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FAQs about Marine Snail (Gastropod) Reproduction 1

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Related FAQs: Snail Reproduction 2, 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

Gastropod egg ID 8/1/05 Greetings, <<Hello - Ted here>> I was hoping for some help identifying some white spaghetti attached to the glass of the tank.  I've attached a few pictures of what I assume to be eggs.  These squiggly white lines are around 3 sides of the tank within an inch or two of the sand.  I have seen a bristle worm and two Cerith snails in the area.  Is it possible these came from one of them?  ..or perhaps they are not eggs at all? <<Looks like Cerith eggs. Harmless and an indicator of happy snails.>> Thanks for all the information over the years it has been very helpful. -Jon
<<You're welcome. Cheers - Ted>>

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/
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>>

Nerites and sponges Hi Bob, First thanks for all the hard work you put in answering questions.  I have found WetWebMedia to be a fantastic resource. <Thank you for your kind words> On the freshwater snails FAQ at http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwsnailfaqs.htm the first question is about white scale appearing in a tank with Nerite snails. I have a 40 gallon SW tank with wildlife collected from the Sebastian Inlet (a man-made inlet between the Indian River Lagoon and Western Atlantic, on the Treasure Coast of Florida.)  Attached is a picture (albeit a poor one) of similar sounding white scale that began appearing in my tank, after the arrival of checkered Nerite snails.  I suspect they are Nerite snail eggs or egg cases, as close up they are semi-translucent, and look about half filled with something.  They appear on the back glass (I leave algae growing there, the Nerites cruise for it, and the blennies, crabs and grass shrimp snack on it) usually in a trail that has been mowed clean by a Nerite.   <Mmm, do look like the right shape... Please see here: http://www.wildsingapore.com/chekjawa/largfoto/r422fx.htm> On to my question… I recently collected a sample from a sponge colony, and have not yet identified it.  I'm hoping you can help.  The full colony was about 12 inches wide by 6 across, encrusting on rock about a half inch thick, with stalactite like outgrowths an inch or two in length.  It was in a semi-shaded spot in the shallows - about 4 feet deep or so.  It is orange in color.  I removed a strip from one edge of the sponge colony.  The sponge article at http://www.wetwebmedia.com/spongesii.htm mentions the importance of taking substrate, but this sponge was on rock, and live rock can't be taken in FL, though life can be taken from the rock, with the proper license. <But the sponge can?...> At first, in my tank I rubber banded it to a small piece of rock, then decided to set it on a larger piece of base rock, clipping one end under another piece of rock - somewhat dubious of how it would fare after being taken from its home. <Actually... was in Bonaire last week... diving under the municipal pier (that you now have to pay for, and have a guide... due to "terrorism" bogeymen), and they rope-attached a bunch of gorgeous sponge colonies to the pilings following last years' hurricane troubles... and they're definitely adhering, coming back...>   After a day only a day and a half, it had grown enough that it was secure on the base rock.  A fragment that broke loose during the rubber banding (and why I didn't like that approach, too worried I'd put pressure constricting too much area) had fallen to the bottom of the tank, and I left that sitting base down on a piece of shell fragment.  The second sponge photo I've included shows that fragment, and how much it has grown (both photos were taken after 4 and a half days in the tank.)  It doesn't seem to be growing invasively, but growing quickly where needed to secure itself. The only sponge I've seen online that is orange and native to the area in shallow water is the fire sponge, but no fire sponge pictures I've seen have the same structure, not to mention the fact that I braved the back of my hand to check for a sting before collecting, and handled it while placing it in the tank.  Any ideas? <Take a read through Paul Humann, Ned DeLoach's work on ID'ing "creatures" of Florida et al.... This is about the best, most complete, readily available guide (have their three volume set on my roll top as am sorting through the last trips slides currently. Bob Fenner> Thanks,

Snail spawning in aquarium I recently noticed the appearance of hundreds of tiny (1/16th to 1/8th inch) elongated, cone-shaped creatures in my salt-water aquarium. They seem to work the glass over night then make their way to the live rock and sand bed during day light hours. The cone appears to be similar to that of some of my blue legged hermit crabs, but I don't see any legs/claws. In fact, they appear to be miniature snails with a rather elongated shell. Color of shell ranges from white, to gray, to light green in some cases. Are these the off-spring of my Astrea snails? <Possibly> Are they known to reproduce in captive environments? Are these creatures problematic? <Yes, no> Also, I have noticed some long " worm-like" creatures crawling in and out of crevices or holes in the live rock where the rock meets the sand bed. Looks like a long, skinny centipede with hair "cilia" along the entire length and the body seems to have an orange segment at one end and a pinkish tone on the rest. Any idea what this may be and are they harmful? <Some sort of Polychaete worm... not likely a problem unless it gets too big, numerous> I've seen a few of them at any point in time. Any words of wisdom would be much appreciated. Thanks, Julio <Bunches posted on WWM re... Read there. Bob Fenner>

