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FAQs about Conch Snails, Family Strombidae & including Fasciolariidae (which includes the Horse Conches, Spindle Shells, Tulip Snails...), Lambis...

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Related FAQs: Marine Snails 1, Marine Snails 2, Marine Snails 3, Marine Snails 4, Snail ID 1, Snail ID 2, Snail Behavior, Snail Selection, Snail Compatibility, Snail Systems, Snail Feeding, Snail Disease, Snail Reproduction, Mollusks, Sea Slugs, Abalone,

Conch eggs    4/13/17
Hello there,
<Matt>
I've had a conch in my sump for some time. He or she likes to bury in the sand but comes out to eat (it likes clams on the shell) and today I found 4 quarter sized egg casings on the side of the tank where the water cascades into the sump (fairly turbulent flow).
<These are them>
I can't seem to figure this out cause I only have one and I read that conchs fertilize the eggs internally.
<Yes; and are hermaphroditic>
If the eggs are not fertilized why does she lay them.
<Nature of the beast... like domestic chickens.>
I've had her for over a year and she is all alone bar a lobster but pretty sure he isn't the father :-). Attached are some pics. Can you please shed some light on this conundrum and also perhaps tell me what species she is?
<Can't quite make out from your pix, but maybe a Crown... Melongena corona>
Thanks
Matt
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>


Clams and conchs compatible.      2/23/16
Hi all,
<Gail>
I have a 125 gallon reef aquarium and have had 1 Tonga Conch, 1 Asian Conch for about 1&1/2 yrs. Recently, I tried 2 Tridacna deresa clams (not at same time). They would do very well for 1-2 months then I would find their shell empty and no clam in sight.
<Mmm>
I have a few left handed hermit crabs, 2 clownfish, 1 Carpenter's Flasher Wrasse, 2 Pajama cardinals, 1 Randall's goby, 1 pistol shrimp, 2 skunk cleaner shrimps, 1 pink spotted goby and 1 rose Bubbletip anemone.
<Mmm; again... Conchs by and large leave Tridacnids be; some species will bug them by crawling over. The shrimps might be at fault here; but... more likely there are some other hitchhikers... I'd be baiting some traps... See WWM re Polychaetes: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/polychaecompfaqs.htm
I have noticed the Tonga conch around the clams briefly searching them but then they move on. I would like to try another clam but am wary.
Also, I am considering purchasing a Fromia (tile) starfish. I have read that they are reef safe but are they really invertebrate safe?
<Yes re the genus Fromia stars. Please see our coverage re on WWM. Bob Fenner>
Gail K Ray
Re: Clams and conchs compatible.
Thanks for your timely response. Yes, I have seen bristleworms in the live rock-catch them when I can.
Gail
<Ah; do read re the trapping, removal
... B>
Re: Clams and conchs compatible.      2/23/16

I have had pretty good luck not feeding until the end of the day, then with lights off, sprinkling some frozen fish food in the water. It usually
brings them out. I use a red light to see to catch them. Haven't had any luck with traps-tried just about everything.
<Mmm; just narrow mouthed glass jar... with various meaty baits...?>
I'll do another "worm hunt" before I try another clam and decrease the amount of food I'm putting in the tank. It's great to have WWM to ask these questions. Thank you again.
Gail K Ray
<Certainly welcome. B>

Surprise...conch!  Not striped, but spotted. Dealer a cheetah?         1/13/16
Hi Crew!
<Dani>
My husband felt this conch would be a good gift. We had a little talk about that! The local fish store told him it was a reef-safe, Tiger conch.
<?!>
I haven't found one picture on the internet or on WetWebMedia that confirms that though... Different color variation perhaps? I appreciate any help on the ID, thank you!
<.... can't quite make out from your pix; but from the markings this looks like a Buccinid, a whelk.... But not the opening. Bob Fenner>
Dani

Queen Conch and Hermit Feeding -- 12/19/11
I'm George
<Hello George, I'm Lynn, how may I help you today?>
'¦and I have a Queen Conch.
<Oh boy, I hope you have a big tank! These snails can get up to about a foot in length and have voracious appetites.>
My concern is that she's not getting a good diet as my tank is too clean.
<Ouch, that's going to be a problem. Queen Conchs do better in nutrient-rich systems of considerable size with large areas of open sand bed, a good supply of organic debris/detritus, as well as algae and/or sea grasses. Unfortunately, most of these beautiful snails starve to death in reef tanks.>
What can I buy her that she will get great nutrition from eating? She's about 3-4 inches.
<I can't say it would be great, or complete nutrition-wise, but you might try offering some dried Nori/seaweed (used for sushi). You should be able to find it in packets at most grocery stores in the Asian section or at your local (pet) fish store. Of note is that it's formed into thin sheets that fall apart pretty easily once wet so your best bet is to rubber band it to a rock and place it near the Conch on the substrate.>
Thanks.
Also the scarlet hermits, what to feed?
<I'd offer meaty bits of marine origin (shrimp, fish, squid, etc.), and/or possibly sinking pellets. They may pick a bit at the Nori as well.>
Thanks!
<You're very welcome, George! Take care, Lynn Z>
Re: Queen Conch and Hermit Feeding - 12/20/11

Thank You
<You're very welcome, George. Take care, Lynn Z>

Possible ID please? snail and crab 11/13/10
Greetings to you and the crew,
<Richard>
Once again I find myself relying on your expertise to sort out the miss-information I've gained through my research attempts.
The snail I have come to believe could be a whelk of some sort... but have also researched that since this shell does not display a body two times longer then the spire, so it isn't.
<Mmm, give a read here: http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2005-11/rs/index.php
Unfortunately, I can not confirm where the little guy is from. All the live rock is about a year or more old and was touted as a combo of Fiji and Florida, with any frag/coral spending 8 to 10 weeks in isolation minimum... so I actually have no idea how long it has been in there. I have him in a container with a small piece of krill mash hopeful to observe it eat as I have read that whelks can/do not eat algae - but apparently being captured has put off his appetite. Could you possibly confirm what he is please?
<Likely a Conch...
http://wetwebmedia.com/MolluscPIX/Gastropods/Prosobranch%20PIX/Conchs%20Strombids/ConchF1.htm>
On a side note - could it be the reason for the die-off on the Monti?
<Mmm, not at all likely>
The crab was found on a piece of Haitian rock (still in isolation) and I am thinking Mithrax...
<The genus? Nah>
'cept I can't find any as fuzzy or grainy as he is. Of course, there isn't a wealth of 'identified' crab pics out there either:) Another description leans towards
a Black-Finger Crab, but they generally do not show/have fuzz. Presently he resides in a 3L Nano cube (no... not a typo) with chelto (spelling?) left in at all times, Nori, veg and meat flakes, and krill. I can't verify which he is eating. Again I ask... Can you ID please?
<Not from this pic, no. Bob Fenner>
Richard

Fish Compatibility Question Actually 'And Conch Eggs Too? -- 04/16/10
Eric!
<<Chris!!>>
It's Chris K again
<<Indeed it is! [grin]>>
(I've tried to stay away, but I usually show up again like a bad penny).
<<Ah'¦no worries my friend>>
I felt like I won the lottery last time we spoke regarding the blue assessor and possibly being able to add it to my aquarium with my other fish.
<<Mmm yes, I remember>>
Just to refresh you
<<Thank you for this>>
I have a 90 gallon, with 20 gallon sump and refugium, 4 clowns (2 ocellaris and 2 black and white Percs), 1 yellow tang, 1 flame angel, 1 Sixline wrasse, 1 Firefish goby and 2 very small neon gobies (and a few small corals).
<<Ah yes'¦>>
I have discovered another blue fish and I would like to ask you about its compatibility.
<<Okay>>
It is an ORA tank raised Indigo Dottyback.
<<Mmm'¦>>
I stumbled across it today - it's gorgeous!
<<Indeed>>
From what I am gathering I am afraid of two things - either it's going to be too mild of a fish to add at this point considering what I already have in the tank,
<<Always a possibility'¦ Like with the Assessor, it's my opinion the Sixline will be the biggest problem re compatibility issues, with the Flame a possible 'short-term' antagonist. And also like with the Assessor, removing these two for a week or so while the newcomer settles in can help 'though you may see a reversal of the situation with the Pseudochromis and the Wrasse upon reintroduction (it may be classed as 'mild mannered' as Dottybacks go 'but it is still a Dottyback)>>
OR, it will be best to keep it in a small group which may cause me to be overstocked.
<<While a group of these in a 'species specific' display would be stunning 'I certainly don't think there would be a problem with keeping a single specimen with a mixed group of fishes>>
What do you think?
<<I think I just told you'¦[grin]>>
Could it be better than a 50% chance?
<<It could well be a better 'risk' here than the Assessor, yes>>
Hoping for a great big "eureka" here....
<<Do I hear singing?>>
Also - I recently (2-3 weeks ago) purchased a conch - There was confusion as to whether it was a fighting conch or a queen conch
<<Hmm'¦a BIG difference, ultimately 'and either one arguably too big for a 90g>>
- however they charged me for a queen conch
<<But of course they did'¦>>
- .... regardless, lately it has been sitting on a certain rock and I believe laying eggs (I have attached a photo if you are able to confirm).
<<Yep, these are egg casings>>
If they are eggs, do they need a male to fertilize them
<<Yes>>
or is it possible that she was "pregnant" when I purchased her.
<<Considering the newness of the acquisition, this is likely the case here>>
Is there a chance that these could actually hatch?
<<Sure 'but don't get too excited. The larvae will be tiny (microscopic even) and planktonic 'I think it very, very unlikely any would survive the month or so in your display that it takes before they would settle out 'and even then they would likely fall prey to the Wrasse (and maybe Pseudochromis?) in short order>>
I am really not sure what to expect.
<<I would not 'expect' anything much here>>
Or if there is anything I should do to aid in their survival.
<<Unless you have the resources and equipment, and are prepared to institute a Conch breeding program, there's nothing 'to' do>>
Thanks again so much!!
<<Always a pleasure>>
And P.S. I am always inclined to follow up and let you know how things work out!
<<Most excellent'¦ Be chatting! Eric Russell>>

