Please visit our Sponsors

FAQs about Trochus, Margarites/a Trochid Snails

Related Articles: GastropodsSea SlugsMollusksAbalone

Related FAQs: Marine Snails 1Marine Snails 2Marine 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, MollusksSea SlugsAbalone

A very large family, common in all tropical seas... and quite a few colder ones too.

Small Red Snail ID       9/15/16
Hi WWM crew!! I go to your site first to try to ID things and couldn't find anything on this guy. It's a small snail, almost looks like a Stomatella.
It's pretty much bright red - both the shell and the foot. I found it on a yellow polyp gorgonian (Menella sp.). I thought it might be a pest but wanted to check. It's very pretty so I don't want to harm it if I don't have to! Any ideas? Photos below. It's less than 1/4 inch long and less than 1/8 wide.
<Ahh; I do think this IS a Stomatella (sp.). They do occur in varying colors, markings... yours has likely been eating a good deal of something that bears red pigment. I would keep this animal>
Rachel Fogle
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Re: Small Red Snail ID       9/15/16
Awesome!! Thank you, Bob! I'm definitely keeping him :)
Rachel Fogle

<corr.> Small Red Snail ID: Ovulid- 9/15/16
Hi WWM crew!!
<Hey Rachel!>
I go to your site first to try to ID things and couldn't find anything on this guy. It's a small snail, almost looks like a Stomatella. It's pretty much bright red - both the shell and the foot.
<Yep, it’s a pretty little thing.>
I found it on a yellow polyp gorgonian (Menella sp.).
<Yep, these guys love ‘em.>

I thought it might be a pest but wanted to check. It's very pretty so I don't want to harm it if I don't
have to! Any ideas?
<I’m sorry to say that although it does look like a Stomatellid, and it’s undoubtedly pretty, it’s a pest (at least as far as the gorgonian is concerned!). It’s an Ovulid, (family Ovulidae), a group of predatory snails similar to cowries, that feeds on gorgonians (sea whips and fans). These snails have an interesting two-fold defense strategy thanks to a soft mantle typically extended over the shell. On the one hand, it can mimic the color and texture of its prey to a surprising degree, while on the other hand, the bright colors warn predators to stay away. The mantle retains some of the noxious chemicals from whatever soft coral the snail preys upon. Bottom line – this an interesting little beauty, but I would remove it, along with any others that appear. Please see the following links for more information:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/MolluscPIX/Gastropods/Prosobranch%20PIX/Ovulids/OvulidsF1.htm  >
Photos below. It's less than 1/4 inch long and less than 1/8 wide.
<You’re very welcome; I’m just sorry to be the bearer of bad news!>
Rachel Fogle
<Take care, Lynn Zurik>

Yeeikes! Thank you Lynn. I mis-ID'd this as Stomatella sp.!!! BobF       9/16/16
Snail Query - Ovulid

Hi Bob, I am so sorry that I didn't get to the snail query until today.
<Ahh! I'd sent a bad ID on thinking we/I'd missed you. B>

Re: Small Red Snail ID - Ovulid - 9/15/16
Thank you, Lynn!
<You are most welcome!>
I'll get rid of him. I'm sure my gorgonians will appreciate it.
<Oh yes, indeed!>
<Take care, Lynn>
Re: Small Red Snail ID      9/16/16

Ha!!! I liked your ID better, Bob
<Heeee! Me too! B>

Trochus Left His Shell -- 8/21/11
<Hello Guy, Lynn here this evening.>
Early this morning my partner saw one of our Trochus snails half way out of its shell. At that time she said that nothing else was around it, but that the shell was between the heater and the aquarium wall.
Soon he completely left his shell and has been since climbing around on the glass near the top of the aquarium.
<Yikes. Snails become separated from their shells for a variety of reasons. Typically though, what occurs is that a snail will become wedged/stuck somewhere and in an effort to free itself, will twist its body to the point that it detaches from the shell. At this point, the damage is done as the two cannot reattach.>
Please see the attached photo (sorry for the poor quality, it was the best we could manage).
<No worries, I can see the problem. Poor little thing.>
Perhaps he got stuck there although the shell was removed quite easily or was at some point pestered by another animal -- we just don't know for sure what would have caused him to do this.
<It could have been stuck, the heater came on, and the snail did what it could to get away from the heat.>
We have placed his shell near where he is on one of the pipes with hopes that he will find it and climb back in, but we don't really have high expectation that this will happen, or even be helpful if he did as we don't know if they can reattach.
<Unfortunately, no. In addition, snails that have become separated from their shells don't typically last long because of their increased vulnerability to predation.>
Any advice? We of course want to help this poor animal in any way we can, but are having trouble finding any information pertaining to a snail out of shell.
<The best thing you can do at this point is to put the snail in a protected area away from any 'pickers' (shrimps, crabs, hermits, nipping fishes and the like) -- perhaps in a refugium or sump.>
Thank you,
<You're very welcome and best of luck to y'all!>
<Take care, Lynn Z>

