The Spotted Snake Eels

Animal-World’s Newest Featured Animals are: The Amazing Spotted Snake Eels!

Out of all the salt-water fish I have ever owned, I have to say the Snake Eels of the Myrichthys genus have always been my favorites! Watching them bury under the sand, leaving just their head sticking out, is the funkiest thing you’ll ever see. But the coolest part of owning them is that they will eat silversides right from your hand! And if they accidentally grab your finger, it never hurts becuase they grab and swallow their prey rather than biting it.

I will refer to these as Spotted Snake Eels, because, well they are spotted! Two similar species are the Spotted or Tiger Snake Eel Myrichthys maculosus and the Magnificent Snake Eel Myrichthys magnificus, and these two are similar in care as well. Both are a creamy off white with large brown spots all over their bodies. But the Magnificent Snake Eel is a light tan color with large brown spots while the Tiger Snake Eel seems to be more of a creamy white and with slightly smaller dark brown spots.

Spotted Snake Eel Myrichthys maculosus in nature. Photo Wiki Commons, Couresty Qwertzy2 Licensed under Creative Commons ShareAlike 3.0 Unported

In the wild Snake Eels are very friendly to divers, readily coming up to them and investigating. The Spotted or Tiger Snake Eel is found in the Indo-Pacific and the Magnificent Snake Eel is found in the Eastern Central Pacific, including the Hawaiian Islands. So if you were diving there on vacation, you may very well have seen this eel.

Many retailers and people confuse the Spotted Snake Eels with the Sharptail Snake Eel Myrichthys breviceps, which is nowhere near as attractive. The Spotted ones can be readily distinguished because the spots on their faces are also large, unlike the tiny dots you will find on the Sharptail Snake Eel. Another member, the Banded Snake Eel Myrichthys columbrinus, is banded in black and white, but is also similar in care.

Spotted Snake Eels make great pets!

I own the Spotted or Tiger Snake Eel M. maculosus. Of course we named ours “Spot” because well, what else are you going to name one? This eel is great at stirring the sand bed and as a juvenile it came out every day to eat, although as an adult it only comes out every other day to eat. When it comes out to eat it will swim around the tank, which either elates or scares whoever is visiting our home at the time!

Although they are said to be hard to feed, personally I have never had one refuse thawed frozen krill or silversides. I feed 2 or 3 skinny silversides at a time, or until it is full, and then they’re good to go! After filling their bellies, they will bury themselves under the sand until they get hungry again.

The Spotted Snake Eels will grow up to about 30″ (78 cm) in length, but the girth of their body is similar to the girth of your thumb. Due to their skinny girth, they do not produce as much waste as a full-bodied eel of the same length. Consequently they are not as sensitive to water conditions as butterflyfish or angelfish types, which adds to the joy of owning one.

The most difficult thing about their care is that they are incredible escape artists, making Houdini look like an idiot! The one thing to be aware of is tank decor and equipment that offers any type of escape. If you can stick your finger in a hole, such as in some water pumps, the Spotted Snake Eel will more than likely be able to go through as well. The worst thing they will do in a reef tank is knock a coral over, but most aquarists know how to secure corals. My Snake Eel has never ever gone after any of my fish, and has not bothered any invertebrates.

Finding a Spotted Snake Eel will take some work and they are not cheap. But if you have a tank that has a tight fitting lid and are willing to make sure they are fed daily or every other day when adults, then go for it! With any of the Myrichthys species you will enjoy the oddity of their behavior, and a pet like quality that differs from the typical saltwater fish!

Spotted Snake Eel Myrichthys maculosus in the aquarium

Tips for housing Spotted Snake Eels in the saltwater aquarium

A tank that is at least 4 feet or longer is best for these thin elongated fish. They are great with normal tropical water temperatures and pH and they are not picky about any light or water movement. It is obvious by their burrowing habits that a sand bed is needed. Larger, more abrasive substrates such as crushed coral may lacerate their skin. Mine have always done well with 2″ of sand.