Re: Fish Compatibility Question Actually 'And Conch Eggs Too? Conch & Cuke sel. - 04/17/10
Eric!
<<Chris!>>
Yes! You hear singing - fortunately (for everyone else) there are no mountains near me or I would be singing from the top of them!
<<Hee-hee!>>
I wonder though... Why did no one at my second favorite LFS indicate that the conch I was so interested in would be too big for my aquarium?
<<Mmm well, can't say for sure not knowing them, but'¦ As for the conch, Strombus alatus needs a 100g+ system with more sand (4' deep or more) than rock for a happy lifetime'¦Strombus gigas will need likely three times this volume>>
Actually that's a rhetorical question - I realize that they want my 20 bucks.
<<Ah!>>
-I read that conches can lay up to half a million eggs at a time - but it sounds like I am not going to be making my first million by selling baby conches for $2 a piece at the next frag swap (big sigh) :)
<<Yeah, I used to think I could finance my hobby by selling SPS frags locally 'if it were only that easy, eh?>>
Fortunately, I can take the bad news with the good - eventually I will need to get rid of the conch, so I am not planning on getting too attached. I was merely looking for something to keep my substrate nice and clean. I have gotten past touching crabs, snails, conches, shrimp... but I am not sure I am ready to handle the creepiness factor of a sea cucumber,
<<Some are actually quite good sand sifters/detritivores'¦but don't expect one to keep your substrate all 'clean and white'>>
and the dreaded "Cuke nuke" frightens me.
<<The more commonly available sand-sifting species (e.g. -- Holothuria hilla or Tiger Tail Sea Cucumber and Holothuria floridiana or Common Atlantic Sea Cucumber) pose only a small hazard re, in my opinion. I have kept these since the late eighties without incident>>
(In case I am being too subtle, (ha-ha) I am fishing for suggestions here - if you are so inclined,
<<One of the above mentioned Cukes, with some Nassarius and Cerith snails, and a Brittle Star>>
do feel free to tell me that "Cuke nukes" are over rated)
<<The potential is always there 'but I have even heard 'speculation' that in a captive system the toxicity of these creatures may even decline over time. At any rate, if the animal is not being 'attacked,' I think you have small reason for concern with the species mentioned>>
But on the bright side my Sixline wrasse is going to be fat and happy for a while and.... I think I am going to be getting a beautiful blue fish to complete my palette, which if memory serves, brings me to exactly what I was looking for to begin with! TA DAH!
<<Now how does that saying go'¦oh yeah'¦'Yes, Virginia [Chris!], there is a Santa Claus''¦>>
I plan to follow up with you to let you know how things go
<<Great!>>
- your wisdom has been invaluable and your patience with my unrelenting droning over a blue fish have been positively inexhaustible.
<<Has been my pleasure>>
I am expecting a good result - and I would like to be able to let you know that your efforts were not wasted!
<<If only one person ever reads/benefits from 'it is never wasted. Not to mention the opportunities provided to expand my own horizons>>
Thanks again - as always!
Chris K
<<Be chatting my friend! Eric Russell>>

Something Growing on My Rock? Snail Egg Casings -- 4/11/10
<Hello Bill, Lynn here today.>
I have a 90 gal salt tank 1 large lion-fish, 1 large eel (yellow with black dots), 1 large black pointy sea urchin, 4 conch snails,
<Do you know what variety/species?>
..many Mexican turbo snails, 1 brittle starfish, 1 chocolate starfish, about 80lbs of rock, water tests good most of the time.
<Need to aim for all of the time!>
I use a 1200 gph pump with overflow to sump containing miracle mud and mangroves and a canister filter and turbo twist UV light and a water chiller for temp with average 78 degrees. Can you identify what these things are growing off my rock see picture!
<Yep, they're snail egg casings, possibly left by a Melongenid (Family Melongenidae), which includes species commonly referred to as Conchs and Whelks. The casings you have are definitely not from a Fighting Conch (Strombus alatus or Strombus pugilis), or a Queen Conch (Lobatus/Strombus gigas), all of which are in the Family Strombidae. Their egg masses resemble an amorphous tangle of gelatinous string embedded with sand. Please see the following links for examples:
Strombus alatus (aka the Florida Fighting Conch): http://www.jaxshells.org/1562anne.htm
Strombus pugilis (aka the West Indian Fighting Conch): http://www.jaxshells.org/1540anne.htm Here's an example of a Melongenid's egg casings, specifically Melongena corona (aka the Crown Conch). They're a bit more rounded than the ones you have, but you can see the similarity (and they do vary): http://www.jaxshells.org/mcegg3.htm
Here's another Melongenid example, the Channeled Whelk (Busycotypus canaliculatus). Busycotypus/Busycon species' casings are similar but usually have a bit more surface texture (not as smooth): http://www.turtlejournal.com/?m=201002&paged=2
By the way, it looks like you have a nice little population of beneficial Collonista snails, aka 'Mini-Turbos', roaming the rocks! You can find more information on these at WWM. Just enter Collonista in the Google search engine: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/Googlesearch.htm >
Thanks Bill V
<You're very welcome. Take care, Lynn Zurik>

Snail questions, Nass. sys., Strombid repro... -- 02/12/10
Hi Crew,
I have a 24 gallon Aquapod with live rock, crushed coral and 96w T5. I originally had sugar like sand but it blew around too much and I could not adjust the flow properly since there is a limited choice with the way the Aquapod comes. So I changed to crushed coral and I really like it. The tank is now up over a year and the crushed coral about 9 months. But I do have one spot in the middle under the rock that still has some sand.
Recently I got some critters from the Keys. A pair of rusty Gobies and a Blue Chromis. Not sure how long I can keep the Chromis but right now he is only 1.5 inches and a beautiful blue. I also got 2 Keyhole limpets, 4 Astrea snails and 6 Nassarius snails. This was two weeks ago and they all seem fine except for the Nassarius. Have not seen them since they went into the tank.
<Likely they have burrowed under the sand/crushed coral here>
This is my third try for them in this tank. Is the crushed coral just not to their liking or is something else amiss.
<Most members of the genus, family are much better off with finer, softer substrate>
Aside for the fact that it was hard to get to the sand in middle of the rock I had hoped it could serve to house the Nassarius. I also have Stomatella snails and Strombus maculatis.
<Mmm, do investigate this species. Something else as M. maculatus is often mis-sold...>
But the Nassarius just never make it. I keep trying because I have nothing else to eat leftover food except for some tiny thread like worms and I am not even sure what they eat.
<I consider that you have plenty of snails here>
I don't keep any crabs not even hermits because, as you guys say, they are opportunists.
So what can I keep for that purpose that will not steal from my corals when I feed them, like the peppermint shrimp that I tried.
<Your own periodic maintenance... vacuuming, water changes...>
My second question relates to the Strombus. I have 6 that are always laying their eggs in their capsules all over the place but I have yet to see one baby. I can see the eggs in the capsule and at some point there is a hole in the capsules and no more eggs in it. But none seem to survive.
My Stomatella came as hitchhikers, probably on some coral, and now I have hundreds of little ones.
Thanks,
Sam
<Could be a few things influencing the Strombid young... chemically, predation... Bob Fenner>

Egg Sacs ID? Tulip Snail -- 1/22/10
Greetings again,
<Hello Steve, Lynn here today.>
Found these egg sacs on a blade of Turtle grass (Thalassia testudineus) in the Fl. Keys.
<Neat>
Have seen these before and never paid any attention to them. Been searching the web for hours, haven't found any thing close helping me on this. You all are some of the most knowledgeable out there, so I am wondering if anyone of you knows what these are, or who might.
<It looks like a grouping of Tulip snail (family: Fasciolariidae, genus: Fasciolaria) egg cases to me. These snails are very common around Florida so it doesn't surprise me that you've seen their neat little egg cases before! They're typically trumpet shaped with fluted tops and narrow stems, and can be attached to just about anything (rocks, grasses, etc.). Please see the following links for comparison:
http://www.jaxshells.org/vilano60.htm
http://www.flickr.com/photos/36372157@N05/3377407678/in/photostream/
See the FAQ titled 'Halimeda seeds? 4/13/09' (note follow-up replies): http://www.wetwebmedia.com/MolluscPIX/Gastropods/Prosobranch%20PIX/Conchs%20Strombids/ConchF1.htm >
Thanks for all of your great help! You help all of us in the Hobby!
<You're very welcome, it's a pleasure!>
Steve
<Take care, LynnZ>

Re: How many fish can you put in a 75 gallon tank?, SW Stocking, now collecting your own snails 12/30/09
Thanks... are snails you find on the beach safe to bring back to put in the tank?
<Depends on where you live, what type of snail, generally I would not recommend adding anything to the tank that you are unsure of what it is.>
To test it out, could you just put it in a QT first?
<I would QT everything, but not sure what QTing will tell you about the safety of the snails.>
What would a large snail in a good sized conch eat in the tank?
<Whatever you feed it hopefully.>
Thanks, Nick
<Welcome>
<Chris>
Re: How many fish can you put in a 75 gallon tank?, SW Stocking... Snail sel. 12/31/09

What were finding are snails in conch shells about 2-3 inches long on the shores of the gulf of Mexico in florida (ft. Myers).
<Snails living in large conch shells or just small conches?>
We look in the early AM for them. They seem to be pretty hardy. Have you heard of any instances with this sort of thing? People bringing them back... having them die or live?
Thanks, Nick
<Collection legalities aside, I would not add these to your tank until you positively identify what snail/conch species you are dealing with.>
<Chris>
Re: How many fish can you put in a 75 gallon tank?, SW Stocking 12/31/09
With further research... the snails are florida fighting conchs. Do you know of them?
<http://www.wetwebmedia.com/MolluscPIX/Gastropods/Prosobranch%20PIX/Conchs%20Strombids/ConchF1.htm >
I see they only grow 2 to 3 inches.
<Can grow twice that.>
So that's a plus compared to the foot long queen conch that I thought it was.
Thanks, Nick
<Welcome>
<Chris>
Re: How many fish can you put in a 75 gallon tank?, SW Stocking, Fasciolariids 12/31/09

