Ninja Star Astrea Snail (Astraea phoebia)
Max Size: 1 inch
Reef Compatible: Yes
Minimum Tank Size: 20 gallons
The Spiny Star Astraea Snail is an exceptional addition to any aquarium, sporting a one-of-a-kind shell and an insatiable appetite for algae. Unlike many dull-colored bottom-dwelling creatures, Astraea phoebia stands out with its pyramid-shaped shell, adorned in beautiful shades of green, yellow, and tan. What truly sets it apart are the pronounced projections on its shell, creating a mesmerizing sculptured spiral star shape that captivates the eye.
Beyond its captivating appearance, the Spiny Star Astraea Snail plays a crucial role in maintaining a clean and algae-free aquarium. This small herbivore has a particular fondness for consuming nuisance hair algae, as well as cyanobacteria and diatoms. Some aquarists even report that the Spiny Star Astraea Snail devours entire hair algae structures, preventing further algae growth.
In your home aquarium, the Spiny Star Astraea Snail thrives best in well-established tanks with plenty of hiding spots and ample space to explore. Not only does it keep the live rock free from algae, but it also takes on the task of cleaning the aquarium glass. Unlike some smaller-shelled snail species, the Spiny Star Astraea is not known for climbing abilities, so it mostly roams on the substrate. However, due to its inability to right itself if knocked upside down, careful observation of its daily activities is essential.
Being an invertebrate, the Spiny Star Astraea Snail is sensitive to high nitrate levels and should never be exposed to copper-based medications. To ensure a smooth acclimation, use the drip acclimation method over a period of about two hours, as even minor water parameter changes can be detrimental to its well-being. In case of inadequate food sources, consider supplementing its diet with blanched spinach or lettuce, along with vegetable-based tablet foods.
With its striking appearance and algae-cleaning prowess, the Spiny Star Astraea Snail is a valuable asset to any aquarium, adding both beauty and functionality to the underwater environment.