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FAQs about Marine Snail (Gastropod) Reproduction 2

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Related FAQs: Snail Reproduction 1, Marine Snails 1Marine Snails 2Marine Snails 3, Snail ID 1, Snail ID 2, Snail Behavior, Snail Selection, Snail Compatibility, Snail Systems, Snail Feeding, Snail Disease, MollusksSea SlugsAbalone

Snails, SW, repro.
I am conducting experiments on Littorina obtusata, a common snail on rocky intertidal shores.  I noticed some egg masses on the algae recently and started doing research about L. obtusata reproduction and how to raise the juvenile snails in a healthy and safe manner.  I came across your website and found it to be incredibly in-depth. I was wondering if you could tell me anything about L. obtusata reproduction, or at least what you think would be the best way to ensure that my snails hatch and are healthy.
Currently I have them in a container with fresh seawater and an aerator.
Thank you very much for your time,
<Hello Julia. What research have you done so far? What have you read? I believe that these snails have direct development (no larval stage) which is unusual for the genus. All else being equal rearing the hatchlings should be easy assuming adequate food, salinity and temperature. So what problems have you had so far? What conditions are you providing (food, light, pH, salinity, etc.)? My biggest challenge when maintaining Littorinids has been physical escapes. They dislike being under water for any great length of time. Obviously breeding species with planktonic larvae will be extremely difficult, probably impossible without a good deal of research. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Snails
I haven't been able to find anything about obtusata development, except that fertilization is internal (most likely) and that they do not have a larval stage (I have seen juvenile obtusata in the field and I read that in a few places).
Since I found them on Fucus vesiculosus, that is what they have right now.
<Hope you are having success with these... historically "wracks" haven't always done well in aquaria, and I'm sure I read something years ago about decaying wracks releasing toxins into the water.>
I am going collecting next week so I can supply them with more if needed. 
They are being kept at about 14 degrees Celsius, the same temperature that the adults are kept at.
<Sounds prudent.>
I am not sure about the salinity, but the water is from where I collected the adults, so it should be whatever they would experience in the wild.
<Again, a logical approach, but do check if there's a relationship between survival of juveniles and ambient salinity... could easily be that mortality goes up as salinity goes down, and that populations in brackish water are recruited from the sea rather than self-maintaining.>
They are in a growth chamber with light 24/7, but, again, this is no different from how I'm keeping the adults.  To prevent escaping, you should cover the container with foil, and push it against the top of the inside of the container.
<A good idea!>
I am taking care of ~200 obtusata at the moment and none of them have escaped.
From what I have seen in the field, juvenile obtusata look no different from adults, except that they are as big as a grain of sand.  I would expect that they would need similar conditions as the adults.
<Seems sensible. Good luck with the experiment. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Snails   /Neale    7/31/13

As seen from earlier emails, I had some questions about raising juvenile obtusata eggs and I would just like to thank you again for your help and let you know that , under a microscope, I observed movement of the juvenile snails still in their egg masses so I think that they are doing fine.
Thank you very much for all of your help.
<Ahh; Neale is "out" presently. Will convey your msg. BobF>
Re: Snails     8/4/13

<Ahh; Neale is "out" presently. Will convey your msg. BobF>
<<And back now! Thanks for the message, and glad your project is progressing well. Cheers, Neale.>>

