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FAQs about Marine Snails 4

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Related FAQs: Marine Snails 1Marine Snails 2Marine Snails 3, 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

Pyramidellid snails 1/24/04 Hello there.  I read your articles and FAQ a lot lately. What a great site, I've learned a great deal. <Hi Loris.  Adam here.  Sorry for the slow reply.  Glad you enjoy WWM!> My question is this. I'm interested in purchasing a Tridacna clam, but my tank has these tiny Pyramidellid snails (at least that what I think they are). The tank is as follows: 90 gallon reef tank 6 months running 3 ocellaris clowns 1 fire Dartfish (eventually: regal blue tang, royal Gramma, mandarin fish, Kaudern's cardinal, Chromis) 1 scarlet skunk cleaner shrimp 1 blood red fire shrimp a number of corals (hard, soft, polyps, etc.) blue leg hermit crabs Nerites snails Everything healthy as can be.  From what I've read, a yellow wrasse ( H. chrysus) will munch on the shrimp, a six-line wrasse will pick on the Dartfish and possibly the clowns. <Both of these fish and others will prey on Pyramidellids.  My strongest recommendations for this job are the four line wrasse (Pseudocheilinus tetrataenia) and the tail spot wrasse (Halichoeres melanurus).  All of these fish will do the job, have great personality and are attractive, but do have two downsides... they all can be a bit aggressive (especially when larger, and especially any Coris) and they are very effective amphipod predators.> Is there anything out there that can control the Pyramidellid snails and be safe with the above mentioned?  Thanks for your time and help.  Loris <Coris wrasses get quite large and aggressive.  The others may be a bit belligerent, but probably worth the risk.  Also, FWIW, if you have never had clams, it is doubtful that these are true Pyramidellids, but positive ID can be quite difficult.  If you can take a very high quality of the operculum of the snails, we may be able to figure it out.  HTH.  Adam>

Snail Tale Hello again Crew...and once again thanks in advance for your awesome advice!   <Scott F. with you today! Glad you enjoy the site!> Some time ago, I latched on to a company that you guys regularly recommend...Indo-Pacific Sea Farms in Hawaii.  They are incredible. <My personal favorite for unique animals!> My question is, I have a 45G FOWLR, and a medium Aquafuge from CPR...both equal about 50 gallons together.  I have about 15 snails of varying types, and I was wondering if this is too many.  I have read many horror stories about snails dying, and causing ammonia spikes.  Usually a dead snail is very promptly devoured by either my many little cleaner crabs (blue and scarlet) but was starting to get concerned. I have about 50 Lbs of LR, and 40 Lbs of LS (between tank and -fuge)  I also have some serious macro algae in the AquaFuge, so the biological should be good.  Still, Should I be concerned? Steve <Well, Steve, it's okay to think about the possibility of problems, but I would not be overly concerned. This number is actually about right, in my opinion, for this sized tank. You are correct in being concerned should some snails die undetected, but in an otherwise healthy tank with a good skimmer and lots of live rock, you should be fine. As always, just keep an eye on things regularly....Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Helmut shell 11/11/03 I was given a helmet shell from the Florida/Cuba area. I really have no need for it. I was wondering if you know of any group I might donate it to. Thank You, Maxine <do look online for a local club in your area my friend. Use a search engine like google.com to do a keyword search with your city name and "marine aquarium club"

Cowries and giant clams Hi, <Howdy> I added a giant clam to my aquarium a week ago.  It seemed to acclimate pretty well, and was generally being left alone by all others in the tank, until today.  This afternoon I found a cowry had latched onto the clams foot. <Foot as at the base? The byssus?> I didn't want to wait around to see if it was just passing by, so I moved it off and relocated the clam to a less vulnerable spot.   The cowry played dead for most of the afternoon, the clam seemed to be ok with the spot I placed it, so no big deal, right?  Now tonight I find the cowry is on the clam again.  This time it's stuck on the clams side.  Does he have the ability to drill through a giant clam shell with his radula?? <Not likely. Cypraeids don't prey on Tridacnids as far as I'm aware>   I have not been able to figure out if he's going to kill my clam or just give up and go away.  Please help. thanks, eve <Very likely the cowry is simply "looking for food" on what it perceives as an "inanimate object". I would not be concerned here. Bob Fenner>

- Dead, Stinky Snail - Hi crew, I noticed one of my turbo snails was "closed up" for a few days. Today I realized it was dead because the flesh was out of the shell. I took it out of the tank and it gave off the FOULEST SMELL  I have ever come across in my life!!!! I almost threw up! It was sooooo bad. Anyway, will this foul my tank in anyway? <Only slightly - if you ran some activated carbon, the smell would go away.> I use live rock as my bio filtration. Should I conduct an unscheduled water change? <Wouldn't hurt... how big is this tank?> Man the smell was so bad I can't seem to shake it! I don't think I will be adding any more turbo snails ever. Thanks. <Cheers, J -- >

Looking for some exporter info for Mexico Bob, I have come across your name a number of times and was hoping you made be able to help.  I am looking for a source in Mexico who is able to export Turbo Snails in large quantities.  Let me know if you can help.  Thanks in advance. Dave <Mmm, do contact Leroy Headlee of G.A.R.F. re this: http://www.garf.org/ Bob Fenner>

Very vague snail question Is there any way to protect snail eggs from predation? <Well, I guess first of all, it would depend on what kind of snail you're talking about....  Are you asking about a freshwater snail?  Pond or aquarium?  Or a saltwater snail?  What kind or species, if you know?  Or is this question a follow up on a previous question/answer?  Although there isn't much information for me to go off here, the easiest answer I can give you is to physically separate the eggs from any predators in the system, either by moving them into another system or by containing them somehow, perhaps.  -Sabrina>

Stomatellid Snail... a Good Guy - 9/20/03 I have your latest invert. book and I found the creature I'm looking for which came with some live rock I bought but it doesn't mention whether it is harmful to soft corals or other reef creatures <hmmm... do check again, my friend: page 202 photo caption (underfoot pic) of Stomatella... "a harmless, nocturnal herbivore to be shared among aquarists." They are very strict herbivores in fact and are completely safe with corals> also I have a crab about the size of a quarter that is a grayish black large front claws and a rough texture doesn't like light in fact they seem quite common in live rock I had them before (good or bad) <most crabs are risky as opportunistic omnivores... I rarely recommend crabs for reef aquaria. I suggest you remove it to another aquarium. Kindly, Anthony>