Be sure you have the aquarium covered with a very tight fitting lid. To prevent escape you must be able to seal off the top of the tank with only enough room for tubing to fit. Egg crate lids will not work as these eels can wiggle right through them as juveniles and young adults. They will come out looking for food and if they find a hole, will wiggle right through it and out of the tank!

The best tank is one that is completely sealed on top with an overflow. Make sure they cannot go over the edge of the over flow, because they will! The teeth or grating of the overflow at the top should reach and meet the lid, with no gaps. Most saltwater tanks are open on top because of the need for air exchange at the surface. When keeping a Spotted Snake Eel, you can add oxygen into the tank by adding an air pump and using fittings that make large bubbles instead. It is a little messier, but then what saltwater tank isn’t a little messy anyway?

If you have a pump that has any open holes at the bottom or sides, then it is just a matter of time before the eel will wiggle into it. It can get killed that way. Sicce Voyager pumps are better than Hydora Korolia pumps to use with these eels because they do not have any open holes that an eel can wiggle into.

Tips for feeding Spotted Snake Eels

As far as feeding them, it has been observed that they are very smart and will look for food in the same spot each time! My first Spotted Snake Eel I had when I was a noob saltwater tank owner. I hand fed it at the top of the water. So one day we came home and Spot was dried up on the floor. He was probably popping his head out of the water looking for food and jetted himself right out and over! My next Spotted Snake Eel, which I obtained years later, is fed at the bottom of the tank in a little rock opening. Consequently he only goes there in search of food.

Health Tips for Spotted Snake Eels

Spotted Snake Eels are disease resistant, but with no scales, so don’t treat their tank with any copper medications. If it should happen that you find your seemingly “dead” snake eel out of its tank, do NOT assume it is dead. Put it back in the tank for at least an hour. They have a defense mechanism that protects them from exposure to air for several hours. I learned this the hard way!

Carrie McBirney is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.

The Coral Triangle, an Awesome Visage to be Spotlighted by Animal Planet

The Coral Triangle seen in the Philippines

If you’ve ever had the opportunity to scuba dive, the area known as the “coral triangle” is a part of our world that offers a panorama of beauty to sate every artist’s palette.

Animal Planet, a unit of Discovery Communications, plans to share a bird’s eye view of the incredible life swirling beneath the waves of our vast oceans. “WILD DEEP” will be presented as a six-part televised documentary with the first episode featuring “The Coral Triangle” debuting on Tuesday, January 22, at 9:00pm ET/PT.

In the Animal Planet WILD DEEP press release they say the documentary will showcase “the amazing wonders and epic beauty that exist in Earth’s seas and oceans.” Their first episode will start “with a deep dive into the waters of the Coral Triangle near Asia.” Subsequent episodes will involve “series dives into the waters surrounding Africa, Europe, Oceania and the Americas to showcase the dramatic, complex universes beneath their waves.”

Coral Triangle covers 5.7 million square kilometers in the Southwestern Pacific Ocean, encompassing Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Timor Leste and the Solomon Islands.

The Coral Triangle covers 5.7 million square kilometers in the Southwestern Pacific Ocean. It is a roughly shaped triangular region encompassing Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Timor Leste and the Solomon Islands.

Each episode of the Animal Planet documentary should be a fascinating adventure, but the Coral Triangle region will definitely be a highlight.

The waters of this area are teeming with vast and extremely diverse life forms. Besides being known as the “coral triangle” it is also called the “Amazon of the seas”, reflecting the great Amazon Basin region which is re-known for the extraordinary beauty and diversity of its own inhabitants.

Even a single coral head is covered with multiple coral species and a variety of saltwater fish

When we see ocean corals and fish above water, viewed in the full spectrum of light offered by aquariums, photos, or videos, we can see the incredible colors they possess.

