Shells are the main income (and expense) of the player's very own Virtual Aquarium and have currency symbols of a small, yellow scallop ().
Shells can be collected in five ways:
- Bonus Round - After completing five levels in Adventure Mode, a bonus round will ensue wherein players have to collect as many shells as they can before time runs out. Collecting the same type of shell several times in a row up to a maximum of 10 grants 80% shells more than the base value. After completing Adventure Mode for the first time, Bonus Adventure is unlocked. In Bonus Adventure, shorter Bonus Rounds will happen after every level.
- Time Trial Mode - Converts 5% the money earned in the level into shells once the time limit has been run down.
- Challenge Mode - 2,000 shells for Tank 1, 5,000 for Tank 2, 10,000 for Tank 3, and 20,000 for Tank 4
- Fish and Pets - Creatures that are housed in the Virtual Tank will periodically drop shells when properly fed. Shells collected by Stinky and Clyde in screensaver mode will count towards the player's shell total.
- Codes - Players who have completed the first five levels of Adventure mode can type "give" into the main menu to open a prompt that allows players to transfer their own shells into other accounts on the same system
|Shell Type||Value||Dropped By|
|Silver Shell||1 shell||Medium Guppies, Small Ball Fish|
|Gold Shell||2 shells||Large Guppies, Baby Jr. Guppies, Heads, Medium Ball Fish, Vert|
|Blue Conch Shell||5 shells||King Guppies, Medium Jr. Guppies, Starcatchers, Carnivores, Large Ball Fish, Aliens|
|Silver Spiral Shell||10 shells||Beetlemunchers, Large Jr. Guppies, Mini-Sylvesters|
|Bag O' Shells||20 shells||Ultravores, King Jr. Guppies, Sylvesters, Rocky, Santa|
Some pets are capable of producing money which have their own shell values.
- Nostradamus drops Snot worth 1 shell
- Shrapnel produces Bombs worth 5 shells
- Niko produces Pearls worth 10 shells
- Vert drops gold shells
- Amp will produce blue conch shells for every food guppy electrocuted
End of round purchases
After completing Adventure Mode for the first time (as there are no more normal pet eggs to hatch), players will have the ability to purchase Bonus Pets and pet limit expansions after every level. They must be purchased in the order shown.
- Brinkley - 20,000 Shells
- Nostradamus - 25,000 Shells
- Stanley - 30,000 Shells
- Walter - 35,000 Shells
- Increase number of pets used to four in all game modes - 40,000 Shells
- Increase number of pets used to seven, Virtual Tank only - 45,000 Shells
- After unlocking this, players can further increase the number of pets in the Virtual Tank to eleven by unlocking Sandbox Mode.
The Fish Emporium
The Fish Emporium is a shop run by the hostess, Meryl, and sells items for the player's Virtual Tank. Several fish are available for purchase, including fish that are exclusive to this game mode, as well as useful upgrades and decorative backdrops. The most common staples of The Fish Emporium are guppies and carnivores but also stocks starcatchers beetlemunchers, ultravores, and various other unique fish. Prices of fish vary greatly.