Exporting Turbo snails from NZ? 8/27/03 Hi, I am considering setting up a small venture exporting the Turbo Snail "Turbo smaragda" to the US aquarium trade, from my country, New Zealand. <very interesting> This snail is relatively unattractive, but as far as my own experience, makes an excellent tank cleaner, and if used, no other cleanup crew is needed. Is this snail currently being used in the US? and if so, what is your opinion of it? <it is not distributed in the US to the best of my knowledge and will not likely be in my opinion. Its inclination for cooler waters and the difficulty of shipping reliably over the distance to the US are big problems here (few flights direct or fast enough). On top of that, it is a high volume and low profit item that would be a precarious endeavor if profit was a goal <G>. Alas, I simply don't see it being a viable candidate> The reason I seek your opinion on this is that prior to beginning export of this species there are a number of legal processes to go through which will strain my finances, so any info or opinions you could give me as to the desirability of this snail (known here locally as the "cats eye" snail) would be greatly appreciated. Cheers, Alastair Little <do reconsider banking on this species my friend. And if you do pursue it, try to ship to smaller but closer markets instead. Doubtful Oz will let them in... but perhaps some of the Asian markets? Best of luck. Anthony>

Bumble Bee Snails - 8/20/03 Dear WWM: My dad's 29 Gallon FOWLR w/ mushrooms has about 5 Bumble bee snails he bought a long time ago. When he put the few corals in the bumblebee snails seem to congregate under the rocks the corals are on. Well he wants them out of his tank.  <How come for why?>  In my 37G's Ecosystem 40 I have grape Caulerpa. <OK>  Do you think if I put the BB Snails in there they would eat the Caulerpa?  <Not likely. Bumble snails are more closely related to the Nassarius snail (in fact, I think they are) They will eat detritus and like foods (small parcels of meat and plant matter) off of sand grains and other surfaces. Not likely to eat macro algae at all.> Thanks, Great Site:  <Thank you - Paul>

Snails I have too many snails, do different varieties in a saltwater reef tank how do I get rid of them, that will not harm my crabs and polyps and mushrooms? <you will have to take them out manually (by hand), Good Luck, IanB>

No tip-toeing with this tulip... boot his butt out!  Predatory snail 8/5/03 Hello WWM folks, <Whassup buttercup> Long time listener, first time caller.   <Excellent... welcome to the Lithium Network! You're on caller...> Ahem.  Many months ago, I added some live rock to the system.  Lo and behold, an interesting hitchhiker came along too, though it appeared innocent enough--a small brown snail with a periscope like proboscis.   <a hitchhiker got into your tank from un-quarantined rock... Nooooo way?! <G> Ahem> The novelty of this creature disappeared in about three minutes, and I soon forgot about it.   <we'll call you Rainman> In fact, I assumed that it died, since I hadn't seen it in many months.  Over the past week I've added several turbo snails to the tank in an effort to control the diatoms.  I noticed that all of a sudden my periscope-wielding hitchhiker reappeared after this addition, and became quite active. I came home from work today, and saw the "innocent" hitchhiker was attached triumphantly over an up-turned (dead) turbo-snail.  Any idea of what this guy is?   <yep... a Tulip snail or the like> I took a picture of him before his execution, which is attached below. <a fine pic> Perhaps he just came upon the turbo snail after it died, but that's really convenient, now isn't it?   <... and OJ didn't do it> By the way, he was a small rascal--2" long at the most. <Tulips are voracious predators. Do compare the shell-shape to the pic on the bottom of page 201 of your NMA RI book> Regards, Chris Stuhlmueller <kindly, Anthony>

Limpets and Coralline Crew: Well after trying to figure out what I can't grow coralline algae in my tank, I think I have finally identified a suspect.  I have a few of those odd little creatures known as limpets (Elephant Snail, Keyhole, etc.) and according to an article by someone named "Steneck" http://academics.smcvt.edu/dfacey/AquaticBiology/Coastal%20Pages/Limpets.htm These things only eat coralline!!   It really makes sense now because I could see little patches of coralline one day, only to wake up the next morning to find them vanished!  All water parameters, Ca, dKH, etc. are all perfect - no phos, no nitrates, etc.  I guess I'll continue to let them battle it out (I refuse to attempt to remove one of the limpets for fear of damaging him) and see who wins - right now, it's no contest!  You agree that this is possible? <Definitely. These are voracious grazers.  Best, Chris>

Mollusk Mania! (Snail Compatibility> Dear WWM Crew, <Scott F. your Crew member this afternoon!> I have a 120 gallon Fish and Invert Tank, well one invert, and that's a 2" Tiger Cowries. I would like to add a conch of some sort, however I am aware that many conches are omnivorous and if given the chance will even eat other snails. Is there a conch that would not eat my Cowries? Thanks in advance ~ Justin <Well, Justin, I'd say that you could be reasonably safe with the rather common, yet ominously named "Fighting Conch", Strombus alatus, which is mainly an herbivore. Do a bit more research on the WWM site to find other suitable species, and don't forget to check out Bob and Anthony's "Reef Invertebrates", which has lots of information on all kinds of Mollusks!> P.S. On a side note I appreciate you guys so much for the work you do in educating marine hobbyists. It's wonderful to have a source of honest reliable information, it seems it is otherwise hard to come by. <Thank you very much for the kind words, Justin! Honest reliable information is what the WWM site is all about! We hope that you continue to enjoy the site and grow in your hobby, while sharing your experiences with others along the way! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Who snacks on baby snails? >I have a 55 gal reef tank, DSB, Aqua C Remora Pro, 45 lbs LR, 194 watts PC lighting. Inhabitants include a coral beauty, percula clown, 2 damsels, a camel shrimp a skunk cleaner shrimp, several mushrooms, button polyps, a lovely blue clam. I also have a gazillion, okay, maybe well over 200 baby snails. These range in size from a dull pencil point to a pencils eraser in size, so I may be looking at several generations. There are 3 adult (1.5 inch) snails whose resemblance they bear. I have about 5 small (3/4 to 1 inch) red leg or similar hermit crabs. Will these hermits snack on these snails and I simply don't have enough to control the population? >>Not that I am aware.  The only animals that I can think of that WOULD eat the snails are triggers and puffers, not exactly appropriate tankmates. >Is there an alternative, other than picking them off by hand? I was thinking of adding some more crabs anyway. I fear that even if a small fraction of these continue to survive and they have babies and their babies have babies and so on...that they will take over the tank, the basement, the whole house!!! >>Egads!  Scary thought, but as I said, the only animals that I believe would eat them aren't good in your tank at all.  Of course, there could be any number of species of Nudibranch or sea star that would do the same, but there could be no guarantee (if I did know specific species) that they'd be safe either.  I wish I could be of more help.  Marina >GASP!!!! Thanks for any info you can provide.

