By Bob Goemans
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Dr Gs Marine Aquaculture 

Family Turbinidae

Astraea tectum

(Lightfoot, 1786)

Astraea Snail, American Star-Shell Snail, West Indian Star Snail.

Likely Reef Tank Suitable

Likely Fish-Only Tank Suitable

Range: Western Atlantic Ocean: Gulf of Mexico, Florida, Caribbean.

Size: 2 inches (5 cm)

Natural Environment: Inhabits shallow intertidal areas where algae and diatom covered rock and ruble accumulate.

General Husbandry: Common in the home aquarium trade.

An extremely good scavenger of unwanted green microalgae, turf algae (hair algae) and brown diatom algae, and because of their small size, is less apt to disturb or knock small frags over.

Another good point is that they are long lasting, with many lasting years in the aquarium. They also do not harm any creatures they travel over, making them one of the more desired snail species in hobbyist aquariums.

Sensitive to salinity changes as they are very shallow intertidal water creatures, so initially acclimate as noted below. Recommend having at least one per five gallons and if their diet appears to be insufficient, provide them some vegetable-based tablet foods or dried seaweed/Nori.


    Kingdom: Animalia

    Phylum: Mollusca

    Class: Gastropods

    Order: Archaeogastropoda

    Family: Turbinidae

    Genus: Astraea

FYI: Even though widely sold in the trade as an 'Astraea' species, the genius name has been changed to that of 'Lithopoma.'

Keep in mind these snails have a difficulty righting themselves if they fall and are not right side up. Therefore, always place newly acquired snails or those that fall off objects in the aquarium when seen properly with their foot contacting the substrate.

Experience Level: Beginner

Diet: Herbivore

Temperament: Peaceful

Aquarium Environment: Reef or fish-only aquarium

Coral Safe: Yes

Fish Safe: Yes

Invertebrate Safe: Yes

Acclimation Time: Sensitive to specific gravity/salinity changes, therefore be sure to adjust the bag's water to that of the aquarium in which it will be placed by slowly adding small amounts of aquarium water to the bag every few minutes. In most cases, this process should take at least 15 minutes.

Aquarium Hardiness: Hardy

Temperature Range: 68 - 79°F (20 - 26°C)

Minimum Tank Size: Perfect for Nano tanks and/or larger aquaria

Water Movement: WM 1 - 2

Specific Gravity: 1.023 - 1.025

pH: 8.0 - 8.4

 Astraea tectum (Astraea Snail, American Star-Shell Snail, West Indian Star Snail.)
Photo © Bob Goemans
 Astraea tectum (Astraea Snail, American Star-Shell Snail, West Indian Star Snail.)
Photo © Wikimedia
Astraea phoebia Turbo castenea
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