The Money Cowrie Snail Cypraea moneta
is a small oval snail that grows to just over one inch in length. Effective algae eaters, it helps help keep rocks and the glass of your aquarium clean. Money Cowrie Snails were used as currency by people in the Indian and Pacific Ocean areas years ago. When dried and handled in quantities, they even make a clinking noise, similar to the sound of pocket change.
A marine mollusk with a smooth, shiny, domed shell and long narrow toothed opening, it is a creamy color with brown markings. Mostly brown and white exposed on its upper shell, it has a mostly white underside with a tan center that has a distinct outline.
Money Cowrie Snails do best in mature reef aquariums with established live rock and no aggressive species that might harm them. Care should be taken to observe the daily activities of this hungry snail since it has difficulty righting itself if it falls or is knocked upside down. Like other invertebrates, it is sensitive to high nitrate levels and will not tolerate copper-based medications. When introducing it to the home aquarium, use the drip acclimation method over the course of several hours, since it cannot tolerate even minute changes in water parameters. One to two snails for each 10 gallons of water will provide it enough room to roam and help keep algae under control.
This member of the Cypraeidae family consumes film algae, diatoms, hair algae and some species of cyanobacteria. Keep in mind that the Money Cowrie will starve if algae levels become sparse. Therefore, its diet should be supplemented with dried seaweed or a vegetable-based tablet food.
Approximate size: 1/2” to 1”