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FAQs on Snails in Freshwater Aquarium Apple/Baseball Snails

Related Articles: Snails and Freshwater Aquariums by Bob Fenner, Invertebrates for Freshwater Aquariums by Neale Monks, Assassin Snails and Sulawesi Elephant Snails. Keeping Clea and Tylomelania in the Aquarium by Neale Monks, Fresh and Brackish Water Nerites by Neale Monks, 

Related FAQs: Freshwater Snails 1, Freshwater Snails 2, & FAQs on: Freshwater Snail Identification, Freshwater Snail Behavior, Freshwater Snail Compatibility, Freshwater Snail Selection, Freshwater Snail Systems, Freshwater Snail Feeding, Freshwater Snail Disease, Freshwater Snail Reproduction, Snails by Species: Mystery Snails, Malaysian/Trumpet Snails, Ramshorn Snails,

Golden Apple snails (and goldfish)       4/18/20
I have been enjoying the section about the Apple snails, and it has been helpful especially in regards to calcium levels and possibly supplements.
<Glad you've enjoyed!>
Over 7 years ago (I am not sure of the time span so it may have been longer) I acquired a Golden Apple for my 50 gallon goldfish tank on my patio. I named it Grover and it was the first Snail I ever liked. (I live in California USA where the escaped escargot has not only adapted well but is a bit of a pest for rabid gardeners like myself, so I wasn’t able to Ohh and Aahhh over them and call them cute).
<Well, they're native here in England, or at least the very similar and equally edible Helix aspersa is, and my cottage garden is infested with them! They're interesting animals though. And Escargot snails are very delicious! Or perhaps it's just the garlic butter?>
Grover, however, was not only very attractive in color, but fascinating to watch. “He” and the 2 standard goldfish lived well together, neither bothering the other in any way. I knew about how to care for the goldfish but never even thought about finding out about Apple snails. I guess I just figured that he was a snail and would be as adaptable as all the other water snails I ended up with no matter how I tried to clean new living plants before adding to the tank.
<Alas, Apple Snails can be problematic. There's a range of species and hybrids out there, which means some people find them easy, and some people not so much. The average specimen lasts maybe a year or so, but I've seen some specimens that were many years old and almost the size of tennis balls.>
I had a plethora of “pond snails “ (small almost rounded brown snails), the larger rounded snails and lastly the darn trumpet snails which polished off all the other snails and took over.
<Now hold on a cotton picking moment! Melanoides snails need some decent PR, and I'm the guy. Yes, they multiply rapidly if there's lots for them to eat. But they are detritivores, and will not ever kill live snails or healthy plants. Indeed, if you can see them at all (at least during the daytime) there's something amiss because naturally they hide in the sand during the daylight hours. If you see them on the glass, especially near the top of the tank, during the daytime that means they're coming up for air, and that in turn means there's something wrong with the substrate and/or water column. They're the miner's canary in that regard, being the first sign of trouble.>
Took me years to get rid of them.
<Indeed; Melanoides are best controlled rather than eliminated. Individually, they're short lived, and in tanks with minimal algae and organic muck, their numbers should stay low.>
I had 5 indoor tanks of various sizes indoors and 2 tanks outside. The weather allowed me to do that. The only problem was the expletive deleted raccoon that raided my smaller 10 gallon and ate my bristled nose Pleco early Thanksgiving morning.
Grover lived to become almost as big as a baseball and died at approximately 5 years of age.
<That's actually not bad at all! Five years is a good age for an Apple Snail. They rarely get that old without a cooler/warmer cycle through the year, so a patio or conservatory tank at ambient temperature is likely better than the usual indoor tropical tank that's kept constantly warm.>
The goldfish lived 7 years and would have lived longer if we hadn’t gone on vacation and left my cousin in charge.
<My advice with fish is, unless you're gone more than 2-3 weeks, just leave them unfed. Fish can go weeks if not months (in the case of big fish) without food. But overfeeding and the resulting water quality crash has killed many, many pet fish over the years.>
Grover and the fish (I kept on changing their names but nothing settled) always knew when feeding time was, and I still remember watching him come up to the water line and put his foot thingy up to catch flakes with. I used to also feed him algae wafers and zucchini.
<Sounds good.>
That all being said, tank care is a lot of work so I am now down to one 70 gallon tank and my Corydoras finally all died off, so I bought 5 Golden Apples. I bought 5 in order to attempt to insure a good population level and in hopes that they would clean up the algae.
<They can do, but they're more plant-eaters than algae-grazers. Certainly when compared to, say, Nerite snails, which eat nothing but green algae and diatoms.>
They have been very busy. I have 6 or 7 egg clutches that I can see on the glass, and I have seen them in the midst of their snail orgies for days. Who knew snails would get that horny.
<They will certainly breed readily given the right conditions. Eggs need to be above the waterline to be viable though. Often laid on the aquarium hood or, if you're going for the _au naturel_ approach, vertical plant stalks and leaves that stick out above the waterline.>
I seem, however, to be missing 2 of them.
<Broody Apple Snails will leave the tank if they can to find a suitable egg-laying spot. In the wild they ascend plants anything up to about a metre above the waterline, and once the eggs hatch, the baby snails drop into the water below. Unlike your dratted Helix pomatia, which have a strong homing instinct, Apple Snails easily get lost. Look around the back of the tank, anywhere dark and hopefully damp. Apple Snails can survive out of water for some days, provided they don't dry out.>
I had added some little calcium ball things to the tank, but I haven’t checked the parameters of the water yet. Couldn’t find the test kits. I expect the new test kit to arrive tomorrow! I also noticed the 2nd clutch is gone and I have a lot of little snails in the tank. I am really not sure what type of snails they are. The shape of most of the shells look like the Apples, but some are brown, some gold, and others are white. So I am worried about that, too?
<No, quite normal. I fed my baby snails on floating lettuce leaves, which they enjoyed.>
Snails can remain dormant for some time. In addition, many of the small snails accumulate on the filter intake tubes. I think I resolved that problem by placing cleaned window screening over the ends and securing those with a rubber band.
While doing that in the midst of cleaning the intake tubes, I removed a long stream of what appeared to have been a snail head and feelers. Argh. Yesterday I noticed a Golden Apple with no apparent head that I could see, and it was covered with the little snails who looked like they were eating it. I picked it up and shook 98% of the snails off, but it appears to have closed its door way, so I put it back in the water in a different place. Today I saw a portion, about an inch, of it slid out from the shell and covered with many of the smaller snails. I am afraid that they are eating it.
<Apple Snails, like most snails, are opportunistic, and if a snail is dying, may try to feed on it. It is wise to remove ailing snails at first sight, and either humanely destroy them (sticking them in a bag and in the freezer will do this) or quarantine them for a few hours or days in something like a large plastic tub so that you can see if they're dead, alive, or somewhere in between. Our understanding of snail healthcare is rudimentary, to say the least, but sometimes isolating sick snails for a few days allows them to get better under their own steam.>
They don’t have the striped coloring of the assassin snails shown, so I am really not sure what they really are. I thought that they were either golden Apple snails just not golden yet or possibly a form of previously dormant pond snails. The week before last there were at least 4 Golden Apple snails.
Questions as follows:
1. What are the best KH, PH and Nitrate ranges for Apple snails ?
<They are not fussy, but I'd tend towards moderate hardness and a slightly alkaline pH; say, 10+ degrees dH, pH 7.5 simply to avoid pitting in the shell. Nitrate, as per fishkeeping, should be below 50 mg/l, and ideally below 20 mg/l.>
2. What would you recommend to use to supplement the calcium level in the water?
<No real need in hard water unless you have a lot of snails. Look for signs of pitting on the shells. If present, then yes, extra calcium would be a plus.>
3. Is it normal for snails to eat each other IF one is dead, or do I have a problem here?
<Yes, normal; whether problematic depends on the causes, but as I say, remove ailing snails regardless.>
4. I need to do another tank cleaning water change anyway, so I can just vacuum up most of the little snails if I have to. Do I need to do that?
<Yes, as with any breeding project, the more small water changes you do, the greater the numbers of offspring you will rear.>
5. Do you need photos?
<Not especially but feel free to send some along if you'd like to share. But do try and keep them to below 1 MB in size.>
Thank you
Amy O.
<Most welcome. Cheers, Neale.>

Question regarding a bug found in aquarium     6/20/18
Hi, I have been the owner of a male and female Betta fish since December 2017.
They currently reside in a 5 gallon tank with a divider in the middle.
<I bet!>
I recently added 2 mystery snail to the aquarium about 2 months ago and needless to say, my female Betta died shortly after introducing the snails to the aquarium.
I have not had the chance to remove the snail and today, I found this bug on the mystery snail (who resides in the side where the female Betta used.
I have no clue what this bug is and if there is more. I have tried to look on line to find it and I had no luck.
<Not obvious to me what this critter is. I'm not convinced it's a true bug (Hemiptera) and looks vaguely like a beetle of some sort (Coleoptera) and the proportions most suggestive of one of the Ladybirds. But why such a beetle would be in an aquarium eludes me. The photo is really much too blurry to offer any meaningful advice.>
Any clue as to what it is??
<Nope; a sharper photo would be essential.>
I have now removed my male Betta from the aquarium as I don't know what to do beside clean the aquarium and remove the snails permanently.
<I would not combine Bettas with Apple Snails. This combo doesn't usually work. More often than not the Betta 'pecks' at the Apple Snail leading to infection and eventually death. Even if that doesn't happen, Apple Snails don't consistently survive in aquaria and when they die they pollute terribly. Not 100% sure what the problem is with Apple Snails, but may well be some species require a distinct 'resting' period that's best provided by cooling the tank a bit, and that isn't easy to do if you've got tropical
fish like Bettas that need a consistent 24-28 C/75-82 F all year long.>
Please help and thank you, Alivia
<Most welcome, Neale.>

