Jeweled Moray Eel Care Guide

Muraena lentiginosa

DifficultyMedium
Minimum Tank Size60 Gallons
DietCarnivore
Water Parameters72-78 F, pH 8-8.4, Salinity 1.020-1.025
AggressionAggressive
Size2'

The Jeweled Moray Eel is a somewhat small eel, reaching two feet in length after a year and a half. While it is possible for them to reach three feet, it is highly unlikely in the home aquarium. Their more realistic max length is the above listed two feet.

The juvenile Jeweled Moray Eel has a brown body covered with gold spots. These spots are rimmed with a black outline. As the eel ages their body shifts from dark brown to black. Their teeth are quite large and easily noticeable from a distance. This is one eel you need to keep an eye on when managing your tank.

Growth Rate

Because eels can vary so much in length this deserves its own section. The Jeweled Moray Eel will likely be acquired at a young age, measuring between 6″ and 9″ in length. Within a year and a half you can expect these eels to reach their full size of 2 feet.

Remember the eel is not going to be a string. The Jeweled Moray Eel is actually quite wide, meaning he will need a lot of space. Small or precariously placed rocks are a bad idea, as eels can easily rearrange rocks and knock them around. You may need to secure your rocks together using aquarium safe glues, epoxy or by drilling the rocks and placing acrylic rods inside them. Remember these methods will only secure the rocks together, not to the bottom of the tank. Be sure none of the rock structures can be toppled easily. For drilling rocks always use a concrete bit, as other methods are unreliable (and can damage your tools!) Acrylic rods are typically 3/8″, so choose a bit of the same size or slightly larger.

While these eels will not outgrow a Snowflake Eel they are far more aggressive. For this reason I have raised their minimum tank size from 50 to 60. This will help reduce aggression towards other fish drastically. For a truly active eel I would suggest a 75 gallon or larger tank.

Tank Specific Needs

Before adding an eel to your tank you will need to:

a.) Ensure your tanks filtration is up to the task.

b.) Secure any and all exits/lids.

The Jeweled Moray Eel is an amazing escape artists with an impressive jumping ability. If the tank is open in any way, expect to find the eel outside at least once. The good news here is that Eels can survive up to 12 hours out of water. If you ever see a carpet surfing eel, return them to the tank as quickly as possible, dimming the lights as you do so. More often than not they will simply wriggle around a bit before bouncing right back to their usual silly/grumpy selves. Keep an eye on them for the next hour while looking for their escape point. If it happened before, it will happen again.

As for point a, eels produce a large amount of waste. This will increase with more frequent feedings, however even with minimal feedings your filtration system will likely be put to the test. Getting a large protein skimmer is almost mandatory. External skimmers are best here, as they do not require a sump. If you do have a sump set up, I would still recommend an external skimmer just for the extra power they can bring. Otherwise, expect frequent water changes or algae blooms.

Diet & Feeding

If you have looked into adding this eel before you have no doubt seen people feeling them by hand. While this is really cool to watch it is also extremely dangerous. The Jeweled Moray Eel has absolutely terrible eye sight. Pair this with its quick striking method and razor sharp, inward curving teeth and hand feeding becomes a recipe for disaster.

To feed the Jeweled Moray Eel I highly suggest you use some form of feeding stick. That can be a set of tongs, a dull skewer or whatever you have on hand. Just be sure the tip is not sharp, as these eels really lunge at their food and can easily hurt themselves if there is a hidden edge in their food.

Jeweled Moray Eels absolutely love any live foods you can offer them, however it is best to ween them towards frozen or prepared foods. Not only are they cheaper and easier to keep on hand, but they are often more nutritious. Frozen squid, silversides, krill, shrimp, crab, fish and clams all make good choices when it comes to feeding these eels.

Remember, secured rocks and safe feeding methods are not optional.

Behavior & Aggression

Jeweled Moray Eel are highly aggressive and will eat any tank mate that can fit in its mouth. Likewise they will rarely tolerate another eel in the tank. The main exception here are juveniles who are introduced to a large tank at the same time. Unless this is done with a large, 150 gallon or more tank, I cannot recommend keeping two eels, even if they are different species.

The Jeweled Moray Eel is a nocturnal predator who can learn to hunt during the day time. While it is unlikely you will see the eel free swimming often, they will emerge from their hiding spots once food enters the water.

Eels have horrible eye sight but an excellent sense of smell. This means they will notice food almost immediately, but will spend awhile searching for it. This is because the food leaves a trail of smell. The eel must then search along the entire trail until he bumps into the food. He will then viciously strike the food and either eat it whole or rip off a piece of it which he can swallow.

Special Note: While you must be cautious at all times when dealing with an eel, it is never advised to put your hand in the tank during feeding time. The can and will mistake your unfamiliar scent with food and strike almost immediately. If this happens to not pull away, as this will cause the eels backwards facing teeth to rip your skin further. Instead keep still and the eel will release your hand, as it is far too big for them to attack. Eels carry a fair amount of bacteria, so cleanse any bite immediately and keep an extremely close eye on the bite. If anything appears unusual, do not hesitate to visit your doctor and explain the situation.

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