Also, I have found true tulip snails. They are really neat... but in captivity, I read they eat clams, mussels, and other meaty food.
<Not just in captivity.>
What do they mean by meaty food?
<They are predatory.>
Do you think that a local fish store would supply that type of food?
<Sure, just buy lots of snails, the tulip will be happy to eat them.>
Also, fighting conchs are sold regularly and people say they clean up well.
However, I was wondering if the tulip would eat them, for the tulip eats other snails as well.
<Most likely would.>
I just want to know if I can support it in my tank because I leave tomorrow.
Thanks, Nick
<Welcome>
<Chris>
Re: How many fish can you put in a 75 gallon tank?... ongoing re Snail sel....
1/1/10
Okay.. I am still wondering about the tulips... so do they only turn to the other snails when they are very hungry?
<Read here:
http://wetwebmedia.com/MolluscPIX/Gastropods/Prosobranch%20PIX/Conchs%20Strombids/ConchF1.htm
and the linked files above on Sel.>
And could I buy mussels and or clams at a local supermarket to feed them, or would that be risky?
<Is not risky... Learn to/use the search tool/indices on WWM>
So my tank is 75g.... how many conchs should go in and what about the tulips?
Happy New Year!
<Keep reading. Bob Fenner>

Re: How many fish can you put in a 75 gallon tank?, SW Stocking... Tulip snails... no reading 1/1/10
Okay. well I want to keep it simple.... so I think I will let the tulips go and keep some conchs.
<If the tulips have been in your tank or exposed to any of your livestock/live rock it must not be returned to the ocean, either find them a new home or euthanize them, but do not release them back into the natural environment.>
The tulips would cause too much trouble for me. I want to have a friendly tank. I just put my flame back in yesterday, but it still a little white around its mouth. I was just wondering when I could put in the 2 royal grammas.
<Grammas are best kept singly.>
Do you have to QT?
<I would.>
There pretty hardy.. aren't they?
<QT is to protect your other fish as much as the ones in QT.>
What would I feed?
<http://www.wetwebmedia.com/grammas.htm >
Ands one more thing... should I do anything with the conchs when I get home or just put them straight in?
<I would QT them.>
Thanks for all of your help,
Nick
<Welcome.
<Chris>

Snail hitchhiker 11/27/09
Could you guys/gals possibly tell me what this is and whether it is reef safe or not?
<Mmm, looks to be a predatory Fasciolariid species. See here:
http://wetwebmedia.com/MolluscPIX/Gastropods/Prosobranch%20PIX/Conchs%20Strombids/ConchF1.htm>
The only snails I have in the tank purposely are Astraea, Margarita, Nerites, Cerith and Nassarius. I don't think this is any of those. The size is about 0.5 cm at the moment.
Thanks much!
Roxanne
<I'd remove this animal. Bob Fenner>

Please Help with an ID: Strombid - Conch 10/5/09
Dear Crew,
<Hello Justin, Lynn here today.>
A few months ago we were at a new LFS in our area. My wife has a fascination with conchs, and when she saw these really interesting spiny shelled "conchs", she just had to have one. The only problem was, this particular "conch" as we were sold was a murex snail.
<Oops, Murex can have exquisitely beautiful, ornate shells, but they're predators.>
Well after a few months, we finally saw the snail feeding on our fighting conch.
<Ouch>
It was too late for him, and we proceeded to remove the snail to a 5g tank by himself (my wife couldn't bring herself to get rid of it).
<Good for her!>
Anyway I got in contact with the LFS, and they did in fact apologize and offer to replace our conch for their mistake.
<Wow, that's a well-run store.>
Apparently these snails were labeled as "conchs" when they came in. Anyway we went back yesterday to get a replacement conch, and we got some kind of what I believe to be a snail that they said was a conch, and promised it was. Now I am no conch expert, but to me, this really doesn't look like any conch I have seen available in the trade.
<There are many varieties and appearance can vary quite a bit within a given species.>
I was hoping if I could get some help, since I have already had one predatory snail, I don't really care to have another.
<I can certainly understand that. From what I can see, you do indeed have another conch -- something within the family Strombidae ('true' conchs). Unfortunately, given the number of possibilities, and not knowing the location of origin, I can't narrow it down any further. My guess is that it's probably one of the Florida or West Indies species, but again, with the degree of variation in color, presence/shape/size of spines/knobs, etc., it's hard to pin down which. It also appears that your poor little snail received some rough treatment/wear at some point, whether (naturally) in the wild or in transit. Note the broken tip of the spire and worn appearance of some of the protuberances. Please see the following link for more information and comparison (also take note of links within regarding specific species): http://z14.invisionfree.com/Conchologist_Forum/index.php?showtopic=1230
More photos of this family here (worldwide species): http://www.gastropods.com/Taxon_pages/TN_Family_STROMBIDAE_STROMBINAE.shtml
http://www.idscaro.net/sci/01_coll/plates/gastro/pl_strombidae_4.htm
One thing of note is that you don't usually see conchs up on the glass or rocks; they normally hang out on or within the sandbed. However, apparently this sort of behavior isn't uncommon in juveniles/smaller individuals. I also need to give you a heads-up if you plan to continue researching this little snail. There's been quite a bit of taxonomic change in this family so depending on where you look, you'll find the same snail species listed under several different genera. For instance, I've seen a queen conch referred to anything from Strombus gigas to Lobatus gigas or Eustrombus gigas. It makes for some confusion, so be ready!>
Thanks Crew!!
<You're very welcome! Enjoy your new addition!>
Justin
<Take care, LynnZ>

Re: Something eating my clam 9-12-09
Here are a couple a photo of my Strombid!
<Thank you for sharing. BobF>

Horse Conch: Big Appetite, Potentially Huge Snail -- 8/20/09
Hello, I have a young horse conch who of course ate all other snails in my tank faster than I could find out he is indeed a cannibal (ignorant me).
<Ouch! Unfortunately that's one of those lessons learned the hard way to research before bringing home! If what you have is indeed the Florida horse conch Pleuroploca gigantea (family Fasciolariidae -- tulip snails) it will most definitely eat other snails, some thin-shelled bivalves such as pen shells (family Pinnidae) as well as scavenge. In addition, it also has the potential to reach almost two feet in length - as in yikes!>
I now feed him pieces of shrimp tucked into snail shells. Do you know if he eats other life such as corals?
<Nope, it should leave your corals alone.>
Thanks for considering my question, Mary
<You're very welcome. Take care, LynnZ>

Help With Snail Please: Florida Crown Conch - 6/23/09
<Hello Shelly, Lynn here today>
I have found this large snail...can't find out anything about it.
<The common name is the Florida Crown Conch, a carnivorous predator/scavenger that inhabits intertidal/some subtidal areas: mud flats, oyster beds, estuaries, salt marshes, and such. This species (Melongena corona) varies considerably in size, color, and shape, which has unfortunately led to some taxonomic confusion and debate. The various morphs are generally considered either one of several species/subspecies within what's known as the 'Melongena corona complex', or simply as a variant of the single species: Melongena corona. Please see the following links for more information:
http://www.sms.si.edu/IRLSpec/Melongena_corona.htm
http://zipcodezoo.com/Key/Animalia/Melongena_Genus.asp >
I have it in my saltwater tank. It was found at the Ponce inlet in New Smyrna beach Florida.
<Okay>
I have tried to look it up; I know it is some kind of venomous cone snail
<No worries, it's not a cone snail or venomous.>
....but it is so prehistoric looking...like nothing I can research.
<It is indeed an interesting looking snail. Thankfully there's a lot of available information on the 'net and elsewhere -- just use the terms above.>
Can you help me identify it or pass me on to someone who can?
<I think we've got it!>
Thank you
<You're very welcome>
Shelly Broussard
<Lynn Zurik>
The picture does not do him justice...he is LARGE!
<Yes, Crown Conchs can apparently get pretty sizeable (up to ~8').>
It has the "shooter" thing that comes out the one hole on the end of the shell...
<Well, while Melongena species and cone snails both have a proboscis (long tubular feeding organ), only the cone snail has the added venomous harpoon-like device. Melongena species' main diet consists of bivalves and other gastropods/snails (including each other), dead or dying animals, and possibly ascidians/tunicates. Harpoon-like devices and fast acting venoms are handy for capturing and subduing active/struggling prey, but in the case of Melongena species' prey, it's overkill. Their main prey items aren't going to suddenly swim away. These snails typically use their long proboscis to work between the two halves of a bivalve and feed bit by bit on tissue removed by means of tiny 'radular' teeth.>
..then like a head and face under that with two "antenna" things on it. He glides around the tank on large mass
<The "foot">
that has a hard bottom on it.
<What you may be seeing is the snail's oval operculum (trap door at the opening of a snail that protects the soft body inside from predation and desiccation).>
He mostly stays buried in the sand...but when he does move he is fast!
<That's pretty typical. When they smell food, they erupt out of the sand!>
I have had him in my tank for over 6 months...and just saw him kill a fish!!!!
<Yikes! Although healthy/live fish are not usually on the menu, these are opportunistic snails that will take advantage of any food opportunity that comes their way. They've got big appetites and are not picky. You might want to offer your snail a bit more food -- clams, fish, shrimp, etc., to hopefully deter further predation. If that doesn't work, you'll need to remove one or the other to another tank.>
I tried to look him up and found other poisonous cone snails....sort of like him...but nothing close! If he is endangered
<Nope, it's a common snail.>
or of scientific use I would like to turn him over to the proper people. I have been collecting things out of the Indian River and Atlantic Ocean in the New Smyrna beach area for over 25 years
<I know it's tempting, but we do try to discourage people from doing this because so many find out too late that they're unable to care for an animal long term. Also, collection is regulated or prohibited in many coastal areas. Here are two links to the new Florida regulations that take effect July 1:
http://www.floridaconservation.org/RULESANDREGS/Saltwater_Regulations_recharvestmls.htm
http://www.floridaconservation.org/RULESANDREGS/Saltwater_Regulations_recseashells.htm >
...and have NEVER found anything like this!
Thank you again.
<You're very welcome again! Take care, LynnZ>