Apple Snail      5/30/18
Aloha Neale,
<Guten morgen, Dave!>
I was just looking through your site to find some info about caring for apple snails, and thought I'd write you a little note about mine, Rupert.
I've had Rupee since November 2015 and he was bought at a local fish shop in Honolulu for about 3.99 or 4.99. It was among the best money I've ever spent. After having a few kinds of fish in there with him over the years, and some who for one reason or another needed rehoming, Rupert now lives alone in a 10 gallon. 7.9 ph, 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites, 10-20 nitrates... and until the last year no calcium additives, though for the first couple years there were quite a few sea shells in with him. For the fish's sake, I
removed them to keep the ph under 8, and now that he's alone, he's got a few in there.
<Nice. You're right about these snails doing best on their own, or even in groups. I dare say Nerite snails would work well with them, but I'd tend to avoid shrimps in case they pick at the Apple Snail.>
A year ago he started getting little chunks of cuttlebone in there, which I rub together between fingers each week after a water change to dissolve into his water.
<They do like these!>
Now I am starting Kent's liquid calcium, as well, more so I don't have to put the unneeded additives in the cuttlebone into the tank, and wanted your advice on how much of that you'd dose weekly or at what rate? It seems like a safe, clean way to get him a bit more calcium, and any advice on using it would be appreciated. Also any other specific calcium advice I'd appreciate.
<Oh, hard to say. I'd dose about half what's recommended for a marine tank to start with. Then grab a carbonate hardness test kit, and check the KH value. Something around 10 degrees KH is probably the ideal, but a little lower or higher no big deal. Really, so long as the shell isn't pitted, the calcium level is fine.>
He eats Hikari Crab Cuisine, New Life Spectrum Algae Max, and Hikari mini algae wafers. I've been unsuccessful at getting him eating veggies.
<Even lettuce? Mine loved that!>
Rupert is graceful, gentle, hypnotizing... the definition of peaceful. He is hand fed almost every day; no food is ever left in the tank. When he's sitting at the water line I open the lid, start talking to him in a nice voice, and he usually starts looking up, and walla... into his mouth a little crab stick goes, or a piece of the other stuff. He can eat up to 30 of the crab sticks in one hour long feeding...
<Blimey! No wonder he doesn't want the greens. He's doubling up on the prime steak and skipping the salad.>
It's quite endearing to care for him and the videos of him are stunning. It was also the comment that few of these make it to tennis ball size that made me want to write.
<Yep. Can do. It's rare though because relatively few make it past 12 months in an aquarium, whereas I'm told the big ones are 4-5 years of age.>
Here is a video to see him... recent... and I have a ton more, if you wanted to see them!
<Sure thing.>
He is quite photogenic, as you can see... and I have dozens of videos he is about a tennis ball in size, closing in on three years old, and I love him dearly. Such an active, engaging, absolutely wonderful pet. Hearing others don't have this luck scares me! I didn't do much to specifically accommodate him, not intentionally but through ignorance, and now I'm going to try and do everything I can for him. I adore him. He is the light of my life, and has the most magical eyes.
<Wow! That's a cool pet for sure.>
Anyway, just wanted to say thanks for the all the great info, and let you know about this one very special Apple Snail - I think the canaliculata species... but he may as well be my son. I don't have kids and I love him like family.
God bless, Neale.
<And likewise.>
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Apple Snail      5/31/18
Thanks for the reply, Neale.
<Most welcome.>
Rupert did very well with others-- it was fish outgrowing the tank, or others rehomed when I had a health crisis with one resident in the tank, and wanted to make sure they got to safety.
<Interesting. It's often fish such as barbs and tetras pecking at the 'antennae' of the Apple Snails that causes problems with bacterial infections.>
If that one fish hadn't been stricken down by me adding some ghost shrimp which brought disease and killed him, I'd consider other creatures for Rupert's tank, but after that horrific incident (and I'd had LOTS of ghost shrimp with no incidents for years affecting anyone), nothing goes into Rupee's tank now except his food and careful dosing of calcium. He has everything else he needs and I won't add stuff for my enjoyment.
<Quite a good approach, I dare say.>
I've been frightened away from ever putting anything in there again.
Especially since Rupert doesn't need a single other occupant, so I'm not taking a chance with my baby, as I'm sure you can understand. He's precious and all I've got; nothing is worth chancing his health. Shrimp never bothered him. Other little snails I find in there I pull out ASAP so they don't take his calcium. The only people that ever picked on him were a tiger barb and a baby Corydoras paleatus, inexplicably... Rupert lived with an adult of that species and they were always seemingly best buds, sitting with each other. Otherwise, no one ever nipped at him.
He's never paid any attention to the pieces of cuttlebone, but I hope the calcium helped.
<Will have done. The aragonite in cephalopod shells such as these will slowly dissolve, especially if the pH drops below 7, which in turns causes the dissolved calcium carbonate to buffer against the pH and raises the carbonate hardness.>
I am uneasy about the other ingredients in those - sometimes they come unwrapped or packaged with no details on ingredients, which is why I'm looking at things like the liquid, or even Zoo Med's calcium block for turtles, perhaps using a super small piece of one of those.
<Could be used, yes. But also bear in mind that things like krill and tiny bits of unshelled seafood will contain some calcium salts, and if your Apple Snail eats these, supplementing may be unnecessary.>
A person with technical knowledge of the product on their phone line said it could raise PH and knew nothing about using it for apple snails. Any ideas on that? Has calcium sulfate and magnesium chloride... the cuttlebone usually has a form of calcium and salt... so I don't like the additive part of the salt... the liquid appeals to me, since it's just calcium chloride and water...
<Both calcium sulphate and magnesium chloride should be safe to use, but I wouldn't bother. Providing calcium carbonate in the form of cuttlebone or crushed oyster shell is very much easier. Your Apple Snail only needs tiny amounts, remember; unlike crayfish and crabs, snails don't 'waste' mineral salts each time they moult, so all they need is enough to lay down the next layer of shell as they grow. Provided the shell isn't pitted, the pH and hardness of the water are adequate for maintaining the existing shell, and provided there aren't weird looking growth lines at the aperture (often dark and/or wrinkled) then the snail's diet are adequate for shell growth.
Your snail's shell looks pretty normal for an animal of its size and age.>
On that, I spoke with a technical rep on the 888 # on the Kent's. He was even more cautious and suggested cutting the dose to a quarter of that on the label, and starting with half of that... so it translated to 1 drop per every 2 gallons to start... then after a month if the PH is not affected, bump that to 1 drop per gallon, to be added when doing water changes. He gets about a 50% water change weekly.
I have a KH test kit and will check the water and get back to you...
I can't remember trying lettuce. I could try it.
<Definitely worth it. I largely reared baby Apple Snails on it, back in the day.>
Last night he ate a Hikari mini algae wafer and maybe 10 crab sticks, which have calcium, so I think they make an excellent staple.
<I bet.>
He was about a quarter size when purchased in Nov. 2015, so he's close to 3 years old, and I use the moss balls in there to help keep him from having rough landings, and he grazes off of them, too. I'm very proud of him and when I read your comments on few making it past a year of the folks you've interacted with, I wanted to share his amazing story with you, as he approaches three years. Aren't his blue eyes stunning?
<Definitely. Molluscs can have surprisingly nice eyes -- do look at those of scallops for example, not to mention squids and octopuses!>
Here he is last night... https://youtu.be/PFpx49-FdgI
<Real good! Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Apple Snail       6/3/18
Neale I found the earliest two photos of Rupert, both from late November 2015.
It's amazing how much he's grown, the shell colors change, how long his tentacles are now... boy was he a little cutie pie or what?
<That's actually pretty snazzy to see! Whether he's a cutie pie or not probably depends on your personal taste.>
And last night he made history - Rupee had his first cucumber. Washed, then blanched... it was something else.
<Might also try courgette / zucchini, another favourite with aquatic herbivores.>
Usually he's fed at the water line, where food can be easily put in his mouth.
<Quite so.>
Sometimes if he's grazing on a moss ball, I'll pop a crab cuisine stick on the ball, and he'll rotate it into his mouth. But with him having the whole tank now, while he was walking around on the ground, I put a wedge of cucumber, like a small slice of pizza, in front of him. Walla - an hour later and he had eaten almost the whole thing. It was a delight to see him genuinely interested in it.
<Curious behaviour indeed.>
When done I removed the small piece he didn't eat, and he looked bloated, sitting there motionless, his face retracted into the shell and his mass bloating out. I was frightened and moved him a few inches away, and he quickly brought his face out, and began cruising around the tank. It had been a lot more cucumber than I thought he'd eat. Two photos show his starting on the cucumber and shortly before he was done.
So I thought you'd like to know that, and your lettuce suggestion made me push forward to see if something green could become a reality for him. I will try spinach soon, but he's got more cucumber for the weekend.
<Apple Snails are herbivorous pests in the wild, so there's really no reason not to try anything green. But there are some of the more strongly flavoured varieties that may have chemicals like mustard oils that put off herbivores, and may even be harmful, so try a little bit first.>
The reason I like the idea of the liquid calcium over the cuttlebone is avoiding the uncertain other stuff that seems to be in the cuttlebone. Now when I went to get it most recently, it was not sealed, no label, and another store had it sealed with no ingredient breakdown... I'm not as comfortable putting that in, not knowing the precise ingredients (often has salt as one), vs. the liquid, which only has water besides the calcium...
<Understood. Anything sold as 'reef safe' should be fine with snails of all sorts, but avoid anything mysterious or not obviously reef safe.>
It's just a bit uncomfy wondering what else could be in the cuttlebone, vs. the Kent's it's only the one ingredient + water, and after talking to their tech guy for a while, it seems very easy and clean to add to his water.
<Indeed. Cuttlebone does also decay in the water, so isn't to everyone's taste as an Apple Snail supplement.>
For a month I'll do 1 drop per 2 gallons, testing KH and PH, and then if no bad effects, bump up to a drop per gallon.
<Seems sensible.>
Here he is last night after his cucumber.... https://youtu.be/TFNyuNnnlmA
Thanks again, Neale. Hope you dig the vintage baby pics! I'm so blessed to  still have him...
<Appreciate the photographs. Good luck with your experiments here, Neale.>

Apple Snail; dying in a tropical setting     3/4/16
I have three apple snails in my 10 gal tank with Bettas and tetra spp.
<Mmm; not compatible... Apple snails aren't tropical species...
Please read here re:
There are other snails that are>
One of my larger, and healthy looking snails hasn't moved for three days. I took him out and touched him but no response. He does not smell.
<Not yet>
I pried open his door, which was minimally open already and still has not moved. Is he dormant or dead?
<Likely the latter>
The other two so far seem ok. If any would be sick, I would have thought the smaller one with eroding shell and algae growth but this one that isn't moving was very active previously. I am wondering if it was from the fish meds? I used Stressguard and Paraguard by SeaChem. Please help !
<The latter is toxic to Gastropods. Bob Fenner>

Apple Snail Mantle Collapse. No useful data        10/28/15
Hi crew, I have a question about one of my Apple snails(pom. Diffusa). He appears to be suffering from mantle collapse. Based on research I assuming it is right sided since he can breathe and has survived for a few weeks now. Visually it seems to be the center portion is disconnected from the shell.
<What re water quality and feeding here? Such troubles are almost always a matter of one and/or the other with Pomacea in captivity. Review what we have archived on WWM Re... need hard, alkaline water.... at times useful to supply a bit of calcium carbonate....>

He cannot move but has tried every few days. He just appears to struggle to grasp any surface, stay up right, or even extend from his shell. At first he was closed up tightly for a week or so, then when taken out of the tank and put into clean water he opened up but clearly could not move much as his shell appeared to be too heavy. I have been hand feeding him fish flakes which is all he will eat.
<Need greenery>
I've tried every trick i could find but his condition has only gotten worse since he seems to no longer be able to retract tightly into his shell. I've contacted applesnail.net but haven't received a reply. Should I gradually lower the water temperature and then refrigerate him, or is there a chance this is something curable?
<.... the reading. Start here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/fwsnaildisfaqs.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
I have noticed white, somewhat stringy cloudy discharge from him now and again..not sure if this is relevant, but just thought I should mention it. Btw he is only about 4 months old.
Thanks so much

Random egg sack, FW/Apple snail, solo       9/28/15
Hello all,
<Hey Jen>
I'm writing because I can not find the answer anywhere else.
My son has a 10 gallon tank which has a red tailed shark, about 3-4" long.
It is also home to an apple snail - well, I believe it's an apple snail though the store that sold it to us recently said they've never sold apple snails. These were the two long term inhabitants in this tank. I believe the apple snail was added in April or May.
<Mmm; easy to look up pix....>
We are also housing some baby platies in there, temporarily, and there is quite a number of tiny pond snails. (I'm not at all concerned about the platies. If they outlast Red Tail then they will have a new home around Christmas. And we are pulling out the pond snails as quickly as we can.
It's tough to stay ahead of them!)
<See WWM re Snail control>
While trimming back the plant matter my husband found three egg sacks 2-3" in length, all under the hood and not in the water at all. Everything I've found indicates that apple snails need a mate to reproduce.
<Ah yes; and others of their family>
So, my question is where and how did these egg sacks come from? And can I prevent it from happening again?
<From snails.... remove them>

I've seen the pond snail egg sacks in the water, jelly-like and attached to the plants. I'm fairly certain they are pond snails as my daughter has the same pond snail issue in her tank. But I have NO idea where the egg sacks came from and how to prevent it again. I'm also fairly certain that the under-hood egg sacks are NOT the pond snails.
My husband has promptly disposed of the egg sacks because I was totally grossed out by them, or I might have thought to grab a picture.
Any ideas are appreciated.
Jen Sowden
<Do you need help using the search tool (on every page) or indices on WWM?
Bob Fenner>
Re: Random egg sack      9/28/15
So the apple snail mated with the pond snails?
<Ah, no. It already was "pregnant". BobF>
Re: Random egg sack      9/28/15

<Hi again Jen>
Sorry for that random last reply. My daughter bumped into me and I sent accidentally.
I only have one apple snail. And many pond snails.
<Ah yes; understood>
The egg sacks we found under the hood are different than the pond snails' egg sack. Different size, appearance, placement.
So, did the apple snail mate with the pond snails? Do pond snails have different types of egg sacks?
<These snails did not cross-breed; and yes, differing egg sacks>
I'm quite competent on how to search but nothing I've searched has shown me how an apple snail can lay eggs without a little help.
<Pomacea are dioecious; separate sexes; can/do store sperm in their tracts>
Enjoy your evening,
<And you. B>

Apple Snail Changed Sex        9/6/15
Hi crew,
Thanks for all the help with my previous issue. I wanted to share some interesting information with you and your readers. I have an apple snail (most likely Pomacea diffusa) that is either a hermaphrodite or has changed its sex from female to male. I've read about the possibility of a male changing to female, but as far as I know this seems to be unheard of.
This snail has been taking on the role of a female, mating and laying eggs, since being in my tank. For the last 2 days I have witnessed her/him mating with the other females quite frequently. I also want to add that there was no period of inactivity in between the change in behavior. Just thought others might find this interesting.
Have a good day!
<Hello Danielle. All Pomacea are dioecious, meaning they're either male or female, but as you've observed, some species (though not the common Apple Snail so far as I know) will change from one sex to another. This isn't the same thing as being an hermaphrodite, which is the default among snails and slugs, meaning they're both male and female at the same time, both animals fertilising each other when mating and both animals laying batches of eggs.
It is also worth noting that some Pomacea species cannot be sexed externally, so it's perfectly possible to think a snail is a male and it turns out it was a female. Even with those snails that can be sexed, doing so reliably is harder than people think because the variation in the sexual characteristics within each gender is considerable (just as it is with humans or any other animal). In short, sexing Pomacea species can be tricky and isn't a one-shot deal because sometimes a snail that was a male turns into a female for no apparent reason. There's some suggestion environmental triggers cause sex changes, but nobody really knows. Among marine snails "imposex" has been widely documented though, where marine pollution of certain types (typically heavy metals) cause sex changes among snail populations, sometimes to such an extent that the population can't breed properly and starts to decline. I'd encourage you to take a read here:
And perhaps post your findings on the AppleSnail.net forum for further discussion. Thanks for sharing, Neale.>

Apple snails- overstocked?     8/28/15
Hello crew, thanks for this fantastic site. I have a quick question regarding my apple snails. I have 12 (Pomacea diffusa), most medium sized with a few being full grown and now 2 egg clutches just appeared. They are housed in a 20 gallon long tank, but due to the lowered water line, substrate, etc., the tank is only holding about 14 gallons of water. I have 2 power filters, one internal and one hang on back, with a combined filtration capacity of 300 gallons per hour. There is also a small sponge filter. The reason I am concerned is that I am having a hard time fully cycling this tank. I would really appreciate your opinion on this. Thanks so much.
<Can you clone a filter? In other words, take some medium from an established filter and replace it with some of the medium in the new filter. Established filters can lose up to half their biological media without problems. Assuming water chemistry and temperature are similar, the bacteria will adapt to the new filter quickly and immediately process ammonia. They'll also colonise the rest of media inside the new filter very quickly, likely within a few days. This process is very reliable if done properly. It does assume you're using filters that can donate or accept media such as ceramic noodles or filter floss, or else the two filters are identical and can share proprietary modules. If all else fails, adding a few cups of gravel from a mature tank can help, though this is less effective because filter bacteria only colonise the very top layer of
gravel where oxygenated water is to be found. Gravel deeper than, say, 1 cm from the surface won't have many/any of the "good" bacteria we're after.
Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Apple snails- overstocked?      9/5/15

Hello again Neale,
Thank you for the considerate reply. I followed your suggestions and took some established media from one of my cycled tanks. At first I saw no improvement, so I upgraded my main filter to the next most powerful model of it's kind.
<Always a good idea.>
Nitrite levels have decreased by about 75% since.
I am using SeaChem stability with water changes and keeping a close eye on the filter, which consequently is running perfectly at this time. I just tested parameters in the apple snail tank, and although nitrites remain (0.50), nitrates are now my concern (almost 80 ppm). Is this a normal finding for the steps I have taken?
<Can't answer this without knowing the nitrate of your tap water. Put another way, if your tap water has a nitrate level of 50 ppm, then getting something like 80 ppm a week after a water change isn't unreasonable for a busy aquarium. On the other hand, if the tap water nitrate is 20 ppm or less, than that same 80 ppm reading looks a lot more alarming. Test kits aren't very accurate, so there's some wiggle room, but if you get a "low" reading on your tap water and a "very high" reading in the aquarium, then yes, something's amiss. Nitrate comes at the end of the decay of organic material and nitrogenous wastes from the fish, so typically nitrate is high in tanks with (a) a lot of decay and/or (b) a lot of fish/fish food. Make sense?>
Thank you
<Most welcome. Neale.>

