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Hi all you budding reefkeepers.A wise man once said that if something looks too good to be true it normally is!!

There have been many sellers advertising "Turbo type" snails some even stating "Astrea Family" for amazing low prices, you all know the ones??

These snails are mainly a temperate species known as topshells, but also included are common periwinkles etc. These snails are collected from the cold and not so crystal clear waters off the UK mainland. "So what! if they do a good cleaning job?"you ask.

Here I hope to give a couple of reasons to give you more information before opting for the cheap option and causing long term problems in your expensive invert system.

Snails eat detritus and as such are often used as an indicator to the pollution levels in inshore waters, unfortunately our local  waters are in no way as pollution free as a blooming tropical reef. As the snails in question are collected from rock pools/piers  etc it is very likely that they will contain, through their diet, an amount of toxins which would be detrimental to a reef environment. This is a problem that initially seems a bit overprotective,however  read on.

All marine invertebrates live very close to their maximum tolerable temperature, (all experience marine reefkeepers are aware of the problems with overheating), so what happens when you put a temperate species in a tropical environment?

 It can only be deduced that invertebrates from UK water which has a maximum temperature of between 7 and 19 degrees C, would experience a vastly increased metabolic rate, this would cause the creatures to be more active etc. Great you would think, more cleaning power! But as with everything there are drawbacks, in this case greatly reduced lifespan. This is when the pollution issue really starts to become problematic. Your large quantity of cheap temperate snails will die young in a tropical reef tank, obviously allowing all those pollutants to be released into your expensive pride and joy.

After many years of marine reef keeping I would not expect to add any form of pollutant to my SPS tank without extreme consequences, I suspect neither would you?

So I leave you to make up your own mind, risk your expensive corals and save a few quid, or play it safe?

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