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FAQs about Nassarius, Nassariid, Snails

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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,



Adding Nassarius Snails?        7/30/19
I spoke to you about compatibility of the Humu Picasso Triggerfish, Blue headed Wrasse and the Red Coris Wrasse and that was fine; but now I have another question, please. Can I add about 5 Super Tongan Nassarius Snails into the mix?
<Mmm; only if they dive into the substrate and stay there. Very likely the Rhinecanthus trigger and Coris wrasse will devour them, sooner or in time>
I really want to make sure that I have a stable tank and I do not have anything planned for algae control other than making sure my chemistry on target.
<Other approaches... Do consider a sump/refugium... See WWM re RDP, macroalgal culture, DSB there>
I am just concerned that these rather (potentially) aggressive fish in with the snails. If you have another suggestion; I would appreciate it very much! I thank you in advance!
<As stated. Bob Fenner>
Re: Adding Nassarius Snails?        7/30/19

Thank you very much Bob. You are an incredible resource for me; I really appreciate your help! Sincerely, Jen
<Welcome Jen. B>

New Super Nassarius Snail in iM fusion 10 Nano reef     2/14/18
i hope you are doing well. thank you for reading my question. I have a Nuvo fusion 10 nano reef. It' been up for 6 months. I just started adding coral in mid December after slow cycling for 3 months. I cycled with dry rock and
1.5" of "live" sand, adding small amounts of frozen and pellet food one a week. I do not have any fish, only coral and a few inverts, as I think it would be cruel to house a fish in such a small tank.
<There are some small gobies, blennies...>
I started out with a few soft corals and have added a couple peaceful LPS. and a skunk cleaner shrimp. Last Week I added 3 sexy shrimp and a super Nassarius snail. I am now experiencing what I think is a bacteria bloom caused by the new snail stirring the sand bed. I have the regular symptoms, cloudy water that tests good for PH, nitrate phosphate, etc. It's been about two days now like this and some off my corals are not opening. My water parameters have been and remain very consistent in the PH and other areas. My question is can I ride this out and will it balance back out, or do you think the tank is too small to have that type of snail stirring up the sand and I need to take it back. thanks for your time.
Kind Regards,
John Arenz
<I'd add some mechanical filtration... a small outside power filter would be ideal... or a small internal one, sponge or box filter... to ride out the particulate storm for now. All ought to settle down soon. Bob Fenner>
Re: New Super Nassarius Snail in iM fusion 10 Nano reef    2/15/18

Thank you for replying.
<Welcome John. BobF> 

Nassarius Snails       3/13/15
<... five megs of pix... What's our limit?>
I recently decided to order some Nassarius snails on eBay. In looking on a thread, someone had posted that these were not truly Nassarius.
<The genus>

I contacted the seller, and she said that she got her original group from the Caribbean.
<Are worldwide; several species...>

They have not yet arrived, but I'm trying to figure this out. I should've done this before I ordered, but my gut is saying I should check this out. I have attached a photo. Thank you.
<See WWM, the Net re... Could be. Bob Fenner>

Quarantine of Nassarius Snails    11/4/14
Hi Crew,
Long time fan, I'm coming to you with another barrage of questions. Please forgive me if this has been answered already, but I was not able to find an answer to my question after searching for a long while.
I currently bought some more clean up crew for my display tank, and as per your suggestions, I'm rather sold on the idea of "quarantine everything wet".
<Almost always a good idea>
The new additions to my tank will be: 1 fire shrimp, 1 skunk cleaner shrimp, 10 Cerith snails, 10 Nassarius snails (the small kind, these stay about the size of a dime), and 5 scarlet red hermit crabs.
Everything is currently in quarantine in my 10 gallon tank, and they will be migrating to my display tank in about 6 weeks.
My issue is that I've read that the Nassarius snails need substrate to survive, but my QT is currently bare bottom.
Knowing this, I added a Tupperware container full of sand in the QT,
and after drip acclimation, I made sure to add all the Nassarius snails inside the Tupperware. I woke up the next morning to see about 5 Nassarius snails crawling around on the glass, and the other 5 I'm assuming were
buried in the sand.
Should I be worried about the Nassarius requiring substrate for their survival in my QT?
<No; they will find the substrate if interested>
or will they be fine in a bare bottom tank?
<Leave the Tupperware in place>
Do I even need the Tupperware of sand in there for the Nassarius?
<I would use>
Also, I am now aware that they are not algae grazers like most other snails found in this hobby, but rather, carnivores. I currently drop in a few pieces of mysis/Cyclop-eeze or whatever food is left over from feeding my
display into the QT for the cleaner shrimp/hermit crabs. The shrimps are much quicker than the hermit crabs and the Nassarius, so I'm concerned that the shrimps will devour all the food before the hermits/Nassarius can get any. Any suggestions on how to make sure everyone is well fed and happy in the quarantine tank?
<You're doing fine. For the duration of the quarantine, the food offered and its recycling will feed all>
Any advice is, as always, very respected and much appreciated.
Thank you, and enjoy your day.
<Do keep an eye on the hermits and shrimps lest they go after (consume) your snails. Bob Fenner>

Tonga Nassarius Snails. Beh.      4/6/12 New to Salt Water Tanks and have 1 Nassarius Snail.  The question is easy...what is the normal life pattern...over the past week we have not seen him at all.
How long do they hide under the sand?
Should I search the sand to find him?
<Evening Ron.  Behavior sounds normal for this snail.  They will spend daylight hours buried and come out at night in search of food.  It is also likely that they will come out during the day when you do feed.  It becomes a learned behavior though>
Thanks for your help!!!!
<You are welcome, Bobby>
Re: Tonga Nassarius Snails.     4/6/12

Bobby, thanks for the quick response.  Sorry to be a pain...
<No problem at all, this is what we enjoy!>
Over the past month we would see him on a regular basis hours after feeding...now we haven't seen him (or his breathing tube) in the past week.
 Still normal or should I search the sand?
<Gotcha, I see your concern now.  What fish do you have in the tank?  I know in the case of my tank, my butterfly's and angels could not resist nipping at those little tubes.  Suffice to say, the snails are much more subtle now in what they stick out in the water column!.  I would also trying feeding the tank a small bit 30 min after lights out and check the tank with a flashlight to see if they come out then.  If not, you may have lost him.  If at a loss, use something to sift through the top layer of sand to see if you find him>
Thanks for your thoughts
<You are welcome!>
Re: Tonga Nassarius Snails.     4/6/12

Thanks, we have 1 Blenny, 2 Clown, 1 small star fish, 1 Leopard Wrasse and 1 feeder/cleaner shrimp and three small snails.
How far to the go into the sand?
<Not far, top 1/2" -3/4">

Nassarius Snails Versus Fish 12/18/11
Dear WWM crew,
My question is, do Nassarius snails present competition for fish that eat/sift food from the sand?
<Mmm, can/do a bit>
I have several fish that sift the sand for food and eat from the surface of the sand, which are a pair of ocellated dragonets, a Rainford's goby, and a Hectors goby. They are in a 75 gallon reef tank that has a 29g sump, a 1/2 full 55g refugium, and a 16g fishless tank hooked in the system. They do all eat frozen foods daily (Rods, homemade, Mysis, Nutramar shrimp roe).
I lost nearly all of my CUC to an ATO issue a few months ago and have still not replaced my snails (I don't like crabs, so not replacing them)... what survived are 5 or 6 Tonga Nassarius, 1 or 2 small Nassarius (not the illysiana type), and a few Cerith snails, 2 skunk cleaner shrimps, 1 fire shrimp. I have always loved Tonga Nassarius snails and want to get more, but I'm concerned that if I add more they might make it harder for the aforementioned fish to eat (they all eat various frozen stuff, but get it off he sand not out of the water column). My sand bed is about 1" deep (deep enough to keep the Tongans out of sight).
<Mmm, I'd add more over time>
The rest of the current CUC are 2 skunk cleaner shrimps and a fire shrimp.
The current fish list is the pair of dragonets, the Rainford's goby, the Hectors goby, an orange Firefish, a purple Firefish, a pair of small ocellaris, and a yellow tang (the bottom half of my tank is well stocked, while the upper half is practically fishless, so I need a pair of some type of peaceful fish under 3" for the upper half.... I'm open to suggestions).
<Mmm, look at the various (hardy) species of Cardinals/Apogonids, Fairy Wrasses/Cirrhilabrus, and Anthiines/Fancy Basses about...>
Thanks for the information, and happy holidays to you all!
<Thank you, and you are very likely fine here w/ these numbers and species of snails and your sand sifting/dependent fishes... Due to the size/volume of the system, tied in volumes and good supplementary feeding. Cheers, Bob Fenner>
F. Mills

Spotted Butterscotch Snail, eggs? 11/24/11
At the bottom of my saltwater reef are clear scale like, see through objects which are anchored at the bottom, in the sand. Looks like grains of sand in them and the butterscotch snail is usually around them but not touching them. This has happened before and I just removed them. But it happened again. Could these possible be eggs of the butterscotch.
<Mmm, doesn't seem descriptive. Look on the Net re "Nassarius eggs"... are these similar?>
I looked on the web however could not find anything like this. they are shaped like a filled in 'V'. Have you seen these before? My snail is approx 1 inch long and no other butterscotch snails around.
<Might be Hydroids of some sort. Bob Fenner>
Re: Spotted Butterscotch Snail 11/24/11

The only reason why I feel they are connected to the Butterscotch snail is that the snail stays on top of the sand in the middle of them for like all night and in the morning its under the sand. The snail has its tongue like bottom in a column, raising its shell and will stay like that for an hour or so, like its laying these things. However can't see if it is or not. Should I chance it and leave these in my tank and see if they are eggs (do they need to be fertilized) or remove them before they turn into something "bad".
<... Please send along a well-resolved image. BobF>

Re: Spotted Butterscotch Snail 11/24/11
could not get better pictures, however you can probably get the gist of it. I pulled a couple out of the water.
<... ? Did you search as I suggested last email? Don't know what these are, but don't look like snail eggs period to me. B>

