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FAQs about Marine Snails 5

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Related FAQs: Marine Snails 1Marine Snails 2Marine Snails 3, Marine Snails 4, Snail ID 1 , Snail ID 2, Snail Behavior, Snail Selection, Snail Compatibility , Snail Systems, Snail Feeding, Snail Disease, Snail Reproduction, MollusksSea SlugsAbalone

Astraea Turbo Snail       1/31/15
I have 2 very dead snails that I would like to get the snail out of so I can display the shell. How can I get the "door" open and the snail out with out damaging the shell? I know it is a weird question but I am serious.
Thanks for any help you can give me.
<You can just leave it soaking in a jar w/ a bit of bleach and water... outdoors or inside w/ a lid... for it to rot out.
Bob Fenner>

bumble bee snails; squigglies on shells       1/29/15
Hello WetWebMedia~ My name is ty~ Ok I have some bumble bee snails(been in there forever) I also have Ceriths(that laid eggs, and now i have hundreds. lol) I know this to be unlikely, but Believe it. Anyways The bumble bees shells have become(started with just one) covered with what looks like small white spiral clusters. I Suspect these might be copepod egg masses
<Mmm; not how these crustaceans reproduce... fertilized eggs (from a sperm pac placed on the female by male/s are released to the water or attached to the female body till they hatch>
(i have Tons of copepods in my tank) But in reading about bumble bee snails, I've learned they are "potential parasites carriers".
<Most all snails are; really>
Could that be what they have on their shells?
<All sorts of possibilities; likely small encrusting worms or snail eggs. Look at under a 'scope or magnifying glass, loupe>
I also have Mex Turbos(2) Nassarius(20) Ceriths Adults(8) Cerith babies(possibly 200 lol) None have the white spiral clusters the bumble bees have on them. Any Idea what this might be?
<Mmm; yes; these other snails eggs. See WWM re LynnZ's treatment, IDs:
and the linked files in this series/above>
And should I remove them?
The bumble bees seem to be fine, other then being covered with the white clusters. Thanks for any info you can give me.
<Learn to/use WWM. Bob Fenner>

Wow - beautiful photos!     5/31/12
Hoo-wee Bob, those are some beautiful photos of Cyphoma gibbosum!  It's great that you've got them with and without the mantle as well. >Oh yeah hon... quite common, and easy to photograph. The next one is with: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/Pix%20Of%20The%20Day%20Marine/POTD%20SW%20Arch%20330-360/swpotdarch357.htm  It just reminds me to get going on an article for the site - maybe on (predatory?) Gastropod hitchhikers or a shortened/more condensed version of the snail repro. article.
<An excellent topic!>  

I have a ton of ideas, but I'm hip-deep in stained glass at the moment and will be for the next couple of months.  What I can do however is put together some ideas/outlines for you to peruse and we'll go from there.  Obviously, if you see a need for something, or have a topic in mind, just let me know and I'll veer in that direction.
<This one is likely the next best... but there are several/many more involving Gastropods, Mollusks>
 Take care, and again, those are some terrific photos!
<Thank you. Glad to share. BobF>
Wow - beautiful photos     6/1/12

Hoo-wee Bob, those are some beautiful photos of Cyphoma gibbosum!  It's great that you've got them with and without the mantle as well.
>Oh yeah hon... quite common, and easy to photograph. The next one is with: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/Pix%20Of%20The%20Day%20Marine/POTD%20SW%20Arch%20330-360/swpotdarch357.htm
<<Yep, I saw it - very nice indeed!  Those are such beautiful little animals.>>
 It just reminds me to get going on an article for the site - maybe on (predatory?) Gastropod hitchhikers or a shortened/more condensed version of the snail repro. article.
<An excellent topic!>
<<Good!  I'll get started on it as soon as I come up for air.   What sort of max length should I shoot for?  >1,400-2,200 or so... we can/will split up if longer>Is this something I should take up with Neale?>>>Ah, either of us really. We can/will place soon/er just in WWM if Neale doesn't have room for in CA>
  I have a ton of ideas, but I'm hip-deep in stained glass at the moment and will be for the next couple of months.  What I can do however is put together some ideas/outlines for you to peruse and we'll go from there.  Obviously, if you see a need for something, or have a topic in mind, just let me know and I'll veer in that direction.
<This one is likely the next best... but there are several/many more involving Gastropods, Mollusks>
<<Definitely - I could wear out a keyboard just listing the topics I'd like to cover. -Lynn >>
>I do realize... and really want to encourage your/their production. B>
Take care, and again, those are some terrific photos!
<Thank you. Glad to share. BobF>