Yet under water, the red spectrum of light becomes reduced the deeper you go, and the animals present a much more even palette. A soothing elegance of interconnected color is created beneath the waves. Though not necessarily flamboyant, this natural deep-water setting offers an awesome, yet curiously comforting scene.

The The Coral Triangle Center states that “a full 76 percent of known coral species are found here and 37 percent of reef fish species.” Now that’s a lot of critters! There are extensive mangrove forests in the region. Mangrove swamps grow along coastal regions and have massive root systems that are efficient at dissipating wave energy, so they protect the coastal areas from erosion, storm surges, and tsunamis. But they also provide valuable nursery areas for all sorts of aquatic animals.

The Coral Triangle is incredibly diverse with 76 percent of the world’s reef corals and hundreds of saltwater fish species

The reef areas are also rich in life, with animals ranging from corals and fish to many types of invertebrates and algaes. They offer spawning and breeding grounds too, for whales and dolphins, sea turtles, and huge fisheries. According to the Coral Triangle Center, the life encountered in this region has “sustained sea faring island people for millennia.”

The Center says that today this incredible habitat “is recognized as the global centre of marine biodiversity and a global priority for conservation.” The diversity of these reef are the seeding stock for future coral reefs, and can help “ensure adaptation as our natural communities respond to climate change and other global trends.”

GMA News reports that the Coral Triangle region has been recognized “as an area of acute ecological importance and of great concern by many governments”. Countries including Indonesia, Malaysia, Timor Leste, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines and the Solomon Islands have come together to form ‘The Coral Triangle Initiative’. GMA reports that the Initiative’s purpose is to urgently spread “ideas about sustainable fishing practices” and to set up “marine reserves across the region to ensure pockets of this fragile ecosystem are protected and allowed to thrive.”

Animal-World provides pictures and information on a large selection of Coral Reef Animals and Saltwater fish, along with detailed information on the care necessary to keep them in a marine aquarium or reef tank.

Clarice Brough is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.

True Percula Clownfish A Sunny Newcomer on Animal-World

October 7, 2013 by  
Filed under Aquariums, Catch All, Saltwater Fish

True Percula Clownfish, Amphiprion percula

Popular and Perky! The True Percula Clownfish Has Just Popped In!

The True Percula clownfish is true to its name, being both a true clownfish and a Percula. But it does have contenders for its title and position in both the fish-identity and fish-keeping worlds! Yet it is still considered perhaps the best all around clownfish for any saltwater fish keeper, beginner to expert.

One of its two contenders is the Ocellaris Clownfish, which is almost identical in looks and tries to steal the show as the star of “Finding Nemo”. But though this fish is adorable it is still held at bay from abducting the Percula’s title and positions, and has even been dubbed the “False” Percula Clownfish!

Surprise, Surprise! The incredibly handsome Maroon Clownfish is the other True Percula contender. Yet the similarities are only found in the genes. This clownfish looks totally different and it is much more irascible!

Yes it’s the True Percula Clownfish Amphiprion percula that is still much sought after. The benefits start with its fantastic looks, and it is also available in 5 different varieties. The bright sunny appearance is topped of with an a great personality, being very hardy, and suitable for all types of tanks. Yup, it’s a great fish for every marine aquarists!

Check out the all time favorite True Percula Clownfish, with pictures and information, including its habitat and aquarium care!

Clarice Brough is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.

Ocellaris Clownfish – the Real “Nemo” is Animal-World’s Newest Arrival

September 29, 2013 by  
Filed under Aquariums, Catch All, Saltwater Fish

The Ocellaris Clownfish Amphiprion ocellaris

Nemo’s been found and his identity revealed, meet the Ocellaris clownfish!

The Ocellaris clownfish is the most recognized little orange saltwater fish in the world. This personable little fish began its long journey to stardom many years ago. Because it is very hardy, it first became an all time favorite of aquarium keepers. Then with its eye-catching appearance, it became the marine fish icon for coffee table books, advertisers, and publishers.