Sick apple snails       8/24/15
Hi crew,
While searching your site for tips on adding calcium to my apple snail tank, I noticed one of your members mentioning iodine. The suggestion was to add 1 drop per 20 gallons(or 10 can't remember) each week for tanks containing snails and shrimp.
<More so for the shrimps than the snails. Not sure who'd recommend Iodine for snails. Not normally a limiting factor. Do you have the link?>
Persuaded by the information, I added 1 drop of Kent's iodide solution to my 20 gallon apple snail tank 3 days ago. Since then 2 of my snails have become severely ill and 2 others are becoming increasingly weak.
<Yikes. Do a water change, 50% now and 50% in a couple hours. See if they perk up.>
The ill snails are barely moving and producing mass amounts of slime when they do move.
<This does suggest some irritation.>
They are also too weak to retract into their shell as much as they normally would when touched. I have already been increasing partial water changes, but haven't see an improvement just yet so I removed them from the tank. My question is - did I do something wrong? Did I misunderstand this advice?
<Possibly. Let's think about the iodine supplement. It's routinely used in tanks with snails, marine snails in reef tanks. So there's no reason to predict it would be dangerous to snails. On the contrary, it would be expected to be safe on the basis of the fact it's harmless to marine snails, clams, corals and many animals far more delicate than Apple Snails.
On the other hand, it's not been tested, and freshwater animals may be different in how they metabolise iodine supplement. It's certainly helpful for crayfish and crabs. I wouldn't personally use in on shrimp tanks except with giant shrimp species (Macrobrachium spp.). The little algae shrimps (such as Amano and Cherry Shrimps) should get enough iodine from their
Is it even possible that this could be causing the sudden change in my snails? I trust all of your advice very much and realize that I may be jumping to conclusions, but I can't imagine what else could be going on with my snails. Thank you for your help.
<I agree with your analysis, and while I'd never predict this sort of negative reaction, it does sound as if it's one plausible explanation. Do a series of water changes, and also add carbon to the filter (one of the few times I'll tell you this) because carbon removes iodine. Chuck out the carbon after a few days to it doesn't release the iodine back. HOWEVER, do
also keep an open mind to other possible explanations. Shrimps can/do pick at Apple Snails, high and low temperatures can stress them, and moreover, they do naturally have a 'hibernation' period lasting a few weeks in the wild and if yours have been in the tank for more than 9-10 months, they may be ready to sleep. Quite normal, what they do, and who knows, the presence of iodine may even have triggered this somehow (perhaps they go dormant when the water chemistry changes as water evaporates in summer). DO ALSO check you dosed the iodine right!>
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Sick apple snails       8/25/15

Thank you. Here is the link and what I was referring to can be seen under "Iodine and Inverts" submitted 8/22/2004.
<Right. That's Sabrina's comment rather than mine, so I can't really speak to it. She's an expert fishkeeper though and wouldn't have recommended it for no reason. But speaking for myself, I'd recommend iodine for crustaceans rather than snails, but as stated last time around, given snails do just fine in reef tanks, I see no reason why iodine would be bad for snails.>
Luckily I have single species tanks for both my apple snails and cherry shrimp, so no chance of harassment here.
I did 2 large water changes last night and saw an immediate improvement.
Then today when I got home, 2 snails were back to being extra slow and acting confused.
<Odd. But at this point any damage will have been done, and it's now about recovery. The good news is that snails seem to operate in a binary state: alive or dead. So if yours are still alive, I'd be hopeful.>
I added carbon to the filter, did another large water change, and again their behavior improved within minutes.
<Is the new water cooler or warmer? If cooler water perks them up, that could be a clue; and conversely if the new water is warmer, then again, that's a clue.>
Assuming this up and down behavior continues, would you suggest I lower the temperature a bit to allow for a hibernation period as mentioned?
<Worth a shot, but no lower than 18 C/64 F.>
Also, before the last water change I noticed that the ammonia and nitrite levels were suddenly spiking. Could this be caused by the excretions from the stress response that the snails are having to the water or is it more likely a result of too many water changes in such a short period?
<Nope. But ammonia and nitrite levels being non-zero could EASILY account for odd Apple Snail behaviour. Something is amiss with the filter (turnover, media, oxygen availability, etc.) and/or quantity of organic matter in the tank. Review, and act accordingly.>
Thanks again for all the help!
<Welcome. Neale.>
Re: Sick apple snails       8/25/15

The filter. Neale, you are a genius.
<Possibly an overstatement.>
Unfortunately this was the one thing I did not consider. I modify my filter cartridges routinely and since I have had the same routine for a while, I didn't even consider this as a possible issue. Thank you yet again for saving my little buddies.
<Well, let me know if it helps. In short: for Apple Snails, I'd employ the simplest filter, something like an air-powered sponge. I'd do essentially nothing to it except give it the occasional rinse under a lukewarm tap (aquarium temperature water) to rinse away the gunk. Baby Apple Snails love feeding on the algae and microbes on sponge filters. I'm old school with filters and do AS LITTLE as possible to them. Replacing media cartridges is usually a racket, so I tend to stuff filters with 'immortal' media like ceramic noodles, sponges, even gravel.>
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Sick apple snails     8/26/15

I remove the carbon from my filter cartridges and replace it with crushed coral and ceramic rings in my snail tank. I think this time around I packed it in a little too tightly.
<Understood, and the risk is minimising water flow; a bad thing! Loose packing is what you're aiming for. The media should rattle a bit when shaken.>
Anyway, I decided to remove any possible contributing factors and soak each one separately in clean water overnight. The problem was the cuttlebone.
The ammonia and nitrites were very high in the cuttlebone water.
<Ah, must have still had some organic material in it.>
I've had this same piece in the tank for a few weeks without any issues up until now. Didn't realise they could "go bad" so quickly.
<Apparently so. Usually best to add a small piece, coin-sized, one bit at a time.>
Hopefully this will prove to be the only issue. Unfortunately one of my snails is exhibiting some really odd behavior still despite water changes.
Is there a possibility for long term damage in snails after ammonia/nitrite spikes?
<If they recover, no, they should be fine.>
I've spotted him quite a few times "munching" on his own flesh. At one point he looked like he was trying to crawl into his shell backwards. Poor guy. Well, thanks again for the much appreciated words of wisdom.
<Could be doing some cleaning, recycling of mucous.>
<Good luck, Neale.>

Stressed Apple Snail     7/28/15
Hello again crew. Following the advice offered in response to my last message, I have moved my cherry shrimp and apple snails to their own tanks, apart from the fish. Shortly after moving them, one of my adult male snails mated with a much smaller female snail. The male is about 2" and the female is about 0.75". The next morning I found the female in the same spot of the tank, lying on her side with half of her body retracted out of her shell. I placed her right side up, but she has remained hidden in her shell most of the time since then(about 2 days). This morning, I found her attached to the glass at the surface of the water. She has white dots surrounding her and there was a thin string of these dots floating along the glass next to her. I placed a small cup near the string of dots to see if they were
attached to the glass, but they were not. Any search I've done suggests that these are eggs, however they are not bound to each other or the glass.
I have attached some photos for you to review. She has remained in the position as seen in one of the photos for the last 3 hours or so. There has been no other notable changes other than being moved to the new tank. I used tank water from the original tank, as well as borrowed some filter media. Your opinion would be very much appreciated.
Thank you, Danielle
<Didn't we reply to this question a couple days ago? Pretty sure I did. Anyway, I don't think these are eggs. They're certainly not viable eggs, anyway. Apple Snail eggs look like exactly like raspberries and are laid above the waterline, often on the hood, a reminder Apple Snails must be in covered aquaria. These white bits look like the snail has chopped something up, perhaps paper or polystyrene. Remove the white bits, and review diet, ensuring the snail has access to fresh greens and a source of calcium (a piece of cuttlebone will do). I agree, keeping such a small female away from the male is probably a good idea. Cheers, Neale.>

Apple Snails - small black specs in water     7/28/15
Hello again, I picked up these little guys today and transferred them to a little container before acclimating them to my tank. After about an hour, I checked back to find little black specs in the water(see attachments). This was the water from their original tank, but the specs weren't visible when they were bagged up. The specs aren't moving and the snails seem fine otherwise. Thoughts? Is it safe to transfer them to my tank? Thanks again for all your help. Don't know what I would do without it.
<Probably snail faeces. Cheers, Neale.>

I'm such a pain, I know. Will donate right after completing this email       7/29/15
Hi again,
<Hello Danielle,>
This is a female apple snail whom I picked up a few weeks back. She seemed very sick and lethargic when I brought her home. Then she "bonded" with my male golden apple snail.
<Seems unlikely. These aren't very smart animals.>
She has been doing very well, but recently has spent most of the time inside her shell. She turned down every veggie offered to her today, and when taking a closer look I noticed that the portion of her shell where the new growth would be, is darker and thinner than the rest of her shell. This new growth is soft and flexible. Thank you again for all your help.
<Review environmental conditions (temperature, access to air, water quality) and by the looks of the shell, provide more calcium. I think we've discussed this before. Unshelled shrimp (a small piece at a time) or a chunk of cuttlebone will do nicely. This snail has a pitted shell, classic symptoms of insufficient calcium and/or low pH. Review, and act
accordingly. Cheers, Neale.>

Apple Snails and holes in their shells?        1/7/15
Greetings. I have a 55-gallon aquarium with good parameters, pH = 7.4, ammonia & nitrites = 0, nitrates = 30, phosphorous = 0. We have very hard water, so I assume it has plenty of calcium in it.
<Possibly, but they also need calcium in their diet. Throw in a piece of cuttlebone!>
I'm pretty sure that they are Pomacea canaliculata. The snails seem to be developing thin areas in their shells and some even have developed holes that I've had to repair (what a delicate job). They live with Plecos and Otocinclus, whom I sometimes see cleaning the algae et al., off their shells. Do you think that this could be causing their shells to wear down?

It seems kind of unlikely to me since they have lived with the Plecos and Otos for several years and this just recently started, but then I don't know what to think.
<As the Plec grows, it becomes more destructive.>
I haven't added any new chemicals or ornaments to the tank recently. The only new addition to the aquarium is this: We do have a Malaysian cone snail problem that came in on some plants that I recently bought and I bought three Yoyo Loaches to eat the pond snails. Could they be bothering the apple snails?
<Not directly but damaging their shells.>
But they don't eat the snail's shells, so I rather doubt that they are the cause...but again, I could be mistaken.
<No, I agree with you.>
The people on applesnail.net say to add calcium, but our water is so hard that one would think that they have plenty of calcium. Can I use a salt-water calcium testing kit to test our water's calcium?
Should I feed them some broccoli in case it's a calcium problem?
<Possibly, but not necessarily the cleanest/easiest source. Cuttlebone!!!>
Could it be a genetic problem? We recently had a hatching and yesterday I put the baby and adult Apple Snails in my 10-gallon tank just in case there is something in the 55-gallon that is causing this problem? What do you think could be causing this? Thank you very much in advance for your answer.
<Most welcome. Neale.>
Re: Apple Snails and holes in their shells?      1/8/15

Cuttlebone is a great idea! I'm going to get some for them today. Thanks again.
<Most welcome. Neale.>

Apple/Mystery Snail Concerns/HELP Needed ASAP!!!       12/12/14
I have 2 fairly "good sized" mystery snails/apple snails (from what I was able to determine online)...they have been happy mobile snails in my 10 gallon tank for about 7 months or so...they share the tank with other 6 other "harmless" guppies & neons, a Shrimp, a bottom feeder fish, and have not had ANY issues with the others in the tank...
<Do read my comments on WWM about mixing fish with Apple Snails -- but in short, it isn't a great idea, and doesn't usually work well indefinitely.
There's a distinct point in the life cycle of a snail that once a year it becomes less active, and such snails are very vulnerable to pecking, nipping and other damage.>
my question and concern is this~ I recently found the dark brown almost black snail laying at the bottom of the tank on it's back with part of its body out of its shell and it's antennas (and body) kind of curly cued and immobile...I used my fish net to flip it back and it moved some but not much...the other yellow snail has no issues and is moving at a "brisk" pace around the tank...I checked the pH level this morning and added a tablet to the tank and the dark snail seemed to move a little more, antennas fully erect...a couple of hours later I went back in to check on them and the dark one is on it's back again not looking good...
After reading several posts on your site regarding snail behavior, I have assumed that the snails have been mating with one another for the last month or so (it seems the yellow one is mounting the black one??)...I don't know if this has anything to do with why the dark one is not active...
<Can be. Snails aren't really social as such, but at the same time, they're also pretty dumb. So provided they can feed and move about, interactions between them seem to be harmless.>
I don't like to see the snails looking like they are in danger or dying, I don't know what else to do!! Every time I flip it back, the it moves a bit but then it will "fall over" on its side, almost upside down again...is this normal?
<Common but not normal.>
Is it maybe hibernating or going into some kind of dormant state and not worry?
<Sort of. Ideally, lower the temperature in a snail-only tank to around 18-20 C, and see if the snail rests up a while. After a few weeks, warm it up again. Should come back to life. But realistically, getting snails to go dormant in aquaria is tricky and arguably not worth trying. So in the situation you're in, the best you can probably do is watch and see what happens. Check water quality. Check water temperature. Check diet. Make sure the fish and shrimps aren't harassing the snails. Look out for signs of serious damage or sickness. I will warn you to remove dead/dying snails quickly.>
If I could only have the snails in the tank I would, I find them extremely fascinating to watch, but alas, my young son would not be happy to see all his fish go...he has of course named all of his fish, the shrimp, and both snails~
<I understand, but at the same time, there's a lesson there for any kid -- animals aren't toys. They have specific needs. You can't force the animal to your requirements. You can't have a vegetarian cat or a dog that doesn't need long walks. Likewise, Apple Snails are best kept on their own.>
The yellow/almost white albino snail is "White Shadow" (from the movie Turbo), and the dark one is named "Toothless" (from the movie How to Train Your Dragon), so you can see our family is very attached to these small critters and will do whatever it takes to help them! One of my concerns is that we don't live in the city where I can just hop in the truck and dash to the pet store for help, we are over an hour away from the nearest PetCo/PetSmart, and to be honest, I don't know if I have that much faith in the kids at the pet store!!
<Prudent, though there are some excellent folks even at the big chains.>
But obviously if I need to get something for them, I will! We have a Wal-Mart here "in town" that has the essentials for fish tanks and aquariums if there is maybe something I you can suggest and can look there as well...or I can order something online?
<Do visit AppleSnail.net for a start... a great website.>
Do I need to separate the snails from one another?
<Not really.>
I'm scared to introduce Toothless to a new environment and don't know how much water to transfer to new tank so it won't get shocked on top of everything else, but if that is what I need to do?....if I do need to transfer Toothless to its own tank, how much water from it's 10 gallon tank does it need, and do I just keep feeding it the same food as I have been feeding the fish that they seem to like? I hate sounding like an amateur, but let's be honest, I am! I'm a busy stay-at-home-mom trying to keep her snails alive anyway I can!!
<For sure. Apple Snails are actually a lot of work, arguably more than many tropical fish! They're fiddly and long-term care is a bit of a voodoo thing, without a clear, cookbook list of steps you can follow. Some of it is observation, some hunch, some luck/good genes.>
P.S.: I just noticed while typing that Toothless is moving, antennas fully out, but it's like its drunk!! Keeps falling over onto its
side/back...there is also what seems to be a small crack in Toothless's shell, could THAT be the issue and can I get another shell for it or is it a goner? Oh Lordy! Now I'm super stressed!! HELP!!
Please Help White Shadow and Toothless!!
Thank You
<Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Apple/Mystery Snail Concerns/HELP Needed ASAP!!!       12/12/14