Babylonia zeylanica care -- 11/15/11
Hello Crew!
<Hello Kyle!>
I just purchased a couple specimens of Babylonia zeylanica, and though I knew they were meat eating scavengers I was unaware that they may actually be predators!
<Yep, although they're beautiful snails (and primarily scavengers), they can potentially prey on livestock if not supplied with enough food.>
I have WWM to thank for this realization. The curious thing about these beautiful snails is that I can't seem to find any solid specific information on them even using their scientific name. Here are some of my questions about these snails. Are they a threat to other species of snails?
<It's possible. Particularly at risk would be any that might not be doing too well, or are 'on the way out'.>
Are they a threat to a small 2" pincushion urchin?
<I wouldn't think so -- not to a healthy one, anyway.>
Will they eat any algae?
<No -- at least not from what I've heard/read.>
What are they a threat to!?
<Anything ailing, or not able to flee or defend itself. I would treat these snails like any other scavengers (e.g., hermits, crabs, various shrimps, etc.). That is, keep them well fed with meaty bits of marine origin, watch for signs of predation, and remove if/when necessary.>
Thanks for your help I'm ready to return them if they are monsters haha.
<Hehehee, at least they're pretty little monsters! If I were in your shoes, I'd keep them for now and remove if/when necessary.>
<Take care and good luck! Lynn Z>
Query correction, please -- 11/15/11
Hey Bob,
How the heck are you? I have a favor to ask, regarding a query. Can you fix a typo on the "Babylonia zeylanica care - 11/15/11" query that I sent tonight? In the subject line (of all places) I spelled Babylonia as Bablylonia! I saw it right as I hit the send button and cringed. Anyway, I'd love it if you could fix that for me so I don't look like a complete idiot. Thanks a bunch!
Take care,
You are a babe! And I will fix before posting. Cheers and good health. B

Nerite problem 11/1/08 Hello wonderful ambassadors of the hobby. <Hello!> I did my part and looked for an answer first before Emailing a question but I can't seem to find one. <Oh?> I recently bought 50 Nerite snails for my 125 gallon saltwater reef. These are black in color. The first several hours after introduction to the tank they didn't move for the most part. Now, a couple days later, I see a few of them still haven't moved and the rest have moved to the top of the tank and stayed put. Some are out of the water all together, just clinging to the glass. <Ah, pretty normal behaviour for *intertidal* Nerites.> And a bunch more are all bunched together just below the surface in mostly the corners of the tank. They don't seem to move from what I see. But I am assuming they must be alive in order to cling. Will they resume normal behavior in time, or is this their way of telling me something? <It's telling you these aren't Nerites that normally stay under water all the time. In fact, I think most Nerites are intertidal or estuarine, and used to habitats where the environment changes. In any case, not much you can do about this except make sure they can't escape. For what it's worth, my freshwater Nerites do exactly the same thing, particularly during summer when the tank gets too warm.> I know this type does come out of the water from time to time, but for how long? <They will instinctively go into the water to graze when hungry, so provided they can't escape and so dry up on the carpet, I wouldn't worry about them too much.> Any input would be very helpful, Thank you, Jason <Quite likely these Nerites weren't collected from a reef but rather the harbour or rock pools around wherever the collector was working. Cheers, Neale.>

Sessile snail  11/03/08 Hello crew <Hi Lee.> Please help me as I have looked all around the Internet but as yet to find the answer. I have a 18 month old 350ltr reef tank with about 30kg of live rock and about 40kg of live sand and what I have found that is attached to a piece of rock looks like it has made it's self a shell in a spiral shape. Its head is orange in colour and it seems to feed with which I can only describe as a spiders like web that is sucked back into its mouth as and when it wants to. It also appears to have two tentacles. I'm sorry for not having any photos for you to see, but any ideas would be great so I can do some research. <A Vermetid snail (worm snail, a sessile gastropod). Harmless. See http://www.wetwebmedia.com/MolluscPIX/Gastropods/Prosobranch%20PIX/Vermetids/tubesnailidf.htm > Thank you Lee. <Welcome. Marco.>

Big Problem with Tectus niloticus: Likely Osmotic Shock - 5/23/08 Hi, <Hi Petar, Lynn here today.> I need your help from the best crew on the net! <Woo-hoo, thanks!> I have a problem with Tectus niloticus. <I'm sorry to hear that. Those are pretty little Trochus snails.> Last time I put 2 snails in my tank and they never moved, and after few days they started to stink and they were dead. After 15 days I added slowly 1 new Tectus niloticus and tried to acclimatize him 30 minutes to even temperature and salinity. <Thirty minutes is adequate only when the water parameters (salinity, temperature, pH, etc) match very closely. Otherwise, a drip acclimation over several hours is preferable. He was good for first day, but after 4 or 5 days he has just enter to his shelf and die slowly. All other corals, sand anemone and fishes are fine. Even my old Tectus niloticus that I have from beginning was fine and alive (better than ever). What can be the problem? My salinity is 1.026 while salinity in my LFS is 1.022. <Bingo. The problem could easily be osmotic shock stemming from exposure to a rapid change in salinity over too short a period of time. Snails are extremely sensitive and shouldn't be subjected to variations of more than .002 (specific gravity) per day.> BR / Petar <Take care, Lynn>