- Snails: No Good for Algae Control? - Dear Bob: <Kevin here> Hello Bob, my name is Keith, I have read your book and many others on saltwater. My problem is there is all this talk about more biology and less technology, but I haven't seen the biology part. <ok...> I have been fighting algae for 2 years and was about ready to give up. I acquired all the technology, but the algae fight was ongoing. then by word of mouth of another aquarist, I bought a Kole Tang 2 days  ago, and diatoms are being biologically ate out of my tank with the help on the algae side by a yellow tang. All this talk of snails, RO/DI which I am using, protein skimming, which is in use, are mostly Technical not biological. <Well, that's arguable; protein skimming is very much a natural process, snails are definitely a biological means of algae control, and we're only supposed to be adding purified water to our tanks anyway.> All Snails do is fall on their  backs and die. <Sounds like an acclimation issue, the fault of hermit crabs, or the unfortunate shell shape of the Caribbean Astrea snails. Snails are very efficient little micro algae controllers.> And all the people selling them in pet stores as a cure for algae and diatoms should be shot. <Well, that wouldn't leave many people in the marine aquarium industry, now, would it? Snails should not be looked at as a "cure" to an algae problem, but as a part of the solution. Algae problems are solved by limiting the incoming nutrients, using the proper lighting, and applying appropriate herbivores. There is no rocket science to algae control. Check out all WetWeb has to offer about algae control and the gazillions of FAQ's on the same subject.  Good luck! -Kevin> Sincerely Keith

Snail??? >Hi, WWM Guys, >>Say hello to one of the girls, Marina here. >Hope you are all doing well today. >>Indeed!  Hope you are well, as well. >I have a question about something that showed up in my tank after introducing a new batch of live rock.  I think it is perhaps a snail as it has two antennae that come out from under it. It has no shell, it is black with a yellow "slit"? in the top that seems to close and disappear sometimes, and only comes out at night.  It has a "skirt" that ruffles around it as it moves around the rock.   >>Nudibranch?  Could be!  Be careful handling these animals, I suggest donning surgical gloves, although, unless you're seeing inexplicable deaths or coral recession, I'd just as soon leave it be. >I am enclosing a couple of pics (the best I could do with my digital) hoping that it may help to identify it.  I'm hoping that it is reef safe, it only seems to cruise around on the rock that it is photographed on. Thanks in advance for your time in answering this. >>Sorry my friend, they came up as text files, no can view.  But it sounds like a Nudibranch, or possibly a sea cucumber by your description.  Best of luck, Thom!  Marina

Olive snail 6/28/03 I recently bought an olive snail from my LFS.  This is the common Lettered Olive Shell.  I was told that it was a scavenger and was good for stirring sand.   <sort of... but a carnivorous scavenger perhaps as so many cowries are. We really need a species ID to be sure> What little I have seen on the web about this snail describes it as a predator.   <agreed/likely> Is this critter a threat to my snails, clams or other fauna? http://www.jaxshells.org/oliva.htm http://www.angelfire.com/sc3/southcarolina0/lettered_olive.htm <a calculated risk that I would not take. Best remitted to fish only aquaria. Anthony>

Fighting conch vs. DSB - Strombus alatus 6/22/03 Hey Gang! shouting "howdy" from Denver! <right back atcha Tex!> Anthony, the LFS sold me a fighting conch after I asked for something to keep a sand bed stirred up. The little conch disappeared under the sand. Did the LFS sell me a good DSB critter or? <perhaps... this Strombus species grows medium large (4-5"... or 10+ cm) and is rather clumsy in the reef. Like all Strombids, they do not fare well in tanks with a lot of rock and need enormous amounts of deep live sand to survive long term (say 100 gall mostly sand 6"+ for lifetime). They eat both algae and meaty fare... rarely if even bother cnidarians and are fairly good at aerating sand> They said it would get about the size of my fist, but would take quite a while for it to get there. <agreed> Also, I got a great deal ($45) on another 70 gallon tank with a double iron stand, while I've been thinking 'bout a lion fish to put in there, I've also been wondering if it would be overkill to put the 70 gallon reef display over the 70 gallon, if I turned it into fuge/sump. <actually sounds cool for stability if the fish 70 is not overfed... and lions are large but infrequent feeders. Could work nicely> Having a great day & hope you are as well! Stormbringer <to you in kind my friend. Anthony>

Snail id: Stomatella species "Paper Shell snail" 6/11/03 Howdy oh Wet ones! <not touching that one with a ten foot pole> I have found a bunch of snails in my tank, a type I have never seen before.  I have not be able to get a good picture of one yet, but I will describe it to you to see if it rings any bells.  It really looks like a land based slug, about 3/4 inch for the biggest one, maybe a little less.  It is a light speckled sandy color.  The strange thing about it is that the shell is only about 1/3 the length of the whole slug looking body, and it matches the body color and pattern pretty closely, so it was hard to even see the shell.  It is a rather flat shell, almost like an abalone shell.   <the last observation is the giveaway... you have a Stomatella snail species. Do use that genus name for a better web search. They are wonderful algae grazing snails... as harmless and reef-safe as it gets> It really looks like it has a great big tail because the shell is so small.  Now looking through the WWM site, I did not see any pictures of a snail that resembles it.  Does it sound like anything you have heard of or seen before?  I just want to make sure it is not a problem.  It cruises around the live rock like any other snail, but ya never no.... Thanks, Paul <just enjoy them and watch that S car Go! Kindly, Anthony

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 STOMAT ELLA 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

