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FAQs about Marine Snails 3

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Related FAQs: Marine Snails 1Marine Snails 2Marine Snails 4, Marine Snails 5, Snail ID 1, Snail ID 2, Snail Behavior, Snail Selection, Snail Compatibility, Snail Systems, Snail Feeding, Snail Disease, Snail Reproduction, MollusksSea SlugsAbalone

Cyphoma gibbosum feeding in the U.S.V.I. St. Thomas.

Snail Deaths Post Power Outage >Hello to all, I recently had a power outage (Thanks Isabell) and the power/water went out at my house, my auto top off did not work for several days. After power was restored I noticed that my snails were all dead, all corals, fish and other inverts were fine.  I understand that snails are real sensitive to changes in salinity, but what is considered a safe variance? >>In general, not just snails, but most invertebrates.  Also sensitive to loss of oxygen and build up of carbon dioxide. >I try to keep it between 1.023 and 1.025. would a drop from 1.025 to 1.023 be enough to cause stress to snails if it happened in a relatively short time (several hours)?   >>Yes, it possibly can be.   >I can not explain there deaths on anything else since I had a generator running the pumps, skimmer, etc..  As always Thanks, Mike Winston >>Marina

SNAIL ACCLIMATION Dear WWMCrew, Thank you for taking the time to read this e-mail.  I have a few topics I need help with. SNAIL ACCLIMATION: Currently when I purchase snails I add a cup of system water to the shipping bag every 10 minutes until salinity/ph/temp are the same.  I've read articles that say you should take them out of the shipping water for 10 minutes so they can expel excess water.  What do you recommend for acclimate snails? <Float the bag in the tank so the water temp will be the same (45 minutes or so). Then start adding water to the bag like you are doing. I wouldn't take them out into the air at all except during the transition to their permanent home> Also, I've been purchasing turbo snails.  I've read that these animals come from cooler water and should not be placed in warm water (75 to 78 degrees).  Is this true?  What species is most suitable for this temperature? <I am not aware of this problem. You can buy these guys just about anywhere and they are widely used> CHEMICAL FILTRATION: I've only been using poly-filters up to this point. <Polys are expensive but work really well> I would like to add Chemi-Pure for additional filtration.  I've read about several ways to do this: 1) Power Filter Is there a recommended brand/model of power filter?  (My main concern is having enough room for the Chemi-Pure). <Or canister filter. No specific model or brand> 2) Canister filter My understanding of Chemi-Pure is that it is packaged in round bags.  Can this package fit properly into Eheim, Magnum and Fluval canister filters?   <Oops...I jumped the gun didn't I! To my knowledge yes. A Fluval should be fine for your situation> 3) Chemical tray in sump My wet/dry filter doesn't have a chemical tray.  I am in the process of removing the bio-balls and will have an empty compartment.  Could this be rigged for a chemical tray?  Do you have any suggestions for building my own chemical tray? <You could do this but what's the use? All you would need is some egg crate and a few pieces of pvc for support. The trickle sound of the water would probably be pretty loud> 4) Carbon reactor/chamber If the carbon chamber is the best approach, can you give me a few tips on how to make one?  I know it involves a pump and PVC placed vertically in the sump.  Does the pump fill the chamber from the top or the bottom? <I have no experience with this item therefore I prefer not to comment> XENIA I placed my Xenia is high in my tank in moderate current.  I've read that they won't pulse in this type of current.  Should it be placed in low current?  Is pulsing a sign of healthy specimen?  Also, in it's current position it will be exposed to air during water changes.  Should I move it to a lower spot or change less of the water? <Pulsing is a behavior that researchers don't understand very well. Anecdotal evidence suggests that Xenia like iodine supplements and a high pH (over 8.3) and <gasp> high nutrient levels! Pulsing has nothing to do with the health of a specimen. We don't really know why they pulse and we don't really know why they stop. If it's happy where it's at leave it. It can move on its on if it decides to> MECHANICAL FILTRATION Is the pre-filter on the overflow enough mechanical filtration or should I purchase a power or canister filter? <Prefilter is a type of mechanical. If you put carbon in the canisters or power filter it becomes chemical. Do you have live rock and a good skimmer? Yes? Then you definitely won't need these other filters unless you want to put carbon in one> PROTEIN SKIMMER I placed my AquaC Remora in my sump.  My thought was that it would be better hanging off the sump than hanging on the tank.  This way it is fed water skimmed from the surface.  Is this a good place for it or would it be more effective on the display tank? <Sounds perfect. Make it first in the sump. The water should not travel through any kind of filter before reaching the skimmer> Looking forward to your response, Jeremy G <Thanks for the well though out questions! David Dowless>

Quarantine for snail? Hey Gang, I have an interesting situation. A couple of days ago I found one of my Astrea snails lying on its back.  I found it right away in the morning so it must have fallen overnight.  It appears to have been damaged in some way, I suspect my blue legged hermits, but other occupants are flame angel, golden damsels (2), green Chromis (2), and cleaner shrimp (1, L. amboinensis).  I placed it on the substrate right next to the front wall of the tank.  For a day and a half it barely moved, and eventually did start moving up the glass.  I could definitely see then that it's foot was missing a chunk near the front, and I fear that it may be missing an eye, a feeler, and possibly even mouth parts, but I couldn't see all that well and it could have just had them pulled in.  The next morning I found it upside down on the substrate again.  It is not moving as fast this time.  I want to remove it from my tank so that if it dies it won't pollute my tank, but I don't know if there will be enough food in my quarantine tank for it to survive.  What would I feed a snail that's in quarantine?  I've always relied on them to help control algae so I never fed anything to them specifically.  I would prefer to get it into a qt if there is something that I will be able to feed it. Is this something that a snail can recover from? Thanks for your help -Luke <Hey Luke, you should be able to feed him on Spirulina pellets or Nori.  There is a good chance that he will recover.  Good luck -Gage>

