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Stomatella Snail A Good Addition To Your Reef Aquarium

First time I got this tiny snail-like animal in my aquarium I was curious about them and how they got into my aquarium. It turned out they are known as Stomatella snails and they belong to the group of sea snails. It is a fast-moving snail type and they like to live on live rocks. Scientifically, they are known as Stomatella sp. I first misunderstand the Stomatella snail as a “Slug”. But they are not. This beautiful little snail has flat fingernail shells. This shell only covers half of the body. That’s the main reason, the Stomatella snail looks like a Slug. 

Stomatella Snail

Stomatella snails are nocturnal snails. Even though they act in the nighttime, you can watch them in the daytime as well. Further, Stomatella snail is considered a good reef clean-up crew member. They are algae eaters and they control the growth of the algae on your reef. Because of that, they help to fight off undesirable algae in your tank. Most importantly, Stomatella snail is 100 percent reef safe. You can buy Stomatella snails in fish stores. They are mostly brought into aquariums with live rocks. They have a special ability. That is to say, they can grow back their legs when they lose them. This is the same thing that lizards do with their tails. 

One look care guide

Scientific nameStomatella sp.
Common nameStomatella snail
Care levelEasy
Native toIndo pacific region
Color Black, brown, white, grey, green, pink, orange, red
Preferred temperature50- and 75degrees Fahrenheit
Preferred salinity1.023- 1.025 specific gravity (35ppt)
Growth rateModerate
Temperament Non- Aggressive
Recommended tank matesPeaceful invertebrates, corals and peaceful fish types
Preferred foodAlgae and seaweeds
Feeding frequencyTwice per day


A stomatella snail is a tiny creature. Actually, they look like a slug or small snail that has half of a shell. Unlike common snails, the shell of Stomatella snails covers half of their body. The shape of their shell looks like an oval or the shape of the fingernail. Generally, your Stomatella snail can grow up to an inch (2 cm) in length. You have the ability to choose Stomatella snails in various shades. Because they are in many colors.

There are white, black, brown, grey, and green Stomatella snails. But exotic specimens of Stomatella snails have the entire black colour body and sometimes they come with vibrant colours such as pink, orange, and red. These colours will add a brilliant colour combination to your saltwater aquarium. You can see their colour vibes with their active movements in the night time by using a flashlight. 


Tank requirements

If you like to rear a Stomatella snail in your home aquarium, you should create a better environment for them to live in. Here, it is better to create an environment with reefs and live rocks. Because Stomatella snails like to live in reefs. Try to have some algae in your tank. It creates a natural experience for your Stomatella snails. Because they are excellent algae eaters. You can set up their marine tank by keeping ample rocks, rock caves, sand, corals, and live rocks. It helps them to hide and search for food.

Size of the tank

When considering the tank size of Stomatella snails, the optimum number of snails that can be kept in a 20 gallons (90l) tank is 5. Therefore, do not try to rear more than 5 snails in a 20-gallon tank. But it is recommended 5 gallons for one Stomatella snail. If you need to expand the number of Stomatella snails, you can add 5 gallons per snail. 

Water quality

You should maintain a low nitrate environment for your Stomatella snails. And keep in mind to control the calcium and magnesium levels stability. Because it is important to survive and live happily. Same as other snails, they are more sensitive to copper. Because of that do not use medications activities that include copper in your Stomatella snail aquarium. Copper has the power to kill your Stomatella snails. 

On the other hand, you should always maintain the cleanliness of the water. Also, most probably, they are sensitive to changes of salinity. So, if you wish to introduce Stomatella snails to your aquarium, you should pay more attention to water quality. Here, you have to acclimate them to their new home. You can acclimate through a slow drip acclimation method. This method takes a 2 hours period minimally. 

pH level 

You should maintain the salt water pH level in between 8-8.4. 


It is better to keep water temperature between 50 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. You can keep the ideal water temperature by installing an aquarium heater in your aquarium. 

