Sand Aerating Snails

Discussion in 'Invertebrates' started by Helga, 11 Sep 2012.

  1. Helga

    Helga

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    A discussion on an active thread whether or not snails would "clean" the substrate lead me to this thread.

    I have a few Nasser snails (Nassarius spp) in my tank. They are burrowed under the substrate during the day. I added them to my tank about 15 month ago and in the beginning they used to come out as soon as I fed the fish. Now they hardly ever come out. The only way I know where they are is by there little siphon sticking out through the sand.

    A question to maybe @RiaanP: do they actually clean the sand?, or do they just aerate the sand as they move along? The fact that they dont pop up as regularly.... does that mean that they get enough food from the sand and dont need to come out as often. The only time I see them during the day is when I tie Nori to a piece of liverock for the Tangs.

    I have noticed them spawning on the glass after lightsout.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 26 Nov 2015
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  3. carlosdeandrade

    carlosdeandrade

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  4. ScottK

    ScottK

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    According to liveaquaria.com nassarius snails are detritus and waste eaters.
     
    Last edited: 11 Sep 2012
  5. RiaanP

    RiaanP Moderator

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    Nassarius are more scavengers. Anything dead in the tank and they will be there very quickly. Depending on how hungry they are, they will pop out. Mine is in the remote DSB. So not too many big flake pieces or other food do get there. I feed them once a week and they still pop out. They do move that bit of sand where they hide. I have a Babelonion Whelk as well, a lot bigger than the nassarius, but exactly same behaviour.

    Snails like Cerithiidae and Strombidae doe clean the substrate. Strombidae have a elephant like trunk that the move around eating small things. But be carefull with Strombidae. They can stab you or cut you with their operculum. (Just a fancy name for the flap part). The opercullum is extremely sharp at the back session and is about the only snail species that can defend themselves against octopus attacks. You are warned.

    Never seen Cerithiidae at any LFS. Sometimes Strombidae do come in. Both are very difficult to collect as they too do hide under the sand and you easily miss them in the rock pools.
     
    Last edited: 11 Sep 2012
  6. RiaanP

    RiaanP Moderator

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    Also its easy to confuse Strombidae with Conus snails. BTW, Conus is poisonious, so again, handle with care. And yeah, I do have one small Conus in my tank, it feed on the worms in my DSB, not ideal but its something else.

    And Cerithiidae with some Murricidae and Bursidae, both are predators mostly on other snails. So unless you know what you got in front of you, rather leave them alone.
     
  7. Helga

    Helga Thread Starter

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    Riaan,
    When I bought mine they definitely said Nassarius. Some of mine is a bit bigger than the others and have like a mottled/spotted shell. They told me its Tiger Nassarius. Is there such a thing?
     
  8. carlosdeandrade

    carlosdeandrade

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    Great info @RiaanP, I guessed I had a Strombidae, but you affirmed that, seen its hard operculum and snout like mouth. Here is a pic (blurred).


    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 26 Nov 2015
  9. RiaanP

    RiaanP Moderator

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    That is a Strombidae.

    How to ID them, See the little round white ball in the front, that is one eye. The shell makes a curve around this eye stalk. The other eye comes out at the round opening at the very end.

    The overall shape of the shell is very much like a cone. But the cone do not have that wave in the shell rim for the eye. The opening is also a bit more flared open compared to a cone.
     
  10. RiaanP

    RiaanP Moderator

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    common names are difficult to go by. But heard that nemae before. Think its the same as I got. All the LFS got them in at the same time about 3 to 4 months ago. Actually one wholesaler brought loads in and distributed them to all the shops. Basically why you would see the same type of fish available in shops does not matter Pretoria, Joburg, Durban or Cape Town. All of them got the same snails in at the same time.

    Nassarius snails are fast moving. Dump a piece of hake into the tank and they react within 5 seconds. Within a minute they will find the food. And that is why some people mistaken them for killers. Any fish that dies, and they are on that fish so quick. You walk in and "OH MY!!!!" my fish was still ok this morning. He ate this morning, now the snails are eating him. Then the reefer dump the snails in his DSB or gives them away. Maybe even flushing them. But actually they are the best cleanup crew available.
     
  11. RiaanP

    RiaanP Moderator

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    My big Strombidae

    [​IMG]

    See the eyes, one at the front, another under the wave opening. and the trunk like feeder
     
    Last edited: 11 Sep 2012
  12. RiaanP

    RiaanP Moderator

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    Babylonia Whelks

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]



    [​IMG]
     
  13. Helga

    Helga Thread Starter

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    i got my snails about 2 years ago. So theyve grown quite big now. Thanks for the info.
     
  14. Helga

    Helga Thread Starter

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    Thats exactly what my bigger snails look like!
     
  15. RiaanP

    RiaanP Moderator

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    yip
    these big whelks came in about 2 years ago. I got my first 2 in 2008. And around 2 years ago I got another one. Wish they come in again.

    Does yours ever go on to the rockwork? Mine cruises only on the sand, sometimes up the glass. Never on the rocks.
     
  16. Helga

    Helga Thread Starter

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    No i've never seen them go onto the rocks! They're always under the sand and come out only occasionly. Mostly after lights out. Sometimes travel up the glass right to the top and then fall down once they reach the air. They spawn on the glass as well. I have About 6 of them.
     
    Last edited: 11 Sep 2012
  17. carlosdeandrade

    carlosdeandrade

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    Nice pics and info guys, I think the whole group of Mollusca is particularly very scarce in the reefers world because we never know what we are getting. Thanks @RiaanP.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 26 Nov 2015
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