The small fish keep to themselves (almost scared of the big snails) and the shrimp likes to stay in his little cave so I don't think there is really any harm there thank goodness!
<I'm sure you're right in your current situation. But the weight of experiences tends to be that sooner or later one of the fish starts pecking at the feelers, and once that happens, infections set in. At the very least, the snail gets scared to expose its feelers, stops moving around, starves, and dies. So if you want to persist with the snail/fish combo, by all means do so, but keep an eye out for the first sign of trouble.>
But needless to say, Just in case, I will put the snails in a tank by themselves..I'll need to go get another tank and do the set up for it when I head to the store later~if that's how they're going to live longer, then so be it!
<Pretty much!>
Do I set it up like a new fish tank with new water and just transfer them over with a full tank of new balanced water or put some of the water from their original tank in there with the new water?
** So you don't think the crack in it's shell is a problem?
<Not really, and there's nothing you can do anyway. Snails can't repair their shells except at the very front where the mantle is actively secreting new shell material.>
Unfortunately if it does die, I have learned from your website to remove it very quickly for fear of ammonia contamination (is this correct?)
~ let's hope it doesn't go that far! I have had "the talk" with my son just in case~ we live on a farm so he's familiar with the circle of life and how/why animals die :(
<Ah, very wise.>
I have been monitoring it closely and will keep a good eye on it!! Thank you for your help and the speedy reply!!
<Most welcome. Neale.>

Tank condition for apple snail question.      5/11/14
Just a quick background. I have 3 mystery snails and one Betta in a 29 gallon, heated and filtered tank. All are doing well and I understand the basic needs of keeping my snails alive.
I was scouring your snail page and there was mention that keeping apple snails alive longer than a year is unlikely because it's hard to recreate their wild environment.
<Such seems to be the case. While not difficult to maintain for the first year, mortality does seem to increase thereafter. This is why relatively few people have seen/kept the really big adults, the ones the size of tennis balls we read about in the books and on web sites.>
I thought that was really sad and why do we own them If we can't properly care for them?
<Well, you should always put mortality in context. Apple Snails in the wild rarely live more than a year, either. In that case, it's because they're eaten or some environmental issue, such as drought, kills them. Only a few make it into their second year, fewer still into their third year, and so on. Indeed, it's probably safe to say only a small proportion of the baby snails that hatch make it to adult size, let alone their first, second or third birthdays! Once you accept this, the fact our pet Apple Snails routinely live a year and sometimes longer doesn't seem so bad. They certainly don't have much chance of starvation, and predators aren't usually a problem either. So a pet Apple Snail has a fairly comfortable life with few hazards. It's still not a perfect life, but it's better than in the wild. Plus, in terms of evolution, being domesticated is one of the best ways to guarantee your species survival. Apple Snails now live all around the world, breeding away, spreading their genes into the next generation. Like chickens, cats, maize and apple trees, humans have become the guarantors of their species success; even if individual Apple Snails die off after a year, enough breed each year to ensure there are millions of Apple Snails left behind carrying their genes forward. None of this removes concerns about animal welfare, I hasten to add. We can and should do the best we can for the individual animals we keep as pets or farm for food (especially things like battery chickens or goldfish in bowls). But you should also remember that life out in the wild is invariably brutal and bloody, and not some sort of animal paradise.>
So I hopped over to apple snails.net to read more about their habits and there is a lot of information (great information) so my question is this.
Besides ph levels, water temperature, and other basics mentioned in to forum, how would you ideally get as close to possible to their natural environment?
<The really tough bit is that Apple Snails "aestivate" (sometimes written "estivate"). During the dry season they lay up in damp burrows and enter a sort of hibernation state where they snooze through the tough times. The rains return, their burrow fills with water, and the snail comes back to life. This sleepy summer seems to help Apple Snails somehow, perhaps by throttling back their growth rate or breeding instincts. Whatever, the snails do seem reinvigorated when they wake up. However, while the theory sounds fine, the problem is that I've yet to see a sure-fire method for doing this. You could install the snails in a tank with a soft substrate (maybe a mix of peat and sand) and over a few weeks lower the water level.
Once the snails burrow into the substrate, all you'd need to do is keep the substrate damp and warm (no cooler than 18 degrees C, remember, so easiest in summer) and wait a couple/few weeks. Reverse the process to bring them back to life. Dead snails smell horrible, so it should be obvious if this method was working.>
Would you lower temperatures at certain times of the year?
<Varying between around 18-20 C in winter and maybe 26-28 C in summer would replicate the Floridian climate these snails came from. Keeping them at the warm end of their temperature range all year round would indeed shorten their lives, just as it would any cold-blooded animal. Cycling the temperature like this would probably be easier than getting them aestivate, and can work well.>
Feed them less?
<Food requirement would certainly go down when they're cooler, but since they're herbivores, I'd just be adding lettuce leaves and the like, removing them once they're eaten. Carnivores are more tricky because their food pollutes the tank if uneaten, but plant foods are low-protein so not a big problem this way.>
What would your suggestions be to keep them not only healthy but thriving?
<I'd focus on breeding first. Get several generations of snails going. You can then experiment a bit with some of the adults, aestivating them for example, or raising/lowering temperature, knowing that you're trying something out in good faith, but if it goes wrong, you still have the population of snails going.>
I have a real ethical issue with keeping pets that can't be cared for properly and I will go to great lengths to make sure I've done everything possible to treat them respectfully (ask my Betta, he's spoiled rotten lol) so basically if you could imagine the best possible environment for an apple snail (short of returning them to the Amazon) what would it be?
<You're doing a great job. These are pet animals now, so returning them to the wild is not an option. Your job is to keep that animal in a way that minimises any risk of suffering, and it sounds like you're definitely doing that.>
Sorry so long winded, there was just so much information to sort through on applesnail.net that I couldn't even imagine where to start!
<True; it's a great website with some really good "cook book" instructions but while it does discuss aestivation in depth, it doesn't really come out and tell you how to do it (or at least, I've not seen such a page there).>
I appreciate you taking the time to read this and love the efforts you all take to inform your readers about keeping Bettas! Thanks again,
<Most welcome, Neale.>

My apple snail killed my tetra then gave birth    7/15/13
I bought an apple snail that after one week I found it eating the belly of my now dead 3 year old tetra Spanky :(
<Mmm, this snail didn't catch, kill the Tetra... unless indirectly; by polluting the water somehow. The snail was only acting opportunistically... the Tetra dead from other cause/s...>
The day after that the tank was filled with tiny baby apple snails. Could that be why lil Spanky was eaten?
<... This is pretty fast for the new snail to lay eggs, for them to hatch out...>
What fish can I get that the snails won't eat.
<All sorts. Read here:
and the linked files above>
Thank You,
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
re: My apple snail killed my tetra then gave birth, now fdg.     7/15/13

Hi Bob,
Hey thanks for a fast reply!
What do I feed all these snails?
Besides sinking food,?
<Read the linked files where I've directed you. All will be revealed.
re: My apple snail killed my tetra then gave birth    7/15/13

Got it!
Cuttle bone, algae pellets, and turtle chow check!
<Ah, well done. B>

run away snail    9/30/12
 I have a 10 gallon tank with 2 platys, both female, and about 4 guppies, 3 female 1 male, and 3 apple snails; one orange, one black, and one blue.
<Population is pushing the limit of that tank.  Those guppies will reproduce.>
My question is about my blue apple snail, he at least  think he's a he, climbed out of the tank and fell down behind it... I recently noticed a cluster of eggs, which I promptly removed, then notice that he was missing.. when I found him I portioned off some water and half of an algae tablet to see if he would come out of his shell... he did briefly so I put him in a breeding net..
<Why a breeding net? Better to put the snail into its own container with an algae wafer to munch on.>
He has some gravel in his shell which I've been able to remove most of it with some tweezers, carefully I might add, but he isn't responding to much. I think he's injured from the fall cause there is a teeny tiny hole in his shell.. is there anything else i can do?
<Could be injured, sure, but could also be irritated by the remaining foreign objects in the shell. Try to flush out the foreign objects with water the same temperature as the tank water.
Since you describe the hole in the shell as small, the snail should calcify tissue near that area, so no reason to patch it as long as fish or other snails can't get at the soft flesh.
At this point, I think you wait and read these links while you wait:
and some general information here:
http://www.applesnail.net/content/various/snail_disease.php >
- Phyllis
Re: run away snail 9/30/12

Thanks, he spit out the last stone after leaving him be in the breeding net.. I moved him in to the bigger area of the tank and check him this morning. He seemed to be sleeping in one of the decorations so I left him be.. the fish are leaving him be and I patched the hole on the lid that he crawled out of.
<Ah, good. Hopefully the snail makes a full recovery. - Rick>

Golden Apple snail, beh., hlth.       9/26/12
I was looking for a similar case but I found none so I decided to ask. For the last two days my golden mystery snail has not moved. She's not closed up. She's laying on her side with her body exposed but still attached to the shell. I took her out and poked her but she didn't react. However when I pulled gently on her door shell her body didn't pop out and felt firmly in place.
<Possibly dead or dying.>
I noticed she hasn't added calcium to her shell on her new growth and her foot looks almost translucent. I have cuttlebone in there for my snails.
<How hard is your water and what is the pH? The cuttlebone may not add enough calcium to the water if you live in a soft water area.>
I have two other snails. One a blue and one a black mystery snail. The latter male and the former female. There have been caches above the waterline from both the golden and the blue since last spring and all through the summer. My blue and black are just fine. Don't seem bothered by anything. My levels are fine. The temperature in the tank is between 75-80. No ammonia. I also have a baby Molly in the tank and she seems happy as can be, too. Can you explain this behavior to me or have any suggestion of what to do? It seems to me like she's sick.
<It isn't normal snail activity. Could just be old age since this snail seems to be the only animal suffering from the illness.>
Thank you,
Nicole Duhamel
Re: Golden Apple snail     9/26/12

I don't have the equipment for my water hardness. But I do leave crushed coral bags in there for added alkalinity and calcium.
<That should do the trick.>
Assuming I purchased them from the pet store at about the same age she would be the middle child.
<Hard to tell relative age.>
Her shell is also the only one suffering from deterioration.
<Maybe something that happened to this snail before you purchased it.>
She cracked the tip of her whorls a while back but it didn't bother her.
She also had green matter on her shell. Though she was the only thing in the tank with it growing on her I figured it to be some kind of algae and managed to wipe most of it off. It didn't grow back and now this.
<Probably algae.>
Thanks for getting back to me so quickly. I'll watch her until I'm sure she's gone. I just hope it isn't contagious or anything. Do you think if should separate her from them or leave her?
<Probably wise. That molly might nibble on the body if allowed to.>
Thank you,
<Welcome and good luck.>
Nicole Duhamel
Re: Golden Apple snail   9/28/12

She's passed away now so if anything happens with my remaining snails I will ask you then.
<Sorry to hear that. I assume you've removed the snail from the tank.
Hopefully it was a one-off thing.>
Thanks again,
Nicole Duhamel

What is this please?     9/19/12
This was found this morning in the tank above the water level.  We have 2 very large yellow apple snails, 1 white medium apple snails and to many to count baby Apple snail of different sizes (larger apple snails keep making babies).  We also have 5 minnow feeding fish and one small algae eater.  It is a fresh water tank with a basic filter systems.  The water is from our sink which is well water but the ph level is normal.  I was thinking it was snail eggs but we already have lots of snail babies and have never seen these.
<Ah yes... this IS an egg mass from your Ampullaria. Cigars all the way around! Bob Fenner>

Re: What is this please?     9/20/12
thank you so much for letting me know. since you said the picture is of apple snail eggs and this was the first time we have seen them i was able to conclude that what we have been calling baby apple snails were not baby apple snails and all the eggs that we have seen in the past
<Clearish, underwater I take it>
 were not apple snail eggs.  so with this information i was able to search your site and found out that the small snail that we thought were baby apple snail are really Physa snails which makes the eggs that we have seen in the past Physa snails. i did not know anything about snail until today.
snail my daughter is so happy to know that we will be having real apple snail babies soon.  the only thing that i could not find was how long until the eggs hatch and are the babies big enough for you to be able to see?
<Actually, they hatch out large enough to see w/ the unaided eye. BobF>