Snails eating red legged crabs! 10/1/11
Hello to Everyone!!
<Hello Amanda>
I have used your site for all the information that I have ever needed regarding my tank and would like to say thank you so very much again.
<Thank you for your very kind words!>
However, I do have another problem that I can't seem to figure out or find the answer to...I recently bought a new clean-up crew after moving 90 miles and losing some crabs, snails etc. Everyone seemed to be getting along fine, until the other day I watched a Nassarius snail chase down a red legged crab and pluck him from his shell.
To my amazement every Nassarius snail in the tank surfaced and created a "feeding ball," if you will.
Obviously, the poor little crab died and was eaten, but since this instance it has happened two more times. Is this a common occurrence with these species?
<These snails are in the main detritivorous scavengers, but in the absence of sufficient food can turn carnivorous. They are not herbivores, so this is possible, yes>
Can I expect all of my crabs to be eaten by the Nass. snails?
<Perhaps you should try feeding the system a little more, obviously with an eye on your nitrates et. Al>
Please let me know if there is something I should have done or if there is anything that can be done....I have had these species together before the move quite peacefully with nothing like this ever happening. Thank you again for the great site and advice!
<No problem>
Best Regards,
<<Sorry Amanda, I meant to say they are Omnivores, they will graze but can also be opportunistic!>

Please help... Nassarius or Whelks 7/3/2011
I have a 110 gallon tank with a 55 gallon tank as a sump. It is a recent upgrade from a 75 gallon non drilled tank. but the system has been running for about 8 years. The system seems to be healthy, all water parameters are in check, tons of copepods & amphipods are thriving. All corals have great polyp extension and showing signs of growth. Other than finding a couple dead hermits, everything else seems to be running great.
<Ah, good>
I have recently purchased Nassarius snails for the tank about a month - month and a half ago. I have included pictures of both the larger snails that I purchased and a baby that I have seen 4 or 5 of in the last 2 days.
<... the larger snails are Nassarius obsoleta.( ILynassarius obsoleta)>
The babies appear to have the same coloration and similar shape as the grey and white striped one in the pictures. Their snout is white in color but hard to see in the photos because they are so small. Any help is appreciated. Thanks for taking the time to ID these little guys.
I am hoping that you can tell me that my larger snails are in fact Nassarius Snails, and if possible an ID on the babies would be much appreciated.
<The smaller animals look like some sort of Whelk to me; and too likely predaceous. I would remove them>
Thanks for your time and help.
<Bob Fenner>

Nassarius snails "eating" sea hare? 09/29/10
Good Day, Crew,
I am always amazed by our reef tank. It is incredible how one small change can have major effects on the balance of life in the tank. This is a long one, I apologize in advance. Looking back at my reef journal I have seen a very interesting story take place. About a year ago we had snails deaths.
My large Nassarius snails had disappeared over a period of time, so I bought about 20 small dark Nassarius snails. We kept finding their empty shells. Even my 4 Turbos snails died.. Now, I never saw any shady snail behavior, I just found the empty shells, and a few weird little
snails. Salty Dog helped me ID a couple nasty little whelks. They must have come with the Nassarius. I never replaced the snails. About six months ago we took a yellow tailed angel out of the tank, and within a few weeks those large Tonga snails started showing up again. How funny. I suspect the angel nipped their siphons, and that kept them hidden. So now just a few days ago we bought 20 Trochus snails, and a sea hare.
<What species Aplysiid?>
The moment the snails were in the water the Tonga Nassarius erupted from the sand and jumped on the Trochus like a tiger on a new York strip.
What a bummer. A fascinating but expensive bummer. A few Trochus got away, but they are being picked off. The sea hare also got nibbled on. It grazed for a few hours on the rocks (ahem, hair algae) and grazed it's way to the substrate. I found 9 Tonga Nassarius snails on it. I brushed them off, and placed the sea hare up high on rocks.
<Won't work. Will be hunted down, consumed>
It started secreting aqua colored ink,
<Not good for your system, tankmates>
like smoke, but kept grazing along. We have not seen the sea hare for 48 hours. I also only see about 4-6 Tonga Nassarius snails. I fear the rest are chewing on the sea hare somewhere. I suspect these Nassarius are very hungry due to a recent upgrade; the contents of our a 90 gallon to a 180 gallon, and I replaced all the sand with new LS. I wish I had kept the old sand but I was certain it would be foul. It was not but the 180 was already full with the new LS. Oh, well, live and learn. I did put a few cups of the old sand into the 180. Any thoughts would be appreciated. I am wondering are these Nassarius worth it, should I feed them, and if you think I should keep them, and supplement their diet, how many would be good for a 3-4 inch deep sand bed that is 2x5 feet?
<Some folks like some species of Nassarius... I am by and large NOT a fan of overloading captive systems w/ gastropods... they have their downsides... as vectors of disease, polluters, and predators. Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/snailscavsel.htm>
And just so you know we intended to return the sea hare if the hair algae disappeared.
<There are species sold in the trade that are inappropriate. Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/SeahareSelF.htm
and the linked files above>
My sons love sea hairs, but I have always said no due to the lack of hair algae. They are delighted at the algae issue!
My thanks, Victoria
<My welcomes, Bob Fenner>

Nassarius Snail Repro. Question/Amphiprion Cross-breeding -- 08/30/10
Hi All!
Its Chris K. again - very excited as usual to be able to have a question and something to share!
<<Hey Chris--Eric here today'¦>>
Firstly - one of my Nassarius snails is laying eggs -- I understand that I should expect nothing from this
<<Not true necessarily'¦ I have had a breeding population of Nassarius sp. snails for about seven years that continually replenish their numbers>>
- but just out of curiosity - how long before they hatch?
<<Mine seem to do so rather quickly--perhaps 'days'>>
Are they in some sort of larval state before they develop a shell and enter the substrate?
<<I'm not really sure--though I suspect they 'do not' have a larval/planktonic stage else they would not reproduce so successfully in my system>>
The only reason I ask is because around April my queen conch began laying eggs - this went on for a few months. I didn't expect much - given that most likely they would fall prey to fish and other predators in my tank. However - one night I happened to walk past my tank long after lights out and noticed what appeared to be salt all over my glass. I immediately flipped on the light and noticed that they were very small snails (I am certain that they are not pyramid snails), I began to look closer and observed that there were hundreds all over my rocks and glass. Apparently they hide during the day and come out at night. Now I am merely implying the coincidence between my conch laying eggs and then a month or two later having an explosion of tiny snail like critters visible in my aquarium. I am trying to stay realistic.
<<Likely 'something' that came in with your rock>>
They are tiny and round (white and rather fragile looking - not the thick shelled specimen that I would expect) and I am hoping that if I can get a decent photo - you can help me identify them.
<<Some 35,000 species in existence [grin]>>
As a side note, they don't' seem to be attracted to any of my coral and nothing appears to be getting damaged - so I am in a wait and see mode.
<<They have probably been in your system for some time and are probably harmless, if not beneficial>>
Lastly - I have two black and white Ocellaris clowns in my tank along with two orange and white Ocellaris clowns.
<<Mmm--it is generally best to keep only a single pair, especially of these two similar species (Amphiprion Ocellaris and Amphiprion percula), as keeping more usually results in the exclusion/bullying/death of those individuals outside the primary pair-bond--unless the system is large enough for multiple territories>>
Initially they paired off according to their color and that was that. The dynamics have recently changed though.
<<Not to be unexpected here>>
One of the black and white clowns has exploded by almost double in size -obviously the female.
However they are "pairing off" by color less and less - the other three clowns seem to be following her around (even the orange ones) and doing dances for her. Presently she is spending most of her days with the two orange and white guys. Is it possible for a black and white Ocellaris to mate with an orange and white Ocellaris
- and if so - what kind of clown does that produce?
<<A hybrid thereof>>
Anything interesting?
<<That remains to be seen, perhaps small variations in color--or these parent species may be so similar as to not exhibit any obvious differences among offspring>>
Thanks again for all your help!
<<Quite welcome>>
As always you are a most valued reference!
Chris K
<<Happy to share my friend'¦ Eric R>>
Re: Nassarius Snail Question/Amphiprion Cross-breeding - 08/30/10

Thank you Eric for your response
<<You are quite welcome, Chris>>
- as always you make my day!
<<And it makes mine/ours to hear/know this!>>
If I were able to get a photo of the tiny snails rather than ask you to go through 35,000 species (wow) perhaps you would be able to give me the thumbs up or thumbs down as to whether by some shear miracle any baby conches survived
<<We can surely take a look--though I am skeptical that these are the offspring of your Queen Conch>>
(which you have undoubtedly figured out by now is my only real question anyway).
<<I had a feeling'¦ [grin]>>
Fortunately, or Unfortunately depending on your outlook, I have always taken the words "that can't be done" as more of a challenge than a rule.
<<Mmm, okay--and hopefully tempered with reasoning when it comes to the environmental requirements of your animals/limitations of your system>>
I did after all manage to find a beautiful blue fish with a personality that fits in perfectly with everything else in my aquarium.
<<A yes--indeed you did>>
It took a few years but in this instance being relentless paid off.....(grin). As for the clowns - I have had them for some time now and am quite fortunate that the black and white ones have claimed the territory near my corner over flow on the far left of my 90 gallon. The orange and white clowns claimed an anemone ornament which I moved long ago to the farthest right hand corner. Each "pair" is allowed within inches of the others territory before the obligatory charge or head but ensues - and can often be seen roaming freely throughout the rest of the aquarium all together.
(Until recently - as previously stated - now the males just seem to follow the female wherever she feels like going).
<<Ahh 'Amore'>>
If my clowns should mate is there a chance that the offspring would survive?
<<Not likely--at least, not likely without some preparation for such (like a plan for removing the fertilized eggs to hatching/rearing tanks, feeding the fry, etc., etc.). If you are so inclined, there is an excellent book by Joyce Wilkerson on 'Clownfishes' that I highly recommend you obtain and read>>
I have no anemone
<<Is not needed>>
- I do not believe I have strong enough lighting to keep one (no metal halides nor the more recent and seemingly way cool LEDS)
<<Way cool and WAY expensive--and I am still not convinced they are equal to, much less better than, Metal Halide. But the day may well be coming'¦>>
Thanks again Eric and have a great day!
Chris K.
<<Cheers Chris! Eric Russell>>

