View Full Version : Mollusk of the Week: Strombus gigas, the Queen Conch

02/19/2001, 10:57 AM
Every week I will be posting a new mollusk for discussion. Please post everything you know about this week's mollusk, to include pics, care and feeding habits, optimal environment, common names, and anything else you can think of.

This week's mollusk is the Queen Conch, Strombus gigas.

This large caribbean snail is an excellent sand cleaner, and requires a large area of sand to clean in the home aquarium to thrive. They are known to eat red slime algae. They grow large enough that only juveniles are suited for the home aquarium.

In Germany, the Queen conch is known as the "fencing shell," for its long, pointed operculum, with which it can defend itself against predators. This operculum does not completely close the shell opening.

The queen conch moves with a trademark lurching gait. The eyes have discrenable pupils (at least they look like pupils) and are mounted on long stalks. The radula is at the end of a long, elephant-like proboscis.

Here's a pic of a juvenile. The conch is the snail at the bottom of the pic:

02/19/2001, 11:24 AM
They are excellent sand cleaners, and cruise all over the sandbed eating algae. They can navigate over small rocks and obstructions but it appears to be difficult for them,so if you have a lot of small areas of sand they may not be a good choice.

As a Caribbean species are these snails really tropical or are they sub tropical? Dr Ron recently pointed out that most snails sold in the hobby really aren't appropriate for the 80+ degree temp of our tanks.


02/19/2001, 12:34 PM
Dr Ron's article:

I have had my queen conch for about 3-4 weeks now, and she travels all over the aquarium - the sand, rock, and even up the walls of the aquarium. I am really amazed with the traveling that she does!


02/20/2001, 10:59 AM
Where to purchase a Queen Conch? The only place I know of is Premium Aquatics. I would love to have one but don't want to pay 50 bucks in shipping and box charges just to get a 6 dollar animal.

I currently have a cyano bloom attacking my sand bed, and would love to a sick Queen Conch on it. Go get'em boy!

Finally, how long does it take to for a Queen Conch to outgrow a 72 gallon tank. Why would I buy something that I will eventually no longer be able to handle... Reminds of me of that movie where the kids bought a baby alligator and kept it until it outgrew the tank. They then flushed into the sewer system and the darn alligator ended up eating everyone. Can you just imagine some huge mutated Queen Conch coming up out of the sewer system to prey on all the little helpless humans running about?

02/20/2001, 12:55 PM
Sometimes my LFS stocks captive-bred queen conches. You might want to try your LFS, see if they'll special-order it.

In regard to growing time, I find that it takes a queen conch about a year to go from 1 inch in length to about three inches. Assuming the growth rate does not change too much (which might throw the equation way off), it might take three years to get to nine inches (remember, this part is just a guess!).

I would say, because of appetite and method of movement (knocking things over, and so on), a queen conch would be too big for a 72 gallon tank (with a large sand area) at 5 inches, assuming you're willing to target-feed it when it gets too efficient at cleaning the sand.


03/01/2001, 11:12 AM
Last call for information about the Queen Conch before the thread goes to the archive. if you have any information or experience to share about this mollusk, now is the time to do it. :D