Banana Moray Eel

Gymnothorax miliaris

DifficultyModerate
Minimum Tank Size125 Gallons
DietCarnivore
Water Parameters72-78 F, pH 8-8.4, Salinity 1.020-1.025
AggressionAggressive
Size2'

The Banana Moray Eel is the second smallest commonly kept moray eel, next to the dwarf moray eel. They come in at two feet but pack more aggression than most other eels their size. Combine this with their high price and you have an eel meant for only a couple aquarist.

Their bodies are yellow all the way to their tail with black spots along the top half of their body and dorsal fin. A morays dorsal fin runs along their entire body, starting from the back of their head and ending just after it curves around their tail. The black dots give the eel the appearance of a spotted banana that we see at grocery stores.

Quick Tips

  • Secure all exits on the tank, including cutouts around filtration cords
  • Weigh down the lid so they cannot push the top off
  • Eels can survive out of water for hours so always put them back in the tank before assuming they have died
  • Most Banana Eels are reef safe but should be watched early on

Growth Rate

Banana Eels are sold between five and twelve inches long, allowing aquarists to keep them in much smaller tanks while they are young. For these eels you could keep them in a 35 for the first few months of ownership and transition them into a larger tank once they have grown. This should be done with caution, as most aquarist will do this when they have an existing smaller tank and are setting up the newer tank or are waiting for the tank to finish cycling.

The problem with doing this with the Banana Eel is its aggression. Placing them into a smaller tank while they grow will endanger any preexisting fish. The longer the eel is in the tank, and therefore the bigger they get, the more likely it is that they will attack fish who will not be transferring to the bigger tank.

The Banana Eel will grow dramatically over the first few months of ownership. Much like puppies become dogs faster than we would like, the Banana Moray Eel will get big and dangerous quickly. This is unlike many fish, which take years to get any amount bigger than adolescent.

On the other hand raising them to be used to fish swimming around them while they are younger can reduce their aggressive tendencies further down the line. Combine this with low cost fish like damsels and the risk of losing cheaper fish could easily be worth the reward of keeping the Banana Eel with other tankmates. More on this  after feeding.

Diet & Feeding

The Banana Moray Eel, like all moray, has sharp teeth rather than round teeth.  This makes feeding them more dangerous. To keep your hands safe always feed with an extended set of tongs or non sharp skewer. Eels are not accurate when striking food and can easily bite into hands and lead to infections. Not to mention they are two feet of solid muscle. The last thing you want is to be bitten by a moray eel.

A Banana Eels diet should consist of:

  • Frozen Silverside fish
  • Squid
  • Octopus
  • Mussels
  • Shrimp
  • Crab

While they can be fed live feeder fish doing so will only increase their aggression. Additionally feeder fish are not as nutritious as frozen fish are. The only time I would suggest using live feeder fish is if you have trouble getting your eel to eat and are worried he may starve. Keep in mind that eels can go three months without eating, so a few days should not be too concerning.

The Banana Eel has been known to have an annoying trait in which they will bite food off the feeding stick but not eat the food. This happens when they are not too hungry. The feeding stick excites them and they take a swing at it on instinct, but then remember they aren’t hungry and let go of the food.

Aggression

The banana is only slightly more aggressive than other moray eels, but it is still enough to change them from semi aggressive to aggressive. It is very common to keep them with larger fish, but they will likely prey on any smaller, slower creatures in the tank. This means slow moving blennies, shrimp and crabs are not safe with the Banana Eel.

Moray eels are nocturnal hunters. This makes it difficult to monitor their behavior and notice them acting up. Do not keep them with small fish that you are not willing to lose.

All that being said the Banana Eel is not difficult to keep with anything over 4 inches in size. Smaller fish will often be safe but that really depends on the eels personality.

Feeding Regularly and on a consistent schedule will reduce the eels aggression, as will failure at getting moving fish. If the majority of their meals comes from a still feeding stick they will not have a reason to strike at free swimming fish.

Breeding & Gender

There is no real way to tell the gender of these eels in the home aquarium, nor can they be bred without absolutely massive tanks. They will change genders as they age, making pairing them not too difficult, but again you will not be able to tell which has changed genders.

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