Turbo snail issue   4/18/11
Hi folks!
I've got sort of a dirty question for you:  How do you stop an amorous turbo snail from releasing massive quantities of what I can only assume to be sperm?
<Hard to do... adverse conditions and propitious ones lead to this behavior>
Here's why I ask:
I have a 20 gallon Nano and a 90 gallon reef. Once several months ago I transplanted a turbo snail from my reef to my Nano to deal with an algae issue. The next morning, I came downstairs and thought my tank had crashed, the water was the colour of runny milk. After a brief panic, I realized it was the turbo snail releasing a near continuous jet of milky white fluid, with enough force to break the surface of the water. I hadn't really wanted a turbo in a tank that small to begin with, so I immediately returned it to the 90.
Now, as I've reported to you guys in the past, I'm building a new, much larger aquarium in the wall of my new house. Unfortunately timing hasn't been my friend, and my current place has been sold month and months ahead of our (very overdue) scheduled completion date of the new house, so I've spent the last two days breaking down my 90. Thankfully I found someone on Canreef (AKA Reef Central North) who was kind enough to set up a spare tank in his workshop to look after my coral and fish for the next few months.
<Very nice>
Unfortunately, I missed one turbo snail in the move, and found it this morning precariously drying out in the corner of the overflow of a now empty tank. Since my friend lives over an hour away, I put the turbo snail in my Nano. Lo and behold, 1 hour after it went in, it also started ejecting massive volumes of white goo in to the water column. It's not distressed as far as I can see, the thing is motoring along eating, but every so often it stops and... gets happy.
<I'll say>
Does the extra protein in my water column from one snail have the potential to crash the tank?
Is there anything in the tank specifically that might be triggering it?
<Don't know... light period/icity, temperature most likely, but there could be many other possible cues>
The tank has a skimmer now (it didn't the first time), so the water hasn't gone completely opaque, but it's been in there for nearly 5 hours and it keeps doing it! I've been reading online and other than some hilariously familiar YouTube videos, I can't find anything to indicate why it's doing it now.
<Again: "good or bad conditions">
I hypothesize that these snails pick up on the presence of sexual fluids in the water to try to synchronize the timing of their spawning, and that in my 20 gallon the small volume released from one snail leads to a concentration high enough to induce even more of this behaviour from that same snail, like a positive feedback loop gone crazy (I could be totally wrong), but beyond adding a sump (which I can't do) with carbon (which I have no space for) I don't know if there's anything I can do to stop it.
<Nothing I'd do other than remove the snails... How to put this... many/most marine organisms are to degrees feeders on gametes, juvenile forms... Think on this>
Thanks again for your time,
<Welcome, Bob Fenner>

Keyhole Limpets and Other Snails, repro., comp. -- 3/10/11
Hi Crew,
<Hello Sam, Lynn here today.>
I have a 24 gallon Aquapod. Among my critters is a pair of Keyhole limpets that I bought about 2 years ago. I now have a few dozen babies and am curious as to how they manage to reproduce.
<It varies, but typically they broadcast gametes (sperm and eggs) into the water column. Interestingly enough, some actually brood their young.>
I seem to find the babies in the most unlikely places like in my hang on skimmer.
<Yep, I can tell you from personal experience that they also like hang-on filters! Judging from the fact that these limpets reproduce successfully in home aquaria, they more than likely have a very short free-swimming larval stage. Many likely perish during this period due to equipment issues and predation. However, the lucky ones find sanctuary in the relative safe haven of skimmers, filters, fuges, and the like. There, they find an environment with sufficient food to entice them to settle and metamorphose into tiny replicas of their parents.>
They grow very slowly.
<Yes, they do -- or at least mine seemed to.>
My first set of babies are still about half the size of a split pea. Aside from the fact that they are very difficult to remove as compared to the average snail
<Heee! Hence the term 'clings like a limpet'!>
..they seem to be good algae eaters. For some reason one of the adults does bother one Blastomussa wellsi that I have.
<Funny you should mention that. I had the same experience with one of the limpets I had. I caught it munching on my favorite B. wellsi one morning and promptly banished it to the fuge!>
It almost destroyed it 3 times already but each time it recovered.
<That's the great thing about Blastomussa wellsi, in good conditions even a polyp that's been reduced to a near speck can regenerate itself.>
I now keep the Blasto on my crushed coral figuring the limpet will not like to pass over that and since then it has not harmed it.
<Good thinking>
I also have a few Strombus snails, the kind that lay these little round see thru packets of eggs.
<Are they the snails typically referred to as 'Strombus Grazers'? If so, they're more than likely Columbellids, aka 'Dove Snails'. They're wonderful little grazers that reproduce like rabbits. Please see the following link for more information and photos for comparison: http://bb.wetwebmedia.com/viewtopic.php?f=25&t=341 >
I used to have 6 adults but now have 2 plus 3 small ones. I still see many egg packets but it seems that very few make it.
<Something may be preying on them or perhaps there's just not enough food to go around.>
These things seem to go in cycles. I used to have hundreds of Stomatella snails and now am down to a few here and there.
<Don't you just love these little snails? Sadly, other critters love to pick at, and eat them, particularly peppermint shrimps.>
Just sharing,
<Thank you for your terrific observations!>
<Take care, Lynn Z> 

