Devil´s Thorn Snail Bicolor (Faunus ater)

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Devil´s Thorn Snail Bicolor
Faunus ater
Devil´s Thorn Snail Bicolor (Faunus ater)
Name Devil´s Thorn Snail Bicolor
Name Lat. Faunus ater
Family Pachychilids
Family lat. Pachychilidae
Order Caenogastropods
Order lat. Caenogastropoda
Origin Southeast Asia
Habitat Streams, pools, estuaries
Diet Omnivore
pH 7.5-8.5
Behavior Peaceful
Keeping Group
Care Level Easy
Reproduction Oviparous
Breeding None reported
Life Span 3-5 years
Protection No
Metric Units
Size 6-8 cm
Temperature 24-28 °C
Hardness 5-20 °dH
Aquarium ~ 60 l
US Units
Size 2.4"-3"
Temperature 75-82 °F
Hardness 89-356 ppm
Aquarium ~ 15 gal

Distribution and habitat

The devil's thorn snail "Bicolor" is a color form. The devil thorn snails are widely distributed from Sri Lanka to Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines and northern Australia to New Guinea. They live in coastal streams, estuaries, brackish pools, tidal pools and mangrove swamps


They need a well-structured aquarium with roots, stones and plants. The burrowable substrate of sand or fine gravel should be partially covered with foliage (e.g. sea almond leaves, oak leaves), decaying plant material and mulm. Medium to hard, slightly alkaline water is ideal.

The water quality must correspond to that for the average keeping of freshwater fish. No ammonia, ammonium or nitrite should be detectable in the water and the nitrate value should be below 100 mg/l. When using a filter, make sure that only a weak current is created and that no animals can be sucked in. The lighting must correspond to the natural day-night rhythm of the animals.


Devil's thorn snails feed on dead plant material (detritus) and algae growth. The food supply consists of algae leaves, sprouted lettuce or dry food (flakes, food tablets) with high vegetable content (spirulina), which is usually accepted after habituation.

Feeding should be varied to prevent the occurrence of deficiency symptoms. Unaccepted food must be removed after 2-3 hours

Behaviour and compatibility

They should be kept in a small group of 4-6 devil's thorn snails. Socialization with fish and other invertebrates that do not consider these snails as food is well possible

Basically, only mutually compatible species with similar requirements for water conditions and water temperature should be socialized.

Reproduction and breeding

They are separately sexed. The sexes can not be distinguished from each other externally

After mating, the female sticks the egg capsules to various substrates. Each of these capsules contains numerous eggs from which swimmable larvae hatch and live for some time as part of the marine plankton in the sea. As they grow, they then form their shells, switch to a crawling lifestyle, and return to the estuaries. There are no known reports of successful breeding in the aquarium.


In the wide range of the devil's thorn snails there are some color variations

Adults sometimes bury themselves in the sand for days

To build up their shells they need a sufficient supply of lime. Especially in soft, acidic water, shell damage (holes) can occur due to lack of calcium, which can lead to the death of the snail. Therefore, special attention should be paid to the calcium concentration in the water and, if necessary, calcium should be added in the form of limestone, cuttlebone or special preparations from the specialized trade

The foliage (sea almond tree, oak, beech, etc.) not only provides cover, but when rotting promotes the development of microorganisms, which are a valuable secondary food source.

The well-being of the animals should be monitored regularly. Temperature should be checked daily, pH, hardness and nitrate levels at least every 14 days. Regular partial water changes are recommended, even when contaminant levels have not yet reached the upper limit. Sudden changes in water quality should be avoided. Newly introduced animals must be accustomed slowly to the water in the aquarium.

Further literature can be found in your pet store.


Text: petdata; Image: Franz Lowak

Source: BITTER (2008), Schnecken-Fibel, Dähne Verlag; ENGELMANN & LANGE (2011): Zootierhaltung - Tiere in menschlicher Obhut: Wirbellose, Verlag Harri Deutsch