Mini reef aquarium guide. Reef aquarium setup for large reef tanks, Nano reef tanks, Pico reef or MIcro reef aquariums with reef tank lighting, filtration, choosing coral reef animals, and problem solving!
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.
Banded Snake Eel (Myrichthys columbrinus) displaying typical aquarium behavior.
While the Banded Snake Eel does like to bury itself in the sand, it does become quite active once it senses food. As you can see by the way the eel is "sniffing" around, their eye sight is not perfect. The aquarist is feeding the Banded Snake Eel, krill, which is one of the best foods. Feeding in the same spot in your tank is the best bet, since they will learn where to look. They are easy to feed and care for, with the usual demise being a way out of the tank and onto the floor. Please make sure your lid has no openings and feed your eel when you see him out. They generally come out when hungry and will look everywhere, including the carpet for food!
This video clearly demonstrates why a 30 gallon tank would be too small for a Chain Moray! Like any fish, they love to swim about, and they are mess makers, requiring closer to 100 gallons or more. Chain Morays do not hunt fish, although they can accidentally ingest them, thinking they are crustaceans. Provide a variety of crustacean meats with live crabs for long term survivability.
This video shows how flexible this fish is when it comes to finding food! Flexible in body and in hunting grounds! The Chain Moray will grow up to 28" (71 cm), and requires a tank that is at least 100 gallons. A deeper tank is better than a shallow tank, since the eel can use it's muscular body to dislodge a heavily weighted lid, as it pushes against the floor of the tank! Weekly water changes after feeding is recommended. Feed only 3 to 4 days until they are satisfied!
This video demonstrates how the Banded Snake Eel cannot catch live prey. You can see that he smells something odd, which would be the fresh water feeder shrimp, but cannot zero in on the constant movements of these shrimp. Frustrated, at the end he goes back under the sand. Later, when these shrimp die, he will come back out and eat them. Notice he pays no mind to the slow moving clownfish. Banded Snake Eels are great additions to your tank and should be house with peaceful fish. Feed them thawed silversides and krill, however, they will not eat freeze dried krill. These pieces of food should be the size of their mouth.
As you can see, the searching habits are seen in the wild and in captivity. Notice the face and head. It is not sharp and pointed and the Banded Snake Eel only has blunt teeth on their jaws to grab onto and eat dead fish, including some fish that may have buried themselves in the sand and died, shrimp and worms. They have an insanely keen sense of smell, but poor eyesight and are almost clumsy. This is not a live fish or shrimp eater by any means! They grow up to 34.6" (88 cm) and are fine in a tank with sand, peaceful tank mates, and a tank that is 24" or deeper and at least 4 feet wide. Feed thawed silversides and krill.
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.
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.
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There are actually two eels in the picture above. One is what is commonly called a "Moray Eel"Gymnothorax kidako, while the other is probably what is called "Chainlink Moray Eel", Echidna catenata. Both eels are about 2.5 feet long and so require a good 150 gallon aquarium. While eels normally eat small fishes and a few invertebrates, the genus Echidna, like the chainlink eel above, have teeth that are modified to crush the shells and carapaces of crustaceans and molluscs. Some morays even eat sea Urchins.
There are about 20 other families of eels, the moray is the most commonly kept in aquaria and are the family mostly covered here. As soon as we get specimens and/or pictures of other kinds, we will include them also.
This is a nocturnal family of fish that lives in holes and caves in the reef and snatching any hapless fish that may wander by. They are undemanding in the aquarium as long as they have plenty of room, a place to hide, and plenty of food. Morays locate food mainly with their sense of smell.
In captivity eels will eat almost any kind of meaty food like live fish, shrimp, squid, and chopped up fish. In the wild squid is a delicacy so make sure and give them some once in a while.
Morays locate food mainly with their sense of smell. Watch your fingers when feeding a Moray since their eyesight is not very good and it is easy to mistake your fingers for a morsel of food.
Everything we have found on the subject indicates that they are not commonly bred in captivity for several reasons. First they will not breed until they are very large and have outgrown most aquariums. Also, morays, with the exception of ribbon eels, are what is called 'gonochoristic'. The female will spawn either as a pair or with several smaller males. At dusk the eggs are released and are basically pelagic. The larval stage of the eel lasts for 6-10 months and so makes it difficult to reproduce in the aquarium.