Nudibranch eggs vs. snail eggs Hi, <Hello> How do I tell the difference between Nudibranch eggs and snail eggs.   <Mmm, hard to do... both are actually gastropod mollusks... most Nudi eggs are laid in bands/ribbons, attached to the substrate... some shelled snails are the same but most are "blobs", two-dimensional vs. Nudis ribbons...> I've seen snail eggs and I just recently saw similar eggs on my Zoanthids.  I immediately thought of Zoa eating Nudibranchs, but don't know how the eggs of Nudibranchs look like.  Am I in for a Nudibranch war or my snails thought laying eggs on my Zoanthids would be a good idea? <If they are predaceous on the Zoanthids...> I dip my newly acquired Zoanthids with iodine and salt water, but I am afraid Nudibranchs have made it into my tank.  I have not noticed any missing Zoas and all my Zoas open up. <If it were me, my system, I'd siphon out these eggs, and either toss them, or raise them in a separate system. Bob Fenner> Snails 3/22/05 Good Morning! Thank you for all of the time you dedicate to this web site.  <Glad to! It really is a labour of love!> I have reviewed the previous questions and I have not found an answer to this. I hope I did not miss it. I have several Tiger Turbo Snails, Trochus sp. Lately some very small snails that look just like the Tiger Turbo Snails, Trochus sp. Is it possible they are reproducing or is it more likely they came in on live rock. I have not added any live rock for several months. I have seen 4 or 5 of these small snails. Thanks for your time. Tracy Doherty  <Good choice! Trochus are my very favorites. They are known to spawn in aquaria, but survival to adulthood is very rare. Congrats! There are some very small species that occasionally come in on live rock or corals that look like tiny Trochus, but they can be distinguished by the fact that Trochus have a pointy shell, while the look-alikes are more cinnamon roll shaped. Best Regards. AdamC.> 

That's a snail... but those aren't eggs 3/11/05 I noticed my Turbo Snail propped up on a rock spraying little green pellets, really small pellets, all around itself and then they were taken away in the currents. Is it spraying eggs or is it going to the bathroom?  <the latter... concentrated fecal pellets that will hopefully be skimmed out of the aquarium via the skimmer to prevent a new algae bloom> I have never seen this before. <they like privacy too> Also I have a three ended Candy Cane coral and near it a small batch of polyps growing. I just noticed a small white circular growth growing on the other side of the polyps. Could this be a new Candy Cane head? <perhaps> It kinda looks like one. Would it reproduce like this or would it grow a new one right out of an older one? Any ideas? <varies... intratentacular budding, equal binary fission... many ways, many corals> Mark <kindly, Anthony>

Identification - White Squigglies on the Glass: Snail Eggs 1/25/05 I seem to find these weird patterns on my glass from time to time. Do you have any idea what this might be?  <clearly gastropod (snail) eggs of some kind> The only things that I see roam the glass are snails and slugs. <BINGO... you win the hairy kewpie doll <G>> For reference, that line is about 4 inches long.  Thanks! <best regards, Anthony>

Snails hatching <Hey Jeff, MacL here with you and sooo sorry for the delay.> I have a 75 gal. reef tank. <Great size tank.> It has been setup for 2 years and the coral growth is amazing.  About a 1.5 years ago I had purchased snails and hermits to help clean the microalgae.  The snails died within a couple of weeks. I have not purchased any more since that point. I have not introduced anything new in the tank in over a year. <No new rock? Or perhaps a new coral?>  Today, I looked at the tank and saw about a dozen small snails on the glass near the top of tank. <Congratulations but you are right it doesn't take that long for the snails to hatch. My bet is that it came in with something that you added or possibly you have had a small community of snails in the tank all along that you weren't seeing. That's the truly amazing things about these reef tanks, they are so full of life that we don't even know is there.>  I am amazed! <Its so exciting isn't it? I truly love the whole reef thing.>  How long does a snail take to hatch???  <Varies by the type of snail> Could snails be introduced through frozen foods or tank supplements. <I don't think they came in that way because I don't think either is a live food.> I use Kent Phytoplex and Coral Vital.  I am mystified by this one??? Thanks,

Snail that blows smoke???????????? Hello Saw  something strange while observing my 46G reef tank after lights  out. One of the Astrea snails perched itself atop a rock , got up on its "hind legs", and proceeded to contract its body, then release to expel a cloud of something?, looked like smoke. It continue this "ritual" for 15-20 minutes,  three contractions, three expulsions, a rest then again. I have never seen this behavior before, caught it on video and also got a picture. Any thoughts as to what the heck is /was going on? Included picture, hope it opens properly. Thanks for your time Stephen Concord, Mass. <Nice pic... your snail is/was reproducing. No worries... likely a tasty meal for many other organisms in your system. Bob Fenner>

Where Do Babies Come From? (5/16/04) To The Crew of Infinite Knowledge, <Quite finite, I assure you. Steve Allen this evening.> I am a long time fan and have spent the last two years reading and following your advice. <I've gotten a lot of great info here too.> I have a 72g Bow front, and a 12g hospital tank. My first question is simple - Where do baby Astrea snails come from? <Didn't one of your parents give you "the talk" yet? ;) > (I found one in the 12g tonight.) It was probably on something you put in the tank. I am not aware of successful reproduction of this species in captivity.> My second question is what are these - See attached? They arrived in my hospital tank w/ my yellow polyps. (and per your ever so knowledgeable advice I'm sticking to soft corals) <Must have been Anthony, his knowledge of corals is exponentially greater than mine.> There are about 50 of them. Any info would be much appreciated. The range in size from 1/16" to 1/8". Some even appear to have a "tail" off the rear and to one side of the split. <Unfortunately, they just look like brown smudges to me. Most likely some sort of gastropod. It is possible that they are something that enjoys eating soft corals, thus demonstrating the value if quarantine not just of fish. Perhaps someone at your LFS could ID them with a magnifier. It is almost impossible to do so from a conventional digital photograph over the internet. Sorry, but I hope this helps some.> 

