FAQs about Pest Marine Snails Identification
and Removal 3
Related Articles: Gastropods, Sea Slugs, Mollusks, Abalone,
Pest Snails (Pyramidellids,
Heliacus, Murex...) Identification and Removal 1,
Pest Snails 2,
Pest Snails 4, Snail
Compatibility 1, Marine Snail
Compatibility 2, Marine Snail
Compatibility 3, & Marine Snails
1, Marine Snails 2, Marine Snails 3, Snail ID 1, Snail
ID 2, Snail Behavior, Snail
Selection, Snail Systems,
Feeding, Snail Disease,
Reproduction, Mollusks, Sea Slugs, Abalone, Marine
I got these ninja snails and one has this weird hitchhiker on it. I thought it
was a Stomatella but doesn’t quite look like it. Would you be so kind to
identify? Thank you in advance!
<Mmm; no image attached! BobF>
If I had to take a guess—maybe a limpet?
<Mmm; looks otherwise-shaped>
It seems to not move, just sits on it. Just worried if it’s parasitic and
possibly harming the snail. ��.
<I do agree; think this may well be a predator on other snails. There are
several. See here on WWM:
I released the others I got, and I have him isolated in a container for now till
you can let me know. Thank you again in advance!
<I would carefully examine all the snails you want (have put in here) and remove
the hitchhiking ones. Bob Fenner>
Re: Hitchhiker snail? 7/29/19
Oh wow thank you for the advice! Glad I kept him isolated. I will remove the
hitchhiker. Again thank you kindly for your wisdom!
<Glad to share w/ you Dani. BobF>
Pyramidellid snails 1/22/19
Hello Crew! Thanks in advance for your help with my question!
I recently got a new Astraea snail. It had been in the tank about 24 hours
or somewhat less when I watched it cleaning the front glass and noticed that
it had some Pyramidellid hitchhikers on it.
I promptly removed the snail and cleaned off the Pyramidellids before
replacing it into the tank. Now this is a fairly small tank (20 gallons)
with the only inhabitants being a Fiji blue devil, 1 Lysmata amboinensis,
2 Astrea snails, several Nassarius snails, 1 small rock flower anemone (E.
crucifer, a small colony of zoanthids, 1 pom pom xenia, and 1 small green
tree Nephthea, and several small blue leg hermit crabs. No Tridacnids, and
I'm not likely to add any additional critters to this small tank.
How likely am I to have trouble from these pest snails?
<Maybe not. Could be that these are not Pyramidellids that feed on snails...
Can you take well-resolved pix of them and send along?>
Are any of the current inhabitants likely to prove delicious to them?
<Possibly the other snail species>
My current limited understanding of this species is that they are primarily
predators of other mollusks, not soft corals, but I am far from certain of
this. If they are gastropod predators, can I remove my snails to a "safe
space" for inspection and decontamination, and hold them in quarantine until
the Pyrams are starved out?
<Mmm; yes; though this may take a very long time. Better to occasionally
remove the other snails and inspect, brush the hitchhikers off, dispose>
And how long would it take to eliminate the pests?
<Perhaps months to... forever>
Thanks for your help with this! Until recently I was under the impression
that Pyramidellids were only an issue for Tridacnids so I was not as careful
as I should have been when introducing the new snail. Now
I know better but want to make sure I deal with this situation before it
gets out of hand.
<Ah yes; better to isolate, quarantine all... to avoid unwanted HHs as well
as other benefits>
Re: Pyramidellid snails 1/23/19
Thank you! Unfortunately I freaked out when I spotted them and
disposed of the little suckers before thinking to take a pic. However they
look exactly like other pics posted on your site and I'm sure they are
Pyramidellid snails (rather than the Zoanthid predator snails).
I looked through other posts and interestingly, it seems like a big majority
of Pyramidellid snails either come in on a tridacnid clam, or on Astrea
This makes me speculate that the ones coming in on the Astrea snails may be
specific to that species, or at least possibly specific to gastropods.