Unknown creepy crawly Hi there, <Hello, PF with you today> I don't want to be a nuisance, <No problem> but I had emailed a question this morning and haven't received a response <Well Christina, this is the first time I've seen your email, sorry about the delay> ......you guys are always amazing at responding, so I was a bit worried, or maybe you thought my question was stupid, or maybe you are having problems <I'll keep my and my virus to myself>......I just wanted to make sure that you got it, so I'm going to cut and paste from my sent folder.....I hope to hear from somebody, and again, I apologize if I am being a bother. <Not a bother> Christina -------------------------------------------- Hey guys, I have been searching all over your site, as well as the internet, as well as through my books and I can't figure exactly what I have, I was hoping that you might have a clue..... Last night, I was looking at my tank and something looking like a deep black slug crawled out from under a rock.  It appeared to be eating off of the live rock and not knowing what it was I watched it for about twenty minutes.  I thought it was a Nudibranch, and not wanting something like that in my tank (lots of soft and stonies in there that I am very attached to) I pried it carefully off of the rock and put it into a bag, with water from the tank.  I now have it at work with me. <There are a number of snails that have small shells (Stomatella are the most common ones). Generally they harmless scavengers and algae eaters. If it hasn't done anything to your corals, I'd put it back. > The thing is, when I was getting it off of the rock, the black back opened like a slit to reveal a white shell!  So now I'm rather confused. It also has a white belly, black mouth and antenna, and it has a slug like body with a Nudibranch like frill around it that looks like two animals laid on top of each other.   It is oval in shape, and over an inch long long ways.  Any clue? <see above> I have not added live rock to my tank in over a year, so it must have been living in there for  a long time without causing any noticeable havoc........I would rather be safe than sorry with my tank, but I hate to kill anything, and I live in Ft. Lauderdale, so I was considering putting it in the ocean and giving it a chance to live, but upon reflection, if I don't know what it is then I really don't want to introduce something that could become a problem in our reefs.....seems pretty stupid. <Not to mention illegal. FL already has enough hostile invasive organisms, I think you have an interesting animals that's a nice addition to your tank. > I'm hoping for a little advice on how I can not kill it, but not hurt my reef either. Thank you for taking the time to read this, You guys are all a blessing to aquarists in distress, Christina <Your welcome, and I think you're little hitchhiker would be happy back in your tank, and that it would not hurt anything you have, but actually help control algae and detritus>

Coralline killing snails? <Good morning, PF here today> To start off I just wanted to say that this site has been a big help to me so far. <Me too, stick around long enough and you'll be talked into answering emails too... ; )  > Here is the problem. I am losing coralline algae but I am also getting it too. I have a 220 gallon tank. I have a turboflotor1000 protein skimmer with a rio2100 pump, and an Amiracle maxi-reef 300 and two wavemaker power filters. My lighting is a custom SeaLife power compact 6x96 watts. Water temp at 79 degrees, nitrate, nitrite, ammonia at 0. P.H. at 8.3 Calcium is 480 DKH Phosphates are 0. I have 170 pounds of Fiji and Tonga live rock and 100 pounds of base rock. <All sounds good> The tank has been set up for about 7 months. After I got the typical startup algae bloom I bought an algae control pack. Turbo snails, emerald crabs, blue leg hermit crabs, scarlet leg crabs and star snails. After they did their deed  I got some damsels after it cycled I bought a clown fish and some more damsels. They have been in the tank for 3 months. I was starting to get new coralline algae growth on some of the rocks and I was happy. So as I was at the fish store I saw  a piece of Tonga loaded with coralline and stony corals so I bought it. I acclimated it and let it be. When I woke up the next day the turbo snails had it covered. And most of the coralline was gone. Not a happy camper at this point. So I rechecked all my levels still ok. Went and bought another piece of Tonga put it in and watched everywhere the turbo snails went after they were done the rock was white. I waited until a snail was on a small piece of rock with coralline and let him do his thing for awhile then pulled him off and looked where he was. All of the coralline algae was gone exactly where he was at. I know from asking and reading that snails usually do not eat coralline right? <Ok, here's my take on it. For whatever reason, the coralline on your new pieces is dead and/or dying. The snails are eating it off the rock because they're opportunistic (or maybe it just tastes good). Given that you have coralline growing elsewhere in your system, I wouldn't worry to much. Eventually the rock will be recolonized by the coralline.> I know that I am not crazy because my doctor tells me that I am not  I am only a little disturbed (joking) Did I get some mutant strain of turbo snails? Please please pretty please help me. Kenny B. <Well Kenny, I don't think the snails are killing the coralline, just cleaning it up. Given the coralline growing elsewhere, there should be growth on it again. Have a nice day, PF>

Re: Scutus unguis- Black frilly Limpet Anthony, Thanks for the info, I am going to check it out and see if it is a Scutus unguis.   <all good... indeed a common species and one of the few black/white ones in the trade commonly> I didn't know if it was going to multiply like crazy or something, <a possibility with some species... but not most> so I really didn't want it anywhere near my tank.  I'm probably just over cautious on that point.  I did however find someone with a small 10 gallon tank with rock and some soft corals in there that was willing to give it a go and see what happens, <awesome!> so no, not into the ocean....and no, I do realize that putting anything in the water is bad, guess I was just half asleep on my way to work when the idea occurred. <heehee... no worries <G>. But you did have me sweating a little bit :p> Thanks again for the response, it is very much appreciated.  Have a great day, dear! <and to you as well, my friend. Kindly, Anthony>

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>

Olive Nerites Snails sold to go in garden ponds [Neritina reclivata] Hi, I recently purchased three olive Nerites snails online as the seller said that they are good in freshwater aquariums and are also good for "cleaning" the algae in ponds.  I have an outdoor pond but bring my fish in for the winter.  I treat my fishes holding tank just like a pond, same water, same filter, etc.  I bought these snails strictly for the tank.  So, when these snails were delivered, they gave me five instead of three.  After being placed in the tank, they opened up almost right away and scattered.  Now, it has been about 24 hours and they are not moving much at all.   <they may have been recently collected/imported from an estuary... little or poor acclimation to freshwater perhaps> So as I search on the Internet, the only info that I have really found is that they are brackish water snails.   <true> My question is, are they ok for this type of set up that I have, or am I doing them harm? Thanks so much Ashlee <some aquarists claim to have success with these snails in FW... but they are truly brackish. Take one specimen out and remove it to another vessel, bucket or aquarium and salt the water very slightly and slowly over some days to see if you get a positive response. This Nereid snail does naturally invade freshwaters in Florida. Still... it would not be my first choice for algae control in the FW pond or aquarium with so many other proper FW species available. Best regards, Anthony>

