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Snowflake Eel Profile

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Scientific Name - Echidna nebulosa

Snowflake Moray Eel

Photo © Debbie and Stan Hauter

Family:

Muraenidae (Moray Eels)

Scientific Name:

Echidna nebulosa (Ahl, 1789)

Other Common Names:

Clouded, Nebulous, and Starry Eel or Moray Eel.

Distribution:

Hawai'i southward to Australia, westward through the islands of the Indo-Pacific to the East Indies, and across the Indian Ocean to the coast of Africa.

Habitat:

Provide with many places to hide, and ample room to move around. Because of this eel's size and strength, rock formations should be stacked firmly to prevent structures from becoming dislodged.

Average Size:

Attains at least three feet (36 inches) in length.

Minimum Tank Size Suggested:

No less than 75 gallons, because it can outgrow a small aquarium in a rather short period of time.

Characteristics and Compatibility:

Although considered to be less-aggressive than other saltwater morays, the Snowflake Eel can become very pugnacious at feeding time. With poor eyesight but a keen sense of smell, when food is detected it emerges from hiding and aggressively searches it out. This moray is best kept with similar in nature aggressive fish species, and ones larger in size than the eel to discourage predation. Can live communally with other eels if plenty of room and shelter is provided. However, an established resident my become aggressive towards a newly added smaller eel, sometimes resulting in cannibalism.

Diet and Feeding:

A predatory bottom-dweller, this carnivore will actively go in search of food. With blunt teeth for crushing its favorite prey, crustaceans, the Snowflake Eel also eats fish. Juvenile and adult specimens alike readily adapt to aquarium life, accepting all types of fresh and frozen fares including clam, crab, shrimp, squid, scallop and fish meat. Usually if well fed, by feeding several times a week of an amount of food to satisfy the eel's appetite, it ignores other tank inhabitants. It is not uncommon for eels to go into a "hybernation" period, often hiding and not eating for several weeks, or longer.

Reef Tank Suitability:

Not considered reef safe. Will eat crustaceans and fish tankmates.

Guide Care Rating:

2 Stars

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