Nassarius Snails, QT 4/23/10
I just received my first online fish order. The fish look good, just started acclimation to the QT tank.
<Makes my heart happy.>
My question is on the snails. I got them to help clean my sand bed in my DT, but after reading I see some of you recommend QT on inverts and some don't.
<I personally generally QT everything.>
I had decided not to QT them, for fear there's not enough for them to eat in the shallow sand in my QT, but now I'm leaning towards QT'ing them.
<I think you will find that these particular snail are pretty easy to QT.
Rather than sort of randomly grazing for algae they will actively seek out food particles that make it to the sand bed, plus its fun to watch them emerge for seemingly nowhere.>
I emailed the company to find out if they house fish and inverts separately. They said "typically yes" however they recommend a short QT to be safe. (If I put them in QT they'll have to stay there for 4 weeks as they'll be in with the new fish and I don't want to cross contaminate if I can avoid it).
<Good plan.>
They arrived dry in a bag so I have no clue if they are alive or not at this point.
<Hope the company will compensate you if they are not.>
They're floating in the tank to acclimate temperature wise for now.
Thanks for the info, Pam Speck

Re: Nassarius Snails, QT 4/24/10
Thanks, I did end up placing them in the QT, and I couldn't believe how quickly they started moving around when I put them in there.
The royal gramma was swimming vertical in the bag when I opened the box, and stayed that way all through acclimation, and after I placed him in the tank. Eventually began swimming horizontal, but I'm a bit concerned. I guess time will tell...(The place I ordered does offer a full 14 day guarantee which is nice, but I'd still hate to lose him. The 2 cleaner gobies seem very active.)
<They can swim at odd angles at times, I would not be too concerned, just something to keep an eye on.>
Thanks so much for the advice, and I'm glad I did the right thing by putting the snails in QT.

Black Onyx Nassarius Snails: Buyer Beware: Likely Ilyanassa obsoleta -- 3/29/10
<Hello Michelle, Lynn here tonight.>
Hope this email finds you all in good health!
<It does indeed, thank you. I hope that you're enjoying good health as well!>
I have a question on Nassarius snails, and can only find notes on WWM regarding Whelks or Tongans- I am needing some info on black onyx Nassarius snails.
<Hmmm, the snails I've seen sold on the net under this common name appear to be Ilyanassa obsoleta (aka the Eastern Mud Snail), an extremely common, cooler water snail that's not at all suitable to the higher temperatures of reef systems. Their range includes the western Atlantic, from Canada to northern Florida, as well as the west coast of North America from British Columbia to California. Neither range could be considered tropical! Exposing these snails to long-term higher temperatures speeds up their metabolism, resulting in drastically shortened lives.>
Is there a link here that you can provide?
<Yes, please see the following link for photos of Ilyanassa obsoleta (for comparison): http://www.gastropods.com/5/Shell_3305.shtml
More information re: http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2006-11/mg/index.php >
Or can you answer for me: Are they reef safe? To the extent that they will not disrupt and devour my copepods?
<Apparently, they're mostly deposit feeders and scavengers that feed on organic detritus, microorganisms (diatoms, bacteria, BGA, etc.), some macroalgae, and carrion. Any critter than scavenges though, has the potential to venture into live foods if it gets hungry enough and the opportunity presents itself. The studies I've read regarding the diets of wild individuals seem to indicate that live fauna is not a significant part of their diet at all. However, it's possible that an omnivorous snail with a boosted metabolism and appetite, might indeed go after whatever prey is most readily available. There have been reports of these snails attacking other snails and there is some concern regarding the possibility of them depleting beneficial sand-bed fauna.>
I have a mandarin goby and a scooter blenny- so want to make sure they still have their food supply.
(Tank size: 180 gallon mixed reef)
<I would avoid these snails. No matter what they eat, they're ill-suited to life in a reef system. If you need a scavenger that will help stir the sand a bit, I'd go with something like the commonly available Nassarius vibex. They're terrific little snails that erupt en masse out of the sand at feeding time.>
Any info you can give is appreciated.
Thank you.
<You're very welcome. Please let me know if there's anything else I can do for you.>
<Take care, LynnZ>

Re: Black Onyx Nassarius Snails: Buyer Beware: Likely Ilyanassa obsoleta -- 3/30/10
Thank you, Lynn.
<You're very welcome, Michelle.>
Here is a copy of the listing, stating reef safe: I appreciate you getting back with me last night- thank you for the information.
<It was a pleasure. If the company is indeed selling I. obsoleta as a reef snail, that's a real shame, but sadly not all that surprising. These and other temperate-water snails like Margarita snails/ Margarites pupillus, Red Foot Moon Snail/ Norrisia norrisii, etc., have been offered in the trade for years to reef hobbyists. I'm glad to see that some companies are now listing (and commenting on) the lower temperature requirements, but others are not quite up to speed on this. Perhaps they are simply unaware. Once again, it serves as a reminder to all to research before bringing home, and I commend you for doing exactly that! I received a small number of Ilyanassa obsoleta snails years ago from a large online company in lieu of the Nassarius vibex that I had ordered. I didn't have any problems with them attacking other snails, but perhaps they found enough food elsewhere around the tank. Sadly, all were dead within 6 months.>
Have a great day and a Happy Easter! (if you celebrate)
<I do, thank you very much! Happy Easter to you as well!>
100 Onyx Nassarius Snails
<Yep, in cases where only a common name is offered, always inquire about the scientific name. Only then can you really research and find out if the animal is appropriate to your situation.>
100 Saltwater Reef Safe Nassarius Snails Coral Cleaners
<Was this supposed to describe the Onyx Nassarius Snails listed above? If so, and if they're selling I. obsoleta, then yes they are 'reef safe' to an extent. The problem is that the term is a very general one with many interpretations. Some see it as an indication that an animal won't eat corals, others, that it won't eat their snails, fish/livestock, and still others see it as an indication that the animal won't release toxins either when stressed or upon death. The list goes on and on. I daresay you'd be surprised how many different answers and combinations you'd get if you asked hobbyists what the term 'reef-safe' meant to them. There is no single correct answer. In the case of Ilyanassa obsoleta, the term may indeed seem applicable to some, but not to me personally. At any rate, no matter how you interpret it, these snails are not suited to the long term higher temperatures of reef systems. So, is it reef-safe - maybe. Is it reef-suitable - no!>
The Most Bang for your Buck
<Mmm, no comment>
Total 100 Snails!!! The Nassarius snail is a small scavenger with an oval spiral shell that resembles an olive pit, with a long tube like siphon that protrudes from the end of the shell. One of the most ideal scavengers and detritus eaters these snails are perfect for the reef aquarium, quickly consuming detritus, uneaten food, decaying organics, and fish waste. Nassarius snails like to bury themselves in the sand, which will help maintain adequate oxygen levels in the substrate. Shipped without water.
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<Mmmm, no comment here, either. Take care, Michelle. Thanks once again for researching before buying! LynnZ>

Follow-up Re: Black Onyx Nassarius Snails: Buyer Beware: Likely Ilyanassa obsoleta -- 3/31/10
<Hi Michelle>
Once again- thanks for the reply.
<You're most welcome.>
I would like to post something on eBay - to warn fellow reefers, possibly beginners, about this- and have found an article on www.reefkeeping.com that suggests the harm these can do, the disease they may potentially add to the tank, etc- but I am not sure how to do that without hurting myself in return (I'm a seller as well on eBay)-
<I can certainly understand that. It's also important to take into account the litigious nature that our society seems to have unfortunately embraced. In this case, we're not sure exactly what species of snails is actually being sold. That's the problem with common names. The snails that I've seen being sold online under the name Onyx Nassarius snails appear to be the species Ilyanassa obsoleta, but your vendor may be using that same common name for an entirely different snail. There's just no way of knowing without seeing the actual snail itself. The bottom line here is that I'd tread very carefully when it comes to publicly posting anything negative regarding a vendor.>
I have sent a personal message to the seller of that listing- maybe they will 're-edit' their listing to state what these are better suited for.
<Good, I was going to recommend contacting the vendor privately. Hopefully they'll be able to do some research, determine exactly what species they're selling, and be able to offer as much accurate information as possible to potential buyers. Beyond that, we can only hope that hobbyists remember to do their own research before bringing home any livestock, no matter what information a seller has or doesn't have to offer.>
I included your WWM link to give them a hint, lol. Best regards- look forward to doing much more reading on your articles- thanks!
<You're welcome! Take care and again, Happy Easter! LynnZ>

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 maculatus.
<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.
<Could be a few things influencing the Strombid young... chemically, predation... Bob Fenner>

Live Rock Hitchhikers: Chiton and Whelk -- 10/9/09
<Hello Glenn, Lynn here this evening.>
I was hoping you could confirm a couple of live rock hitchhikers and maybe give some more information.
<Will sure try.>
Currently I got 50 lbs. of live rock curing in quarantine and I came across these two beauties.
<Neat! The pinkish, mottled, low-rider is a beneficial, herbivorous Chiton. The black and yellow snail is a whelk of some sort.>
Should I remove them or are they reef and invert safe?
<Keep the Chiton, lose the whelk.>
This rock will eventually end up in my 180 gallon tank with fish, squamosa clam, diadema urchin, snails, Acropora and Montipora coral.
I believe one is a flat worm maybe a Polyclad but not sure.
<Good news, it's not! It's a neat little Chiton (Polyplacophoran). For more information, please see the following link:
http://bb.wetwebmedia.com/viewtopic.php?f=25&t=298&p=3108&hilit=chiton#p3108 >
The other is a snail in the Buccinidae family.
<Oh yes indeed. It's a whelk alright, and very similar to one I've seen before. It's in the family Buccinidae Pisaniinae, most likely in the genus Engina (Pusiostoma), and I wouldn't trust it around a corner. Please see the FAQ titled 'Black and yellow snail ID: Engina (Pusiostoma) sp. - 5/2/08' at the following link for more information and a photo: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/snailid16.htm
Here are two possibilities (knowing location of origin will help rule in/out possibilities): Engina histrio: http://www.gastropods.com/0/Shell_53500.shtml
Or Engina alveolata fusiformis: http://www.gastropods.com/0/Shell_20970.shtml
More from this genus at this link: http://www.gastropods.com/Taxon_pages/TN_Family_BUCCINIDAE_PISANIINAE.shtml >
In addition I have about ten Aiptasia or Anemonia that I've got to get rid of
<Good thinking - get rid of any pest anemones now.>
..and identify three little crabs.
<Next time you see them, count the walking legs. Do they have three on each side plus two claws, or four on each side (plus claws)? In general, three legs = porcelain crab of some sort and not likely much of a problem. Four legs = true crab and a potential concern. If you can get some good photos, do send them along and we'll take a look. If possible, leave the crab submerged in tank/container while photographing. Include a shot from above showing the carapace and all legs, and one from the front showing the claws. You can learn a lot about a crab from just looking at those claws!>
All I can say is quarantining my live rock has saved me a ton of trouble down the road.
<You are wise, grasshopper! Good luck and enjoy!>
<Take care, LynnZ>

