15 Best Snowflake Eel Tank Mates

Snowflake eels are beautiful, majestic creatures, capable of growing to be about 2ft long when they’re kept in an aquarium. Because of their large size and predatory nature, it can be tricky finding the right tank mates for their peculiar diet.

Now as for finding the right tank mates for a Snowflake eel, this can be very challenging. To help you out, I have compiled a list of the best possible tank mates to pair with a Snowflake eel.

1) Lionfish

Lionfish | Photo 43303047 © Aurinko | Dreamstime.com

With the lionfish being an aggressive kind of fish, eels have been known to not mess with them. A user on a forum from saltwaterfish.com has said that in their “aggressive tank, the lionfish is the only fish the Snowflake eel is indifferent to.”

Lionfish also grow very large, reaching lengths between 6 and 18 inches. The lionfish need large tanks to dwell in just like the Snowflake eel. Also, its dorsal spines make it a turn-off as a meal for Snowflake eels. Both the eel and the lionfish would do well in a 200-gallon tank as both of them would have the proper space and habitat to live comfortably without getting in each other’s way.

2) Tangs

Blue tang (Paracanthurus hepatus), AKA Palette surgeonfish, Regal tang | Source: Deposit Photos

Tangs are typically big enough not to be bothered by Snowflake eels. Tangs are typically peaceful fish, but a few can be known to be aggressive. Many aquarium owners however have responded to inquiries on forums about the best companions to a Snowflake eel. Tangs are a kind of fish that show up regularly and there are not many reported challenges with acclimating them to Snowflake eels.

3) Triggerfish

Blackbelly Triggerfish | Photo 9004154 © Sergey Skleznev | Dreamstime.com

Triggerfish can be both big and aggressive. They are natural hunters and because of this, it’s hard to imagine an eel being able to swallow one for dinner. The triggers typically will not attack the eels either. In some cases finding the appropriate feeding time for both fish is challenging as they may steal food from one another. Feeding the eel at night might work best as eels generally are more nocturnal and hide in their rocks all day.

4) Angelfish

Emperor Angelfish | Source: Deposit Photos

Emperor, flame, and other kinds of angelfish are natives to the Indian and Pacific oceans just like Snowflake eels. Their maximum size in captivity is 12in and typically angelfish are meant to live in larger tanks which is also what is needed for the eel. Angelfish in general are considered semi-aggressive fish, and with their big size, they will not likely be bothered by the eel.

5) Starfish

Red Starfish | Photo 3592212 © Olga Khoroshunova | Dreamstime.com

In a smaller tank, a starfish could be a quick snack for a Snowflake eel. A starfish is an invertebrate and eels in the wild eat invertebrates. However, with a big enough tank, the eel should not feel the need to attack the starfish and they could live in harmony. One reason a starfish would be a good fit with the eel in a big enough tank is that starfish need rocks to dwell on. Eels like to hide under rocks and stay there for most of the day. Therefore, their habitats can co-exist.

6) Sea Urchins

Blue Tuxedo Urchin | Photo 133515351 © Voislav Kolevski | Dreamstime.com

Sea urchins are known to be safe to keep with other fish including Snowflake eels. It is unlikely the eel will eat the sea urchin. However, it is your responsibility to make sure the fish, eels, and sea urchins in your tank are monitored and cared for since a scenario where a sea urchin feels threatened may prove dangerous for fish. Sea urchins only use their spines for self-defense.

7) Snails

Turbo Snail | Photo 167740187 / Snail © Voislav Kolevski | Dreamstime.com

Snails will eat the algae build-up, dead plants, and food waste in your tank. They are a great addition to any tank because they can maintain healthy water quality for the fish. Eels won’t bother the snail and can thrive in the clean water that the snails help provide. This works for both of them because snails can also help break down the mess after an eels messy feeding.

8) Clownfish

Clownfish By Itself With An Anemone | Photo 13861931 / Anemonefish © Calek | Dreamstime.com

Clownfish are smaller, non-aggressive fish that you might not think would pair well with an eel. But in a 200-gallon tank where the eel is fed consistently, this relationship could work. In a smaller tank, this pairing is risky. Even if the Snowflake is a baby and doesn’t touch the clownfish, when it grows up it will. This is a riskier pairing, but it is possible.

9) Anemone

Pink Sea Anemone | Photo 10704711 © Andy Nowack | Dreamstime.com

If you are going to have clownfish, keeping a host anemone will be ideal. In a big enough tank the eel shouldn’t bother the anemone or the clownfish. They also add a bit of extra color and decoration to the tank!

10) Corals

Zoanthus Coral | Photo 197185558 © Voislav Kolevski | Dreamstime.com

Snowflake eels are aggressive and could accidentally smash into corals when they aggressively emerge from hiding spots. The eel, however, will not eat the coral. Again pairing corals with Snowflake eels will only work if the tank is big enough. The coral should also not be kept near the hiding place of the eel so there will not be accidental smashing.

11) Bartlett Anthias

Pink Bartlett’s Anthias | Photo 89739505 © Prayuth Gerabun | Dreamstime.com

This is a colorful fish that can brighten up your tank. Also being hermaphroditic, they are known to change sexes. They can live in harmony with a Snowflake eel.

