By Bob Goemans
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Gymnothorax favagineus

Bloch & Schneider, 1801

Tessellated Moray, Honeycomb Moray

Likely Reef Tank Suitable

Likely Fish-Only Tank Suitable

Range: Indo-West Pacific Ocean: Red Sea and East Africa, east to Papua New Guinea, north to the Philippines, and south to the Great Barrier Reef.

Size: 72 inches (180 cm)

Natural Environment: Inhabits coastal areas from depths of 3 to 160 feet (1 – 50 m) and is found on reef faces, reef flats, fore-reef slopes, and patch reefs in lagoons where its frontal area protrudes from openings. Usually a solitary species, but may be found cohabiting lagoon coral heads with Gymnothorax javanicus (the Giant Moray). Feeds at night and during the day on fishes and octopuses.

General Husbandry: Has a white body and the size of its black spots depends upon age of the specimen. Juveniles have large meandering black spots, while adults have smaller meandering black spots and the spots are even smaller on the large adult.

One of the more commonly seen in the trade moray eels. Does well in aquaria, however, since it can attain a very long length, about 6 feet or longer, an aquarium of 180 gallons or larger must be considered. Aquarium interior should contain a rocky environment with openings of various sizes where it can hide most of its body with its head/frontal area protruding from an opening. Unless kept with similar sized animals, it may devour other fish small enough to be swallowed. In fact, it cannot be fully trusted with other similar size eels or large fish, as it may prey upon them during the night timeframes.

As to diet, fresh fish and/or crustacean flesh impaled on a long feeding stick and waved near its head, which usually sticks out of a hiding area, will entice it to grab the food and should be offered twice weekly.


    Order: Anguilliformes

    Suborder: Muraenoidei

    Family: Muraenidae

    Subfamily: Muraeninae

    Genus: Gymnothorax

FYI: Keep in mind, smaller specimens will grow quickly, and if housed in small aquariums, their removal once they become large is difficult and can easily result in injury to the specimen, and/or the aquarist doing the removal process.

Avoid hand feeding!

Will eat ornamental crustaceans.

May be difficult to get feeding, if so, try providing it live ghost/grass shrimp and/or small crabs, e.g., fiddler crabs to induce feeding.

Aquarium must be covered, as they can get out of the aquarium through very small openings.

Rockwork in the aquarium should be quite stable, as they can undermine rock structures and cause their collapse.

Experience Level: Intermediate

Temperament: Semi-aggressive

Diet: Carnivore

Coral Safe: Yes

Fish Safe: With caution

Invertebrate Safe: With caution

Acclimation Time: 30 minutes+

Aquarium Environment: Reef or fish-only aquarium

Tankmates: Semi-aggressive

Minimum Tank Size: 180 gallons

Temperature Range: 72 - 82°F (22 – 28°C)

Specific Gravity: 1.020 - 1.026

pH: 8.0 - 8.5

 Gymnothorax favagineus (Tessellated Moray, Honeycomb Moray)
Photo © Bob Goemans
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