Ribbon Eel - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 19 Old 03-16-2010, 01:00 PM Thread Starter
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Ribbon Eel

My parents are allowing me to convert my 40 gallon tank from freshwater to saltwater. I am wondering if I can put a blue ribbon eel in the tank all by itself. If I bought one it would already be eating frozen. My LFS has a policy that all fish being sold are eating frozen food. What do you think? Is it worth a try? They've got one in right now that gobbles down frozen silversides. My parents also really like the look of this species too, so I know they'd be happy if I could keep it.
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post #2 of 19 Old 03-25-2010, 09:04 PM
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i searched it a little bit and it says minimum tank sixze is 60gal. I dont think it would work out in your tank sorry

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post #3 of 19 Old 03-29-2010, 10:56 PM
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If you got a small one, and i mean real small, you could have it in the 40g, but only for a short time. It's recommended everywhere to have a longer tank because of the stress a small tank can cause on suck a large fish.

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post #4 of 19 Old 04-04-2010, 09:15 AM
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The Blue Ribbon Eel does not live in captivity. Ever. This is not one of those situations where it is hard to keep, or maybe you can get lucky. It does not live. Period. Even if it is eating well, it will be dead within several months.
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post #5 of 19 Old 04-05-2010, 05:20 PM
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I read on another forum of someone who has had them for two years, and another I think who had one for more, but...it does not seem like something you'd want to keep. It's very high maintenance, and success at keeping it alive seems to be very, VERY low.
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post #6 of 19 Old 04-06-2010, 07:39 PM
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You will always find people who post when they accomplish the impossible. I wish everyone would post when they kill the fish within 6 months, because then you would get the true story. I also wonder how honest they are being when they tell you how long it has lived.
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post #7 of 19 Old 04-08-2010, 11:03 AM
fishfreak2009, The real issue is, no matter even if a 60 gal tank, it wouldn`t make no difference in the caring for sure a marine species. The other true fact is, it has been done for more then eight years over seas in Germany I think it was.

One of their technic was, by raising Mollies, starting a mating pair out in freshwater, and very slowly through the months, raising the tanks salinity for adding a limited amount of salt in each water change. But again it needs to be done very slowly, not in a few weeks or months.

Im my own ideas in a project, if im the time for it, for these days im far more busy with my grandchildren, still the same, im leaving the idea of this type of projects on my drawing board.

The one thing be, your young from what I can gather, I have over sixty years of experience in keeping eels, and yes, Ribbons I not done so far, but it could be some time after three years from now for im as of right now, rebuilding a 240 SPS tank with a 125 gal sump and its 40 gal breeder QT.

The idea in the mollies would be needing another 30 or 40 gal tank to start breeding mollies, for im looking at the idea of having a pair of Ribbon Eels. So there would be as well certain PVC tubing under the gravel bed, the other issue is that you are still better off on having a DSB, rather then just a few inches for Ribbon Eels love to bury themselves under the gravel, this I feel is more of a certainty to help me in maintaining a pair long term.

Also, feeding issues, this im afraid can be extremely difficult, but in their having live prey and as will the variety of foods that I will spear feed them, but the spear I use is nothing that you will normally find, I make them from clear plastic tubing and on one end, with electric tape I tape to it a med soft plastic this up that is used by electricians. And with this type of spear for feeding eels, the eels in my opinion never can see the spear, only the tip with the food, so by most understanding this, they often believe their prey is live.

The idea is making it appear live, is you move the type of fish food around that your feeding them, move them around as they would normally move about or swim and by no means try pushing it into the eels face. Eels also give off singles when their not interested, you must not insist to try and push the eel to feed, that could put stress on this type of eel causing further problems in the eel diet.

Also, there are any number of reasons why many eels put themselves on a hunger strike, for most reasons are unknown, but few I do know are huge factors in the caring of any Eel species and those are Nitrate levels and a stable pH level, for when your pH is dropping and your raising it without any control and it jumps higher, this im afraid will most differently upset your eels diet.

But your water quality has to be at its highest at best, no waste build ups what-so-ever.

My plans for the further on this subject is on hold, I just resent gotten my heat fix at a much lower cost then expected, for I was quoted $6,540 for a total new heating & AC unit and elsewhere with two other fellas it only ran me less then $1,400. Many of these companies will always try to take those who are fooled enough to let them charge them so much money. For i did ask them if they can call around for a burner for it and they right off said that parts for my unit are no longer available and the two young men I had fix it, called and the next morning they found one new and for $600, it always pays to get a difference in opinion or rather price quotes.

Back to the subject, ribbon Eels are not for the beginner or novice hobbyist, they will most certainly fail in a real short time frame. The thing is many gotten this animal and had no idea in how to best care for them. By buying a marine species under the assumptions that you can do it is not the way to go, for even if you keep one or two eels before, there still be a great many things that your still yet to learn.
How many Moray Eel Species you think there be? You would fine links saying 80 species, and few others a few hundred. The fact be that world wide with the combine of all true Eel species, there be better then 1000 species in all and still there be any number of unknown species yet to discover for not too long ago, a new eel species was discovered.

The main idea when keeping eels, you need to allow for them the space that they would require up to their adult size, and if those who keep eels do everything the very best for their eels, they would see that their eel would grow to its full normal maximum length. But for the most, most do often fail with this species. This species is only for the full experience hobbyist. And one other thing on that, it not mean that just because one is experience in such species that they could still fail, this is one difficult species to keep and maintain for a good number of years.

Many of those who said they kept their ribbon eel for 4-5 years at most, they feed mostly feeders, feeding goldfish is not a sign that your being so successful with this eel.