Halimeda seeds? 4-13-09
Crew,
<Ryan>
I am a long time reader and I truly appreciate the site. I have two identifications questions for you. The first is a golf ball sized seed pod looking thing that came attached to a clump of Halimeda, I have searched
plenty but found nothing about Halimeda seeds or anything of the seed ball.
<Mmm, no... Halimeda is a Thallophyte (an algae)... reproduce by spores... true plants (Embryophytes) have seeds>
I have now noticed little green maybe Nudibranchs on the tanks glass near the seed ball. I just want to check the IDs to be sure I am not unleashing a plague in my tank. I know I should of probably not put something in my tank with out knowing what it exactly what it is but the store didn't think it was a big deal.
Thanks for the help,
Ryan King
Current Tank setup:
AGE - three months
55 Gallon with 17 lbs live rock and 60 lbs lace.
Lighting is a 65x4 power compact.
30 Gallon sump with about 20 gallons of water in it.
The tank runs at 78F and salinity of 1.024
I used instant ocean salt mix and RO/DI water.
Current stock:
Fish: Yellow Tang and two Ocellaris Clowns
Shrimp: Cleaner, pair of Peppermint
Stars: Blue Star, Brittle Star
Snails: 20 various small cleaners
Crabs: 10 Red Leg hermits, 10 Blue Leg hermits
Coral: Xenia, GSP, Mushroom, and a few misc frags
<Looks to me to be a colonial Ascidian... the clear bunch is dead... Bob Fenner>

Correction to today's dailies - 4/13/09
Hiya Bob!
<Mich>
So I was looking at that ID question that came and talked to Lynn about it this morning. It is definitely not a colonial Ascidian.
Lynn found these photos:
http://www.jaxshells.org/vilano60.htm
http://www.biol.andrews.edu/EVERGLADES/organisms/invertebrates/mollusks/true
_tulip_snail/egg_cases_of_tulips.jpg
We think it is a snail egg mass, likely that of a tulip snail, which likely wouldn't be good news for Ryan's tank to have such carnivorous snails.
http://www.indyzoo.com/pdf/TrueTulipSnail.pdf
<Ohhh!>
And the other image which he thought were Nudibranchs look to be Acoel flatworms, specifically Convolutriloba, similar to the photo here:
http://macropyga.googlepages.com/convolutriloba_1.jpg
Which came from this site:
http://macropyga.googlepages.com/
and the differences can be seen here:
http://macropyga.googlepages.com/identification
Lynn found all these images. She's really great at getting these ID's!
Cheers,
Mich
<Thanks much... Will amend on the morrow... a shame that I've deleted the original senders email address. BobF>
He wrote back!!!! YAY!!!!! Lynn replied to him. M
<Ahh, very good. B

Re: Halimeda seeds? Egg Capsules and Acoel Flatworms - 4/13/09
Bob,
<Hi Ryan, Lynn here this evening. I sure am glad you wrote back. My fellow crew member, Mich, and I put our heads together this morning and came up with some information regarding the two mystery items in your tank. The follow-up will be posted tomorrow at the dailies, but I've included a copy here as well (see below). The only thing I'd like to add is that we've got lots of information at WWM regarding Convolutriloba flatworms and Tulip snails in marine systems. Just enter the terms in our search engine and you should be good to go: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/WWMAdminSubWebIndex/question_page.htm .>
Thanks for the info - I guess it shows that I am clearly an electrical engineer and not a biologist (algae has no seeds... doh).
<Heeheeee! No worries. I hate to think of the wholesale Godzilla destruction I could cause if I even stepped a toe into the world of electrical engineering!>
I do enjoy the site and your book.
<On behalf of Bob and the rest of the crew, I thank you!>
Best Regards,
Ryan King
<Take care, LynnZ>

Red Footed Conch Eggs? 12/4/08
Hello All!
<Hello there!>
Love the site, gotten many, many useful hints and tips!
<Excellent>
I've searched your site and elsewhere for any information on what I believe to be Red Footed Conch eggs, to no avail.
<Red Footed Conch snail is one of the common names usually associated with Opeatostoma pseudodon, Family Fasciolariidae (Tulip snails). For more information, please see this link: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/snailidfaq3.htm >
I've been unable to turn up any info so I'm hoping you can shed some light.
<I hope so. I found a good photo of a related snail laying eggs, and another showing a grouping of egg cases. Although the ones shown are from a different species, they're likely to be fairly similar to those of your snails. Please see the photos at this link for comparison: http://www.deepseaimages.com/dsilibrary/showphoto.php?photo=9517&cat=631 >
A couple of weeks one of my RF Conchs spent an unusual amount of time in one spot on a piece of live rock. I then began to notice small patches of about ¼ inch slender bell shaped opaque objects slowly appearing under the conch as he/she moved very slowly around the face of the rock. All told there are around 20 or so covering an area roughly the size of two quarters.
<Neat! Thank you so much for sharing these observations with us. By the way, we'd love to see some photos if at all possible!>
Are these possible eggs of some sort,
<Sure does seem so to me.>
which seems to be the logical answer, and if they are should I take some care in dealing with them?
<I'd leave them alone and see what develops.>
Thank you in advance for any help.
<You're very welcome. Take care, Lynn>

Re: Red Footed Conch Eggs? Yes! 12/5/08
Lynn, thank you so much, your info was very helpful!
<You're very welcome!>
The snail is identical to "The Thorn Latirus" so that helps with further research.
<Excellent. I'd hoped that it was the same snail, but you just never know when it comes to common names.>
This photo http://www.deepseaimages.com/dsilibrary/showphoto.php?photo=9026 shows eggs that are very similar but not exact, where these are more triangular mine are more of a bell shape,
<Yep, such differences are to be expected with related species.>
but certainly confirms my hunch they were in fact eggs of some sort.
<Yes indeed>
I've included a photo, albeit a bad one, it is the best of the bad.
<Hey, that's not a bad photo at all � thank you so much for sending it along. What's important is that you can see the shape of the eggs and how they're clustered together. Plus that, considering the fact that I couldn't find a single photo anywhere of this particular species� eggs, you did all of us a great service!>
Thanks again for your help and know the site is very helpful to noobies and vets alike for the wealth of knowledge we can glean from your pages!
<On behalf of Bob and the crew, you're very welcome and thank you! Take care, Lynn>

Ah, yes. RMF

Tankmate for Snowflake Eels and Friends, Tulip/Conch comp., -- 10/16/08
I am in a school with three large marine tanks - one 55 gallon predator (will be expanding to meet the needs of these guys as they grow), one 75 gallon reef tank, and one 500 gallon touch tank. The predator tank has two snowflake eels (10 - 12") one volatin <Volitans?> lionfish (5") one Dogfaced puffer (4") and two wrasse (one clown and one lunar).
<Better not confuse the predator with the touch tank, hehe. Oh, and medium sized wrasses have been eaten by larger Echidna eels. You will need a big upgrade in the not-so-far-away future.>
The touch tank has a beautiful Tulip Snail who has worn out his welcome. He is unkindly ridding my tank of all the other cleaners!
<Yes very, very predatory. Does best in a one-specimen tank.>
I have considered moving the Tulip to the "predator" tank but want to be sure he will not be bullied/injured by any of these current residents or be a threat to them.
<The latter. Wrasses and puffers sleep at night (partly), are still small and might become prey, even the eels are a little small. In addition, the puffer would become a threat to the snail, molluscs are their favourite prey.>
I could use a cleanup crew (even of one) in this tank. The tulip is quite large 7-8". If he is not suitable for this tank, could you make other suggestions for cleaners for this tank which won't be consumed by the predators. What about chocolate chip starfish?
<Would have been among my suggestions if you provide a good water quality. Can work in your predator tank, just keep the puffer away from the star for a few hours, he might try to sample it due to its 'new' smell.>
Any other ideas?
<Very well armoured hermits.>
I also would love to try a coral here or there, but "Puff" (dogface) liked the looks of the rock anemone I recently tried briefly way too much!
<You can try a mushroom (Corallimorph), they taste nasty and are disliked my many puffers (not all, though). Another option might be a photosynthetic gorgonian or a leather coral, if you have reasonable lighting. However, it cannot be predicted what the puffer will eat and what he won't eat, they really are individuals with regard too some of their foods.>
Thanks for your help.
<Welcome. Marco.>

Queen Conch and other Critters Questions 09/13/2005 Hello Bob! <James today> Unlike most aquarist who are into corals and fishes, I am one of those people who keep crabs, shrimps, snails, and mantis shrimps. My problem is nobody out there seems to know the amount of food that they are supposed to be given and I thought you might be able to help. (1) How often and how much feeding should Dardanus megistos Hermits who are living in shells the size of tennis balls be given? How about large Mantis Shrimps (3" to 5") and Boxer Crabs (3" to 5")? <I would step up the serving. Molting is caused by the animal growing and obviously they are not. Are you dosing iodine? This helps with the molting process.> (2) Unlike my shrimps and smaller crabs, my 4" and 5" shame-faced crabs and mantis have never molted. Is it possible for crabs and mantis to molt only once a year or not at all? <Yes, as above> (3) Lastly, I have a few Queen Conch but they don't seem to be growing. I don't know how fast they are supposed to grow. I've heard that they will only eat stuff that are only ground, but mine will eat stuff that are on the LR and glass. I would like to supplement feed them, but don't know what to give. I don't know what those people who aquaculture conch feed their conch, but I was planning to use algae disk. <Most conches will starve to death if not given enough food. You can try the algae disk or try Nori (freeze dried algae) and feed in greater amounts than you have been. They also prefer a sandy bottom. I'll run the question by Mr. Fenner pertaining to "what aquaculture places feed conches. James (Salty Dog)> Thanks! Re: Queen Conch and other Critters Questions 09/13/2005 Bob, any idea what aquaculture places feed conches? Thanks, Salty <Mmm, nope... maybe here: http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&ie=UTF-8&rls=GGLD,GGLD:2004-27,GGLD:en&q=aquaculture+foods+for+conches BobF>

Strombids, Culture, Contacts Bob, just curious, could you forward any contacts involved in/knowledgeable about the aquaculture of Queen Conch (Strombus gigas) from reproduction through larval metamorphosis to adult. Thanks, Chris <Nothing current in my files at home, but someone from the Philippines wrote me recently re Strombid use and his email addr. is attached to the corr. on the WWM site... current FAQs or posted to marine gastropods... and Frank Hoff should be contacted for the best folks to find NOW in the field.... You can find his firm's contact information in a recent issue of FAMA... and maybe ORA/Harbor Marine, Bill Addison/Dave Palmer... If it were me... I'd get on down to the college library, do a quick computer search and send out a few emails asking this same question to folks who've recently written (ha, recently) in the field. Bob Fenner>