Pix of Conus...  3/13/07 Hi Bob, <Lucy> I hope this email finds you well! I am trying to track down a high resolution image of a marbled cone shell. <Conus marmoreus?> Do you have the one on your website available - it is for a book to be published in New Zealand - we will be happy to provide a credit/payment. If not, can you suggest where would be the best place to find one? <Oh yes... am sending this note to a few friends... Bob Fenner> Thanks, Lucy McBride

Re:  Was Seahorse Compatibility, now Limpet care   7/6/06 Thank you for getting back to me so fast. <You're welcome.> I am going to wait a while for the seahorses and I am going to research the PC fixtures.  I will probably do a seahorse only tank later, after I gain more experience with saltwater tanks. <A good idea, in the meantime do research/read on this subject.> I want to do the right thing for tank inhabitants so no one is going to be stressed or die. My new question is, I was given a limpet snail that was brought back from the ocean as a hitchhiker on a horseshoe crab shell and a small section of Dictyota verde (I believe).  My niece gave them to me.  I had put them in a small 10 gallon quarantine tank but I have no idea how to care for them.  They all seem to be doing fine but I'm not sure as what the requirements are so that they can thrive. <The verde is going to require moderate lighting to flourish, and the limpet, much like a snail, feeds on algae, bacteria, and diatoms.  Should do well just scavenging in your marine tank. In future queries, please reply with original query.  Does help us sort/file.  James (Salty Dog)>

Orange moon snail ... Polinices are cold water animals... - 2/21/2006 Hi, I have two orange moon snails in my 60 gallon tank. <... you realize these are cold water animals?> This morning when I got up I found on the bottom of the aquarium and it didn't appear to be doing well. There was a shell inside his shell with him (there may have been a blue leg hermit in it) which I removed, but he hasn't been very active, even for a snail, and when he comes out, he looks shriveled up, and doesn't' seem to want to stick to anything. I've removed him from the tank, and isolated him. Is this common. Is it possible that he was injured by the blue leg hermit crab (who is about 1/20 his size).. Thanks, Joseph <Alas there are some ignorant, greedy retailers, etailers that sell these as tropical/compatible animals... they are not... Look the species up on WWM, the Net... they're found off the coast here (San Diego) and quite further to the north... Bob Fenner>

Queen Conch and other Critters Questions  09/13/2005 Hello Bob! <James today> Unlike most aquarist who are into corals and fishes, I am one of those people who keep crabs, shrimps, snails, and mantis shrimps.  My problem is nobody out there seems to know the amount of food that they are supposed to be given and I thought you might be able to help. (1) How often and how much feeding should Dardanus megistos Hermits who are living in shells the size of tennis balls be given?  How about large Mantis Shrimps (3" to 5") and Boxer Crabs (3" to 5")? <I would step up the serving. Molting is caused by the animal growing and obviously they are not.  Are you dosing iodine?  This helps with the molting process.> (2) Unlike my shrimps and smaller crabs, my 4" and 5" shame-faced crabs and mantis have never molted.  Is it possible for crabs and mantis to molt only once a year or not at all? <Yes, as above> (3) Lastly, I have a few Queen Conch but they don't seem to be growing.  I don't know how fast they are supposed to grow.  I've heard that they will only eat stuff that are only ground, but mine will eat stuff that are on the LR and glass.  I would like to supplement feed them, but don't know what to give.  I don't know what those people who aquaculture conch feed their conch, but I was planning to use algae disk. <Most conches will starve to death if not given enough food.  You can try the algae disk or try Nori (freeze dried algae) and feed in greater amounts than you have been.  They also prefer a sandy bottom.  I'll run the question by Mr. Fenner pertaining to "what aquaculture places feed conches.  James (Salty Dog)> Thanks!
Re: Queen Conch and other Critters Questions  09/13/2005
Bob, any idea what aquaculture places feed conches? Thanks,  Salty <Mmm, nope... maybe here: http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&ie=UTF-8&rls=GGLD,GGLD:2004-27,GGLD:en&q=aquaculture+foods+for+conches BobF>
Re: Queen Conch and other Critters Questions  09/13/2005
Thanks James!<You're welcome> I'm not dosing iodine, just calcium.  My Kent Iodine say's 2 drops per 60 gallon.  I'm too scared that it'll kill it. <No worries Gus>  I've been feeding the crabs, hermits, and mantis mostly one cube (per animal) of Ocean Nutrition Formula One a day. I give them one cube of something else every few days just for variety.  They finish everything and seem to be hungry all the time (especially the hermit). The conchs are definitely larger than when I got them 6 months ago, but I'd expect them to double in size.  I'd say they grow about 20%...now at around 1.5". <Gus read here for more info.  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/gastropo.htm James (Salty Dog)>