Cowry snail eggs 4/12/04  Hello, I am really new to this. I have looked for the answer but probably didn't look far enough. I have had a cowry snail in my tank for almost a year. Two months ago we introduced another to the tank. We went on vacation for a week and found one of the cowry snails on a nest of eggs. Everything I have looked up said the eggs would be white. These are pink in color. The female ( I'm assuming it's the female) hasn't left the eggs alone since I we have noticed them. She cleans them several times a day and I do believe she is taking care of them really well.  <very interesting! Have you taken any photos to share? I'd love to see them... even use them on our website here and elsewhere in presentations with your permission>  My question is will they hatch?  <its a fairly uncommon event overall... but what species do you have? We need this to chat further about them. You might look on the Breeders Registry online for advice or data on whatever species you have>  and what should or could I do to protect them from everyone else in the tank. It looks like there is 200 or so eggs. I wish I had a digital camera to so you what I am talking about. But I am nervous about loosing the babies when they hatch. Please help.  <I wish I could my friend... I really don't know much about rearing gastropods. And not knowing the species will keep us almost completely in the dark. Look at our website or books, and especially look online at the shell collectors websites (toggle keywords "cowry, shell, collecting" on Google.com). We can proceed from there. Best of luck! Anthony>

Spawning Snails? Hello and thank you for your help. I have an urgent question. In my 280 gallon reef I have perhaps 25 or more Astrea snails. They appear to be mass spewing, some letting out clouds of smoky (sperm?) and others pumping there bodies and releasing clouds of small white dots (eggs) The water is clouding. Will this continue (its evening- tank is in office- Am heading home) Will it hurt the other inverts and fish? Will babies come of it? How hasty should I be In doing a water change and how common is such an event? (Am hoping it is an event lol) thank you again. Brian <Well, Brian, Strombus and Turbo spawning events are becoming more common all of the time, and Astrea are known to have done this, too. It is still not an everyday event, and well worth documenting and recording the event for future reference. Generally, the release of gametes will not degrade water quality, but it is certainly worth keeping an eye on it. In theory, the gametes released by these animals during the spawning can serve as a form of plankton for your filter feeders.  If water quality appears to be suffering, then by all means, accelerate your water change schedule. Otherwise, just follow your normal schedule. It's unlikely that many of the young will appear, but you never know...Keep an eye on things- good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Squiggly snail eggs 10/19/03 Ok, I have a (hopefully) quick question.  I've had a 20 gallon saltwater  setup for about 9 months now.  Due to an incredible sale at a local pet store three days ago I moved everything into a 55 gallon tank.  Between yesterday and today an interesting design was laid on the glass, and I'm wondering what it is.   <clearly an egg mass, and almost certainly from a snail. Hard to say if it is from a shell-less or shelled species. They are not likely to hatch viably at any rate. Nonetheless... a cool occurrence> The only new resident to the tank is a watchman goby, otherwise there's a pair of clownfish, dwarf lionfish, spotted Hawkfish, scooter dragonette (who, thankfully, accepts brine shrimp and  my prepared clownfish food) and all the normal snails/crabs. <indeed> The only thing that comes to mind is that the design is snail eggs.   <bingo... you win a hairy kewpie doll in the likeness of Robin Williams> There are tiny, distinct white dots within it and it resembles the squiggles turbo snails will make in algae.   <not a turbo snail though... that gastropod broadcasts its gametes into the water> There's a picture online here ( http://users.adelphia.net/~sidi/images/squiggle.jpg) but it's 40k.  Do you know what it might be, if it isn't snail eggs? Matt Williams <best regards, Anthony>

Snail eggs? 9/29/03 Hello to all at WetWeb, <cheers> Curious about these little egg pouches that are adhered to the tank walls of my reef tank.  They're clear so you can see the little critters inside, and the pouch or egg or sack or whatever it is is hard to the touch.  The little critters inside it are white.  Snails perhaps?   <they commonly reproduce in aquaria> The pouch is about the size of a drop of water, and again, they're hard to the touch.  I have Strombus snails as well as Astreas and some Trochus.   <yes... very common to see Strombus do this> My understanding is the Strombus leave "strings" on the tank wall as opposed to hard sacks, etc.  Would you care to opine? <I have photos of my own Strombus egg sacs to share if I can find them ;) They are likely here. Trochus broadcast spawn... and Nassarius leave strands, I believe>> Many thanks, Peggy <with kind regards, Anthony>

Snail Trail? (Snail Clouding Water?) A turbo snail is single-handedly (I know, I know) clouding my 75G reef tank. It is near the top, near another turbo, and is rhythmically pulsing out what can only be described as smoke.  What is this?  Is it dangerous to the tank? What should I do??? <Well, I am not 100% certain, but it sounds like this could be  sexual products being released by a snail that is "in the mood". Or, this could just be a massive release of metabolic waste. Hard to say for sure if the material being released is dangerous, in and of itself, but if it's causing cloudiness or obviously degraded water quality, larger water changes and use of activated carbon/Poly Filter can help bring back better water conditions. If things get really out of hand, and this is a continual occurrence, it may be prudent to remove the snail. Hope this helps. Regards, Scott F.>