Water hardness

For the better reef aquarium, calcium should be included in the water. You should keep this level at 380-450 mg/l, because the natural seawater is 420mg/l. You should keep the water with a stable calcium level to generate happy Stomatella snails. Further, you should maintain the hardness between 8-12 dKH. 

Salinity or the specific gravity of water:

You should maintain the specific gravity in between 1.023 to 1.025. This salinity value is equal to 35 ppt. It means you need 35 grams of aquarium salts per one gallon of water to create the mentioned salinity level.

Prepare the water for saltwater snail: Stomatella snails

You should prepare a suitable environment for your Stomatella snails. Here, the main thing is to do, you must prepare saltwater. It is not different and more difficult than preparing salt water for marine fish and corals. The special thing is you cannot use household salt to create the environment for your Stomatella snails. Here are some steps to follow to convert tap water into saltwater. 

  • Firstly, you should test the nitrates level in your tap water. You can accomplish this by using a water testing kit. 
  • However, if your tap water contains a high nitrate level, it is better to use purified water. You can use portable water for this.
  • Then buy an aquarium salt mix
  • Mix 35 grams of aquarium salt per liter of water.
  • You should keep this salt to water ratio stable. To do this, you can use a salinity measurement kit. Many owners of saltwater aquariums measure the salinity level of water by using different meters such as hydrometers, electronic salinity meters, and refractometers. Most aquarists use Hydrometers and parameters come as specific gravity units. If you use a Hygrometer , the salinity level should be 1.023-1.025.


They do not need high light conditions to Stomatella snails. You can provide low-moderate light conditions to your marine aquarium where your Stomatella snail lives. But you can properly observe their moves by using a flashlight at night. Because they are nocturnal. 

How to place Stomatella snails in a tank

You should place them on the rock or reef in your aquarium. Because naturally, they live on the hard surface. You do not choose sand. After placing Stomatella snails, you should keep your eye on them and their movements. If your Stomatella snail will not move in a few days, do not remove it immediately. You should observe them for a few days and if there is no improvement or movement, you can remove it. 

How to breed Stomatella snails or reproduce

There are many creatures that are able to breed asexually. But Stomatella snails need more than one to multiply their population. Their breeding process depends on the moon cycle. After they crawl a higher part of your tank, they will stay there for at least two days. Then you can see their egg trail. Through this breeding process, you can collect more Stomatella babies. So, you can sell this algae eater to other aquarists. 

Before this, you have to acclimate them. Firstly, you should put them in a separate tank. Here you should remove them from the glass without any harm to the little fellas. Keep in mind to use a tool to scrape them from the glass and keep them into another tank or container where you wish to acclimate them. You should do this before they reach adult age. Maintain the same water quality parameters that are mentioned above in this separate tank too. You can feed these baby Stomatella snails by using algae and dry seaweed (Nori Product).  

Stomatella snail spawning 

  1. You can easily breed Stomatella snails. If you maintain a well-established marine aquarium, the spawning process will happen spontaneously. Not only Stomatella snails, all snails that belong to the same species spawn at the same time. 
  2. The spawning will happen during the day when your Stomatella snails crawl a higher part of the marine aquarium. 
  3. They will release eggs and milt into the water where they will fertilize. And this time the water looks cloudy. Then this cloudy appearance of the water clears quickly. 
  4. But there is a probability that these eggs and milt can be a food of fish and filter feeders. But this cannot have a great impact on the population of the Stomatella snails. 
  5. After you can see these small dots are moved around the tank. 
  6. Within about one month these small dots will grow up to the normal Stomatella snails. 

Stomatella snail eggs

After the breeding process of your Stomatella snail, you can see their eggs in the water. These eggs are like small dots and it is not bigger than pinpricks. They are your Stomatella snail babies. They will be around the glass where your Stomatella was realizing the eggs and milt. After they have the ability to move, you can see, these small dots move around the tank. 