What Are These? Likely Nassarius Species - 10/9/09
<Hi there, Lynn here this afternoon.>
Can you help me out?
<I'll sure try.>
Before I put these in my tank! lol
<Heee! I'll hurry!>
These were sent to me as Tongan Nassarius snails.
<Uh-oh. That's the trouble with common names. They're not specific!>
They look like whelks or something not good.
<I can understand your thinking. I'd be concerned as well. Nassarius snails and whelks can indeed resemble each other. Both are in the same superfamily, Buccinoidea. The good news is that, as we know from experience, not all in this large group are a danger to the other snails, etc., we keep in our tanks. The most commonly kept Nassarius species are beneficial scavengers, living the majority of their lives buried in the sand until feeding time, when they erupt en masse. That's not to say that all Nassarius are harmless, though. The larger species in particular can pose a significant a threat if they're not supplied with enough readily available food.>
These are NOT what the picture in their ad showed and NOTHING like my AUTHENTIC Tongans. (see picture below this one to see mine).These are mine and these are Tongan.....
<Yes, they're not what I'm used to seeing tagged as Super Tongan snails either, but again, that's the problem with common names. The snails you received most closely resemble Nassarius margaritiferus, or Nassarius margaritifer depending on the source. They're commonly called a 'Margarite Nassa' snail. Now, the big question of the day is whether these will be well-behaved and not eat their fellow snail tankmates. Unfortunately, I honestly can't answer that with any certainty. It could go either way. They're almost certainly scavengers but whether they'll attack your other snails is up in the air. You can either release them, keep them fed and keep an eye out for trouble, or perhaps put them in another tank, feed them as usual for a couple of days, then add a snail and see what happens. If they go after the poor thing, get it out of there before it's killed. For more information/photos, please see the following links:
More photos so you can see the variation: http://www.conchology.be/? t=27&family=NASSARIIDAE&species=Nassarius%20margaritifer
Take care and good luck, LynnZ>

Part 2: What Are These? Likely Nassarius Species - 10/9/09
<Hello, Lynn here again.>
Here are more of the "Nassarius" snails.
<Excellent photos!>
I tried to find something about how to tell the difference between the Tongan and these "TONGAN" impostors. They have a thing that looks like can seal themselves up in a watertight type door (not the reddish brown "door" on the right).
<Called an operculum>
My REAL Tongan Nassarius snails, I have NEVER seen inside their shells. A LOT of their body is WAY out in the open.
<They can seal themselves inside.>
So are these whelks and should I flush them?
<No! Even if you do find that these snails won't work in your tank, please try to find them another home (perhaps at a LFS). Please see previous email and check photos for comparison. Take care, LynnZ>

Part 3: What Are These? Likely Nassarius Species - 10/9/09
<Hello again>
I found this link below: http://www.wildsingapore.com/wildfacts/mollusca/gastropoda/nassariidae/livescens.htm
<Yes, I believe the species shown (see photos in the bottom group) is the same one I linked in the original message: Nassarius margaritiferus, a common specie in the Philippines. The fact that they refer to it, at that site, with the common name 'whelk' doesn't necessarily mean that it's a snail killer. It may or may not be.>
Scroll down to the NOT REEF SAFE on this link.... we have a winner!!!!..... http://www.chucksaddiction.com/Hitchsnails.html
<Ah yes, my friend in the Philippines -- great guy! I don't see a photo of your snail at his link but the term 'not reef safe' is used there to indicate the fact that Nassarius snails (even those you already have) can and do eat the beneficial little critters within sand-beds. In that respect, they are not reef-safe. Are they safe with other snails? Maybe.>
Now here are the snails I have.... yeah, teeth like bumps on the opening!!!!! In the Nassarius family yet, but not the "dog whelks" that are safe like mine.
<Heeee! Don't get me started again on common names! LynnZ>

Part 4: What Are These? Likely Nassarius Species - 10/9/09
Well, I think I have found my answer......
Excerpt from Reefkeeping.com article by Ronald Shimek PhD
"These problems notwithstanding, it is generally pretty easy to determine if a snail is a whelk. Whelk shells are generally biconical or broadly fusiform. Their aperture is typically oval. The animals typically, but not always, have an operculum on the back of their foot which plugs the aperture when the animal withdraws into its shell. If such an operculum is present, it is made of protein and typically is brown, golden or black; and it is never calcareous and round, but rather oval, crescent-shaped or somewhat "leaf-shaped."
Whelks always have a siphonal canal with an anterior siphonal notch.
The notch is generally quite distinctive, although the canal may be short and twisted. All other sculpturing is variable and dependent upon at least species, and maybe upon environment."
<Thank you, that's very informative! LynnZ>

Part 5: What Are These? Likely Nassarius Species - 10/9/09
"FLUSH" is a relative term!
<Whew, that's good! You had me going there for a sec!>
lol Here in Las Vegas they would not survive,
<Not in freshwater, that's for sure!>
..but I do NOT want to give them to someone and have them harm their charges.
<No, you would never want to give them to anyone without full disclosure. You could, however, offer them to a LFS. I'd explain the situation and see what they say. They might be able to take them off your hands, or even offer you some sort of credit/exchange.>
The REAL SUPER Tongan.... NEVER, I mean NEVER have I see them close up in their shell.
<I understand. You may have never seen them close up all the way, but they can. All of these snails have an operculum and can seal themselves within their shell. Sometimes that operculum can be hard to see, though! In your Super Tongan photo, if you take a look at the individual on the right, you'll see a small light brown operculum towards the end of the foot. If push came to shove, the snail would pull in on itself and close up shop. Snails use their operculum mainly as a defense against predation and desiccation/drying out. In the normal course of grazing/traveling about without threat, there's no need for them to close up. The only time I've ever seen any of my snails close up is if they're in trouble (ailing or dead) or feeling threatened.>
If they tried, it took a while, but they try to flop over and slither first. The whelks pull in QUICKLY like these.
Yeah operculum... I was being "general" for layman reasons.
<That's perfectly understandable. I just wanted you to have the term in case you wanted to look it up. Snails are fascinating creatures. Some have a thin/flexible operculum like what we see in this group of snails, while others have a thickened, calcareous version. Conchs actually have a claw-like operculum that they use to aid in locomotion. It's not exactly graceful, but it works!>
Nonetheless, I will not be adding them to my tank......
<Can't say I blame you!>
SIDE question... Can Halichoeres (Clown wrasse) wrasses decimate a copepod/amphipod population in a tank? I have always had fairy wrasses
<Love fairy wrasses!>
..and though they would eat them here and there, there would always be plenty on the rocks.
<I think the wrasse would nab what it could, but there would always be nooks and crannies for the 'pods to hide. Be sure to check out Bob's page on his pick for the three best candidates: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/halichoeresbestart.htm >
<You're very welcome. --LynnZ>

Part 6: What Are These? Likely Nassarius Species - 10/9/09
Sorry I have to disagree about the ones I have eating stuff in the sand.
<No problem. I'm not always right and individuals can differ.>
They go under and stay in the SAME SPOT until I put in some fish flesh.
<Sounds like they're trained! It also sounds like they're very well fed, which is terrific.>
THAT being said, there ARE species of Nassarius that are not good for the sand bed. Plus if they were, my water quality would be shaky, so no, these I have... my true TONGAN or NASSARIUS DISTORTUS are perfectly suited.
<I'm glad to hear that.>
I had a Sand Sifting Star fish that ATE everything in my sand bed,
<It happens, yes.>
..causing serious water quality issues.... that was when I FIRST had a tank years and years ago and the dope at the LFS said I should get that Sea star!
<Not good>
He knew my tank was only 55 gallons. So my experience with a dead sand bed in the past would indicate that My N. distortus are fine.
<Good to hear.>
Oddly Nassarius are part of the whelk family, but not destructive in attacking other snails.
<That's right for the most part. I've heard the occasional report of a Super Tongan snail attacking others but I've never had any problems with mine. Perhaps the snails were starving or perhaps the person had another snail entirely that they called a "Super Tongan".>
I have never seen mine go near any other creature in the tank.... in fact they get bumped by something and they go under the sand!
<Heee! It sounds like you've got some good snails! Take care, LynnZ>

Part 7: What Are These? Likely Nassarius Species - 10/9/09
Okay, is that other thing that is pink, the think they use to kill other snails etc, with?
<If the animal is indeed a snail killer then, yes, it would use its proboscis/mouth (the pink thing) to kill/rip tissue from its prey. It's also used by non-snail killers as well, like Nassarius vibex. The proboscis is basically a flexible trunk with a mouth on the end. The dark thing you see sticking up is the siphon. It's used for breathing as well as for scenting prey/food. You can't see it in the photo, but at the base of the each 'cephalic' tentacle, you should be able to see an eye. Here's a good link regarding whelk/snail anatomy that you might find interesting: http://webs.lander.edu/rsfox/invertebrates/busycon.html >
It was about 1" LONG before I took the picture.
<The snail's probably hungry and testing the Styrofoam!>
What are your thoughts on that?
<I think it's a great photo - thanks! Take care, LynnZ>

