Snail Species (Photos and Descriptions)

Discussion in 'Reef Tanks' started by mudplayerx, Nov 15, 2006.

  1. mudplayerx

    mudplayerx New Member

    Snail Species, their descriptions, and photos
    This listing was created to be a tool in aiding the hobbyist in identifying the various species of commonly encountered marine snails in the aquarium. The listing will initially be alphabetical, but this will obviously change in time as new species are added.
    The photos provided can be used to help identify the species of snail that you have, but please keep in mind that various subspecies can have a wide array of different markings. Regardless the shell shape and mantle should be very similar among subspecies. The photos in this listing are of the most commonly encountered subspecies.
    The descriptions are generally limited to where the snail comes from, the conditions of its habitat, what it eats, and if it is reef safe. Keep in mind that the water conditions provided are for the maximum lifespan of the snail (which should be your goal). They may survive in conditions above or below the range, but at a cost of the length of time that they will live.
    If there are any errors, please contact me via email. Please DO NOT post corrections on this page. My email is mudplayerx@aol.com.
    Please feel free to add information you feel may be helpful. Also feel free to add a species of snail if it is not covered in this listing. Please do the following (include where it is from, its habitat, what it eats, and at least one photo)
    Thanks!
    Mark Werenczuk
  2. mudplayerx

    mudplayerx New Member

    ABALONE (haliotis sp.)
    Family: Haliotidae
    Range: Indo-Pacific
    Size: Up to 3 inches
    Diet: Microalgae, Macroalgae, Bacteria, Diatoms
    Reef Safe: Yes
    Temperature: : 64 - 75ºF
    Specific Gravity: 1.023 - 1.026
    pH: 8.1 - 8.4
    Care Level: Moderate
    Notes
    Requires a 50 gallon or larger tank. Will not tolerate changes in salinity and require higher specific gravity 1.025+ for long-term survival. Make sure that you acclimate them very slowly (2+ hours). Never remove an abalone from the tank glass or live rock, as they will damage themselves before releasing the surface.
  3. mudplayerx

    mudplayerx New Member

    ASTRAEA SNAIL (Lithopoma spp. & Astraea spp.)
    Family: Astraeinae
    Range: Caribbean
    Size: Up to 4 inches, most around 1 inch
    Diet: Microalgae, Macroalgae, Diatoms
    Reef Safe: Yes
    Temperature: : 72 - 78ºF
    Specific Gravity: 1.023 - 1.025
    pH: 8.1 - 8.4
    Care Level: Easy
    Notes
    These snails are identified by their conical shells that may or may not have spikes. They have two large tentacles on each side of their head and numerous smaller, sensory tentacles along each side of the snail.
    Do not stock more than one of these snails per 15-20 gallons of water or they may starve. Supplemental algae can be provided by means dry algae sheets purchased at the supermarket.
  4. mudplayerx

    mudplayerx New Member

    BUMBLE BEE SNAIL (Engina (Pusiostoma) mendicaria)
    Family: Buccinidae
    Range: Indo-Pacific
    Size: Up to ½ inch
    Diet: Omnivore
    Reef Safe: Monitor
    Temperature: : 72 - 78ºF
    Specific Gravity: 1.023 - 1.025
    pH: 8.1 - 8.4
    Care Level: Easy
    Notes
    This snail may not be reef safe. Certain species have been known to cannibalize other snails. All species will consume beneficial worms in the sandbed.
  5. mudplayerx

    mudplayerx New Member

    CERITH SNAIL
    Family: Cerithiidae
    Range: All oceans, but mostly Mexico
    Size: Up to 1½ inches
    Diet: Microalgae, detritus, sediments, possibly cyanobacteria
    Reef Safe: Yes
    Temperature: : 72 - 78ºF
    Specific Gravity: 1.023 - 1.025
    pH: 8.1 - 8.4
    Care Level: Easy
    Notes
    Need a deeper sand bed, but other than that are tolerant of various water conditions. Cerith snails can be found all over the aquarium; across the glass and rocks and underneathe the sand. They can bury themselves and remain hidden for days. Another odd behavior of the cerith is to climb above the waterline of the tank.
  6. mudplayerx

    mudplayerx New Member

    COLLONISTA sp. (Mini-Turbo Snails)
    Family: Turbinidae
    Range: Indo-Pacific
    Size: Up to 1/4"
    Diet: Microalgae, diatoms
    Reef Safe: Yes
    Temperature: : 72 - 78ºF
    Specific Gravity: 1.023 - 1.025
    pH: 8.1 - 8.4
    Care Level: Easy
    Notes
    These snails are almost exclusively introduced into the tank as a hitchhiker on live rock. However, once they become established it is not uncommon for them to breed and multiply; completely eliminating the need for other snails.
    This highly beneficial snail can be easily identified by its very small size and a distinctive pit in its operculum.
    Care must be taken if you have a proliferation of these in your tank. Due to their small size they can become stuck in pump intakes, and can cause auto-topoff systems to get stuck in the "on" position.
  7. mudplayerx

