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Old 10/08/2017, 10:00 AM   #2751
Michael Hoaster
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Hey taricha! Ah yes, the elusive mini-strombus snails. I first came across these on Indo-Pacific Sea Farms' site, a few years back, when I was attempting a reef tank. They are in Hawaii, so I'm guessing the snails are too. IPSF called them mini strombus, so they must be in the strombus family. However, I don't think they sell them any more. You might enquire with them to see what happened.

Also, I should point out that Cerith snails also reproduce in aquariums, but not quite as prolifically, in my experience. But they are readily available and cheap. I keep both, and I shudder to think what my tank would be like without them! Having new snails hatching all the time means there are many different sizes at any given time, which is very good in a planted tank. Tiny snails are superb macro and seagrass cleaners.

Highly sought after? I'm not sure. Their population swells to plague proportions, which is not a look everyone likes. I've gotten so used to it, I don't even notice them anymore. But some folks don't like to see so many snails in their tank.

This time around, I just happened to notice some in a tank at my LFS. I bought around ten of them. I'm always snooping around, looking for overlooked jewels whenever I'm in a fish store. That's how I found them.


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Old 10/08/2017, 02:44 PM   #2752
taricha
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Thanks for the lead - awesome!
IPSF had this description in an old page, and no it seems they no longer sell these on the site. I'll inquire directly.
"12 Strombus Grazers tm (Strombus maculatus). The marine aquarium industry's hottest new grazer. Reef-safe, highly active, approx. 1/4 inch shell. These are miniature Pacific relatives of the famous Queen Conch known from Caribbean waters. Hawaiian Strombus Grazers stay small and never exceed about 1/2 inch in length. They are the perfect size for reef aquariums! Many customers report that our Strombus Grazers lay eggs on the front glass, giving rise about 2 weeks later to hundreds of baby snails. An army of small algae eaters working day and night to keep your tank free of problem algae! Of course ours are 100% captive-bred. Grow your own! Add right-side-up to sand at bottom of tank, after acclimation."


and from another defunct page on IPSF
"Species: Strombus maculatus
Taxonomy: prosobranch gastropod mollusc
Maximum size: 1/2 inch
Diet: diatoms, algal films, low turf algae
Method of production: 100% Captive-Bred at Indo-Pacific Sea Farms
Benefit to reef tank: algal grazing and egg production*, cyanobacteria control**
Number of egg capsules produced: 2-4 per spawning event
Number of eggs per capsule: 4-10
Time to hatching: 3-4 weeks
Type of development: benthic, direct (no planktonic phase)
Available in the Mix and Match Special or the Reef Tank Tuneup"

I wonder if they are actually these Columbellids mentioned here...
"Interestingly enough, at least one species has been marketed quite successfully as a herbivore, and indeed this species is a good algae-eating snail. This species, although sold as the Pacific spotted conch, Strombus maculatus, is not that species, and actually is a columbellid snail, probably in the genus Euplica or Pyrene. The taxonomic status of that particular genus is uncertain, but in any case, it is a columbellid, similar to what is illustrated as Pyrene versicolor (Note: the linked image is reversed, the aperture should be on the right) by Abbot and Dance, 1982; p161. This particular species reproduces well in aquaria by laying capsules on the walls of the aquarium. Successful reproduction in aquaria is frequent, and these nice little snails are becoming quite commonly found in marine aquaria throughout the United States."

What you think?


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Old 10/08/2017, 03:11 PM   #2753
taricha
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Hoaster View Post
Also, I should point out that Cerith snails also reproduce in aquariums, but not quite as prolifically, in my experience. But they are readily available and cheap. I keep both, and I shudder to think what my tank would be like without them!
I've also had ceriths reproduce. Has been awesome. My sand for a year and a half now has had tiny ceriths everywhere.
the reproducers were of this form.


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Having new snails hatching all the time means there are many different sizes at any given time, which is very good in a planted tank. Tiny snails are superb macro and seagrass cleaners.

Highly sought after? I'm not sure. Their population swells to plague proportions, which is not a look everyone likes. I've gotten so used to it, I don't even notice them anymore. But some folks don't like to see so many snails in their tank.
yep, 4 kinds of snails that reproduce in my system - ceriths mentioned earlier, stomatella, and hitchhiker chitons (weird & great, they graze glass and rock ONLY UNDER the sand), and limpets (totally slow and useless, don't make a dent in anything - glad they almost got wiped out by asterinas)

My point about in-tank reproducers being undervalued is that a grazer that scales up to algae production is going to make algae management easier (and I'd argue healthier for the tank) than having to chase low nutrient numbers as the control switch for algae.

