The Japanese Dragon Eel is native to the Indo-Pacific Ocean region, it is rare but very popular with those aquarists who like eels. It is mottled in vibrant shades of orange, black and white, with more orange on the chest than the either of its “cousins,” the Hawaiian and Mexican Dragon Eels. It has very large, jet black eyes. The mouth is full of teeth that are sharp and fang-like and the bottom jaw can not close because of its curved shape, making the eel look especially menacing. Its head is much larger than its body. Known also as the Japanese Dragon Moray.
The Dragon moray eel is a very stunning and popular moray eel. It is easy to care for and can be recommended to anyone with a large aquarium and a large budget as this species often is somewhat expensive. This moray is not as common in the trade as the Snowflake moray eel or the Zebra moray eel but you should be able to find one if you are patient. Ask your local fish store to order it for you or order it yourself online.
The Dragon moray eel has an orange body with white and brown spots all over. It has enlarged characteristic nostrils. Escaping is a favorite activity, having the ability to go through small holes. It is important to keep the lid on tight.
There is a local variety of this species collected off the coast of Japan that has a more intense coloring and more orange on the stomach than the regular Dragon moray eel. This Japanese Dragon moray eel is very sought after and is usually very expensive with a price ranging from around $1000 and up.
The dragon moray eel is a highly predatory very aggressive fish species. It should never be kept with anything that is small enough to fit into its mouth as it will try to eat it. It should not be kept with timid fish and is best kept with other large aggressive fish such as trigger and puffers or by itself in a species aquarium. The Dragon moray eel is obviously not reef safe but can be kept with corals, gorgonians and anemones with the reservation that large specimens can hurt them accidentally while swimming around. The Dragon moray eel can despite being aggressive be quite shy. A well decorated aquarium (see below) will make it less shy and more active.
The Dragon moray eel can be very shy during the first few weeks after being introduced but as the eel starts feeling more at home in your aquarium it will become more and more active. If the Dragon moray eel feels safe enough it might even rest out in the open.
The Dragon moray eel is found in the entire tropical Indo-Pacific. It can be encountered from the African east coast to the western coast of South America. It has only been sporadically reported further east than Hawaii. It can be found as far north as Japan and as far south as New Caledonia.