Scientific Identification: Echidna Nebulosa
Size: Common size of 50cm, but known to reach lengths of 100cm
Temperature: 24-28 degrees Celsius
Origin: From the Red Sea and coast of East Africa to the east coast of Central America
- Aquarium conditions
- Difficulty to keep
- Physical Description
- Care Consideration
This species of moray eel are truly a favourite with new and veteran aquarium hobbyists. The snowflake moray eel (Echidna Nebulosa) is one of the more pleasant members of the Muraenidae family. Due to this pleasant personality, the snowflake moray eel is sought out by those aquarists that want to mix a moray eel with their other fish and still have that peaceful yet beautiful range of species within their aquarium.
Aquarium Conditions: While the snowflake moray eel and other moray eels are tolerant of a wide range of aquarium conditions, they may stop eating if the water quality gets too bad. The following water conditions are ideal for the Snowflake Moray Eel: pH 8.1 to 8.4, and a water temperature of 24 – 28 degrees Celsius. Provide secure caves and crevices to serve as a hiding place for your snowflake moray eel. Moray eels sometimes dig under rockwork, which can cause it to collapse. You can use cable ties to make sure rockwork is stable. Always put the rockwork directly on the glass bottom of the aquarium rather than on the sand bed. Always remember, if a moray eel cannot find a hiding place in which it feels secure, it is more likely to try and escape the aquarium.
Diet: They are carnivores, readily accepting just about any meaty foods, including krill, shrimp, silversides, squid, scallop or marine fish flesh and octopus meat. Unless already acclimated to frozen foods, the moray eel will likely need to be fed with live ghost shrimp when first acquired to induce a feeding response, the sooner you can entice them to consume a variety of fresh or frozen (thawed) seafood the better. The snowflake moray eel should be fed several times a week. The feeding of freshwater fish such as goldfish, rosy reds, etc can cause liver disease, so such feeding should be avoided.
Difficulty to keep: The snowflake moray eel is no doubt one of the easiest moray eels to keep. The snowflake moray eel is a more manageable size (it reaches a length of around 76 Centimetres), and it will eat readily available fish foods.
Physical Description: The snowflake moray eel is an attractively marked moray eel — it is white or cream-colored overall, with black blotches that contain one or two yellow spots. The eyes of the snowflake moray eel are yellow with yellow markings on the head. The characteristic shape of these moray eel’s teeth allows for its preference of crustacean prey. The teeth of the snowflake moray eel are conical in shape and hence good for crushing invertebrate exoskeletons. Larger snowflake moray eels eat more fish in the wild, as well.
Range: The snowflake moray eel is a wide-ranging species that occurs from the Red Sea and coast of East Africa to the east coast of Central America (e.g., Panama). The snowflake moray eel prefers shallow reef habitats and is regularly seen on reef flats (sometimes in tide pools) to depths of 11 meters (35 feet).
Compatibility: As mentioned above, the snowflake moray eel is one of the best moray eels to keep in a community fish aquarium, as it tends to behave itself with fish tank mates. The snowflake moray eel may dash about the aquarium and strike at anything that is in the “odour corridor” when food is introduced, but even then it rarely actually grasps tank mates and attempts to eat them. Larger snowflake moray eels are definitely more of a threat to smaller fish than juvenile and medium-sized snowflake moray eels, so take note. You can keep similar-sized individuals together, but larger snowflake moray eels are known cannibals. The snowflake moray eel is also potential prey for some of the larger, more aggressive moray eels (e.g., honeycomb moray eel, Laced moray).
Care Consideration: Like any of these serpent-like moray eels, the snowflake moray eel has the bad habit of trying to escape from open aquariums. The snowflake moray eel has the uncanny ability to find and crawl out of the smallest hole in the aquarium top, so make sure all of these holes are well-covered. Snowflake Moray Eels are also prone to sliding over corner overflow boxes and may make their way through PVC plumbing into filter bags or the aquarium sump.
Breeding: Snowflake Moray eels are not likely to spawn in the home aquarium.
Overall: The Snowflake Moray Eel is the ideal species of moray eel to keep in your home aquarium if you want to have that vibrant colour from a “dangerous” looking eel yet be able to mix it with other species of fish. It is a hardy eel and therefore isn’t hard to care for, the main thing would be to maintain the correct water conditions and obviously correct feeding.