Strombus species? Hello Mr. Fenner, I have read most of your articles and am a great fan of yours. I have a question regarding these algae eating snails which is abundant in our country (Philippines) as food! <Yes, have eaten them there> I have obtained a book about Philippine shells and the family Strombidae is said to be a herbivorous group. <Principally, yes> I have seen on the market...Lambis truncata sebae, Lambis wheelwrighti, scorpius, millepeda and so on. also Strombus lengtiginosus, aurisdianae, aratrum and so on. my sand is turning brown, my question is, will they be fine for cleaning algae in my sandbed? <As young, yes...> wont they eat the worms too? <Some, not too many> will they produce lots of slime on the tank? <Not a concern in adequately circulated, filtered systems> am going to purchase these from the wet market, will they be able to survive long hours without water? <In dark containers with material to keep them moist, yes, for a few to several hours. Better shipped this way than underwater in sealed containers> pls send email to: thanks, Jonathan <Strombids are occasionally used as marine scavengers in a few markets internationally. Mainly as small(2-5 cm.) individuals. Most species can get too big for small marine aquarium use. Bob Fenner>
Re: Strombus species?
Hello again Bob, from your previous reply, you said these are used only when small. I have about 3 inches from head to foot Lambis species, is this not good for my sandbed? what other options do I have or what other inverts will stir sand and not sift? thanks, hope to hear from you soon. <Useful size is a "relative term"... as to the size, layout of your systems... larger Strombids can knock over rocks, corals... all are good for their "scavenging" sand sifting action. Many other animals (fish, non-fish are good sand stirrers/sifters as well) see the review on www.wetwebmedia.com. For larger systems the smaller species of Mullids are my favorite choices (Goatfishes). Bob Fenner>

Queen Conch Bob, Thanks very much for your previous help. It was so good that I'm going to ask for more. In your text on tank maintenance you seem to strongly advocate the Queen Conch. Below is your quote. "Tank cultured queen conchs, Strombus gigas are available for use in marine aquariums; suitably sized individuals scrounge around and through the substrate (and sides to a lesser extent), removing epiphytic green algae and diatom scums. Unlike their freshwater brethren, conchs will not "reproduce like rabbits" in your tank; but can reach a prodigious size of ten inches in the wild." My question is where? Where can I buy a Strombus Gigas. I have searched the web diligently and found one site that carries these animals. It sounds ok but there's a problem. The Conch is $6.00. Then there is the box charge and heat pad charge and probably a packing charge for all I know. But the thing that's a deal breaker is a minimum $48 shipping charge. No way at all! <Mail order?... I would contact the folks listed on the website: www.WetWebMedia.com on the Links Pages there... they have email... and ask what price they would charge... they're available but must be bought in "box lots" to make sense economically...> Can you point me to some other sources? <Frank Hoff, C-Quest, ORA... but don't think they sell to the "end-user" at all... once again, a matter of volume/cost/expedients... If you have a large volume retailer nearby, they might be able to combine an order with other livestock from one of these sources/breeders... Clownfishes, Gobiosoma, Pseudochromids...> Thanks... Jim Griffin <Bob Fenner>

" Horse Conch" ?? Hi I was recently in Florida and picked up a shell that contains what people have told me is a horse conch. I'd like to know if that is indeed what I have. I will try to describe it to the best of my ability. The shell is a dark brown, spiral about 4 1/2 inches in length. The conch inside of the shell is an orange color. I found it on the shore in a sandy area with seagrass the had washed up. I understand that these creatures could grow quite large, perhaps 2 ft.? I've also been told that they are algae eaters. Other than the fact that it lives in salt water I know nothing else. Anything you could tell me would be appreciated. Thanks much >> Might well be a Florida Horse Conch, Pleuropoca gigantea... These are decidedly more spiral and long (conical) than the "other" tropical west Atlantic Conch species (genus Strombus)... Common in Bahamas and Florida... live in seagrass beds as young, deeper water for adults (DeLoach & Humann). Principally algivores, will take commercial prepared foods like tablets that are algae-based, as well as bits of fish and mussel. (Baensch Mar. Atlas 2). Bob Fenner, who knows that people sometimes keep cultured Queen Conchs (S. gigas) for algae control... as young, and in large systems... but has no experience with Horse Conchs.

Fighting conch vs. DSB - Strombus alatus 6/22/03 Hey Gang! shouting "howdy" from Denver! <right back atcha Tex!> Anthony, the LFS sold me a fighting conch after I asked for something to keep a sand bed stirred up. The little conch disappeared under the sand. Did the LFS sell me a good DSB critter or? <perhaps... this Strombus species grows medium large (4-5"... or 10+ cm) and is rather clumsy in the reef. Like all Strombids, they do not fare well in tanks with a lot of rock and need enormous amounts of deep live sand to survive long term (say 100 gall mostly sand 6"+ for lifetime). They eat both algae and meaty fare... rarely if even bother cnidarians and are fairly good at aerating sand> They said it would get about the size of my fist, but would take quite a while for it to get there. <agreed> Also, I got a great deal ($45) on another 70 gallon tank with a double iron stand, while I've been thinking 'bout a lion fish to put in there, I've also been wondering if it would be overkill to put the 70 gallon reef display over the 70 gallon, if I turned it into fuge/sump. <actually sounds cool for stability if the fish 70 is not overfed... and lions are large but infrequent feeders. Could work nicely> Having a great day & hope you are as well! Stormbringer <to you in kind my friend. Anthony>

Conch Craving Dear Mr. Fenner, I love your website. <Actually- Scott F. here tonight, but will pass on the kudos to Bob! Glad you enjoy the site!> I recently checked out your article on conch snails and I thought you had some cool pictures. I currently own a milk conch, it is about 3 inches long. How big do they get and what is the best food and best way to feed them? <Unfortunately, I am not familiar with this common name, so I cannot provide you with a specific answer here. In general, most Strombus species can range in size from 2 to 12 inches, so a positive species ID would help. As far as feeding is concerned- if the species in question is a Strombus variety, then they mainly subsist on algae, detritus, and just about anything that they can find-great scavengers.> Also where can I purchase a large queen conch? I would like it to be about six inches when I buy it. Do you know anybody who sells queen conches that large? I am really interested in obtaining a large queen. Please respond soon. Thank you for your help. <Well, there are a number of good sources out there on the 'net that can provide you with aquacultured specimens. I suggest starting with two of our sponsors, Marine Center and Live Aquaria, both of which offer specimens from time to time, or may be able to get them for you. These guys can reach about one foot in length, so a large tank is mandatory! They may or may not be able to get you a six-incher...you'll just have to do a little searching here.> P.S. I really like your site. <Really glad to hear that! Thanks so much for stopping by! Regards, Scott F>

Conchs, Scallops and a 20 Gallon Tank...Not Enough Research Beforehand - 08/25/06 Hello, <<Howdy>> I'm new to the site and the marine world. <<Ah, welcome....>> I have a 20g that has been running for 2 months now. In this time I slowly added 2 queen conch snails, <<This tank is woefully too small for even one of these gastropods. They will grow (if they don't starve first) to more than 6" (12" in the wild) and require a tank with a mature substrate/live rock of some 75+ gallons...each...for their long-term survival>> a coral shrimp, 3 blue hermit crabs, a feather duster, and a flaming scallop. <<The scallop is another poor choice my friend...will starve to death within weeks to months. Please learn to research your purchases "beforehand"...believe me, you and the hobby will be better off/happier if you learn to pick livestock you have a chance of keeping alive>> All has been going good until today. <<Mmm...>> Well, it is still going good, but I found one of the snails on its back and inside its shell. <<Not a good sign, these snails have the ability to "right themselves" very easily>> I moved it and put it upright. Now it is acting as if it has seen a ghost. It'll take a look around and then goes right back in. It has not moved from the spot I put him. <<likely something environmental is malaffecting the conch...your system is awfully "new"...>> Also, the weird thing is as it did look around it picked up some rocks and built what looks like a sac with rocks covering it. I was looking around online about the reproduction of these snail and these guys are way too young to even think about that. That is if those sites are right about the reproduction of a queen conch. Or, that they are queen conchs to start with. <<Indeed...several species of Strombus available to the hobby...with Strombus alatus (Florida Fighting Conch) and Strombus gigas (Queen Conch) being the most readily available>> No one else in the tank is acting weird. So, could this be that it is reproducing or dying? <<My guess would be the latter>> Or, is it just sick? <<Will yield the same result>> Thank you for your time, Brian <<A little more reading/researching and a little less buying for now my friend. Regards, EricR>>

To conch, or not to conch.... Most times, not -- 1/26/08 Hey gang. I have searched through the vast pages of articles and FAQ's on gastropods, but I can't find a strong opinion on the role that a conch (be it a queen or florida fighting) might play in a reef tank setup. <Plowing about, knocking stuff over...> Is it beneficial to have the sand turned over by something such as this? <Can be... in some "settings". But for most, no. Other techniques, approaches are better in the vast majority of circumstances.> I have been under the impression that it's best to leave sand as it lays, as the lower layers hold different types of nitrifying bacteria. Am I completely wrong in this line of thinking? <Mmm... better to "stir" a bit for most set-ups...> Thanks again for depriving me of sleep as I stay up too late reading old FAQ's, -wuf <Please stay up a bit more reading here: http://wetwebmedia.com/substclng.htm and the linked files... BobF>

Question re Conch snails Hi, I am trying to find out if a crown conch will eat a feather duster? Thank you. <long story short... yes, quite possible. Even likely in some cases. Conch snails in general are voracious omnivores... and some are outright impressive predators, decimating worm and mollusk (even other "snails"). There are very few herbivorous exceptions to this general rule (like the queen conch). Conch are too large and or disruptive for invertebrate aquaria in my opinion across the board. Not recommended for reef aquaria but can be great for fish only. Anthony Calfo>

