Common Moray Eel

Family: Muraenidae Picture of a Common Moray EelGymnothorax kidakoPhoto © Animal-World: Courtesy David Brough
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When I was scuba diving, I saw one of these moray eels and it was close to 6 feet! They are one big eel.  joe

   Moray Eels are true eels. Usually when the Common Moray Eel arrives at a marine fish supplier, they are juveniles, about 8-10 inches long.

   This Common Moray Eel is about 2 1/2 feet. They are very colorful with interesting patterns. The Common Moray Eel will usually hang out in it's hole with it's head poking out. Their mouths gape as they respire showing off their long teeth which is often mistaken as a sign of aggression.

For more Information on keeping this fish see:
Guide to a Happy, Healthy Marine Aquarium


Geographic Distribution
Gymnothorax kidako
Data provided by FishBase.org
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Actinopterygii
  • Order: Anguilliformes
  • Family: Muraenidae
  • Genus: Gymnothorax
  • Species: kidako
Yellow Edged Moray Eel
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Yellow Edged Moray Eel - Gymnothorax flavimarginatus

The yellow edged moray eel (Gymnothorax flavimarginatus) is a member of the family Muraenidae. The yellow-edged morays commonly inhabit drop-offs in coral or rocky areas of reef flats and protected shorelines to seaward reefs. The depth of the eel in the video is evident from the need for a light. They feed on cephalopods, fishes, and crustaceans. Their distribution includes the Indo-Pacific from the Red Sea and South Africa eastward to the Tuamotus and Austral islands, north to the Ryukyu and Hawaiian islands, south to New Caledonia, and in the eastern Pacific from Costa Rica, Panama and the Galapagos Islands. They can be found at depths as deep as 150 m (500 ft.). Yellow-edged morays can reach a length of up to 240 cm. (7.9 ft.) and are suitable only for very large aquariums.

Kidako Moray Eel (Gymnothorax kidako)
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Video of a pair of Kidako Morays in the wild

This video demonstrates the sheer size of these eels! Reaching 39.4," they will need a tank that is at least 160 gallons and at least 24" to 30" deep to prevent them from using their muscular body to leverage the lid off the tank! They will eat pretty much anything else you put in the tank, but you can lessen predation by feeding them with a feeding stick just outside of their hideout. This may train them to learn to wait for food and not search for it while you sleep, but no promises are being made here! They can live up to 30 years, with some sources stating even longer, so they will need an aquarist willing to keep them for their entire life span.

Moray Eel (Gymnothorax kidako)
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Two Kidako Moray Eels in captivity.

The great thing about this video is that is shows the variation in the lighter coloring of the Kidako Moray Eel. One is an off white and brown, while the other holds the more golden yellow and brown coloring. These eels are being kept in a holding tank. Such a set up would be highly stressful for them long term. They need a very large tank. This eel is becoming harder to find and they are actually eaten in some areas of Japan.

Maintenance difficulty:

   The Common Moray Eel is easy to keep. Most eels are very hardy and readily eat all kinds of live and meaty foods.

Maintenance:

   Feed all kinds of live fish and meaty foods. Use a poker if necessary at first to place the food right in front of their mouth. Don't worry if it doesn't eat for a while at first, they can go for several weeks without food (and often do).

Habitat: Natural geographic location:

   Common Moray Eel are found in the Indo-Pacific.

Foods:

   They feed mainly on small fishes in the wild with an occasional invertebrate.

Social Behaviors:

   Sociable and peaceful, can be considered a community fish as long as the tankmates are not small enough to eat!

Sex: Sexual differences:

   Unknown.

Breeding/Reproduction:

   Probably not possible in the aquarium. See Breeding Marine Fish page for a description of how they reproduce in the wild.

   Several freshwater species are known to lay their eggs in the ocean and die afterwards.

Light: Recommended light levels:

   No special requirements.

Temperature:

   No special requirements. Normal temperatures for marine fish is between 74 and 79 degrees Fahrenheit.

Length/Diameter of fish:

   Common Moray Eel adults can grow to 80cm (32 inches).

Minimum Tank Length/Size:

   A minimum 100 gallon aquarium is recommended.

Water Movement: Weak, Moderate, Strong

   No special requirements.

Water Region: Top, Middle, Bottom

   Will generally stay in the bottom of the aquarium. Will find a cave or crawl under a rock and spend most of their time there with only their heads sticking out.

Availability:

   This fish is available from time to time.

Author: David Brough. CFS.
Lastest Animal Stories on Common Moray Eel


joe - 2010-02-22
When I was scuba diving, I saw one of these moray eels and it was close to 6 feet! They are one big eel.

  • Jeremy Roche - 2012-10-26
    They are amazing eels.  Many in popular dive areas will see divers as a great source to get food.  And will take food right from divers.
Reply
Jeff - 2011-01-01
I just purchased a 2'ft brackish water Marble Moray Eel. What is the best food for it and the best time to feed it?

  • Jeremy Roche - 2012-10-26
    I have always used jumbo krill and introduce it with tongs right infront of their face.
Reply