Reef to Rainforest: Discovering Tropical Species, Places, Nature


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Banded Snake Eel, Myrichthys colubrinus. Scott W. Michael

[edit] Overview

The conger and garden eels have a complete lateral line, and pectoral fins are usually absent. All of the congrids occur in marine habitats—in tropical and temperate seas—and have leptocephalus larvae. The two subfamilies encountered by aquarists are very different in form and behavior. Members of the Subfamily Heterocongrinae (garden eels) are elongate with narrow bodies, the dorsal and anal fins have rays that are not segmented, the pectoral fins are minute, they have a short mouth with a lower jaw that projects beyond the tip of the snout, and they often live in large colonies. The garden eels dig burrows in the sand (which they rarely leave) and feed on zooplankters that drift past in the current. There are 2 genera and about 25 species in this subfamily. Members of the Subfamily Congrinae (conger eels) have elongate bodies, but are not nearly as slender as the garden eels. They have dorsal and anal rays that are segmented, well-developed pectoral fins, and posterior nostrils located above the middle of the eye. There are about 25 genera in this subfamily. The congers live in rocky or coral crevices and most are nocturnal, foraging for fishes and crustaceans at night. Captive Care: Conger eels are best observed in an aquarium equipped with a red light to illuminate their nightly feeding activities. Provide a tank with a secure cover and suitable hiding places. Garden eels require a tank that is at least 51 cm (20 in.) in height, with a thick layer of sand (15 to 20 cm [6 to 8 in.] deep) in which to burrow. A gentle current should be directed along the bottom of the aquarium, and other decor should be kept to a minimum. Feeding: Garden eels require a diet that consists primarily of very small crustaceans, including frozen mysid shrimp and small shavings of table shrimp. Other Advice: Congers will eat any crustacean or fish tankmate that can be swallowed whole. Garden eels are extremely shy and should be placed in a tank in a low-traffic area or one with a piece of one-way glass covering the front panel.

Three subfamilies:

  • Heterocondrinae (Garden eels)
  • Bathymyrinae
  • Congrinae


Native range:

Taxonomic rank: Family

Common name: CONGER and GARDEN EELS

Total known Total profiles
Subfamilies 3 0
Genera 32 0
Species 160 0

[edit] Subfamilies


[edit] Genera


[edit] Species


Reference: Reef Fishes Volume 1
Image credit: SWM
Text credit: swm

Facts about CongridaeRDF feed
Biogroup-Organism Marine Fishes  +
Common name CONGER and GARDEN EELS  +
Family taxonomic rank Family  +
Image credit SWM  +
Native range Atlantic Ocean  +, Indian Ocean  +, and Pacific Ocean  +
Reference Reef Fishes Volume 1  +
Text credit swm  +

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