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Snake Spotted Eel

(Myrichthys maculosus)

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 Quick Care Facts

• Care Level: Easy   • Temperament: Semi-Aggressive   • Maximum Size: 40"
• Minimum Tank Size: 125 gallons   • Water Conditions: 74-82° F, dKH 8-12, sg 1.020-1.025, pH 8.1-8.4
• Diet: Carnivore   • Origin: Indo-Pacific
• Family: Ophichthidae   • Species: Eels   • Aquarium Type: Fish Only

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Native Habitat and Species Information

Snake Spotted Eel native habitat, distribution, behavior & aquarium compatibility.

Snake Spotted Eels are found throughout the Indo-Pacific region ranging from the Red Sea and East Africa to the central Pacific ocean. They generally inhabit coastal reefs with sandy bottom areas or grass flats, where it can bury itself in the sand both for protection and to ambush unwary prey. This species uses its firm pointed tail to help it burrow into the sand backwards (tail-first), thus should be kept in an aquarium with a deep sand bed to properly simulate their natural habitat. Snake Spotted Eels are a good Eel species for the aquarium environment as they do not grow too large (around 40 inches maximum size) and are not as aggressive as some of the larger Eel species available.

Snake Spotted Eels typically reach about 40 inches in length, and have slender bodies with a stiff pointed tail, that they use to burrow into the substrate. As a juvenile their bodies are white with black spots; however, as they age their bodies become a pale cream color and their black spots fade to a charcoal black/gray color. They have larger spots on the top of their back, that decrease in size towards the lower area of their body.

Aquarium Care

How to successfully keep Snake Spotted Eel in the home aquarium.

Snake Spotted Eels do well when kept in predator or large fish species aquariums of around 100 gallons or more. In nature this species buries itself in the sand both for protection and to ambush prey, thus it will appreciate a deep sand bed or approx. 4 to 6 inches in the aquarium to allow it to behave naturally. This species of Eel is not as aggressive as some of the larger species (i.e. Green Moray), and can be kept with a wide range of larger semi-aggressive or aggressive fish species.

The mouth of the Snake Spotted Eel is not as large as some of the larger Moray Eels, which also make this species more suitable for fish-only aquariums as it cannot swallow larger fish. However, the Snake Spotted Eel will eat ornamental shrimp and crabs, so should not be kept with these types of invertebrates.

Feeding & Nutrition

How to feed and provide proper nutrition for Snake Spotted Eel.

Snake Spotted Eels feed on small fish and invertebrates that they find inhabiting reef or grass flat environments. In the home aquarium, they can be fed a variety of meaty foods including: shrimp, chopped fish, mussel, clam, etc. along with small feeder fish. While they will consume goldfish or equivalent fresh water fish, they do not provide proper nutrients for marine eels and should only make up a small part of their diet.

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