Eels – Golden Banana Moray Eel (Gymnothorax miliaris)

Updated on January 30, 2021 by

The Banana Eel is a spectacular marine creature that comes with exquisite colors that makes it a sought out species for most experienced saltwater fish keepers.

Quick stats – Banana Eel

Category Info
Origin South America
Max size 2′ / 60 cm
Aquarium Min 100 gallon / 380 liters
Water 74-79° F / 23-27° C

dKH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.5

sg. 1021-1.025
Care level Moderate
Behaviour Semi-aggressive
Diet Carnivore
Family Muraenidae
Colors Yellow
Lifespan Up to 15 years

Banana Eel description

The Banana Eel is one of the smallest species of the Moray belonging to the Muraenidae family. They come in many varieties and are found in different areas of the world, but are more dominant in the coral reefs of tropical regions.

Just as the name implies the Banana Eel has a slender snake-like shape and bright yellow coloration of a ripe banana from head to tail. They have patches of black markings along the top part of the body and on the dorsal fin.

These species do not possess pectoral and pelvic fins; rather they have a long and dorsal fin that runs from the base of the head to the tail meeting with the caudal and anal fins. 

Morays are void of scales, rather they possess a tough and thick skin that is always coated with mucus which helps to keep them safe from bacteria and parasites. 

The Banana Eels have beady eyes with a poor sight which makes it difficult for them to hunt for prey, but they have a very strong sense of smell that enables them to hunt efficiently.

They are semi-aggressive with a modified mouthpart full of sharp teeth that can cause severe bites which make them unsuitable tankmates with most aquatic species as they are carnivores and can feed on smaller fish.

Most Morays including the Banana Eel always have their mouth open which enables them to breathe and carry out their respiratory function.

These species are scarce and are rarely found in pet and fish shops, coupled with the fact that they come with a relatively expensive price, they require optimal care to enable them to live out their active life.

For these reasons, they are not suitable for beginner aquarists, rather they are recommended only for the experienced fish keeper.

Banana Eel in the natural habitat

Banana Eels are dominant in areas near the equator and in the coral reef of tropical regions of South America. 

They are often seen trying to squeeze through small gaps including crevices and cracks.

In the wild, they are carnivores and will often prey on smaller fish and aquatic species.

Banana Eel in the ideal aquarium

Banana Eel - Gymnothorax miliaris

Te set up the best tank for the Banana Eel one should first take a look at the optimal saltwater parameters listed above in the table.

Secondly, the environment will require a well-filtered minimum of 100-gallon tank with the following parameters 23 -27˚C (72.0-78.0F), pH 8.1-8.4, 8-12 dKH, 1020-1.025 sg. 

As carnivore species, the tank will most likely be always littered with debris and food waste, therefore, frequent water changes should be made about every 1 to 2 weeks while replacing up to 30% of the water at each interval. Most often the Banana Eel will refuse to feed if the water conditions are not optimal.

The filtration system should be working adequately to ensure that the water is always healthy for the Banana Eel. Canister filters and suitable biofilter media will facilitate a well-filtered tank for the Banana Eel.

This species is very curious and would want to explore the surrounding environment given any chance they find, therefore the tank should be tightly fitted with a cover that is void of holes.

They can thrive in sand or very fine gravel substrate where they often bury themselves, but many fish keepers will prefer to keep them in a bare bottom tank because this specie produces much waste so as to allow for ease of cleaning.

As these species love to weave between holes and crevices, a lot of rockwork with crevices and caves can be provided to enable them to have the comfort feel of their natural home.

Morays are carnivores with an improved mouthpart that can harm other aquatic species. For this reason they are unsuitable tankmates with most aquatic species.

However, if they should be housed with other fish, the fish should be introduced first before the Banana Eel, and the fish should be at large, robust, and at least thrice the size of the Eel’s mouthpart and girth.

Suitable tankmates for the Banana Eel include large Groupers, Cleaner Wrasse, and Lionfish. But these species should be introduced into the tank before the Banana Eel.

Smaller marine fish whether peaceful, semi-aggressive, or aggressive should be avoided as they are often regarded as foods for the Eels.

However, it is best to house them singly in the aquarium. They will often fight with each other over food and territory if more than one Eel is introduced. This can be compensated with a larger tank having more hiding spots for them to escape if fights should result. This tank should be closely monitored and the Eels separated if fighting persists regularly.

Banana Eel feeding

In the wild, the Banana Eels are carnivorous predators, always laying ambush and preying on smaller fish species.

In the tank, they should be often fed with a variety of meaty live and frozen foods such as fish and crustaceans.

Feeding them with live foods can be entertaining to watch as they hunt for the prey until they end up devouring it. 

Due to the fact that live foods may be hard to get in their desired quantity, they can be fed with fresh or frozen foods such as squid, crab, and other fish.

Due to their strong carnivorous habit, they will hardly take on flaked foods and pellets.

This species should not be overfed nor frequently fed as they are gluttonous and will always feed as much as they are fed. This will get them obese or fat which often results in a liver complication.

They are suitably fed twice a week with as much as they can feed on till they are saturated. This can be noticed as soon as they stop eating. Every leftover should be adequately removed so as not to affect the water condition.

Among the best food for Banana Eels, we can recommend the following: Rod`s Food Predator Blend, SF Freeze Dried Plankton and SF Freeze Dried Krill.

Banana Eel breeding

Breeding Banana Eels is very difficult as it is hard to differentiate the different sex. Also, the female will require mating with one or several males before the eggs are released.

Moreover, it is hard to care for the larva in the aquarium as they would usually take up to 10 months before they become mature.

To conclude

Banana Eels are the right species to buzz up the tank and give the experienced fish keeper an exciting challenge.

They are suitably kept alone or in a very large tank with other Moray species, although this should be closely monitored. 

They are carnivorous predators which makes them unsuitable with most aquatic species, especially the smaller ones.

Their tank should mimic their natural habitat and always maintain a clean and healthy environment.

They are suitably fed with meaty live, fresh and frozen foods twice a week with as much they can feed to their fill.

With proper care and adequate water condition, the Banana Eel can live up to 15 years while growing up to 2’.

Frequently asked questions

What is the lifespan of Banana Eels?

With proper care and right tank condition, Banana Eels can live up to 15 years.

What is the maximum size of Banana Eels?

Banana Eels can grow up to 2’ long.

What are suitable tank mates for Banana Eels?

They are suitably housed with fish that are large, robust, and at least thrice the size of the Eel’s mouthpart and girths such as Lionfish, Groupers, and Cleaner Wrasse.

What’s the best food for the Banana Eels?

In the wild, they are carnivores and should be fed with a variety of meaty live, fresh and frozen foods.