Protecting snail eggs 10/18/03 Forgive me for the lack of information...I was very tired.  From what I can tell from other FAQ's, they are eggs from a Cerith snail eggs in my 72gal mini reef.  Should they be aloud to stay on the glass?  <leave them be and enjoy them. Cerithium/Ceriths are very safe and helpful (diatom grazers)> I do have an in tank refugium w/ different types of macro algae in it, should I move them to there?  <likely a benefit indeed> If so, can they be scraped off w/ a credit card? <instead move some adults there or hatched juveniles later on> I was gone for a few days and noticed them when I came home. So I don't know if part of the original batch has been eaten yet or not.  How long does it usually take for these things to hatch? <not sure... I'd expect its a mater of days (less than 2 weeks to be certain)> Also, how fast do these snail grow?  <very quickly... high rates of reproduction in aquaria> I'm going to have to tear down my tank so that I can bomb the house for fleas. What's the best way you make sure the baby's don't get buried when I remove/replace the substrate? <extracting and replacing sand in sequential layers. Anthony> Eggs Hello Anthony, <Howdy dear :)> Many thanks for your response on my inquiry regarding the egg "pouches" on the walls of one of my reef tanks.  I must have confused my information on the Nas. snails with that of the Strombus.  Very interesting to watch indeed.  I love the Strombus.  Also very interesting to watch the Nas. burrow into the sand bed immediately upon addition to the system.  Gotta love all these critters don't you??:) <truly a hoot to watch. Many wonders of nature> BTW, Anthony, must tell you how impressed Penny (my good friend at AquaCorals-Maine) was with her apparently lengthy conversation with you recently.  She is an excellent aquarist and store owner, and it pleases me to see you two connect.  She told me how nice it was to talk with someone with your experience and most personable personality. <Awww.. shucks. Twas nothing. And it really was my pleasure to talk to yet another delightful person who is an asset to our industry> Thanks again for the info. Peggy AquaCorals-Minnesota <be chatting soon, my friend. Anthony>

He's In The Snail Business! Hi Crew, <Scott F with you today!> I've got a little 29G tank, 4 small damsels, <20lbs live rock, lots of filtration (400gph) and skimming. About 6 months since set-up. I added 4 Astrea , 4 Turbos , and 4 small hermits early on to cut down on algae (130 watts PC lighting 12 hours) . I already had some small abalone hitchhikers from the Fiji live rock. All of a sudden I have a mollusk explosion! I looked into tank tonight with a flashlight and can see 50-100 little guys (2-4mm) crawling all over the glass. I can't ID these critters because of size. <Well, they could be any type of snails- hard to say from here, of course> I have excellent water quality, using frequent 5g weekly changes and liberal use of PolyFilter and carbon, not to mention vigorous skimming. Should I be worried? How about a predator for this explosion? Thanks, Randy <Well, Randy, I would not be overly concerned about an expanding snail population. I do not view them as "nuisance" animals, as long as they are not the dreaded "Pyramidellid" snails, which infest clams. Frankly, I think that this is a sign that your tank is affording these animals conditions which suit their requirements! I'd look at this as an opportunity! You're in the snail propagating business, my friend! If they are Astrea, Turbo, Trochus, Strombus, or one of the other algae consuming varieties, they are in constant demand within the hobby. Why not trade them with other hobbyists, or offer them to the LFS for trade-in credit, or even sell them via the WWM forum (once you've identified them). When life gives you lemons...as they say...! Of course, if you absolutely are being overrun with these guys, and you don't want to be a snail trader, you could employ a small Hawkfish or maybe even a wrasse (Halichoeres species) to help "control" the population. Have fun with this! Regards, Scott F!>

Snail breeding - 2/11/03 Yes, could you please tell me in particular how the Tulip Snail reproduces?? I know that the Phylum Mollusca has a variety of ways, and I needed to know  the tulip snails particular reproduction Thank you, <Mollusks are indeed diverse in reproductive strategy although mostly are dioecious (separate sexes). Let us suggest that you try asking your industry friend and gastropod "expert" Dr Ron at reefcentral.com Best regards, Anthony>

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

"Snail" Spawn ID 3/21/03 can anyone explain this to me? <appears to be an egg mass from some kind of snail-like Gastropod. Numerous possibilities... almost certainly harmless too (ending up as safe or merely eaten). Best regards, Anthony>

Snail Eggs?     4/6/03 I have a 55 gal reef tank. I woke up yesterday morning to a neat geometric pattern of little white dots on my glass. I'm guessing that they are snail eggs.<Read here for more info www.wetwebmedia.com/snailfaq.htm  Here you should find the answers you are looking for.> Do you have any suggestions on what to do to protect them from being eaten?<I've had snails appear in my tanks.  The fish never touched the eggs and so soon I had baby snails.  Watch and wait.  Soon you should have some new aquatic friends.> And do you have to do anything special to help them hatch?<Read over WWM and make sure your 100% sure that the eggs are from snails.  Are you sure that a fish didn't lay them?> And how long does it take?<It depends on many factors.> I have a Firefish goby, two Catalina gobies<These guys need cooler water then the rest.  Please read up on them here www.wetwebmedia.com/gobyfaqs.htm   > a blue tuxedo urchin, a fancy serpent starfish, two peppermint shrimp, a bunch of different hermit crabs and snails. I don't think any of these will eat the snail eggs. But I guess I'll just have to wait and see!  Thanks in advance for your help!<No problem and good luck! Phil>

Turbo snail eggs? Hey Gang, How y'all doin'? <I'll spare you the details, but good and bad, such is life>                                                      I think I just witnessed a large turbo snail make, or, produce a large (thimble size) lump of eggs (?) looks like hundreds of white, very tiny spheres everywhere in the current, as the floating lump broke up. I suspect the turbo snail, as it was in a funky position with, what looked like a turtles egg chute extended (for lack of a better description). Has anyone here at this fine website heard, or, seen an event like this? (I wished I'd seen the initial production of the "floating lump", to see if it was indeed the turbo as I only noticed the spheres breaking loose. <Well, after much searching and browsing, I'm stumped. It does sound to me that you've got it ID'd. Occam's Razor and all. Maybe someone else has more knowledge than me and can chime in on this one?> Thanks for your input!                      Stormbringer <Well, sorry to be not so much help. Btw, does Mournblade ring a bell? Have a good night, and hopefully someone knows more than me. You could also post this over on the forum, under either Aquatic Reproduction or Marine Invertebrates, someone there might know too.>

