Pet Of The Week: The snowflake moray eel

Who's this slippery customer?

A snowflake moray eel (Echidna nebulosa) – it may not strike you as being an obvious pet, but for lovers of exotic aquatic life, eels are a constant source of wonder: inquisitive, lively and beautiful. It is not to be confused with the massive conger eel that lurks in the depths and terrifies unwary scuba divers, though it shares some genetic traits with this denizen of the deep, and can grow up to a metre in length.

Where do I keep such a beast?

According to Mike Wells of Cooden Marine Aquatics in East Sussex, you will need a saltwater tank no smaller than 400 litres (or 80 gallons), which is about 4ft in length (a monster in itself). The snowflake, like all eels, likes to have plenty of interesting reef-like nooks and crannies to hide out in during the day, so the aquarium itself should be a thing of beauty to match the vibrant colouring of the eel. Then you have to think about creating a sturdy coral (even fake coral) environment, as the eel likes to dig its own channels, mirroring its voracious nocturnal hunting activity in the wild. The fish, tank, filtration system and other start-up costs can set you back £1,000, says Mike, so owning an eel is not something you should enter into lightly.

What does he eat (apart from unwary scuba divers)?

Snowflakes, like all eels, are very short-sighted, and they see by "tasting" the water, much like a snake licks the air to smell its prey. "They will have a go at anything that smells like food, including your finger," says Mike. On the whole they are not fussy eaters, and will eat most fresh fish, hence you should keep them separate from your prized clownfish, or Nemo will most definitely not be finding his way home. Prawns and cockles are the favourite dish of the day, so again, think of the money involved before you commit.

Any other concerns?

As I said, eels should be kept separate from other smaller fish, but they are not particularly aggressive, it's simply that they cannot see too well. Large fish, such as tangs, that are a match in size for the snowflake, will get along just fine. The key to a happy eel is to keep a constant temperature, salinity and cleanliness within the tank – some owners see this as the "art" of owning an eel. Again, this all takes time, and for this reason owning any saltwater fish is more for devotees than starter pet owners.

How much is that eel in the fishtank?

About £65.

And what is the life expectancy?

If kept healthy, they can live for more than four years.

Where do I find one?

Contact the knowledgeable Mr Wells about the snowflake moray eel, or any other exotic fish for that matter, on 01424 220707, or visit coodenmarineaquatics.co.uk.

Discover more property articles at Homes and Property
Suggested Topics
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive or Senior Sales Executive - B2B Exhibitions

£18000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive or Senior Sal...

Recruitment Genius: Head of Support Services

£40000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Warehouse Team Leader

£22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This industry leading company produces h...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Manager / Sales - OTE £40,000

£20000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT provider for the educat...

Day In a Page

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future