Nassarius snail question and fuge feeding question 7/4/05 Hi! <<Hello>> I am about to buy some Nassarius snails for the benefit of my sugar fine DSB. I already have 135lbs of Fiji LR in the tank. There are mini brittle stars in the sand and on LR (I like them!). -Are the Nassarius vibex going to cause any trouble with the mini brittle stars (outcompeting them in the system or being eaten by them...)? <<No. N. vibex are benign scavengers>> -Are Nassarius hermaphrodites? <<My quick and dirty research indicates that N. vibex is not hermaphroditic although the sex organs develop late in the maturation cycle. See http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/oup/mollus/2001/00000067/00000001/
art00037;jsessionid=1nthoamjkcyn1.victoria>> -I would like to buy the minimal number to seed the 90 gal display and another batch for the 25 gal fuge and let them reproduce and create a balance... How many of them in each tank do I need to be sure they reproduce? <<A couple of online vendors sell them in lots of 12. You might try 12-24 and put 2/3 in the tank and the balance in the refugium>> To have a good population of pods in a fuge it is recommended to feed the fuge a little bit each day, dropping a bit of fish food there. At least that is what I understood from my readings on the WWM. But to limit the number of bristle worms (which I do not like no matter how beneficial they are...), it's recommended to strictly control nutrients. When I feed the fuge some bristle worms are coming out to feed so it is somehow counterproductive. Any solution to that dilemma? How to reach a balance? << Sorry, I don't know what to tell you about the dilemma/balance issue. I don't know how you could feed the refugium without the bristles partaking. IMO, bristles are a vital part of a thriving system and I wouldn't stress over their presence. Feeding the tank and the refugium is going to feed both the pods and the worms.>> Thanks a lot and sorry for sending that many questions/e-mails today! Dominique <<You're welcome and no worries. Good luck - Ted>>

Flamingo Tongue Snail 6/31/05 Hi, Thanks for the great site.  I can't seem to find the answer to this question; hopefully you can help me out.  I found this beautiful snail yesterday. I know better than to buy with out researching, but the guy said it ate algae and I figured how much harm could a snail be ( I know- stupid me).  It looks just like the picture on your site of the spotted Cyphoma.  When you pick him up, his spots move to the inside of his shell and his back is all off-white colored. The spots come back when he calms down. He has the long black front and I'm pretty sure it is a spotted Cyphoma.  It doesn't eat algae, does it?  Is it poisonous?  The LFS won't take it back, so what should I do with it?  I currently have 2 anemones, a feather duster, a red general starfish, 5 (other) snails, a magenta Dottyback, a velvet damsel, an orange tail damsel, three zebra damsels, a blue damsel, a reef hermit, and a yellow-eye tang (plus about lbs. of live rock).  Will this new snail hurt any of them?  If it doesn't eat algae, what does it eat and where do I get it?  I know I brought this on myself, but I would appreciate any input you could offer.  For my own curiosity, why do his spots move?   Thanks, Stacy <Stacy, I can see why the dealer wouldn't take it back. I'm sure what you have is a Flamingo Tongue Snail.  It won't live long unless you have deep pockets to feed it a diet of gorgonians. I would question the dealer as to why he is selling something like this that won't live.  James (Salty Dog)>

Pods attacking snails? 06/11/05 Dear WWM crew; Hello, and hope you are doing well.  <SUP> I really enjoy your website. <<Thank you :)>>  Two quick questions for you guys.  Today I was looking at my tank and saw two copepods possibly attacking a Cerith snail.  I could see right away that the snail was not dead, it was cruising around eating as usual.  The two copepods were running around and over the snail's shell, and then one of them stopped and lingered for a moment on the snails foot.  The snail didn't seem affected at the time, and its been about three hours since it happened and the snail is still behaving normally.  So my question is, would copepods attack a live snail, or was it not an attack at all and I am just being paranoid?   << Paranoid :)  They are probably just picking at the algae on the shell of the snail or around its base.  No worries. >> Also, how capable are Cerith snails of righting themselves if they end up on their backs somehow?  Could it be fatal, or am I just being paranoid again?   << Paranoid :)  Cerith snails definitely can upright themselves.  It is cool to watch.  The come almost completely out of their shell and grab the sand bed.  Then they spin their shell around to make them upright.  Astrea snails are the common snails you see in stores with a Chinese hat shape that cannot right themselves. So if you do not flip an Astrea snail over it will die >> Thanks in advance. Love, Adam G. Mesa, AZ << Thanks for the support.. EricS >>

