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FAQs about Marine Snail Systems

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

Megathura crenulata   2/8/11
Hello again, good folks of the WWM Crew,
Thank you again for all your help, time and time again. I write today while in the process of setting up a coldwater system for housing *Megathura crenulata* - the Giant Keyhole Limpet.
<Oh, yes... have collected and kept>
It's habitat includes kelp forests and rocky reefs of southern California. I would like to use aragonite sand and rock in the tank for it's buffering capacity as well as its porosity.
I am wondering if this will affect the recruitment of organisms substantially, seeming as our coast is composed of shale, diatomite, basalt, etc., all of which are extremely dense and have no buffering capacity. I could use (legally) harvested coastal live rock in the tank but I would much rather seed and cultivate some sort of calcium carbonate base rock.
<No worries either way... I take it this system will be chilled>
Will this fly? I tend to think that in time, the biofilm and algae cover would obscure any effect the different base rock composition would have, but I also tend to fall down when walking up stairs, so I take my opinion with a grain of salt... I much appreciate your thoughts.
Thanks again,
Lanny Flaherty
<Bob Fenner, in the process penning a pc. for AFM/FAMA's marine annual re coldwater Pacific systems>

Snails and Heaters -- 01/12/2010
Dearest Crew,
Thanks so much for you dedication!! The dailies are a true blessing as well as a bit of sanity in a hectic life!
<Glad to provide it -- it's a joy on this side as well :)>
This will be quick. As simple as this questions is, I was not able to find a clear answer.
<Not a problem>
Is it safe to add marine snails to a 50 gallon reef with a 200 watt heater in the display tank?
<Assuming the heater is safe (preferably submersible) and in good working order, absolutely!>
I have ALWAYS placed heaters in the sump, out of the display but with this new setup, the sump is on backorder while the tank is up and running.
<Understood -- there will be no problems here>
Of course, I have algae that will be cropping up soon and would like to begin fighting it but do not want to risk burning my gastropods! Would you advise purchasing them and placing them in the display or should I wait a week or two for the sump to arrive? Thanks SO much!
<Would just add -- the heaters, while get warm, will not likely ever be so hot as to burn your gastropods. Enjoy! -JustinN>

Marine snails and freshwater?   2/14/06 I think I was given some bad information today at an aquarium-only pet store, and I thought I would do some research on this before I proceeded.  I couldn't find the answer to my question in the FAQs or on Google.  I was interested in setting up a salt-water aquarium (20 gallons) for the sole purpose of having marine snails (for now anyway, fish will come later).  The clerk at the store told me that the salt-water snails they had in stock would do just fine in my freshwater aquarium (10 gallons and it has been set up for about a year now). <? No> I was under the impression that anything that lived in saltwater would certainly die if introduced into freshwater. <Mmm, not all life, but most certainly> Is this not the case?  Can I put salt-water snails in my freshwater tank with no ill effects? <No my friend> And if so, will it be a problem to have both fresh and saltwater snails living together?    Thanks for your time and response, Dave <Keep cogitating furiously, and being thoughtful period... you'll do fine. Bob Fenner> Cloudy water due to snails ?   1/17/06 Hello  again folks!  My question is in regards to my 72g reef with 2 1/2" sand bed. Yesterday,( Sat. 01/14 am)  I bought 23 pc.s of snails, 13 Ceriths and 10 Nassarius. As I put them on my thank that morning they started digging into the sand bed (as expected) I would say about 19 of them dug into it, and about 3 left on the surface. At around 9:00 pm I've noticed that the water is turning cloudy, I checked all water parameters and everything is ok. And today Sun. 01/15 the water is still cloudy (all day), this time I think all the snails are under the sand bed, as I can see some part of their shell in the surface as half was buried , most are nowhere in sight. Do you think the snails are responsible for making the water cloudy ? <A distinct possibility... could be resultant from a reproductive event (stress of different sorts can bring this on...). Another avenue could be from their having "brought in" other microbial life (on their shells, in the water) that "launched an attack", basically rapidly reproduced so much as to cloud your water...> as maybe they are all stirring the sand looking for food ? <Possibly as well> If so, how long will the water stay cloudy?. <Hopefully only a day or two...> Should I do some water changing, or take some of the snails out the tank? <I would monitor water quality, keep an eye on your other livestock... and have water ready for the change... but not remove the snails> Pls advise me on what to do as I am ready to hunt all these snails and return them to my LFS.    Thanks again in advance. Nemo1 <Bob Fenner>

