Home > Tips & Tricks > Zebra eel Care & Info | A Stripey Sea Serpent

Zebra eel Care & Info | A Stripey Sea Serpent

Now this is a spectacular fish if there ever was one! We’d like to introduce you to Gymnomuraena zebra, better known as the zebra moray eel or just zebra eel. This striped species is one of the most popular eels in the aquarium hobby, but you should definitely gain some experience before you consider keeping one. 

Keep reading for everything you need to know about zebra moray eel care.

Name (Common, Scientific)Zebra eel, zebra moray eel, Gymnomuraena zebra, sometimes Echidna zebra
Minimum tank size200 gallons
Minimum group size1
Temperature72-78 °F
Difficulty levelIntermediate

Zebra eel description

This species looks exactly as you’d expect from its name: an eel with zebra stripes in dark brown and white. A member of the family Muraenidae but the only species in its genus Gymnomuraena, it’s naturally found in the Indo-Pacific, where it inhabits reefs in shallower waters.

Although not all specimens reach this size, a zebra eel has the potential to grow to up to 5 feet in length. Not a small fish!

Did you know? The zebra eel isn’t the only eye-catching moray available in the aquarium hobby. We’ll introduce you to the full spectrum of wacky and wonderful aquarium eels in our post on our 6 favorite moray eels.

Zebra eel (Gymnomuraena zebra) aquarium fish.

Zebra eel aquarium

Although the zebra eel is generally considered one of the easier morays to keep due to its low aggression levels, its size does make things a little more complicated. Some sources recommend a minimum tank size of 125 gallons, but we definitely lean more towards 200 or even 250. Not just due to the species’ length, but also their messy eating habits, which can quickly cause water quality issues in a smaller set-up.

Your zebra moray will appreciate a reef environment with plenty of nooks and crannies to hide in, as well as a sand substrate for digging. The species is considered mostly reef safe, although we wouldn’t recommend placing any of your most prized corals in the same aquarium, just because a moray this size can inadvertently squash things while moving around.

Make sure you’ve got a strong filtration system set up. As mentioned, morays are quite a burden on the aquarium water quality! You’ll also have to stay on top of tank maintenance to

Zebra eel (Gymnomuraena zebra) aquarium fish.

Zebra eel diet

Don’t expect to be able to feed your zebra moray eel using commercial fish foods like pellets or flakes. It’s very unlikely they’ll accept these! Instead, try to mimic their natural diet by feeding a variety of fresh or frozen (thawed) seafood. Crabs, shrimp, scallops, mussels and the like work well.

Keep in mind that an adult zebra eel only needs a meal about once a week. They’re prone to obesity and can actually go for weeks without food, so it’s probably better to wait if you’re not sure whether it’s time yet!


A beautiful aquarium with spectacular inhabitants like the zebra moray eel is quite a sight to see, but it does require some specialist knowledge. If you’d like to enjoy your tank without the hassle, we can help! FantaSEA Aquariums designs, builds and maintains aquariums in public and private settings, so contact us here with your ideas.

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Marijke Puts

Hey! I'm Marijke, FantaSEA's resident blog writer. I'm a full-time pop science author, part-time PADI diver and snorkeler, and have been keeping fish since I was a kid. When I'm not writing fish care guides, you can usually find me underwater or trying to figure out how to fit more tanks into my house.

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