Snail lifespan and Algae Hello All: <Hi there> Sorry for the bother. I have a profound hair algae problem and I have a variety of snails as part of my response. Many of the larger snails appear lethargic. I am hopeful it is just their resting period. Can you give me a generalized lifespan for most snails given acceptable water parameters and no predation? My tank characteristics are as follows:  <Most live a few to a handful of years> Nitrites: 0 Nitrates: 0 Ammonia: .025 (normally this is usually 0) Phosphates: 0 Salinity 1.025-1.026 pH 8.3 Calcium 400 2 weekly 5 gallon water changes 2 150w 10K HQI running 3.5 hours (3 months use) 2 80w URI super-actinic bulbs running 12 hours (3 months use) Aqua C EV-120 Skimmer Korallin calcium reactor with ARM media feeding into the skimmer 30g sump with 3" of sand and 20 lbs of LR with minimal chemical filtration through charcoal and filter pad changed monthly 75g display that has been running for 1.2 years with a plenum sand bed  80lbs of LR A mix of 20 snails and 15 Scarlet Hermits Two Montipora capricornis One Montipora digitata One Six Lined Wrasse One Goby The coral growth is wonderful, but as I have said my algae is terrible and I am about to give up the battle (it is UGLY). The tank is exposed to some direct and some indirect natural sun light (1.5-3 hours total of the two) and I have read varying opinions as to the effects on algae growth. Should I block all sun light out? Is it a matter of nutrient competition as I have not stocked the tank with coral due to the algae. I feed the fish once per 2-3 days but I do not like that as part of the nutrient control related to the algae issue. <There are many other avenues to restrict algal proliferation... I would measure for phosphate, increase the percentages of water changed, switch out the ARM media in your calcium reactor... the transient ammonia worries me. May I suggest that your read on WWM re refugiums, DSB's, algal filtration? Bob Fenner>

- Cerith Snail Question - I have a question about one of my Cerith snails (Cerithium vibex, I think maybe litteratum). I have nearly a hundred and although they spend most of their time in the sand, occasionally they'll crawl up on the glass so I can get a good look at them. Today I noticed something very odd about one of them. It appears to have tiny threads protruding from all over it's body. They are pink, and I mean pink pink, and about the size of a human hair. Each strand extend straight out from the shell for about a cm and then splits into a little polyp of several shorter threads. It looks a lot like a star-polyp, only smaller, and, of course, on the shell of a snail. There has to be at least four dozen of these polyps all over this one Cerith. It occurred to me this may just be some kind of growth on the shell and in no way connected to the creature inside, but none of the other snails have even a single polyp, nor do any of the loose shells on the bottom. Also, I can't find this stuff growing anywhere else in the tank, and I've yet to really stock it, so there's nothing obscuring the rock. Anyways, so what do you think?  <I'd agree... this is localized to the one snail, which isn't all that unusual... not sure exactly what the growth is, but sounds like perhaps hydroids. A picture would be worth 1,000 words.>  Thanks, Dekon <Cheers, J -- >

