helping you and your eel Bill. BobF>

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. Brian
<Would be. B>

This is fecal material... I would force feed this animal... See WWM re if you are unfamiliar. BobF. 2/22/09

Re: Dragon Eel is slipping away 2/22/09 Thanks Bob. I see many different recommendations for force feeding on the site... the only one specific to eels involves removing him from the tank, holding with a wet towel and using an eyedropper or baster <Or plastic catheter of size) to administer minced food. Is this what you would suggest? <Yes... grind the food fine enough and add sufficient liquid (and vitamin, HUFA) prep. to make it "squirt-able"...> I did not see a specific FAQ related to force-feeding, but I want to make sure I do the right thing... <Understood. BobF>

Re: Dragon Eel is slipping away -- 03/02/09 Thanks again for the advice. The force feeding has had no visible positive effect, <Dang!> in fact it seems to stress the eel even more. It now lies upside down at the bottom of the tank, curled up, and is very pale. It's still breathing, but it breaks my wife's heart to see it so obviously suffering... do you think there is any chance of recovery at this point? <Brian... I do. Not only am I "just" philosophically opposed to giving up... But I have seen unbelievable, remarkable "Resurrections" of Morays... I do urge you to try and keep up the faith> I'm willing to keep trying if there is a chance. This is the first time the eel seems to have lost its coloration... a sign? Brian <Not really... Fishes, including Anguilliforms do/can change color for all sorts of "reasons"... Hang in there and thank you for the update. BobF>

My Golden Dwarf Moray, fdg., hlth. 12/20/2008 Hi, <Hello Matt.> I recently purchased and set up an aquarium for a Golden Dwarf Moray eel. The tank has been cycled and three days ago I added the eel. The specimen had been at the store for a month or two and seemed to be doing great, except I never actually saw him eating. So now I worry that he will not eat, I have tried feeding him silverside last night but he is scared of it and hides. Brine shrimp he seems to have a keen sense of smell for but has not eaten it. what else would you recommend I try? <#1: Patience. A healthy eel won't starve, many morays need days to weeks until they have overcome the stress of capture and changing homes, some larger ones need even months. #2: Keep it free of stress in the new tank, a stressed eel will not eat, especially when it feels by you. #3 adequate food: The diet of G. melatremus mostly consists of crustaceans, and to a smaller percentage of fish (although they often eat small fishy tank mates in captivity). Get some raw, frozen shrimps (no freeze dried krill) of adequate size (or cut them into smaller pieces). What is also eaten are scallops, clams, mussels and cephalopods like squid. Thaw them prior to feeding and add some vitamins once a week. #4: See http://www.wetwebmedia.com/morays.htm and the linked FAQs for further information on feeding, a lot is already written there. Also check the feeding part of this article: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebindex/fwmorayart.htm .> Also recently (yesterday) he became very twitchy, scratching / hitting himself on the live rock in the tank. Now I worry that he may have some sort of parasite but I cannot get a great look at his body (besides his head) for more then a few seconds. My water is fine (0 nitrate 0 nitrite 0 ammonia, 8.2ph 1.023 specific gravity). Any idea what may be causing this "twitching" <Has to adapt to new water parameters. For disease symptoms look for apathy and elaborated breathing.> he was formally in a system which had copper (the store) <Can/likely has damaged the eel, lowered its life expectation. No copper use for Anguilliformes <<= true eels, includes Morays. RMF>> in therapeutic doses.> , but the tank I have him in does not have any copper what so ever. <Good.> Over the last two days he has seemed active enough at night but now he is scratching / twitching a lot, and this in the combination with not eating has me worried... <It can take a while until the moray has adapted to the tank water. If you are concerned watch water parameters and its breathing'¦> Thanks for the help, Matt <Welcome. Marco.>
My Golden Dwarf Moray II, hlth. 12/20/2008
Hey Marco, <Hi Matt.> Thanks a bunch for the info about what this species eats, had no idea. The eels breathing is fine <Good sign.> but his scratching from what I saw is making his gill area on his one side extremely red. <This is a new information. If the gills turn red, I too would take gill parasites into consideration if the water parameters nitrite and ammonia are still 0. Monogenes (Trematodes aka flukes), isopods and copepods are the usual suspects, impossible to ID when still inside the fish. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/parasiti.htm will give you an overview and treatment options. Just avoid copper and use organic chemicals in rather small doses. If the scratching continues I'd start a treatment beginning with a pH and temperature adjusted freshwater bath for 30 minutes or shorter if the eel shows spasms or similar discomfort.> All else that's in the tank is a feather duster a domino damsel and 2 hermits but they don't seem to even care that the eel is there. I just hope it stops soon. Now I also intend to eventually make this a coral tank, seeing at how copper harms them I was curious if any of the trace elements in slightly to high amounts will? (magnesium, calcium, iodine etc.), <No, non-toxic in the usual concentrations found in aquariums. Toxic are copper and similar heavy metals.> might buy a test kit for those any way. Thanks again, Matt <Good luck with your eel. Marco.>