Re: Turbo snail eggs? Mournblade, ahhh yes! Great series of books eh!?! <Now to talk Peter Jackson into making the Elric movies...> (Stormbringer is actually my CB radio handle, taken from the Deep Purple album!) <Snipped> <Huh, never heard of that Deep Purple album. Be all that as it may, I think the odds of any baby turbo snails appearing are fairly slim. IIRC, they are planktonic, and if the powerheads/pumps don't get them, the filter feeders in your tank will.>

How to reproduce turban snails? <Good evening Carlos, PF here with you this evening> In fresh water, the snails reproduce like rabbits (or the rabbits reproduce like snails) but in salt water... can I "help" my turban snails to reproduce? Maybe build a marine motel?? :-) <Well, the big difference between marine and FW snails (besides the fact that you sometimes can't give the FW ones away, nor would you want to spread the plague to someone else) is that marine snails often have a planktonic stage, and pumps, powerheads, skimmers, and many of our other accoutrements aren't friendly to them all let alone planktivores in the tank. If you want snails to breed in your tank, look at Strombus snails, they lay egg masses and skip the planktonic stage. Raising planktonic snails is a real challenge, I'm not even sure if this is done regularly in laboratory conditions. > Greetings Carlos D?z <Well Carlos, sorry I couldn't be the bearer of better news. Have a better one, PF>

Nemo-aka the Blue Tang, and Gary the Stomatella Howdy again, fellow Wetheads!   I have a healthy, one-year-old 20-gallon reef tank into which I will introduce (after quarantine) a small juvenile Regal/Pacific Blue Tang (yes, my kids insisted on their own "Dory" fish after seeing previews of "Finding Nemo"). I've been studying up on the Blue Tang's weaknesses, such as ick, and hazards (tailhooks!), and I feel ready for the new arrival.<good to hear>   The tank's inhabitants (2 little clownfish, a ravenous but friendly Royal Pseudochromis, candy-cane coral, a few small brown/green mushrooms, some Montipora digitata, many scarlet hermits, Astraea+Cerith+Nassarius+Trochus snails, copepods, small worms, mucho coralline algae, LR+LS, etc) will relocate with the Tang into a planned 60-gallon tank very soon,<this tang will need this tank soon :)> and when the Tang acts cramped in the 60-gallon, we'll start an even larger tank.<good> Meanwhile I need to modify the ecosystem in the existing 20-gallon tank so that tang-edible macroalgae has a better chance at growing "a little," while not overwhelming the corals and coralline algae.<agreed>   Obviously, I'm only counting on the tank itself to provide a tiny portion of the Tang's algae diet, but I'd like to have him/her at least enjoy a little more macroalgae decor to nibble upon between real meals. I plan to return a few of my larger snails to the Local Fish Store. -- First question - Does this Tang REALLY eat "bubble algae" (esp. Valonia)?<have never seen this species eat bubble algae...and haven't read about it either> Since I've sworn off bubble-munching Mithrax crabs (too omnidestructive), I'd love for the Tang to relieve me of my occasional bubble-scratching responsibilities.<will probably not eat bubble algae> -- Second question - Is there anything which conveniently dines on the STOMATELLA VARIA (sporty little half-snails!),<well I was thinking more towards a wrasse from the genus Pseudocheilinus, I know they eat can/will eat hermit crabs-but they might eat helpful creatures as well> which have been a very helpful ally against algae in my tank but now are too numerous (and keep everything so clean that the larger algae-seeking snails suffer)? This landscape will seem too barren to the Tang. But my instinct is that any carnivore nasty enough to eat Stoma Ella might also attack....corals? fish? my fingers? My hope is that you folks know of a cute, tiny, highly-specialized mantis shrimp (can I ask for iridescent-red?) or whatever that chews Stoma Ella yet eschews other stuff. Fantasy, right? <A mantis shrimp will eventually consume ALL of your small fish and your little crustaceans/snails too>   By the way, one additional REALLY irritating aspect of having Stomatella in your tank is that their low-rider bodies occasionally find their way through even the narrow slots in pump-intakes; the sound made by Stomatella's "paper shells" when they suddenly seize up a miniature pump impeller is "schwing" (as in the movie "Wayne's World"). Easy to fix but a pain.   Concerning Stomatella, I found questions by "C" from Pittsburgh, PA, (and Anthony Calfo's answers) in.... http://www.wetwebmedia.com/algcontfaq3.htm   ....and I'd like to reinforce Anthony's comment about this creature's "highly variable color." I started with maybe 3 or 4 TINY Stomatella (LR hitchhikers), soon had a population boom which subsided, and now there's seven or eight color/pattern variations, each apparently tuned to different LR surroundings. Not exactly crowd-pleasers, but they zip around like crazy, especially when the lights go out. On that note, goodnight and MANY thanks!<your welcome, I really don't believe there is a fish that specializes on Stoma Ella so it would be risking the lives of the other invertebrates in your aquarium, IanB> Bruce Mewhinney