Triton snails Charonia tritonis 25 Jan 2005 G'day Klay here from N.Z. <G'Day here from KY USA, and MacL here with you this fine morning.> I have two tritons (2" long) who must have hitched a ride on coral pieces in one of my garden reef tanks (yay Caulerpa). These little bugger's have been cruisin' around the tank for about 3 months acting like they are algae grazing, recently noticed my cowry + my conchs (3-4" long) upturned and cleaned out, thought what the !?... (Old residents of 1 year+)  <Youch, they eat echinoderms and mollusks so its just going to get worse.>  2 days later found one triton "sucking face" with a large turbo type? (2.5" dia) snail with my 5 cleaner shrimps hovering about (obviously for morsels) 1 hour later second triton joins in. <I feel your pain, but on the other hand isn't it so cool what the ocean produces.>  Next day turbo dude empty with the cleaners picking the scraps when the banded shrimp decides to wander off for a while. Now I worry about the whelks safety, luckily they stay buried until food arrives but it is only a matter of time before they too are targeted  <Definitely they will keep at it until they eat them all.>  Now I haven't found much info on triton keeping/habits but I do understand that they are predators of crown of thorn starfish, does this mean they will attack my "non" crown starfish and the urchins I have, if so will I have to banish them to my anemone tank and feed them local snails, but what else do these little guy's eat?  <They will keep eating the easy prey first then move on to the harder stuff.>  How fast can I get them to grow?  <Depends on too many things like what they eat etc.>  Keeping with the same tank I have placed 4 large pajama /polka dot cardinals from a friends tank in there. There is a breeding pair as noticed egg sack spat out as they were in the bag (bummer) <That's amazing congratulations>  Are these guy's easy to breed?  <I wouldn't say they are easy but they have been bred before. Most people talk about the Banggais breeding more frequently>  Have noticed either flirty or aggressive behavior since been in the tank (3 days ) Aaaaaaaaaaaand on the subject of breeding, 2 of the cleaner shrimps have egg bundles (it's summer down here, and hot!) Still would like to try to raise these guys but know that zoo plankton and phyto plankton are needed, would replacing synthetic salt with natural sea saltwater help in this matter...  <It might help some, the biggest problem is that the babies are microscopically small (tiny in other words) and finding small enough foods is going to be difficult. Ocean water is more likely going to contain it then trying to produce it in some way.>  I live 11km's, 6 ml.s from the rugged unpolluted NZ west coast of the Tasman sea so clean water isn't a problem here. Any info would be soaked up like a spill rag! <Take a look here for some basic information about them. http://www.gastropods.com/4/Shell_394.html and here http://data.acnatsci.org/obis/search2.php/9595 > Cheers Klay. <Klay this is so great. Please let me know how they progress. MacL> 

Pods/Snail Population Issues Greetings. <Hi! Ryan with you today> Thoroughly enjoy your helpful website (and the books that your "crew" have written are amongst the best in my library). <Ah! Great to hear!> Couple of questions about my system  Started in April (2004), it's 125g FOWLR.  pH is 8.2, temp 78 all tests are 0 (ammonia, nitrite, nitrate),  phosphates not readable on the test kit and I use RO/DI H2O.  I use an ETSS reef devil sump/skimmer set-up and don't pull a lot of gunk (feeding flake on an automatic feeder once a day and frozen foods every evening).  Only additives are weekly doses of Kent TechAB Occupants are a black-tipped grouper, a sail fin tang, a pink tail trigger and 3 obnoxious yellow-tail damsels.  Inverts include a blue Linckia, 2 white sand sifting stars and a black brittle star.  Many blue legged crabs and a variety of snails (Astrea, narcissus, a couple of turbots).  There's a couple of sally Lightfoots and an emerald crab hiding out in there as well.  All-in-all a fairly peaceful set-up, relationship-wise. <With this population, you certainly should be pulling a cup a day of gunk from your skimmer.  Try soaking all parts in half RO/DO, half vinegar (the type for washing fruit) and see if performance improves.> Questions are: 1)  I seem to have nearly a hundred baby snails on the glass at night...is this going to be troublesome as I go forward?  Do I need a controlling organism in the tank? <The population will stabilize once you get the nutrient issue resolved.>  2)  I used to have amazing copepod activity, now it seems limited to the refugium (CPR HOB)...although nighttime flashlight inspection does indicate some still exist;  is that an issue or are the 2 sand sifters just keeping the population in check? <Your stars are eating like pigs- And killing perhaps the best algae eater in your tank.  In fact, the amount of algae now uneaten by your pods may have left a niche for these "excess" snails.> 3)  many, many string-line "tubers" for lack of a better work stretch from the live rock, sand bed and even a patch of spaghetti algae that I have...are these worms or dusters and should I be concerned about their proliferation?; they are from 1/2" to almost 4" in length and are nocturnal...sort of look like long skinny peacock feathers; any issue with these organisms? <Wonderful filter-feeders.  Enjoy the diversity.> 4)  I have quite the crop of hair algae in a couple of sections of the tank and clinging to the back-wall, no red or brown algae, just nuisance green hair algae....my lighting is 96 x 4 PC 96 x 2 actinic on from noon to 11:00 PM and 10K white on 1:00 to 10:30 PM...might this be too much for a FOWLR?  I have been using a toothbrush attached to a magnum 350 to suck out the algae as I brush it;  might this be causing more harm than good? <No, the lighting is fine.  You need to get that skimmer to pull the nutrients out the tank before they can break down into "algae-food."  Try what I've recommended above.> As always, thanks for your patience.  This salt-water deal is quite a bit more challenging than my African Cichlids. <It won't be once you're balanced!  Good luck! Ryan> Grunfeld in Detroit