Healing At A Snail's Pace? Hey Gang, <Hi There! Scott F. here tonight> I have an interesting situation. A couple of days ago I found one of my Astrea snails lying on its back.  I found it right away in the morning so it must have fallen overnight.  It appears to have been damaged in some way, I suspect my blue legged hermits, but other occupants are flame angel, golden damsels (2), green Chromis (2), and cleaner shrimp (1, L. amboinensis).  I placed it on the substrate right next to the front wall of the tank.  For a day and a half it barely moved, and eventually did start moving up the glass.  I could definitely see then that it's foot was missing a chunk near the front, and I fear that it may be missing an eye, a feeler, and possibly even mouth parts, but I couldn't see all that well and it could have just had them pulled in.  The next morning I found it upside down on the substrate again.  It is not moving as fast this time. I want to remove it from my tank so that if it dies it won't pollute my tank, but I don't know if there will be enough food in my quarantine tank for it to survive.  What would I feed a snail that's in quarantine? <Well, since you're not using the tank as a true "quarantine" set up right now, I'd throw some live rock in there for the snail to graze on.> I've always relied on them to help control algae so I never fed anything to them specifically.  I would prefer to get it into a qt if there is something that I will be able to feed it. Is this something that a snail can recover from? Thanks for your help Luke <I'll tell ya, Luke- I've never ceased to be amazed at the re-generative properties of many marine animals. There is no guarantee here-but, if you have the space, and the inclination-it's worth a shot! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Worms, snails and the like: ID Good morning, or still late evening for you on the West coast! <cheers!> My tank may have been taken hostage by some type of a worms that construct hard tube like shell protruding off of my liverock.   <commonly a Vermetid snail (sessile) or Serpulid worm> They don't seem to bother anything and are probably beneficial but they're not leaving me much real estate!   <understood and agreed. Their presence is a sign of high dissolved organics (adequate food to filter feed). Limit this food in the tank and you will limit their growth. Such tanks often lack substantial water changes (25% monthly or better... weekly 10-25%) or good protein skimming (dark daily skimmate)> My Tonga rock has taken on the appearance of a briar patch, with little "thorns" sticking out all over.  Had to remove my Christmas tree rock and not a few off as they were blocking the Christmas trees from coming out.   <wow> Not so concerned that they will damage anything, just want to keep them in check, <understood and agreed. No worries... nutrient control> is there anything that eats them??   <nothing that won't eat your Christmas tree worms too> No corals in this tank so not too concerned about a "reef safe" cure. Also noticed today that one little rogue starfish that has been in the tank for months has now turned into 5.  I believe it to be of the six ray type, no larger than a dime, blue green with small red dot in the center.  Friend or foe?? <dubiously reef safe, can reproduce to plague proportions... also a sign of overfeeding or otherwise high organics in the system. The presence of these types of pest animals indicates that you may be in line for a scary algae bloom or pH crash if left unchecked. Do consider if there is a nutrient export limitation in your system (lack of skimming, water changes, carbon use, etc)> One last thing, I have heard it is uncommon for snails to reproduce in marine aquaria, <true until recently with the popularity of live rock, live sand and refugiums> but have recently, by accident no doubt, somehow managed to come up with literally hundreds of 2 different types of little snails, one is more round with a brown and white shell, the other conical and white.  Both appear to be eating algae and / or detritus, local shop says they'll take some for store credit if they aren't predators.  Any thoughts on ID? <a picture would be necessary here... but do reference the shape of Cerith species (ignore color) for starters. They are likely to be quite safe and desirable> Thanks once again for a great service! Doug Edwardsville, IL <best regards, Anthony>

Re: marine snails-destructive? Hi again Guys, My question has to do with snails that have appeared in my saltwater reef tank. I do have mature Turbo snails to help with cleaning my 65 gallon tank but within the last three weeks these others have appeared and are growing. Their shell comes to a point in the center but they also have gray and white vertical stripes. Would these be immature Turbo snails? Someone told me that they may be a destructive type of snail  spawned from the live rock in the tank. Please help. Thank you, Tim <Hi Tim, Not to worry, there are quite a few varieties of marine snail and most of them are quite harmless. If you are worried about these guys, try checking out marine snails on WetWebMedia.com (type snail into the Google search).  There are photos on the web of the snails you are concerned with.  Most are beneficial algae/detritus eaters.  Craig>