Dog whelks/Control 10/7/09
<Hi Linda>
Is there a way to get rid of clam killing Dog whelks in my 185 gallon reef tank?
<Can you not remove by hand and dispose of or find homes for?>
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Re Dog whelks/Control 10/7/09
They are predators, they eat snails, tubeworms and clams by liquefying them and sucking them out, why would anyone want them?
<I'm well aware of that, Linda, was my first thought, physical removal, and what you do with them after that is your call.>
They only come out in the dark and it is a tall 185 full of rock reef tank....I've been picking out the ones I can reach or see for over a year....
<"Over a year" is leading me to believe these snails/whelks are both predator/scavenger gastropods, unless you've been feeding them a steady diet of clams, snails, etc., they should have starved to death if they were strictly specialized feeders of snails, mussels, etc.>
I can't even reach the bottom of my tank...I'm small.
<I've also asked Lynn Z, our in-house gastropod expert for her input. See below.
Lynn, I did not send a reply yet, but my best suggestion, without using copper, would be to remove all possible food sources from the tank and starve them to death and letting a crew of hermit crabs clean up.>
<<That would have been my thought too'¦ if you can't remove the offending snail eater, then remove the food source and starve them out. When they get hungry enough, they'll start wandering about looking for food and at that time, grab them! I wouldn't want to treat the whole tank with something like copper just to get rid of a few snail eaters. >>
<Much in agreement with you, Lynn.>
<<Also, we don't even know what else is in her tank. To me, the obvious answer is what you already said, physical removal.
You know what I'd do since she can't reach them? I'd recommend getting a pair of aqua tongs and removing them physically. It's the easiest, least invasive way to go. If they're only out at night, wait until the lights are off for a bit, then go hunting with a flashlight and pick the little suckers out. I'm just wondering if those snails are really what she thinks? I mean, if they've been in there for over a year, has she been keeping them stocked with snails to eat? >>
<Was my thought also, Lynn.>
<<They may easily be scavengers as well as predators, which if that's the case, she might be able to lure them out onto the sand where it would be easier to pick them up. I'd wait until after the lights are off then put a couple of pieces of shrimp, fish, etc., in an open area of sand and see what happens. As for grabbing them once they come out, here are the two tongs I use. I especially like the smaller pair. I wouldn't trust them for heavy stuff, but depending on the size of the snails she needs to pick up, one of these should do.
http://www.fishtanksdirect.com/28inchaquatongsbycoralife.aspx >>
<Thank you for your input, Lynn. Much appreciated as always. James (Salty Dog)>

Re Dog whelks/Control 10/8/09
First, I want to thank you <and Lynn> for all your time and thought you've put into this!
<You're welcome Linda.>
I have researched them quite a lot and can verify they are dog whelks. I must have had them for years before I finally realized....always wondered why I kept having snails die and why I couldn't keep clams. I don't see tiny ones any more so I am making a huge dent in the population. They are easier to grab when they reach about 1/2 inch. They do seem to scavenge, as I have found little ones in my sump also, but give them a clam and they are happy as one! First, I tried to lure them with grocery store clams. They were too clever for me, they'd wait a few days till I was tired of watching for them and then......
<Nothing worse than a sneaky whelk.>
My tank is full of about 200lbs of live rock, invertebrates, and corals, so copper is not an option.
<And one I would not recommend.>
I agree baiting them is the answer....I was thinking of putting the bait in a jar for them to crawl into then retrieve the jar before they crawl out but I think it probably needs to be another grocery store clam in a shell or other shrimps, etc will be feasting.
<Yes, may beat them to the punch.>
Too bad there is no predator for them, but that could open a whole new can of worms.
<I'm sure there are, likely gulls, crabs, other whelks.>
Thanks again for all your thoughts and help,
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Snail Deaths/Gastropod Predators? 9/29/09
Hello WWM Crew,
<Hi Victoria>
I have been reading the site for about two years and have asked a few questions myself. I can't thank you enough.
<You're welcome.>
Here's the story. I upgraded my pump to an Eheim 1265 three weeks ago.
Thank you, Salty Dog for the advice. I am happy with the increased flow.
At the time of the pump switch out, I discovered a rusty steel clamp on my old pump that shed a lot of rust into the sump return section as I removed it, and cussed. I replaced all the water from this part of the sump and thought every thing would be fine.
<Ah, water is like air, if an odor is in one room, will soon get to others.>
(The short version of that story is that my husband was being helpful with an aquarium emergency, and replaced my blown return lines while I was at work. Bless his heart.) I also added 5 Nerite snails that day. Since that time, 4 of 5 turbo snails have died. They became inactive, and one by one I am finding the empty shells (I have assumed the hermits cleaned the shells out). The Nerites have disappeared, and discovered a dead limpet in the refugium also. At the first sign of problems with the snails I checked my water parameters, found nothing out of whack. Remembering the rusty clamp, I placed Polyfilter in the sump and replaced the carbon/Phosban. I have read everything I could find on your site regarding snails, and still I'm just not sure. I must also add that one of the snails I added sure does look a lot like a snail that Bob identified as a predator. But to me a lot of snails look a lot alike.
<Yes, can be difficult at times to correctly ID.>
Tank info as follows: 2 years old, 90 gallon with corner overflow, 125 lbs. live rock, two inch sand bed, 240w PC lights, 30 gallon three section sump with refugium in center, on reverse photoperiod, miracle mud, and Chaeto, T 78, SG 1.025, phos 0, nitrate 0, KH 9, pH 8.0 I use the API reef master test kit. Livestock: one A. xanthurus, two A. ocellaris, three C. viridis, two BTA, toadstool corals, mushrooms, green polyps, Ricordeas. Thriving pod population in tank and fuge. My main question is could the snails have suffered from the rust, while everything else looks no different, or is something else going on. The tank is definitely suffering the loss of snails, as the algae has grown notably.
<Is a good chance that snail you mentioned may very well be a predator of gastropods. A picture of it would help us identify it for you. If something were amiss with your water quality causing snail deaths, other
invertebrates would be at risk also, and you report no problems in that regard. This leads me to believe that you may have a predator in your tank. I would move this "predator" snail into the refugium, replace the
dead snails, and see if the problem continues.>
Thank you for your time,
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Follow-up: Re Snail Removed From Main Tank, add to Nassariid f' - 10/7/09
Dear WWM Crew and Lynn,
<<Hi Victoria, Lynn here with a follow-up.>>
I have a some more information for Lynn.
<Will pass on to her.>
<<Got it, thanks!>>
Snails have continued to die. After removing the killer snail, I placed 5 new snails in the tank, and only one lived. The next day I witnessed Nassarius come out of the sand like zombies to eat the snails added.
<Eating the live snails, or were they dead?>
<<Yep, I'm wondering the same thing. By the way, what kind of Nassarius snails do you have? Are they the small Nassarius vibex (up to ~1/2' in length), or do you have one of the larger varieties, for example what's called a 'Super Tongan' Nassarius (up to ~1')? Also, what kind of snails did you add? >>
Mind you I have not seen this happen before, with the previous deaths, and actually have not seen these Nassarius snails in 6 months.
<They do like burrowing in the sand.>
<<Yes they do!>>
These new snails were sent home
<<I'm guessing from a LFS?>>
...in a dry bag, not carefully acclimated. I was very surprised at the dry bag.
<<Hmmm, not great but if whatever type of snail you bought has an operculum (and the snails were tightly closed), not exposed to any huge temperature swings (getting left in a hot car, for instance), and it was a short trip home, then that shouldn't have been a death sentence.>>
I have never had snails sent home like this,
<<I've heard of it, but never gotten them that way either. It's definitely not the way I'd personally want to see them packed.>>
...and just floated the bag a while, added some water, set them in the tank and hoped for the best. Few days later I bought two turbo snails from LFS, carefully acclimated them.
<<Okay. Was there a significant difference in the specific gravity/salinity of the water from the LFS and yours?>>
I observed them to be active during acclimation and when introduced to the tank. Days later found one laying on side, closed up.
<<Do you have enough food to sustain Turbos? They're big eaters and need a good amount to survive. You can always supplement with Nori/seaweed sheets attached to either a veggie clip or rubber-banded to a rock. If your water parameters were all in the green, it's possible that the snails succumbed to too much combined stress. That is, stress/issues related to handling/conditions/transit/possible lack of food, along with an additional acclimation into your system.>>
The other shell, cleaned out.
<<Sounds like scavengers got to it. There are a host of possibilities: hermits, Nassarius snails, bristleworms, etc.. All could have descended on the dead/dying snail during the night.>>
The shells are found all over, near where I saw them inactive.
<<Gotcha, and you've not mentioned any clicking sounds so I think we can rule out a smashing mantis.>>
I do have hermits, maybe 6 tiny things, 3 slightly bigger than tiny.
<<Tiny or not, these guys are effective scavengers and sometimes snail killers. This is especially true if they're hungry or need a larger shell and don't have any available. I've also seen them appear to gang-up on snails. I don't think it's necessarily a pack mentality as much as it's a fight for food.>>
None in the newly dead snail's shells.
<<Gotcha, so we can rule out hermit looking for larger mobile home!>>
(My original snail deaths were 4 turbo snails in the tank for 2 years)
<<May have run out of readily available food?>>
At this time I placed two of the remaining snails in the refugium as an experiment. I am hoping to discover water quality issue vs.. predator. Perhaps these snails are too far gone.
<<It's possible, as mentioned above.>>
I will just have to wait and see. I may go get a new snail soon and place it in the fuge also. Any advice would be appreciated.
<I think you are on the right track with the experiment. Time will tell here, and do keep us informed of your findings.>
<<Yes, please do! I'm inclined to think that what's going on here is either the new snails you've gotten were already compromised when you brought them home, or else it's environmental (or both). I'd be curious to know what your water parameters are. Also, just out of curiosity, do you dose for magnesium? Also, how are the other tank inhabitants doing? Is there anything out of the ordinary going on?>>
Thank you for your help. I greatly appreciate it.
<You're welcome, and will forward this to Lynn who has helped so much in this matter. James (Salty Dog)>
<<Shoot James, you've already done all the heavy lifting! All I'm doing is the sweeping up!>>
<<Take care, LynnZ>>