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.>

- Cold Water Snails - <Good morning, JasonC here...> Rob Toonen was in town (Mich - MASM) and mentioned how surprised he was at all of the temperate water species he saw at his stop in Penn. Mostly snails.  I too have see a lot of non tropical animals including Astrea snails (not so steeply sloped shells, brownish/ orange, and usually big - he thought they were from northern west coast), dark colored Nassarius snails (N. Ilyanassa obsoleta?), Moon snails, Catalina Gobies, etc. The articles on dyed corals have been great and I was wondering if you planned (or had) a similar article about temp. water species that are being sold? <As far as I recall, these variances are noted in/among the articles where they occur - snails, sharks, gobies, etc.> I noticed that Drs F & S warns people about the Moon snails they sell, but that is rare (p.s. they haven't bought you guys yet - have they??? ;-). Many people buy stuff like this and it ends up being one more nail in the coffin for their eventual exit from the hobby because they think its a problem with their ability to provide proper care, when in fact they just never had a chance in our 79 + - deg temps. VERY, VERY short sighted on the LFS and E-stores part. <Need to speak up at the stores where you spot such organisms.> WI am thinking about a couple of purchases and was wondering if you had any experiences with the following: I have noticed a "olive" snail (from FL) for sale at a LFS. I have attached a photo. They tend to stay under the sand. Do you have any experience with these? <Not directly.> Gulfview also sells them. I have also seen a snail called a Common Marginellas offered by Florida pets (see photo). Do you have any experience with these? <No.> I am also starting to see references to a "right handed" HC out of FL (Not in Mich yet, but Florida pets carries this, plus a few other e-stores). Any experience with it? <Have seen but not kept.> As far as the N. Ilyanassa obsoleta is concerned, I have noticed a number of people on e-bay selling them and I contacted some of the buyers and they are all very happy with them, some have had them for a year or so and one guy said they were breeding in his tank. The various people selling are from the Carolinas. It would seem that this is a bit too far north for a true tropical species. Have you had any experience with this snail? <No.> And a different question - some web sites have the ability to get you right to the subject of your search. With your search engine, you get to the page but have to then read thru many questions to get to the one referenced in your search which sometimes turns out to have only mentioned your subject in passing. Am I doing something wrong? <No, this is the limit of the free service provided by Google.> Thank you for your time, Tim <Cheers, J -- >

Sudden Nerites Death Syndrome - 4/15/03 Hello WWM crew. <(2010 HAL voice) Good morning Dave. Ha! I always wanted to say that! Just like HAL......Gosh, I am a nerd. Anyway, I'll just say my name is Bob Fenner.....not Paul Mansur Hehehheeee> Before I go any further, I'd like to thank you for the excellent job you guys do....this website has proven to be an invaluable resource for me. <Glad to hear it. That is why we do what we do. Thank you for validating us>  Now onto my question.  I have a couple of Nerites snails, and they appear to be dying slowly, and I'm completely stumped on this one.  I also have a couple keyhole limpets and a bumblebee snail (which are doing fine, I might add), so I really am quite unsure of what could be causing this.  My tank param.s are as follows-am-0, nitrite-0, nitrate-<10ppm, KH-9, CA-380. <Calcium and KH are a little low. Not enough to kill them though. Sounds like they could be starving or already sick. Do you quarantine?> As soon as I put them in the tank, they choose a spot on the wall of the tank and stay there, never moving at all, and eventually die.  Absence of food is no issue, as there are small amounts of filamentous algae for them to graze on, <Hmmmmmm> so I really see no reason for this. <Nor do I if food is not the most obvious issue here. Not totally sure though>  Is there something that Nerites, and snails in general, are sensitive to? <Well, pretty much the same things that other snails, limpets and many invertebrates would be sensitive to. Hard to say what the problem is here but the limpet and the other snails would tip you off if something were severely chemically wrong.> I know they are intolerant of high nitrate levels, <To a degree> but that is about all I know when it comes to these tank janitors. <Well, food issues aside (try adding Nori), medications, chemicals, various predatory animals, parasitic disease, or just plain highly stressed animals are killers.> Hmmmm.... If you could provide any insight here I would really appreciate it!  Oh, btw, the only additions to the tank as far as supplements are concerned are Kent essential elements and C-balance. <Well. insight.... hmmmm.....could be any number of the above I mentioned. Too hard to tell. How long has the tank been set up? I have had some Nerites live for a short time in the beginning months of my setup, but now almost two years later I have had three Nerites in my tank for 5 months no problems. Try adding a sheet of Nori or some type of sheet algae and see what that does, but nothing stands out really. So many possibilities. One piece of insight might be to steer clear of Nerites and try some other algae cleaner like an Astrea, Trochus, margarita. That is about all I can come up with. So sorry for the lack of a definitive answer. Try the various reef site forums as well. Many knowledgeable snail keepers out there> Thanks again, and kudos on the AWESOME website. <Thank you very much. Paul> -Dave Conners

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>

Snail shell shedding >I have a large turbo snail that I noticed this morning had somehow shed its shell but is still feeding. although looking very bizarre it seems fine. why is this? >>So, you're saying that it's basically now a naked snail?  I have *never* seen this...it's not like they go and pick up a new one. >I have a 55 gallon tank with live rock 15 hermits 2 sand-sifting starfish a white spot sea urchin 10 mixed snails some soft coral and mushy rock and an algae blenny. >>Have any of the hermits taken over the Turbo's shell?  What do you mean by "mushy rock"?  Is it a sponge?  I don't think it has *anything* to do with the snail losing its shell, though.  How odd. >Temp is 80 degrees, Ca s 400-429, ph is 8.2-8.4.  thanks, Adam England >>Well, Adam, you've gone and stumped me here.  I've seen Turbos lose their shells, but either something TOOK it, or they're sick and ready to die (if not dead already).  Marina