So yeah, I'm interested in finding different species of algae grazers - especially less picky ones - that can reproduce in a tank. BTW, did you find that your tank could have a hermit or two that occasionally killed snails and your snail population still thrive? Sorry to hijack your seagrass thread to talk about snails no one cares about :-)


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Old 10/08/2017, 03:52 PM   #2754
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Boy, do I agree! It's much easier to employ multiple, reproducing herbivores, than to keep nutrients low. And in my heavily planted tank, I struggle to keep nutrients HIGH enough.

A couple years ago, I was concerned their population would crash, so I tried a few snail predators, including hermits. Eventually, I came to the conclusion that the snails' population would self-regulate, so I removed them. So, to answer your question, I didn't keep the hermits long enough to find out if the snails could maintain their populations. It wasn't worth the risk to me.

Hijack any time!


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Old 10/08/2017, 04:20 PM   #2755
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IPSF says they still have them in limited numbers and this week are throwing a half dozen in as freebies with a $99 order. So they are gettable by inquiry and purchase of a pack.

Everyone says their snails eat cyano. Very few organisms actually eat noticeable amounts of cyano, but something that grazes surface of grass and macroalgae probably eats a fair bit of the stuff. Any thoughts on cyano grazing with these snails or others in your system?


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Old 10/08/2017, 10:53 PM   #2756
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That's great to here! Nicely done! A half dozen should be enough to get a herd going.

I'm not sure whether they eat cyano or not, honestly. I think I may have some cyano on the back wall, mixed in with the other stuff. So it's hard to tell what they're eating, but I would guess they do eat some. It would be an interesting experiment to remove all my snails, and see what pops up. Probably a lot! I should go back through this thread to see the time line of my big cyano phase and when I added the minis.

I have seen mollies eat cyano, even recently. You just don't feed them for awhile and they remember how to graze naturally. Mollies are the only herbivore that I have personally witnessed, eating cyano. I think a key factor for any potential cyanovore is for them to have little else to eat. Even old, stale flake food is preferable.

I think you are doing it right, adding diversity to your crew. I'm still diversifying too. The more the merrier!


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Old 10/09/2017, 07:18 AM   #2757
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Great discussion on herbivores. Snails in particular. The first time that I received an order from IPSF, I wanted to see the critters up close. Following their directions, I set up a viewing station at my workbench in the garage. By shinning a light thru each bag, changing background from white to black and waiting patiently; I was able to see squiggle things.

You might be a reef addict if you stare into numerous bags to see squiggle things.


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Old 10/09/2017, 07:57 AM   #2758
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I didn't know that ceriths would reproduce so "easily" in the aquarium. I may have to get a couple dozen of these guys. I have never had them in big numbers before so I didn't know how efficient they were/are. Have been focused more on trochus because they tend to be better than astreas and do not die as easily. Turbos have never done super well for me although I do have a few of them now that have lived for over a year (that's a record!).

I definitely realize that my CUC is way too low and needs to be built back up.

Thanks for the info!


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Old 10/09/2017, 11:05 AM   #2759
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I posted that pic of the cerith, because I've had about 3 different kinds, and that was the only one that reproduced in my tank.


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Old 10/09/2017, 11:20 AM   #2760
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Thanks for your thoughts. Definitely no hating on this end because you've done well for yourself as a reefer and contributed to the community via your journaling.

I look forward to watching your experience with the chalk basslet when/if you get it. I have heard they are territorial and they are one of those 'last fish added' type of fish (much like the chomis I had mentioned). But, some other authoritative sources have claimed these to be good community fish. Basslets on average are semiaggressive so some might be overly attributing genus-level characterizations.

edit: I missed the whole discussion on CUCs! now to catch up...



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Old 10/09/2017, 12:36 PM   #2761
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Agreed! Great discussion. While we're on the subject, I was reminded of another CUC candidate, reading another thread. He mentioned the use of sand sifting sea stars. Here is an article that sums up how I feel about them:

http://www.saltwatersmarts.com/sand-...ropecten-4399/

While I'm at it, I'll go ahead and add the sand-sifting fish to this group. It is not easy to populate our sandbeds with enough of the right kind of effective detrivores, so I would not recommend any creature that eats them. The problem, as usual, is scale-our tanks just aren't big enough to support detrivore predators, and keep a healthy, effective detrivore population.


