Rare and hard to find, the Japanese Dragon Eel Enchelycore Pardalis is one of the rarest of the rare and the standard bearer of Just Rare Fish.
With its bright orange color and dragon-like face, this moray eel is a great addition to your saltwater aquarium. Most specimens of Japanese Dragon Eels arrive about 12″ in Length. We frequently have them much larger.
Japanese Dragon Eels like live food when possible. Expect to give this eel a little extra care when it arrives.
The Japanese Dragon Eel is a predator fish and it will view new additions as possible food, so when stocking your aquarium, i hold probably be one of the last additions, if not THE last.
Japanese Dragon Eels need a lot of space. Even the Juveniles, as they can grow very quickly and outgrow a tank that isn’t at least 150 gallons. The tank should be aquascaped in a way to not only allow several hiding places, but to also allow your eel to pass through or behind the rock from one end of your aquarium to the other without being seen from the outside. This will help your eel feel much more comfortable much more quickly. The more cave you give your eel to choose from and explore, the happier it will be, the safer it will feel, and the more you will see swimming out in the open. It also needs shelter on the “floor” of the tank, as it is a bottom-dweller and will often choose to make it their home space.
Japanese Dragon Eels are good purchases if you have a tank that can support it as a mature adult. They can be kept as a mated pair, as well. But if you don’t have the system to support it, you will be very disappointed in a few weeks when your eel develops problems.
Water Quality: Temp. 7 -78° F, sg 1.020-1.025, pH 8.1-8.4.
Another important detail to remember about setting up for a Japanese Dragon Eel’s tank is to make sure that it is tightly closed at the top. It needs to be completely closed with no gaps. Think of your eel as a master escape artist, because that’s exactly what it is. If there is a gap in the top of your tank that os a fraction of the body’s size, it will escape the tank through that gap or hole. Eels are famous for this, and many aquarium owners have woken up or come home to find their prized eel on the carpet because they didn’t completely enclose the top of the tank.
Do not hand feed a tank with a Japanese Dragon Eel.
Their eyesight is not very good. If they are coming to your hand to get food, they will have a hard time distinguishing where the food stops and the finger begins. Being bitten by a Japanese Dragon Eel is very painful and it can cause a very serious bacterial infection. You will need to clean the bite immediately and very thoroughly, and you may need to seek medical attention, as well. If you see any redness develop around the wound, you should definitely go get medical attention immediately before it gets badly infected, which can happen quickly.
Japanese Dragon Eels are predators and hunters. They prefer live food (or what they think is live food) to dead food. Once they get acclimated to aquarium life, many start to learn to accept dead foods. Some don’t ever learn, though.
When they are first introduced to your tank, you may need to use live food to encourage it to start eating. You can use live shrimp or feeder fish and it will usually get things started. But don’t use feeder fish for too long (and don’t use feeder goldfish at all). They lack the nutrition that the Japanese Dragon Eel needs to thrive. What you are trying to do is trigger your eel’s natural feeding instincts and then get it to other foods as quickly as it lets you.
Feed your Japanese Dragon Eel when it is hungry. Many eels will want to eat only a few times each week, and remember that once in a while, it will go into hibernation or will just go on a fast for a few weeks. This is common, an you will not need to worry when you see it happen with your eel.
Knowing that the Japanese Dragon Eel looks at everything that can fit into its mouth as food and will try to eat it, and knowing that it is a hunter that wants to cash is own food help to give you an idea of how to feed your eel. The easiest way is to use feeding tongs or a feeding stick. You can put any of a variety of meats on the stick or in the tongs (fish meat, crab meat, squid – there are many options, and we recommend that you give it as much variety as you possibly can to make sure that it gets the proper nutrition) and then put it in the water, moving it some to simulate a live animal in front of the eel. It will usually pause for a moment and then grab the food very quickly with a snap.
Japanese Dragon Eels are not a threat to eat corals, but if the corals are not securely fastened to their rock, they take a big risk of being knocked down as the eel swims through the aquarium.
However, they eat crustaceans and small fishes, quickly eliminating clean-up crews.
The Japanese Dragon Eel is a very aggressive predator fish. Any fish that is small enough to fit into its mouth will probably be identified as food and it will be eaten. It should be kept with other predator fish, preferably large-sized.
While the Japanese Dragon Eel is certainly aggressive, it will not usually start that way when it is introduced into an aquarium. It will generally hide at first. You will notice that is is beginning to feel somewhat comfortable when it starts ticking its head out from the cave it has chosen to hide in. Its open mouth may look menacing, but at this point, it is not hunting for food. It is merely “breathing,” and the moth stays open, displaying its sharp teeth.
After a few weeks, when it feels very comfortable and at home, the Japanese Dragon Eel will start to venture from its cage and unfurl itself, maybe even swimming some around the tank.
Japanese Dragon Eels go into what is best called a type of hibernation from time to time. These times can last several weeks, or until it is ready to come back out. The eel disappears and hides within the rock work, and it also fasts, not accepting any food during the time. This is a normal behavior for these eels.