Fimbriated Moray Eel Care Guide

Gymnothorax fimbriatus

DifficultyHigh
Minimum Tank Size60 Gallons
DietCarnivore
Water Parameters72-78 F, pH 8-8.4, Salinity 1.020-1.025
AggressionAggressive
Size34"

The Fimbriated Moray Eel is less common in the home aquarium due to its limited availability. When it is in stock however the eel is quickly purchased for its beautiful color. They are sometimes sold as leopard eels, however they are much smaller and may be threatened when placed in a tank meant for the real zebra/Tessalata Eel.

As with all eels the Fimbriated Moray Eel will explore the tank and any opening it can find. This combined with their long bodies makes them masters of escape. Thankfully as they age their bodies widen out, making them easier to contain than ribbon eels. Still you will want to keep a tight fitting lid and mesh grates over everything you can. Otherwise you can expect this guy to go carpet surfing(jumping out of the tank). If this happens return the eel to the tank as soon as possible. Eels are far more durable than fish and will frequently bounce back. They can survive several hours out of water.

Special Tank Needs

Eels require more effort than the average fish when it comes to tank set-up. You will need to ensure they have a couple caves created by live rocks or large PVC pipes. Many owners choose PVC pipes that can be buried under the sand bed. This gives a much greater amount of effective tank space. Remember these eels can get fairly thick. If you can choose a 3″ pipe to ensure they will have space as the mature. 2 1/2″ will do if you do not have that deep of a sand bed

Eels spend most of their time at the bottom of the tank, biding their time. While down there they will need plenty of oxygen, which can be a bit of a challenge. To oxygenate the bottom of the tank you will need to bring water from the bottom of the tank to the top, with a low places power head being one of the best options. This forces higher water downwards into the tank, bringing the lighter, oxygenated water to the eels home. This ensures the eels will remain alert and active. Low oxygen eels are often said to be in a trance like state.

Remember that the Fimbriated Moray Eel enjoys hiding in the dark. While this does not mean you cannot have any lights on your tank, you should not aim to illuminate the eels home. They will stick their heads out and be visible a lot of the time, however with light directed at them you can actually expect to see less of the eel.

Huge note: Eels are far more durable than most fish, however they are very picky when it comes to eating. They will rarely eat in isolation tanks or tanks where they do not have plenty of hiding places. Shelter before food. This means placing the eel directly into the display tank will give the eel a much greater chance of survival. Stalling the eel until they feed in the isolation tank is almost always a death sentence.

Additionally the Fimbriated Moray Eel is much more likely to eat around other fish. This is a large aggressive eel who responds well to competition.

Diet & Feeding

Feeding the Fimbriated Moray Eel multiple times is not difficult, but the first time can prove to be a real challenge. Here’s a few easy steps that I always use with new eels:

  • Start a feeding frenzy to entice the eel
  • Hold frozen foods in front of the eel, allowing him to smell the food
  • release live foods into the tank

The feeding frenzy works well with most eels, but especially well with the fimbriated. These guys are fairly aggressive and will not stand to be the odd one out when it comes to eating. they may even grab other fish, however unless they are eating them they should not hurt the fish. To get a feeding frenzy going simply withhold food for a day and then feed heavily the next. While this may create a bit of extra waste, it’s a great way to jumpstart finicky eels. Once they eat you can simply hold food in front of them and they will strike it down as soon as they find it. Tongs work best here, and hand feeding is not recommended. These guys have a worse bite than other similar sized eels.

I only resort to live foods if the eel simply refuses to eat anything else. You may need to look for a LFS who supplies marine feeder fish.

You don’t want that to be your hand. Mature eels can take off fingers.

If the eels seem hesitant to eat from the stick try two drastically different methods: leave the stick stationary or “chase” the food with the stick. Again these eels are quite aggressive/competitive and will try and take the food from the stick if they see it chasing something.

Eels will prefer crustaceans with calamari, shrimp, mussels, fish and frozen silversides being good food choices as well. Remember eels eat their meals whole, bones and all. Try to incorporate whole foods into your eels diet while keeping it as varied as possible. Depending on what you feed your eel you will need to feed them every 3-5 days.

Aggression

These are probably the most aggressive eel at this size. Their Jaws are much more suited to eating larger fish, making them a bit difficult to house with other fish. Only large fish should be considered, yet large triggers should be avoided as they nip at eel tails. If the fish is under 8″ it is probably food for a mature fimbriated

The Fimbriated Moray Eels poor eyesight makes it a threat to its owner as well. Any stray hands in the tank can easily be bitten. Always feed your eels until they will accept no more food before putting your hands in the tank. Always wait at least 15 minutes after feeding the eels so they are not in feeding mode. Even then you must keep an eye on your eel and take your hands out if they start eyeing you.

2 thoughts on “Fimbriated Moray Eel Care Guide

    1. Joshua@themandaringarden Post author

      This is a tough one. Usually I can just add some garlic scent to the food and hold it in front of the eel for awhile and entice them to eat. There is the Kents garlic extreme which comes in an eye dropper bottle. You can put it on their food and feed it to them. What I have done is finely chop garlic and store it with the food and some tank water. This soaks the garlic smell into their food. As eels have such a strong sense of smell they are usually quick to react. Use something tight closing as the garlic smell gets really strong.

      Hope this helps. Big eel fan.

      Reply

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