Golden Apple Snail     7/29/12
Hi, yesterday I bought four Apple Snails and one of them has  gotten a rock stuck in its shell.
<Oh dear.>
Now it won't come out of its shell, and i am wondering if i should do something to help, or if it will get it out on its own.
<Snails have soft bodies, and so it's difficult for something to get trapped inside them permanently. There are no bones to wedge things in place. So, with time, it should clear itself. But if you're concerned and it's still there a day or two later, then you could try two things. The first is to flush it out with cool/lukewarm water -- obviously nothing hotter than their aquarium -- and use a very gentle stream of water from the tap to wash the thing out. You may need to keep the operculum ("trapdoor") from closing using a finger, but don't pull it too hard. The second thing is to try using Longnose forceps to winkle the stone out, but again, be super-careful because the soft body of a snail is very easily damaged, bruised or cut.>
I am worried about it and really need some help. Please help,  Logan
<Good luck, Neale.>
Re Apple snail   7/30/12

Thanks, it has fixed the problem on its own and is doing just fine. Thanks for your help, Logan
<Cool. Cheers, Neale.>

Two dead Apple Snails in one night 2/21/12
Hello - I had two Apple snails die at once last night - I got them at a LFS last December, and until this morning they seemed happy and healthy. When I checked on them today, both were on their backs, not moving - the snail is partly out of the shell, but the flesh looks healthy and whole - they're just not moving. The tank has a bunch of what I think are little Ramshorn snails living in the gravel that traveled in on the plants - they're still booking around, so whatever killed the Apples doesn't look like a straight crustacean killer...
<Mmm, for both to be so suddenly affected, coincidence or something re the environment must be off>
Parameters seem fine (nitrites=0, ammonia=0, pH=7.5);
<What re Nitrate conc.? Higher than 20 ppm?>
the temps are probably a bit higher than they're happy with, but needs to be for the tankmates (around 75 degrees F). 55 gallon tank. One young angelfish (about quarter-sized), five Cory cats, four zebra Danios, one Synodontis petricola,
<This Mochokid might be picking on them>

and two white skirt tetras share the tank. The angelfish seemed to be a bit nippy around the snails, but they seemed pretty good at evading him - and the two bodies look undamaged - I would find it extremely odd if he could mysteriously take both of them out in one night.
Water from well, treated by StressZyme before adding to tank. About a teaspoon of salt per 5 gallons of water goes in during water changes... no copper in water (I had my husband check).
Very disconcerting. I don't think I'll be adding more crustraceans to the tank,
<Mmm, these/snails are Molluscs>
as I've read that the angelfish will only get nippier as he gets older, but I am curious as to what happened to these two little guys... I asked my vet (who happens to keep salt water tanks) and she joked that they might have had a suicide pact... she had no clue as to what could have happened to my guys, though - even though I have fresh water tanks, she knows enough about it to know that the parameters were decent...
Could the stress of having the angelfish pick on them actually kill them?
Both at once?
<Not likely; no>
Is it possible they caught some disease from the hitchhiker ramshorns?
Thank you for any insight you can provide... J.
P.S. Two more bits of information - the snails pretty much ate algae from the sides of the tank (and there was a constant supply!) and flake food (I know they were eating it, because I witnessed the consumption). Also, there are plants in the tank, which they nibbled from as well - water sprite, Vallisneria, and Selaginella wildenowii .
<Again... this genus of snail is not really suited for tropical aquarium use... Please do read here re:
and the linked FAQs file above: FW Snail Disease
Bob Fenner>

Apple snails and discus, not tog.    2/7/12
I've got quite a dilemma on my hands, I've got a planted aquarium, up and running for about 3 years, 55gal, 0 nitrates, 0 ammonia, 82F, hard city water (obviously treated before added to the tank), we've had 4 discus, and apple snails in the tank. The first snails we bought from the LFS reproduced like crazy, we had to sell off 200+ snails this year, they just wouldn't stop. I realize the high temps result in a much shorter life span, but everyone seemed very happy and healthy, we made our own snail food of calcium powder, brine shrimp, and algae tabs, crushed in a food processor and frozen, they LOVE it, and shell integrity is fantastic! We've also got a 35 gal and two 10 gals that we moved the excess snails into while they waited to grow big enough to sell, so there was rarely an over populous of snails in the 55gal tank.
So here's the problem, we had internal parasites come through and wreak havoc on our discus, we treated, they came back within a few months. We followed the process exactly, treated with Metronidazole and then a dewormer, it seemed like it worked like a charm, and then the parasites came back a few months later, and this time, they weren't to be defeated.
<This is actually very typical, and it is usually the case you need to treat 2, even 3 times.>
We did a whole round, looked like we were in the clear, and within days the discus weren't eating, and white stringy poo again. So, needless to say, we've been treating with this medication for what seems like forever, and, this past week, we lost 2 of our discus, about 5 days apart.
<Too bad.>
Here's the bizarre thing, the second discus that died wasn't emaciated, she looked plump and healthy (not bloated, but a healthy, full discus), unlike the first that was obviously starving from the parasite battle. She looked perfectly healthy, and showed no signs of stress other than not eating for a few days.
<Is often the case. Parasites probably affect most farmed aquarium fish.
But the ones that show symptoms are the ones that, for some reason or another, have been weakened. Bad genes can be part of the answer, but stress is another.>
Even more bizarre, with this water change that seemed to do her in, which, by the way was unmedicated, we had about 5 snails just start floating with their bodies out. Now I know they like to float, and I gave them the benefit of the doubt, but when we found the second discus dead a day after the water change (it was about 50%) and the snails were still floating, I started pulling them out and they were bloated, and really hanging out, most were dead, and we found 2 others dead on the bottom, otherwise completely healthy looking shells and bodies. We saved 3 and put them in the smaller tank for observation. What do you think could have caused this strange mass killing?
<Many parasite medications are toxic to snails and shrimps.>
Needless to say, we rearranged everyone, and have cleared the tank, assuming there is something very wrong with it. My husband is guessing it may be pockets of toxins caught in the substrate, releasing, although we did a complete teardown and rebuild about a year and a half ago, new substrate, plants, with a large canister filter, Fluval 405.
Any ideas? We're considering a complete tear down again, we've got the 2 discus in the 35gal and changing up the treatment to PraziPro for a week and then going back with the standard parasite treatment. We haven't treated the snails at all, just in good clean water.
Any insight would be greatly appreciated! The 2 discus left are a great hardy pair, before the parasite hit, they laid eggs once every other week for a straight year, non making it past the free swimming stage (we're not really set up for babies!) but every LFS thinks this is a sign of health.
They haven't laid eggs in about 6 months, so I'm guessing this is a sign of stress.
<I would simply not keep Discus with snails. Why bother? At the very least, keep the Discus in a clean, easy-to-clean aquarium for a few months while you get your fishkeeping hobby back where you want it. There's also the risk that the snails themselves can carry parasites that infect your fish, or at the very least, harbour them in between medicating your Discus (this is especially the case of the medication was in the fish's food rather than the water). Cheers, Neale.>

Could I release my Golden Apple Snail hatchlings?   1/24/12
We live in Cape Town, South Africa and have had golden apples in our 35 litre aquarium for about 3 years now.  Our original two snails laid eggs of which 95% were eaten by our moors as they hatched.  5 of those survived, we kept two and re-homed the other 3.  These have grown into adults and have been doing the wild thing a LOT, and over the last 2 or 3 weeks have laid 4 clutches(?) of eggs.  We are a bit wiser now and more prepared so we caught them in a breeding net that sticks on the side of the tank.  We have donated these to two 60 litre tanks at our local science centre.  There are still 2 clutches left to hatch and I am wondering if we could set them free in a mountain river nearby?
<Heavens no! Nothing could be WORSE!!! I cannot stress this too strongly.

Apple snails can be, are a pest species in countries where they do not belong. Never, EVER release unwanted pet animals into the wild. Not only is the potential for ecological harm MASSIVE, but you're also introducing hitchhiker pathogens and parasites into the wild, too.>
I was reading some of your posts about how they die early in an aquarium and I feel so sorry for our older ones, I never realized they needed to lie dormant.
<Don't have to go dormant, but alternating cooler, warmer periods through the year to allow a few months "downtime" does seem beneficial. Maybe around 20 degrees for 2-3 months, then 25 the rest of the year. Experiment.
They die below 18 C, so that's the limit.>
Also, is it wrong that siblings have had offspring together?  Will this make for weaker genes etc?
<In theory, yes, inbreeding allows mutated and/or harmful genes shared by siblings to be passed on.>
So when the babies get a bit bigger do you think we could release them, or could it be too cold for them?
<Do not, Do Not, DO NOT do this!!! Unwanted snails can be squished with a stone and served up as fish food. Destroy the egg cases if the Apple Snails breed too much.>

We are in summer now, 25 to 35 degrees.  Winter is wet and goes down to about 8 degrees - Celsius not Fahrenheit.  It does not snow, nor do the rivers ice over.
Hoping to hear back!
Cape Town, South Africa
<Cheers, Neale.>


Re: Could I release my Golden Apple Snail hatchlings?   1/24/12
Thanks Neale for the info -  I promise I won't release them.
. South Africa is blessed with such wonderful freshwater animals, we don't want to expose them any sort of risk, however trivial it might seem.>
I think I will just let my fish eat the babies that hatch - they pop out like popcorn and it is quite a treat for them!
<Quite so. Botia-type Loaches and Thorny Catfish (such as Platydoras armatulus) will greedily eat these.>
Last year while I was cleaning the big tank, our cat managed to get both black moors out the temporary bowl, and onto the floor - they were shredded - all their scales were gone.  I put them back into the tank, and they lived!  That week they ate 100 odd baby snails between them and I swear the nutrition from the shells or something helped their scales to grow back - they both grew back all their scales and fins.
<Sounds plausible. Snails are veritable protein bombs, and the calcium in their shells does no harm either.>
The one later gradually turned orange - but they're both very healthy and happy - they are 3 years old.
<Impressive. Very few people manage to keep them alive for more than a year. So whatever you're doing, you're doing something right!>
Last thing on the snails -  I'm confused now - if the apples are not indigenous to Africa, then where did they come from?
<Farmed in Southeast Asia and elsewhere. Sometimes as pets, but surprisingly often as food; they're esteemed as food in China, Taiwan and elsewhere.>
Would I not expect to find wild ones in our local rivers then?
<No. The aquarium trade Apple Snail are two American species, Pomacea bridgesii and Pomacea canaliculata, the first from South America and the second from North America. There are close relatives in Africa, but I'm not aware of them being traded as pets. If you haven't discovered the AppleSnail.net web site, do visit. It has lots of information on this fascinating group of animals.>
Attached is a fuzzy pic so  you can see which snails we have.
Ciao :)
<Nice aquarium, and clearly very happy snails. Cheers, Neale.> 

Re: Could I release my Golden Apple Snail hatchlings?    2/10/12
Thank you :) and thanks for the help.  Attached an AWESOME picture of how happy my silly snail is.
<A happy snail indeed! Best wishes, Neale.>

Spotted Deterioration? <<RMF>>  1/16/12
Long time reader, first time writer here.
It seems my apple snails have been getting some round deterioration on the center of its shell, and I was wondering what the cause may be.
I appreciate any information in this matter, and thanks very much for your time!
- Daisuke
<Hello! The pitting on the shell is likely caused by insufficient calcium <<And/or alkalinity>>
in the diet and/or acidic water. Ensure your snail has a calcium rich diet (a chunk of cuttlebone will be nibbled on, if provided) and that the water is moderately hard, 10+ degrees dH, pH 7.5. Cheers, Neale.>


Re: Spotted Deterioration?    1/16/12
Thanks very much for the quickest reply!
My Apple Snails and I thank you. I will get to that right away.
- Daisuke
<Glad to help and good luck! Neale.>

Apple Snail Question; sys., comp. w/ Figure Eight Puffers    1/11/12
Hi WWM team
<Hello Erin,>
I picked up 2 apple snails today and I was wondering if it is possible to keep them in my brackish tank with my figure 8 puffers.
<No. Any salinity high enough to keep your Figure-8s happy will quickly kill Apple snails.>

I understand that they have a trap door which will inhibit the puffers from eating it and they're quite big, so the puffers probably won't be able to get their little mouths around it.
<Ah, by no means! The Puffers will eat the snail one bite at a time, starting with its tentacles. Apple Snails do badly with almost all fish except perhaps uber-peaceful species like Corydoras. Even Neons nip these poor snails!>
My salinity is roughly 0.004, no lower than 0.003 and no higher than 0.005.
 Can the apple snail survive in that level of brackish?
Will my puffers manage to eat it ?
Thanks a ton
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Apple Snail Question   1/11/12

Hi Neale
Thanks for quick response...I see I made a typo error, my brackish tank isn't 0.004...it's 1.004. Silly me.
<Indeed. But understood what you meant!>
Anyway, I forgot to ask another question about the apple snail.  I read online that they may even eat other snails.
<Seems improbable, but I'm sure they scavenge and will eat a dead/dying snail.>
I have them with my red ramshorns which are laying eggs like it's going out of fashion and I don't want the apple snails to now devour all my other baby snails I'm breeding as food for my puffs.  Would it be advisable to get rid of them all together and stick to the ramshorns?
<I honestly can't imagine Apple snails would make much difference. They are very much herbivores, and mine were very keen on lettuce leaves.>
Also, I had a situation where I decided to add a couple of mollies to the brackish tank with my f8's.  I came home one day to find one floating with it's head and fins chomped off and I swear all the puffs had a guilty look on their faces.
<Indeed. Figure-8s are extremely variable. Some specimens are entirely placid, others just occasionally nippy. But a few, as you've seen, can be very aggressive and nasty. That's pretty much Puffers across the board.>
Today, at the petstore, I was told by a very experienced fish keeper that if I want to add any other fish with f8's, I should remove the puffers, rearrange the tank, put the new fish in first and then add the puffers afterwards, to give them the idea that they are new and it's not their territory that a new fish has entered.
<That is one approach that works with territorial fish.>
Do you think this will work?
<Might. But absolutely no guarantees, and you need to have a Plan B for rehoming the Puffer or the new fish if the two don't get along.>
Or will the f8's just chomp anything?
<Potentially anything that looks edible and doesn't eat the Puffer first.>
I did however take one of the more aggressive f8's back to the pet store today, unfortunately.  I was told to remove one as I have a 29 gallon tank and I should only have 2 f8's in that size.
<Possibly, or else a group of 5 in a slightly bigger tank, so that none of them take ownership. Overcrowding brings its own problems though.>
Thanks in advance.
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Apple Snail Question   1/12/12

