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Snowflake Eel

By | Last Updated : 5th December 2018

The Snowflake Eel (scientific name: Echidna nebulosa), (not to be confused with the freshwater snowflake eel, or the Indian mud moray – Gymnothorax tile) is a saltwater fish extensively distributed across the tropical waters within its habitat. These are nocturnal creatures with a predatory instinct, and hence, need to be kept only with compatible tank mates. Though a common aquarium species, snowflake eels are very difficult to breed in a captive setup.

Snowflake Eel

Quick Biological Information

Other Names Snowflake moray, Bosch’s eel, clouded moray eel, floral eel, flowery eel, starry eel, white moray eel, zebra moray eel, diamond-backed moray
Type Tropical fish
Origin and Distribution Underwater caves and crevices of the Indo-Pacific reefs starting from Hawaii southward to Australia, westward through the Indo-Pacific islands to the East Indies, as also, across the Indian Ocean to the coast of Africa at a depth of 3 – 60 ft. (1 – 18 m)
Behavioral & Physical Characteristics Aggressive, yet adjustable, nocturnal, hardy, though with poor eyesight, but has a strong sense of smell; prefers hiding in small caves in the live rock
Physical Traits Snake-like body with black patch marks on a white base, along with random dark spots all over, with tints of yellow; flattens like a ribbon towards the tail region; eyes are bright copper orange
Length/Size Full-grown adults can reach 39 inches max; captive specimens usually do not exceed 24 inches; however, the most common size is between 6 and 7 inches
Lifespan Around four years (in captivity)
Sexual Dimorphism No noticeable gender differences exist between the male and the female

Snowflake Moray

Snowflake Moray Eel

Snowflake Moray Care Sheet

Care Level Easy to Moderate
Minimum Tank Size/Water Amount 50 gallon
pH 8.1 – 8.4
Carbonate Hardness (dKH) 8 – 12
Water Temperature 72°F – 80°F (22°C – 27°C)
Salinity 1.020 – 1.025
Water Movement Moderate
Lighting Subdued, low electric light
Eating Habit Highly carnivorous
Diet and Food Types Any kind of frozen or freeze-dried fish, shrimp, krill, and other meaty foods
Compatibility with Tank Mates Safe to house with any species of fish it cannot swallow, like lionfish. It can also be housed with some invertebrates including starfish, sea anemones, sea urchins, and corals

Never keep them with crustaceans like shrimps, crabs, lobsters, as well as small octopuses since these are their natural diet

Tank Level Bottom-dweller
Tank Bed Need to be covered in about three inches of aquarium sand, along with lots of rocks and corals
Growth Rate Fast (8 inches to 1.5 feet within six months)
Acclimation Might act shy initially but gets accustomed within a few days
Environment & Substrate Type Lots of live green plants with lots of places and caves for hiding (one cave for each snowflake eel)
Sickness & Diseases SFD (Saltwater Fish Disease)
(Note: Ich parasite infection is rere since it affects mostly the freshwater species)
Feeding Requirement 2 – 4 servings per day (depending upon size)

Snowflake Eel Images

FAQs

Q. What are the cautions required while keeping snowflake eels?

  • If you are feeding your eel from your hand, wear protective gloves since it can inflict a non-poisonous, painful bite.
  • Avoid keeping them in reef aquariums as they can be heavy water polluters (especially by poops).
  • Avoid feeding them with freshwater feeder fish (e.g. goldfish, rosy red) as they lack in the essential nutrients required by marine fish, and might even cause liver diseases in your eel.

Q. Can the snowflake eel be trained?

Yes, they can be trained to get handfed.

Freshwater Snowflake Eel

Q. Can snowflake eels eat other fishes in the tank?

As mentioned, these eels are considerably fish-friendly, but not completely reef safe as they mostly feast on crustaceans. However, care should be taken with bite-size fishes like clownfish, and small seahorses.

Q. Do any other fish eat/kill snowflake eels in a tank?

Larger varieties of eels, catfish, and sharks might pose a threat to these fish, especially to the young babies or juveniles.

Snowflake Eel Pictures

Q Can a snowflake eel live in freshwater?

No, they cannot survive in either brackish or fresh water.

Q Can this eel escape from its tank?

Yes, these fish are excellent escape artists and need a tight-fitting lid in their tank to prevent them from jumping out.

Snowflake Eel Size

Snowflake Eel Teeth

Did You Know

  • Since they have a poor eyesight, most of their bites result from mistaking the owner’s hand for food, instead of due to aggression.
  • All members of the moray eel family have highly flexible pharyngeal jaws, a second set of jaws near the throat (believed to be modified gill arches), as an adaptation to help the fish swallow down their prey easily.

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