Strombus alatus Picture by LA Dawson

Conch Snail

Common Name: Conch Snail, Fighting Conch
Scientific Name:
Strombus spp
Reef Safe: Yes
Temperament: Peaceful
Care Level: Easy
Max Size: Around 2 inches


These are one of my preferred choices for a cleanup crew in my aquariums. Their shells have a very traditional “sea shell” shape to them.  Basically, that is a cylinder or cone shaped shell with a elongated opening for their boot.  They have a long “snout” like mouth and if you look closely, you can see their eyes peeking out from inside the shell.  When scared or stressed, they can completely tuck into their shell.


While conch snails are typically very peaceful snails, male conch snails can sometimes be territorial towards other male conch snails.    The term “fighting conch” is not truly reflective of their temperament.


Conch snails do best in aquariums with a lot of sandy substrate for them to forage in for food.  They will best in mature set-up or new set-ups with stable parameters as well as at least one inch of substrate.  Provided there is enough algae to sustain them, the conch snails are suitable for 55 gallon (or larger) aquariums.  As they like to root around in your substrate in search of food, they will help to keep the substrate well aerated and maintained.  Trace amounts of copper based medications can be lethal to a conch snail.

As their shell has a rather large opening as compared to most other snails, you need to make sure you to not keep them with any natural predators like hermit crabs.  Hermit crabs have been known to kill conch snails in order to steel their shells.

Recommended water conditions:

I would refer you to the below article for the typical water conditions that conch snails will do best in.  While they are very tolerant to less than ideal water parameters, they will best in the long term with good and stable water parameters.


Conch snails are omnivores and their diet will consist mostly of: hair algae or filamentous algae, cyanobacteria and diatoms, and detritus they will do best in an aquarium with lots of green algae for them to eat.  Conch snails need to eat a lot of green algae growing in your aquarium as the biggest part of their diet.  They will also eat any uneaten food and detritus from the substrate. If the algae level drops to the point of there not being enough in the aquarium for this snail to eat, you can supplement their diet with dried seaweed.


14 thoughts on “Conch Snail”

  1. Lindsay

    Hi we have a conch snail I love her (I’ve nicknamed her Sally snail) think they’re so funny to watch! What’s the red claw thing that pushes her along? Such an odd creature!


    1. Cliff Post author

      Yes, they are very interesting little creatures for sure. I sure do enjoy mine as well

      Are you able to post a picture of “the red claw thing” you mentioned in your comment ?


  2. Phyllis Sherer

    I am having a VERY hard time finding the food you’ve suggested, please send me links!! THANK YOU for all of the info!!

    phyllisasherer @ a oh ell


  3. Leo

    I have been having problems keeping snails. I have seen my conch on a snail feasting, however I thought snail was already dead. I just saw the conch on my brand new turbo snail that I just put in tank. I netted the conch and turbo snail. When I was pulling them apart, the conch had his snout deep in the shell of the turbo snail. I am now trying to decide if I should keep conch. Is it normal for conch snails to hunt any other snail?


  4. Kay

    I have a snail someone brought me home from Florida.. I can not return said snail to the ocean as it’s about an 18 hour drive so please skip that advice.. I believe it is a Florida Fighting Conch (after looking up commonly found snails and comparing, it seems the most likely. or maybe a smaller version I saw someone bashing on a site that sells Florida Fighting Conchs?) Anyway, I really only want to take care of him, and a 50 gallon tank for one snail is just insane.. so I’m really hoping you’ll say it can do okay in a smaller tank if he’s alone? So basically I’m asking the minimum requirements for the tank to care for him.. maybe he can return to the ocean in the future, but for now, I just prefer to keep him alive.. if you could email me with any information, that would be incredibly helpful. I don’t see a way to contact you directly via email, or I’d have done that instead.


    1. Cliff Post author

      You could keep him in a 10 or 20 gallon aquarium by himself. You would need to make sure there was filtration on the tank as well as enough food for him. You would likely have to feed him.


  5. Leigh Woodman

    I bought a new conch snail yesterday. I had no luck with turbo snails. All of my fish and hermit crabs are doing great. The conch hasn’t moves in 18 hours. Do they require a few days to settle in? Thank you


  6. Chris

    I have a tiger conch in a 13g. My sand was brown and thick with algae when I got him and within a week, the sand is now as white as can be. He would even stand up on the glass to get the algae off the glass. At some point, I will need to start feeding him. Any suggestions besides seaweed?


  7. Artemus

    Hello Cliff, I have quite a few Strombus gigas conch that I’m trying to keep alive in a rather large tank (450 glallons). They have about 3-4 inches of offshore substrate to dig in. What should I feed them? I have access to sea grass blades and some Sargassum seaweed, which is best you think?


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