Moray Eel with possible Impaction -- 06/02/08 Hello WWM Crew, <Hi Kevin.> I am having problems with my one moray eel, it is a "Freshwater" Moray Eel, he was living in my marine tank until earlier today. <Very good.> The other fish in the tank are an another freshwater moray eel, a snowflake eel, a marine Betta, and a peppermint shrimp. The tank is a 65 gallon aquarium with a Fluval 404 for filtration. <Skimmer? A fish tank of this size with 3 morays likely will benefit from a strong skimmer.> The freshwater morays get fed mainly silversides, as well as pieces of shrimp (the snowflake gets a different diet). They freshwater morays get fed once a week till they are full as they are somewhat larger (approx. 14-16"). I hope this is enough information. <Water parameters'¦> Today the smaller of my freshwater moray eels started to act odd. <What did it do?> He was moved to a ten gallon tank with an AC 20 for filtration, as in addition to two open sores on his body, he was unable to swim around and his body near his anus and the anus itself were swollen. My worry is that he has become impacted. I dropped the salinity of the quarantine tank from 1.022 to 1.014. I did this because the moray was breathing very heavily, and have heard that saltwater has less dissolved oxygen than freshwater. What should i do? <Where are those sores from? Can the morays burn themselves at the heater? Are those bite marks? Find and remove the cause of the sores. With regard to the swelling, I'd add some Epsom salt (1-2 tablespoons of Epsomite per 10 gallons water). Check the water quality (esp. Ammonia, Nitrates, pH, what you describe could also be symptoms of nitrogenous poisoning) in the quarantine as well as in the display tank and improve it by water changes if necessary (any ammonia, nitrates >30-35 ppm). Do you administer vitamin additions? If not, you should do so, because freezing and thawing of silversides destroys necessary vitamins, which long turn harms the immune system or leads to nerve damages (lack of vitamin B). Mussel, clam and scallop meat as well as cephalopods (Squid, calamares, octopus) are useful food items in order to widen the variety.> Thank you. Kevin <Good luck. Marco.>
Moray Eel with possible Impaction II -- 06/03/08
Thanks for the reply. <No problem, Kevin.> Things haven't gotten must better with the moray. <I'm sorry to hear that.> I have a skimmer for the tank but have not been using it as it has created some very small bubbles which seemed to affect the breathing of the fish. Because of this I was doing water changes more frequently. Water parameters are as follows, Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 50 mg/L. My test kit said this amount would not harm the fish but I have since done a 25% water change on the main tank. <Good. While these parameters are not necessarily dangerous by themselves, it would be good if you could get the skimmer working long term. The WWM section 'bubble trouble' might be helpful http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bubtroubfaqs.htm . But this can be done in a days or even a few weeks, let's get back to the moray.> The quarantine tank test the same except for 5mg/L nitrate. <Good.> It acted odd by being out in the open, not hiding in the tubing and caves in the tank, it also was not swimming properly and was unable to move out of a semi curled up position, kind of in the shape of a "C". <This does not sound good to me.> I believe that the sores are from the live rock located throughout the tank. <Hard to believe, only if some rocks would have fallen onto the eel. Is a clear picture possible?> I do not administer vitamin additions. <You should, for the long term health of the fishes.> Since yesterday she has gotten worse, I say she because it appears that it is a her, as her anus has opened and what appear to be eggs are coming out of it. <Morays have expelled eggs several times in captivity. Are these perfect small little slightly colored or clear balls (diameter about 1-2 mm for this species) or irregular and slimy (faeces)? Do you have a picture? If it is faeces at least the impaction seems to be solved, if it is eggs let us hope this does not stress the eel too much. The sores might be bite marks from mating. On some morays where mating behaviour was observed the males bit the female, but sometimes healthy eels might bite weak or sick ones when noticing their weakened state.> Her skin is peeling in places near to the sores, and in addition to this she is not breathing very well. She occasionally stops breathing <To save energy. That is not a good sign.> , during these times I send water through her mouth and gills using a dropper, <I would not do that. Too much stress.> I also increased aeration through the use of an airstone. <Much better. I hope the eel also has some shelter to feel protected in quarantine.> Would API Aquarium Salt work in place of Epsom Salt, as this is essentially the only salt available around here. <No, that's different, but the possible impaction seems to be solved with something coming out of her anus.> Thanks for the help. Kevin. <Not too much you can do to help her, mostly watch and do not stress the animal. Provide enough oxygen with the air stone and the AC on full power to create a sufficient surface current. If the sores should significantly grow in size, you should consider an antibiotic treatment (if you have the chance in cooperation with a vet). The natural way of healing would be that a thin layer of whitish skin will develop on the sores (starts some days after the wound was created), while significant growth of the wound can indicate a bacterial infection. Identify what was coming out of the eel or send a picture. I wish you good luck and still hope this moray will get well again. Marco.>