Predatory snail (Tulip) 3/27/03 First off...awesome site...VERY helpful <thanks kindly> I found this guy in my tank about a week or two ago...didn't get a picture at the time and I was having a hard time identifying him.  Came home tonight and he seems to have killed one of my Astraea snails and is chowing down.   <indeed... this is a predatory snail> He seems to be a cone snail of some kind...just trying to figure out if he should be removed or not. <do remove... but not a cone at all... it appears to be a tulip snail> These aren't great pictures (still trying to figure out how to get a decent shot of something in a fish tank) Thoughts? Thanks very much for you help Joe <this is a hardy snail and great scavenger for fish tanks but is not to be trusted with invertebrates. Best regards, Anthony>

Unknown Snail? Hi Bob and Gang, I browse your web site regularly and I find it very informative. I was wondering if you could tell me what kind of snail (I think) this is? Is it harmful to anything? <No> What does it eat? <Microalgae and life associated with them> Should I leave it in my tank? <Yes> Thanks, John ps. You Can use these pictures if you want to. <Thank you. This is some sort of limpet (as in the incredible Mr.), an Archaeogastropods mollusk. Please see WetWebMedia.com (the Google search tool on the homepage) re. Bob Fenner>

Snacking On Snails! Thanks for all of your help, Scott F. <My pleasure!> I am curious, what other causes could be causing the bleaching and recession for that coral? <So many possibilities, and only theories as to the actual causes. Most bleaching events are thought to be a response to some environmental stress...Really hard to be more specific than that> I wish I could tell you more about the coral, as in name and type.  I do know it is a hard polyp coral and it is a kind of fluorescent green color.  I hope that makes sense. <Hmm...that narrows it down to about 300 species or so...LOL! Probably need a photo to get a real ID on it> As for the snail problem, I have read many things are on this site that say a 6 line wrasse is good.  When I mentioned this to my friend, his first response was to call his fish shop first thing in the morning and ask them to either set aside one for him or order one for him.  Can you tell me a bit more about their temperament as well as if this is a good idea for the snail problem? <In my experience, the Sixline wrasse is a gentle and active fish, that seems to keep itself busy poking and prodding about in the rock structure. It is a known predator of some of the small Pyramidellid snails that attack Tridacna clams, and possibly, some corals. Other types of wrasses that may munch on various snails may include the Halichoeres wrasses, such as the "Yellow Coris" wrasse. Other people employ species of Hawkfishes, which definitely eat snails, but also make short work of desirable hermit crabs, and even other small fishes> And finally, after sending off the original email, I kept searching the site and I found so much great information.  You have quite the amazing and wonderful website here. <Glad that you enjoy it!> Makes me think I could handle a tank of my own (although I want to settle down a little more first, don't want to be moving a reef tank around the country on a regular basis) knowing that if I need help, its all right here and I can ask you all, too.  Great job here, though!  Keep up the good work. <You can do it! Just learn the simple "rules" of reef keeping, employ a healthy dose of patience, and a willingness to adjust your techniques as you go...> Thanks again, Lori <Any time, Lori! Regards, Scott F>

"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>

Nasty Snail Tale Hi, <Hi there, Scott F. here today!> I am writing on behalf of a friend who I don't think realizes just how frustrated and irritated he is.  He has two tanks - both very beautiful and very well kept...except for those little, tiny, apparently irritating snails.  These tanks are both marine one of which is primarily for more aggressive fish that cannot realistically be kept with coral that he would like to keep alive.  The other is a smaller tank (for the time being) used for the coral.  This tank has two coral beauties and many different types of coral including a brain coral and mushrooms among others.  He recently acquired a couple of new pieces of coral and tonight while looking at it as I always do, I noticed a couple of snails.  One was a tube snail (pointed end at one end, snail body at the other) and the other was a spiral-shelled snail.  He then pointed out one of the pieces of coral that seems to be undergoing bleaching as we speak.  He has no doubt these snails are the root of the problem, but when he has asked his fish store how to remedy the situation, they recommended a fish that apparently can either eliminate the snails or eliminate the coral. <Well, the snails may not be causing "bleaching", as this is an environmental response. However, some species of snails can be responsible for munching on polyps. There are a couple of ways to prevent damage caused by the snails. First, you should quarantine newly-arrived corals for a period of time, expressly for the purpose of letting these pests "drop off" from the corals. You can place them on a egg crate platform, and add some "meaty" food, such as krill, Mysis, etc. underneath. This will help "bait" the snails and other pests off of the coral, where they can easily be removed. The other thing that you could do would be to add certain fishes, such as Hawkfish or some wrasses, to the tank, which enjoy preying on snails.> He does not like this iffy-ness and so is plucking these snails as he sees them.  However, I am most concerned as these tanks are a source of great joy except this snail issue seems to really frustrate him.  Please tell me there is a remedy for this and please then tell me what it is.  Of course, these snails were introduced via live rock he purchased from that same fish store.  He figures that store sees enough business that those live rocks are turned over before the store sees the snail problem.  I have now spent the last two hours trying to find a solution and while solutions abound for the freshwater problem, I have found nothing that says what to do for marine. <Well, as mentioned above, I'd study those two ideas...Should do the trick> Ok, done babbling now.  Please help.  As a side note, he has mentioned that friends he shares this interest with have similar problems in their tanks.  Of course, they are purchasing their coral, fish, and live rocks from the same place. Just to add more, case I haven't said enough, I know pH, nitrates, phosphates, silicates, and salinity are where they should be.  He, as well as his friends, vehemently maintain their tanks within appropriate ranges and we are all Oceanographers and Marine Biologists with a tad bit of awareness of what marine environments should be like.  But no matter how many Marine Biologists we ask, the answer is unknown as usually, propagation is desired, not removal.  Or so we are finding when the question is asked. <Well, some types of snails, such as Strombus, Trochus. Astrea, Turbo, etc. are really helpful at eliminating nuisance algae. Other snails, such as the "Box" and Pyramidellid snails, are nasty little guys that damage clams and snails with their habits> Ok, really done babbling now.  Please help. <Well, I hope that I gave you a couple of good ideas here. Good luck! Regards, Scott F> Thanks Lori