Snails and Acrylic - Just Scratching the Surface <Hi, Mike D here> I am in the process of establishing a reef tank. It is a homemade acrylic tank and while there are a few blemishes from the construction and set up phase….I would like to keep them to a minimum.<That I can understand,  RE-polishing one is worse than buying a new set up, IMO> Two quick questions. 1.         Of the following snails, which if any are known to scratch acrylic?  turbo, Trochus, Cerith, and/or Astrea. <I've not heard nor experienced any scratching of the Plexiglas tank walls from snails, and although I've HEARD of same in regard to sea urchins, have never personally had one do any damage to my tanks either. In truth, if I had it to do over, I'd avoid Plexiglas altogether and stay with the added weight of glass.  Unless you keep the surface wiped down CONSTANTLY, including below the substrate level, eventually you're going to have calcareous algae start to take hold.  To the best of my knowledge there's NO way to remove this that won't mar the Plexiglas, either manually or with marine invertebrates.> 2.         I have a 6" DSB of oolithic aragonite, will this present a problem for any of the above snails (righting themselves? etc.) <some of the Astrea snails reportedly are unable to right themselves if they fall in an open area, but I can't see how the depth of a DSB would have any bearing on this.> Thanks.

Snails leaving their shells: check water quality! 12/14/03 Hello guys,  First let me tell you how much I love the site.  I have spent many, many hours cruising the vast knowledge contained here.  I always find the answers I am looking for to help me be more successful in my aquarium husbandry practices.   <Ahh, good to hear> But I have one that has stumped me and I can't find any postings with the answer I am looking for. My snails seem to be leaving their shells and the Cerith snails that have kept their shells are trying to climb out of the tank.  It seems as if there is something irritating them that they are trying to get away from. <quite likely a water quality issue... do consider a large water change ASAP. Amy change in sea salt brand recently?> My first thought was that some parasite had gotten in the shell and was pushing them out.   <not likely at all> This first started when I had a run in with jacked up calcium and alkalinity levels.  The calcium reached upwards of 600 and alkalinity fell to 6.  I don't care to expand on the cause of this but it was due to my misunderstanding of the use of Kalkwasser.  I chalk it up to a definite learning experience.  I have corrected this problem and now Ca is at about 450 and Alk is at 8-9 (seems a little high considering the Ca level but I have not had a snow storm or anything).  All of my water parameters seem to be within the specs. I don't know if the calcium levels were just so high that it wasn't useable to the snails, which in turn would not allow the shell to grow with them. <hmmm... more likely just the stress of extreme and fluctuating water quality> Other than being shell-less the snails seem to be quite healthy, and the Ceriths reproduce frequently. If you have any more suggestions let me know.  Thank you for your time. Travis Hunt addicted reefer. <at this point... stable water quality is key. I strongly suspect that there is no pathogenic or parasitic concern here. Anthony> Poop-i-vores >Dear reefers, >>Dear Eric.. >I am establishing a 75 Imp gallon skimmerless reef tank and have achieved a balance between algae, a large Trochus, and Cerith and Nassarius snails.  However, the collection of snail poos on the bottom looks like mouse droppings, and is not attractive. I do not wish to siphon them out as I would rather extend the "natural" balance if possible. >>Understood. >Can you please tell me what eats, or breaks down, snail faeces. There are a fair number of copepods around, but these seem to ignore them. I have no fishes as yet, and would like to get this in balance before I add one.  Many thanks, Eric B >>What you need are detritivores.  See here for a "kit" listing, and look for same in U.K.  Marina http://www.inlandaquatics.com/prod/prod_detrit.html