What To Feed Newly Hatched Whelk? 12/2/10
Hi there - thanks for this outstanding portal of information!
<Hi Sue, and you're welcome.>
While walking the beach a few months ago I found something "strange" and being obsessed with finding out what it was, I brought it home and started Googling. It wasn't easy to do (since I had no idea what words to enter in the search engine) but finally discovered that what I had found was a string of whelk egg casings. Not knowing if there was anything viable left in it (some of the capsules seemed to still have some fluid in them)
<A tell tale sign is small holes in the casings indicating the newly hatched whelk has ate its way through.>
I quickly threw together an empty 14 gallon Biocube with some live sand and water from my reef tanks and put the casing in there. I had also picked up some rocks and "clustered" snails on the shore so I added them to the tank, too.
<Will soon become meals for the whelks.>
Low and behold, I have noticed several baby whelk on the glass over the past few days! I have no idea what I'm going to do with them when (if) they get bigger but for now I am fascinated that they hatched and would love to keep them alive. Any idea what I should feed them?
<Most are active predators and will bore their way through snail and clam shells to dine on the inside.>
I've learned from reading that the hatched whelks eat the unhatched/unfertilized whelk eggs but that won't hold them for long. I know the adult whelks dine on clams
<And snails.>
so should I start putting raw clam meat in the tank?
<You can try this, may or may not be acceptable.>
Any suggestions or advice on rearing these fosters would be appreciated.
<May want to read through our FAQs here.
I am heavily into animal rescue and rehab but I can honestly say this is my first attempt at orphaned
<Mmm, any further advice Bob?><<Mmm, nope>>
Thanks in advance.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Sue Alexandre

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>> 

R2: Nassarius Snail Question/Amphiprion Cross-breeding (and now, snail ID) - 09/01/10
Hi Eric,
<<Hiya Chris>>
I have attached a photo of the snails that have been showing up in my aquarium - in the various sizes that I have noticed.
<<Ah yes'¦ These look to be a species of Nerite, or maybe a Collonista species (take a look at the operculum covering the shell opening--Collonista spp. have a prominent 'pit' in the center). Either way, nothing to be concerned with>>
Just a few questions - does it at all look like any of the conch eggs could have survived?
<<No--these are not Conchs>>
If not, is this a snail that you readily recognize and under the circumstances would you still consider it harmless or even beneficial?
<<Yes (well, as stated at least) and yes>>
Thanks again to all for the expert direction!
Chris K
<<Always a pleasure to share, Chris'¦ Eric Russell>>

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>

Stomatella Spawning Constantly in Nano! Help! 4/9/10
<Hello Megan, Lynn here today!>
I have come across very little negative info about Stomatella...the closest thing I saw to a caveat was on WWM...someone with a larger tank than mine was assured that Stomatella spawn (unlike coral or clam spawn) is pretty harmless in a larger tank (I think the guy had a 75 gallon) and that this is not normally a problem, "except maybe in a Nano..."...but the crew member did not elaborate...
<Yep, usually they're a welcome addition and not a problem.>
Well, I have a Nano....12gal.
<Uh-oh, NASA we have a problem.>
We started with one tiny Stomatella from the LR, then did not understand why our water was cloudy for a few weeks.
<That's an awful long time to stay cloudy. Did you try checking your parameters and running carbon?>
Then we saw new snails. Now, we have seen them spawning with our own eyes, and so realize why water had tiny particles, back then & now.
Back then we only had the one adult snail, water cleared up fast.
But now we have 10-15 adults and they have been spawning every single day for past 3 weeks!
Doing water changes actually triggers spawning even more!
I do like these snails but wonder if this is good for my tank...the fish eat the eggs, but the Crocea clam I have produces a lot of mucus to get the eggs off of him.
<I bet. If the clam's getting irritated, then it's not good.>
The water quality is still good...nitrate has not gone up excessively, no ammonia, etc.
We have persisted with weekly water changes anyways because I don't want to have a dirty AND eggy tank.
<No kidding>
I realize we don't know what makes them spawn...so I just need to know if this is bad and what we can do to control the snails (if not their spawning).
<I would control their numbers. Remove and perhaps sell or give some/most away to fellow hobbyists (try a local fish club).>
I have very peaceful fish that do not eat snails and am not too interested to get a hunter type of fish but will consider any advice!!
<That would be my next recommendation, but only if you want to get rid of them all. Peppermint shrimp (Lysmata wurdemanni) reportedly prey on Stomatella snails, along with some crabs and hermits. Unfortunately, all of those can be pickers of other things as well and cause problems. Personally, I would opt for reducing the population and running carbon or something like Pura Filtration pads to help clear the water.>
Thank you as always for help with this extremely specific question.
<You're very welcome and good luck!>
<Take care, LynnZ>