Heliacus Box snail eating invertebrates Hi Gentlemen: <none were available... I'll answer instead> I have been reading your site for months now.  It is a font of helpful information.  Thank all of you for your time and energy in helping to keep these beautiful creatures alive and happy. <thank you kindly> Generally, I find the answers to my questions or concerns among the FAQs and articles, but...We have a 21-gallon tank with about 30 #s of live rock that we are slowly working on as a mini reef.  The only animals in there now are a true Perc, a few margarita and Nassarius snails, and a nice rock with some Parazoanthus gracilis and two species of what I believe are Protopalythoa spp.  Yesterday, I found a snail that appears to be eating (?) the polyps.   <very common. You have a Heliacus sp Box snail.  I could not find a picture of one on WWM (will post one of ours shortly). I did a search on Google at large and found a many site hits ("search Heliacus picture" for image sites.) Here's the first one I followed with an image (please not the color is variable): http://reef.esmartweb.com/polyps.htm> He was attached to one of the yellow polyps and I had to pull him loose.  I searched your site and others, but have not found any identification for him.  The snail is perhaps 1/2 inch in diameter and is disk shaped (i.e., very flat).  He is somewhat variegated in brown and white markings and has a notable spiral to his shell.  (Sorry, I tried to take a photo but my camera is not up to the small scale of the creature!)  I removed him to the sump of my larger aquarium, but now wonder if he might reproduce and become a menace later.  Any help would be appreciated.  Thanks again for all the hours that you guys give to all of us!!!! Greg Fickling Washington, DC <pull the bugger out soon... reproduction is possible. Spot check months after wards... little reason for concern though. And I noticed you are in DC... how about a road trip in May to NY when Bob speaks to Brooklyn or me at the Atlantis Aquarium (20,000 gallon reef tank!)? Rock on my brother. Anthony>

Snail ID- spot on. Heliacus box snail Anthony: Thank you for the rapid response (are you guys chained to the table by the computer or what??).   <Bob has us duct-taped to office chairs and he feeds us applesauce with a slingshot> You were exactly on the ball with the ID!   <yeppers... been there, done that, bought the tee-shirt and cut the sleeves off to make it a muscle-tee (Italian heritage)> It is amazing what information you can get from the web once you know what you're looking for! <agreed... I have often thought that I could learn a new language on the web if I spend just half of my time on linguistics sites rather than browsing picture galleries of 'nekid women. But enough about me... you have another aquarium-related question?> Another interesting aside to my question...I labeled this query "Dangerous Looking" and then realized that I had not included the dangerous looking part of the critter.  The snail that I found looks exactly like the darker versions of some of the Heliacus sp (I'm sure that is what it is), but it also has a "horn" covering its opening.   <all in this genus do> That is what initially worried me about it.   <and it should! That proboscis is the business end of the animal. Venomous in some other gastropods> It looks as if it could puncture the polyps (I was a little wary to pick it up even...please don't tell anyone that I was afraid of a snail <laugh>!!)   <don't worry... we won't even post this for 7-10K people to read on the daily FAQ page tomorrow... or in the archives after that for the tens of thousands of readers in the future to see ;) Ahem... have you ever checked out this fascinating daily page?: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/daily_faqs.htm > Ever seen that?  Thanks again for your help.  G. <hmmm... yes, my friend. I must admit that I have. A few hundred times in fact :) There's a picture of that Heliacus "snout" on page 231 of my "Book of Coral Propagation". Wow... I wish everyone gave me such convenient segues to shamelessly plug my books <G>. With kind regards, Anthony>

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>

Snail physiology, shell-growth questions, school paper Hi. I'm doing a project on snails and I have a question. I was hoping you'd be able to help me with my question because I found your site very helpful. How (exactly) is the calcium absorbed into the snail's system and what are the steps as the snail adds it to the shell? I also need to know:     Do snails need vitamin D in order for the calcium to be absorbed properly, like how a human needs Vitamin D to absorb calcium into its bones? Or is there another hormone, organ or other minerals that help this process? I would greatly appreciate it if you answered my questions since I am greatly in need for answers. Thanks you very much. <Mmm, we are principally concerned with aspects of husbandry of aquatic animals, not so much the matters you're interested in. However, this information is available at large college libraries. Here is a protocol for seeking such:  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/litsrchart.htm Bob Fenner>

Black limpet snail- Scutus sp Hi:  I wonder if you can help me with identification of this new creature in my reef.  The reef is a year old but new things keep popping up.  This guy looks like a leach but is about 4 inches in length and about 2 inches wide and relatively flat.  He comes out at night.  The picture is of poor quality but may help.  He is black and has "frilly" edges.  I blasted him with a gush of water from the turkey baster and he slid back into the reef, so he isn't very shy.  Is he harmless?  Thanks, Jim <your creature is a mollusk of the genus Scutus (almost started to sound like  Dr. Seuss rhyme with the alliteration of 3 of the last 5 words <G>). AKA Black Limpet, is a mostly desirable snail. It may nibble on coral (of course, so do tangs and dwarf angels), but is an otherwise excellent algae eater and breeds well in captivity. Perfect for soft coral tanks... less so for LPS coral displays. Best regards, Anthony>

Olive Snails Hello. I was at the LFS a couple of days ago. They had some sand stirring snails described as Olive Snails. Was told they do a great job of turning over the sand bed. I have a 125 with a deep sand bed, live rock and Caulerpa. System is stable and running for over 1 year. Are these snails ok? Will they harm my sand bed? Thank you, Jeff <Mmm, I hope these are not Olivella biplicata (please insert this name into your search engines for visual verification)... as this is one of the infamous examples of cool/coldwater life being sold into our interest as tropical aquarium species. Not appropriate for warm water systems if so. One in the intertidal off San Diego below. Bob Fenner>