    mudplayerx New Member

    EGG COWRIE (ovula ovum)
    Family: Cypraeidae
    Range: Indo-Pacific
    Size: Up to 3 inches
    Diet: Soft Corals
    Reef Safe: No
    Temperature: : 72 - 78ºF
    Specific Gravity: 1.023 - 1.025
    pH: 8.1 - 8.4
    Care Level: Moderate
    Notes
    Although frequently sold, the egg cowrie is not suitable for most reef tanks. With an exclusive diet of soft corals, the egg cowrie will most likely devour your reef and then slowly starve to death. They can be kept in very large tanks with an abundance of fast-growing soft corals.
    Egg cowries are sometimes prey to starfish, large snails, and large hermit crabs, so care must be taken when kept with these animals.
  8. mudplayerx

    mudplayerx New Member

    MARGARITA SNAIL
    Family: Trochacea
    Range: Eastern Pacific
    Size: Up to ½ inch
    Diet: microalgae, diatoms, cyanobacteria
    Reef Safe: See notes
    Temperature: : Below 70ºF
    Specific Gravity: 1.023 - 1.025
    pH: 8.1 - 8.4
    Care Level: Moderate
    Notes
    The margarita snail is native to cooler waters and will die in a few weeks or months when kept in the average reef tank.
  9. mudplayerx

    mudplayerx New Member

    MEXICAN RED FOOT SNAIL (norrisia norrisii) (Norris Top Shell, Red Foot Moon Snail, or Red Foot Moon Algae Snail)
    Family: Trochidae
    Range: Mexico
    Size: Up to 2"
    Diet: microalgae, macroalgae
    Reef Safe: Yes
    Temperature: : 72 - 78ºF
    Specific Gravity: 1.023 - 1.025
    pH: 8.1 - 8.4
    Care Level: Moderate
    Notes
    This snail needs plenty of algae. A minimum of 20 gallons per snail with an equivalent amount of live rock is probably best. These snails are particularly sensitive to poor water conditions, especially nitrates. They will generally hide and slowly starve in a system with elevated nitrates.
  10. mudplayerx

    mudplayerx New Member

    Nassarius Snail (Nassarius variegatus)
    Family: Nassariidae
    Range: all coastal areas
    Size: Up to 1"
    Diet: Scavengers, mostly meaty foods
    Reef Safe: Yes
    Temperature: : 72 - 78ºF
    Specific Gravity: 1.023 - 1.025
    pH: 8.1 - 8.4
    Care Level: Easy
    Notes
    This snail buries itself in the sand and can remain unseen for days. It is entertaining to watch the snails erupt from the sand when food falls to the bottom of the tank or the sand is disturbed. The nassarius has a very distinct siphonal canal characteristic to its species.
    This snail will not help clean up detritus or eat algae. Hermit crabs will kill and eat this species.
  11. mudplayerx

    mudplayerx New Member

    NERITE SNAIL
    Family: Neritidae
    Range: Caribbean, Pacific Ocean
    Size: Up to 1"
    Diet: microalgae
    Reef Safe: Yes
    Temperature: : 72 - 78ºF
    Specific Gravity: 1.020 - 1.025
    pH: 8.1 - 8.4
    Care Level: Easy
    Notes
    Has a tendency to go above the waterline. This is normal behavior.
  12. mudplayerx

    mudplayerx New Member

    TIGER COWRIE (Cypraea tigris)
    Family: Cypraeidae
    Range: Indo-Pacific
    Size: Up to 4 inches
    Diet: Microalgae, Macroalgae, possibly hair algae
    Reef Safe: Yes
    Temperature: : 72 - 80ºF
    Specific Gravity: 1.023 - 1.026
    pH: 8.0 - 8.3
    Care Level: Easy
    Notes
    These snails require large tanks (100 gallons or more). They grow very large and are prone to knocking over unsecured corals and live rock formations.
    May live 10 years or more if not starved to death as they are in most aquariums. Does not tolerate poor water conditions and is easily damaged by rough tankmates. Otherwise a beautiful and useful creature.
  13. mudplayerx

    mudplayerx New Member

    SUNDIAL SNAIL (Architectonica spp., Heliacus spp.)
    Family: Architectonicidae
    Range: All tropical seas
    Size: Up to 2 inches, but most much smaller
    Diet: Zoanthids
    Reef Safe: No
    Temperature: : 68 - 79ºF
    Specific Gravity: 1.023 - 1.025
    pH: 8.1 - 8.4
    Care Level: Easy
    Notes
    This is a nuisance species and should be eliminated when found. They are typically imported into the tank as hitchhikers on zoanthid colonies (one snail can devour a polyp per night). They can be difficult to spot, as most are tiny and nocturnal.
    The are tan/beige, disc-shaped, and typically have a sundial pattern on their back
  14. mudplayerx