Red Foot Moon Snails Dear crew,             I recently ordered a clean-up crew from live aquaria. In the package were 8 Red foot Moon snails. I have found out from this site and others, that they like a temp right around 74-76. Currently my tank is at 84-86. Could this be the reason for them not wanting to "Stick" to anything? I am forever picking them back up and resticking them. I have already lost two. <... this is a coldwater animal... Norrisia norrisii (put this scientific name in your search engines...). Will not live for long at the temperatures you list> I am getting ready to float a frozen 1 liter bottle to attempt to bring the temp down, but am concerned about how cool I can make it. I still have tropical stuff such as Margarita snails, red tipped hermits, scarlet red leg hermits, yellow polyps, GSP's and a lawnmower blenny. Any Ideas? Tank: 50 Gallon All Glass Filtration: 130 lbs LS 130 lbs LR Fluval 404 w/carbon, chem.-pure, Phos-Zorb, and biomedia Aqua-c Remora 18" HOB w/Maxi jet 1200 and a skim box Readings: Temp=84.1* SG=1.025     NH3=0.5mg/l <Should be zero, zip, nada> NH4=2.0mg/l <Ditto> NO2=0.1-0.5mg/l NO3=10mg/l PH=7.9 shortly after lights on PO4=0.1mg/l CA=375ppm ALK=2.0meq /l Making water for change now, but it still has to mix for a day. Tim Wagner. <Tim, this planet has many differing habitats, micro-habitats... your mix of tropical and temperate marine species is incompatible. You can either get another (chilled) tank, or give up on non-tropical species. Bob Fenner> Re: Red Foot Moon Snails Thanks for the help. I am going to try and find someone with a chilled tank, if they last that long. I just loaded the tank with this clean up crew and the blenny, so I assumed this is the reason for the elevated ammonia. Thanks Tim Wagner. <Thank you... there seems to be a cyclicity in the trade of folks providing, retailers offering cold-water to cool-water organisms (inappropriately) every few years... Let the Buyer Beware (Caveat aquatica inappropriatum?). Cheers, Bob Fenner>

What is this white stuff my snail is releasing? I went up into my room at about 12:30 in the morning, and found that my tank water was looking cloudy, I walked closer to the tank and I saw the snails were spitting out clouds of little white dots or a white milky substance. the one would puff itself up and then spit the cloud of little white dots out the side of him. << Isn't reproduction beautiful? >> the other was just excreting white milky stuff out of the side of him, through the same place I believe. there are 4 grown snails in my 29 gallon tank, and there are sum babies in there that they have had in the past month. I took the snails out and put them in a bucket with water from my tank in fear that what they were spitting out was going to harm everything else in my tank. << Oh no don't do that.  The sperm and eggs being released will either grow, or simply become food for everything else.  I would leave them in there and let them go. >> I tested my ammonia and it was at .025 which my LFS person told me that was pretty normal to have. my 2anemones, 2 percula clownfish, cleaner shrimp and hermit crabs were all acting normal. << Actually I'll bet they were really happy.  That is a lot of food for them. >> is there any explanation for this? are they sick? << This is not only normal, but really good.  I'd be happy to see they are reproducing, and hope they continue to do so. >> <<  Blundell  >>

Vermetid snails taking over - how to control 6/16/04 This question is for Anthony Calfo if available. <in your service> Anthony, I have a 75 Gallon reef with mostly SPS corals.  It is a mature tank with much of the rock/corals I have kept for over 5 years.    <very nice> You mention in your book of coral propagation that Vermetid snails are a "normal" thing.    <yes... inevitable in some quantity> For some reason I have LOTS of these guys.   I can live with the stringy stuff they give off but some of them are a real problem. They seem to like to grow on my Montipora (Cap and Digitata). They do not seem to bother the Acropora as bad.   In fact, I have one that has planted itself on the back of a large purple rimmed Cap I got from a friend. I also had one climbing up a green digitata and in my opinion has "choked" it out. Can I do anything to control these critters and why do they like growing on my corals? Thanks for the help. Andrew <as you might guess, they are not growing from thin air - or water as it were - but rather, they are filter feeders that are flourishing because of excess nutrients. Better nutrient export (or limiting import) will easy check these creatures and force them to wane. If skimmer performance has waned (less than several dark cups of skimmate weekly minimum), or if the water change schedule has been too modest/small all along and caught up with you (20% per month or less), or if feeding habits are sloppy like mine <G> like thawing frozen foods but not decanting the thawed pack juice which is "rocket fuel" for growing nuisance algae, sponges or Vermetids in this case. Some possibilities to consider. But I can reassure you my friend... control the nutrients and you will control their growth. There is no "reef safe predator" on these snails for the aquarium. Anthony>