Sorry bout this Neale
How long should I keep the puffers out the big tank to try the approach I mentioned previously?
A few hours, a day, a week?
<If using the "remove and rearrange" approach, taking the fish out for an hour or two should be ample.>
I think this will be the last msg from me for a while now.
Keep well, and happy new year.
<Glad to help and good luck. Cheers, Neale.>

Apple snails mating   12/8/11
I was wondering could you help me,  I have 3 apple snails , 2 are male and one female. I had one for about 6 months and he was fine on his own, he was Golden. I bought 2 other brown ones and now the all mate with each other .
The 2 guys seem to always mating with the female and I'm concerned for her health! Is this normal?
<Mmm, yes>
 I have just one tank so I cant really move them to another tank. And if I buy another snail it might be a male. Basically is it ok that they're always mating - they all go their separate ways but eventually she's mating with one of them- I don't want her to be attacked all the time! What should I do?
<Enjoy them... has the female laid eggs? Please read here:
and here:
regards Adrian :)
<And you, Bob Fenner>

apple snails, beh.   – 11/08/11
hi I have an apple snail and recently bought another one ..the older one keeps covering the new one and wont let go .??? is it ok and normal
<Is normal. Likely mating. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: apple snail (now: where to buy Tylomelania)  11/4/11
I have gotten my snails in their aquarium and they seem to be doing well.
What kind of vegetables would be good to give them? They get veggie rounds and flake fish food but I would like to keep their diet from getting monotonous.
Thank you
<Hello Laura. Slices of cucumber and courgette (zucchini) seem to be popular with all snails. You can also try cooked spinach, squashed canned peas, and blanched lettuce. Most healthy plants seem to be left alone, as far as I can tell. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: apple snail (now: where to buy Tylomelania)   11/7/11
Hi Neale,
Next questions. What are good decorations for snails?
<Anything! They bring their own shelter with them, so they really don't care. They like plants, and the baby ones seem to really like the leaves and roots of floating plants, I guess because there are lots of tiny algae and micro-invertebrates for them to eat. Some shelter, like from a clump of Java moss, is good for newborn snails to hide in. Soft sand might well be a plus, but isn't essential by any means.>
What kind of live plants do they not like and what plants will grow in sand?
<Virtually all plants prefer to be rooted in sand rather gravel. Exceptions are, of course, those plants that don't like being stuck in gravel either, such as Java fern and Anubias, which do better attached to bogwood or lava rock.>
Do they need decorations at all?
Do they like to hide in things like tunnels?
Also, what do I use to keep the vegetables at the bottom of the tank?

<Don't worry too much about this. Lead weight can be used to hold down bits of cucumber, but algae wafers as sold for Plecs seem to work just as well, and being more protein-rich, might even speed up growth and reproduction. Tylomelania are completely opportunistic though, and I feed mine whatever I have to hand. Cooked peas, soft lettuce leaves, the shells from raw prawns, little bits of fish… whatever I'd give my catfish, these snails seem happy to eat alongside them. To be honest, I'm finding them outstanding scavengers for use in tanks with big, but not snail-eating, fish, such as Panaque catfish and Ctenolucius "gar".>
I put a few small pieces of zucchini in the tank and they floated which kind of defeats the purpose.
<Lead weight. Aquarium shops sell rolls, very cheaply, for weighting down clumps of pond weed. One package will last for many years. For some reason I seem to lose bits as the years pass, so I do eventually have to buy a new roll, but the I'm still using the stuff I got around 2005!>
Thank you for your knowledge and patience with me.
Thank you
<Always glad to help. Cheers, Neale.>

apple snail, sys.    10/28/11
Hi Crew,
I have three apple snails, two golden and one opal. I am attempting to set up an aquarium for just the snails. I am inquiring as to what I should use on the floor of the tank. Should I use sand from a LFS, gravel, or dirt from the back yard? I have read on www.applesnail.net that they live in muddy waters and that not all snails need to aestivate, but I would like to attempt to provide the habitat for them that is optimal. One of the snails is the size of a golf ball, and the other two are just under that size. The two Goldens are in a 75 gallon tank right now and have laid three clutches of eggs. As of yet, none of them have produced any babies but I am still hoping. Any advise would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you
<Hello Laura. The AppleSnail site is excellent. Yes, most Apple Snails live in muddy habitats thick with plants, but for all that, a plain silica sand or fine gravel substrate would be fine, perhaps with 10% by volume coral sand stirred in to improve alkalinity. And yes, there is variation among them with regard to aestivation. Nonetheless, the majority don't last longer than a year or so in aquaria, rather than the 3-5 years they should live for. Hence, we only rarely see the tennis ball sized specimens apparent in the wild. So, what's the deal? Likely other factors come into play, and lack of a "rest period" is just part of an array of stresses Apple Snails fail to tolerate under aquarium conditions. Monotonous diet, pecking by fish, constant breeding all year around, and indifferent water quality and water chemistry management may all play a part. I'd recommend cooling them down to 22 C/72 F for 3 months a year, ideally around winter, so they aren't in the mood to breed and they slow down a bit. Then warm them back up in spring, to 24 C/75 F, and hopefully that'll get them back into a growing and breeding modus. With luck, the resting phase will help the snails live longer lives. I kept and bred Apple Snails without much bother, but confess than I was replacing adults with their offspring across the year or so. I now find other snails, particular Tylomelania, all around better snails for general aquarium use. Hope this helps, Neale.>
Re: apple snail (now: where to buy Tylomelania)   10/29/11
Yes these tips do help a great deal. The idea is for the snails to live away from fish so the nipping part is our of the equation. Where can I find these other snails you mention as I have not heard of them.
<Well, in the UK these snails are quite widely sold through the aquatics chain Maidenhead Aquatics. They cost anything between £2-4 (about $3-5) depending on the species and size. Elsewhere you may have to buy them online or have your aquarium retailer order them in especially. If you search online for "Tylomelania" you will find that they're traded under a variety of names -- Sulawesi Elephant Snails, Poso Snails, Yellow Rabbit Snails, etc. There are actually lots of species, but retailers often don't know which one they have in stock. But they are excellent aquarium residents, and generally get along perfectly well with aquarium fish that don't eat snails (Clown Loaches and Puffers would be poor tankmates!). So I do hope that more retailers realise how much better they are than Apple Snails, and start ordering them instead. Do note that you can't sex them (unlike Apple Snails) so buy a reasonably large group if you want to breed them, at least 4 specimens.>
I am limited in my choices of shops to get my snails from. Thank you so much for your time and consideration. I continue to enjoy and learn from WWM and it's crew.
<Glad to help. Cheers, Neale.>

Freshwater "Pond" Snails... NOT releasing to wild    9/28/11
Hello, I have already spent many hours reading your website, somewhat aimlessly, as the information is always interesting. After reading the posts on pest snails, one question remains:
I live in the temperate Midwest. I have a container of snails I have collected from my freshwater aquariums that presumably hitchhiked on the many plants that I have bought for these tanks. Rather than kill them, I'd like to release them into a local pond and leave the question of their survival to nature. Is there any reason I shouldn't do this?
<I wouldn't release them. There's a risk they can carry diseases from the tropical fish trade into native waters. If you need to get rid of them, then kill them (squishing does the trick) and you can actually use the squished snails as food for many fish, including loaches, cichlids and many catfish.>
By-the-way, I am one of the unsuspecting and naive aquarists that purchased "apple" snails when I (re)started with this hobby. I have two. Unlike the fish and plants I keep, I never researched them. After one and half years, they seem quite healthy and have grown rather large.
<Well done! It's pretty uncommon for them to live their full lifespan in tropical aquaria, but it does happen. I've seen specimens get to tennis ball size.>
Thanks for your help,
<And thanks for writing. Cheers, Neale.>

hi crew   8/10/11
My query is regarding Apple snail or golden snail ,. I wanted to know the reason behind my two snails coming out of tank mostly at nights ,

<Travel, reproduction>
. For the past 5 days ,. I put them back again I find them on the floor near my fish tank again ,. Can you all please let me know how to prevent it,
<A better, complete cover... Do read re... These are not entirely aquatic animals/species:
and: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/MollusksFW.htm/MystSnailsF.htm
. And also why are they coming out ,. I had them with me for more than six months ,. I have put them together with my discus fishes
<Not compatible... hard, alkaline, cooler water vs. the opposite for Symphysodon...>
,. 400 liter tank ,. Water parameter are fine with a heater ,. Filtration is fine ,. I always do water changes ,. Thanks in advance ,. Appreciate the time and effort you guys put in to reply our questions ,.
God bless ,. Azam from India .
<Keep studying Azam. Bob Fenner>

question about apple snail  7/15/11
I am a student of zoology. I have studied your website & I have question. Please answer me through mail.
Q1.Brown spot on the body of apple snail is a disease or anything others?
<Likely either a non-organic "scale" (chemical) of some sort or a mix of algae and other Protists. Read here:
and: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/MollusksFW.htm/AppleSnailsF.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

FW Snail... hlth.    7/14/11
This is an MMS message.
This growth looks like a shell but is soft. Had him for 2 years in a 10 gallon 2 other snail's 1 black molly and 5 ghost shrimp never tested the water( I know this is bad ) never had anything die yet. He doesn't look like he's gonna make it he is turning black but still moving around....poor guy....thank u for your time!
<Mmm... please send along data re the system, water quality tests/results, foods/feeding, other tankmates, history...
Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwsnaildisfaqs.htm
and the linked files re freshwater snails above.
Bob Fenner>

This is an MMS message.
This growth looks like a shell but is soft. Had him for 2 years in a 10 gallon 2 other snail's 1 black molly and 5 ghost shrimp never tested the water( I know this is bad ) never had anything die yet. He doesn't look like he's gonna make it he is turning black but still moving around....poor guy....thank u for your time!
<This is an Apple Snail and the soft part of his shell implies a lack of calcium in the water. Apple Snails should be provided with a source of calcium, particularly if the water is soft, which is what I think is the
problem here. Start by improving water chemistry (a half-dose of Rift Valley Salt Mix should do) and placing a small (inch square) piece of cuttlebone in the tank for him to graze.
Snails can't repair damaged shell in any meaningful way, but they can survive this sort of damage, all else being favourable. Cheers, Neale.>

Apple Snail Aestivation   6/9/11
Hello Crew!
I currently have a 36gal tank that houses a couple breeding apple snails. I know that to grow them to their maximum size and keep them healthy they must aestivate for a few months, but I'm unsure of how to do this. Any ideas? The tank is also stocked with fish so I would prefer to have the snails aestivate in another container if this is feasible.
Thank you very much!
<Hello Kyle. There's really not much experience on doing this well, at least under home conditions. In the wild the commonly traded species, Pomacea canaliculata, go dormant during the summer because their ponds dry up, so they rest in the mud until the rains return. In aquaria the prime problem is that they're kept constantly warm all year around, and literally age faster than they should, typically dying within a year or so. Your best approach is to alternate tropical conditions with somewhat cooler conditions for 3-4 months, e.g., about 25 C/77 F for some of the time, and then down to about 18-20 C/64-68 F for the rest. At the cooler temperature they'll be less active. Don't keep them any colder than 18 C because that
can cause them serious health problems, and may be fatal over long periods (they are, after all, native to Florida). For what it's worth, Apple Snails don't do especially well in community aquaria, though some fish, for example Platies, Danios, and most Corydoras will not only tolerate cooler water for a few months but will even benefit from it. So if you choose tankmates wisely, cooling the tank shouldn't cause problems. Cheers, Neale.>

Apple snail, white spots on foot   2/25/11
Hello! I had been searching through your site and saw on 1/3/11 where someone asked a similar question about white spots or blotches on their snails foot but I'm not sure if there is anything I can do since you stated it could be physical damage or decay. Jasper, about 1.5" long, is in the tank with one other snail, about 0.5" long, and they get along just fine.
The little one often hitches a ride on Jasper and they travel the tank together! The little one does not have these spots on her foot so I figure it can't be bacterial related. I've never had any fish in the tank (10 gallon), only snails. The only objects I have in the tank are: two fake plants, both with rounded edges; a terra-cotta type plant holder, washed with water and never used as a plant holder; filter; heater; sand at the bottom of the tank.
I've noticed for a few weeks or so that he's been developing these white spots on his foot. I wasn't worried at first since he's always active and eats not long after I drop some food in (fish flakes and algae wafers, sometimes boiled veggies). I have noticed recently that he sometimes produces a white slime, but it doesn't seem to leave a trail, just kind of floats in the water. I'm becoming worried now that there are more spots and the white slime is continuing. I wonder if this is something I've done to hurt him without knowing or if he's just getting old? I've attached a picture to help visualize what I'm talking about.
Thank you,
<Hello Vanessa. Your snail looks quite healthy to me. Are these white spots on the "meat" of the foot? Do they come away after a while? My guess would be white spots are silt and the white slime mucous, and there's nothing particularly wrong here. Snails generally have two modes -- healthy and dying -- so provided he's scuttling about eating happily, I wouldn't worry too much. If you haven't already visited, AppleSnail.net is a great site for general Pomacea spp. reading. But there isn't a huge amount known about apple snail disease, so it's all about keeping them healthy. Provide lots of greens and calcium-rich foods, don't let them burn themselves on the heater (a heater guard is very useful), keep the tank fairly cool for part of the year, and don't let other fish nip them. Copper is toxic, and because they breathe air, don't use things like bug spray around them. Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Apple snail, white spots on foot   2/26/11
I would say its not on the meat of the foot, if you mean that they are directly on the outside foot. The spots don't come off as he moves, they seem like they've developed inside the foot and show on the outside if that makes sense?
I've noticed the spots develop greater in number, never reduced so I don't believe they come and go. Although I probably haven't given either of them enough calcium rich foods so maybe it's a sign that I need to; he's the only one with the spots on his foot. I never knew about a heater guard but I'll be looking into it today, he does like to hang around it quite a bit.
<Burns are usually obvious, much like small wounds.>
I have noticed he sometimes curls part of his foot in; it looks like a raisin texture, kind of wrinkled.
Like if the inside of your palm was his foot and you curl a couple fingers part way in towards your palm, that's what his foot curling is like.
I'm happy he's still an active guy! Thanks for all the info :)
<Glad to help.>
Thank you,
<Wouldn't worry too much about this chap. Cheers, Neale.>