Breeding saltwater snails  9/17/09
Hi folks.
<Hello Jason,>
I was wondering if you knew of the best route to take for breeding saltwater snails for my Puffers and Triggers to munch on.
<Not much chance in most cases. The vast majority of marine gastropods produce planktonic larvae, and reproduction under aquarium conditions is a bit hit-and-miss. You'd likely be better off breeding freshwater snails, and feeding those to your saltwater durophages. Cherry Shrimps and even Crayfish might be an option too. To be honest though, whole fresh or frozen shellfish would be cheaper. I like to use things like North Atlantic Prawns for my pufferfish, eating the tails myself, and letting the fish have the legs and cephalothorax. For some reason, they love prawn eyeballs!>
Also, would my refugium be a good place to raise them as they're safely away from the predators?
<Up to a point, but I doubt you'd be able to produce them at a viable rate to supply even a small pufferfish adequately. This isn't going to be like producing copepods for a Mandarinfish.>
I know they need crunchy food for their teeth and continually replacing crabs/snails can get expensive without a good plan.
<Do head over to the seafood counter at your local grocery store, or check out the frozen foods at an Asian food market. Things like clams, mussels, crab legs, crayfish and unshelled shrimp can all be pressed into service.>
Thanks for your help,
<Cheers, Neale.>

Snail Eggs? Cerith -- 6/6/09
Hi Crew!
<Hi John, Lynn here today>
I have noticed a few of these serpentine like shapes appearing on the back and side glass of my 125 gallon tank. The tank is about a year and a half old and this is the first occurrence of them I have seen.
<It's possible that they were previously placed in hidden locations -- behind rocks, on the back glass panel, etc, or it could be that conditions recently became favorable for reproduction. It could be anything from water parameters to the available food/algae supply (perhaps a recent increase?).>
A few days ago, I began removing some Aiptasia anemones in my tank by dosing them with a mixture of pickling lime and r/o water.
<Good method>
After reviewing the site, I think they are Cerith snail eggs?
<Sure looks like it to me.>
I do have a few in my system and I am guessing that the lime addition to the water has raised the ph and alkalinity thus resulting in happier snails.
<Possibly so, if those numbers (calcium as well) had been low prior, and you were treating many, many Aiptasia - or using copious amounts of lime solution (which I would not recommend). Do test for pH, alkalinity, and calcium to ensure they're all within the appropriate range.>
If my assumption is correct, is there a way to protect the eggs as I would not mind having additional snails in the tank?
<Keep predators away -- fish, shrimps, crabs. You could use something like a clean plastic berry holder from the grocery store. Wedge it somehow against the glass and hope for the best. It's either that or move the eggs to another tank that lacks predators and has a good supply of algae. Although not exactly commonplace, there are hobbyists who have had success raising these snails.>
Thanks for your time!
<You're very welcome and good luck!>
<Take care, LynnZ>

Snail Spawning... 01/07/2009 Greetings, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! <Thank you, y tu tambien.> I thought I would send along this picture of what I believe is a snail trying to procreate... <Indeed... it looks to be dropping some eggs.> I may be grossly mistaken, however, as I usually am :) I apologise for the poor image quality. Either way, your thoughts on this would be most appreciated! <I think you have it right, is procreative...> Respectfully yours,
Sara M.>

Re: Snail Spawning... 01/07/2009,  1/8/09 Ciao il mio amica. <Hehe... is this Italian? I thought I was speaking Spanish. This is San Diego I'm writing from... ;-) > From what I read on WWM, spawning is very hard on a small fish tank. <Oh, this is true of clam and/or coral spawning which are typically much larger than snail spawnings. I would not worry too much about a single snail spawn (they usually have little to no effect in any tank over 10g).> I have done a 20% water change, should I do another in the same day? <Unless this is a nano tank, no, I don't think you need to.> Many apologies for troubling you with this silly question. <Not silly at all.> J <Best, Sara M.>