<I'd count this as likely>
Since I only have the two Astrea snails in the tank, it will be fairly easy
to check them every few days or so for any new parasites. Will be a little
harder to check the Nassarius snails since they burrow, but ought to be able
to do that as well.
I'm hoping they are specific to the Astrea snails, because that should make
it a lot easier to deal with.
<Do keep us informed Jo! BobF>
Selecting a proper wrasse 1/3/19
I’ve already spent a bit of time reading and searching, but in doing so
I’ve come full circle and confused myself. I have the dreaded
Pyramidellid snails. I have a 30 gallon cube tank with peaceful
inhabitants (pair of Perc clowns, Firefish, hectors goby, diamond
watchman goby, pair of peppermint shrimp, misc CUC snails and hermits).
My infestation is light and I’ve been manually removing as many as
possible, but last night after lights out I saw why I’ll never get them
all gone: the Pyramidellid snails are also feeding on the small army of
Collonista snails that swarm the rocks after lights out. My thoughts are
a wrasse May be my only hope to keep my desired - aka purchased - snails
alive. I’m in a tough spot, however, to find a wrasse that is suitable
in my relatively small community tank. It seems most wrasses which will
eat Pyramidellid snails need a far larger tank, and those which fit my
tank do not eat Pyramidellid snails (possum wrasses for example).
<This is so>
I’ve come up with a few options, and would like some thoughts and maybe
help think of other options. First, Melarnus <Halichoeres melanurus?>
wrasse. I know it gets too big, but for a Halichoeres wrasse which eats
Pyramidellid snails, it also just might leave my shrimp alone. I would
revoke this fish responsibly once it gets too big. Next, Pseudocheilinus
evanidus - secretive wrasse. It is a better fit for the tank size, but
more difficult to find and unfortunately it is not nearly as
chromatically gifted as most other wrasses. It’s in the same family as
the mystery wrasse which eats bugs like crazy, but a bit smaller so
hopes are higher that it’ll leave my shrimp alone.
<I doubt this last...>
I do not want a 4, 6, 8, lined or a (name your color) chorus wrasse as
far too many have become bullies. Maybe this is overly wishful thinking,
but if the unicorn wrasse I’m looking for does not tank my pods, it will
significantly help my hectors goby - whom I’ve never seen eat any food
I’ve fed, yet remains fat from picking at the rocks all day.
Thank you in advance for any assistance you could give me to get rid of
my scourge (DIP YOUR CORALS!!)
<Mmm; well, there are several hundred species of Pyrams... some
larger/smaller; some more species/predator specific... I'd either stick
with a regimen of removing what I found three nights a week, about an
hour after lights off... or remove your Collonista snails to elsewhere
in the hope that the Pyrams will die off due to starvation (months). Any
Labrid is going to be too large (and are diurnal; whereas the Pyrams are
nocturnal), and will eat your shrimp. Some crabs and hermits might eat
your Pyrams, but would eat other desired organisms. Bob Fenner>
Re: Selecting a proper wrasse 1/3/19
Thank you for the very fast reply! Unfortunately, removing the
Collonista snails is all but impossible. The little hitchhikers are not
only tiny, but number in the hundreds. If I’m inferring correctly from
your response, I should not look to a wrasse to fix my Pyramidellid
snail problem for at least three reasons, 1) snails and fish are awake
opposite light cycles, 2) any appropriate wrasse to eat the snails gets
too big, and 3) any appropriate wrasse may also eat my ornamental
Bunny Snail Problem - Valentini Puffer?
60g shallow reef, 2 Picasso Clowns, Canary Wrasse, Yellow Watchman Goby, Rose
BTA, 1 cleaner shrimp, 1 peppermint shrimp, 6 x Nassarius Snails, maybe 15 blue
legged hermits, one banded serpent starfish. Corals: Toadstool, star polyps,
frogspawn, Kenya tree, and a variety of custom Zoas. I had a
terrible Aiptasia issue, and one peppermint shrimp fixed that in a week!
Now, I have this bunny snail issue. They don't seem to harm anything, but
somehow they manage to get into my pumps, my protein skimmer, etc...