Re: Olive Snails Bob, Thank you for your prompt response. I looked at some images. The general shape is the same but the markings are different. These guys had spots around the shell, not lines. The Purple Olive description indicated they eat Kelp and a "variety of live and decayed material". The ones in the store burrowed into the sand with their tube sticking out, almost like a fighting conch. <Ahh, well, as Billy Shakespeare gets credit for writing, "what's in a name"? These are likely another species of "olive snail". Do ask your dealer for a scientific name, and/or reference (invoice) as to where they were collected> Don't want to have a situation where these guys deplete my sand bed though. By the way, the site is terrific. I have been able to get extensive information on my choice of fish and proper care which has been instrumental to my successful tank. Thank you again, Jeff <A pleasure to realize. Thank you, Bob Fenner>

Marine Snail ID Sorry for the size, I just wanted it to be the best possible images. Here you are. R Bormann Please reply with one or two smaller images. Imbedded to attached as simple jpegs. We cold not open these files for some reason and the piece of mail has huge. Thanks kindly Merry Christmas >Would you help in the identification of this animal? >Merry xmas and a happy new year! >R Bormann <You have an Oyster Drill, Cymatium aquatile (drills holes in oyster et al. bivalve shells for feeding), family Cymathidae... which includes the Triton Snail, Charonia... oh, and the family is now Ranellidae. Bob Fenner>

29G FO Husbandry Season's greetings to all of the WetWebMedia Crew!!! <And thou> Ok, thanks to all of your support I am now on the path that will hopefully bring health and happiness to all of my marine "guests".  I would be grateful for clarification on a couple of questions: (1)  Santa is bringing an Eheim ECCO 2233 (rated for 60G) and a CPR BakPak skimmer for the 29G tank.  Would live rock find enough "food" to remain alive with the implementation of the Eheim and the skimmer?  Would 30lbs still be a reasonable amount? <Yes, and yes> (2)  "Help, my snails have fallen and can't get up!!!"  What's the deal with my turbo snails, are they handicapped?  I keep finding them upside down.  If I don't upright them will they be able to right themselves?  How long can they survive "upside down" before they expire? <Please see WetWebMedia.com re "Marine Snail FAQs"... a few possibilities here. Likely alkalinity anomaly> (3)  Cleaner shrimp and damsels have not developed the relationship I had hoped.  One of the damsels began to show an interest in the scarlet cleaner shrimp.... unfortunately I have discovered it is not the "cleaning" that he is interested in.  The damsel periodically tries to kick the shrimps butt.  Charging, nipping, even swam under his tail and tried to up-end the shrimp one time.  Is my shrimp in danger?  Oh why oh why couldn't I find all you helpful people before the LFS told me to put damsels in my tank? <Give them more time together. Purposely feed the shrimp with a "feeding stick" in a corner, on a daily routine> Thanks for any advice you can share. <Be chatting, Bob Fenner>

Snail health, shrimp nutrition Mr. Fenner thank you for the quick response.  Regarding the questions below: (2) "Help, my snails have fallen and can't get up!!!"  (a) I noticed many references in the "Marine Snail FAQs" to two products (i) B Ionic and (ii) Sea Balance.  I have not been able to locate these products (although I did find Kent Marine products at DrsFostersSmith.com).  Can you point me in the right direction? <These calcium and carbonate products are sold by many e-tailers and retailers. If interested in them you might try the folks listed on the Marine Links page: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marlinks.htm>   (b) I also noticed that you recommend 4 watts of appropriate lighting.  I only have 22 watts of "cool white" on a 29G.  Is the lighting contributing to the snails issues? <Not directly> (3) Cleaner shrimp and damsels have not developed the relationship I had hoped. (a)  What exactly is a "feeding stick"? <A store bought or DIY device (a wood or plastic dowel, length of rigid tubing) for delivering food down to the animals> (b) the scarlet cleaner has been in the tank 5 weeks and has never been target fed.  How can I tell if he is properly nourished and healthy? <If it's out and about, looking like it's trying to eat (other organisms) it is likely hungry> Thank you <You're welcome. Bob Fenner> Rex.merrill

Invert problems... Poisoned Starfish & Snails? I have a 300g system set up as follows: natural seawater,55g sump with chiller, skimmers, return pumps,55g refugium with red mangroves, Caulerpa, sea lettuce, various algae. I have 3 175w 5500k halides supplemented with VHO actinics that are all vented. I have tested nitrites, nitrates, ph, calcium, magnesium, iodide, iodine, strontium, and my alkalinity. The water fluctuates between 77 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit. Now here's the problem, just in the past day I noticed that all my brittle stars and my Nudibranchs have become immobile. They are not dead just stopped moving. Everything else fish and inverts are fine. All the hermits, Cukes, other starfish, and all fish are fine and show no signs of any kind of duress or any other types of abnormal behavior. This is the first time I have ever had this happen and was just wondering if anyone else has or might have any suggestions. PS=Tank has been up for bout year and half all was fine till yesterday. Thanks Bill Huggins <the symptom of sudden starfish immobility is actually rather common (snails too... have you checked your shelled snails? Turbo and Astraea species and the like). It almost always coincides a large water change and often with a new sea salt. Sometimes the change, increase or addition of a new supplement does the same (Magnesium and other metals rank high for OD potential). Osmotic shock is also a candidate... as with adding a large amount of freshwater after a period of slight neglect of evap top off. I'm also somewhat disturbed about you comment "all my Nudibranchs"?! I really hope that you've misused this term and mean some other shelled snails. The are very few Nudibranchs that can realistically and responsibly be kept in captivity. Most of the "bad guys" will starve to death in a matter of months (and many are toxic by the way... Hmmmm?). The few suitable species graze nuisance algae (Derbesia, Bryopsis, etc) and unless you have a hair algae farm in your tank... they will die too. Please tell me that you didn't mean to say "Nudibranch", my friend... or we may have another dimension to your tanks ailment. Else, do consider new sea salt, large water change and salinity shock. Best regards, Anthony

