Bad Guys
Bad Guys

First thing to note, these are bad guys. If you see them in your tank, remove them.

While these snails are not predatory, they do produce a stringy substance that acts like a web coming from their self-made tube. The substance is used to catch algae and detritus, but if this substance is discharged near corals, it will irritate them, cause them to close up and this will eventually kill your corals.

These snails are sometimes confused with the much less irritating Tube Worm, which is actually a good guy to have in your tank. Both species make their own calcified tube to live and grow in, and both like similar environments. Tube worms do not secrete mucus nets.

These pests can enter your aquarium as hitchhikers on live rock.

How to control the numbers

Vermetid Snails
Vermetid Snails

There are really 3 options for removing these critters. The first is the super-glue method, which involves filling the Vermetid Snails tube with superglue. While this method is effective, it can be messy and it doesn’t always work if you haven’t managed to glue the entire tube shut.

The second option is to remove the affected rock from the display tank and physically chip the snails off of the rocks.

The final option is the harshest, dipping the entire rock in hydrochloric acid (10 – 20%). the acid will eat away at the snail, removing it from the rock… but it will also kill all your good bacteria, anything else on the rock and your rock will likely be bright white if you leave the rock in there soaking in the acid.

As with most things, taking a proactive approach before putting anything into your tank is best. Where possible, dip and quarantine anything that is going into your aquarium. Quarantining your live rock and coral will give you time to spot any potential threat and remove it before it goes into your display tank.


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