They're going to cause a pump failure! Two different people on Facebook forums
suggested a Valentini Puffer. I Googled it, and another forum post on
ReefCentral indicated their Valentini Puffer left all corals, shrimp, their BTA,
and crabs alone, but devoured every snail in the tank and decimated their bunny
snail issue. I can remove the Nassarius snails easily enough. Without bleaching
all my liverock, I have no idea how to get rid of the bunny snails. To be clear,
I'm not after a Valentini Puffer... I want
rid of these bunny snails. It seems like a Valentini Puffer might be my best
choice? Thoughts? Recommendations?
<Any Toby/Canthigaster/ine, Sharpnose puffer species will do; but yes to their
employment here. Bob Fenner>
Palythoa- sundial Heliacus. Removal
FW: Sent from Snipping Tool (SW) snail control 10/31/14
I want to remove Palythoa naturally.
<A fave, oft-misused adverb...>
My tank is only 16 gallons but due to corals on the live rocks and not easy to
take them out I wanted to try a natural method.
I read on your website that sundial snails only eat Zoas and Palythoa.
<Mmm; not only>
However another place online also mentioned they eat sea anemone.
This made me nervous as I have a mini-maxi carpet anemone in my tank.
I wanted to get a sundial snail to naturally eat my Palythoa but do not want to
irritate or have the sundial snail try to eat my mini-maxi carpet anemone. There
are Palythoa on the same rock as my anemone and the anemone has been on the same
rock for about 6-7 years so don’t want him moving of course.
Is there anyway to get verification from your experience?
<Not from me unfortunately; no>
Secondly- will they also eat clove polyps? Not worried if they did, just
<Again; I don't know>
Lastly, I searched online and cannot find anyone selling the snail should I even
want to try one. Are they illegal to bring in or just not sold since most
hobbyists don’t want them since they eat Zoas?
<Considered pests, yes; not illegal. Have only seen/encountered as hitchhikers>
Look forward to any assistance you can provide as not interested in covering
with Kalk, trying to chip off rocks, injecting with hot water or lime with a
<I STRONGLY encourage you to read/investigate further, and use an "unnatural"
means to rid your system of Zoanthids. As this is a small tank, likely little
rock involved to be replaced, I would remove the desired organisms and put the
Zoanthid containing rock outdoors, some place where animals can't get to it...
Allow it to dry, process for re-use as just rock, or toss it>
I do run carbon and gfo which helps neutralize the poison which is perhaps I
have never had any issues the 10+ years I have had them but I don’t want to take
a chance after reading more stories about how they can become airborne or even
affect experts unexpectedly at times.
<You are wise to be cautious here. Bob Fenner>
I have been having a snail issue for about 9 months.. In the photo are
these snails. They never seem to get much larger than this.. but in 9 month I
think I have taken out more than 2000 in my 125 gallon tank... I just can't get
rid of them, they breed fast and when they are small I can't really see them in
the gravel... Can you tell me by looking at the photo what type they are
<Can't tell if this is even marine or freshwater...>
and how to get rid of them.
<Yes; how I would. Biological controls... some Labrid choices if
Any fish that would take care of these to the point of actually getting
rid of all of them.... I have another tank that does not have this problem at
all. I use a small siphon tube that works good
and I do that when I change the water and lately whenever I see one....
please help me because they are a huge pain and got into my protein skimmer and
clogged up the air intake too.
<Oh; so is marine>
Thank you for any help you can offer me.. The tank is a FOWLR.
<Read on! Bob Fenner>
Re: FW: Sent from Snipping Tool
So the Labrid will pretty much eat these up right down to the smallest ones
and eventually get rid of these for good (I hope)..... how are they with
<Depending on the genera, species of both... possibly. Look to the smaller
Thank you very much for your help Bob.... I could move the shrimp to the
other tank for awhile too while the Labrid eventually seeks out all these
How about a yellow Coris wrasse or a 12 line/4line wrasse?
<All good choices>
Thank you again Bob.
<Welcome Paul. BobF>