• Looking to buy a cephalopod? Check out Tomh's Cephs Forum, and this post in particular shares important info about our policies as it relates to responsible ceph-keeping.

Are Shells you buy safe?


Colossal Squid
Staff member
Moderator (Staff)
Nov 20, 2002
Lil P has been living on and off in a small conch shell. When I was in the Keys, I picked up a quite large one that I think he would love. What do I need to do to make sure this is safe for the tank? I thought about boiling it in water for 20 mins.

Yea, boiling it should work, but could it be that there were heavy metals in the water from which it was collected. Did you just go to the keys?
Also make sure that there's no varnish on the shell If you bought it from a souveneir shop. Don't know what that could do but its good to be safe.
My mom lived on Sanibel Island (noted for its shells) and became an avid shell collector. The method used there was to soak the shells in bleach solution to clean them. I would suppose that a good soaking and boiling water would get rid of any traces of bleach, if that was used.


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