Snails unable to right themselves Hello-- Thank you so much for all these FAQs (my marine creatures would thank you, too, if they could). I have a 90 gallon tank to which I added 20 margarita snails and 20 blue-legged hermits 5 days ago. I have no fish or other creatures, besides whatever is in/on 70 lbs. of live rock, because the tank is only a month old. My ammonia and nitrite levels are 0, pH 8.4, and nitrates are <.5.  My concern is that the snails seem unable to right themselves. They will fall off of the glass or live rock, or simply end up on their backs somehow, and then are unable to turn themselves over. The first few nights I would just leave an upside-down snail as is to see if he could help himself, but I found they don't seem able to turn themselves over. Is this normal? <It is a common problem with Astraea snails. I have never heard of it with Margarita snails, but they could be the same.> Is something wrong? <Not likely> I don't see how a creature could survive very long (in the wild or even in my tank) if it stays stuck upside down, as even the blue-legged hermits seem willing to attack the snails in this position. <My understanding is that Astraea snails are collected in areas with no sand, just rock everywhere.> I would like to add my first fish on 3 days (2 false Perculas), and am hoping that I am not doing something terribly wrong. In addition, I have about 4" of substrate, much of it crushed coral containing some hermit sized shells. <Please do search on www.WetWebMedia.com regarding the use of thick layers of crushed coral. This can be problematic for you in the long run.> Is this enough, or should I find more shells for the hermits? <I would add about 20 or so alternate shells for the hermits.> And could you tell me where I can purchase marine hermit shells as I have been unable to find them. <I would check with your LFS. Eventually they will get in a bad shipment of snails and have plenty of extra shells.> Thanks for your help! --Laura <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Snail and star identity Hello all, I am having no luck finding the identity of a snail the hitchhiked on my rock, as well a sea star.  I have looked at e-tailers and this site with no luck.  Can you give me some more suggestions that can help in the search? If not, I will email you a couple of pictures to see if that will help. Thanks, Kim <hmmm... depends on the local of the rock. Atlantic or Pacific? Seek Humann's references if Atlantic (Reef Creatures)... Pacific will be more challenging/ Perhaps a photo will be best for all. Do look up Asterina species for the sea star by the way. A common incidental. Best regards, Anthony>

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...>

Spider Shell Munchies Hi again <Hello> Would a Lambis attack macroalgae (Halimeda, Penicillus, Caulerpa) or corallines, and what sessile invertebrates would be at risk? <Might eat macro's... Most Strombids are mainly algivores. Though can/do eat bivalves, fish carrion in the wild and culture. Bob Fenner> Thanks

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>

Limpet Attacking a Flame Scallop? Last night I saw a Limpet attached to the bottom of my Flame Scallop and I didn't think anything of it until I looked at my Scallop this afternoon and when I tried to get the Limpet off of my Flame Scallop he felt like he was locked on my Scallop, and I had to actually pry him off. <Yes, it is very difficult to remove a Limpet from any surface. They have an incredible suction power.> My Scallop looks like he was dying. <Agreed> He is shrinking up on the inside and I don't know what is wrong with him. <Please perform a search of Flame Scallops on www.WetWebMedia.com for the reasons.> He is not responding to touch like he used to, his shell does not close right away when he is touched, and when you try to close him it feels like he is almost locked in the open position. I did some research on Limpet's this evening and I didn't like what I read on some of them. <Perhaps do some research on Flame Scallops. I am positive you will not like what you find about them.> Is it possible the Limpet was boring a hole in him and getting ready to eat him? <Nope, your scallop is and has been starving to death.> My scallop was fine for months until now. <No, you just did not notice its duress.> Please give me your suggestions on what could have happened to him <It is starving just like almost all do.> and what his chances of survival are. <Next to none.> Thank you for you great expertise! Connie <Please research your animals and their care prior to all purchases. -Steven Pro>

Attacking Algae With Snails! Greetings and Salutations: <Good afternoon- Scott F. here for you!> I have a 55gal FOWLR (with an eye towards inverts), and a covering of green algae on the glass and substrate.  I'd like 1-2 snails and 1-2 crabs (that stay small) to help out a little.  Which species would you suggest specifically?  I do not want too many or too big of anything, and I expect that they won't solve the problem entirely, just that they pitch in "for the cause". Thanks. <I like to use Strombus, Trochus, and sometimes, Nerite snails. They all do a pretty good job on different types of algae, and many will reproduce readily, so you can share 'em with your friends! Hope this helps.  Scott>

