tanks without noticeable damage (although my tanks are so dense it
would be hard to notice!).
The volcano snails are superficially similar to the rabbit snails, except
they typically sport a brightly colored red or orange body. I typically
see them labeled as Faunus sp., but this can be a dubious designation,
as many times the animal is simply another species of Tylomelania.
The genus Faunus is monotypic, containing only F. ater, known
as the black devil horn snail. This common name is a pretty good
translation of the scientific name. The specific name ater refers to a
dull black, and Faunus refers to the Roman god, better known by his
Greek name, Pan. Famously bearded, horned, and goat-legged, Pan’s
image was transformed into the popular visualization of the devil by
The name gives a fair description of the snail, as well. It’s dark,
dusky black, and shaped like a horn. Rarely encountered, these snails
are active scavengers in the aquarium. They’re able to handle cooler
temperatures than their Sulawesi counterparts, but they also seem to
take tropical temperatures just fine. They do not breed in freshwater,
however, requiring slightly brackish conditions to do so. Care should
be taken to ensure that you have actual Faunus snails and not simply a
Snails can make an interesting addition to the aquarium, provided
certain small caveats are kept in mind. Snails are invertebrates, and, as
such, they are very sensitive to copper, an active ingredient in several
ich medications, so avoid using these in the aquarium.
Additionally, invertebrates tend to be more sensitive to sudden
changes in water conditions than fish. They should never simply be
floated in the bag they came in and plopped into the tank; instead,
slowly mix your tank water with their bag water until it’s mostly your
tank water, and then move the snails into the aquarium.
Many snails, particularly when first acclimated, have a lot of trouble
righting themselves when knocked over. If you see one of your snails
upside-down, reach in and right it. Make sure you put them into the
aquarium right-side-up, as well.
Despite the preconception that snails are boring, there are a lot of
interesting and colorful types of snails available. (See this month’s
Import Report [p. 32] for two more of my favorites!). While they can
be a little bit shy when you first put them into the aquarium, they’ll
quickly adapt and—metaphorically speaking, of course—come out of
their shells. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist!) D
Tropical Fish Hobbyist
Faunus ater, the black devil-horn snail.