Saltwater Aquarium Snails are some of the most important pieces to a good clean up crew. There are a variety of different aquarium snails and each has their own role in keeping your fish tank clean.
Some people many also mix in blue leg hermit crabs or scarlet reef hermit crabs with their snails, but note that the hermit crabs may eat the aquarium snails for their shells or even just for food if they fall off the glass or a rock. Don’t get me wrong, hermit crabs are excellent scavengers, eat some algae and are entertaining to watch. You will need to replenish parts of your clean up crew every six months or so, but these crabs will require you add aquarium snails more frequently.
Astrea & Turbo Aquarium Snails
The first priority is to take care of green hair algae. The best aquarium snails to eat this algae are Astrea Snails and Turbo Snails. These snails make excellent reef additions and one astrea snail is recommend per one to two gallons depending on your filtration. One turbo snail is recommend for every five gallons. Turbo snails are usually a little bit more expensive, but they are also about five times the size. They eat more algae, but sometimes they can be clumsy and knock over corals. Both of these aquarium snails also have trouble flipping themselves over if they fall off the glass, so be sure to help them.
The next area that needs help is usually the glass. Turbo and astrea snails also do a good job, but you may also consider adding cerith snails. These snails will eat film algae on the walls and will also provide some sand sifting. They can also flip themselves over. You should avoid margarita snails as they do not do well in aquariums 78 degrees or warmer. They do a good job eating film algae, but dont last more than a couple months. A nice hybrid between an astrea snail and margarita snail is a trochus snail. They are able to flip themselves over and eat both hair and film algae.
Nassarius Aquarium Snails
You may also want a snail that is a good scavenger like a hermit crab. Bumble bee snails are an interesting and colorful addition that is perfect for most aquariums. These aquarium snails are are not only good scavengers, but they are also good sand sifters. Stirring the surface of your sand is important because it prevents toxins from forming in dead spots. Some of the most entertaining snails to watch are nassarius snails. They come in a variety of sizes and spend most of their time in the sand, but when you feed your fish they will all erupt from the sand bed. One sand sifting or nassarius snail is recommended for every one to two gallons. You may also consider adding a fighting conch if you are battling red slime algae in your sand bed. All of these aquarium snails can flip themselves over if they fall on their back.