Muraena helena
Source: JJPhoto.dk
Muraena helena
Source: JJPhoto.dk

Facts

Latin name Muraena helena
Common name Mediterranean moray
Family Muraenidae - Muraena
Origin Mediterranean Sea
Max length 150 cm (59.1")

As aquarium fish

Minimum volume 1500 l (396 gal)
Hardiness Hardy
Suitable for aquarium Suitable for special aquariums
Reef safe Reef safe with caution
Aggressiveness Aggressive towards similar species

Food

Recommended
  • Larger crustaceans (Shrimp, crabs...)
  • Fish

Aggressive

This species can be extremely aggressive towards other fish.

Be careful when keeping these fish together with peaceful or docile species. Regular feeding, plenty of hiding places and a lot of space can alleviate aggressive behavior to some degree.

Threat towards crustaceans

This species poses a threat towards shrimps and crabs etc., which are relatively small.

Cool water

This species lives in water colder than is the norm for a marine aquarium.

The temperature should be between 18 and 24 °C (64 and 75 °F).

Demand a very large aquarium when fully grown

This species needs a very large aquarium when fully grown.

Exactly how big the aquarium should be is hard to say, but the size of this species is such, that it cannot normally be kept in a home aquarium.

Can bite

This species will at times bite people.

Feeding of Moray eels

Morays should be fed a large meal every 3-4 days, as they otherwise can harm themselves by over eating.
If one has problems with getting the Morays to eat frozen fish or crustaceans, try moving the food in front of the fish with a tweezer. 

Do note, that the food must be varied and raw/fresh, whole shrimps or smelt (small fish) for example.

It can take a week before they start feeding in the aquarium, but this is not a problem.
Try feeding them live fish or shrimp if the Morays iare not eating frozen foods after a week. 

Escape specialist

Morays can easily escape from aquaria, they can even move loose lids and glass covers without problems.

Threat to larger fish

This species can pose a threat towards fish that are relatively large in comparison to its own size. 

Rearranges rocks and sand

This species has a habit of rearranging rocks and sand.

Make sure rocks are placed securely on the substrate, so they cannot toppled over.

Hiding places

This species needs good hiding places, for example, between live rocks.

Family description (Muraenidae)

Moray eels (Muraenidae) are predatory fish that will most commonly live off fish or crustaceans. 

To avoid overfeeding, the Moray must only be fed every 3-4 days, but may then also have a large meal.

They may dig up the substrate or move loose objects in the aquarium, so fastening the rocks and corals to the tank is a good idea.
Moray eels can easily escape from the tank if not tightly closed. They can lift lids and glass covers, do not underestimate their escape ability.

It is important that the Moray can, with its full length, hide between the rocks.

There are a few Moray eels which are suitable for reef aquaria, but the bigger species can only live in large tanks with other big fish.

Many Morays have a slightly poisonous bite, although it is not normally dangerous for people. One must not underestimate the strength of their bite however.  

References and further reading

About references

Scott W. Michael. 2001. Reef Fishes volume 1 - TFH Publications / Microcosm Ltd. - (English)
Frank Marini. 2002. A Serpent For Your Reef Tank: A Look at Fish-Safe Eels - Reefkeeping Magazine - (English)
Mike Maddox. 2009. Morays! - Tropical Fish Hobbyist Magazine - (English)
Kirby Adams. Five Favorite Eels - Wet Web Media - (English)
Bob Fenner. The Moray Eels, Family Muraenidae, pt. 1 - Wet Web Media - (English)
Bob Fenner. The Moray Eels, Family Muraenidae, pt. 2, Less Aquarium Suitable Species - Wet Web Media - (English)
Marco Lichtenberger. 2007. Moray Eels Bite—But Are They Poisonous? - Tropical Fish Hobbyist - (English)

Froese, R. and D. Pauly. Editors. 2014. FishBase. World Wide Web electronic publication. www.fishbase.org, version (08/2014).

Tags

destructive, aggressive territorial, eats shrimp, eats crab, eats fish, predatory, eel
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