Zombie Sand Scavenging Snail SML

Zombie Sand Scavenging Snail SML

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Clarks Clownfish - Indo Pac MED

Bicolour Blenny

Bicolour Blenny MED

Zombie Sand Scavenging Snail SML

Nassarius Sp

These easy to care for snails make a great addition to your clean up crew. They spend most of their time in the sand bed, with just their pericope like siphons sticking out. It is affectionally known as the Zombie Snail, which is a reference to the manner in which they will rise from the sand to devour a tasty meal once they detect the smell of it in the tank.

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The shell colouration of the Zombie snail depends on the particular specimen. Colours can include white, yellow, sandy and light and dark browns. Their shells are heavily sculpted with a flaring lip near the opening of the shell, and usually sharp, unworn tip.

The Nassarius snail’s mouth is a proboscis/siphon, which is similar looking to an elephant’s trunk. They also use it for breathing and smelling.

These scavenging snails are also great sand sifters. They will eat various kind of organic material including leftover food and fish waste as well as helping to aerate the sand substrate in your tank. They’re very easy to care for so long as your tank is invertebrate friendly and they have enough to eat.

The Nassarius Snail spends most of its time burrowing in the sand, usually with its long, tube-like siphon being the only part of it protruding from the substrate. As it searches for food in the substrate, the Nassarius Snail will help to prevent compaction and aerate the aquarium substrate. Often the only time you will see more than siphon out of the sand is when it comes up to eat dead organic matter such as leftover food. This is when you get to see why they got their nickname of the Zombie sail as it rises to the substrate surface to track down the food source and feed. They do have a good sense of smell and can detect food from around 1.5-2m away and will move pretty quickly to get to the food they smell. Then once they have finished their meal they’ll rebury themselves.

Nassarius snails are not hermaphrodites. They have distinct male and female individual organisms, but, it isn’t easy to sex them.

These snails are originally found in Indonesia, Mexico and the Caribbean.

Tank Recommendations for Nassarius Snail

Nassarius snails are very hardy and do well in a wide spectrum of water conditions. Their easy care requirements make these snails a great choice for beginners.

You can add up to 1 Nassarius snail per 2-3 gallons (7.5 – 11.5 litres) of aquarium water. Don’t overstock your tank as this can lead to them starving.

They don’t have many requirements, but they do need a sand substrate of at least 10cm as they do like to spend most of their time buried, sifting through it looking for food.

It’s also recommended that the tank is well established with live rock and algae. These snails like most others are sensitive to copper-based medications and high nitrate levels.

Suitable Tank Buddies

They should do well with most fish with the exception of Triggerfish and other snail eaters. Generally, it’s also not a good idea to mix snails and crabs/hermit crabs as the crabs may also eat the snails.

Usually Compatible

Most fish will work well with these snails, other than those which see them as a food source. So Cardinalfish, Chromis, Damselfish, Dartfish, Dragonetts and Tangs all make good choices.

Sometime Compatible

Angelfish and Frogfish, Boxfish, Butterflyfish, Eels, Groupers, Wrasse are also usually fine. These peaceful snails are usually fine with Seahorses and Pipefish.

Rarely Compatible

It’s best to not mix snails and crabs as the crabs may eat the snails. Also avoid Triggerfish, Filefish, Sharks, Rays Parrotfish and Pufferfish as these all too may eat these snails.

Feeding your Zombie Snails

Nassarius snails are opportunistic eaters of dead organic matter. These species do not eat algae. They eat all the leftovers and detritus at the bottom of your sand bed. If you notice them looking for food on top of the sand then this is a sign that there is insufficient food present for them in the tank.

The body weight to food consumption rate for these snails is surprisingly high. For example, biologists calculated that some species could consume between 50 to 60% of body weight on average 8 – 12 minutes. This is because in the wild if they are gathered around a food source for a long time they are more likely to become a meal for something else themselves.

Nassarius snails are very good at scavenging and will eat leftover food and detritus from other tankmates. If there isn’t enough food in the tank to feed your snails then you can also supplement their diet with different sorts of meaty food, like frozen brine and mysis shrimps and cut up pieces of fish and other seafood. As if they are starving they can also turn cannibalistic.

More Information
Scientific Name Nassarius Sp
Care Level Easy
Common Names Zombie snails, Super Tongan snail, Bruised nassa, Common Eastern nassa
Diet Omnivore
Fish Family Nassariidae
Lifespan (years) 3
Max. Length (cm) 2
Min. Tank Volume (l) 20
Origin Caribbean, Indonesia, Mexico
Reef Safe Yes
Sociability Peaceful
Venomous No
Water Conditions 22.2-25.6°C (72-78° F), dKH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4, sg 1.020-1.025
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