The above remarks/comments are of my own opinion on the subject of Ribbon Eels, you each have the right to say your thoughts on the subject, what if they be from experience on the matter or hear say from what your read or heard elsewhere.


PS. Do please excuse for any misspelling.

Have five tanks> I 40 breeder as a QT> 70 and 130 gals twin eel tanks (are one system) and two reef tanks, a 180 and 240 (Hadn`t started yet)
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post #8 of 19 Old 04-14-2010, 08:44 AM
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Thanks for the comments Buddy, I appreciate your experience.

I do think this conversation is a sign of human weakness. For some reason, humans have the belief that anything is possible under the right conditions. The simple fact is that there are many animals which we can not keep in an aquarium. It is not in any way an insult to someones abilities or intelligence, it is just that some fish/corals/inverts have care requirements that do not translate well to the home aquarium (or public aquarium). It is what it is.

Unfortunately there are also people who are given all the warnings but continue to attempt what everyone else knows can not be done. This results in dead animals, brings a ton of scrutiny to the hobby, and will one day have the entire industry regulated by our wonderful politicians. The point is this, unless we are hobbyists make the "right decision", one day the decision will be made for us.

Don't buy a Ribbon Eel. There are plenty of fish in the sea to choose from.
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post #9 of 19 Old 04-14-2010, 10:25 AM
For the majority of marine hobbyists out there, yes, they will meet up with only failure in their attempts to maintain a Ribbon Eel. I told you a while ago that in the method that I mentioned here, it can be done, but not by any youngster or enexperienced marine hobbyist, especially when their knowledge is little to none on Eel Species. I also said that its a difficult task for the many experience hobbyists, but again there be a few different ways in which one is experienced. Like some were experienced reef hobbyists, still they had little knowledge other then the Ribbon eel personal requirements for a long lasting results. This I giving much thought for myself as well in ever starting this project, for I never simply just jump into a project without much thought, and a matter a fact, I spoken to another Eel expert who lives in Germany, you might had heard of him? His name is Marco Lichtenberger.
Marco and I had a good many private conversations on the Moray Eel, and we both have the same understandings on the subject and when I took thought to what i will do with my eel tanks after I have them moved to a new spot in the house, I figured on doing something far differently then I ever done a, but still there is many other things I need to do long before such a project to be undertaking.
Im first to rebuild my 240 SPS tank and it QT, a 40 gal breeder tank, then I need to stock the 240, after that im to buy a home generator that if any electrical problems should happen, my tanks with their live stock will be fully protected and then and only then I may or might not start up the Ribbon Eel project. And the Ribbon Eels would be the last to add to the 130 gal tank.
A long with that, the Mollies project to would then been well established by that time. But again, this project can or may change depending on how much more busy I be in helping with my grandchildren. Like the kids Easter/Spring break from school, I had my three grandchildren all the 11 days they had no school.
The method on the mollies was done for a good number of years for another pair of Ribbon Eels, with it and with me trying to feed them other foods, it not mean that I should forget about such a project. The other thing here, Dr. Marco Lichtenberger and I chatted about this a number of times for not only would I switch over the mollies tank from freshwater to marine, I would also buy damsels as well that also would be housed in a QT.
Dr. Marco Lichtenberger figures that its worth a try with my personal experiences to do with Moray Eels, it was one experienced eel person talking to another for I also did tell Marco that it would be any number of years before I begin this project, that I may or might have a change in mind to do some other pair of eels. But whatever I do, you can be sure that even if I will be older then 75+ by that time, I am one person who knows what I need to do for the Eels that I keep.
Pasfur, I have a long history to do with a good many Moray Eel Species through a more then 60 years time frame, that through some 20+ years, when I was much younger, I had some six large tanks just for eels back then and few depending on their size and aggressive behavior, a number of those species I kept had to be kept to their own personal tank like the Gymnothorax nudivomer, it has a toxic slime.

Please, never question my abilities when it comes to the Moray Eel, im with more then 60 years in keeping any number of these species and my research for them has no limits. If I hear of some other persons success in the matter in maintaining Ribbon Eels, I would love to call them personally for a one on one chat to their about their methods in how they accomplished their task. I would call China or Germany, no matter where in the World where one had a certain level of success in their attempts in keeping a ribbon eel. And it would not make no differences in my doing all that, and in some later years I change my mind on the idea in obtaining myself a pair of these beautiful species.
Pasfur, you only know that its impossible to keep these eels, I assume with that, your personally experiences aren't in the Moray Eel but something other. If Dr. Marco Lichtenberger feels with my knowledge is as near to his own in many ways, and he had no discouraging words for me, where is it that where you know better in this matter?
This is a topic that is never for the beginner or novice, and yet the inexperience hobbyists on the subject of the Moray eel. Do note that the above comments/remarks are of my own personal views on the topic of the Ribbon Eel.


Have five tanks> I 40 breeder as a QT> 70 and 130 gals twin eel tanks (are one system) and two reef tanks, a 180 and 240 (Hadn`t started yet)

Last edited by Old Man Of The Sea; 04-14-2010 at 10:30 AM.
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post #10 of 19 Old 04-15-2010, 10:48 AM
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From past experience these eels require a larger tank due to the adult size they reach. They also need a tight fitting top as they like other eels like to "jump" out of tanks. I have known people who have had these eels and had them live but made sure not to feed them any freshwater fish. Don't get me wrong the Ribbon eel is a very beautiful eel and it is neat to get a young one and watch it change from black to blue but one must question themselves as to what are the chances it will survive. I have had saltwater tanks (both fish only and reef) and I will not sacrifice to the death of this type of eel.
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