Injured Nassarius Snail -- 06/25/09
Hi Guys,
<<Hey Robert>>
Couple quick questions.
I have a Threadfin Butterfly that bit the siphon tube off two of my Nassarius Snails.
<<Bet that had to sting>>
It attacked them like a pit bull.
<<'¦! As in shaking them violently from side to side?>>
I added about 5 of these snails today to help sift/stir the sand with intentions on getting more.
<<Are excellent for this 'and to help with detritus removal>>
They are still moving around and such at this time, but will they make it??
<<Probably'¦ Truth be told, I have a Copperband Butterfly that likes to do the same thing, though not as much anymore 'perhaps it has tired of it as I do keep it well fed (or maybe the snails are just getting smarter [grin]). But my population of Nassarius snails seems to prosper and grow despite the Copperband>>
Will their siphon tube regenerate?
<<Don't really know. Perhaps'¦>>
Should I find another sand stirrer and if so what kind or type do you recommend?
<<You might try adding some Cerith snails to the mix>>
The butterfly doesn't mess with any other snails or crabs, guess it didn't like the new ones.
<<The siphon tubes are very worm-like...too much of a temptation for the Threadfin (and my Copperband). I'm guessing you don't have any Featherdusters either>>
Thank you!
<<Happy to share'¦ EricR>>

Baby Nassarius Snails: Marine Snail Feeding\Systems 5/29/2009
Hi Everyone,
<Hi Brion>
One of my Nassarius snails recently laid eggs on the glass.
We removed them and put them in a little 10 gal tank which has nothing but plants and copepods in it. We monitored them daily and I added invert food in there every 2 days. They hatched after 10 days and now we notice on the tank some little things we believe are the baby snails. They are about a tenth of an inch long and have the same shape as my adult Tonga Nassarius. They even move the same way, faster than the other type of snails.
<Yep, those are babies.>
My question is what should I feed these guys? Are they too small to eat brine shrimp? I avoided adding any other type of food in there because I didn't want the ammonia to spike. Should I keep adding invert food?
<You could add bits of algae <dried sushi Nori, etc.) Depending on what is in your tank, you could just add them back into the main tank (after the lights are off) They will hide during the day and come out at night.>
Thanks, Brion
<You're welcome, MikeV>

Snail ID: Bullia natalensis - 4/7/09
Hi Crew,
<Hello Mohamed>
Can you please help me ID this snail which is found off the coast of South Africa? It looks like some type of Nassarius.
<You're very close! They're in the same family, Nassariidae, but your snail, Bullia natalensis, actually belongs within a subfamily called Bulliinae. This group of snails is generally referred to as 'Plough' snails. Although there are many species of Bullia known to inhabit the waters around Africa, B. natalensis is particularly common in the surf zone of Natal's sandy beaches. Please see this link for photos and a bit more information: http://www.gastropods.com/6/Shell_4046.shtml >
What is the purpose and function of this snail?
<I guess you could say that it's to keep the beaches clean. These snails are scavengers that, although completely blind, have an extremely well developed sense of smell. They use it to locate dead and dying organisms, either in the shallows or up on the wet sand of the surf zone.>
Can it be used in aquariums?
<As a scavenger, yes, I would think so but this snail gets pretty big (up to 6cm/~2 3/8'). It's going to have a big appetite! You'd have to keep it well fed with meaty bits (of marine origin). Scavenging snails have been known to turn to live foods, such as a hobbyist's favorite clam, etc., if/when they get hungry enough.>
<You're very welcome. Take care, LynnZ>

Tonga Nassarius eggs 03/23/09
Hi Brion here
I searched the web site but I couldn't find an answer to my question.
Last week one on my Tonga Nassarius snails laid a few thousands of eggs on the glass. I made a screen and I attached some suction cups and I placed that around the eggs to protect them from the fish and crabs. After a few days the eggs hatched and I got little white things all over the glass throughout the tank. I read that usually the larvae don't survive. Why is that?
<All kinds of reasons... usually, the three big culprits are 1) starvation 2) predation, and 3) mechanical injury.>
The fish are not picking at them but they are so small that I can't tell if they are moving or if they are still alive. Why is the survival rate so low?
<See above. If you are truly interested in breeding these animals, you should isolate them and research what each stage of development needs for food... and how well they tolerate/survive certain mechanical feature of an aquarium.>
Today another one of my Tonga Nassarius snails started laying eggs. She started this morning and eight hours later she is still working on it. What can I do to help the larvae survive after they hatch?
<Again... isolate the animals if you want to breed them (i.e. set up a species-specific system with a mind towards breeding needs). Also, please check out the DIBs and/or MOFIB forums/websites. They might have more specific recommendations.>
Thank you guys for your valuable information.
<De nada,
Sara M.>

Nassarius Snail/Compatibility 3/12/09
<Hello Tina>
I am wondering if you have had this problem. I have a lot of small white Featherdusters on my live rock, they must like my tank cause they are growing everywhere, including in the bottom of my remora skimmer. The problem isn't that (I don't think??). I saw a really pretty pink duster at the LFS a couple of months ago & thinking that the white ones are reproducing that the pink would do well also. Next morning no pink duster.
Yesterday I saw another one & got it. Put it in & it was open & pretty.
About 10 minutes later I noticed the Tonga Nassarius snail eating it !! Too late to save it.
Now I am wondering is this common? I don't know what to make of this as the snail has shown no interest in the white dusters, granted they are on the rock, but their tubes are pretty much exposed, unless of course their tubes are stronger.
<I have heard occasional cases of Nassarius Snails munching on clam mantles and being that they are carnivorous and opportunistic feeders, the possibility of eating your dusters does exist. I'm thinking there wasn't enough readily available food, so the snails went after the dusters as an easy meal. Try placing a sinking food pellet in the tank as I believe they would be more attracted to this than the dusters. May want to read here on this subject. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/MolluscPIX/Gastropods/Prosobranch%20PIX/Nassariids/NassariusF1.htm>
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Nassarius Snails Dying 3/11/09
Hi Crew,
<Hi Sam>
I have a 24 gallon Aquapod that resulted from a move from a 10 gallon with new sand and cured rocks plus some old rock. It has been running over 2 months. I moved my fish and candy canes within 2 weeks of the setup and added a couple more fish and 2 Peppermint Shrimp after another 2 weeks.
Ammonia and nitrites stayed zero. Nitrates is between .1-.2. I had 2 Astrea Snails and 3 Ceriths and a few Nassarius. I added about 10 more Astrea Snails even though I did not see much algae and they have been
doing very well except for one small one that died. I was worried they would starve but evidently they are finding enough to eat. I also added 10 Nassarius and then got stuck with 20 more that I also added.
<Geez, I don't have that many in my 5 foot tank.>
They all just buried themselves within a few minutes.
<They do burrow.>
At least 10 died and maybe more if they are between the rocks. I have been feeding extra so that they
would hopefully get some. Is starvation the most likely cause?
<Likely, why pollute the tank with extra food for an unnecessary amount of snails?
I would have started with 4 and then add as needed. Now you have dead snails rotting and polluting your tank.>
I do not see them pop out of the sand during feeding. But at night I can see some of them moving around but nowhere near 20.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Nassarius Snail vs. Crocea Clam - 10/20/08
<Hi there, Jeremy.>
I awoke this morning to find a Nassarius snail eating on my Crocea clam.
The clam has always seemed healthy and I hadn't noticed any problems with it. I removed the snail and my clam is still alive, extending and contracting most of its mantle except for the part the snail was on.
Did the snail start eating the clam because it is sick or dying? Or are Nassarius snails a natural predator to Crocea clams?
<They're not actually dedicated predators of these clams, but they are carnivorous and opportunistic. Most of the time, Nassarius snails make terrific little tank scavengers, but I have read the occasional reports of them snacking on healthy clams. My guess is that in these cases, there wasn't enough readily available food so the snails went after the clam as an easy meal. That could easily be what happened in your case as well, given that you feel the clam is in otherwise good condition. If it were me, I wouldn't put the snail back in the tank, but if you still have others, I'd discourage them from straying by keeping them well fed. You can offer something like sinking pellets or any meaty bits of marine origin (shrimp, fish, etc.>
Thank you for your help.
<You're very welcome. Take care, -Lynn>

Omnivorous Snails eat starfish? and Elegance coral care 10/14/08
Hi Crew,
I bought a 2in. red sea star (Fromia milleporella) that seemed to be doing well for a few days (i.e. it was moving around) until I found it one morning apparently half eaten. The outer pigmented layer of tissue seemed to be torn off. The only critters I have in my tank (that I know of) that could have done this are three fairly large Nassarius distortus. Have you ever heard of this happening?
<Mmm, yes... though, it may well be/have been that the Fromia perished, was perishing and the snails were just opportunistic... not predaceous>
I'd like to try to keep an elegance coral (Catalaphyllia jardinei). I've read what you have about them on WWM and I feel that my tank can support one. The only area I'm concerned about is my lighting. My Elegance would be coming from Australia and I've heard that these require more light because they're harvested from a shallower depth than those of other locales. My tank is 16in. deep with a 2in. sand bed and my lighting is a 70W 14000K MH. Is this sufficient? Should I try a lower bulb temperature? Use supplemental CF or VHO?
<The temp. will likely be fine, I would add more intensity... Perhaps double or triple this over the Elegance>
Thanks for the help guys and gals,
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Snail Tale... Hi Folks, <Hi there! Scott F. here today!> I have a 350l reef containing 50kg of live rock and approximately 1 inch of coral sand. I know ideally I should have little or no substrate at all with live rock, but I do like the aesthetics of sand. <Actually, there is nothing wrong with a deep sand bed and live rock, as long as there is sufficient open space...I always like to recommend 1/2 inch or less, or three inches or more of sand. One inch is too shallow to be foster full denitrification processes, but too deep to be fully aerobic...better to increase/decrease for long term success. However, with sufficient burrowing snails, you may be able to get away with this...> I was considering introducing Nassarius snails into the reef to (a) consume debris and (b) turn over the sand. My local supplier recommends 50 of these snails for my tank. My first question is do you agree with the stocking level he has recommended? <It's a lot for my personal tastes, but certainly not too much. These snails do a great job as detritivores> Secondly, I "Hoover" the substrate during my weekly water changes to remove debris, will the suction action harm the snails? <Well, not "harm" them physically, but it will remove much of the food that they consume-mainly detritus. If you're going to utilize a substantial population of these snails, I'd avoid heavy cleaning of the sand bed> Thank you very much for your help. Andrew Senior <My pleasure, Andrew! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Nassarius - Mud snails that don't like mud? 2/29/04 Hi everyone, <Howdy> Some quick Nassarius questions... if they are kept in the refugium, and they are not really algae eaters, what will they eat? <good point... and one that is lost on many aquarists that assume "scavengers" will simply "find food". In this case, they will eat solid matter that makes it through the pumps from fish and other invertebrate feeding (notice how they come out of the sand when the tank is fed?). You might supplement feeding weekly for them.> There wouldn't be any leftover food or anything for them to eat. <if no particulates from fish/coral feedings... then yes... they may starve indeed> Secondly, I have a DSB in my refugium, but only a 1/2 - 3/4 inch layer of 2mm aragonite in my display. <all good> Would some Nassarius snails be beneficial in there? Would my sand be too coarse for them to dig into? <a bit, but likely no problem> And lastly, I have my live, sugar-fine sand and my Miracle Mud in separate sections in my refugium (because of the timing of when I added them). The Nassarius will not bury themselves in the mud at all. <ironic for this family of "mud snails"> I can put them at the opposite end of the fuge, on the mud end, and they will travel all the way back down to the other end to bury into the sugar-fine sand. <very interesting> Do you know why this would be? <not sure... natural preference, feeding opportunities, etc> The mud is newer. I thought that the critters (worms, etc.) from the sand would eventually travel over and inhabit the mud with time. <yes... those that can, will in time> Should I mix it up with the older sand? <not needed here> Thanks so much for your time and wisdom !! Bess <you are doing fine my friend. Continued success to you. Anthony>