Finally, lo and behold, the movie industry picked up on this illustrious little fish. They dubbed it “Nemo”, and the Ocellaris clownfish became the star of the popular 2003 Pixar film “Finding Nemo”!

The Ocellaris Clownfish Amphiprion ocellarisis not a stand alone in looks however. It’s very close in appearance to the Percula Clownfish Amphiprion percula. In fact they are so similar that the two are often confused, even by the experts. It takes a keen eye and a good memory to discern which is which, and the Ocellaris also became known as the “False” Percula Clownfish.

Learn more about the habitat and care of this personable little celebrity, really known as the Ocellaris Clownfish, and learn how to tell the False Percula Clownfish apart from its look-alike cousin the True Pecula Clownfish!

Clarice Brough is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.

Maroon Clownfish makes its debut as Animal-World’s New Arrival

September 27, 2013 by  
Filed under Aquariums, Catch All, Saltwater Fish

The Maroon Clownfish, Premnas biaculeatus

The Maroon Clownfish could easily be Called “King of the Clowns”

The largest and most dominant of all the clownfish is the elegant Maroon Anemonefish. It is adorned in regal shades of maroon to red, accented with bright yellow or white stripes. Other fish, if they wish to subsist in its domain, live at its discretion and according to its mood!

Yes, the Maroon Clownfish Premnas biaculeatus could be called the king, except for one slight caveat. The female is up to 3 times as big as the male and tough. She’s in charge, and yes, she actually is the ruler. The female controls her environment and all who cross her path. She dominates the home and her empire. Even the male bows down to her wishes.

Perhaps its better to say the Maroon Clownfish could easily be called the “Queen of the Clownfish”! Learn more about the regal and dominant Maroon Clownfish, including its habitat and care!

Clarice Brough is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.

The Allard’s Clownfish, Animal-World’s newest arrival

September 19, 2013 by  
Filed under Aquariums, Catch All, Saltwater Fish

Photo Wiki Commons, Courtesy Amada44
Creative Commons 3.0 Unported License

Trick or Treat starts early with The Allard’s Clownfish

This clown is all decked out for halloween! Its dazzling attire will leave black cats and white ghosts in the dark. The costume is black and orange with bright white bars to rival any glolight. Its bars have a bluish cast and it tail is all white too. It looks a lot like another popular Clown, the Clarkii Anemonefish, but that fellow is a bit more subdued with a yellow tail.

The showy Allard’s Clownfish Amphiprion allardi will make a splash in any aquarium and is highly sought after. But although it is much desired, obtaining it is the trick. This Twobar Anemonefish is rather rare, and when it is found it can cost a pretty penny. But if you can get your hands on one, or better yet on a pair, you’ll have a treat beyond compare. Trick or treat just doesn’t get any better than this!

Get ready to be bewitched! Learn more about the handsome but evasive Allard’s Anemonefish, its habitat and care!

Clarice Brough is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.

A New Arrival on Animal-World: Oman Anemonefish

September 13, 2013 by  
Filed under Aquariums, Catch All, Saltwater Fish

Oman Anemonefish, A clownfish you may have to dive to see!

The Oman Anemonefish Amphiprion omanensis may look like other clownfish at first glance. But it has some awesome “stand alone” characteristics that you just won’t find in another clown.

Picture via hhobler’s YouTube Video Oman Dive Trip 2

For starters it is one of only two clownfish whose tailfin sports a majorly forked lyretail. To make it even more unique its tailfin also has streamers.

There’s several more curious facts about it too, which really make it a stand out from its relatives. These range from more distinctions in its looks, to its behaviors and unique breeding circumstances.

It makes an awesome aquarium fish that’s very hardy and great for any level of aquarist.

But… the Oman Clownfish is so rare, that if you want to see it you may very well have to go diving off the Arabian Penisula. It was said sometime in the early 2000′s that the Sultan of Oman simply doesn’t want anyone “touching his fish”! Go figure! Better yet… go diving!