Astraea Snail Spawning -11/2/08 I forgot the add the pictures. Here they are <Cool pics! Thanks!> Hello all, I have 5 Astraea snails 3 seem to be female, 1 is male, and 1 is unknown (they are at least 3.5 years old). 3 are releasing eggs, 1 is (in my guess) attempting to release eggs, and 1 is releasing sperm. I was wondering if there is a way to keep these alive? <The snails? ...or the spawn? If you want to try your hand at breeding them, you can use a baster to suck up the eggs and sperm and mix them in a "sterile" goldfish bowl full of water. You might try an airstone for circulation in the bowl.> I placed all the snails in a 1 gal tank and let them do their thing until the bottom was covered with eggs and the water is so cloudy that you can't see through the other side. <Oh, oops, I should have kept reading your email... yes, this should work too.> The snails are still doing their thing in the main tank. I have looked for a few hours on many sites and can't find anything out about these snails except that they don't reproduce in the aquarium and only live 2 years <Well, there's always a first time for everything.> I have attached 2 photos. One of a female and one of a male. I have a few short videos if you are interested in them, Thank you for your help, <Please do keep us updated. What do you plan to feed and how do you plan to filter/circulate the tank with the spawn, anything? You might try also posting on this on the DIBs and/or MOFIB.> <Thanks for writing, Sara M.>

Stomatella spawning 10/8/08 Greetings to the crew at WWM <And to you! A tardy Mich here apologizing for the delay.> and a big thanks for all your work! My tank has benefited greatly from the knowledge you folks provide. <Glad to hear!> While I was feeding my fish tonight I was fortunate enough to witness a Stomatella spawning. <Cool!> First one male released his sperm, then a second then a female release her eggs followed by a second female and finally a third male all within about a minutes time and from several locations around the tank. Very cool to watch and a couple of my Damsel's loved the eggs from one of the females! <A treat.> I've seen a single male broadcast from time to time, but never two simultaneously let alone a combination of both male and female. <Neat!> My question is what triggered this event? <Ahhh... if we only knew.> The lights had been on for about an hour and I couldn't think of anything in their environment that might have triggered it (no unusual temp or current changes etc.) Seems to me, for that kind of timing, there had to be a trigger of sorts <Likely so. What triggers many of the spawning events isn't well understood and can be related to many different things from temperature to literally the phase of the moon.> I already have MANY Turbo babies and now I'm looking forward to hopefully spotting a few new Stomatella's. <I hope you are correct!> Thanks again for your help <Welcome, Mich>