Removing Limpets Hello! How are you? <Not too bad this morning.> I have quite a few keyhole limpets in my tank, and I would like to send some of them to another member of our seahorse group. There were a lot of limpets on the glass of my tank a few days ago, so I thought it would be easy just to swoop them out with a net. Wrong! Every time I even touched them with the net they would lock down with incredible force. I read somewhere that they can lock down with 70 lbs of pressure. Do you have any suggestions on how I could get a few of them out so that I can honor my promise to send some to my co-hobbyists? <If you grab hold of them and twist, you should be able to free up a couple. Removing from the glass is best. It would be very hard to remove them from the rocks without damaging them.> Thanks, Kevin <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Cleaning Crew Hello WWM crew. <Scott F. on the WWM "cleanup crew" tonight> I'm currently looking into getting a cleaning crew for my 180 gallon aquarium that consists of 200 lbs of live rock and 300 lbs of sugar size aragonite and wanted to see what you recommended in terms of crabs and snails, I've been hearing some negative things regarding the blue legged hermit crabs and Astrea snails. Thanks, Jose <Well, there are many possibilities here. I have, and still do, use the supposedly "reef safe" crabs without incident. However, keep in mind that even the "safe" species are, to a certain extent, predatory. They can and do occasionally nibble on your desirable corals, and sometimes, your snails! A lot of times, the "bad guy" types of crabs sneak into your tank by using the same shells as the "good guys" inhabit. This may be why a lot of people give a "bad rap" to the supposedly "reef safe" hermits (and another reason to quarantine/inspect all new arrivals!)! I have had great luck with Trochus, Strombus, Turbo, and Nerite snails myself, and would definitely recommend them as part of your "crew". Also, brittle stars (almost all of them) make great scavengers and detritivores, and you can stock them at the rate of about 1 for every 20 gallons. Just use common sense when selecting your cleanup "crew", and you should be okay. Many retailers offer "packages" of these animals, so you should have no trouble locating them. Have fun and good luck!>

Disappearing Fighting Conch Dear Bob, <Steven Pro in this morning.> I set up a 30 gallon reef tank in April and, after cycling, added a fighting conch along with some other snails in May. Everything was fine, the conch was active and feeding all day long. I went on vacation in August and it had disappeared. I read that fighting conch will often disappear for weeks at a time, so I didn't worry too much. By the way, the other snails, corals and everything else are doing great. After 2 months, I figured it was not going to reappear and bought another one (from a reputable dealer). This one hardly moves at all and I am very concerned about it. <Kind of strange. All snails (and other invertebrates) are very sensitive to salinity shock (rapid changes in salinity). They need to be drip acclimated.> Prior to going on vacation, I also had a very large pod population and when I got back, they, too had disappeared. I figured this was just a natural cycle and that they would be back. They haven't. I don't know if these events are related, and if so what the cause might be. Can you offer any advice? <I would guess that both disappearances are linked to a lack of food. Perhaps they reproduced and grew and ate themselves to starvation. There are many episodes of these kinds of population explosions and crashes.> Thanks, Ed <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Baby Snail ID Sorry to bug you guys, but have had no luck on my own...and if anyone may know... Here are 2 bad pics (blame it on my crappy digital camera, haven't perfected close ups with the 35mm yet) of a snail that started about the size of a bb the first time I noticed it 3-4 weeks ago. It is currently 1cm long and maybe 5mm tall at the top of the shell. <The incredible Mr..... Limpet... Please run this term through our Google search tool on WetWebMedia.com or the Net itself. Bob Fenner> I do have some Astraea and Turbos, but Am thinking this guy came in on a 30lbs piece of LR I got a month ago. No big deal, if y'all are too busy, don't worry about it. Thanks, Emo <Beneficial organisms, no worries>

Lazy Snails I have a 20gal FOWLR which had a green algae problem. I took out the rock and scrubbed it and did a 25% water change. Now my snails or hermits do not move and they fall off the rock. I know they are alive because they do react when I touch them. What do you think the problem is? Should I pull them? All the water parameters are normal. I also have a problem with keeping a sally light foot crab for more than a couple of months. Shaun Nelson <Hi Shawn, Thanks for writing. Your algae comes from excess nutrient, either as a by product of fish and feeding, or in the source or replacement water. Scrubbing the rock does nothing to resolve this excess nutrient and in fact retards the ability of the rock to help process these wastes. Go to WetWebMedia.com and look up "live rock" and also "algae". You don't mention any water parameters other than to say they are "normal". The nutrient for algae is coming from somewhere. Test for ammonia, nitrite (should be zero for these) Nitrate, phosphates, silicates. Don't forget to test the source water. My guess is the snails, sally lightfoot, etc. are reacting to wastes, likely nitrates. They are also sensitive to salinity changes so make sure you aerate, match SG, heat, buffer, test any new water. The idea is to maintain a stable system low in nutrient for algae. 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>

Black Slug or Soft Body Snail, Ruffled Limpet "Snail" Bob, Last night I finally caught this weird looking creature I have mentioned in an earlier e-mail. I have had my tank up and running since August of 2001. Just last week, I got up one morning and saw this flat black looking spot on my LR. As I turned on the lights it started to move to a dark location. For the last few days I was able to see it, but just out of reach without having to mess with to much in the tank. If it has been there for that long nothing has really happened to the livestock. I tried to send a pic but my digital camera is charging. But let me describe it. It is about the size and shape of a quarter, soft bodied, black in color, and with a ruffled tissue around the body.  <you have described the mantle of a Limpet (snail). Many different species, colors and mantle sizes. This black one has been imported commonly> It moves with a muscular foot and the mouth is sort of trunk like with the radula facing down. It also has two antennae and visible eyes. Any suggestions to what has made a home in my tank. Thanks, Javier <possibly a cowry... but I believe it likely is a Limpet. Mat be reef safe, but many are not. Best regards, Anthony>

