Identify my brackish moray eel

Barrydwise

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Hi there

One of my sons has a brackish tank (1.005) that includes 2 'freshwater' moray eels. I've seen pix of Gymnothorax Tile and Echidna Rhodochilus and it looks like both of them. What are the differences between them?

Thanks

Barry
 

SirMinion

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Looks like Echidna Rhodochilus to me. g. tile have more patterning and a smaller head.

Although sold as a freshwater moray, Echidna Rhodochilus is actually brackish and will not do well in freshwater for long.

Gymnothorax Tile is of course a marine moray that spawns in brackish waters. They can be kept in brackish tanks but may refuse to eat if the SG is too low.
 

CFC

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Actually Echidna rhodochilus looks nothing like that, i gather you have been to the wet web media site which has some terribly inaccurate identifications on their morays. The fish in your photo is definately a young Gymnothorax tile.

This is a Echidna rhodochilus

post-22-1104774706.jpg


Note the white patches either side of the head which give this fish is common name of White Cheeked Moray, Echidna species can also be identified by their blunter heads and mouths with crushing plates for eating molluscs and crusteaceans rather than conical teeth for gripping fish as seen in the Gymnotharax species. Another interesting thing i have observed about Echidna rhodochilus is that their skin glows a bright orange when viewed at night using a blue LED nightlight.

Gynothorax species need to be kept at higher salinities than 1.005, i keep my brackish tank which contains 2 G.tile and the Echidna at a SG of 1.014, at lower salinities their appetites fall and they have a lack of activity.
 

SirMinion

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CFC said:
Actually Echidna rhodochilus looks nothing like that, i gather you have been to the wet web media site which has some terribly inaccurate identifications on their morays. The fish in your photo is definately a young Gymnothorax tile.
[snapback]889935[/snapback]​

Busted! :lol:

Plus a local fish store is selling morays (from a freshwater tank) that look exactly like that and are labeled as "Echidna eels"

I absolutely bow to your superior experiance on monster idents.
 

nmonks

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CFC,

Some interesting stuff in your post. Never heard about their skin "glowing".

There are some curious factoids on these eels if you check out their Fishbase entries. Gymnothorax polyuranodon for example is said to be a catadromous species, that is, while adults may inhabit brackish or fresh waters for extended periods, they return to the sea to breed. This agrees with Schafer's records of these fish being found 'a long way upstream in completely fresh water'.

Gymnothorax tile on the other hand is *suggested* to be anadromous, meaning that it inhabits brackish and marine waters as an adult but breeds in brackish or fresh water.

Echidna rhodochilus isn't referred to as either, so by implication may be euryhaline, swimming and breeding wherever it wants.

It would be an interesting project to breed these fish. People doing this sort of thing with gobies that swim between rivers and the sea have proved it can be done, but there's clearly a lot we don't know about the biology of these eels. For one thing, if some of these fish breed in freshwater, do they have a leptocephalus larval form like most other eels?

Anyway, thought you'd be interested / have comments.

Cheers,

Neale

PS -- this Fishbase links...

Echidna rhodochilus
Gymnothorax tile
Gymnothorax polyuranodon
 

CFC

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A breeding project would certainly be interesting (not mention one i could get away with without an earbashing from the mrs as they are her favourite fish, I already have 2 large adult G.tile and have to stop her from buying more everytime we see them on sale). Unfortunately with my current set up i have no where near the space or equipment (not to mention funds or time) to start such a project but its certainly one to keep in mind for the future when i finally move house and get my fishhouse built.

G. polyuranodon is a fish that has been eluding me for more years than i care to think of, so many times we have traveled many miles to a store which claims to have them only to find that they are infact just G.tile but one day one of these will grace my tanks.

Another moray we kept was Gymnothorax afer which grew to a immence size, at the time of its death it was 41 inches long from head to tail. Unfortunately it developed some kind of intestinal problem after a few years which i was unable to heal.
 

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