- Cycled, Leaking, and Dying - Greetings crew, Thanks for the input long ago on my plumbing design. It has worked out superbly. I have excellent flow even with 1 MD40RLXT, I can't wait for the second one in a few months. The 180 gallon tank and 30 gallon sump have cycled. I have 70 pounds of live rock and 350 pounds of sand which gives me a 4.25 inch deep sand bed. The salinity reads at 1.021, Nitrite at o, nitrate at 0, ammonia at 0 and pH at 8.2, all reading are via a Salifert kit. The temp is a constant 79.9-80.1 degrees depending on day or night. My photoperiod is 11 hours and I have a white moon light controlled by a Solar L2 controller. The controller drives two icecap 660's which drive 4 72" URI VHO bulbs: 2 actinic blue, 1 AquaSun and one 50/50 bulb. My skimmer is a Prizm Pro in the sump which is giving me good skimmate output. The life forms consist of 1 yellow tang, 1 maroon clown (had to get Nemo look alike for my sons), 2 yellow tail damsels, 2 blue damsels, 1 striped damsel, 1 banded coral shrimp, 1 Atlantic blue leg crab, 5 hermit crabs, 2 feather dusters that I inherited on a piece of rock, 1 chocolate chip star, 3 turbo snails, and 1 margarita snail. The tank just fully cycled two weeks ago and most of the rock has brown algae which some of it's turning into beautiful coralline greens, purples, reds and other colors. My current issues which I haven't been able to resolve follow: The four snails are not doing anything. I added them by floating for 30 minutes and adding 4 oz of tank water every ten minutes for one hour. I then picked them out of the bag and placed them on the rock and sand. They started to clean right away for about 45 minutes and then stopped. They now just lay around as if on a siesta for the past week. I picked them up and they don't pull into their shells but they do move very slowly when placed upside down. I haven't been able to figure out why they are acting like this. All of the other critters are OK. I've looked around in the faq's and found some stuff about copper poisoning. The rock was obtained from an LFS that was going under and he advised that copper was never used in his systems. I don't have the funds to buy a test kit for copper right now and I figured that the crabs and shrimp were all doing well so that probably wasn't it. <It's very rare to get copper from nowhere, I wouldn't be too concerned about that or the snails. Just give them some time - it's not like they move fast on a regular day anyway.> My next problems is with a leaky connection. I have two 3/4" bullheads at the sand line in the tank. These are for the sand line returns and there are 4 3/4" water line returns. One of the bottom returns is leaking at the bulkhead to union joint. I used 5 wraps of pipe tape on all of my connections and ran the system for a week without salt to ensure that all was well. I didn't notice the leak until the system was two weeks into cycling, it's very slow, 2-3 drops a day. I am currently catching the drips in a paint tray but I would like to fix the drip. There is a valve between the pump manifold and the leak so I have no problem there but the bulkhead is at the bottom of the tank and against the wall so I have no real access to this area except for a long arm stretch. I've tried to tighten the connection but it as already tight and only moved a 1/4 inch. I was thinking about placing a plastic plug into the tank side of the bulkhead, letting everything dry for about a month and trying to place some CA glue on the threads to see if that will help, hopefully I will get some capillary action into the threads. If the leak doesn't stop I'll just leave the plug in the bulkhead and rely on my other returns for current. <Uhh.. I'm not sure I follow - is it the bulkhead itself that is leaking? If so, there's no easy way to address this leak without draining the tank. When I assemble bulkheads, I always put a little bit of silicone (sealant, like for making glass tanks) on the gasket that comes with the bulkhead - that way you have some extra insurance. If the leak is in the fitting between the bulkhead and a treaded union, then I would do you described - plug the bulkhead from inside the tank and remove the threaded union, put silicone on those threads and reassemble. I would not try the CA glue trick.> Any suggestions for these two problems are welcome. Thanks for the excellent site, books and good information. Jeremy Pratt <Cheers, J -- >

Do crabs and snails need air? Do regular or hermit crabs require air, or can they stay fully submerged in water all the time? <There is more than one kind of hermit crab...some are mostly land based and need lots of air while others are ocean dwellers that can do fine without air. The ones like pet stores sell in the little terrariums need air and will die if fully submerged all the time> Snails? <The same can be said for snails...>