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Old 10/10/2017, 05:50 AM   #2762
taricha
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Caribbean Biotope Seagrass Tank

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Agreed! Great discussion. While we're on the subject, I was reminded of another CUC candidate, reading another thread. He mentioned the use of sand sifting sea stars. Here is an article that sums up how I feel about them:

http://www.saltwatersmarts.com/sand-...ropecten-4399/

While I'm at it, I'll go ahead and add the sand-sifting fish to this group. It is not easy to populate our sandbeds with enough of the right kind of effective detrivores, so I would not recommend any creature that eats them. The problem, as usual, is scale-our tanks just aren't big enough to support detrivore predators, and keep a healthy, effective detrivore population.

Good point. It's such a common story In fact, it might be interesting to note the predator/prey relationships that DON'T collapse in a reef tank. It's really, really small number.

Sponges+limpets -> asterinas -> harlequin shrimp .... I thought came close to stabilizing, but nope. Just took many months to collapse. Sponges gone, then asterinas wiped, then sponges came back.

Probably only stable one I could point to in my system is bristleworms -> coral banded shrimp.

(Edit: I wonder if the tiny snails reproduce fast enough to support perhaps a single small whelk, maybe someone could actually have a bumblebee snail and it not be stupid. Interesting that there are commonly available organisms in the hobby that are destructive to their hobbyist systems virtually 100% of the time)



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Old 10/10/2017, 08:25 AM   #2763
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This was always my fear with sand sifting stars. I've had very good success with them for multiple years, but you have to be careful with how many you introduce. As I stated in my own post, I've got 2 in my 300 gallon and it does not seem to be enough (I had one but it was clearly not enough). Based on their mobility, or lack thereof, my assumption is there is plenty to eat within the sand bed. Therefore, they do not have to move so much. That said, they are not sifting through enough of the sand bed. The flip side, is that I do not want to add any more of them for fear that I would reach a tipping point and they would rapidly diminish their food supply. I'm not worried about the bacteria and other organisms in the sand as much as I am about the nutrients that would be trapped there. My live rocks and bio media in sump will serve more than adequately for that purpose.

So while I do agree with the article, it would be more helpful to put it into context a bit more. For example, I would not put a sand sifting star into anything less than 90 gallons (maybe 120)... and that is assuming a scape with plenty of surface area that is just sand.


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Old 10/10/2017, 10:02 AM   #2764
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Taricha, I think I had a whelk, that I bought, thinking it was a nassarius snail. I found it eating a mini strombus, so I removed it. I think it would eventually wipe them out, but it would take a while, since I have a lot. I had a similar situation with an atlantic blue tang. I brought it in to crop back my macros, that were growing so fast, I had to prune more than weekly. It was great, for awhile. But at about the six month point, I realized I would have to remove him, before he completely wiped out all of them. I think I might have gotten a year out of him if I had let the macros get more overgrown before I added him.

So, there are lots of predator-prey relationships that work well in aquariums, like snails and algae, and many that don't, because they don't 'fit' in our tiny boxes. We have to figure out what works and is sustainable in a very limited space. Often it means that we have to act as the apex predator to remove something that upsets the balance we're trying to achieve.


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Old 10/10/2017, 11:18 AM   #2765
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"I noticed your pods are not biotope-specific", said nobody ever.
That's funny right there, I don't care who y'are!

I think that's what my tanks need, some local algae eating snails. I guess I need to focus on that and other sand bed critters in my sand bed.

Can't wait to see the new sea whip and macro purchase in your tank. Good luck with them, sounds awesome!


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Old 10/10/2017, 01:40 PM   #2766
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I get a good one out there occasionally! Being from the South originally, I was amused by your use of "y'are". Southernisms… Have you heard this one? If you're naked, you're just nude. If you're necked, you're up to something!

I agree, working on the base of the food chain will help. Snails and worms and pods, oh my! (movie reference!) You are lucky, that you have not one, but two tanks to practice on before you get the big tank up and running.

If I were you, when you do start up the big show, literally start from the ground up. Collect some local substrate near an oyster bar and get it into your tank asap. That will give you a great start on your detrivore community. A lot of folks treat the sand bed critters as an afterthought, when actually, they should be thought number one! Again, I'll bring up the similarities in starting a new tank, to the beginnings of life on our planet.

I'm kind of excited about the new additions too! Particularly the chondria, since I don't even know what color it'll be. Since I had some success (ok more like a little) with gorgonians, I'm hoping this species flourishes in my tank.