They take about one month to show the appearance of the normal Stomatella snail. It means they will become a normal Stomatella after one month. There is a risk to eat Stomatella ’s eggs by filter feeders and predators. But this risk reduces after growing their fingernail shaped shells. At this level, they can protect themselves. But you should keep an eye on baby Stomatella snails till growing their fingernail shaped shells.

How fast do Stomatella snails grow

They take about one month after birth to grow as an adult Stomatella snail. This can vary with your water condition and feeding behaviours. If you provide quality water conditions and an adequate amount of quality foods, they will easily achieve their maximum level of 2.5 cm. 

What do Stomatella snail eat 

Stomatella snails are herbivores. Therefore, they eat only plant matter and algae. Generally, they are great algae eaters. So, some aquarium owners rear them as a member of the reef clean-up crew. 

  • Stomatella snails eat algae including diatoms, cyano, macro, film, and also hair algae. Therefore, you should consider the availability of algae in your aquarium.
  • You can add dried seaweed or “Nori” to their diet as a supplement. It may increase their appetite. 

How often to feed

They eat algae and it can be found naturally on reefs, rocks, and walls in the aquarium. Alternatively, you can provide algae wafers. If you do not have many algae in your aquarium you can feed them using Nori or seaweeds and algae wafers twice a day. You should provide the feeds that can be finished within two or three minutes. 

How long can go without food

Snails can live up to weeks or a couple of months. Generally, most of the snails survive for around eight weeks without providing food. But this time period depends on some factors. Stomatella snail’s age, size and health condition, and the availability of natural food matters such as algae.


You can keep them with peaceful fish types in the same reef aquarium. Because they are non-venomous and peaceful towards invertebrates, corals, as well as other tankmates. This sea snail type is 100% reef safe. 

Stomatella snail reef safe

Stomatella snails like to live in reef aquariums. This snail type is 100 % reef safe. They do not damage your reef or corals. 

Predators of Stomatella snail

Stomatella snails are peaceful. They do not hurt other creatures. But if you wish to rear Stomatella snails, you should avoid these predators. 

  • Wrasses
  • Triggerfish
  • Hogfish
  • Hawk fish
  • Pufferfish
  • Hermit crabs

Are they poisonous to people?

There is not any record that mentions that they are poisonous to humans. But do not eat them as a food. Because most of the reef creatures contain toxic materials. Some are Neurotoxin and cause death. Because of that reason, it is not recommended to consume them as meat. But need not to worry about adding them into your aquarium. They are wildly using salt water snail species in the ornamental industry and there is no outbreak regarding ornamental purposes.

Is it hard to keep Stomatella snails?

If you maintain a better marine aquarium with proper water conditions, they are not hard to rear. You should highly consider the water parameters and always try to keep them stable. 

Is Stomatella snail good or bad?

Stomatella snails are the best members of your marine aquarium. They reduce your stress on overloaded algae in the aquarium. Because they are great algae eaters. Also, they add beauty and a natural look to your marine aquarium. Because they are in various colors such as white, brown, black, pink, and green. They create beautiful views in the moonlight.

Further, they are most active at night time of the day. Also, they are 100% reef safe. Moreover, this sea snail type is peaceful and you can keep them with peaceful fish types. In addition to that, you can breed them easily. Therefore, do not worry about the population. When considering their feed, you can feed them easily.

Stomatella snails are herbivorous and they eat algae and plant matter. You can feed them by using algae, dry seaweeds (nori), and algae wafers. But if you rear predatory animals like wrasses, triggerfish, hogfish, hawkfish, pufferfish, and hermit crabs in your aquarium, Stomatella snails are not suitable for your marine aquarium. 

Credit to : Suncrest Reef

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About Dr.Chamika

Hello, I'm Dr. Chamika. I am a Researcher in Water quality, Aquatic organisms, and Environmental chemistry. I am a passionate fish keeper, with10 years of experience. My mission is to help other aquarists experience the joy of fish keeping.