Sunday Invertebrates - The Tiger Cowrie
The Tiger Cowrie (Cypraea tigris) is a herbivore that hails from the Indo-Pacific region, and is common on Hawaiian reefs. The Tiger Cowrie can grow to a maximum size of 4" inches, however most in the aquarium hobby are between 2" - 3" inches.
An active feeder, the Tiger Cowrie can make an excellent addition to a safe reef tank (ie; no natural predators), and can live up to 10 years in captivity. They are fantastic grazers and will help control algae growth, while looking fantastic. However, the Tiger Cowrie does tend to knock over rockwork and corals that are not securely fastened.
The minimum recommended tank size for a Tiger Cowrie is 100 gallons or larger. Since it is an active grazer, this snail requires a tank with healthy micro and macro algae growth and may require supplemental feedings of macro algae if none is naturally present in the aquarium.
The Tiger Cowrie has a highly polished shell with brown spots all over. It has a flattened bottom and is oval shaped like a rugby ball or football. The outer shell is highly polished as a result of the mantle being extended up and over the outer shell.