At first, these unique looking marine animals appear to be out of B-grade horror film from the 80’s. However, if you can move beyond their strange appearances, you will soon realize how great having these creatures in your tank can be.
I have had my Strombus (or who I affectionately refer to as, Stromb) since I added sand/substrate to my reefing tank. Mainly because these guys love to stir it up and bury themselves in the stuff! Strombus snails are perfect inclusions in tanks with substrate as they do the perfect job of aerating and making sure no nasties build up on the sand.
Other names the Stombus can go by are Fighting Conch, Strawberry Conch, or even a Conch Snail (for obvious reasons). For the sake of simplicity we will refer to these funny creatures as a Strombus.
You will generally find these guys living in the wild regions around Asia and Papua New Guinea. They will move (or hop) around the sand beds in the coral reefs, occasionally climbing onto the live rock to graze on the algae.
Probably the most unusual characteristic of the Strombus is their appearance. Usually housed in a beautiful cone shaped seashell, you will see a long opening running along the side to allow the foot of the Strombus to hop it’s way along the substrate. They have a snout that looks like an elephant trunk pertruding out to graze on any of the foods around the immediate area. But even more peculiar is their beady little eyes that extend out of the shell, and often can be the only part of the Strombus poking out of the sand when it is completely submerged.
As the Strombus is classified as an omnivore, you will see them feeding on the Detritus that has collected in your tank. They will gladly pick up any pieces of food that is missed by the other tank mates, and even feed on algae growing on the live rock. It is this unique (and handy) characteristic of the Strombus that allows it to be classified as one of the Clean Up Crew for many reefers tanks.
Given it’s feeding habits, in smaller tanks it is best to supplement their diet with frozen foods that you would normally feed other fish and invertebrates. This will ensure they receive the necessary nutrients it requires to thrive.
A reason why the Strombus is a popular choice for reefers, is their hardiness and tolerance of fluctuations in water conditions. This means they are perfect for beginners to cut their teeth on caring for new clean up crew mates.
Despite their name as a ‘fighting’ conch, the Strombus is a relatively peaceful creature who will keep to themselves and not disturb or harm any of the other tank mates.
The only time a Strombus will show any sort of aggression is when they are in a confined space with other male Strombus. They may become territorial and fight amongst each other for the space.
As mentioned earlier, the Strombus is relatively tolerant of most water conditions. As long as you maintain a regular schedule of water changes and are always testing your water parameters, you will be assured that your Strombus will be happy and thriving.
One of the parameters that you will need to keep an eye on is the Nitrate levels in your tank. They are known to be sensitive to high nitrate levels and will hide in the substrate if they feel the water is not right for them.
We highly recommend adding a Strombus in your tank as part of the Clean Up Crew. With their peaceful temperament and brilliant abilities to aerate and clean the sand, you won’t be disappointed with housing one of these unique creatures.
Do you have a Strombus in your tank? Let us know how you find caring for one of these guys. What do you like? What do you dislike?