    mudplayerx New Member

    TURBO SNAIL (Mexican Turbo Snail, Turban Snail)
    Family: Turbinidae
    Range: All Seas
    Size: Up to 3 inches
    Diet: Microalgae, Diatoms
    Reef Safe: Yes
    Temperature: : 72 - 82ºF
    Specific Gravity: 1.023 - 1.026
    pH: 8.1 - 8.4
    Care Level: Easy
    Notes
    The turbo snail is by far my favorite grazer. These large snails are among the fastest moving marine snails and have a voracious appetite. Care must be taken not to overstock them. One snail per 20 gallons is recommended. Turbos need plenty of algae, but will not eat hair algae.
    Be sure to secure all corals and pieces of live rock before introducing turbo snails into the tank. Due to the large size and strength of this snail, it has a propensity of knocking things over.
  15. mudplayerx

    mudplayerx New Member

    KEYHOLE LIMPET (Diodora)
    Family: Fissurellidae
    Range: All seas
    Size: Up to 1 inch, most much smaller
    Diet: Microalgae, Diatoms
    Reef Safe: Yes
    Temperature: : 64 - 84ºF
    Specific Gravity: 1.022 - 1.026
    pH: 8.1 - 8.4
    Care Level: Easy
    Notes
    Most limpets are introduced into the tank via live rock. Once established they breed readily. Shortly after being introduced into my tank,literally hundreds could be found all over, from the live rock to the inside of the skimmer. They are nocturnal and hide during the day. They do not traverse the sandbed.
    Water enters underneathe the shell and exits through the "keyhole" at the top of the shell. Limpets eat diatoms and microalgae, thus are a great addition to any tank.
  16. mudplayerx

    mudplayerx New Member

    WORM SNAILS (Vermetid)
    Family: Vermetidae
    Range: All seas
    Size: Up to 3 inches
    Diet: Particulate matter suspended in water
    Reef Safe: Yes
    Temperature: : 64 - 84ºF
    Specific Gravity: 1.023 - 1.026
    pH: 8.1 - 8.4
    Care Level: Easy
    Notes
    If you've ever seen "spider webs" in your reef tank, then you probably have worm snails, or vermetids. These sessile snails adhere to a surface and build a calcareous tube that steadily gets longer and longer as time goes by. From these tubes they secrete a mucous "net" that they use to catch drifting particulate matter.
    While these snails aren't harmful by any means, they can become an unsightly nusiance. They reproduce very quickly in our tanks and can blanket whole areas with their stingy mucous. Removing them is fruitless and can be painful due to the sharp edges of the tubes. Just the other day I had one lodge underneath my fingernail into my flesh.
    The calcareous tubes of the species found in our tanks are mostly purple, brown, or reddish. They form a mound at the base of the tube about 1/8" in diameter. The tube itself extends up to about 1/5". The mucous strands and nets are clear and resemble spider webs.
    If anyone has a way of getting rid of these for good, let me know. Vermetids greatly reduce the efficiency of pumps due to their tendency to grow in the pipes.
  17. mudplayerx

    mudplayerx New Member

    FIGHTING CONCH (Strombus alatus)
    Family: Strombidae
    Range: Caribbean
    Size: Up to 4 inches
    Diet: Microalgae, Macroalgae
    Reef Safe: Yes
    Temperature: : 64 - 75ºF
    Specific Gravity: 1.023 - 1.026
    pH: 8.1 - 8.4
    Care Level: Moderate
    Notes
    The fighting conch needs a large tank (100 gallons or more). It needs the entire sandbed to itself or it will starve to death. This includes hermit crabs, which will kill and eat them.
    A common mistake made by the hobbyist is to buy a juvenile fighting conch initially. The juveniles will crawl on live rock and glass to eat algae, but as they grow upwards to an inch, they no longer leave the sandbed. This is when the conch usually tragically dies of starvation.
    For these reasons, this snail is not suitable for most reef tanks.
  18. scoobs

    scoobs Guest

    Wow awesome thread!
    I am really glad to learn what the KEYHOLE LIMPET (Diodora) is... When i turn my tank lights on i see little ones all over the back of my tank and a see a couple big ones every once in awhile.
  19. big

    big New Member

    WOW, GREAT Thread Mud, Learned a lot!!! Thanks......
  20. alyssia

    alyssia New Member

    Great thread Mud, I have a bunch of those bumblebee snails in my reef. I'm wondering if I should move them to my FOWLR.

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