12) Gobies

Diamond Watchman Goby | Photo 126751786 © Voislav Kolevski | Dreamstime.com

Large gobies that will not fit in the Snowflake eel’s mouth should do fine in your tank. Although some websites will show that a goby, such as a Diamond Watchman, is not compatible with a Snowflake eel, a video can be seen here with Diamond Watchman gobies and Snowflake eels getting along just fine.

Another website says that large gobies are good tank mates for the Snowflake eel. The information is a bit conflicting here, so you may want to try introducing a few gobies and seeing how it goes.

13) Wrasse

Hoeven’s Wrasse | Photo 143953952 © Voislav Kolevski | Dreamstime.com

Wrasses are fish of the order Perciformes. Shallow water is where they can usually be found. Often referred to as “cleaners,” they feed on dead, dying, or diseased fish and remove parasites from other fish. This beautiful saltwater fish may prefer to be kept in small groups.

They are carnivores, so their diet needs to include a variety of foods sucha s frozen Mysis, Brine Shrimp.

14) Shrimp

Blood Red Fire Shrimp | Photo 84851944 © Guinapora | Dreamstime.com

Shrimp have a good chance of not being eaten if the tank is big enough. However, it all depends if you are consistent with feeding the Snowflake consistently according to the feeding schedule you have in place. By doing this, the eel should not need to search for some more feed.

The best reason to keep shrimp in your tank is that the Snowflake is a messy eater. The shrimp can be good at keeping your tank clean and therefore, the Snowflake eel could benefit as well from their presence.

15) Another Snowflake Eel

Snowflake Eel | Photo 50573510 © Alexander Hammond | Dreamstime.com

If you are considering pairing two Snowflake eels together, it is best to have a big enough tank, preferably a 200 gallon-sized tank or bigger. Also, once you have the tank, it is best to introduce both Snowflake eels at the same time to the tank. This is done mostly for territorial reasons. The Snowflake likes to be the alpha predator, therefore another Snowflake eel in the same tank should be introduced at the same time.

Tips for Choosing Tank Mates

A Snowflake eel needs at least a 50-75 gallon tank for its habitat and should be thought of like the alpha predator in your fish tank. Therefore, the best tank mates for your Snowflake are mostly big and aggressive fish. They will be capable of defending themselves. There are other exceptions as to what kind of fish will work well for your tank as well, such as fish that stay out of the way.

Since you are planning to pair your eel with other fish, a bigger tank will be necessary, preferably a 200-gallon tank so that the eel can have its own territory. It should be thought of this way: the Snowflake eel is very aggressive, therefore, it will be a problem if the other fish are too invasive of its space.

This eel needs its own space where it can be the alpha predator. If this eel can fit another fish in its mouth, it will attack when hungry.

Now given the aggressive nature of this eel and its huge appetite, you should pair it with bigger fish. This way the eel is more likely to be intimidated and becomes discouraged from eating them. You have to remember that when the eel is hungry, any small fish the eel can swallow will be considered its lunch instead of friends.

The important thing to remember in all of this is that with a big enough tank, typically 200 gallons or bigger, a Snowflake eel can be compatible with just about any fish, just as long as you are feeding it enough. If you have a smaller tank size, bigger fish such as lionfish, tangs, triggerfish, and angelfish will work as complimentary tank mates to the Snowflake eel.

Generally, you do not want to pair the eel with crustaceans of any kind such as crabs, shrimp, and lobsters because these are staples of the eel’s natural diet. They are more likely to be devoured by the eel than any other fish. This, however, is not always the case. Depending on the personality of the eel, and the species of these crustaceans, they may get passed over for other types of food.

This is important because when the eel is not hungry, it generally will not attack any fish. The eel may seem like a gentle predator, very passive while waiting for you to feed it. However, when the time comes for feeding, it can become very aggressive towards other fish. When hungry, the eel may attack anything it can clamp its jaws onto.

Therefore, out of necessity, the tank should be filled with other predators that are mostly aggressive or are too big for the eel to attack and swallow. Snowflake eels have poor eyesight, so they go by smell to pick out their prey. When they are hungry, every one of their tank mates is fair game.

Snowflake Eel Diet and Eating Habits

Generally, you do not want to pair the eel with crustaceans of any kind such as crabs, shrimp, and lobsters because these are the eel’s natural diet. Also smaller fish such as goldfish and damselfish will be devoured for sure. Therefore, finding bigger and more aggressive fish will complement your eel best.

Because of its blindness, the eel should not be hand-fed. A feeding stick works fine to feed it. This way the eel will know where to expect its food.

Also, it is important to feed the eel on time and to not miss feeding times. Typically, if the eel is small, it can be fed every other day. A large one will be fine with large feedings about twice a week. Eels will eat frozen worms, crustaceans, and shrimp. These are all reliable options for feeding your eel at dinner time. Staying consistent with feeding the eel will decrease the likelihood of the eel preying on your other fish.

Remember that if the eel eats well, it will grow bigger, so this might be something to consider when shopping for the right tank.

Following these simple tips will help keep your Snowflake eel happy ensure that it lives in harmony with your other fish.