Malnourished Moray 8/23/05 My snowflake eel is about 3-4 years old.  He's about 18 inches long and 2 inches diameter.  He usually eats 1-2 medium frozen shrimp every other day. <Needs a wider range of nutrification...>   Day before yesterday he only had 3 bites (about 1/2 shrimp).  This would not concern me except that tonight he did the same and he has local swelling around and behind his left eye.  About 1/2 inch diameter and 1/4 to 1/2 inch raised.  I'm not sure if I should try to treat this.  As rapid as it has come on, I'm not sure he'll survive if it grows much faster/bigger. R. Rodriguez <Please read re Moray Foods...: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/morayfdgfaqs.htm I would try soaking whatever foods this animal will still take in diluted "aquarium" iodine/ate, Selcon or equivalent... this may be a simple goiter... or other result of avitaminosis. Bob Fenner>
Re: snowflake eel  9/13/05
He died a few days later.  Water quality was good.  Any suggestions as to what could have come on so quick? <The swelling... may have been evidence of an internal tumor, perhaps a cumulative nutritional deficiency... Impossible to say. Bob Fenner>

Bloated Moray? I have a Jewel Moray Eel that is 7-8 years old. The eel has been in my tank for 2 years now. Within the last 3 weeks the eel has put on a lot of weight in the stomach area, I only feed once or twice a week and everything has been fine up to now. I'm wondering if it's pregnant? bloated? The eel still moves around and eats but it looks like it's going to burst. <Might be a gut blockage... I would cut way back on feeding it... just some food, once a week> The eel is 20" and tankmates are triggers, lionfish, harlequin tusk in a 125g. and all my water is perfect. Thank you for any advice to save my underwater friend. Tracey <If the blockage continues, I would add a level teaspoon of Epsom Salt per ten actual gallons of water to the system. Bob Fenner> 

