Conchs are definitely one of the more interesting mollusks that you can add to a saltwater tank. Depending on the type of conch you purchase, they will spend most of their time buried in your sand bed or moving across the top of it. They are ecologically beneficial as they will sift through your sand removing organic wastes. This can help reduce excess nutrients in the water column.
With any conch you add to your tank, if you notice it roaming away from the sand and getting onto the rock or glass, it may be time to start supplement feeding. This is usually a sign of hunger and they might have completely cleaned your sand bed. Since they are omnivores they are not particularly picky when it comes to food, you can supplement with seaweed, frozen brine shrimp or many other items.
Make sure your tank is suitable for a conch and make sure the type you get doesn’t get too large for your aquarium. They are fairly easy to keep and will get along with everything in your aquarium. I would not recommend adding a conch to a new aquarium that is still cycling, as the parameter spikes may be deadly to it.
There are lots of attractive conchs that are suitable for home aquaria. Below listed are just a few!
The most common type of conch you will find available is the tiger conch. These are a must for all of my tanks due to their habit of sifting the sand and also because they are quite amusing to watch. They have two long eyes that will poke out of their shells, always keeping a look-out of their surroundings. They’re like tentacles with eyeballs on top (to help you get a better mental picture, their eyes look like Gary the snail from Spongebob Squarepants).
Tiger conchs eat detritus that builds up on or in the sand along with leftover food and algae. It is best to keep one tiger conch in your tank due to males fighting each other. If you have a larger aquarium, you may be able to pull off keeping more than one tiger conch as long as there is enough space for each one to have a territory. They reach three inches in length. A minimum tank size of 20 gallons is recommended for each individual.
The next example is the fighting conch. Contrary to their name, they are actually peaceful additions to any aquarium; the aggression is only between males of the same species. As with the tiger conch, it is best to keep these guys by themselves unless you have a very large aquarium. Due to their large appetites, a deep sand bed is required. This will give them plenty of sand to dig through and find food in. They are considered omnivores as they will eat algae, detritus and any leftover food on the bottom of the tank. Fighting conchs have large appetites and can clean your tank of all detritus quickly. Thus, when in a smaller aquarium, they may require supplemental feedings. They reach up to four inches in size. A minimum tank size of 30 gallons is recommended per individual.
Maxing out at a whopping 12 inches, spider conchs gets significantly larger than the conchs listed above. They get their name from their spiked shells which vaguely resemble spider legs. Due to their very large appetites, it is best to supplement food (e.g. algae wafers) so they don’t die of starvation. They are considered omnivores and will feed on algae, detritus and leftover food in the aquarium. It is recommended to have a 60 gallon tank (or larger) with a big open sand bed for this hulky species.