Conomurex luhuanus, which is mainly known as Strawberry Conch or Tiger Conch is a sea snail living mainly in coastal lagoons. Or, areas where you find up to 80ft deep sandy substrates.
The Strawberry Conch is a fascinating creature. They actually filter through the substrate with their proboscis, and they feed on the algae and detritus. Strawberry Conchs are omnivores, so they enjoy finding all the tasty algae they can get to as well as some meaty foods.
Their eyesight is astonishingly advanced. Their eyes are well developed and can watch any action happening all around them. And, they have a beautiful white, brown, and orange mottled shell.
They have a bright strawberry-colored interior with a black inner lip. Usually, the adulthood age for conchs is around four years of age. They actually have a ‘trunk’ that extends and this way they can get into smaller cavities.
Strawberry Conch can take a while to acclimatize. They should be acclimatized in stages (drip acclimatized), slowly, for around twice the amount of time you would do for a fish. They are best placed on sand so they can bury themselves straight away.
If your Conch is not moving after a couple of days, then you should move it somewhere you can watch it for a little while because they don’t acclimate well. If it is still not moving after a couple of days of relocating it, then unfortunately you should consider removing it from your tank.
Another thing to consider is if you see your snail climbing up on the wall of your tank, that usually means there is not enough food in the sand bed and it is hungry. You simply need to feed it some additional food.
Are they reef safe?
Strawberry Conchs are relatively easy to care for and are extremely compatible in reef settings. They will need a live sand bed to feed on, and they can be additionally fed if needed with algae strips, such as Nori or even frozen foods.
Strawberry Conchs are simple creatures. Most of the time they will just spend their days filtering the sand for food. This actually helps the ecosystem, because they turn the substrate which means it stays very oxygenated.
Do they bury themselves in the sand?
Sometimes, they like to bury themselves in the substrate, and all you will see is the eyes probing out from underneath the substrate. You can keep a Strawberry Conch in a reef setting of some sort, but make sure to also put good quality, mature sand in the bottom of the tank.
What to feed a Strawberry Conch?
Although they live on algae and detritus, they can also enjoy normal fish food you can buy in a shop. They like things such as marine pellets and nori and other green foods, as well as various frozen foods, like small meaty ones.
Algae they usually feed on include filamentous algae, hair algae, and detritus. If you are looking to keep a Strawberry Conch, make sure the aquarium is filled with green algae because it is the biggest part of their diet.
How to breed Strawberry Conch?
Males bear a spade-like penis on the side of the foot, usually on the right side. When ready to breed, males approach the females from behind and cling to their shells with their feet. It is internal fertilization and it’s made through intercourse.
Once clung to the female, the male will place the front part of his shell over the female’s shell lip, and insert himself into the side of the female through the siphonal notch. They can actually still go about their business while having intercourse.
Once fertilized, the female will lay a long tube-like egg sack. It is an adhesive sack and sometimes they bury it in the sand, but only partially. Or, attach it to some rocks. The tube sack can actually be several feet long and is folded back and forth on itself.
In less than a week, you will see veligers hatch out and swim freely. These tiny little larvae will float around the ocean along the currents for weeks until they find a suitable habitat to settle into on the ocean floor.
How to set up an aquarium?
It is easy to set up an aquarium for your Conch, you just need to know what to get and what to put into your tank. If you are looking to add any decorations, don’t worry too much about adding many things.
You don’t need any caves because they use their shells, and all they’ll do with decorations is climb up onto them. Conchs are the clean-up crew, so would be a lovely addition to any aquarium.
Make sure to test your aquarium water regularly to ensure you have the correct water parameters. This is especially important if you are looking to breed your Strawberry Conchs because incorrect water parameters can actually affect the reproduction of the snails.
So, what do I need in my tank?
- Clean water
- Correct calcium levels
- Correct magnesium levels
- A reef setting (Temperature 72-78° F, dKH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4, Salinity 1.023-1.025)
- Deep sand bed for sifting
- Low nitrate level
- Only keep a maximum of two snails per 40 gallons of water
What NOT to keep next to Strawberry Conchs?
Don’t keep any hermit crab or large fish next to your Conch, especially if they are aggressive fish. Hermit crabs actually like the shells of the snails, so they will happily devour your snail to get to their shell.
This is due to their competitive nature. Hermit crabs like to compete with each other over who has a suitable, larger shell. If you have more than one hermit crab, then they actually like to work together at basically bullying other species with shells and pry the shells away from them.
It is not pretty or ideal, so, unless you are going to provide plenty of empty shells for your hermits to compete for, then I wouldn’t put a snail in with them.
What to keep next to Strawberry Conchs?
You can pretty much keep any fish with your Conch, but make sure that you have a big enough tank if you are looking to keep more than one Strawberry Conch.