Stomatella Questions Ah, the reference I had read about Tangs eating(?) bubble algae was in a WWM page....<well have been around this species of fish for about 5 years now and have never seen them even touch bubble algae, Bob has been around these fish longer so he might be right.> http://www.wetwebmedia.com/tangfaqs.htm   ....in which Bob Fenner replies to a reader ("Tangs Eating Bubble Algae"). Having said that, I haven't seen my newly-arrived Pacific Blue Tang touching MY bubble algae yet (I'm patient). But he/she is already happily chowing on sprigs of Red Gracilaria algae on a suction-cup clip; also flake algae etc.<normal for them to eat macro algae (softer easier to pick on, etc, bubble algae is to hard for one of those little 1-2" hippo tangs to eat> Back on topic -- Regarding possible predators upon the Stomatella varia snails, I did some subsequent search-engine sleuthing and came up with a few specifics....http://www.mindspear.com/reef/detrivore.htm    ["cleaner shrimp" eating smaller Stomatella?]<re: my other email> http://www.reeflounge.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=4267    [peppermint shrimp "cleaned out" tankful of Stomatella]<maybe you should try them> For now I'm going to try peppermint shrimp (not banded coral shrimp), and in future maybe a few of the wrasses as you suggest, or even arrow crabs (in a much larger tank).<good luck with Stomatella control, IanB> Thanks again for help! Bruce Mewhinney

Snail Babies? Hi, I have a 29 gallon saltwater aquarium with a Clownfish, a Yellowtail Blue Damsel, a Green Chromis, a Chocolate Chip Starfish, a Peppermint Shrimp, a Pink-Tip Anemone, and a Bumblebee Snail. Recently, I noticed white dots on the glass that moved. Under magnification (5x), they look like a tube with 2 antennae. They seem to be surrounded by a "halo" that looks like clear hair algae. There are about 30-50 of them, and they move pretty quickly. My speculation is that they are larvae from the bumblebee snail (recently purchased.) Is this true? <It could be, but I would guess they are copepods (very tiny beneficial crustaceans).> Any information you could give me would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Nathan in PA <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Snail Larvae? Hi WWM Crew! This is my first message, but I have spent countless hours over the past year reading your site to troubleshoot.  I have to say it is the single deepest repository of information of any type that I have seen on the Web!!! <Glad you enjoy the site Sean, look for more in the future!> Here's my situation:  I run a "moon simulator" on a four month-old reef tank.  The day after the last "full moon" in my system seemingly every snail in the tank (100+) congregated at the water line and spawned. I just returned from vacation and there are numerous white "disks" on the LR throughout the upper 1/3 of my tank (best pics I could manage attached.)  They are roughly 1/8" across, and weren't there six days ago. They are flat with rounded edges, resembling blood cells...  Could these be snail larvae, or something more sinister? Regards, Sean MacKirdy <Not to worry Sean! It is unlikely anything "sinister"! Very likely snail eggs, larvae, or something else imported with your rock. Enjoy the show!  Craig>

Two quick questions... Snail marks, marine lighting Hi, all... Thanks for keeping up an invaluable resource. Two questions, one fairly quick and one a little more involved. - I have a variety of snails in a reef tank (margarita, Nerites, Cerith, turbo, etc.). I noticed yesterday that on the front glass panel of the tank (a 75 gallon acrylic) there are multiple little white spots. These aren't wide swaths, just tiny little pinhead white spots. I don't have a microscope, but I would swear they look like little eggs, although everything I've read indicated that if they were they would be all clustered together. They're not, but they *are* sometimes arranged in a straight line -maybe 5 or 6 of them, a half inch apart, in a row. There are maybe 12-15 in all. Are these eggs? I've seen them before and just wiped them off, but I'd leave them alone if it's possible they'd grow; otherwise they're right in the line of view. <Possibly Cerith eggs, they have been known to lay their eggs in patterns, instead of clustered together.> - A lighting question: a few months back I had a chiller catastrophe in which I lost a good portion of the tank. I had to replace the chiller, and went with a larger one, meaning temperature control is very good right now. So I also took the opportunity to upgrade my VHO lighting to MH and PC. I did a lot of research, and finally picked what I thought was good lighting for my 75 gallon tall (24 inches high): 2 250W MH 10K, and 4 55W true actinic PCs, in a tall canopy (with fans, of course). I have the PCs on a timer and on around 12 hours a day, and the MHs on a different timer for around 9 hours a day. Health-wise, the tank is doing fine: I was finally able to get and keep alive Acropora and clams. I did have a circulation issue that caused the death of 2 pieces of Acropora (within just 24 hours!). When I replaced one of the pieces (which are towards the top of the tank), I didn't light-acclimate, so it got toasted (stupid, but a learning experience). So now that I've replaced it (again), I'm acclimating like I did when the lights first got added - cut the MHs down to 3 hours, and ramping back up to 9 hours over a span of about 10 days. So far so good. But my question is really concerning look, something that's bothered me since installation - when the MHs are on, because they're 10Ks, the look is fairly daylight-oriented. The PCs help, but the overall color of the tank is white. The tanks in the LFS all look great, because apparently they mix up 10K and 20K (400 MH pendants) to get a nice look. I can't really do that, because the 2 MHs on my tank cover half the tank each - a mix wouldn't look right. Can I change the 10Ks to 20Ks without depriving the clams and coral of enough light? Is there a "hybrid" that I could use somewhere in between? The literature I researched indicated that 10Ks were the best for the tank, but the MHs sort of bleach out the look of everything while they're on. Good for health, not so much for looking. Any ideas? I always appreciate your response, and thanks again. Arthur <This is a lot of light for a 75gal my friend, unless you are planning on keeping only SPS and clams. Anthony has written a great article on lighting that should help you out. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marlgtganthony.htm Let us know if you have any more questions, Best Regards, Gage>