Sick Snail, apple   1/3/11
Hi, my snail is sick.
<Ah, difficult to fix once the damage is done.>
I have a 44 gallon fish tank w 3 snails, 2 dojo's, 2 Corey cats, a clam, 2 shrimp, and 3 goldfish. I noticed the other day that one of the snails had white blotches on his foot.
<Sounds like physical damage and decay.>
The next day the snail was floating.
<Common problem when a snail is sick.>
We took it our but noticed it was still alive so returned it to it's tank.
Over the last 2 weeks the white spots expanded and now it's foot is completely white (which it was formally black) and it is upside down seeming to writhe in pain. (poor thing) it is still moving. About a week after I noticed these blotches on the snails foot we noticed that one of our goldfish has a white blotch on it's head that seems to be expanding. We are currently treating the tank for Ich but I am not fully convinced that that is what it is because it doesn't look like any of the pictures of Ich on line.
<Oh noes! Ick medications will stress, kill snails. Do please read the instructions carefully -- copper and formalin are both extremely toxic to your snail.>
Any suggestions of what it might be and how to treat it?
<Apple Snails do not tend to live long in aquaria for various reasons. Do read here:
Also, AppleSnail.net is a good place to get information specific to these animals. Most are killed by their owners one way or another, and I do not recommend people keep them before providing an aquarium just for them. Fun animals kept that way. Cheers, Neale.>

Brown Growth on Apple (Mystery) Snail, and Betta sys.   12/17/10
<Hello Haley,>
I woke up this morning to find that my blue apple (mystery) snail was floating around and hanging outside his shell.
At first I thought he was dead, but after closer examining him he is just fine. The problem is that he has this circular large brown round spot that is not allowing him to completely close his trapdoor (it's closed basically, but the edges are not). I'm wondering if he has some sort of disease or other problem? Maybe mantle detachment? I don't think so though, he is sticking to the wall and is able to retract just fine.
<No, he's in a very bad way.>
He lives with a Betta,
<In a coldwater tank? Then the Betta will die pretty soon, unless you happen to live in the tropics and the water keeps at a steady 25 C/77 F or more.>
a plant, and a really tiny snail that came with the plant (which was floating either too, but now went off somewhere). I have removed the snail from the tank because I was afraid he was dying or had a disease. Still sort of worried that he is suffering mantle detachment though.
<Nope. Almost certainly been killed by the poor conditions in your aquarium.>
I have this tank 1.77 gallons with filter (w/o the pink gravel and the fake plant, replaced with white gravel, fish decoration items, and real plant):
<A useless product and a waste of money.>
I feed my Betta 4-6 pellets a day, twice a day. I figured snail would eat fish food and the plant if it got hungry. Maybe I should add some other foods too? I put freeze dried blood worms in there every couple of days too.
Brown spot looks like this (though my snail is blue on snail and actual shell):
<Copyright image not shown here, and irrelevant anyway. Do please read here:
Apple Snails need very specific conditions, and generally don't live long when improperly kept. AppleSnail.net is a great site for more details.
Cheers, Neale.>
Apple Snail brown spot problem fixed, I hope
I think the problem was that it was not getting enough calcium. So it is probably a operculum problem.
I happened upon these pictures:
These pictures look exactly like the brown spot that I was talking about.
So I broke up some pieces of cuttle bone and stuck them in the tank to add calcium. I also put the snail back in. Hopefully, he will be able to recover now.
<Your research sounds well worthwhile. But do review the big picture. A cuttlebone will not compensate for poor environmental conditions. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Apple Snail brown spot problem fixed, I hope
Well actually my tank is at the right temperature, not a cold water tank as you mentioned.
<Good to hear. There was no mention of a heater in your question, and the "Marina Cool 7 Goldfish Aquarium Kit" doesn't include a heater. Some people think that an unheated aquarium will be warm enough for their Betta if their home is centrally heated or they place the tank under an angle-poise lamp. They are wrong. So let's just clarify. You have a heater? If the answer is yes, then that's fine. If the answer is no, then you need one, and without a heater, your Betta WILL die unless your ambient air temperature happens to be 25-30 C/77-82 F, e.g., you live in a hot, humid jungle in South America. Nowhere in Europe or the continental United States, except perhaps Hawaii, will be hot enough for a Betta in an unheated aquarium. You would be saddened to know just how many people don't understand this, and because of it, millions of poor Bettas are chilled to death every year. I get messages from such folks about once every 2-3 days here, and it breaks my heart, because I quite like Bettas. I just wish people wouldn't keep them in unheated tanks.>
So besides the calcium, I'm not sure what poor conditions you are talking about.
<Apple Snails and Bettas need completely different conditions. They aren't compatible, at least, not for long. Apple Snails come from the subtropics, e.g., Florida, and they experience a slightly cool winter and a hot summer.
During the winter they become somewhat inactive, and in summer they become dormant completely, resting in the mud. In practise keeping Apple Snails in aquaria is hard, and the vast majority, 99% of them, don't live for more than a year. You need to keep them around 18-22 C/64-72 F most of the time, towards the cool end for a month or two in winter, so they can rest a bit.
Getting them to aestivate during the summer is tricky, but do-able if you place them in wet moss or something similar and keep them in a container that allows air in but keeps the snail from crawling out. They should be kept this way for a few weeks. In aquaria they sometimes get away without the aestivation, but the winter cooling really does help. Otherwise Apple Snails simply burn out. In any case, Apple Snails really need about 5 US gallons, together with a heater and a simple air-powered filter. They must be able to breathe air as well, so make sure there's space between the waterline and the hood. Water chemistry should be towards the hard and basic, otherwise the shell becomes pitted -- probably what you've observed.
In other words, 10+ degrees dH, pH 7.5 is just about perfect. Food should be biased towards plant-based foods, for example algae wafers, cooked peas, spinach, etc. Weekly offerings of lancefish chunks or small unshelled shrimps would be good sources of protein and calcium.>
The tank is big enough
<It's really not. 2.5 gallons is worthless. You don't have to believe me, but I've been doing this a lot longer than you, and I've got the books, the magazine articles, and the PhD to prove I know what I'm talking about. If I got a dollar for every message about sick Bettas in tanks smaller than 5 gallons, I'd be a very rich man by now. The folks who ignore advice from experienced fishkeepers are the ones who end up with dead animals. Your move.>
and if you're talking about the filter I fixed it up to be less powerful and stressful on the Betta.
<Good stuff. Air-powered sponge and box filters are ideal for Bettas. But at the same time, the flow of water needs to be sufficient to ensure zero ammonia and zero nitrite -- I assume you have at least a nitrite (not a nitrate) test kit. Do please understand that most sick snails, fish etc. are killed by their owners, and not by diseases that creep in through the window one dark and stormy night. I'm glad you're reading about your pets and making efforts to optimise their living conditions. But the data you sent me was limited, and it isn't obvious you've covered the basics like heating and water chemistry. Read about these, and act accordingly. I'm not psychic so I can't read your mind, and all I can do is hope to point out the possible problems and their best remedies. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Apple Snail brown spot problem fixed, I hope  12/17/10
I'm guessing the temperatures are the main problem for why these two don't work together?
<Pretty much, yes. Apple Snails have a poor track record in tropical aquaria. Most don't live longer than a year, though they can live 4-5 years and reach the size of a tennis ball. Occasional specimens do thrive, but most don't.>
Snail should be colder during the winter (64 F about)?
And they need mud and moss in summer (basically along the lines of hermit crabs, I know not an exact comparison but best I can think of)?
<Certainly worth trying. Do read the AppleSnail.net for more on this.>
There should be space to breathe for snails in winter too or only for a while in the summer?
<Both the Betta and the Apple Snail need a breathing space at the top of the tank, and in both cases *all year around*. Cheers, Neale.>

apple snail, repro.    11/22/10
My daughter and I each have an apple snail. How long after they mate will the female lay her eggs?
Thank you,
<Difficult to say. But assuming the snails are sexually mature, and that you have a male and female, you should find the raspberry-like egg masses laid ABOVE the waterline within a few weeks of introducing them to the same aquarium. Cheers, Neale.>

Double checking I'm doing things right  10/15/10
In all your articles about Mystery snails, nobody mentions having fire bellied toads.
<Indeed not.>
In my case, I've had my two Oriental Fire Bellied toads for about a year and a half, they're both happy, healthy and have very much developed personalities.
Since their tank has full afternoon sun, algae was a major problem, so, to help solve that problem, I bought myself a couple mystery snails from PetSmart.
<I see.>
Though I'm not positive what I've done wrong, those first two (probably because they were simply dropped into the tank, which you've said is a no-no) died on me not long after I bought four more.
<Apple and Mystery Snails aren't normally killed by being moved from one tank to another.>
Two of those died because they were also simply dropped into the tank but before the two died, they left me a surprise: babies.
<Yes, they will lay their raspberry-like egg masses quite readily.>
I discovered them initially two at a time. For a couple weeks, I had just four babies. Yesterday, I bought four more adults, giving me four gold, one black and one ivory mystery snail. This morning, I found more babies than I can keep track of, but the adults are all seemingly hibernating inside their shells.
<Yes, very likely. Apple/Mystery snails spend part of the year "aestivating" in the muck at the bottom of ponds. Think of them having a nine-month year so far as activity goes, with the three hottest months of the year being spent in a state of dormancy. Because this is difficult to provide in aquaria, very few specimens last more than a year.>
The four new ones are floating and the original two are just sitting on the bottom of the tank. Near as I can figure, the adults are all healthy and the babies are going nuts.
<Breeding Apple snails is actually not hard; keeping the adults alive past the first 12 months is very much more tricky.>
The largest of the babies, whom I call Junior (after the Schwarzenegger movie Junior) is now almost a full 1/2" long when completely out of its shell. The tank setup was actually not recommended for the toads. They're supposed to have half land half water.
Instead, my pair have a 10 gallon tank with 7 gallons of water and a floating island.
<I see.>
In spite of this, these two have developed into strong swimmers and are absolutely madly in love with the live plants they keep uprooting.
<Well… they are digging animals.>
They've had this setup since the day I got them. Given all the baby snails I've got, I'm hesitant to change the water.
<Don't be. Baby snails aren't delicate at all.>
The toads don't seem to mind as I find them frequently floating among the plants they love so much watching whatever movie I have playing on the TV that's at a 90 degree angle to the tank. Those two are more than content to enjoy flies, moths and even grasshoppers besides their normal crickets of both freeze-dried and live variety. I guess what I'm asking is should I try to change the water at the risk of all the baby snails or just maintain the water level, watch them grow and sell adults to the pet stores?
<Do what you'd normally do: change 20-25% every week or two. I assume there's some sort of filter in the water? If not, change 20-25% the water every couple of days. Apple snails are quite heavy polluters, and they need a lot of food to stay alive. They aren't "algae eaters" in any meaningful sense, and will starve to death if you don't provide daily meals of soft green foods like lettuce, cucumber and spinach.>
The worst the toads do is what I call "snail soccer" in which they simply knock the snails off the wall of the tank and in swimming around, kick them around the tank a little.
<Actually, this is fairly serious. One of many reasons why Apple snails do poorly kept with fish is that the constant disturbance alarms them, and so stops them feeding. If they're stressed, they can't feed, and then they starve.>
The toads are actually coming up on their own dormancy winter period, so they're not as active as they would be normally anyway. Should I just leave the little ecosystem alone?
<Depends on the temperature. Apple snails will rest between 18-22 C, and die if exposed to colder than 18 C for more than a few days. On the other hand, kept warmer than 25 C for more than a few months they simply "burn out". Do visit the excellent AppleSnail.net site for more on the ecology and requirements of these animals.>
The other question would be (this isn't setup yet or even ready to be setup yet) I've got a small pond/waterfall set in the back yard, would the mystery snails be all right in that once full grown or would they climb out and go everywhere?
<Yes, they can escape, and that being the case, it may well be illegal to keep them outdoors. Check with your local Fish & Wildlife department. Apple Snails are a serious pest species in places where they should not be, and can carry diseases.>
One final question: how do I officially sex a fire bellied toad? I've found so many differing opinions online I can't tell.
<You can't sex them outside of breeding. During the breeding season the males will sing. That's it!>
My site, part of my signature below, has a page featuring my toads and snails. I figure that's easier than trying to attach pictures.
<Possibly, but honestly, we have limited time and answering questions depends very much on people sending whatever they want us to look at *with the e-mail*. Clicking on links and watching videos and all that sort of thing doesn't really help us to help you. If there are images you want us to look at, please attach them to an e-mail, but keep them under 500 KB or so otherwise they clog up our e-mail allowance and take forever to download and open.>
Probably the fastest way to find the page is through my site map. I'm a student of web design, so my navigation might be a bit confusing as yet.
<I'm sure you know the webpagesthatsuck.com website. One of my personal favourites. Do be sure to read up on what they call "mystery meat navigation".>
I think I've got one male, one female, but I'm definitely not positive.
<As I say, listen to who's singing. That's the male.>
The toad I call Sage is distinctly bigger than the one I call Rowen and Rowen's tried for amplexus, but Sage keeps throwing him off. I'm not sure if they're just playing or honestly trying to mate.
<Who knows.>
They're both mature toads, but that doesn't seem to mean much either. I'm really not sure who's what sex!
<If it's any consolation, often the toads don't know either.>
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Double checking I'm doing things right  10/15/10
Oriental Fire Bellied toads are great little hardy toads, too. My toad Rowen decided he was going to try copying Superman last night when I had the movie playing. He took a flying leap off the island and found the front wall of the tank cut his flight short so he simply decided to float where he landed and watch the rest of the movie instead of trying to "beat up" Lex Luthor. These two little toads of mine got their name from an old cartoon series from the 80s called Ronin Warriors. Their full names are Rowen of Island Strata and Sage of the Bubble Halo.
I haven't even found where the snails have laid their eggs, the babies just keep coming out of nowhere.
<They do/must lay their eggs above the waterline.>
Despite being buffetted about the adults haven't come out of their shells at all, but the babies are going nuts! I can't feed the adults when the won't come out.
The plants don't seem to care that they're floating on the surface and have also been going crazy growing.
<Most aquatic plants will, to a degree, since they've evolved to propagate vegetatively, typically by bits being uprooted or torn away and then ending up somewhere else where they grow new roots. But rooted plants normally can't be grown indefinitely as floating plants. Some exceptions of course, like Indian Fern and Hornwort. But Vallisneria, Amazon Swords and those sorts of true rooted plants do need to be secured.>
The snails might not be delicate, but I think I've got toad tadpoles. I'm not positive, but I know I've seen something tiny swimming besides the snails. I haven't gotten my computer microscope working yet, so I can't confirm. All the more reason why I'm being cautious - I don't want the siphon to suck up any babies of either sort.
<Cool. Sometimes frogs and toads do breed in aquaria without the hobbyist knowing about it.>
For the most part, the "snail soccer" only occurs when the snails are near the surface and it's not terribly common that the toads will choose that time to swim since they spend the majority of their time on the island unless there's a movie playing. Even when there is a movie playing, they'll just sit mostly on the island to watch or float away from the walls anyway.
Even when the toads do swim over to the snails, I've gotten pictures of the toads resting their front feet on the snail and the snail still out and feeding as if the toad doesn't bother them.
<Well, that all sounds positive.>
My room's generally at about 75 F for the most part, which I know the toads love. It can get a bit warmer by the window in the afternoons, though since I'm in Nevada and the window gets full afternoon sun as I said.
<I see.>
Okay, scrap the thought of putting the snails in the pond, I'll just stick with the idea of putting fish out there maybe. As for sexing the toads, I guess that means I've got one boy and one girl. Sage must have a crush on her namesake, because she keeps kicking Rowen away!
<Ah yes, what red-blooded male toad hasn't experienced rejection at some time in its life.>
I've gotten differing stories about the life span of the fire bellies.
Anywhere from 3-30 years. What is the actual life span of the little toads?
The other question might be, if I do have tadpoles, just how big are they at birth? I haven't found anything for that, either. One site said they don't reach full sexual maturity until they're 3 years old. Is that accurate? I'm trying to gather accurate information on both and keep finding different stories all over the place. The pet store said the snails would love the algae and eat it like crazy. The information the pet stores gave for the toads said they live 5 years. Most vets in my area don't have a clue what to do with a fire belly or the snails. The information on the tank the snails came from at the pet store said they're mystery snails. It
took me a couple hours just to find out they supposedly reproduce asexually. I'm tired of getting a multitude of different stories, I want the mystery around these little animals cleared up as best as possible!
<Lifespan varies on temperature, the length/regularity of their cold-season resting phase, and the precise species of Bombina being maintained. But Bombina orientalis, if properly maintained, should live for about 20 years.
Cold-blooded animals generally live much longer for their size/weight than equivalent birds or mammals.>
Great appreciation, Jennifer.
<Glad to help. Cheers, Neale.>

