Stomatella varia snail
Picture by Brett and Brett's Reef
Stomatella snails are small fast-moving snails that look more like slugs than regular snails, although they do have small flat shells. There are several species available in the aquarium trade among which Stomatella varia is the most common. Stomatella snails can be bought in fish stores, but are also frequently brought into the aquarium with live rock. It can be hard to know exactly which species one keep if they have been introduced with live rock. They are 100% reef safe. Stomatella snails grow to be less than an inch (2.5 cm), and Stomatella varia will typically stay smaller than ¾ inch (1.9 cm). Stomatella snails come in a wide variety of colors from darker color such as grey, black and green to softer color such as orange and pinkish.
Stomatella snails are mainly night active but can be out and about in the day time as well. The best time to observe them is during the night using a flashlight. When your snails are most active depends on the exact species of Stomatella snail you keep in your aquarium.
Stomatella snails are beneficial for reef aquariums as they are herbivores that will help control micro algae growth. They should not be kept with wrasses such as the four and six line wrasse or certain shrimps like the peppermint shrimp as these predators might eat the snails and be able to quickly decimate a population.
Stomatella snails are just like all other snails very sensitive towards copper and you should not use copper based medications in an aquarium containing these or other snails. There is a large risk that the snails will die and pollute the water.
Breeding Stomatella snails
Stomatella snails are easy to breed and will spawn spontaneously if they are kept in a well established marine tank. All Stomatella snails of the same species will spawn at the same time. They usually spawn during the day when they crawl to a high point in the aquarium. They then release egg and milt directly into the water were fertilization takes place. You can sometime see how the water suddenly becomes cloudy in a tank containing Stomatella snails as a result of their spawning. This is nothing to worry about and will clear up relatively quickly. Some fish and filter feeders will eat the milt and eggs. Stomatella snails only very seldom multiply enough to become a nuisance. Established populations can be taxed hard without a lasting impact on the population if you want to sell some of your excess snails.
Central American Cichlids
Frogs and Turtles
Lake Victoria Cichlids
Marine Aquarium Fish
Responsible Fish Keeping
South American Cichlids
Tropical Fish Food