Mysterious disappearance of snails and other algae eaters Note* if the accomplished aquarist reading this is the same that answers FFExpress questions, you can disregard this as I have sent the same question there. I wanted a few opinions so I sent it to both. The tank that I keep in my dad's oral surgery office is a great success, relaxing patients and staff alike. However, lately it seems that hair algae is the main feature of the tank. I have read for many hours on WWM and FFExpress, which, by the way, provide priceless literature, but have yet to find a solution. Here is what I wrote to FFExpress: I have been fighting a hair algae problem for quite some time (a year) in my 45g reef tank. The only fish are a coral beauty angle and two damsels, sharing the tank with a cleaner shrimp and some soft corals. Nitrates are about 4 and dropping, phosphates 0, pH 8.1, calcium 450. The nitrates have steadily dropped since I upgraded to a remora pro protein skimmer. Lights are a 65w SmartLight and a 20w actinic. Temp runs from 79 to 82 depending on the time of day. <<A quick aside here... do try to keep that more consistent, even if it means bumping up the heater to keep the temperature from swinging back and forth - a steady 82 is better than a three degree swing.>> I have tried adding snails, hermit crabs, emerald crabs, a sea urchin, and a lawnmower blenny to eat the algae, but all of them died within about a month. I would assume that at night, low oxygen levels around the large quantities of hair algae suffocate them - all of the other fish and corals are thriving and besides these bottom feeders, a fish or coral has never died in my tank. <<If the problem were truly low oxygen content in the water, you wouldn't have such selective deaths.>> I read once that SmartLight (half and half actinic and daylight) bulbs sacrifice quality of light output and often promote algae. Have you heard anything of this nature? <<No, but I would say that algae is a very successful life form and needs no special lighting one way or another to thrive. I think you might want to look into phosphate levels in this system - nutrients that would help promote the growth of algae.>> Would the high temperatures (max 84) be killing the snails or is it just lack of oxygen at night? (And yes, high temperature means even lower oxygen levels) <<That is true, but no, I don't think that is what is killing the snails.>> I have set up traps to see if there is a predator that could be eating my bottom feeders, but I found nothing. <<Doesn't mean you don't have one... but again, even if you had the dreaded mantis shrimp in your system, it wouldn't be at all selective about what it ate. Food is food.>> I scrubbed all the live rock when I added the Remora but the algae has all grown back. <<Oh... so you do have a skimmer - this would eliminate the potential for low oxygen as they return a good deal of oxygen to the system.>> Would changing my lighting and/or adding a thermoelectric chiller help? <<I don't think so, but you could reduce the amount of time the lights are on - I assume they're on eight hours?>> Any other suggestions? <<Continued manual removal.>> I have already minimized feeding, used PolyFilters, and tried a 24 hour lit algae refugium. Nothing seems to help. Thanks for your suggestions, any insight would be greatly appreciated. <<Well algae problems are not at all uncommon, and typically due to husbandry issues. I'm not sure the temperature has anything to do with it. If you did at one time overfeed, then it will take some time to gain the upper hand. You may have to clean the rock frequently to get ahead of the algae, but you might also want to consider increasing the circulation in the tank to make it more difficult for the algae to settle down in the first place.>> Thanks again. <<Cheers, J -- >>

Snails Hi guys. I have a question concerning my snails. They can't seem to stay attached to my rock or glass. I have 8 snails and about 3 every day are on their backs on the bottom of tank, and have to be turned over. I have 3 Astreas, which I know these are prone to falling off and can't right themselves, and I have 5 margarita snails. They just keep falling off whatever they are on, what could be the cause of this?  <quite strange... but not likely a snail or water quality issue. More commonly it is a fishy imp or wannabe predator. Hawkfish and wrasses are notorious for knocking snails off the glass. Do consider the fishes in your tank> Getting tired of having to reach into tank and put them back on the rocks. Also I was going to get some phytoplankton for my corals, which brand would you recommend between Kent Marine and Dt's, or are they both good enough?  <reports have shown DTs to be one of the very best. Still... are you willing to whack it in an electric blender for every feeding? And do you even need phyto (gorgonians and Nephtheids). Most popular coral feed on zooplankton... not phyto. Best regards, Anthony> Thanks for help.

Red Moon Snails What do you know about these guys? <Nothing. I have heard of/seen red foot snails.> What do they eat? <Don't know> Will they die in a marine fish tank? <The red foots are supposed to be temperate and are likely to die off over time.> I have one that I bought from a local fish store? Seems to be eating the green algae. Thanks <I would search around looking to ID this creature by scientific name. -Steven Pro> <<Likely coldwater: Polinices sp. RMF>>

Snails? Hello! I have a quick question about snails. I had one show up with some live rock. I am not sure what type it is. I will try and describe it. It is pyramid shaped, but does not have any spirals like a lot of snails. It is probably about 1/3 the size of an Astrea snail. The coloring is very unique. It has a checkerboard pattern. The two colors of the checker board pattern are black and then tan. I noticed one when I first added the rock. Last night there were three. What type are these and are the ok for a reef tank? <These could be limpets but without a picture I am unsure. Do look are here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/gastropo.htm and other places for an ID.> Thanks, Tracy <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Snails Dying Hi Bob, <Steven Pro this morning.> I have a 75 gallon reef with 20 gallon sump. Water quality is good (as indicated by coral appearance) <While watching your corals is necessary, it does not take the place of consistent monitoring with test kits of the major parameters.> but I have a chronic problem. My snails keep dying. Not all at once write after introduction as you would expect from improper acclimation, but one-by-one over a period of months. <Starvation or predation> The snails I use are the Cerith, Nerites, and Turbos. The Turbos seem to last the longest. Since I have Fiji live rock, my fear is that there is a nocturnal snail predator in the tank that I have not been able find, trap, and removed. There are two rather large brittle stars and a unidentified crab <The crab is a likely suspect.> that stay well protected in the live rock. The brittle stars I think are safe but not sure about the crab. So far no signs of grazing on the corals as you might expect from a crab. <Crabs are opportunistic omnivores (they eat anything they come upon).> In addition, there is some sort of creature that appears at night that I have never fully seen. What I do see of it reminds me of an elephant's trunk that is sticking out of the live rock sifting the substrate for food. <Some sort of worm> Kudos if you can ID this one for me. <I would check out Dr. Ron Shimek's website for his key to animal ID. You can find his site on our links page or by searching the net.> This creature is very sensitive to light. Very cool, but still a candidate for a pest. There does seem to be an unusual amount of trash around where this guy lives. Oh yes, one more thing I have a bunch of small nocturnal white snails with brown strips that came with the live rock, any idea what these are. Please let me know what you think. I guess a disease is also a possibility. Thanks in advance. John L. Allen <Best of luck to you. -Steven Pro>

