Know Why You Must Experience Fighting Conch At Least Once In Your Lifetime

West Indian Fighting Conch
West Indian Fighting Conch

An Introduction To Fighting Conch

Fighting Conch sounds like aggressive creatures that would be difficult to care for, but in reality, they’re harmless creatures and can be easily kept by any beginner aquarists.

Invertebrates are one of the great options to add diversity to your fish tank. A lot of different varieties are there. However, for marine setups, Fighting Conch is one of the most popular alternatives.

To keep you captivated some interesting behaviors are displayed by them. Subsequently, they provide a great service by helping to keep your aquarium clean.

In this article we have described everything you should require to understand while caring for a Fighting Conch. This includes their nutritional diet, ideal tank mates, preferred tank conditions, and a lot more…

Care Level:Easy
Color Type:Yellow/Pale Pink
Lifespan:Maximum 10 Years
Size:Maximum 5 Inches
Minimum Aquarium Size:20 Gallons
Tank Set-Up:Marine Reef Community
Compatibility:Different Reef-Safe Creatures
Table of Fighting Conch Facts and Stats


Conchs have lots of different species and they build up the Strombus genus. One of the most common instances of home aquariums are Fighting Conchs.

Fighting Conchs have two main species, Strombus alatus (Florida Fighting Conch) and Strombus pugilis (West Indian Fighting Conch).

It’s easy to mix them up because they look very similar in appearance. Both of the species can be kept in captivity. Many people get confused and even don’t realize which species they have in their aquarium.

They are known as marine gastropod mollusks which fall in the category of Strombidae family. True conchs are one of the members of this family.

  1. The pugilis are found in America’s eastern coasts, from Brazil down to Florida, including the Caribbean islands such as Bermuda. There is a more northerly range in S. alatus.

Most pet stores don’t sell Fighting Conchs. Therefore you need a dip research to find out your closest stock online. Each single conch can cost $10 to $20 depending on the size and age of the conch.

A Fighting Conch can live up to 10 years when properly cared for. Sometimes they are a bigger commitment beyond people’s expectations.

Typical Behavior

Their name makes them sound aggressive, so it is incredibly misleading. They eat detritus and algae, so they don’t have any need to go hunting. They are a totally peaceful community. They are not dangerous to their tank mates.

Tank mates include corals; The Fighting Conchs are totally reefed safe. Practically they help corals by aerating the substrate and clearing up algae.

This species spent their time foraging for food. In order to move around surfaces in the aquarium Conches use their strong foot. If a Fighting Conch gets flipped upside down then their foot helps to ‘catapult’ themselves.

You get to witness all their behaviors during the day because they are most active at this period.

Anyone can take care of Fighting Conch very easily. Beginner fish keepers should be fine adding one or more to their aquarium.

Unfortunately, the common name of this species puts many people off before they decide.


What is Florida Fighting Conch
Florida Fighting Conch

Most of the people are familiar with fighting conch shells without realizing it. You might find these shells on the beach, put it to your ears, and just imagine you are hearing the sound of the sea wind.

The shell of a conch is strong and thick, making it difficult to penetrate for predators (for instance: hermit crabs).

Typically with 8 to 9 right-facing whorls it’s conical in shape and they are with a row of additional spines. Sometimes the spines are gone or reduced completely.

Its opening is quite large and long. Here they are most vulnerable to the predators. The operculum which is claw-shape is characteristic of so many Strombus snails.

The shell is typically quite striped and pale. Their common colors include yellow, pink, or cream.

The eyes of these Conchs are well-developed. It gives them relatively better vision than a lot of marine snails. Their eyes emerge from under the shell’s lip at the opening.

The size of the Fighting Conch medium. Their shells tend to grow around 3.5 inches, however some individual conchs grow upto 5 inches.

The perfect way while mating is to put them on their side. While they prove themselves, you are able to see an egg groove (on females) and a verge (on males).

There is a very slight difference between S. alatus and S. pugilis. S. pugilis has a very deep purple stain on their anterior end. S. alatus has a more projected outer lip and a lower substral spines.

Habitat and Tank Conditions

Fighting Conchs are seen in tropical places along the eastern coasts of America, from Brazil down to Florida, however S. alatus is slightly more northerly.

Conchs survive in the intertidal zone. They like shallow waters (between 6 to 32ft) over deeper areas. Often these regions include seagrass beds, flat sandy areas and coral reefs.

As they get older, they enter deeper waters, and to lay eggs returning to the shallows.

The waters where they live are fully marine, alkaline and warm. There would be water movement and so much access to light.

You should do your best to rebuild their natural habitat in your tank to keep your Fighting Conchs healthy. Generally this is easy to do.

Tank Conditions

It is necessary to pick a good quality tank because these gastropods spend the majority of their time on the substrate. Give a thick layer of silt or sand so that your conch can burrow smoothly. Chances that they might be buried for a lot of days as they search for prey.

While considering the structure of your tank, there isn’t much which you require to particularly give for the Fighting Conchs.

If you add any decorative things, the conch might climb up onto decorations as they scavenge. Since Fighting Conch have their shells, they don’t need caves in their tank.

Keep the tank’s water parameters within their preferred range. Regularly check the chemistry of water to observe nitrate, ammonia, and nitrite levels.

The pH should be 8.1-8.4, the temperature should be 75-84°F, salinity should be 1.023-1.026.

If pH level lowers, the acidity may start to dissolve and it could weaken shells.

General lighting of the aquarium should be fine.

What Size Aquarium do they need?

For a single Fighting Conch a 20-gallon aquarium should provide sufficient space. If you are keeping multiple conches, the bigger the aquarium, the better.

Especially this is the case if you’re keeping more than one males. Some extra space should be given to them to keep the aggression down, though these conches are not likely to hurt one another.

How Many Can be kept each gallon?

The actual question is how much sand bed is available per Fighting Conch. They require to be able to forage and burrow.

Usually You can decide this yourself based on the size of your aquarium.

Tank Mates

Fighting Conchs are not dangerous. They can be kept with some reef-safe tank mates. In the wild environment, these conchs spend their lives around various reefs, so they’d definitely encounter so many different wild animals.

The actual factor is animals which might target snails as their food, and these creatures include hawkfish, puffers, hermit crabs, triggers.

Also this has a lot of suitable options, like Pajama Cardinalfish, Damselfish, Clown Fish, Butterflyfish, and Green Chromis.

Alongside other invertebrates they can survive too, like Astrea Snails, Red Fire Shrimp, Peppermint Shrimp, and Bumble Bee Snails.

To recreate their natural habitat, coral keeping is a great option, but these can be highly expensive for most aquarists.

Aquatic plants can also be considered as perfect additions, particularly to encourage their mating behaviors.

Can You Keep your Fighting Conchs Together?

Fighting Conch can be kept together without any issues.

If you keep multiple males then it may result in little amounts of aggression, however usually this is just in the type of pushing, so they won’t hurt one anothers.

You can help to reduce aggression by providing them a big tank.


Fighting Conchs can eat both vegetation and meaty foods (meaning they are omnivorous), however in your tank, most of the time they’ll act as herbivorous.

These conchs feed on detritus, bacteria, and algae which can always be found around an aquarium.

In order to use their radula, they stretch out their snout (a strong tooth-like structure) and scrape off algae from various surfaces and rocks.

Detritus and bacteria are consumed as the gastropod sifts through the aquarium substrate. Most of their time is spent burrowing in sand, searching for food, and silt takes up so much of that time.

They require so much food because they are always foraging. The amount of bacteria, detritus, and algae in the aquarium generally is not sufficient, therefore with your own food you have to supplement this.

Adding dried foods such as algae wafers/pellets is a great way to supplement this. Conches will eat unconsumed foods which were provided for their tank mates.

How much food you add will depend on the quantity of detritus and algae in the aquarium, so observe closely. Don’t remove all the algae when cleaning your aquarium because algae is a major part of a Fighting Conch’s diet.

It is necessary to provide calcium to your conchs. It is a very essential component of improving a healthy and strong shell. Generally calcium supplements are commonly found in pet stores.


The important work you have as an aquarist is to maintain a good and healthy aquarium along with providing feed to your pets. You must maintain and keep your tank clean, that doesn’t consume too much time.

If algae start getting out of control, wipe away excess algae(though not all of it, leave some so that your conchs can eat it) and change tank water partially every 1-2 weeks.

You may need to pay extra attention while cleaning your aquarium to the substrate since the Fighting Conchs prefer a thick layer for burrowing. Use a substrate vacuum cleaner to make cleaning the tank easy.

Always use a water testing kit each week to test the parameters of the aquarium water that are within the preferred range for your Fighting Conchs.

Frequent testing of water means that you can respond to the issues early before they can cause health problems for the conchs or snails.

If you have a healthy aquarium then these snails will not pick up a disease anyway. They’re very hardy creatures. They are very rarely affected by pathogens, meaning they can tolerate little changes in their surroundings if the issue is rectified before long.

For beginner aquarists it makes them great at making small mistakes.


A male conch will apply his proboscis to interact with a female to start courtship, however there is a chance that she might leap away. The male will keep trying until he becomes successful.

When the male succeeds to attract the female’s attention, the male conch will insert it’s penis beneath the female’s shell to fertilize her eggs. After that process the female will lay her fertilized eggs on the aquarium’s surfaces.

The female conch can continue to mate, even while laying eggs. She is able to hold and spawn the sperm of a male at the same time.

Their fertilized eggs are small in size. A single nest of eggs contains over 180,000 of eggs. Within a couple of days they should hatch.

The young snails would hatch as free swimming larvae. These are too small, particularly leaving them vulnerable in order to be eaten.

Until they metamorphose into the juvenile Fighting Conch snail after 18 to 24 days, they feed on phytoplankton.

In captivity, Fighting Conchs breeding can be hard. You have to maintain a highly nutritional diet and proper conditions.

In the wild environment, these conchs might go to seagrass beds for mating. Therefore providing some aquatic plants might help them to encourage the mating. Raising the temperature gradually upto 84°F might be a trigger.

Are Fighting Conchs Suitable for Your Aquarium?

As easy and hardy to care for invertebrates, if any new aquarists have done a small bit of research then the Fighting Conchs can be cared for by anyone.

In a fish tank their preferred environments are easy to replicate, and in terms of feeding mostly the snails look after themselves.

If you have any tank mates that eat snails as part of their diet then it would be the only reason which could stop you from adding these snails to your aquarium; you don’t want to lose your little Fighting Conchs.

To an aquarium, these little creatures make a unique attraction. Their daytime and active behaviors will keep your interest, while the conch’s grazing on algae will help to maintain the aquarium.

Do you have any Fighting Conch in your aquarium? Is these Conch your favorite snail? Let us know the reason in the comments section below…


Dibyajyoti Bordoloi is the creator and author of, a third-generation experienced fish keeper and owner of a successful pet breeding farm. He is also a member of the Center for Wildlife Rehabilitation And Conservation (Assam), the Marine Aquarium Societies of North East India, and the Kaziranga Nature Conservancy of Assam.

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