Preferred Snails

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Preferred Snails

Postby BraenDead on Tue Apr 19, 2005 9:00 am

After reading numerous articles and threads, the best choice of snails in a reef tank is still uknown to me so I thought I would get everyone's opinions. I currently only have stomatella snails in the tank but would like to get something which will take care of diatoms and various other thin algae films that develop on the glass. I have 12 Nerite snails coming from Premium Aquatics, but am certainly open to other suggestions.


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Postby Ereefic on Tue Apr 19, 2005 9:01 am

Astreas and Ceirth are good choices. The big Mexican Turbos (I think) are good as well, but can be bulldozers and knock stuff over.
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Postby spbreeder on Tue Apr 19, 2005 9:30 am

Hi Eric, I have cerith and nassarius snails (as well as some other that were hitchhikers). The cerith are always on the glass cleaning algae, while the large nassarius live in the sand and the small ones are either in the sand or on the glass. Together they seem to do a pretty good job.

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Postby Ereefic on Tue Apr 19, 2005 10:04 am

Here is my rundown of what I like and dislike about cleanup critters:

I like the Nassarius snails because they bury in the sand and do a good job at keeping the upper layer stirred up. They cruise the glass usually after lights out. Plus, it's fun to watch them rise from the sand when you feed.

Cerith are good grazers and generally seem to stay on the glass, but sometime cruise the rocks as well.

Astreas spend alot of time on the rocks but cruise the glass too and they seem to have hearty appetites.

If the Mexican Turbos didn't knock stuff over so much, I would say there better than the astreas. They mow down hair algea (hit or miss) like there is no tomorrow.

Fighting conches are nice to as they bury in the sand also and stay on the sandbed and clean it. Never really seen them on the rocks or glass.

Crabs, hmmmmm, they like to kill things (other crabs and snails) but they are always picking away at the rocks. To the point where all the death and carnage is worth it, I don't know.

Tigertail Cucumbers are good to IMO. They don't come out during the day (atleast ours doesn't) but at night it is cruising the sand bed cleaning it up.

Bumble bee snails, waste of money IMO. They seem to die off faster than any of snail. They go all over, but i've spending the money, they gotta last.

These are just the ones that we have used and my thoughts on those.
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Postby BraenDead on Tue Apr 19, 2005 11:26 am

Anyone have any experience with Nerites?

I will add that bumblebee snails are a waste. The die easily, the get covered in corraline and lose their "cool-looking" factor, and they are known to attack/kill other snails in the same tank.

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Postby SilverSurfer on Tue Apr 19, 2005 11:49 am

I've got three mexican big snails and i can see them knocking over stuff, but they do one heck of a job cleaning! Back wall i never have to worry about heater, powerheads everything nice and clean. Though i have been seeing quite a few egg looking things from them, countless actually :?
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Postby meisen on Tue Apr 19, 2005 12:30 pm

Here is my experience with grazers/cleaners to add to what folks above have said:

Nerites: great grazers but tend to get out of the tank if you dont watch them. They spend most of their time on the upper portion of the tank glass

Nassarius/Illynassaria sp.: good detritivores, eat dead stuff as well as uneaten food. The Illynassarias I have kept even eat some algae and diatom if they are hard up.

Ceriths: Great cleaners for both the glass and rock though some species tend to favor one over the other. Will reproduce in the aquarium with favorable conditions

Stomatella: Mostly graze the rock, very rapid movers so they tend to survive crab assaults better than some others do. Good grazers, one of the best IMO. Reproduce well in the aquarium but population will stabilize with food available.

IPSF "Strombus" grazers: Got some of these from TOS and they are great. Tend to stick to cleaning the glass but are constantly working at it. Reproduce easily in the aquarium.

Inland Aquatics "Trocus" grazers: nocturnal, seem to need a lot of food or are just delicate. I only have 1 or 2 of an original 6 purchased last fall.

Colonistas: These are the tiny little "mini turbos" that Ron Shimek from RC raves about. They are great little snails, very hardy (they hitchike in on live rock) and they will reproduce readily. Mostly nocturnal rock grazers. Hard to find outside of other hobbyists and/or getting them in on your rock.

Mexican Turbos, Mexican Ceriths, California Red Foot Turbos, Bqaja Astreas or Turbans etc (any snail from Baja or California): Not a good long term solution. These guys typically dont last long b/c their home waters are quite cool...usually in the 60s or very low 70s, not 78 plus. The elevated heat seems to kill them all within 2-5 months IME. As noted above, they also eat a lot so you will need to supplement them if the mainstay of the algae goes away. Plus many of these critters have a super-strong foot and can pry even well-established frags off in their travels.

Carribean Astreas: these get big too (up to 3") and can become a problem like turbos however their growth is very slow in the aquarium so if you get small ones, they should be ok for a long time. Very active, day and night.

Abalones, Limpets etc:
I dont have much experience with abalones except the California ones. These are giant coldwater snails so I would stay away. I dont know if the ones in the trade are the same species/source or if they are tropical. Anyone ever have one?

I used to have a great keyhole limpet that hh in on my live rock. I know that some folks have had them eat softies but this one seemed to behave. Died after a year or so for unknown reasons.

Bumble Bees: I have had three in my reef for years, as Eric said they are not really grazers but carnivores so likely that they are eating other snails in the tank. I have had them so long, I dont want to part with them.
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Postby Mark on Tue Apr 19, 2005 6:34 pm

Not much to add, great thread :)

Turbos: I'd follow Eric. Good algae eaters, I had to get a couple to finish off the last of some algae I had as the other's wouldn't do it ... but bulldozers and I moved them to another tank.

Astreas ... great with a barebottom, not always good at righting themselves with substrate. Bump stuff around when larger, but take a while to get there and IMO a bit less problematic than turbos.

Ceriths ... like them. As stated above.

Margaritas, Nerites ... never lasted very long for me.
Trochus, only had a few but they seem quite good too.

Stomatellas do seem to be eaten by Emeralds ... but along with IPSF's strombus grazers great little snails that reproduce well.

Nassarius, while neat I guess I'm not really in love with them. Do consume leftover food, but I have little doubt that wouldn't get eaten anyway [IMO].

Re: Emerald crabs ... Having had bubble algae problems, I found Emeralds to be darn useful in that regard. They're not really the greatest reef inhabitants, as they do seem to eat stomatellas and other small easy to catch creatures that we also want in our tank. I'm ready to be done with mine though I found them indispensible for a whille.
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Postby boonbee on Wed Apr 27, 2005 11:07 am

I also like conchs for grazing along the sand. I think I have fighting conchs. People who don't know aquariums like watching them too. Nancy
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nassaurius snails can bite

Postby stevenliu on Wed Apr 27, 2005 10:18 pm

I read your posting about snails. I have various snails in my tank including cerite, margarite, turbo, nassarious, etc, Among them, I'd say the hardiest is the Mexican turbo. My aquarium once boiled to 120F with a heater problem. All my inverts died except the turbo snails and the redleg hermits. And the most aggresive of them all is the nassarious. I've witnessed my dwarf blue hermit crab being eating by them while they are in the process of switching shells (though I saved the poor little thing). So if you have little crustacians you don't want to loose, you better keep an eye on the nassarius.
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