Queen Conch

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Strombus gigas - Linnaeus, 1758
Queen Conch

Wild populations of the Queen Conch have been devastated by overfishing; specimens in the aquarium trade are aquacultured. Matt Wittenrich


Severely overharvested in Florida and much of the Caribbean, this important food animal is making a strong comeback thanks to aquaculture.

The captive-bred juveniles make interesting aquarium subjects, with their busy grazing habits and eyestalks constantly surveying the surroundings. However, they get very large and can be like the proverbial “bull in a china shop,” toppling unattached corals. A better choice for most aquariums is the Fighting Conch, Strombus alatus.

Individuals less than 0.8 in. (2 cm) long often climb on rocks and aquarium walls, but larger, heavier conchs remain on the bottom substrate. Moves with a lurching motion.

Family: Strombidae

Other common name(s):

  • Pink Conch

Native range:

Maximum length: 40 cm (16 in)

Minimum aquarium size: 380 L (100 gal)

Lighting: Must be sufficient to support healthy algal growth.

Water: Marine 24 °C (75 °F) - 28 °C (82 °F)


Grazes on all sorts of algal growth and diatoms. To ensure it is getting enough to eat, offer sinking herbivore pellets. Aquarists can culture Sea Lettuce to feed conchs and other herbivores.

Aquarium Compatibility

Good grazer; harmless. Needs a lot of open sand surface area. May starve in a system with other herbivores competing for food on the substrate.

Special Care

Juveniles may be kept in small tanks, but they will quickly need more room if properly fed. They must have open sand spaces to graze and will not thrive in a reef aquascape dominated by rock.


Oceans, Reefs and Aquariums (ORA) at the Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution in Ft. Pierce, Florida, pioneered the culturing of both Queen and Fighting Conchs.

Reference: The 101 Best Marine Invertebrates
Image credit: MLW
Text credit: SWM