Re: Trochus Left His Shell -- 8/23/11
Just FYI
<Hi Guy>
Well, yesterday we moved the poor snail into a little quarantined area adding a strip of algae, but he passed away sometime today while we were at work.
<I'm so sorry. I knew his chances weren't good but I was hoping he'd be the exception and survive.>
Thanks for the advice,
<You're very welcome. I just wish that there had been a better outcome.>
<Take care, Lynn Z>

Spitting Stomatellid -- 7/14/10
Hello Everyone, Dayna here.
<Hello Dayna, Lynn here this evening.>
Fantastic Site.
<Thank you kindly.>
I have successfully identified 4 new additions to my tank, through this site! I do have a few questions. I have 4 Stomatellids roaming around my tank.
Usually I observe them most active at night.
Today, however, one boldly climbed up one of my corals, posed itself on its hind,
<Nice photo!>
..and spit out a cloud of white particles which I am only guessing is eggs.
<Yep, it's funny to see them 'stand up' like that, isn't it! Males release a cloud of sperm in a series of puffs and females release what's usually a rather gelatinous mass of eggs that settles to the substrate and soon dissolves, releasing the embryos. Thankfully, although the young go through a free-swimming larval phase, it's of short duration, so a good many individuals survive to become beneficial little algal grazers.>
How many of these little guys are too many? What is the gallon per Stomatellids ratio that would be considered healthy?
<Hmmm, honestly I don't think I can give you a quantity per liter/gallon. Instead, I can relay to you that in the absence of predation, their population should be controlled by the amount of food available. What I'd suggest is gathering up some of the extras and giving them away to fellow hobbyists. Perhaps you could even sell or trade some for a frag or two!>
Thank you! I love this site!
<You're very welcome and thank you!>
Dayna Macdonald,
Chief Stewardess
<Take care, Lynn Z>

Reef Crystals, re snail die-off...  6/24/10
<Hello Tom>
Hey all, just a quick question,
I have tried researching this and have read several threads on Reef Crystals but most are older. I have a 300g system, heavy sps, 6 months old, has RDSB, tons of live rock, fish etc. . I have many years experience keeping
sps and in reefing but I have never seen mass die offs of Trochus snails (red banded). These are the big fat guys, Petco sells them. They are great snails because they usually can flip them selves over. I bought 25 a few weeks in two different lots, acclimated them etc, I'm now down to 2 and can't figure out why. All my param.s are in check, o trate, 9 dKH Alk, 460 ca, 0 ammonia, 0 trite etc. . All my sps and corals are doing great so I'm not getting why the massive snail die off. I'm seriously thinking of switching to Tropic Marin.
<Do you have predators in your tank that would relish snails? Another thought is that they may be starving to death. Fifty Trochus Snails is a bit much for a 300 gallon tank, and, since their main diet is algae, there likely isn't enough food to satisfy all. Although Tropic Marin is an excellent product and use it myself, switching to it will do nothing to
cure your snail die off. I'd hold off adding any more snails and see how the survivors will fair.>
Have you guys had any reports of issues with small inverts and Reef Crystals lately? I have shrimp and they are happy as all get out, puzzled.
<Have heard nothing in that regard.>
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Red Collar Snails Hey Crew, <Howdy (My man!) Curtis> Went out today looking for some new snails to help combat some recent algae growth in my tank.  My LFS was all sold out of my usual (turbo and Astreas), but had a few Red Collar Snails (also found them named Red Foot Moon Snails... or Norrisia).  I've seen them there and at a few other places fairly often, and the employee told me they were pretty good at combating slimy algae, not to mention they look pretty cool to boot, so I picked up 3 of them to throw in the mix (55gal/60 lbs LR/ 15-20 Astreas/ 10 Turbos/ 20 Red Leg Hermits/ 20 Blue Leg Hermits/ 5 or so unidentified random snail stragglers). <Mmm...> Now that I'm home and admiring them, I've been trying to find some info on them.  Really have found very little so far... Seems they like cooler temperatures (below 74 degrees) which is not so good with my tank (78-80).  Not much discussion about them on the boards either... I found a few posts recommending against them, but not much else.  Do you all know what their deal is?  I'm guessing the beef on them is because they like the cooler temps, but I'm not quite sure, yet.  As I see them often, I've got to assume that people buy them... If you have any insight with regards to people having success with these... or lack there of, I'd love to hear.   <Thanks for bringing this up (the use of cool/coldwater organisms in tropical settings)... Ahem, Norrisia norrisii... is actually in the same family as many of the snails used for the purpose you state (Trochidae)... but is abidingly a cold to cool water (usually found in no more than 60 F.... NOT a tropical animal. I would not sell, would not use such in warm water. Bob Fenner> Regards, Curtis!

