Aquarium & Tropical Fish Site

Strombus alatus
Florida Fighting Conch

 Age of Aquariums > Saltwater Fish

Photos & Comments

alatus1.jpg (16kb)
Photo Credit: Gregory Taylor

Name: Strombus alatus
Size BehaviorReef
Origin: Southeast USA
14 cm Peaceful Safe


A fascinating molusc for the reef tank. Though generally peaceful, they do have a spur with which to defend themselves, and can suddenly "hop" when they feel they are in danger and scoot around relatively quickly. Used as part of the clean-up crew to take care of detritus in the sand bed.

Contributed by Cecilia Chen

These things are great cleaners, always on the move, digging through the sand. It's pretty neat, they can hop and jump around about 10 cm up from the sand. Also, with a cyano problem, these guys would dig underneath it and clean up all the junk, since then a lot of it has gone away.

Contributed by Karla Steves

Fighting Conches will do an excellent job of cleaning the live sand in your reef tank, where you don't have to sift it around ever! It'll go to sleep at night, but once the lights come on it goes back to cleaning in no time and will go on for the rest of the day with no breaks. Watching it clean with what looks like an anteater type snout is very entertaining as they move it everywhere to feed. It will always stay on the bottom of your tank, won't bother any invertebrates or corals whatsoever, and scarlett hermit crabs won't bother them. Once you add these to your tank, you won't ever regret it because they make a unique and different addition. I'm even thinking about getting another one in the future. I've had mine for about 5 months and it is very hardy. The only thing I might add is that I wouldn't recommend them for people without live sand, because they feed on the stuff that can be found in it. If you put them on a gravel or coral bed I think it would look very out of place.

Contributed by Matthew Thomas

Recommended for tanks with sand, however will do OK on crushed coral with some algae growth.

Contributed by Nelson Abreu

They actually are bred on a cement slab and will do great even in a bare bottomed tank.

Contributed by Mike Brightman

Hello, I have these conches in one of my tanks and found them to be very successful hunters. The bottom of my tank is littered with nerite snail shells. I was shocked to see them hunting in the same style as the cones. They send out a harpoon/whip like appendage and take down their prey. They do burrow around in the sand, but I find them hunting snails right off the sides of the glass. We have pictures of these events as well. I noticed today egg casings on the underside of one of my overflow boxs and one conch moving away from this area. Hence my looking up on the web to find out how these critters propagate. With snails costing $2-3 each, I am not sure an $8 conch is worth it.

Contributed by Keith Hodgson

These fighting conches are very entertaining and are an excellent addition to the cleanup crew. They are interesting to watch and they never stop cleaning something, day and night they're always busy and on the move. Their eyes and trunk give them a great deal of character. The only possible conplaint is that mine sometimes walk over my colony of zoanthids and my green star polyps when they hadn't fully opened yet, they did no harm though and the corals reopened minutes later.

Contributed by Alex

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