Snails (But, I Think He Was Asking a Question..) 11/22/05 They are the biggest I've seen. They primarily feed on detritus & algae. They are also completely harmless to all invertebrates, gorgonians and all known and/or available corals on the market today; ranging from SPS (small polyp stony corals) such as Acropora Sp. and other similar Reef builders to every commonly available soft coral and most sessile invertebrates including gorgonians and higher forms of fauna such as Caulerpa.

The species is Nassarius obsoleta.( ILynassarius obsoleta) These snails are excellent and safe for all types of marine and reef aquariums. They don't consume any form of hair algae but they will help keep it at bay by consuming the detritus on which it feeds.. They eat slime algae - red carpet algae you find in your tanks from high nutrient content and inefficient skimming. These are much more active and tend to do a much more efficient job of keeping the glass clean as well. These are a hardier species than Astrea snails and will outlive them. Also, unlike Mexican Turbo Snails, these will not disrupt coral set-up of the tank These snails being detritus feeders also replace the need for hermit crabs which are in fact predators. <Okay! Thank you for your input. Bob Fenner> Are these snails good for sand sifting? Will 250 make a huge difference in my 250 gallon tank? I have a major algae problem. <Mmm, would have to try and see...>

Re: snails Read my questions...The info on the bottom is just info from some fish website. 11/23/05 The information below about the snails I found on the website that I ordered them from.. Will they sift through my sand and consume waste products? <Sorry for the lost response yesterday. The only "way" to tell if these snails will "do" what you'd like is to actually try them. How to state this more fully... Each system's make-up being different, some species of snails live, eat what aquarists intend... for a time, or not depending on water chemistry, physical make-up, types of other livestock, microbial, macrobial life...> Are they as good as Tongan Nassarius? I am having a major algae problem in my tank so I need something to sort through my sand. What would you recommend? <I do not recommend snails period for reef aquarium algae control. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/algaeconMar.htm and the linked files above> I have not received my snail order yet but I can cancel if they are not good sifters. The snails that I ordered are the Nassarius obsoleta.. Are they what I need to get the job done? <Won't likely solve your algae problem, no... Read. Bob Fenner>

Hair algae 1/30/06 First thing first, is there any truth to this? <... scarce can I name salvation, but fearful thunder echoes in mine ears> "The species is Nassarius Obsoleta.( ILynassarius Obsoleta) These snails are excellent and safe for all types of marine and reef aquariums. <All? Sounds like a sales pitch> They don't consume any form of hair algae <Mmm, no. Many types of "hair algae" are unpalatable to them... most especially Cyano/BGA types> but they will help keep it at bay by consuming the detritus on which it feeds.. They eat slime algae - red carpet algae <Not preferentially> you find in your tanks from high nutrient content and inefficient skimming. These are much more active and tend to do a much more efficient job of keeping the glass clean as well. These are a hardier species than Astrea snails and will outlive them . Also, unlike Mexican Turbo Snails, these will not disrupt coral set-up of the tank These snails being detritus feeders also replace the need for hermit crabs which are in fact predators." (eBay seller) I have a 90 gallon FOWLR with a 30 gallon refugium, 100 lbs live rock, 200lbs sand, system has been running for about 16 months with optimal h2o. VERY AGGRESSIVE MIX triggers, moray, dragon wrasse. <At least the first and last will consume snails...> My real problem is this, my cleaning crew can't keep up on the live rock and the hair algae takes over. I at one time or another have put at least 200 or so combined blue legs and snails. <Slow moving meals> I'm guessing that my fish do graze on them since now they only come out when the light is off and the fish are sleeping. Can I just keep buying them, how many is to many, could I buy like 500 and just go at it or would that over do it. Is there any other way to save my live rock. <All sorts... posted on WWM...> I read about the tiny white star fish but can't find them anywhere. Not sure my fish wouldn't just eat them right away. OH lighting I have 4 55's two bright two blue normal stuff I think, is it possible I have to much light for what I need? <... possibly. More aesthetic than functional with the life you list. Is it bright enough for your appreciation? Try turning half off... Still bright enough?> I have the brights on for 8 hrs a day and the blues for about 15hrs a day. I also couldn't get spaghetti algae to grow in my refugium it actually has hair algae growing on it, I have two 15w tubes or something 24 hrs a day. As you can see I'm not really sure what to do a couple of months ago I took the rocks out and scrubbed the algae off rinsing it in water from the tank. They looked ok for a few weeks but it just came back and I'm not sure the rest of the gang appreciated it very well. Thanks so much for your help. <Mmm, I would not use more invertebrate algae eaters here... Do read through WWM re marine algae control... Many useful means... better skimming, manipulation of pH periodically, nutrient limitation/filtering, use of competing life forms... the addition of living sump/s, DSB's... Bob Fenner>

Predatory Nassarius or Just Hungry? - 3/12/07 Hello Bob, <Hey Brian, this is Adam again.> I have yet another question for you! Have you ever heard of Nassarius Snails attacking Fan worms? <As I'm sure you know Nassarius snail rarely attack living tissue, they usually ignore even microfauna life for the most part. If you see a Nassarius consuming a larger animal it is because the animal is dead or dying. The instances where I have heard of Nassarius attacking living organisms usually involved captive systems where they are not getting enough food.> The strangest thing happened in my 90 gallon reef the other day and I have yet to think of anything except the snails are just REALLY hungry and have become quite desperate. <A possibility.> I don't know if you remember, but my 90 gallon reef had come down with "Ich" a couple weeks ago ( I know not putting my animals in quarantine first was really dumb, not doing that again) <Well at least you have learned.> and I had removed all fish to quarantine to let the tank run fallow for 4 weeks. So far things are GREAT! My fish all look so much better, my coral beauty whose eyes had become clouded, with a slimy spotted body is now bright beautiful and healthy as a horse so to speak. <Sounds good.> The reef itself is doing really well, all the corals in the tank are opened wide and "perky" the clams are doing wonderful, the cleaner shrimp are going through withdrawals, there has been a little filamentous algae starting up now that the tang and coral beauty aren't pigging out 24 / 7, and my Nassarius snails must be getting very hungry now that I am not feeding a tank full of fish. <Mmm...I would add some more food to the tank, at least two, three times a week until the fish are back. Just after dark, some Mysis or krill maybe.> I noticed a Nassarius snail climbing a fan worm then proceeding to stick his little mouth down into the tube he started biting the head of this worm, 3 others saw him doing this and joined the "frenzy" all beating on this poor worm until it popped its top so to speak (it ejected its crown) then the snails fooled around with that for a bit and re-buried. 2 days later I saw the same snail going after another worm! Needless to say he is no longer in the tank and since then we have had no further attacks. Could this just be a reaction to having less food, <That or a rogue, the former is more likely.> will he be ok to put back in the tank when the fish go back, or should I pass on that option? <If you think the problem is isolated to one snail, then why risk it?> There are 7 Nassarius snails in this tank, I got them to eat food that had passed by the fishes radar and wedged under rocks and shells to reduce the chances of rotting material raising nutrient levels in the tank. Once the tank is where I want it to be I'd love to send you a photo of it sort of as a thanks for all of your help! <We'd love to have more material for POTD purposes.> Thanks bob! <Will pass along to him Brian.> <<Please do send along images for all's use, enjoyment. BobF>> Brian <Adam J.>

Helpful yes... algae eaters, no: Nassarius 11/14/03 Dear WWM Crew, My local dealer has just received 6 Nassarius Snails from Tonga and thinks they would be good algae eaters for my tank. <their family is largely carnivorous if not predatory. They do not generally have the mouth parts to graze algae. Nassarius are fairly harmless though... even helpful for stirring the sand> My concern is the fact that they are at least one inch long! Their shell resembles a conch. Is this Nassarius variety reef safe? <yes... likely if you have enough sand to keep them well> Are they carnivorous or cannibalistic in terms of my live sand bed? <little burden likely. More good than harm> Thanks for any information you can give me about this variety of Nassarius Snail. Ron <hmmm... without a pic or species name, we cannot say anymore. Now worries... best of luck. Anthony>