Odd white pattern on live rock Dear folks, <Howdy> Thanks in advance for your time. I was just looking at my tank and noticed an odd pattern in two locations on my live rock. It is white and looks like it is made up of mini bubbles or something. It is very squiggly and the pattern is extraordinary regular. Without a digital camera, I am forced to send a poor computer drawing. I know that my drawing stinks, but really, the design is like this only each loop is exactly the same and very close together but not touching. I thought it might have come from the margarita snails ( I have 3) But I am not sure. I also have a bunch of Cerith snails, 2 clowns and a few hermit crabs. Thanks, Steve <Drawing looks fine, and I do agree with your suspicion. This is likely a "snail trail". Nothing to be concerned about... as the system goes/grows, other organisms will come into being, preponderance that the snails don't denude. Bob Fenner>

Not a Question Actually, this isn't a question...on the Snails FAQ 2, the question titled Odd white pattern on live rock -- those are Cerith snail eggs. I have pics of one in the process of laying eggs if you'd like a copy... <Thanks much for this. Will amend (my evil ways, no, actually just this label) on the morrow> SushiGirl  <Ooh, and I like that name. Bob Fenner>

Snails? Hello I've had a 58g tank for some 9 months now.. the first three months it was setup in Atlanta GA, then I moved the entire tank to Oklahoma city, OK (1200 mile move, everything survived). Inhabitants are: white ribbon eel, brown scopas tang, 2 peppermint shrimp 1 coral banded shrimp, 1 derasa clam, 20 or so mixed snails (slowly dying to the crab population it seems), scarlet reef hermits, blue leg hermits, etc total about maybe 25.. my question is.. do snails breed in captivity? <Yes, some much more so than others> in one corner of my tank, which entails 3 sides of the glass, there are tiny calcareous looking spirals that have been getting larger.. at first I scraped them off with a scraper, but I've noticed they're all over the rock in that corner.. and now some have grown to where I can see a moving head pop out of the end of the spiral. should I do anything to encourage their growth? <Mmm, these are actually likely tubiculous (tube building/dwelling) Polychaete worms (like Featherdusters...). Might be encrusting snails, even egg cases from your more mobile gastropods though... Best to just leave them be... not be over-zealous re clean-up.> will this overload my system, as there are probably 500 some odd snails in the system? <Not likely. If you have so many, you could maybe sell them to a local shop!> thanks in advance as always :) bill Hammond <You're welcome. Bob Fenner>

Response to odd white pattern on live rock Hello Crew; <<And hello to you. JasonC here at your service...>> This is not a question, but another confirmation on a previous post in marine snails 2. <<Fair enough.>> The title of the post was "odd white pattern on live rock" I have the same pattern...white squiggly lines that under magnification, look like they are made up of tiny bubbles. The only difference...mine are on the glass inside the tank. I have 10 Cerith snails that hang out on the glass a lot and I noticed the snails producing these lines. I suspect that they are Cerith snail eggs, just as SushiGirl suggested. <<And that is the most likely explanation. Cerith snails are known to lay their eggs in geometric patterns.>> Thanks for your time; Kevin <<Cheers, J -- >>

Spawning Snails Hi, I was wondering if I would be correct in assuming that if/when Cerithidae deposit eggs that the eggs appear as a whitish squiggly scroll no  bigger than maybe .5 square inches? <Many, yes... some a bit larger, different colors... largely depending on what the individuals have been feeding on.> I found these at the surface of my reef almost out of the water) where I often see the snails.  I've also found them attached to fronds of Caulerpa algae, which brought to mind the thought of possibly harvesting, and rearing. The Ceriths in my tank where a lucky bonus with my live rock, and their numbers are naturally increasing slowly), which is fine for my tank. I, guess that my question would be... Is there a way/system for increasing yields. I would like to be able to raise enough of these snails to maturity to stock other tanks. <Possibly... food items, lack of predators, competitors... Trial and error I think are what I'd attempt.> I included a picture of my reef, that I'm proud to say is stocked inverts) solely with cuttings from other tanks. a big advantage to  being a member of the local aquarium society!) the only wild stuff other than the live rock, is the little exotic blue/yellow Pomacentridae I "rescued" from the store. <Very nice, and good to hear.> Thanks for your time, any information is greatly appreciated. Sincerely, Cleve R. Burd Pgh, Pa. <Take a look through the WWM site: Home Page re doing computerized bibliographic searches, and get thee to a large college library... There are, little doubt, recorded observations of others that can/will aid you in your culture work. Bob Fenner>

Snails Hi Bob, I love your website and find it very useful.  <Ah, good> I keep a 110g saltwater tank that has a variety of fish, a lot of live rock and some crustaceans, anemones, etc. My question is that about two years ago I purchased two "turbo snails" that have grown a lot and recently they have been doing something strange. They perch high up on a rock, lean way back and simultaneously discharge what looks like smoke from a tube that comes out of their body. It clouds up the tank a little and then goes away. I'm wondering what it is and if its poisonous or not. It's happened about four times now . Hoping you could help......Thank you in advance. Dave from New York <This does sound like a reproductive activity. And no problem given good filtration, aeration, circulation... Bob Fenner>

