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Cerith Snail

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Compared to other aquarium snails, ceriths have a large number of positive attributes. They are exceptionally easy to care for. They are quite resilient and long-lived, and are comparatively less sensitive to changing aquarium conditions (e.g. salinity fluctuation). They are completely reef-safe, and have not been reported as a threat to any kind of beneficial organism. Their smallish size (usually less than an inch) permits their use in nano aquaria and allows them to reach into tight crevasses between rocks (and not knock over small attached items like coral frags). Their burrowing behaviour helps to stir and aerate aquarium substrates. Best of all, they serve as overall effective aquarium bottom cleaners; not only will they consume particulate matter that is trapped within the sand bed, but they will also grab anything they can on the surface such as hair algae or ever cyanobacteria. Many aquarists who keep them do not realise how active they really are, since they forage mainly during the dark hours. When they can be seen, however, they are fairly attractive animals.

Cerith snails are an excellent choice of sand-stirring animal for marine aquarium systems with mature sand or mud bottoms (whether in the display tank or refugium). About one snail per five gallons of tank size is recommended. The aquarium system should be established for at least few months before introducing this voracious scavenger. Though they make little impact on the tank panels (at least away from the bottom edges), their presence is usually evident on the substrate. Most notably, they are prized for their ability to eliminate algal and bacterial growths on the glass just beneath the substrate surface. If a good number of snails is used, obvious results will be observed rather quickly. Detritus pockets, diatom patches, and so on will disappear in big, nightly increments. As they prefer algae, they will target algal films before attending to other food sources such as detritus. In fact, after some time when the snails have mostly stripped the substrate of organic wastes and microalgae, they may need to be fed supplementally for long-term maintenance; sinking algae wafers (offered nocturnally, of course) can suite this purpose well. (For persistent issues with detritus accumulation, try a reliable sludge-eater such as live purple non-sulfur bacteria (e.g. PNS Probio™)).