Circles of Ribbon-Like Sand: Likely Egg Collar - 9/8/08 <Hi Gerry, Lynn here this morning.> Over the last couple of months these circles of ribbon-like sand appear in my tank. They appear in different locations each time. The last time they appeared was 3 weeks ago there were 2 of them. I removed them when they appeared and took these pictures. Today I have noticed a new one in my tank. Any idea what is making this? <They look very much like what's commonly called a sand or egg collar, a combination of mucus, sand grains, and eggs produced by snails in the family Naticidae (commonly known as Moon snails). Do you have any of these in your system? Here are some examples of these egg masses for comparison: http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2288/2250226721_f350b8a92a_o.jpg http://jellyfishinthesea.files.wordpress.com/2008/04/img_4401.jpg http://www.manandmollusc.net/Mystery_shell_pages/mystery_shell_steve.html> Thanks, Gerry
<You're very welcome, Gerry. Take care, -Lynn>
Snails for GSPs 5/19/08 Hey guys, <Hi Scott, Pufferpunk here.> I set up a 3 gallon eclipse tank about two months ago to breed snails and it is going great. The snails are breeding like crazy but they are taking longer than I thought to get big enough to feed to my two green spotted puffers. <The rule of thumb is: snails as big as their eye.> I have been pulling out about six or eight at a time once a week and dropping them into the tank. They generally do not make it to the bottom but my question is: how many snails should I be feeding each fish to combat their teeth growing? <The amount you are feeding is fine. Personally, I do not feed snails very often. There are many easier to find hard-shelled foods to feed to your puffers. See: http://www.thepufferforum.com/forum/library/feeding/feeding-your-puffers/ > I have one GSP that is a little over two inches from tip to tail and another that is about one and a half inches. I feed blood worms most of the time along with black worms and sometimes raw table shrimp, mussel or crab leg occasionally. <All good foods.> From the first major snail spawn I have about 100 tiny snails crawling all over some algae wafers that I am waiting to grow big enough and the bigger ones are always laying more egg sacks around. <Zucchini might be a better/cheaper option for snail food. It's much easier to pull out a piece of that vegetable with snails crawling all over it, to harvest them.> I don't want to decimate the population of mature snails to the point where the little ones will take too long to catch up and start laying eggs. Another quick question I have is that I have had insane algae trouble with this tank ever since I set it up. For a few months it was freshwater planted and when I started to add salt coincidentally at the same time black beard algae overtook the whole tank. <Black 'algae' may actually be cyano. Check into eradicating that at the WWM site.> I dealt with removing it for about a month or more, until it choked out the plants and I had to throw them away. At that time I removed the fluorite substrate, ran diluted bleach through the whole tank, filters and rocks and started over again with crushed coral substrate and I added Bio-Spira and hoped for the best. The tank cycled ok but now there is nothing in the tank besides the crushed coral and rock, so there is nothing to export excess nutrients and with puffers they end up fouling their water in like four days. Is there anything I can do to keep a brackish tank free of algae or at least be able to manage it? <Best way to export excess nutrients in a FW/BW tank is by doing at least 50% water changes weekly. Be sure the puffers are housed properly--30g each adult puffer.> I have a lot of marine experience with my reef tank but this is my first foray into fresh/brackish water so I might be missing something. <Although you seem to have snail breeding down pretty well, here's an article on Basic Snail Breeding: http://www.thepufferforum.com/forum/library/feeding/basic-snail-breeding/ ~PP> Thanks, Scott
Hitchhiker Snail Reproduction: Stomatella varia - 1/17/08 Hello WWM, <Hi there!> Thanks for all you do. <It's a pleasure, indeed!> I have a hitchhiker snail that I saw trying to reproduce in my tank. I tried to get some pictures but they were hard to take with the xenia in the way. <Understandable - can be tough to get good photos of such small subjects - especially considering water flow/movement.> What are the chances something like this can reproduce in my system? I've only seen one of these in my tank. <What you've got is a Stomatella sp., likely Stomatella varia. They're harmless/beneficial little herbivores/grazers, highly variable in color, reproduce readily in our tanks, and can get up to ~1.25' in length. With such a small shell and so much exposed foot, you'd think that this species would be very vulnerable to predation. After all, how can it possibly protect itself if it can't retract into a shell? Well, nature has allowed for this. Stomatellids are mostly nocturnal, can move *very* rapidly, and have the ability to detach the hind portion of their "foot" (the 'metapodium'). This is similar to some lizards detaching a portion of their tail when threatened. The sacrificed segment wriggles and writhes, thus distracting the predator and supplying it with a tasty tidbit -- allowing the snail to escape. Potential predators of Stomatellids include the usual 'pickers' - hermits, shrimps, and crabs. Some fish also find them tasty, but the snails' mostly nocturnal nature helps to eliminate them from the menu. Sometimes confused with sea slugs, Stomatellids are actually in the family Trochidae, which includes the more familiar/recognizable Trochus spp. (Trochus/Top Snails), Margarites spp. (Margarita Snails), and Norrisia sp (Moon Snails). Regarding reproduction, unfortunately, if you have only the one female in your tank, the eggs she released were not fertilized and are therefore not viable. They will simply become part of the foodchain. Hopefully, there are some small, not yet mature candidates around for future spawning events. As far as method, Stomatella spp. are broadcast spawners. The male releases sperm into the water while the female releases her eggs. In most cases, this means that the young have very little chance of survival in our tanks. However, such is not the case with Stomatellids. What tips the scale in their favor is the fact that the young have a very short pelagic larval stage, during which they don't need to eat. After several days of drifting about in the current, they settle to the rock/substrate as miniature versions of their parents, and begin to graze. All in all, they're fascinating little creatures and make terrific additions to a reef tank!> Thanks, Jesse
<You're very welcome! Take care. -Lynn>