SNAILS Bob, I recently noticed a proliferation of baby snails in my 300g tank. It is a tank that I filled with about 200lbs of homemade "Aragocrete" (aragonite gravel/Portland white cement) that I recently (2months ago) added approx 80lbs of LR. The original clean-up crew (100 Astrea snails, {I think} & 100 hermits) were added about 6 months ago. The strange thing is the new snails have a completely different shell than the cleanup ones have. Is it possible that the new snails came in on the rock, or do you think my existing snails reproduced, and switched shells mid-life? <Do like the way you put this... but, no, these new snails likely came/are another species from the new LR> I thought snail larvae were planktonic, and thus would be chewed up by my pumps.  <Hmm, no, not all... some are "livebearers", others have demersal eggs with more or less direct development...> I have witnessed the snails squirting what I presume to be eggs and sperm into the water, but I am amazed that reproduction took place here. <Don't be too amazed... when conditions are good or bad... reproduction is a high priority> There are hundreds of the little guys. (I counted 120+ on the glass just now) Should I be concerned? Should I try to control the population?  <No to being overly concerned... There will likely be "checks" coming along... predators, competitors, a change in the availability of foods, minerals, that will limit this animals population. In the meanwhile no problems.> Thanks once again for your help & info provided. "Be chatting my friend." <Indeed! Bob Fenner>

Milky Way of Snails!!! Bob, <Lorenzo here standing in for Bob-in-Asia.> I have a 125 reef that is really doing well, been up since September of 2000 and everything is really thriving. <Sure sounds like it!> I added 25 Margarita snails in September of 2000 and another 25 in December. Noticed the other evening with the lights off that their are literally 100s and I mean 100s!!!!! of little snails all over the place. They only come out at night and are shaped like the Margarita but their coloring (on the ones that are big enough to see) is similar to a Nautilus. <Yikes, wowsers, etc!> Anything to be worried about here? <You don't have any fish that would eat the planktonic stages of the snails? I'm kind of surprised you'd get so many. If you don't have a predator, most population explosions like this will work themselves out, when they grossly imbalance and exhaust the natural resources available in a closed system. The problem then is all the die-off. Your skimmer will go crazy, and you'll need to do frequent water changes to counter-act the over-driven nitrogen cycle. I'd say, get a predator to balance that whole system out. A small wrasse, like a Coris or Six-line might be nice, and probably effective. Banggai cardinals seem to eat anything that floats by as well, though the wrasses will eat most tiny snails, shell and all. -Lorenzo>

Marine Snail Reproduction This morning I noticed about 8 tiny snails (head of a pin size) around one of the front corners of my 300 gallon reef tank. I have 12 adult Astrea snails in the tank, added about three months ago. I assume that somehow they are breeding ? <although Astraea snails have been regularly observed spawning in captivity, it is rare if at all possible for it to be successful in the confines of aquaria> Due to the proximity to an adult, it seems to me that maybe they were "born". Can you give me some info on the reproduction of this type of snail. Many thanks ! Steven C. Youngblood Houston, TX. <Steve, more than a few species of snail imported with rock and sand commonly reproduce asexually in aquaria. Most likely, what you have is a non-Astraea species. Describe them as they get larger and we'll get a scientific name for you. kind regards, Anthony>

Question about limpets HI Robert, I found your article on Mollusks: An overview on the internet and decided you would know the answer to my questions. We watched two limpets in a display last night in our tank that we think might have been their reproduction process but we are unsure. Both key hole limpets were on the glass, the smaller one ( 1 1/4 in long) was releasing from the key hole an almost clear liquid that would disperse into the tank. It looked almost like smoke. The other, larger one ( 1.5 in long) was higher up on the glass and the release from this limpet was whiter, thicker and dispersed slower. They did this back and forth for at least 30 minutes that we were aware of. Were we watching the release of eggs and sperm? <Likely so> If so, how long will it be before we will see tiny limpets in the tanks? Is this common? If not, what were we watching? <... probably won't see limpet young... the products here will probably be collected by your filtration... removed by skimming... pelagic larval stages have tough times in captive systems. Bob Fenner> Please email your answers to XXXX. Thanks! Carol Griffith

Snail Population Bob, and/or Crew I have enjoyed both this site and the book CMA. It has made the setup and maintenance of our 55g salt water reef tank enjoyable. I have two questions for you. First, I have a plethora of small snails in my salt water tank. The snails are pearl color and some of the shells are white with brown stripes (kind of reminds me of a zebra). I would not mind them, in fact I would have thought of them beneficial except there are so many of them throughout the tank. When I turn off the light in the tank they really come out in full force. The snails look like the turbo snails that I currently have. What are these snails? <Can't tell definitively by your description> And with there so many how do I get rid of some of them. <A wrasse species would be my first choice here... of a type that will get along with your other livestock, system> Currently in the tank is 1-coral banded shrimp, 1-cleaner shrimp, royal , Gramma, ocellaris clown, 3-scissor tails and a variety of hermit crabs. I also have some button polyps, White clove polyp, colt coral, and a Derasa Clam currently in the tank. Is there something I could add to help with population control of the snails (fish, or invertebrates)? <Perhaps a Cirrhilabrus, Paracheilinus species... these are detailed on WetWebMedia.com> My second question is my LFS has some Signal gobies (Signigobius biocellatus). I was wondering how hard are these little guys to keep and ultimately to feed? They have two but they are not a mated pair. Should I get two or just try one? <Should only be kept in pairs or more in a large-enough system... Not a really hardy species... easily lost by the less than diligent> Thanks for all your help that you guys have done in upkeeping a great site full of information. I realize I still have a lot to learn. Thanks again.

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