Snail Problems Mr. Bob and friends, <Howdy> If I may, a few questions relating to snails (of the turbo variety...I think). I recently invested into the little critters to help clean up my tank. About a month ago I purchased three (one died day after) and then two weeks ago purchased two more (one died day after). And it looks like this morning the 3 remaining died. A few things about the tank. My heater busted about a month ago.  <no biggie> After discussions with your team, decided to go with the Ebo Jager 200 watt, (because I'm looking to upgrade from a 30 gal to 55 gal). I chatted with a customer service rep (not FFExpress) and was assured the 15" of the 200w was the whole heater and it would fit in my 30 gal. Well currently the 200w is on it's way back to FFExpress and a 100w heater is on it's way to me. Without the heater the tank maintains a steady temp of 68 to 70 degrees, Also last week I added a bio wheel to the tank. The water cleaned up nicely but wondering if the introduction of carbon into the tank might have affected the snails.  <Not likely... would only help> And regarding my local pet store. Some of their tanks are listed in Bob's book as one's to avoid. I didn't have much luck with a few fish I purchased there, but it's the only local store where I can purchase snails and live rock. (since the other store closed). The snails did a great job while they were in the tank and looking to add more, but plan on waiting until the heater arrives, and possible purchasing from FFExpress. Any thoughts on how to better maintain the little critters or what else might of affected them would be greatly appreciated. (all levels are fine and the fish are very active and colorful) Thank you kindly, Dave <some off brand salts have been accused of being hostile to inverts (snails and echinoderms in particular)... any chance that your "Crystal" salt was not Instant Ocean, Tropic Marin or the like? Else, consider putting a Polyfilter in the system to sop up a potential contaminant. Heavy metals are a problem>
Re: snail problems
Mr. Fenner and friends, <cheers> Not sure who to thank for getting back to me. Seems the snails were playing dead?  <osmotic shock> They didn't move for two days (all three). And the morning in question when I checked them, they each had their doors closed and were detached from live rock and glass. (Which lead to the conclusion that I lost all of them.) Of course later in the day after emailing you, I noticed one had moved. Then over the weekend each one had moved slightly, and they started eating again this morning. I think it's connected to the temperature?  <unlikely unless there is a big diff from dealers tank to yours... even still, no problem unless your acclimation was abrupt> The only salt that I've ever used is reef crystals, same category as instant ocean and tropic Marin as you suggested?? <a fine sea salt> thanks for all your help, Dave <best regards, Anthony>

Mexican Turbo Snails Mr. Fenner- I am having trouble keeping Mexican turbo snails alive in my aquarium. I would like to have some because I need some help with a hair algae problem.  <the snails will help but they are only treating the symptom (the algae)... the real problem is nutrient control issues. If you can get your skimmer to produce a full cup of dark skimmate daily, your algae problem can go away in as little as 2 weeks> <they are sensitive to acclimation... must be slow and gentle. After that they are metal sensitive. Some sea salt brands have been known to be harsh on Turbo snails and starfish specifically. What is your "Crystal" sea salt brand? ;) > I have tried about 15 of them in three different batches and they always seem to die within a couple of days. I have lots of other inverts alive and doing well including other types of snails. I read a couple of places that temperatures over 80 may cause problems with these particular snails. My tank runs 80-82 degrees. Could this be it?  <no chance> I have begun to take steps to lower my temp by a few degrees. <OK> I have received some advice from other reefers on a bulletin board. Most of the advice had to do with how to better acclimate them.  <agreed> Can this cause the snails to die several days later?  <easily> For instance, I added three of them on Saturday. All of them moved and ate the first day. Sunday, one of the was dead on his back. Now it is Wednesday. One of the two left is falling off the rocks and will soon be dead it looks. The remaining one is not moving much and I fear it is on the way out. Would they die this slowly if it was the way they were acclimatized? <yes...osmotic shock and the damage finally takes its toll> The way I acclimated this last batch was to float the bag for about 20 minutes to equalize the temp. Then I opened the bag (while it is still floating) and started slowly adding water with a turkey baster. I added a couple of squirts every 5 minutes or so for about 45 minutes. That about doubled the volume of the water I started with. Then I move the snails from the bag to the tank by hand. Should this be sufficient? <actually... it is excellent! No more needed. Do look for metal contamination and use a PolyFilter to clean and test the water> Here are some tank parameters... pH 8.1 Temp 80-82 SG 1.022 Any advice you can give will be much appreciated. Thanks Greg
<best regards, Anthony>

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