Snail & Hermit Crab waste Hi Bob: My tank finally cycled with a lot of algae bloom. Two days ago I added 10 Scarlet Reef Hermits 10 Turbo/Margarita Snails and 30 Red Leg/Left-Handed Hermits from FFExpress. They have done an excellent job cleaning but I noticed a lot of waste since I added them in the tank. Is this bad for the tank? And should I pull out some of the hermit crabs out? <You neglect to mention how large your tank is. I would not use anymore than 1 hermit crab per 10 gallons. I use about 1 snail per 2-4 gallons depending on the tank, lights, etc.> Thank You, Aram <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>
Re: Snail & Hermit Crab waste
Hi Steve: I have a 54 gallon corner tank. I guess I should pull out some of the crabs and snails. What do you think? <Yes, I would remove all but two of each hermit crab. I would leave all the snails and if you need more algae eaters, get ten more Astrea, Cerith, or Nerites snails. I like to use a variety of snails as they all seem to prefer to eat different things. -Steven Pro>

Re: Snail & Hermit Crab waste Thanks Steve, FFExpress should redo their Web Site about adding the correct amount of Invertebrates. ~Aram <Nothing in particular about FFExpress, but all of these places are in the business of selling. I never assume any salesperson, selling anything, knows everything about their product or wants to be my friend. Pet stores are all businesses, too. Just approach them as you should any business, as an educated consumer. -Steven Pro>

Cowries Bob, I have kept a cowry in a 10 gallon tank for 4 months, along with live rock and a Domino damsel, and I recently purchased a 55 gallon tank and is currently in the process of cycling. To accelerate the process I have added my live sand from the old tank to the new, and added the domino damsel as well as a velvet damsel. Both seem to be doing fine, however when I moved the cowry (Cypraea mauritiana) to the new tank, she has stayed retracted in her shell. This morning I moved her back in the old 10 gallon tank, waiting to see if she will move at all well that usually takes place at night). I have tested the water in the new tank and it was PH 8.2, Nitrite 0, Ammonia 0.25-0.50, Nitrates 0ppm(I think,...I'm new to this). <Mmm, the Cypraeids are sensitive to "new tank" conditions... the ammonia was likely harsh here... and a good idea to not lift these mollusks into the air (better to move on their rock in a bag, plastic jar...> Do you think I should have waited longer to introduce the cowry to the new tank? <Yes my friend> She usually feeds on algae (scraping rocks or the glass). Also, I haven't been able to find any info on cowries. Would you suggest a particular web page? Please advise.. Thank you, D. <Please insert the name of the family "Cypraeidae" into your search engines. Not much of "practical husbandry" on these shellfish on the net... but some. Perhaps you will write a definitive piece on their captive care. Bob Fenner>

What eats acrylic? Dear Bob, A quick thank you for all you've done for us "salts" out there. I reference WWM frequently and often and thank you and Lorenzo for all the time, effort, and sage advice you've devoted to people's better understanding of the life forms and biotopes they keep. <A pleasure and honor my friend> I have a question regarding what I believe to be radula marks etched into the surface of an acrylic tank. I recently helped a friend break down his 40 gal. tank (SeaClear or TruVu, I'm not sure which). He had (sadly) neglected any maintenance on the system since his last specimen died some two years ago, only adding top off water. Needless to say it was a huge mess, but somewhat of an interesting study from a scientific perspective. As I began to scrape of the thick filamentous algae covering all sides of the tank, I noticed a haze on the front panel. Upon closer inspection, this haze was a pattern of etchings in the acrylic surface! The pattern matches that which I have seen snails (esp. turbo) leave as they graze through a patch of Cyano. Is it possible for snail's radulas to be so hard as to etch into the acrylic?  <Yes... for browsers, many gastropod mollusks have a rasping mechanism... a "tongue" called a radula (important in its characteristic make up for species identifications at times) that is constantly being regenerated in the back of the mouth, worked by a muscular device, the odontophore... that these various "snails" use to scrape away micro/macro algae et al. from hard surfaces as food... Some have modifications, additions of specialized salivas, bore into shells, melt rock...> I am wondering if you have ever encountered this, and if so, what species of snails you have associated it with. I am sure this info would be quite interesting to everyone out there with an acrylic reef tank. <I have seen this sort of marking... and simple "stress fracturing" that looks similar... in acrylic tanks. Don't know which specific species might be involved though. Bob Fenner>

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