Snails & Hermit Shells Hellooooo Crew: After much "Google-ing", I have decided to ask what seems like common beginner questions, but I could not find answers to (so many pages come up when you put in "snails shells grow" or "snail replace shell").  I understand from your site that Hermit Crabs need to acquire a shell from somewhere (right?), but do snails?  Do they grow their shells?  I have a particular snail, either an Astraea or Trochus, and it seems as if his shell is getting bigger, but I don't know if that's because the others are smaller.  The main reason I ask is because I currently have 1 Scarlet Reef Hermit Crab and 3 Dwarf Zebra Hermit Crabs.  If I am going to need to buy shells for them, I wonder if I need shells for any of my snails (including numerous baby inhabitants).  Thanks a million, Rich. < Your hermits will need new larger shells as they grow but the snails grow their own. Cody>

Snails & Hermit Shells Hellooooo Crew: After much "Google-ing", I have decided to ask what seems like common beginner questions, but I could not find answers to (so many pages come up when you put in "snails shells grow" or "snail replace shell").  I understand from your site that Hermit Crabs need to acquire a shell from somewhere (right?), but do snails?   >>Hello.  Yes, hermit crabs do indeed need to acquire new shells as they grow, some species require specific shells.  You should always try to match the type when purchasing new for yours.  And no, snails do not need an outside home "purchase". ;) Do they grow their shells?   >>Yes, a snail, as a mollusk (the family includes bivalves such as clams and cuttlefish), terrestrial or aquatic, grows its own shell. I have a particular snail, either an Astraea or Trochus, and it seems as if his shell is getting bigger, but I don't know if that's because the others are smaller.   >>You can expect them to grow if they're getting good nutrition and water quality. The main reason I ask is because I currently have 1 Scarlet Reef Hermit Crab and 3 Dwarf Zebra Hermit Crabs.  If I am going to need to buy shells for them, I wonder if I need shells for any of my snails (including numerous baby inhabitants).  Thanks a million, Rich. >>No worries, Rich.  The hermits are the ones you'll need to provide a source of new homes for, and be sure to provide enough of and enough variety of (sizes) to avoid thievery amongst crabs.

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

Possible Coralline Orange Lethal Disease? 3/7/03 Greetings crew, <Howdy> I have an Astraea snail who's purple coralline turned bright orange within 24 hours and is now fading to white. <a simple bleaching event. This snail was either caught out of water during some water exchange/drain event, or the water quality (Ca/ALK levels) in the tank have degraded and stressed the corallines> I have not been able to find much info on C.L.O.D. but Am afraid that's what it might be. <rest assured, this is a simple bleaching event. CLOD is rare in the wild, let alone the hobby. See a little bit of info here: http://www.geology.iupui.edu/classes/g130/reefs/IWO_174.htm excerpted: "Reef building algae and coral reef ecology have re-cently been found under attack by a previously unknown disease. Coralline lethal orange disease, known as CLOD, is caused by a bright orange bacterial pathogen that is lethal to the encrusting red algae (corallines) that deposit calcium carbonate on the reefs. These algae cement to-gether sand, dead algae, and other debris to form a hard, stable substrate. CLOD was initially found in 1993 in the Cook Islands and Fiji; by 1994 it had spread to the Solomon Islands and New Guinea; by 1995 it was found over a 6000 km (3600 mi) range of the South Pacific. No one knows whether it has been recently introduced from some obscure location or whether it has been present on the reefs but has now evolved into a more virulent form." Would it be a good idea to remove this snail just to be safe? <not necessary... the problem is not likely the snail at all. Do check your calcium and alkalinity levels... likely one has strayed low. Else, a recent sudden influx of fresh evaporation water near the snail could have stressed the corallines. Still the most common cause is a water change when you leave the reef lights on (bad! for corallines) which bleaches them with the sudden increase in light without the diffusion of water. The snail was perhaps high on the glass unnoticed> Thanks Emerson <best regards, Anthony> What is it? This is yet another one of those what is it questions. I have several times now found a small maybe 1/8th in. long by 1/16th in. wide very slug like thing in my tank. It is almost totally clear except for a small dot in the middle which is it's stomach. I would take a picture of this guy but clear and pictures don't mix. It is very flat also and climbs on my rocks and glass often usually at night. I believe it eats algae.  Any clue as to what it is? Thanks in advance. Shane <Hmm, hard to do from my desk, but I would venture to guess it is either a Nudibranch or perhaps a Trochus grazer, clear pushes it more to Nudibranch. As long as he eats algae, pay him homage! Enjoy!  Craig>

Snails Everywhere! Hi everyone , I am a little concerned about crustaceans that are in my tank. I seem to have small , about a quarter inch, snails and also limpets in my tank , I have soft corals as well as mushrooms and polyps. Are these critters harmful to any of my other occupants . Thanks Rich <Well, Rich- without seeing them for myself, I can only generalize (gulp!)...Most of the commonly encountered snails and limpets are harmless...I'd keep an eye on population levels, and if you start noticing damage or excessive populations, you may need to remove some. The upcoming "Reef Invertebrates" by Bob, Anthony, and Steve Pro may be a big help in identifying these little guys. Take care! Regards, Scott F>