Money Cowry Eggs - 6/1/07 Hey guys <Hey Niko> I have about 5 money cowries in my reef thank and one of them has laid eggs on the under side of my Fluval powerhead exhaust. <Neat!> I saw the cowry there today and decided to pick him off of the powerhead and sure enough there was a pile of yellow white eggs. I quickly put her back up there and she has been getting food and protecting the babies. I am worried about the babies survival. I have a mandarin goby, 2 cb erectus seahorses (doing the breeding dance every morning) and a ribbon eel. I have looked on the web everywhere to find out how to raise them but all I find is never bred in captivity or something to that extent. <Sounds like you've got a great opportunity to fill in some blanks in this area. I've heard of cowry eggs appearing in tanks now and then, but unfortunately, never of the young being successfully raised. One problem is that most cowry species hatch into free-swimming larvae called veligers and become food for corals and any number of other organisms in our tanks. Other species skip the free-swimming part. They simply hatch, crawl out, and begin their lives (direct development). Unfortunately, I don't believe money cowries (Cypraea moneta) are of this variety. Among other issues is what to feed the veligers once they've hatched. I can only guess that possibly one of the Phytoplankton products available might be worth trying. Just be careful with those. Too much can lead to an algal bloom. By the way, please do consider keeping records of this and any further events. If you can supplement with photos, that's even better! Any and all information you can gather and share, helps us all better understand and increase the chances of one day successfully raising these beauties.> Any suggestions on perhaps using a breeder net and algae clip or something? <See above.> Thanks Niko <You're very welcome. Good luck and please keep in touch! -Lynn>

Snails laying eggs, and lighting Thalassia sys.   3/20/07 Howdy Guys, <John> I'm attaching several pics of some snails (Cerith perhaps) laying eggs on my aquarium glass. Maybe they'll come in handy. <Hope so> I do have a question. I have a yellow tang and I was wondering if he'll eat turtle grass. <Mmm, maybe... is tough to chew> A friend of mine gave me a few sprigs and I'm not sure about the lighting requirements, etc. My main tank is 120 gallons with about 4-5 inches of fine aragonite sand on the bottom, two 4 foot VHO's and two 175 watt MH, the yellow tang, seven yellow tailed damsels, many snails and hermit crabs, three urchins, various polyps, a bubble tip anemone, and a bunch of Xenia. I could put it in the sump but I would have to put some sand down there. I have a couple of 2 foot fluorescent fixtures with two bulbs each I could use for lighting, but I imagine I would have to block the light to prevent algae growth in my skimmer. I really want to avoid all that if possible. Oh, my main tank is 2 feet deep, 4 feet long, and 2 feet front to back. Thanks, John Jordan
<I would try this in your main display. Bob Fenner>

A Strange Invader?  Nah, Just Normal Reproduction. 3/16/07 Hi there!   <Hi Debbie!  Mich here.> You guys were wonderful at addressing my questions a couple weeks ago, so I thought I'd try again. <Glad to hear.  Welcome back.> I can't seem to find the answers through previous questions on your website, so here goes:  There is some sort of feather-like deposits stuck on the back of our 3-month old 24g Nano.  One of our Nassarius snails was near the "stuff" - so I don't know if it is somehow related to him?   <Yep!  Snail eggs.> I attached the best picture I could get of the stuff.  Any ideas what this is, and what I should do about it?   <Nothing to do but watch and enjoy!> Thanks a bunch!  -Debbie <Welcome a bunch!  -Mich> Does snail need a mate in order to reproduce?  6/20/06 <<Depends entirely on the species in question.  Please read about the species you keep on WWM.>> Little white dots in my tank seem to be growing into little snails. My only single snail has lived in my tank for about seven months now. I don't suppose my damsels got her in trouble. I also have couple of hermits, one starfish and a shrimp. 30-gallon tank. Thank you for your help. <<Glad to help. Lisa.>>  

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>>

A question about spawning from snails  9/19/05 I perused your snail repro faq: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/snailreprofaqs.htm and am assuming what I've had happen is that the snail is reproducing. I had thought that snails only left trails of egg masses attached to surfaces, and didn't spawn directly in to the water. Guess I learned something new today. <Perhaps> This little guy was a hitchhiker on a zoanthid. About five minutes after placing the zoanthid it began to squirt and upon further inspection, this little fella was squirting hundreds of veeeeery tiny eggs into the water (see a few of the eggs on the right in the pic): http://static.flickr.com/26/43613507_64d22fbcd4.jpg?v=0 <"Photo currently unavailable"..> He's seemed to have left behind a clear capsule of some sort that's half open. Like an aborted attempt at an egg case. So I wonder if he meant to place the eggs in the capsule or... well, I don't know. <I think you do> My question is, do you think that it is indeed a snail squirting eggs? <Sounds like it, yes> And also, what species is he? I have not seen him before. From previous posts I'm assuming the hundreds of eggs everywhere in the water are a free bloom of nutrients and not something to worry about? <Need to see the pic... for the ID, but not likely a problem... more food for filter feeders. Bob Fenner> Thanks so much,

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