No tip-toeing with this tulip... boot his butt out! predatory snail 8/5/03 Hello WWM folks, <whassup buttercup> Long time listener, first time caller. <Excellent... welcome to the Lithium Network! You're on caller...> Ahem. Many months ago, I added some live rock to the system. Lo and behold, an interesting hitchhiker came along too, though it appeared innocent enough--a small brown snail with a periscope like proboscis. <a hitchhiker got into your tank from un-quarantined rock... Noooo way?! <G> Ahem> The novelty of this creature disappeared in about three minutes, and I soon forgot about it. <we'll call you Rainman> In fact, I assumed that it died, since I hadn't seen it in many months. Over the past week I've added several turbo snails to the tank in an effort to control the diatoms. I noticed that all of a sudden my periscope wielding hitchhiker reappeared after this addition, and became quite active. I came home from work today, and saw the "innocent" hitchhiker was attached triumphantly over an up-turned (dead) turbo-snail. Any idea of what this guy is? <yep... a Tulip snail or the like> I took a picture of him before his execution, which is attached below. <a fine pic> Perhaps he just came upon the turbo snail after it died, but that's really convenient, now isn't it? <... and OJ didn't do it> By the way, he was a small rascal--2" long at the most. <Tulips are voracious predators. Do compare the shell-shape to the pic on the bottom of page 201 of your NMA RI book> Regards, Chris Stuhlmueller <kindly, Anthony>

Mollusk Mania! (Snail Compatibility> Dear WWM Crew, <Scott F. your Crew member this afternoon!> I have a 120 gallon Fish and Invert Tank, well one invert, and that's a 2" Tiger Cowries. I would like to add a conch of some sort, however I am aware that many conches are omnivorous and if given the chance will even eat other snails. Is there a conch that would not eat my Cowries? Thanks in advance ~ Justin <Well, Justin, I'd say that you could be reasonably safe with the rather common, yet ominously named "Fighting Conch", Strombus alatus, which is mainly an herbivore. Do a bit more research on the WWM site to find other suitable species, and don't forget to check out Bob and Anthony's "Reef Invertebrates", which has lots of information on all kinds of Mollusks!> P.S. On a side note I appreciate you guys so much for the work you do in educating marine hobbyists. It's wonderful to have a source of honest reliable information, it seems it is otherwise hard to come by. <Thank you very much for the kind words, Justin! Honest reliable information is what the WWM site is all about! We hope that you continue to enjoy the site and grow in your hobby, while sharing your experiences with others along the way! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Snail eating a clown? 09/04/03 <Hello, PF with you tonight> While doing a check on my aquarium this weekend I discovered that one of my small clown fish was missing. After searching the whole tank I discovered him being consumed by a couple of my conch snails. Both the clown and the snails are roughly the same size. My question is do you think that the clown died (?) and then the snails sat down for dinner or is it possible that the snails killed the clown? <It's a definite maybe. Some snails are predatory, but then again, they may well have found a casualty and where cleaning it up. Unfortunately, the only advice I can give is to watch them, and if your tank parameters are fine, but you have continued fish disappearances, I would then suspect them.>

Tulip snail 12/12/03 Hello... Love your website and all the questions and answers. <thanks kindly> Wondering if you could help me as far as I think I have a Tulip snail, large red snail about 4 to 5 inches long, and I do not know what to feed it?. <they are predaceous... offer meaty foods of marine origin and be careful of letting other snails nearby... they are fair game for this snail - yikes!> I think it ate one of my smaller snails and now he has been buried down in the substrate for a few days. <you can be sure of it> How often do they require a large meal and of what kind? thanks and look forwarded to your reply... Tony <feeding several times weekly will be fine. Please do take the time to read more about predatory gastropods in our wetwebmedia.com archives. Best regards, Anthony>

Fighting Conch? (I'm Doubtful) - 03/09/06 Hello WWM Crew, <<Hello Glovanna>> Just a quick question. I was needing some more algae eating snails for my 55 gal. tank. My son in law brought me several turbo snails, 1 Mexican turbo snail, and then a few days later he came over with a Fighting Conch snail. The LFS guy told him that it's an algae eater and safe in a reef tank. <<True, for the most part...if this is in fact a Fighting Conch (Strombus alatus).>> After quarantine, I added the snail to my tank about a week ago. Almost every morning, I've found the Fighting Conch latched onto a turbo snail. <<And the suspicion starts to build...>> This morning he was latched onto a bumblebee snail. I'm having a hard time believing that this Fighting Conch is eating snails that have died. <<Me too>> As a matter of fact, after leaving the bumblebee ( dead now for sure ), he is now latched on to my large Mexican Turbo snail, which was not dead earlier this morning! <<Time to ditch the conch!>> I actually had my son in law return the Fighting Conch to the LFS a couple of days ago, where he was told that the fighting conch would only eat a snail after it was already dead. Then he was shown a tank full of Turbos with 1 Fighting Conch and was told that they've never lost a snail to the Conch in that tank. <<I'll wager what you have is not Strombus alatus, but quite possibly is a Crown Conch (Melongena corona ). If so, these can be quite predatory on snails. Of course this is all speculation with a sharp close-up photo to view.>> All I can go by is what I'm seeing this snail do in my tank. I don't have a picture of the snail, but it is large, probably 4 inches from tip to tip. Its shell is orange in color. Its foot is also orange in color. I've never seen its "mouth" like you do with Turbos when they're grazing. <<Mmm, no...Fighting Conchs have a protruding "snout" with which they feed...you should see this, and eye stalks, from time to time.>> It has occasionally climbed onto the glass where a mouth should have been able to be seen. Have you ever had any experience or heard of this snail being a predatory snail? <<While it is a possibility, "Fighting" conchs are not considered snail predators. I think you have something else.>> Waiting eagerly for your answer, so I'll know whether this is all in my head, or if he should be removed immediately! <<Whether this is S. alatus or not, based on your information I would remove it (for good) if you wish to keep your snail population.>> Thank you, Glovanna <<Quite welcome, EricR>>

Sand Sifters for 75 -- 10/10/08 Crew, I have a standard 75 reef, that is now stocked with some Zoanthid and LPSs frags, a pair of ocellaris clowns, a mandarin, sand sifting star, sand sifting cucumber, and 4 Mithrax crabs. I have a small diatom algae problem, and my two refugiums with Chaeto and a DSB seem to be helping, but there is still some diatom on the sand. I bought the cucumber to turn sand, but i cant imagine him being able to turn all the sand in the 75. I am basically looking for a sand sifter that won't compete with the star or mandarin and have a detrimental effect on their health. I have a few ideas for this and would like to know your input. Saltwaterfish.com has a conch called a Little Bear Conch http://www.saltwaterfish.com/site_11_03/product_info.php?products_id=2943&parent_category=4&category_search=63&root_parent_id=4.
 <Ah, Strombus urceus...> I know conchs have a reputation for plowing frags but are also great sand sifters. Is he worth the risk?? <Mmm, IMO, sure> I was also think about? a diamond goby, but again I don't want the mandarin or sand sifter to starve. <You are wise to consider this possibility> I was also thinking about adding about 20 Nassarius snails, how will they do?? <They are prodigious workers... Another worthy trial> I have 110 lbs of LR and about 4 inches of sand. I was hoping that the refugiums and LR would provide enough food. Thank you? for your help. Zach <I'd be inclined to try the small Strombid first here... as well as look further into the likely sources of the Diatom issue...: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/brownalgcontfaqs.htm and the linked files in the series above. Do you have "something" too available through your source water? Low RedOx? Perhaps a change in the macroalgae cultured in your refugiums? The addition of or adding to a DSB... Bob Fenner>

Re: Sand Sifters for 75 10/11/08
Bob will a fighting conch have the same effect as the little bear? I know they get a little bigger will this become a problem or will results be the same as the Little Bear?
?Zach
<Let me skip ahead here and re-state that I'm not a fan of using/housing Strombids of any size in most marine aquariums... BobF>

Snail Identification: Likely Horse Conch - 2/2/08 Hi all, <Hi Jenn!> Just a quick thank you for all the information and first hand knowledge you provide to SW hobbyists! <You're very welcome! It's a pleasure!> I have searched your site for the answer to what type of snails we have in our 75 gallon reef tank. We bought them not long after we started our tank, a little over a year ago. They are pink bodied. They do not seem to be aggressive on algae or other waste. I am also including a few pictures of the snails for identification. <Thank you for sending multiple angles by the way, that really helps. Your snail looks like what's commonly called a Horse Conch, which is in the family: Fasciolariidae. The snails in this family are predatory towards other molluscs and will scavenge dead or dying organisms. Have you noticed any other snails missing? Horse conchs (likely yours is in the genus Pleuroploca/Triplofuscus) range in soft body color from orange to a dark red. Please see the snail at this link, just past halfway down (Florida Horse Conch) for comparison: http://h2ocreatures.com/mollusks.html .> We are looking to continue to build our reef with additional LR and also want to get a hardworking cleanup crew. Suggestions would be great. <Sorry, would need to know what other livestock you have, what type of clean-up you need.> Thanks for your help! Jenn H Central PA <You're very welcome! Take care. --Lynn>

Marine Snail Identification: Likely Fighting Conch - 3/21/08 <Hi there, Steve> Thanks for the site. and on to my question. <Okay, let's get to it!> I've had a snail in my tank since I started it back in April of last year. I just had someone point out to me that they thought it was a tulip snail <Good news - it's not!> and that he would eat other inverts in the tank. <Nope, they're safe.> I browsed your Marine Snails FAQs and spotted something that sort of matches my guy but not 100%. Can you give me your thoughts from the photo?? <It looks to be a harmless/beneficial Strombid, likely Strombus alatus, aka the 'Fighting' Conch or similar. These are good sand stirrers and mainly herbivorous, but may also take meatier fare.> He has eye stalks and a large snout? that he pushes out whenever I see him above the sand bed. <That's very typical of Fighting Conchs. Sometimes all you'll see are just the two eye stalks protruding out of the sand!> He wasn't being helpful when I took the photo.. <Heheee! Isn't that annoying!> Most of the time he's digging around in the sand bed and will disappear for weeks at a time. <Also typical of Fighting Conchs.> If he is in fact a Tulip Snail I have never seen him going after other inverts. Is this something that will occur when he increases in size?? <Nope, this little guy won't go after your other invertebrates/fishes - even when he's not so little! Speaking of which, they get up to about 4" or so in length. These Strombids do, however, need lots of open areas of DSB to survive long term.> He doesn't climb the live rock or tank sides. Just stays in the sand. <Yep, again, that's typical for these. All in all, they're neat little snails. Please see the following sites for photos and more information http://www.wetwebmedia.com/gastroart2.htm http://www.gastropods.com/9/Shell_1329.html (Strombus alatus) http://www.pirx.com/gallery/mollusks > Love the site and thanks for you thoughts.. <You're most welcome! Take care, -Lynn>

