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Fish of the Month
Issue: September 2011

Echidna nebulosa

(AHL 1789)

FOM T 0911

Keri Wilk

Common Names: Bosch's reef eel, clouded moray, floral moray, nebulous moray eel, snowflake moray, starry eel, zebra moray

Type Locality: East Indies

Range: Widespread in the Pacific. Indo-Pacific: Red Sea and East Africa to the Society Islands, north to southern Japan and the Hawai‘ian Islands, south to Lord Howe Island and throughout Micronesia. Eastern Central Pacific: southern Baja California, Mexico, and

Size: Reported up to 100 cm (40 inches), usually smaller. Most specimens encountered are in the 60- to 90-cm (24- to 36-inch) range.

Preferred Water Chemistry: Tropical marine.

Difficulty: A hardy eel. The major obstacles to keeping it are maintaining water quality for this heavy feeder and thwarting its eel-typical escape-artist talents.

Tank Setup: A reef-like setup with live rock caverns is ideal. All structure should be stable and solid so the eel’s burrowing and maneuvering within will not topple it. The eel is reef-safe in terms of not feeding on sessile invertebrates, but its nocturnal forays m

Feeding: A predator on crustaceans. Specimens will learn to take fresh or frozen and thawed shrimp, clams, crabmeat, squid, chunks of fish meat, etc. Use tongs or a feeding stick to offer the foods—never hand feed these fish. Any moray’s bite is painful and almost

Breeding: Not bred yet in captivity. They may be sequential hermaphrodites like many other morays.

Description: A silvery base with broken dark bands the length of the body, and yellow and black markings scattered all over. The head is unmarked anterior to the eyes, producing a unique beak-like appearance.

Notes: An excellent moray for the home aquarium of at least 70 to 100 gallons. It is attractive, peaceful, and smaller than most other morays offered in the trade. It also is more apt to be out and about during the day. It is generally possible to keep more than one specimen together provided that they are the same size, the tank is very large, and plenty of hiding spots are available to prevent territorial squabbling. The fish may even share a lair. These are chunky, muscular fish, able to lift unsecured lids and slither out of the tank. Their metabolism requires vigorous filtration and skimming, as well as frequent water changes. While most morays are poorly suited to captivity, the snowflake is a fine candidate for hobbyists willing to create a system to meet its needs.





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