Name: Rhinomuraena quaesita
This species is supposed to get 130 cm in length. Currently the one in my tank is about 1 meter. As juveniles they are black ribbon eels (young males) then go into their blue phase of adult blue males. They can even change later on to a female, when they become green to greenish yellow. They do not breed in the home aquarium, so all of this species found in the trade is wild caught.
They are not an easy eel to keep. I've had mine for about 5 months and he has not taken frozen foods yet. I have found he will eat live silversides, but only seems to feed late at night. The eel seems to eat 2-3 times a week only and I have seen him take at least 3 fish in one feeding. I have tried live marine shrimp and he does not seem to touch them. He seems to like to curl up and lay under a rock during the day, he's also a sand digger. If there is any rock in the tank it would be a good idea to have a solid base, he digs the sand out from under the rock. It doesn't seem like he's overly aggressive and has a pretty calm attitude, except for eating. Although a very beautiful eel, I would not recommend for a beginner, only to someone willing to put the time and effort into this species.
I wanted to add another reason he is so hard to feed: it's because of his feeding times. I've seen him eat between midnight and 3 am. I basically need a bait fish that will live in saltwater like the silversides, and most local fish stores do not sell live saltwater feeders, so I have to special order them off the internet, which seems to add more difficulty for this species.
I have found that Ribbon Eels are hit and miss; just as other saltwater species. I have a Black Ribbon Eel who I believe has spent more time in captivity than in the wild. I purchased mine from a trade-in. But I previously had another Ribbon Eel, and I would recommend to make sure any type of openings are sealed in the tank, because mine jumped out and unfortunately perished. The black one I have now is a miracle. He is a fierce eater; eating anytime of the day and eats frozen silversides right out of my hand. Occassionally I'll give him a treat with live mollies or guppies, but he doesn't seem to touch shrimp. Ribbon Eels love lots of rocks and holes where they can stick their heads out of. The more rock you have, the more secure it will feel. An ideal tank for a Ribbon Eel is around 30 gallons, becuse even in the wild they only occupy a small area.
I live in South Africa, in a small coastal city of Port Elizabeth. I have had a black ribbion eel for a few months, in a 650 L tank with about 12 fish. This eel is without doubt the show stopper, he spends most of his time with his head up from under a rock and will swim during the day, much to the delight of anyone who is viewing the tank at the time. He is a great feeder and will eat almost a whole frozen shrimp copped up in one sitting. But what was really surprising was when he got hold of my blue chromis. The chromis was taking shelter under a rock and did not see the eel, the eel had him head first, but the fish was too big so he spent the next 30 min trying to get him down and eventually ate him. It was a shame to lose a fish but was fantastic to watch, the eel had a large lump in his gut for two days, and looked very happy with himself.
I keep ribbon eels, I have three. I keep them in an Aqua Medic Anthias 120 tank (550 L). I also keep soft corals, buttons, mushrooms, sun coral, leathers, and so on. It took me 12 days to get the first one to feed and two days the other two. They eat like horses now.
I have had my Black ribbon eel for about 6 months and from the first time I got him I could feed him by hand frozen food, I have even fed him dried krill. I have about a 120 cm PVC tube under the sand in which he and a ghost eel stay all day and night. I have never had a problem yet with them to but I know the ghost eel has eaten all of my shrimp in the tank. I do but live ghost shrimp in once a week for them but I don't ever see the ribbon eat them.
Blue Ribbon Eels are one of the most impressive and beautiful saltwater creatures to keep in captivity. However, one should really do their research before purchasing one. For one, make sure you have all openings like overflows and the backs of the canopy closed off with mesh or some sort of fine netting. NO ANENOMES in the tank! Also, I have had tremendous success keeping a pair in captivity for just under a year now. They go everywhere together. One was a trade-in that ate like a tank, the other fresh from the wild. The newest one was a bit timid at first, and I have heard and seen that if you introduce an eel to an established eel, for some reason the new eel will be more likely to take frozen foods faster. Look at the eel before buying too. See if the store will add some minnows and see if it'll go after it. Best of luck!
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