- Skimmer question (plus a few others while I have your attention) - Hi. <Hello, JasonC here...> My protein skimmer (an Aqua-C remora w/ a Rio 800 and a surface skimmer) is not collecting large amounts of gunk -- I'm very lucky to see much of a volume even after a week. <And that worries you why?> The skimmer is on a 29 gallon tank that is lightly stocked and lightly fed (I have a false percula, a lettuce Nudibranch, a small bubble tip anemone, 2 hermit crabs, 3 red collared snails, 3 peppermint shrimp and a number of feather dusters).  I feed small amounts of frozen krill and mysids probably once a week, but have a good amount of copepods/amphipods/algae that seem to satisfy the clown and the other inhabitants. <My friend, this tank is neither large enough, or stocked enough to be pulling out "large" amounts of gunk - I wouldn't worry about it much, skimming out anything is better than nothing, and you've chosen a good skimmer to do it with - no worries.> In addition to the feeding, I have 110 watts of PC over the tank.  The tank has been up for about 2 months now (an upgrade from an older, existing tank) w/ 40 lbs of live rock, 2 and 1/2 inches of live sand and 12 hours of light a day.   I keep getting a lot of algae growth.  I know this is normal in new setups, but it waxes and wanes.  The algae growth indicates to me that there is a buildup of nutrients in the water.  I have tested the water and don't read any nitrates, ammonia or nitrite (I understand that the algae may be using the nitrate as it develops), but think that something must be out of whack. <Did you test for phosphates? Did you consider that nitrate [a nitrogen-laden compound is also a "nutrient" that would be used by algae, perhaps the reason why your tests read zero.> pH remains pretty constant at 8.3 and salinity at 1.023-1.025  Would increasing the size of the pump on the skimmer increase foam production and waste collection? <Only marginally - again, you don't have a very large system or bioload here.> Also, would increasing the depth of the sand bed to 4-6 inches help to cut back on what might be feeding the algae? <Nope.> Finally, one of my collared snails, the largest, has been acting very strangely.  He began extending off of the live rock and today I found that he had fallen off of a rock and quit moving.  I took him off the substrate and placed him on a rock and he hasn't moved since.  I did lift him up to see if he was still alive and he responded with some movement.  What would cause this sudden behavior change and do you think it would be best to remove this snail from the system before he dies and releases toxins into the water as he decomposes? <Charles Darwin in action - natural selection. Most of the snails available for fish tanks really aren't great reef inhabitants, mostly because they tend to fall over, fail to right themselves and die. As for polluting the tank, perhaps you might want to do an experiment and see if your skimmer pulls any more gunk if/when the thing does croak. I much prefer Nassarius snails as they actually keep the sand bed clean, which in turn will likely reduce that source of "nutrients" you are looking for. Algae eating snails rarely keep up with demand.> As always, thanks in advance. Chris F. <Cheers, J -- >

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>

- Mystery Snail - Hey team, <And hello to you, JasonC here...> I have a 77 gal saltwater tank with 22 or so snails of different species of snail's but there is one breed that I cannot find on your site or maybe I am looking in the wrong place. They are called horned snails (at least that is what the LFS called them) and they are aggressive little suckers they seem to be killing my other snails (various Margarites and turbo snail's) I am wondering if you have ever encountered such a species and if so are they very prone to attacking others, they do this by holding the other snail's until they die!! <I am not familiar with a snail by this name, or by this specific description. I'm not sure that you've got their intentions pinned correctly - could be you just have too many snails. Perhaps if you could take a picture of the snail and send it along, we could give it another try. Cheers, J -- >

- Snail ID - Ok here is a picture of him he is on the right and his latest victim on the left on a re-count I have confirmed that I have 14 snails, 4 which are these species. I also seem to have obtained a parasitic problem it seems to be covering my aquarium walls with what looks to me like little almost microscopic centipedes............ (they have on average 14 legs and 2 feelers with a white body, if that helps??) if you could help me with that it would be wonderful!!!! <Well, the snail 'could' be a horned helmet snail, but I'm not 100% sure... as for the microscopic centipedes, I wouldn't be concerned about these. Most likely a type of amphipod or copepod.> Ty,
<Cheers, J -- >

 Mmm, this is a Murex spp., a predaceous snail for sure. Bob F.

- Nassarius Snails - Bad? - Hey crew! <Hi, JasonC here...> Sorry I forgot to ask you in the last email if Nassarius snails are a bad thing for a DSB (mine is 5'' sugar sized Aragamax) since they like to bury themselves in the substrate? <Not at all, in fact - quite recommended.> Or do they stay mostly at the very top of the sand? <Who knows where they go once they vanish - I think all over the place, high and low. No worries though - a work-horse of a substrate cleaner. I love 'em.> thank you again!! <Cheers, J -- >

Limpets Hi everyone , I have a tank full of small copepods that I know are beneficial. <indeed... I myself am Cuckoo for Copepods> But , and their is always a but, I have an unknown crustacean that I want to try to identify . <his name is Joey... Joey bag-O-doughnuts> This thing has a hard outer shell that looks like the hats that the Vietnamese people wear , almost to the letter . <a "Limpet" species... do use that name in a keyword search of the web... few pics posted yet on WWM of this critter. Common though> They are oval in shape , about a quarter inch in length ,have a white coloring and look like a pointed hat . Any ideas ? P.S.  Sorry about the ethnic description , but its the only thing I could think of that looked like these things . My LFS said they were Lipids Rich <no worries... understood and clear. And I don't think Vietnam will be calling for an apology... they love those little hats too. Your silly little "snail" is a Limpet dude. Best regards, Anthony>

Re snails ok trying not to bother you to much. I bought 4 turban snails to get rid of the diatom but I also bought the live rock I was telling you about and a big chunk of it had beautiful purple coloring on it and it seems like the snails  are striping it or is this my imagination. <I'm not aware of any snails that eat coralline...urchins? yes> they are doing a great job on the  diatom think am spelling this right its the bloom you get in the beginning of the startup. <you are correct> sorry for bugging you like this but I was heartbroken when I noticed the purple vanishing. Misty PS thanks for such a fast response. The lights are just bulbs I know how to put them in but I was trying to figure out how to do an inexpensive hood. <Don't fool around with lighting very much. Be sure that everything is made for use around water/humidity and use a ground fault interrupter. 6 years ago when I started my first marine tank, the lighting set a corner of my house on fire! My wife and I  were eating dinner and heard two or three loud pops...almost instantly, fire began shooting up from behind the aquarium. Scared the ^*&*%& out of me! I was not using a ground fault interrupter and had no idea how to put out an electrical fire. Do you know how to put out an electrical fire? I'm all for DIY, but do yourself and your family a favor: Buy the right equipment that was made for use around the aquarium. Otherwise, you are asking for trouble. I am experienced in this area...I know the dark side of aquariums and electricity! Be careful!> How much lighting do I need for live rock to flourish. <Well, many corallines prefer low lighting 2+ watts per gallon. If you want to grow green stuff 3+ watts per gallon> Here is a thought. Can I buy 2 more light hoods that hold the 14 in bulbs and add that to the pre existing light fixture and use the 14 in bulbs in these fixtures? <Just don't overdrive your fixtures. Only use the exact wattage suggested on the fixture else you're asking for a fire> is this enough light <See the above light level suggestions. There is much at WetWebMedia about lighting. David Dowless>

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!>

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