Sick Zebra Moray Eel <Hi, MikeD here> I have a 2 ft eel that up to very recently was doing well. I found him today breathing rapidly with his head leaning on a rock (left side) and with only his right gill pouch protruding out more than I ever noticed before.<That's not good> My first thought was that he has something caught in his throat as he usually breathes evenly through both pouches.  When he tried to move positions, I noticed that his body quivered and like one would with a chill or seizure. I fed him 4 days ago 3-4 silver slides but not interested in eating now.<This is part of your problem....I'm surprised it ate them at all. These are specialized crustacean predators, requiring a diet of shrimp, lobster, squid and crabs> I had him for about a month or so and his diet consists of these fish (silver sides).<OK...this is part of the problem. These are an oily, fatty fish not normally suggested for these> That was the store told me to feed him.<Ouch! So much for stores. God only knows how long they were feeding it these. He lives in a 120 gallon aquarium with 2 angels 1 squirrel fish and a clownfish.<Good combination.> Occasionally the small black angel fish (about 2-3 inches) has tried to peck at him but otherwise there is no stress from other tank mates.<Do you have enough LR so that he can stay completely hidden, with just his head exposed?> He was well until recently and the only change I made before his condition changed was to do a water change and I expected that this would improve the environment not make things worse.<Likewise> The PH is 7.9-8.0 . Ammonia and nitrites is zero and nitrates is 5   Could this be due to some bacterial infection from  bad fish food, bad chemistry or diet issues?<All three is possible and likely. My only suggestion would be try a good antibiotic regimen in a quarantine tank and make a trip to the supermarket for a diet change. Raw shrimp ought to be eagerly welcomed if it can be tempted to eat.> What can I do to help him?<Keep your fingers crossed too.> I appreciate any help that you could offer. Linda.
Sick Zebra Moray
<Hi, Mike D here> Thanks for your speedy response. I wish I had received the instructions from the store on the crustacean diet at the outset.<me too> I tried to give some raw shrimp to give to the eel but he unfortunately was not interested in eating.<That's not good> I have a lot of live rock creating hiding places but nothing enclosed like a cave where there is only one way in and out.<Many people bury PVC pipe in the substrate so that the eel can use it like a tunnel with just the head protruding, the normal position for them.> I did take notice that the little black angel is very aggressive towards the eel and took every opportunity to nip at his body. I did not think that this was so much a problem.<It isn't. Many fish will "mob" a moray whenever they see them out, much like crows with a hawk.> The eel still moves around the tank but not swimming as before but rather on the gravel dragging his body (body appears stiff).<Swimming wasn't a good sign either, but it sounds to have gotten worse>  I wonder if  he has sustained a bunch of wounds from this fish?<Doubtful...they make wallets from this tough hide, plus they secrete a very heavy slime coat> I did remove the aggressive fish from the tank.<put the angel back and remove the eel for treatment> Can you tell me what kind of antibiotic product I should obtain for the tank? Should I be adding anything else to the tank?<I suggest NEVER treat you fish in your main tank. It can destroy the bacterial balance, causing the whole tank to cycle at times, create a bacterial bloom that's often fatal, and/or some products, like copper will actually chemically bond to the LR and substrate. I suggest keeping a 10 or 20 gal. tank around to press into service as a hospital tank (do a search under "hospital tank" and you should find a wealth of information on filters and such. A good antibiotic is Nitrofurazone and Furazolidone>  like that stress coat product?< Probably not necessary as eels secrete a copious amount of slime already.> Thanks so very much for your help!!<The very best of luck to you> Linda

- Sick Snowflake - Can someone please help me? <I can try.> I have a snowflake eel that is dying.  He is about 5 weeks old and was doing fine 2 days ago, but last night I found him just lying on the bottom of the tank.  It looked like he might have gotten his head stuck under a rock but I don't think so because when I pulled him out there wasn't any resistance.  He tried to swim but all he did was slide across the bottom of the tank upside down.  It looked like the front half of him was rigid (unable to move) while the back half of him was able to move.  Now this morning all he does is lay there gasping for air.  Someone please help. I have since changed 20% water and noticed my ph a little low so I added some buffer to help raise it and added an air stone to my filter to try adding more oxygen. He has also only been feed frozen shrimp since I have had him. PLEASE any help would be greatly appreciated. <My friend, it sounds to me like you've done everything that can be done at this point. Sometimes it just happens that we [meaning it's happened to me too] get compromised livestock that appears relatively healthy but quickly deteriorates in our care. I'm not sure I can do much beyond offer my sincere hope that this eel pulls through - time will tell.> Thanks Mark Tank-30gal long Ammonia-.25 Nitrite-0 Nitrate-15 Salinty-1.025 Ph-8.2 Dkh-11 Calcium-400 <Cheers, J -- >