Orange Mitra Snail 3/28/04 Hey, I was at my LFS and had asked for some Nerita lineata snails, where they suggested that I should get an "orange Mitra Snail" because it was good for digging through DSB's. <more below on the "Mitra snail"... but first let me say that I agree with you. Do pursue the Nerites or small Strombus or Stomatellids instead as much more useful and safer gastropods for this intended purpose> That was their answer to not have any serpents or black brittle stars for eating detritus and poop. The snails are $10.50, and I don't know anything about them, so I didn't get any. <very wise move> But I haven't been able to find anything about them on the web, except for shell collectors. I am not going to buy a snail (or anything) for my tank if I don't know how to support it or its compatibility. So what can you tell me about it? <I cannot say for certain without a scientific name to be sure we are talking about the same animal. Our crew here and our friends/queries like yours are spread all around the world. Common names like "orange Mitra" mean little to nothing at times. I reckon yours is either and Acmaea limpet species (in which case it is not reef safe, like most limpets... in this case eating at least your desirable coralline algae)... or the snail is of the genus Mitra, in which case is not an algae eater a'tall and is of dubious omni-carnivorous nature. I'd avoid both> I have also been unable to sustain the life of any brittle stars, but my tests read fine, and no copper contamination. <there are several sea salts out there that have received some notoriety/legend unexplained (may simply be QC if even true) regarding the stunning/killing of starfish and snails for example. By chance, are you using Crystal Sea salt?> I will check the faq's before I ask anything specific. Thanks, Ben <for what its worth... I strongly favor the long-standing quality and reputation of Tropic Marin or Instant Ocean. Anthony>

Orange Mitra Snail II 3/28/04 thanks, as for the Mitra snail, its appearance suggests that it would be within the genus Mitra by comparison to the images found by the shell merchants (but no resemblance to Rhona Mitra, from Tomb Raider and "the practice). <ha! too bad> However, I will avoid it per your advice. <a safer way, yes> as for the salt. I had initially setup with IO 18 months ago, but thought I got a 'good deal' on a 200gl bucket of Red Sea, which plagued me with Cyano and moss smothering everything. <some salts do seem to have issues with quality control. Public opinion from actual/practical applications is outspoken in some cases> My city is surrounded by farming and we have a high amount of Phosphates in the water which certainly doesn't help. <do consider a de-ionizer when you can... I like Kati/Ani brand (Drs Foster and Smith)> Recently I moved (within the city) and have gone back to IO, as I have finally used up most of the Red Sea. <good to hear IMO> At the time of my starfish demise, there was probably a 50/50 ratio of salt types, not including what would have absorbed into the substrate and rock. <best of luck, my friend. Anthony>

Snail Hunting <Ryan with you today.> This is more of an observation/hint/tip on ridding your tank of Pyram snails before adding clams. <Great>  They, Pyram snails, seem to be attracted to the small Trochus intextus snails I got as part of a reef cleaner package.   As the Trochus move around the live rock at night, the Pyrams crawl onto their shells to possibly feed on these Trochus (I have never seen this but I suppose it happens).   When the lights go off, the Trochus come out and usually have a few Pyrams holding on near the bottom edge of their cone-shaped shell.   I just pick the Trochus out of the tank and rub the Pyrams off with my thumb and put it back.   I do not have clams at this time and the Pyram population has been substantially reduced using this method of hand extraction.   I had a small six-line wrasse in the tank and s/he wasn't making much progress at all (underachiever).   It nibbled at many things on the rock but I never saw it eat one of these snails.   Initially, some of the Trochus snails had a couple dozen tiny Pyrams on their shell.   Now I see one or two now and then. Pyrams are not attracted to any of the other grazer snails I have in the tank just the Hawaiian Trochus!   <Very interesting observation.  I will post for others to read.  Thanks for sharing, Ryan>

Cyano or coralline growth on snails - 2/16/04 I have had my tank for about a month, and 10 snails for about 3 weeks and in the last few days I have noticed that a few of them are developing small red spots on them, <Sounds like it may be Cyanobacteria (blue/green algae) or maybe the beginning of coralline growth (very desirable) although more likely the first of the two> they look similar in shape to the shape of the snails shell and look almost slimy. <Sounds like Cyano> I was just wondering if this was normal or if I need to remove the red spots or even the snails from my tank. <No, just use a soft bristled toothbrush and scrub the algae off the shell> I only have the snails, a few hermit crabs a brittle star fish and a damsel fish in the tank and everything tests fine. <My assumption of the Cyanobacteria algae growth is due to the relative newness of the tank setup. Change water frequently and feed only what is eaten in a few minutes spread out over a few feedings a day. Be sure your replacement water is distilled and R/O'ed quality water. If you don't test for a particular additive then it shouldn't be added. Read through our FAQs on Cyanobacteria here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm Good luck ~Paul> Thanks,

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