Re:snails,snail, and more snails

Pete Giwojna

Dear hobby:

It sounds like you have assembled a very nice assortment of snails to serve as the cleanup crew for your new seahorse tank. If they are doing a very efficient job of cleaning microalgae from the aquarium glass and scouring your live rock clean, and you want to provide the snails with some supplemental source of food to assure they are all getting enough to eat, that’s probably a good idea.

The easiest way to accomplish that is to obtain a little Nori (dried seaweed) for the herbivorous snails. Tear off a piece of the Nori about 2-3 inches square and place that on the bottom of the tank, using a small piece of coral rubble or a bit of live rock to hold it in place so that it doesn’t get blown around by the filters. It will rehydrate when it’s placed in the aquarium and provide a source of macroalgae for the herbivorous snails to dine on when they cannot scrape up enough microalgae from the class or live rock. You can just replenish the Nori as needed after the snails have eaten it all.

You can buy Japanese Nori at health food stores and some grocery stores, or you can obtain Tang Heaven Nori from Indo-Pacific Sea Farms at the following URL. The Tang Heaven Nori consists of green Ulva macroalgae that has been dried in the sun, and herbivorous snails will enjoy grazing on it at their leisure:

Once you get your first seahorses and you are feeding them frozen Mysis regularly, the fire shrimp (Lysmata debelius) will not need any supplemental feeding at all. The fire shrimp will happily help himself to his share of the frozen Mysis when you are feeding the seahorses.

Until then, just provide the fire shrimp with a small portion of frozen Mysis two or three times a week and he should be happy. Any of the frozen Mysis the fire shrimp does not promptly finish off will provide fodder for the non-herbivorous snails in your cleanup crew, such as the nassarius snails that like meatier leftovers.

Best of luck maintaining a healthy, diverse cleanup crew for your seahorse tank, hobby!

Happy Trails!
Pete Giwojna

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