Nassarius snail question and fuge feeding question 7/4/05 Hi! <<Hello>> I am about to buy some Nassarius snails for the benefit of my sugar fine DSB. I already have 135lbs of Fiji LR in the tank. There are mini brittle stars in the sand and on LR (I like them!). -Are the Nassarius vibex going to cause any trouble with the mini brittle stars (outcompeting them in the system or being eaten by them...)? <<No. N. vibex are benign scavengers>> -Are Nassarius hermaphrodites? <<My quick and dirty research indicates that N. vibex is not hermaphroditic although the sex organs develop late in the maturation cycle. See http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/oup/mollus/2001/00000067/00000001
/art00037;jsessionid=1nthoamjkcyn1.victoria>> -I would like to buy the minimal number to seed the 90 gal display and another batch for the 25 gal fuge and let them reproduce and create a balance... How many of them in each tank do I need to be sure they reproduce? <<A couple of online vendors sell them in lots of 12. You might try 12-24 and put 2/3 in the tank and the balance in the refugium>> To have a good population of pods in a fuge it is recommended to feed the fuge a little bit each day, dropping a bit of fish food there. At least that is what I understood from my readings on the WWM. But to limit the number of bristle worms (which I do not like no matter how beneficial they are...), it's recommended to strictly control nutrients. When I feed the fuge some bristle worms are coming out to feed so it is somehow counterproductive. Any solution to that dilemma? How to reach a balance? << Sorry, I don't know what to tell you about the dilemma/balance issue. I don't know how you could feed the refugium without the bristles partaking. IMO, bristles are a vital part of a thriving system and I wouldn't stress over their presence. Feeding the tank and the refugium is going to feed both the pods and the worms.>> Thanks a lot and sorry for sending that many questions/e-mails today! Dominique <<You're welcome and no worries. Good luck - Ted>>

The snail who left his shell 3/29/07 Howdy, <Hey there> Here's a weird one for you. Today I noticed one of the Jumbo Nassarius Snails in my 180g Reef seems to have left his shell. No signs of trauma. He is still alive and moving around somewhat strangely, but not sickly or injured. I even found his shell, and it's in perfect shape. Water parameters are all fantastic, no known snail predators present. There are two Tunze stream pumps that I wonder if they could have shucked him. <Mmm, not w/o grinding up the soft body> Otherwise, I don't know. Have you ever heard of this happening before? <Mmmm, yes... from overt dire water chemistry (big, fast shifts in alkalinity mostly), and parasites of the snail invading their shells...> and if so, what was the cause? Everything else, corals, fish and inverts look great and are doing well.. <Perhaps this last> Thanks, love your site. Check out the picture, I hope I shrunk it down small enough to avoid crashing your server. Mike <Yes, thank you... Perhaps this "slug" will regenerate a new shell... Bob Fenner>

Mystery Marine Snail - 06/09/06 Greetings WWM Crew, <<Morning Crystal>> First, a huge thank you goes out to each one of you for doing what you do! <<We are pleased to assist>> Your site has been a tremendous help for me in setting up my tank. <<Wonderful!>> Almost every question I've had has been answered and clarified, so I now have a deeper (though still 'shallow' in the grand scheme of things) understanding of how things "should" work. <<And your "understanding" will only continue to improve...just keep reading, researching>> So, on to my question. I've cycled my new 47g tall tank with 45 pounds of live rock, 40 pounds of live sand and decided to start stocking by adding a very basic, small clean-up crew. I have two scarlet reef hermits and two Nassarius distortus. Last night, one of the snails popped up and stuck onto the glass while remaining very still. This morning, when the lights came on, I found him still there, but it had created this trail of yellow palm-frond looking dots. <<I see them>> The entire work measures approx. 2" long and is very intricate. I have no idea what it is, and I've looked over and over your site for an answer. Google images yields no answers, and they look nothing like Nassarius eggs. <<Agreed>> So now two questions come to mind, the little guy looks exactly like Nassarius distortus, was sold to me as such, and behaves as such. <<Though very difficult to tell from the picture, but the shell of this snail looks more narrow/elongate than the typical "Nassarius" shell. Possibly a Cerith species>> But this is odd - so is the answer simply that I do not actually have a Nassarius distortus and that the snail is laying eggs? <<Would be my guess...I have seen snails get mixed/confused during selection/shipment before>> I don't think my snails are happy enough to do this in just three weeks, but who knows. <<Three weeks or three hours, wouldn't make a difference to the snail as long as the proper environmental cues were present>> I've included the best picture of it as my camera could manage. <<Hmm, perhaps time for a new camera <grin> >> Thank you in advance for any answers or help! Crystal <<Thank you for writing so well. Cheers, EricR>>

Mystery Marine Snail II - 06/10/06 Hello again! <<Howdy!>> Thank you for the quick response about the eggs. <<You're quite welcome>> Per your suggestion, I began looking at information on Cerith snails, and the eggs certainly do look a lot more like theirs. I included another photo of the snail coming out of the sand, and two of a shell, sans snail (don't ask). <<Ruh Roh!>> Tell me what you think! <<Hmm...from this angle, with the empty shell photos, it indeed looks to be a Nassarius species. Try searching this site for a positive ID: http://gastropods.com/ >> Was I indeed taken for a country rube and sold something other than Nassarius? <<Maybe not>> I apologize for the resolution, but all my money is currently floating in a large box of salty water in the living room and is not being thrown at new cameras. <grin> <<Ha! A common issue>> Keep on truckin' and thanks again! <<Always welcome, EricR>>

Snail ID 6/17/06 Hi there, <Hi> We had a snail named Speedy who met an unfortunate encounter with a crab this evening, and we would like to be able to see if we can find another one as my wife ended up being very attached to him. Can you help in identifying what he is so we can ask the right questions? He had both a horn and two little feelers at the front, which doesn't quite come out with the photos. We've seen the same shells in hermit crab tanks locally so I'm sure it's quite a common one. Thanks Denis C. <Looks like some type of Nassarius snail. With a Google search you may be able to narrow it down to species, but are fairly common in the trade. Sometimes referred to as sand sifting snails or burrowing snails.> <Chris>

Beneficial Gastropod? - 07/15/06 Hi Crew, <<Howdy!>> I've a couple of snails appeared, presumably LR hitchhikers in my reef tank that I was wondering if you could help me ID. <<Will try>> I've had a good hunt about on this site and others, particularly Googling for images. They don't seem to be cone snails or tulips from what I've seen. <<Agreed>> They both have tubes - proboscis? (similar to Nassarius snails). <<Breathing tubes/siphons...similar to Nassarius snails>> I've not seen them up to anything I disapprove of yet, just grazing on the glass. <<I have these as well (breed prolifically)...seem to be quite well behaved detritivores>> Their shells are currently less than 2 cm long. My main concern is if these will prove reef safe or not. Please see 2 attached images. Cheers, PR <<These do look to be a species of Nassarius...but notice the eye stalks. I don't recall the name, but when Anthony (Calfo) saw these in my tank he made mention of a tiny "Conch", in fact the only conch he felt was suitable/reef safe. But whether Nassarius or Conch, you should have little concern over these Gastropods. Regards, EricR>>

Nassarius snail question and fuge feeding question 7/4/05 Hi! <<Hello>> I am about to buy some Nassarius snails for the benefit of my sugar fine DSB. I already have 135lbs of Fiji LR in the tank. There are mini brittle stars in the sand and on LR (I like them!). -Are the Nassarius vibex going to cause any trouble with the mini brittle stars (outcompeting them in the system or being eaten by them...)? <<No. N. vibex are benign scavengers>> -Are Nassarius hermaphrodites? <<My quick and dirty research indicates that N. vibex is not hermaphroditic although the sex organs develop late in the maturation cycle. See http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/oup/mollus/2001/00000067/00000001/
art00037;jsessionid=1nthoamjkcyn1.victoria>> -I would like to buy the minimal number to seed the 90 gal display and another batch for the 25 gal fuge and let them reproduce and create a balance... How many of them in each tank do I need to be sure they reproduce? <<A couple of online vendors sell them in lots of 12. You might try 12-24 and put 2/3 in the tank and the balance in the refugium>> To have a good population of pods in a fuge it is recommended to feed the fuge a little bit each day, dropping a bit of fish food there. At least that is what I understood from my readings on the WWM. But to limit the number of bristle worms (which I do not like no matter how beneficial they are...), it's recommended to strictly control nutrients. When I feed the fuge some bristle worms are coming out to feed so it is somehow counterproductive. Any solution to that dilemma? How to reach a balance? << Sorry, I don't know what to tell you about the dilemma/balance issue. I don't know how you could feed the refugium without the bristles partaking. IMO, bristles are a vital part of a thriving system and I wouldn't stress over their presence. Feeding the tank and the refugium is going to feed both the pods and the worms.>> Thanks a lot and sorry for sending that many questions/e-mails today! Dominique <<You're welcome and no worries. Good luck - Ted>>

- Nassarius Snails - Bad? - Hey crew! <Hi, JasonC here...> Sorry I forgot to ask you in the last email if Nassarius snails are a bad thing for a DSB (mine is 5'' sugar sized Aragamax) since they like to bury themselves in the substrate? <Not at all, in fact - quite recommended.> Or do they stay mostly at the very top of the sand? <Who knows where they go once they vanish - I think all over the place, high and low. No worries though - a work-horse of a substrate cleaner. I love 'em.> thank you again!! <Cheers, J -- >

Nassarius snails and brittle stars I recently purchased some brittle stars and I was wondering if they will get along with Nassarius snails or will the stars try to eat the Nassarius since they are so small. >> Wowzah, there's a genus of gastropod mollusks I haven't heard in a while... It's a possibility... some of the brittle stars are really ravenous predators... Bob Fenner

Snails Hello again. A few months ago I purchased a 100lbs of aquacultured Florida rock. This has turned out to be a major haul of neat critters. I even found a 1 inch pink Chiton!!! I had always wanted to see one but thought I never would. Anyway the rock also came with 20 - 30 snails that were about a half inch or less. The snails looked like Nassarius snails with a long proboscis. They also only seem to eat dead stuff. I added a small clam for fish food and they swarmed it. Anyway now a couple of them are an inch long and the fold of their shell is starting to grow flatter and curve around their proboscis. I have looked in the Marine Atlas vol 2. and these snails while small look like the Nassarius snails. The big ones shells look like the Atlantic tritons shell. Do any tritons have this long proboscis? <Yes> The size limit Marine Atlas says for Nassarius snails is 3 cm. If these guys get much bigger <They do get a bit bigger> I guess they aren't Nassarius species. Do you know of any Florida Nassarius species that get bigger than an inch? <Rats! Like these mystery hunts, but am out the door to Australia... No time to look up. Do know there are snails of this sort that get a good inch and a half in overall dimension> Well thanks for your help, Everett. <Be chatting soon, Bob Fenner>

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