Re: please help quickly!! hey guys-     it appears my Hawaiian dragon moray is dying. i have him in a 265g tank. he is lying out inj full view upside down, losing colors, mouth shut and barely any gill movement. ph is about 8.1 and my ammonia alert reads safe and the salinity is .024, temp 81F there are no obvious signs of disease or parasite. he lost his appetite about 2 weeks ago and has not eaten since. i don't know what to do please help, Justin <Yikes. Sorry for the delayed response (have been out for a few days). First, I would not trust the Ammonia Alert... do get/use a test kit in addition. I do hope you tried a massive water change here... there might have been some sort of poisoning involved here. What is the history of the care of this animal? What have you been feeding it? What other organisms are being kept with it (gives clues)? Bob Fenner>
Re: please help quickly!! Moray health
bob-      i had bought him 3 months ago. he has always been healthy, i fed him shrimp w vitamin supplements for the first month and a half, then switched to squid, a which point he stopped eating about two weeks ago. the eel has died. Tankmates were 5 asst. damsels, Koran angel, red hermit, blue spiny lobster and a black long spine urchin. if you have any ideas please let me know, i would like to know what caused his death so i can learn from this sad experience. p.s. all other fish and inverts are alive and well. <Sorry to hear of your loss... this is one of my favorite species of marine fishes... always exciting to collect in Hawai'i. Don't know what the cause is, but would vary the diet with all morays. Bob Fenner>

Gymnothorax favagineus Hi Mr. Fenner, Stumbled onto the Wet Web Media site this morning in desperation for help in treating my eel. <Glad for the first... the second...> Tessy, our Gymnothorax Favagineus has been with us for some nine years, and until recently has been extremely healthy. We have housed her in a 125 acrylic aquarium this entire stint with the same filtration, of undergravel filtration with 850 powerheads, Eheim filtration, with surface extractor. Tessy, is about 3 and a half feet long, is fed once every other week, to every third week. Her diet consists of squid only, she has had tank mates in the past but since eating a beautiful grouper about six months ago (they were together for years?), has been by herself. I removed a four inch in diameter by 3+ foot piece of PVC that she liked to be in, but looked bad in the aquarium. <Okay> That's the long story, here's the problem. Though she still is eating regularly, but sparsely, she seems to be choking on the second or third squid piece. More noticeable, and a huge concern is externally, she possess a bumpy mucus like membrane, about 12inches towards the middle part of her body. Also, her head area has shed her outer most layers of skin, and showed signs of hemorrhage/bleeding. This has been for about six weeks, and I have had an aquarium business before, so I am somewhat familiar with marine fish. This one has stumped me, so I'm in dire need of direction. <Ahh, could be... a resultant infection from...? Getting stabbed swallowing the grouper?... A resulting condition from a lack of nutrition?... an exclusive diet of squid can't be all that good for your Tesselata... A result of some of the above, none of it, stress from having its home/PVC pipe removed....?> In treatment of Tessy, since I don't like to medicate, I thought first to add some aloe Vera based Kordon product, then this past week I gave a go of the Melafix Treatment for seven days. This seems to have helped some, lets say it has "stabilized", but not cured the problem. I did a water change, @ 25% this morning, I use a nitrate reducer, have to do frequent water changes, bi-monthly due to continued elevated nitrate levels. PH is good 8.2, temp. @ 80, add buffer to raise PH, salinity @ 1.022.  <All good things for a large captive aquatic animal in a small space... might lower the temperature a bit... to among other things increase gas solubility, lower metabolism...> Seems to also be looking for additional oxygen, been breathing labored. Any help to this problem would be appreciated, going to try another week of Melafix? Thanks, Blake <Do lower the temperature, add a long airstone at least along one side of the 125... maybe another powerhead... if you have a canister filter, I'd rig this up with a couple, three units of Chemipure or equivalent... And I'd do all this ASAP. Bob Fenner>

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