Snail Hunting <Ryan with you today.> This is more of an observation/hint/tip on ridding your tank of Pyram snails before adding clams. <Great>  They, Pyram snails, seem to be attracted to the small Trochus intextus snails I got as part of a reef cleaner package.   As the Trochus move around the live rock at night, the Pyrams crawl onto their shells to possibly feed on these Trochus (I have never seen this but I suppose it happens).   When the lights go off, the Trochus come out and usually have a few Pyrams holding on near the bottom edge of their cone-shaped shell.   I just pick the Trochus out of the tank and rub the Pyrams off with my thumb and put it back.   I do not have clams at this time and the Pyram population has been substantially reduced using this method of hand extraction.   I had a small six-line wrasse in the tank and s/he wasn't making much progress at all (underachiever).   It nibbled at many things on the rock but I never saw it eat one of these snails.   Initially, some of the Trochus snails had a couple dozen tiny Pyrams on their shell.   Now I see one or two now and then. Pyrams are not attracted to any of the other grazer snails I have in the tank just the Hawaiian Trochus!   <Very interesting observation.  I will post for others to read.  Thanks for sharing, Ryan>

Snail Question Hello All, <Hi Paul, Don here today> As always, thank you for your time, it is MUCH appreciated!   <Thank you for the kind words> I have a question about snails.  Right now in my 90 gallon tank, I have a few Astrea snails and a few Margarita snails.  My question is this, what do baby Margarita snails look like, or even Astrea for that matter.  I have literally hundreds of baby snails that come out mostly at night.  They are around 1/4 " in size, white or cream color with brownish horizontal stripes on the shell.  They seem to fit more of a Trochus snail description, but I can't find any pictures of baby Trochus snails to be sure.  I don't have any Trochus snails in my tank, at least not visible adults.  I assume that they are Margarita babies even though they don't like them, but they did come a few weeks after placing the adult Margarita's in my tank. Can you ever end up with too many snails?  What would be the problem.   <I just had a similar experience and from what you describe, I am going with Astraea. If the tank is new, could be a hitchhiker offspring. Hard to say> One other thing, I have some algae in my tank but I can't figure out what type it is.  I grows in a roundish THICK clump about the size of a cream filled doughnut ( hmm, must be breakfast time ). It looks like shaving brush algae, just thin individual strands, nothing fancy, but it is growing on the live rock, not the sand. It is a bit darker green than the shaving brush algae as well, like grass color.  It is pretty slow growing.  It starts as a small clump that is REALLY attached to the rock, would need scissors to cut it off, toothbrush will not do it. Unfortunately, I have no pictures of it so I don't know if the description is enough for you to id it, but I will try to get a picture since I am curious about it. <Alas, sound like Bryopsis. See here and the blue links at the top of the page for more. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/greenalg.htm> Thank you <Hope this helps, Don> Paul

Big Problem with Tectus niloticus: Likely Osmotic Shock - 5/23/08 Hi, <Hi Petar, Lynn here today.> I need your help from the best crew on the net! <Woo-hoo, thanks!> I have a problem with Tectus niloticus. <I'm sorry to hear that. Those are pretty little Trochus snails.> Last time I put 2 snails in my tank and they never moved, and after few days they started to stink and they were dead. After 15 days I added slowly 1 new Tectus niloticus and tried to acclimatize him 30 minutes to even temperature and salinity. <Thirty minutes is adequate only when the water parameters (salinity, temperature, pH, etc) match very closely. Otherwise, a drip acclimation over several hours is preferable. He was good for first day, but after 4 or 5 days he has just enter to his shelf and die slowly. All other corals, sand anemone and fishes are fine. Even my old Tectus niloticus that I have from beginning was fine and alive (better than ever). What can be the problem? My salinity is 1.026 while salinity in my LFS is 1.022. <Bingo. The problem could easily be osmotic shock stemming from exposure to a rapid change in salinity over too short a period of time. Snails are extremely sensitive and shouldn't be subjected to variations of more than .002 (specific gravity) per day.> BR / Petar <Take care, Lynn>

Become a Sponsor Features:
Daily FAQs FW Daily FAQs SW Pix of the Day FW Pix of the Day New On WWM
Helpful Links Hobbyist Forum Calendars Admin Index Cover Images
Featured Sponsors: