Also known as the Mexican Turbo Snail, it is among the fascinating creatures of the aquarium and literally ornamental in the style that it carries a designer shell over its body.

These are popular among aquarists for their elegant design and low-cost maintenance. They are also regarded as active tank cleaners.

Though a tiny creature, it requires ample space because of its high algae eating habits.  After death, the shells become marine sediments usually found in the shallow regions close to the shore, which is also known as continental shelf or slope.

Here in this article, you will read about the Trochus Snail care guide that includes facts & figures along with diet, habitation, breeding, and how many of them you can keep per gallon considering their size.

Species Profile

Quick Facts
Scientific Name Turbo Fluctuosus
Common Name Wavy Turban, Mexican Turbo Grazer, Turban Snail
Family Turbinidae
Habitat Saltwater
Max. Lifespan 5 years
Size 4.1 cm
Complete Saltwater Turbo Snail Care Guide


These gastropods were identified in the year 1828 by W. Woods in seawater. The Turbo Snails are seen in the Pacific Ocean, covering from the Baja California Peninsula to Galapagos Island.

They are primarily found in the western coastal regions of Mexico, in the Gulf of California. Basically, their habitation is distributed all along the United States of America, from Washington to California, while also in a few portions of Peru, Columbia, and Chile.

These snails prefer to stay in the shallow regions close to the shores. Sticking around the dead corals are their natural homes and can be easily spotted in the cracks of reefs and boulders.


The Turbo Snails can be pretty small in size, and their maximum length achieved is slightly above 1.6 inches. They possess a calculative vertical height as the shells appear large and bulky with an approximate size of 1.5 inches, which usually ranges between 0.9 – 3.3 inches.


These are one of the most famous aquarium pets due to their decorated shells, which are notable characteristics in snails.

The main body of the snail is white in color with a soft, shiny luster. The front part has two long-standing antennas and protruding eyes below it. They work together to detect food or potential hazards.

The Turbo Snails have beautiful shells in multi-color formations, and the prominent shades seen are red, olive, green, orange, off-white, and dark brown.

The shells are pretty hard, and slightly oval in dimensions from top to operculum, which is the shell’s closing.

The top portion looks like a small spiralized, pyramidal structure. The mature snails have up to five whorls, ending in a pointed cone, and appear to be held precisely over the shoulders.

The operculum has a more significant base with four whorls towards the center, which is raised with granules and convex from the outside.

Fact: The operculum of Turbo Snail’s shell is also known as the cat’s eye and is highly used in making pieces of jewelry or other decorations.

How Long do Saltwater Turbo Snails Live

These snails are hardy in nature and are expected to live a longer life if provided with healthy living standards.

The maximum attainable age is around five years, which they rarely achieve. Although these can stay alive for more years in the wild, but cannot live more than two years when kept in aquariums.


The Turbo Snails have separate male and female organisms, as per the researcher, but the fact is that although being gonochoric, the physical distinctions among them are still unknown. The experts have yet not been able to deduce the maturity age or size of these snails.


Considering their attractive appearance, these snails are in high demand among aquarists. They are not just eye-catching but also easy to care for, and just one of them is sufficient to clean the algae formations in the tank.

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Mexican Turbo Snails are widely available for sale in the market. They can be purchased both online and offline at an approximate price of $12 – $18, excluding the taxes and shipping charges.

Expert Care Guidance

Quick Details
Care Level Simple
Social Peaceful
Predators No
Temperament Non-Aggressive
Diet Herbivore
Breeding Tough

What do Turbo Snails Eat?

These are typical herbivore creatures and only depend on green vegetation to survive. They seem to be hungry all the time and can be seen holding the greens in feet to eat them.

These are bottom dwellers and can scavenge over the corals, rocks, and sand substrate to consume algal vegetation. Algae eating or cleaning is their favorite pastime and a daily routine, whether in the wild or in captivity.

Their tank cleaning activity is undoubtedly an efficient work, as they keep searching for all types of green or brown marine plants & seaweeds.

They eat hair algae, filamentous or slime algae, diatoms, brown macroalgae, along with cyanobacteria.

What to Feed Turbo Snails

They require an abundance of calcium in their diet, which is helpful in maintaining the shell’s hardness for higher sustainability. You can also manage the calcium levels in the tank water for better response.

Thus, if the aquarium does not have enough of this green growth, then consider providing it with supplements. A few are suggested below.

  • Dried algae or pellets
  • Other herbivore pellets
  • Flakes
  • Fish foods
  • Frozen food items
  • Algae wafers
  • Spirulina

Note: The Mexican Turbo Snails are the best glass cleaners amongst other such aquatics and can manage to wipe out entire algae formations with their slow & steady grazing ability.


Like any other snail, the Turbo Snail is a slow-moving creature, but it can cover a vast distance in the aquarium compared to its velocity when left unnoticed for a while.

These are harmonious and do not in any way indulge in grudges with other tank mates. They prefer staying inactive in their shells or in bright lights during the daytime.

And being nocturnal, they are more active in the dark and are primarily busy sensing for algae growth or food particles in the surrounding.

If they sense any potential threat from other species, they will immediately slip into their shells. These snails often behave timidly and, hence, reside in crevices of rocks, reefs, stones, or holes in wood.

Note: They do not dig sand burrows for hiding. Hence, you must install rocks, stones, or woods, in a manner that they can be used by them for hiding while also staying stiff in position.

How Fast is Turbo the Snail?

Snails, as is said, are slow movers, and it is worth not calculating the speed as it is hard to register when they are moving, scavenging, or sitting idle.

How Fast is Turbo the Snail

But most of the keepers and enthusiasts get excited after watching the Hollywood animation movie “Turbo,” released in 2013.

The movie’s plot is about a Turbo Snail that lives in a garden and wishes to race against super cars in the Indianapolis 500.

The dream turns into reality when the snail accidentally gets into a car engine and faces nitrous oxide, that treats it with some internal (physical/ chemical) changes to achieve extraordinary powers.

Theo, the Turbo Snail, played by Ryan Reynolds, qualifies to enter the race against cars by showing off a speed of 364 Kmph (226 Mph).

He competes in the race, and after being severely injured & troubled by the competitors and almost losing the powers, he manages to win it with a slight margin.

Are Mexican Turbo Snails Reef Safe?

These snails like to live near coral reefs, as they quickly find their favorite food, algae, over their surface, along with hiding spaces in the grooves and crevices.

While grazing, they do not tend to damage the reef as they only feed on green growth.

But as a reef tank owner, you must ensure to fix the coral rocks properly on the ground. It is because the Turbo Snails are strong enough for a reef tank and can push down the corals with their shell while moving, which can get damaged by falling on the ground.

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Do Mexican Turbo Snails Reproduce?

One of the most significant complications with these snails is making them reproduce in a captive region. It is a rare case to breed them and get fertilized larva successfully.

Before beginning the process, you need to arrange a mature pair of mating partners. It is going to be difficult since the detection of gender is highly complicated in these species, and experts are still unsure of any specific physical signs in their bodies.

You need to begin with certain steps in order to get positive results in terms of babies.

Turbo Snail breeding

Once you have a pair of snails, you can induce them in a separate saltwater tank and fulfill other required parameters.

These snails do not actually mate, as the fertilization of eggs takes place in a water column.

The males initiate the breeding process by releasing the sperms into the water, followed by the females laying eggs.


The females continuously release eggs in the water for 7 – 8 minutes, but the fertilized Turbo Snail’s eggs do not directly fall to the substrate.

The spawned eggs conjoin the sperms to fertilize and form a larva. Later, they move to a distance and fall to the surface like a miniature of their parents.

Note: It is a complicated process to get even a few live juveniles as most eggs either do not fertilize or get killed during the pelagic period via water filters.


There are no specific illness issues with these snails, but that does not mean they can thrive in any situation.

They have been found vulnerable to several water conditions and hygiene issues. An element of copper or copper compounds in the tank water can create serious health issues, and thus, you should keep a check on it.

The fundamental problem with the Turbo Snail is that they find it hard to acclimatize, even if the environment is kept in an ideal situation.

It is one of the reasons why they do not survive up to their whole lifespan in aquariums. 

So, it is advised not to make frequent changes in water and to maintain the temperature at low to moderate levels.

Aquarium Care & Maintenance

Quick Stats
Capacity 40 Litres
Water Temperature 70 to 73 F
Hardness Range 8 to 16 dGH
Tank Lighting Low Light
Water pH Level 8.1 to 8.4
Water Type 1.023 to 1.025 SG
Nitrate Below 20 ppm
Substrate Corals, Sand, Rocks

How Many Turbo Snails per Gallon?

These are small-sized, slow-moving creatures with no swimming abilities, as they only graze on the surface.

But irrespective of their size, movements, and even if they are friendly with other mates, it does not make them co-survivors. The experts advise keeping no more than one of them in 10 Gallons tank.

Because they are continuous grazers and can eat up all the algal growth in the tank alone, one snail is more than sufficient. So, having more companions of their own species will require more green food, which may become problematic in a small space.

Turbo Snails Tank Setup and Care

Tank Arrangements

These are peaceful creatures who are mostly searching for algal greens in the aquarium. You can put some of the useful items like pipes, rocks, or wood to keep them engaged for a long time.


The most prominent place where you can find the Turbo Snail in the tank is either the substrates or clinging to the walls. Having floating or rooted plants in the tank will not interest them in any way.

But you can infuse algae and seaweed growth in the aquarium, which they love to graze.


These snails are nocturnal by nature and avoid being active during the day hours. You may sometimes witness them coming out of their shells during the day, but only for a short duration.

You may use medium LED bulbs, but turn them off after a few hours. They are active and stress-free in the dark, and hence, it is not suggested to put a bright light in the tank. It would be best if you also considered placing the tank in a low-light region.


It is an essential component in aquariums with Turbo Snails. They scavenge all around the substrate and find space to hide themselves or to rest.

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You can put everything that supports rapid algae growth where sand is most suitable for grazing, along with gravel stones and rocks.

Filtration System

They do not usually require a filtration system as the snail itself is a cleaner. But you can put in a low-power filter that enables oxygenation and minimal water movement.


Turbo Snails are best suited for reef tanks, so you can have coral reefs in the aquarium. Reefs look fabulous in fish tanks and are entirely safe from these snails, irrespective of the scavenging activity.

The corals should be appropriately fixed so that it does not shift when pushed by the snail. You can also put logs or driftwood, which support algae growth and provide space for hiding.

Tank Parameters

These snails are quite sensitive toward acclimatization and are particular about the water conditions.

A slight change or unsuitability in the environment can disturb their lifestyle and hamper their health.

Therefore, it is necessary to scale the tank water at specific levels, as the experts suggest. We have pointed out the most critical factors that can help to pet the Turbo Snail.

  • They prefer moderate to cool temperatures; hence, you should maintain this at 20 – 23 Degrees Celsius.
  • Maintain the specific gravity between 1.023 – 1.025.
  • The alkalinity of the water should be in the range of 8.1 – 8.4.
  • Calcium is an essential component of their diet. But you should also maintain the calcium level in water between 350 – 450 ppm.
  • Get the nitrate level below 20 ppm.

Tank Mates

Turbo Snails are listed as the peaceful, compatible aquatics of saltwater. They never attempt to bother other mates in their way, and since they rely on greenery for food, it hardly matters if small fishes or invertebrates are moving around.

Instead, these snails possess a certain level of shyness or nervousness as they slide in their shells if they sense danger in the surroundings.

Being a slow mover, it may attract potential threats from predators and should therefore not be kept with Coral Banded Shrimps, Crabs, or aggressive fishes.

The list of suitable tank mates is given below.

  • Shrimp (Sexy, Pederson Cleaner, Red Fire, Peppermint)
  • Snails (Bumble Bee, Fighting Conch, Cerith, Trochus)

Frequently Asked Questions

Do Hermit Crabs eat Turbo Snails?

Hermit Crabs are creatures that are accustomed to carrying an external shell over their exoskeleton. Thus, to follow the inbuilt “shell capturing mechanism,” they find the snails an easy prey, as they are slow-moving animals.

These crabs can easily turn them upside down, kill them for food, and get hold of the shell.

You can put extra empty shells in the tank to lower the probability of Turbo’s getting killed, but even if the crabs have a comfortable cover, they may still predate the snails.

Can Mexican Turbo Snails Turn Themselves Around – Flip

Sometimes these snails fall into the water while grazing on the aquarium walls.

But there is nothing to worry about, as they do not get hurt, while the problem may arise if they fall upside-down and find trouble standing right.

In general, they attempt fruitfully to gain the right-up position, but might get stressed out in the process due to their huge shell.

If there are Bumblee Snails in the tank then they can attack them in this position, usually for food.

Thus, if you ever notice them falling on their backside, then help them back in position, as they are “freewage” cleaners of your tank.

Can they get into another shell?

Unlike Hermit Crabs, the Turbo Snails grow their own shell and live with it for their whole life. The shells usually get healed up if they get injuries. But if it breaks down, then the snail dies.

Can they live in freshwater?

The Turbo Fluctuosus are species that are only found on the sea coasts. They are habitats of salt water and cannot thrive if kept in freshwater.

When do they sleep?

Some aquarists call them sleepy or lazy because of their unique sleeping pattern. Though the Turbo Snails are nocturnal, i.e., night crawlers, they sleep for continuous 48 – 72 hours instead of following a standard 24-hours cycle.

Final Thoughts

Aquarists praise the Turbo Snails for its multiple characteristics. These possess creatively designed, colorful shells, which look attractive and catch attention.

Apart from their fascinating looks, they are efficient tank cleaners and rely on feeding on algae or seaweed. If water conditions are properly met, then they do not need any special care and can freely live with peaceful mates.

It makes them low-cost maintenance aquatics, and thus, they are a good value for money product.

About the Author

Jacoby Spicer

Jacoby is a lifelong aquarist with a particular passion for aquascaping design and plants. With nearly three decades of experience in fishkeeping, he enjoys learning more every day and educating others. The past 20 years have brought about major changes in design, form, and style in aquariums, terrariums, and paludariums, and Jacoby remains excited to discover and teach about new concepts.

Career Highlights:

  • Aquarium, aquascaping, and hybrid tank design and set up.
  • More than 20 years of experience in fishkeeping, including indoors and outdoors.
  • Nearly 10 years of experience in scientific research and communications.

Educational Highlights:

  1. Current student with a major in journalism, focusing on scientific communications.
  2. Ongoing education in horticulture, as well as ina Master Gardener program.

Writing Experience

In the past two years, Jacoby has been a staff writer for a well-known home and garden blog, with over 40 published works and millions of views. He’s also contributed to social media pages dedicated to home and garden topics.

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