Black Devil Spike Snails (Faunus ater)
Also known as Lava Snails or Faunus ater, these dark and mysterious snails are highly underrated members of the aquarium hobby. They grow to a large size and feature gorgeous, glossy shells that range in color from chocolate brown to the deepest black. They mainly come from the brackish waters of Thailand, but can also be found in other parts of Asia. They can thrive in freshwater, but will only breed in brackish water.
These snails are relatives to the popular Malaysian Trumpet Snails, but they are more similar in shape and size to Giant Sulawesi Snails. They feature the long, whorled shells, but theirs tapers off into a sharper point and resembles a spike. A Black Devil Snail's shell color ranges from a rich chocolate brown to a beautiful, glossy black, and its body features gray/black or chestnut brown colors. They are usually 2 to 3 inches in length when full grown. Since they can grow this large, they need room to move, so it's a good idea to avoid dense vegetation or overcrowding in your aquarium.
Black Devil Snails are more hardy and more active than Giant Sulawesi Snails, having the ability to move faster throughout the aquarium. They are also able to live in colder temperatures and are known as excellent cleaners of substrate. If you have live plants in your tank, it's a good idea to keep them out of reach of these snails; they have been known to nibble on live plants. These are totally peaceful aquarium inhabitants and are safe to keep with shrimp and other snails.
- Very active compared to other freshwater snails
- Excellent cleaners of substrate
- Safe with plants
- Completely peaceful
- Temperature: 71° - 82° F (22° - 28° C)
- pH: 6.8 - 7.5
- KH: 5 - 15 dKH
- Minimum tank size: 10 gallons per snail
- Diet: They eat algae and decaying plant matter, and they have also been known to munch on more delicate plants. They can mostly subsist on leftover fish/invertebrate flakes or pellets, but their diets should be occasionally supplemented with algae wafers and/or blanched vegetables such as zucchini, kale, spinach, or cucumber.
- Warning! Avoid any food product, medication, or plant fertilizer that contains Copper of any form. Copper is toxic to invertebrates. Many commercial fish foods, medications, and plant fertilizers contain copper or more commonly copper sulfate. Always look at the ingredient list for any product going into the aquarium to ensure they are copper free.
- Social behavior: Peaceful and solitary; will not engage with tankmates.
- Origin: Sulawesi region of Indonesia.
- Average adult size: 2 - 3 inches (5 - 7.6 cm)
- Average purchase size: 1 - 3 inches (2.5 - 7.6 cm)