Help ID This Snail Or Whelk!!!!...Umm, Is A Conch! -- 09/26/07 Hi guys! <<Hey Amie!>> I absolutely love your site! <<Thanks! Is quite the collective effort>> Okay, here's my problem, I don't know what this creature is. <<I believe I do'¦>> We found him and many, many others while snorkeling in the Gulf of Mexico this past week, some quite large. <<Indeed>> Actually, to give a precise area, on the bay side of Cape San Blas, Florida. <<Yes, this animal can be found along all of Florida's coast'¦and beyond>> We brought 5-6 of them home (each one approx. 2 inches long) b/c we thought that they were Turbos. <<Not even close I'm afraid>> (I know, not very smart) So now we are nervous as we don't know if these guys are a danger to our fish or reef. <<Not so much to healthy fish 'but are a danger, yes>> Does anyone know what exactly these guys are? Some sort of whelk, snail, or conch? <<Is the latter 'more specifically, the Crown Conch (Melongena corona). These gastropods are carnivorous 'and while they would do a good job cleaning up dead/dying animals and leftover meaty foodstuffs, they will also prey on your other snails, substrate biota, and possibly sessile invertebrates as they will surely not get enough to eat as they grow too large for your system>> Thanks so much for ANY help, it is greatly appreciated. Kindest Regards, Amie <<Is a pleasure to assist. Eric Russell>>

Snail ID 2/3/06 Hello Crew, <Roger> I'm on your website every day -- several times a day, in fact -- hungry to learn more about the new and interesting little creatures I find crawling, swimming, jumping, popping, and sliding around my our newly cycled 150. I'm going to have to pick up 'The Conscientious Aquarist' from somewhere 'sounds like an exceptionally great resource to have on hand. <Is worthwhile... if I don't (and don't) mind stating so myself> My question is regarding a little stowaway snail I found last night as I was placing new some live rock with some lovely softies attached. I'd really like to know what he is. He is about ¼' from tip to tip; his picture is attached. Currently he's still in QT, until I know more about him. Hopefully he's benign, and not some species of bivalve killer because he certainly is beautiful (the picture hardly does him justice), and we would like to put some captive-bred (Tridacna spp.) clams in the live sand in the near future. <Mmm, I would remove this animal... perhaps a member of the Fasciolariidae...: http://www.google.com/custom?q=tulip+snail+family&sitesearch=wetwebmedia.com Too likely to be predaceous here> Tank parameters: Size: 150 gallons XH (LWH: 48' x 24' x 30') Live Rock: 80 lb (so far); intend to reach about 150 lbs total. Lighting: 2 x 250W Metal Halide, 4 x 96W Actinic, 4 LED 'moon lights' on Dawn/Midday/Dusk cycle -- 2 hours dawn/dusk; 9 hour midday. Filtration: Coralife 220 SuperSkimmer Circulation: 3 x MaxiJet 1200 on a wave timer Specific Gravity: 1.023 Temp: 76F (early morning) -- 79F (when metal halides shut down) dKH: 9 pH: 8.2 Nitrite: 0 Nitrate: 0 Ammonia/Ammonium: 0 Inhabitants: 4 hermit crabs 6 Astrea Snails 1 Orange Skunk Clown 4 Green Chromis 1 (as yet unseen) Pistol Shrimp or Mantis 'I'm going to put out some food and watch this weekend to hopefully confirm an ID. 1 unknown banded 'telescoping' worm that lives under one of the rocks <Heee! Likely harmless... Ophiuroid> 4 colonies of Green Star Polyps (Pachyclavularia sp) 1 colony of Zoanthids 2 Anthelia colonies 1 Colt (Alcyonium sp.) 2 Mushroom colonies (Discosoma sp.) <Bob Fenner>

Identification question 3/25/06 Good Afternoon Crew, Please could you offer me an opinion as to what my latest 'clean up crew' purchase is? It was sold as a 'Red Sand Sifting Conch', but doesn't look like the ones in a Marine World article this month as the shell is more pointed. After looking around the old FAQs and info pages, Strombus alatus, the strangely named 'Florida fighting conch' looks the best match - but what do you think. <This is almost assuredly what this is> Apologies for the slightly bleached out pictures. Thank you in advance. Bob Mehen, Cornwall, England <"What's in a name?" Bob Fenner>

Snail ID Hey Bob/Pete Its a little tough to ID with that bugger covered in coralline <G> The spike sure is distinguishing if they all have it (not an anomaly with this one I assume?) I don't see how this is/could be a conch species... really does not look the part to me. IMO... it looks Nassariidae. Its behavior and shape (and what little pattern there is to the shell still resembles the bands of mud snails variously). Bob... have you sent this image to Marty B at Tideline? Do you think he might recognize it? Anthony
"Red Footed Conchs", prev. snail ID Hi Bob, This is John Phillips at the Abbey. How goes the struggle? <Fine John, great to hear from you. I trust you're still playing the harp, keeping things going there with Marty.B> Sorry for not getting in touch, but I'm always behind in just about every facet of my life & certainly not the efficient correspondent that Marty is; however, I am being somewhat punctual and efficient regarding this e-mail because it involves taxonomy about a particular shell that I am familiar with. The common name of your shell is "The Thorn Latirus", which stems from the very gaudy and menacing spine/thorn that grows out from the bottom of its outer lip. It is a member of the Molluscan Family Fasciolariidae and goes by the 'handle' Opeatostoma pseudodon and was first noticed and officially/scientifically described by a chap named Burrow in 1815. It hails from a broad range of miles stretching from Peru in South America north as far as northern Baja Calif., W. Mexico. Lives in shallow water and prefers haunting stony corals, rocks, and boulders. Not a good thing to accidentally kick with the end of your big toe kissing the menacing tip of its thorn!! Not poisonous however!! Hope this trivia proves useful & always a pleasure to provide same. Best to you and your lovely wifelet & we shall get together again soon for some chuckles. Cheers from TIDELINE JOHNNY <Outstanding. Thank you John. Will archive your response with the pix. Best to you. Bob Fenner>

Queen Conch and other Critters Questions 09/13/2005 Hello Bob! <James today> Unlike most aquarist who are into corals and fishes, I am one of those people who keep crabs, shrimps, snails, and mantis shrimps. My problem is nobody out there seems to know the amount of food that they are supposed to be given and I thought you might be able to help. (1) How often and how much feeding should Dardanus megistos Hermits who are living in shells the size of tennis balls be given? How about large Mantis Shrimps (3" to 5") and Boxer Crabs (3" to 5")? <I would step up the serving. Molting is caused by the animal growing and obviously they are not. Are you dosing iodine? This helps with the molting process.> (2) Unlike my shrimps and smaller crabs, my 4" and 5" shame-faced crabs and mantis have never molted. Is it possible for crabs and mantis to molt only once a year or not at all? <Yes, as above> (3) Lastly, I have a few Queen Conch but they don't seem to be growing. I don't know how fast they are supposed to grow. I've heard that they will only eat stuff that are only ground, but mine will eat stuff that are on the LR and glass. I would like to supplement feed them, but don't know what to give. I don't know what those people who aquaculture conch feed their conch, but I was planning to use algae disk. <Most conches will starve to death if not given enough food. You can try the algae disk or try Nori (freeze dried algae) and feed in greater amounts than you have been. They also prefer a sandy bottom. I'll run the question by Mr. Fenner pertaining to "what aquaculture places feed conches. James (Salty Dog)> Thanks! Re: Queen Conch and other Critters Questions 09/13/2005 Bob, any idea what aquaculture places feed conches? Thanks, Salty <Mmm, nope... maybe here: http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&ie=UTF-8&rls=GGLD,GGLD:2004-27,GGLD:en&q=aquaculture+foods+for+conches BobF> Re: Queen Conch and other Critters Questions 09/13/2005 Thanks James!<You're welcome> I'm not dosing iodine, just calcium. My Kent Iodine say's 2 drops per 60 gallon. I'm too scared that it'll kill it. <No worries Gus> I've been feeding the crabs, hermits, and mantis mostly one cube (per animal) of Ocean Nutrition Formula One a day. I give them one cube of something else every few days just for variety. They finish everything and seem to be hungry all the time (especially the hermit). The conchs are definitely larger than when I got them 6 months ago, but I'd expect them to double in size. I'd say they grow about 20%...now at around 1.5". <Gus read here for more info. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/gastropo.htm James (Salty Dog)>

Predatory snail (Tulip) 3/27/03 First off...awesome site...VERY helpful <thanks kindly> I found this guy in my tank about a week or two ago...didn't get a picture at the time and I was having a hard time identifying him. Came home tonight and he seems to have killed one of my Astraea snails and is chowing down. <indeed... this is a predatory snail> He seems to be a cone snail of some kind...just trying to figure out if he should be removed or not. <do remove... but not a cone at all... it appears to be a tulip snail> These aren't great pictures (still trying to figure out how to get a decent shot of something in a fish tank) Thoughts? Thanks very much for you help Joe <this is a hardy snail and great scavenger for fish tanks but is not to be trusted with invertebrates. Best regards, Anthony>

