Zebra Moray Eel
Gymnomuraena zebra
Zebra Moray

Identification: These passive eels have remarkable patterns of deep black to chocolate brown interspersed with vertical white stripes.

Maximum Length: Grows to a length of approximately 36 inches.

Origin: Indo-Pacific

Minimum tank size:  40 Gallon

Behavior: As they grow to adult size, zebra morays become relatively much thicker and more muscular, which emphasizes their apparently clumsy demeanor. Reef structures must be large and strong to withstand the body movements and contortions these eels exhibit when feeding.

Feeding and diet:  Their head is designed to crush hardened crustacean shells. The primary foods of zebra morays are crabs, shrimp, and occasionally snails and urchins. Zebra morays employ a unique hunting style for finding food: they intentionally bump the prey item to first see if it moves, and second to taste the prey item, to determine its food worthiness. Small prey items are usually swallowed whole, while larger food items like crabs, are held down by their body coils as the claws and legs are broken off and eaten. A zebra moray's jaws will easily crack crab claws, and in the home aquarium, one can hear the equivalent of a nutcracker sounding off when a crab claw is cracked

Reef Compatibility:  My only reservation in recommending these eels as a wonderful, reef-safe eel is that at adult size they are guaranteed to renovate your rockwork, toppling corals in the process. Most reef fishes are safe with a zebra moray as long as the eel is regularly fed. These eels are too large and "clumsy" to be kept with most sessile invertebrates and they definitely should not be kept in small reef systems. They will eventually eat all of the ornamental crustaceans in their tank.

Cautions:   As with all moray eels, make sure you have a lid on the tank to prevent it from climbing out.

 

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