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Old 10/11/2017, 07:37 AM   #2767
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Have you heard this one? If you're naked, you're just nude. If you're necked, you're up to something!
Naw, I haven't heard that one, but it's pretty funny too! My parents and siblings lived in Alabama for years, so between that and the Blue Collar Comedy Tour, I've heard a bunch of 'em

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I'll bring up the similarities in starting a new tank, to the beginnings of life on our planet.
That's really so very true and profound, something every aquarist needs to remember.


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Old 10/16/2017, 06:45 AM   #2768
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yep, Michael your Atlantic Blue Tang / Caulerpa experiment was super interesting and great eye-candy.

A follow-up from IPSF on these snails.
"strombus" grazers for sale on their facebook page.


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Old 10/16/2017, 09:21 AM   #2769
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It was pretty cool. That fish was so gorgeous, especially as a juvenile, with the bright yellow. Plus he had a great personality, zipping around, checking everything out. Best of all, was watching his natural grazing, and how naturally he cropped the plants. It looked so much better than my pruning. It was very nice to not have to prune. I miss that fish! I wish I could get another one. Maybe in another, bigger tank…





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Old 10/16/2017, 07:44 PM   #2770
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I'd like to think you could have given him some yummy dried seaweed (or something unnaturally delicious like a banana) to reduce his natural grazing to where it's in balance.

At least I want to believe it could work. Was super awesome.

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Old 10/17/2017, 12:00 AM   #2771
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I did try feeding him some veggie foods. He refused. I think it was because he already basically lived in a fresh salad bar. Maybe if he had been fed in a bare tank first and gotten used to it, it could have worked. But training him off of his grazing behavior seems unnatural and I'd hate to do that.

That's the key, getting it to balance. It seems like it would be possible. It's just a matter of scale. I think I have that now, with my reproducing snails and micro algae. I think a tank designed specifically for him could work. Nothing but fast growing caulerpas, growing everywhere but the front glass, in a very large tank. But is that a cool display? It suppose it could be. But that isn't what I'm trying to do with this particular tank.

Maybe someday we could bio-engineer tangs in different sizes, to fit different sized tanks…


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Old 10/17/2017, 07:01 AM   #2772
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Or hit the lotto and build a massive fish room with all the biotopes you could ever want.


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Old 10/17/2017, 12:10 PM   #2773
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I installed the new metal halide bulb. It's a 5200K. It's a bit more yellow than the previous bulb, but brighter. I'm still getting used to it, but I think it'll work well. It may inspire me to reinstate the blue CFL light I used recently, for a little more color at the dim end of the tank.

I also got the new gorgonian and chondria plant placed. The gorg is around 14 inches long. I stuck it in one of the gramma holes in the back wall. As usual, I played around with multiple locations, so I hope I didn't injure it too much. So far it looks good. I placed the chondria high up on the wall, near the light, as it is a shallow water species. It kind of looks like a brown (rather than blue) hypnea. But once in place, it showed some of the iridescence they are known for. It's kind of blueish-purple. I think it will make it.

This brings me to a point regarding the tiny strombus snails we've been discussing. First of all, I have a LOT of them, so competition may be a factor. I'm having about a 50% success rate introducing new macros. Most, if not all of the failures are due to these little snails devouring the new plants before they can get established. So, I just wanted to point out a potential downside to these snails. I'm sure they prefer micro to macro algae, but macros are definitely an option!


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Old 10/17/2017, 12:16 PM   #2774
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Good luck with the new additions! Sounds like things are really coming together nicely again. Time will tell with how the light affects the manatee grass, I guess. How are the new chromis doing?


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Old 10/17/2017, 05:39 PM   #2775
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I've been dreading that question, but I knew it would come. The new chromis are dead. I believe they died of uronema, commonly known as the chromis disease.

I've been taught another QT lesson, unfortunately. The lesson is, when you quarantine blue chromis and they die of uronema, you have to break down the tank and sterilize everything. I did not, thinking I'd never try chromis again. However, when I encountered the Vanderbilt Chromis at my LFS, I thought I'd found the perfect, hardy substitute. However hardy they are, they aren't immune to uronema. So they contracted it too and died quickly.

Going forward, I will make sure my QT methods are sound and thorough. I now have a full appreciation of the paranoia many experience, with new fish additions and quarantine methods.

As hard as it is to admit this experience here in my thread, I hope it can benefit someone. If anyone has any questions, I'd be happy to answer them, with the hope I can help prevent someone else making the same mistakes I've made.


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