Learn more about the curious and rare Oman Anemonefish, including its habitat and care!

A New Arrival on Animal-World: Clarkii Clownfish

September 11, 2013 by  
Filed under Aquariums, Catch All, Saltwater Fish

Clarkii Clownfish, Amphiprion clarkii, Clark's Anemonefish, Yellowtail Clownfish

Clarkii Clownfish, Dream Fish for the Beginning Saltwater Aquarist!

The Clarkii Clownfish Amphiprion clarkii has it all! If you’re new to the saltwater aquarium hobby but looking for a fabulous eye catcher, this guys right on the money. A handsome devil with an attitude, it struts its stuff in style.

This is a very hardy clownfish that will make any aquarist proud. Whether your a beginner or advanced, a fish only keeper or a mini reef keeper, the Clark’s Anemonefish can work in almost any tank. And when it comes to needing a host anemone, this fish can take it or leave it. But if you want to keep it with an anemeone it will happily accept any of the 10 regularly available clown-hosting types. Yeah, this guy has it all!

Learn more about the Clarkii Clownfish and how to keep it.

A New Arrival on Animal-World: Three Band Anemonefish

September 4, 2013 by  
Filed under Aquariums, Catch All, Saltwater Fish

Three Band Anemonefish, One of the Greatest Clownfish for beginners!

The Three Band Anemonefish Amphiprion tricinctus is one of those incredibly pretty saltwater clownfish. It immediately draws an audience to its tank where it preforms all those clownish antics its family is re-knowned for. But better than that the Tricinctus Clownfish is very durable and is one of the least aggressive of its group. Truly a beginning saltwater aquarists dream!

Being a rather cheeky little fellow it makes a very personable pet. Which is just another great bonus in keeping this saltwaterfish! Learn more about the Three Band Anemonefish and how to keep it.

A New Arrival on Animal-World: The Vermiculated Angelfish

June 12, 2013 by  
Filed under Aquariums, Catch All, Saltwater Fish

Vermiculated AngelfishVermiculated Angelfish
“I am a Beauty!”

The Vermiculated Angelfish looks strikingly similar to the Butteflyfish!

The Vermiculated Angelfish Chaetodontoplus mesoleucus is a beautiful fish! Its appearance is quite similar to the Butterflyfish. In fact at first glance many people mistake it for a Butterflyfish! It is a smaller fish, reaching about 7 inches (18 cm) in length. It is amazing to look at with extremely blue lips and yellow face. They also have a vertical line on their eyes. Their bodies are two colors; white behind the head which fades into black. This pattern has tiny sprinkles of yellow all through it. The bi-colored body starts out in triangular white patch behind the head fading into a larger black area, accented with a yellow speckled patterning throughout. It kind of appears like there are wavy lines along the body, which is where the “vermiculated” part of their name comes from. Other names this fish is commonly called are the Singapore Angelfish, the Vermiculate Angelfish, and the Red Sea Butterflyfish.

If you are looking for an angelfish of this genus, you won’t have far to look! Being the most common fish available in this genus, you can find it or order it at most saltwater fish stores. There are actually 2 different species that were both thought to be the same species, just with different color tails. The Vermiculated Angelfish was thought to be the yellowtail variation and the other was the graytail variation. In 2009 the graytail variation officially became its own species called Chaetodontoplus poliourus (It has no common name, yet). The Vermiculated Angelfish has also been noted to look like the Indian Yellowtail Angelfish Apolemichthys xanthurus. The main difference between the two is that the Yellowtail Angelfish is smaller (only reaches about 6 inches) and has larger scales on its lateral line.

The Vermiculated Angelfish is a moderately difficult fish to care for. They do make great fish if they adapt to their new environment. Unfortunately, only about 50% of these fish survive in captivity. If they are too stressed out, they will often quit eating and starve themselves to death. A good plan is to keep the aquarium in a quiet room with few visitors to help reduce their stress levels… Read More

More on The Vermiculated Angelfish!

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