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FAQs about Zebra Moray Eel Identification

Related FAQs: Zebra Morays 1, Zebra Morays 2, Zebra Moray Behavior, Zebra Moray Compatibility, Zebra Moray Selection, Zebra Moray Systems, Zebra Moray Feeding, Zebra Moray Disease, Zebra Moray Reproduction, Moray Eels in General, Moray Identification, Moray Selection, Moray Behavior, Moray Compatibility, Moray Systems, Moray Feeding, Moray Disease, Moray Reproduction, Freshwater Moray Eel FAQs, Snowflake Morays, Ribbon Moray Eels, Other Marine Eels

Related Articles: Zebra MorayRibbon Morays

Zebra Moray, ID   12/15/08 Hi Crew, Bob in particular here maybe....? <No, sorry, you got Marco.> I have ordered a Zebra Moray from my local retailer, it took them a month to kindly get it for me, and it has now been in the shop for exactly a week. The eel is nearly two foot long, and is in a very small tank (about 14inches), which is brightly lit and he has a single piece of piping that is obviously not adequate for him to hide in. The eel is not yet feeding, but seems ok in behaviour, poking his head up at the front of the glass, but not particularly reactive to movement outside of his tank. He seems quite thin, his head is noticeably wider than his body and has the look of a young eel to me. I have three questions: 1) The white stripes of this moray are not really that white at all, they are more a light brownish colour. I have not heard of these eels changing their colour depending on mood, environment, but considering the setting that he is in could this be an environmental reaction? <Unlikely. The white of zebra eels can appear like a light tan, especially under yellowish lighting. Are you sure it is a zebra eel Gymnomuraena zebra at all? There is a number of other banded eel species from the Gymnothorax and Echidna genera, some have significantly more yellow stripes.> Are the stripes likely to become whiter if he is feeding/ healthier/ in better, more appropriate setting? <No, only if it is an effect of lighting.> 2) Do younger eels have browner stripes and are they likely to get more white coloured with age? <No. I cannot confirm that from raising zebra eels myself and watching others for years.> 3) The eel is not yet feeding, although it is early days . The shop have been trying to feed it lance fish. I told them that this food is too oily for the fish and he should be fed with crustaceans. I suggested that they put some live ghost shrimp in to get him going and they did so immediately, but the eel showed no interest at all. In fact, the two shrimp were climbing all over his head. Apparently he was feeding at TMC before they picked him up, so it is a little worrying that he is not feeding now. Should I break the 'never purchase a fish until it is feeding' rule here, as I know that I am more likely to be able to tempt it to feed in my QT tank, which is 60 gallon and full of live rock, and can be dimly lit if necessary. <I would give it a try, but it also has to be noted that the risk of loosing the animal is higher compared to a well fed and eating specimen. Anyway, the risk of loosing an otherwise healthy Gymnomuraena zebra due to starvation is rather small. They are tough and can go without food for months.> If the stripes are brownish because the eel is not happy, and he is already thin, I am worried that he will not feed at all in the shop. <Well possible, cramped in such tiny quarters. I would also let the shop owner know that such an environment is inadequate as a quarantine or sale system for a 2� eel.> Thank you for your time, Simon. <Welcome. Feel free to send a picture to confirm its ID if you think it might be helpful. Marco.>

Zebra Moray II  12/15/08 Thanks Marco for your very prompt help! <Welcome.> The eel is definitely a Gymnomuraena zebra. I will speak to the shop and see if he can be moved to larger quarters for a while. If this is not possible then I will take the eel and try to feed him myself. <Good plan. Live crabs are irresistible to them in my experience. You can ask at the store if they got some unwanted Mithrax (or similar) hitchhikers in their last live rock delivery. I also used crabs from the North Sea. Next, I used dead crabs of the same genus and finally they accepted shrimps, prawns and mussel flesh with time.> On another note, after reading every FAQ you have on the zebra moray, I notice that Anthony described them as 'protogynous hermaphrodites'. <This is correct.> Would my 180 gallon tank be large enough for two of them, <Yes.> and if so, does this mean that one will change sex and become the female? <No. G. zebra are born as females and can change their sex to males (if they would change to females like Rhinomuraena, it'd be called a protandric hermaphrodite). It is unknown what triggers the change and if all specimens change in nature, at least all seem to have the potential. It is also unknown how this species can be sexed externally, but it can be speculated that the males may have less teeth.> If I were to add another, would it be better to add the second at a different size than the first? <The ideal case would be a mated pair, which would be imported, bought and put in the display tank together. The next best case would be two morays of equal size put in the tank at the same time. If you add a second eel later, it generally is better, if the new kid is slightly larger than the old resident. G. zebra is the most peaceful moray, but I know one case from other hobbyists in which a G. zebra killed a small moray of another species added to the tank. In another case a smaller G. zebra eel was permanently bitten by a larger specimen and had to be removed. So, while chances are good that 2 G. zebra will work, failure is still possible. Chances are best if the second eel is slightly larger.> Thanks a lot, Simon <Welcome. Marco.>

Re: Zebra Moray II... comp., repro.   12/16/08 Thanks again Marco - every day is a school day, eh? <Life would be boring without learning something new everyday, wouldn't it?> Soooo.... If the second Zebra is accepted by the first as a tankmate, is this a guarantee that one will change sex and thus create a pair, or is it possible for them both to remain females and still live together peacefully? <Both is possible. Since they cannot be sexed externally it is not known if those specimens, who live together peacefully in captivity are mated pairs or not. But I guess (!) one may change, because this can be observed in other fish groups. You will not know for sure until they produce fertilized eggs.> I spoke to the LFS and they have moved the Moray into one of their coral tanks that is much larger. <Ah, good.> I'm going to check him out tomorrow. <I hope �he� is fine.> Cheers, Simon <Good luck with your possible future moray. Marco.>

Zebra eel Hi, Please kindly advise me what kind of Zebra eel that i am having. I have seen quite a lot of them at my local shops. Most of them have more brown than white. My is the opposite. Look at the attached photos and you will know what i mean. Thank You. Best regards. Desmond.  Singapore. <Neat... an unusual color variant of Gymnomuraena zebra I think. Bob Fenner>

Zebra Moray Eel I have two Zebra Moray Eels and one is black with white stripes and the other is white with black stripes. How Do I determine the male from the female is there a specific marking or etc. <I have never heard of Zebra morays being sexually dichromatic.  Are they different sizes?  Usually juveniles have thicker white stripes compared to the adults.  Full grown ones will have very thin white stripes on a dark brown base.>  

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