Fighting conch vs. DSB - Strombus alatus 6/22/03 Hey Gang! shouting "howdy" from Denver! <right back atcha Tex!> Anthony, the LFS sold me a fighting conch after I asked for something to keep a sand bed stirred up. The little conch disappeared under the sand. Did the LFS sell me a good DSB critter or? <perhaps... this Strombus species grows medium large (4-5"... or 10+ cm) and is rather clumsy in the reef. Like all Strombids, they do not fare well in tanks with a lot of rock and need enormous amounts of deep live sand to survive long term (say 100 gall mostly sand 6"+ for lifetime). They eat both algae and meaty fare... rarely if even bother cnidarians and are fairly good at aerating sand> They said it would get about the size of my fist, but would take quite a while for it to get there. <agreed> Also, I got a great deal ($45) on another 70 gallon tank with a double iron stand, while I've been thinking 'bout a lion fish to put in there, I've also been wondering if it would be overkill to put the 70 gallon reef display over the 70 gallon, if I turned it into fuge/sump. <actually sounds cool for stability if the fish 70 is not overfed... and lions are large but infrequent feeders. Could work nicely> Having a great day & hope you are as well! Stormbringer <to you in kind my friend. Anthony>

Mollusk Mania! (Snail Compatibility> Dear WWM Crew, <Scott F. your Crew member this afternoon!> I have a 120 gallon Fish and Invert Tank, well one invert, and that's a 2" Tiger Cowries. I would like to add a conch of some sort, however I am aware that many conches are omnivorous and if given the chance will even eat other snails. Is there a conch that would not eat my Cowries? Thanks in advance ~ Justin <Well, Justin, I'd say that you could be reasonably safe with the rather common, yet ominously named "Fighting Conch", Strombus alatus, which is mainly an herbivore. Do a bit more research on the WWM site to find other suitable species, and don't forget to check out Bob and Anthony's "Reef Invertebrates", which has lots of information on all kinds of Mollusks!> P.S. On a side note I appreciate you guys so much for the work you do in educating marine hobbyists. It's wonderful to have a source of honest reliable information, it seems it is otherwise hard to come by. <Thank you very much for the kind words, Justin! Honest reliable information is what the WWM site is all about! We hope that you continue to enjoy the site and grow in your hobby, while sharing your experiences with others along the way! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

No tip-toeing with this tulip... boot his butt out! Predatory snail 8/5/03 Hello WWM folks, <whassssup buttercup> Long time listener, first time caller. <Excellent... welcome to the Lithium Network! You're on caller...> Ahem. Many months ago, I added some live rock to the system. Lo and behold, an interesting hitchhiker came along too, though it appeared innocent enough--a small brown snail with a periscope like proboscis. <a hitchhiker got into your tank from un-quarantined rock... nooooo way?! <G> Ahem> The novelty of this creature disappeared in about three minutes, and I soon forgot about it. <we'll call you Rainman> In fact, I assumed that it died, since I hadn't seen it in many months. Over the past week I've added several turbo snails to the tank in an effort to control the diatoms. I noticed that all of a sudden my periscope-wielding hitchhiker reappeared after this addition, and became quite active. I came home from work today, and saw the "innocent" hitchhiker was attached triumphantly over an up-turned (dead) turbo-snail. Any idea of what this guy is? <yep... a Tulip snail or the like> I took a picture of him before his execution, which is attached below. <a fine pic> Perhaps he just came upon the turbo snail after it died, but that's really convenient, now isn't it? <... and OJ didn't do it> By the way, he was a small rascal--2" long at the most. <Tulips are voracious predators. Do compare the shell-shape to the pic on the bottom of page 201 of your NMA RI book> Regards, Chris Stuhlmueller <kindly, Anthony>

Disappearing Fighting Conch Dear Bob, <Steven Pro in this morning.> I set up a 30 gallon reef tank in April and, after cycling, added a fighting conch along with some other snails in May. Everything was fine, the conch was active and feeding all day long. I went on vacation in August and it had disappeared. I read that fighting conch will often disappear for weeks at a time, so I didn't worry too much. By the way, the other snails, corals and everything else are doing great. After 2 months, I figured it was not going to reappear and bought another one (from a reputable dealer). This one hardly moves at all and I am very concerned about it. <Kind of strange. All snails (and other invertebrates) are very sensitive to salinity shock (rapid changes in salinity). They need to be drip acclimated.> Prior to going on vacation, I also had a very large pod population and when I got back, they, too had disappeared. I figured this was just a natural cycle and that they would be back. They haven't. I don't know if these events are related, and if so what the cause might be. Can you offer any advice? <I would guess that both disappearances are linked to a lack of food. Perhaps they reproduced and grew and ate themselves to starvation. There are many episodes of these kinds of population explosions and crashes.> Thanks, Ed <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Spider Shell Munchies Hi again <Hello> Would a Lambis attack macroalgae (Halimeda, Penicillus, Caulerpa) or corallines, and what sessile invertebrates would be at risk? <Might eat macro's... Most Strombids are mainly algivores. Though can/do eat bivalves, fish carrion in the wild and culture. Bob Fenner> Thanks

Question re Conch snails Hi, I am trying to find out if a crown conch will eat a feather duster? Thank you. <long story short... yes, quite possible. Even likely in some cases. Conch snails in general are voracious omnivores... and some are outright impressive predators, decimating worm and mollusk (even other "snails"). There are very few herbivorous exceptions to this general rule (like the queen conch). Conch are too large and or disruptive for invertebrate aquaria in my opinion across the board. Not recommended for reef aquaria but can be great for fish only. Anthony Calfo>

Tulip snails A have a medium sized Tulip Snail. I'm trying to determine whether this snail is aggressive. <they are very predatory on other mollusks. Just like most whelks and conch snails> I lost a small Abalone and I suspect this snail is responsible. Is this possible. <almost assured> Thanks for any advice. Don Tope <Anthony>

" Horse Conch" ?? Hi I was recently in Florida and picked up a shell that contains what people have told me is a horse conch. I'd like to know if that is indeed what I have. I will try to describe it to the best of my ability. The shell is a dark brown, spiral about 4 1/2 inches in length. The conch inside of the shell is an orange color. I found it on the shore in a sandy area with seagrass the had washed up. I understand that these creatures could grow quite large, perhaps 2 ft.? I've also been told that they are algae eaters. Other than the fact that it lives in salt water I know nothing else. Anything you could tell me would be appreciated. Thanks much >> Might well be a Florida Horse Conch, Pleuropoca gigantea... These are decidedly more spiral and long (conical) than the "other" tropical west Atlantic Conch species (genus Strombus)... Common in Bahamas and Florida... live in seagrass beds as young, deeper water for adults (DeLoach & Humann). Principally algivores, will take commercial prepared foods like tablets that are algae-based, as well as bits of fish and mussel. (Baensch Mar. Atlas 2). Bob Fenner, who knows that people sometimes keep cultured Queen Conchs (S. gigas) for algae control... as young, and in large systems... but has no experience with Horse Conchs.

Strombids, Culture, Contacts Bob, just curious, could you forward any contacts involved in/knowledgeable about the aquaculture of Queen Conch (Strombus gigas) from reproduction through larval metamorphosis to adult. Thanks, Chris <Nothing current in my files at home, but someone from the Philippines wrote me recently re Strombid use and his email addr. is attached to the corr. on the WWM site... current FAQs or posted to marine gastropods... and Frank Hoff should be contacted for the best folks to find NOW in the field.... You can find his firm's contact information in a recent issue of FAMA... and maybe ORA/Harbor Marine, Bill Addison/Dave Palmer... If it were me... I'd get on down to the college library, do a quick computer search and send out a few emails asking this same question to folks who've recently written (ha, recently) in the field. Bob Fenner>

Strombus species? Hello Mr. Fenner, I have read most of your articles and am a great fan of yours. I have a question regarding these algae eating snails which is abundant in our country (Philippines) as food! <Yes, have eaten them there> I have obtained a book about Philippine shells and the family Strombidae is said to be a herbivorous group. <Principally, yes> I have seen on the market...Lambis truncata sebae, Lambis wheelwrighti, scorpius, millepeda and so on. also Strombus lengtiginosus, aurisdianae, aratrum and so on. my sand is turning brown, my question is, will they be fine for cleaning algae in my sandbed? <As young, yes...> wont they eat the worms too? <Some, not too many> will they produce lots of slime on the tank? <Not a concern in adequately circulated, filtered systems> am going to purchase these from the wet market, will they be able to survive long hours without water? <In dark containers with material to keep them moist, yes, for a few to several hours. Better shipped this way than underwater in sealed containers> pls send email to: thanks, Jonathan <Strombids are occasionally used as marine scavengers in a few markets internationally. Mainly as small(2-5 cm.) individuals. Most species can get too big for small marine aquarium use. Bob Fenner>
Re: Strombus species?
Hello again Bob, from your previous reply, you said these are used only when small. I have about 3 inches from head to foot Lambis specie, is this not good for my sandbed? what other options do I have or what other inverts will stir sand and not sift? thanks, hope to hear from you soon. <Useful size is a "relative term"... as to the size, layout of your systems... larger Strombids can knock over rocks, corals... all are good for their "scavenging" sand sifting action. Many other animals (fish, non-fish are good sand stirrers/sifters as well) see the review on www.wetwebmedia.com. For larger systems the smaller species of Mullids are my favorite choices (Goatfishes). Bob Fenner>

Queen Conch Bob, Thanks very much for your previous help. It was so good that I'm going to ask for more. In your text on tank maintenance you seem to strongly advocate the Queen Conch. Below is your quote. "Tank cultured queen conchs, Strombus gigas are available for use in marine aquariums; suitably sized individuals scrounge around and through the substrate (and sides to a lesser extent), removing epiphytic green algae and diatom scums. Unlike their freshwater brethren, conchs will not "reproduce like rabbits" in your tank; but can reach a prodigious size of ten inches in the wild." My question is where? Where can I buy a Strombus Gigas. I have searched the web diligently and found one site that carries these animals. It sounds ok but there's a problem. The Conch is $6.00. Then there is the box charge and heat pad charge and probably a packing charge for all I know. But the thing that's a deal breaker is a minimum $48 shipping charge. No way at all! <Mail order?... I would contact the folks listed on the website: www.WetWebMedia.com on the Links Pages there... they have email... and ask what price they would charge... they're available but must be bought in "box lots" to make sense economically...> Can you point me to some other sources? <Frank Hoff, C-Quest, ORA... but don't think they sell to the "end-user" at all... once again, a matter of volume/cost/expedients... If you have a large volume retailer nearby, they might be able to combine an order with other livestock from one of these sources/breeders... Clownfishes, Gobiosoma, Pseudochromids...> <Bob Fenner>

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