Apple Snail Escape, sys.   10/12/10
Hi Sabrina
<Not Sabrina today…>
I have a question/problem to run past you,,
I have some Apple Snails (Pomacea bridgessii) and have two tanks, a 60 Gal @22C (sponge filtered, sand and granite, crayfish, leopard danio', molly')
<Hmm… can see some problems already.>
and a 15 Gal @26C (limestone, cleaned beach pebbles, shrimp, Betta splendens)
I had the snails in my 60g originally, and they had no problems at all, ate well, some truly epic breeding attempts. However when I bought my Cherax quadrinatus' I moved them in case they became food into to the 15g.
<Do bear in mind crayfish eat snails. So you're keeping lions and zebras in the same enclosure.>
They grew well in that tank, I presume from the extra calcium / alkalinity and heat. However the tank had been a past 'tank of death' for apple snails for some reason unknown.
<Not unknown to me. Apple Snails are NOT easy to keep in aquaria. Or more specifically, what they need is NOT what fish need. Apple Snails need fairly cool conditions plus a resting phase of about three months. Kept warm all year around they tend to die within a year. Plus, fish view Apple Snails as moving buffets, nipping at their tentacles and thereby making them sensitive to bacterial infections. Apple Snails are best kept alone.>
Prior to putting the snails in the 15g I had removed what I thought was past problems, pebbles possibly containing ore's (although my Amano and bamboo shrimp have never shown signs of problems)
<Provided the pebbles were sold in an aquarium shop as aquarium safe, they should be fine. Yes, some metals, such as copper, can be toxic, and it's important not to place rocks containing seams of these metals into an aquarium. But no reputable pet shop should be selling such rocks anyway.>
The snails now often go to the surface for air, as oppose to every now and again in the 60g, and today I noticed one missing!
<They surface to breathe air, and if they do that far more often than normally, that's a common sign they're too warm. But Apple Snails also lay their eggs above the waterline, and WILL try to crawl out of the tank no matter what. Plus, after a few months Apple Snails will want to aestivate -- to rest for a few months -- and in aquaria they either do this by becoming dormant at the bottom of the tank or else trying to seal themselves up on a ledge above the waterline. One other reason they'd try to escape is predation. If a snail is constantly being harassed by a crayfish, it may well try to crawl out and find a new pond. In the wild Apple Snails certainly do move from one pond to another as conditions change.>
I found him under the dresser with his trap tightly closed, and a crack in his shell. I used some clear nail varnish on his shell to hold the crack as I have read in a few places they don't repair, I then put some water on his 'door' to see if he was alive, and he is :D Maybe this is karma for him killing a female after the epic 6hr breeding attempt!
<Cracked shells aren't a big deal for the most part, so I wouldn't bother with repairs.>
So he is now in my 55g, hopefully so he doesn't escape and cause more damage, do you think there could be a problem in my 15g that is making them want to escape?
<See above.>
Sources on the web indicate this could be a water problem. All regular water tests are fine, although I have no 'metal' tests.
Would you think they could be better off in the 55g with the crayfish?
<He'd be dinner.>
They seemed to be quite happy in there before the crayfish, if a little slow growing. It seems a hard call to me, both could have possible bad consequence in my opinion, possible irritant, or possibly eaten.
Thanks for reading,
<Glad to help.>
Stu, Cumbria.
<Cheers, Neale.> 
Re: Apple Snail Escape   10/13/10

Thanks for the reply!
<Glad to help.>
The snails have been kept in a smaller tank since I got the crayfish bar the incident with the snail cranking its shell the other day. He was put back into the smaller tank shortly after I sent the email to you as I seen
the crayfish ready to make a move on it.
After reading I will set up a separate tank for the snails, at a lower temperature. What you said has made sense of everything, like why they keep hiding in my filter and under the wood etc.
<Indeed. There's a great Apple Snail site called AppleSnail.net. They've got some very, very good articles on the biology and needs of these snails.>
The large tank with the Cherax Quadrinatus is going to be raised up to 25C-26C gradually, the tank had been kept un-heated prior to the crayfish and I want to acclimate the current inhabitants (molly's and Danios) gently from 19C.
<OK. Wouldn't worry too much about this; should only take a few hours for Danios to adjust to a temperature change like this.>
The small tank the snails are currently in has a Betta so can't be turned down from 26C either, although the Betta in particular never bothered the snails.
<Usually don't, to be fair. But fish and Apple Snails aren't a great combo.>
Gives me a reason to set up a planted shrimp and snail tank though!
<Well, Apple Snails can, will eat plants.>
From what you said about leaving shell damage, does all shell damage sort itself?
<No. Snails can only grow new shell around the mantle, i.e., the living tissue at the front end of the snail. Anything further back than, say, 10% from the aperture is unrepairable.>
As there is a small v shaped chip missing from his shell, looks like he could catch himself on it.
<Superglue is safe to use, especially since these snails can be kept out of water for the few minutes needed for the glue to dry. But otherwise there's not much you can do about broken shells. For what it's worth, many, perhaps most snails go through their lives with damaged shells, often the apex being lost completely.>
<Cheers, Neale.>

Choosing a snail, FW, Apple admonition... again   6/24/10
We bought a very lovely Apple snail, Carl, who was about an inch in diameter. He seemed to be thriving for about a year and a half. He was mobile and active a lot of the time and did a great job cleaning algae and I suppose any food debris. I also made available to him (her?) the algae pellets every few days or so and he also liked the shrimp pellets.
Then one morning, he was dead. No signs of trauma. Just dead. I checked the usual suspects (temp, chemistry, etc) and nothing was out of whack.
<As I've stated here at WWM endlessly, Apple snails do not survive for much beyond a year under most aquarium conditions. They need an alternation of warm, watery conditions with a couple of months when they're kept out of
water in damp soil. This replicates aestivation. If kept constantly in warm water, they eventually "burn up". They are, generally, poor choices for aquarium pets.>
I then read that the life of Apple snails is shortened by keeping them in a common aquarium temp of 73 degrees.
<On the contrary, keeping them relatively cool for at least a few months can be beneficial.>
So even though I wanted to immediately replace Carl, I didn't think it would be right to knowingly place a snail in an environment that would shorten his life.
<With Apple snails, you may as well treat them as disposable pets. They very rarely live more than a year.>
Is there a non-pest snail whose life is not shortened in a 73 degree tank?
<Oh, you could try some of the Nerite snails. They come from tropical streams so do well slightly on the cool side provided the water is briskly moving and has plenty of oxygen. Because they eat ONLY algae, they will starve if the aquarium is too small, so allow one large specimen (about 2 cm long) or two smaller ones (1 cm long) per 10-15 US gallons. They need moderately hard to hard water, and won't live long in acidic conditions.
Alternatively, you could try Marisa cornuarietis, the Colombian Ramshorn, which is very much like the Apple snail but does rather well kept
underwater constantly. It's a very bad plant eater though!>
<Cheers, Neale.>

Apple Snail Hibernation – 3/31/10
We recently noticed our Apple snail not moving very much? He seemed to be asleep for 2 whole days.
He's quite a big fella (2-3 inches across) and we've had him about a year.
After looking on your site, I realize now, he may be going into hibernation and would like some info on how to get him to survive this. I really dont want to loose him. We are just entering Autumn in Australia (no heater on the tank which is about 120Litres and has various other fish and one western blue crayfish, about 17-20cm long).
I've also noticed a crack in his shell (along the growth ring about 1/2 inch from the front) like the whole front section/ring of his shell has broken off but is still attached. I have no idea how this could of happened, he has never left the tank, is never handled??? It's a mystery.
Any help you can give me will be greatly appreciated
Thank you
<Hello Danni, and thanks for writing in with such interesting questions.
Tackling the second question first, cracks will often appear in shells if the water isn't hard and basic. Check water chemistry. If necessary, buffer the water by adding some Rift Valley Cichlid Salt mix (not tonic/aquarium salt!).
The calcium carbonate in this mix will help snails build their shells better. Snails have minimal ability to repair broken shells except close to the growing edge, the mantle, though cracks further back may get filled in with some material from underneath. Do note than snails are on the natural diet list of crayfish, so keeping snails and crayfish together isn't entirely safe, even for big snails like this one. As to "hibernation" (technically, aestivation, since it's a summer rather than winter event). This is very difficult to do in captivity, and in reality very, very few people manage to get their Apple Snails to live more than a year or two.
Aestivation essentially involves resting in damp mud whilst being kept fairly warm, and in theory moving the snail to a tank with a peaty or coir substrate, lowering the water slowly, across several days or a couple of weeks, and so encouraging the snail to "dig in". The sleeping snail could then be packaged up in a food contain with some damp peat or coir, with a lid secure enough to prevent escape (but loose enough it allows air in) and then kept somewhere warm and dark, like an airing cupboard, where the animal could sleep for a few weeks at a 18-20 degrees C. Apple snails quickly die below 18 C. Spray the peat or coir periodically to keep the snail damp but not wet or waterlogged. You could then put the peat/coir and snail back in an empty aquarium, an then slowly add some water over a few hours to mimic rainfall, and hope the snail wakes up. A dead snail smells terrible, so if it smells of nothing, it's probably alive. Do bear in mind that below 20 degrees C Apple Snails naturally become sluggish even if moving around, and many snail keepers use a heater to keep it slightly warmer than that through winter, so the Apple Snail stays active. By alternating between 22 C in winter and 25 C in summer, you might just about get the Apple Snail to stay healthy all year around without the need for aestivation, though frankly, this approach doesn't always succeed. Cheers, Neale.>

Apple snail... sys.  1/27/10
hello crew! I have been thinking about getting a couple of apple snails and I was wondering if they can live in a 5 gallon bowl without filter or heater and there water would be changed 2 times a week at least.
<Short answer is no, unless you live in the subtropics, e.g., Southern Florida, which is where they come from. Anywhere cooler, and certainly anywhere air conditioned, isn't going to work well outside of summer. Do review the needs of Apple snails, e.g., at the excellent AppleSnail.net web site. Most people fail to keep them alive for long. Cheers, Neale.>

hello I have an apple snail that got part of his foot missing.  1/6/2010
my large common Pleco decide to have a snack. he seems to be ok he is just not moving around as much. will he be ok?or is he suffering and going to die?
<Assuming optimal water conditions (including warmth, filtration and access to air) Apple snails can heal a certain amount of damage. But that said, they are notorious for dying quickly when abused like this, and in doing so can cause gross pollution. By all means transfer to another, hospital aquarium, but don't expect it to do well in the same tank as the Plec.
Cheers, Neale.>

our new snail... Apple, comp., sys.  8/11/2009
Hi. Thank you for taking the time to read this,
<Happy to help.>
We set up an aquarium for my daughter about a week and a half ago.
<If your daughter is a minor, then you're setting up the aquarium *for yourself*. Always remember that. Children make very poor guardians of animals, so the responsibility for any animals you buy rests squarely on your shoulders.>
It is a 6 gallon, Marineland.
<Too small for Goldfish or indeed any other fish except Bettas.>
It has a carbon filter and a BIO-Wheel. We have a small Fantail & a small Black Moore, we got a snail on Sunday.
<This aquarium isn't acceptable for these fish. They WILL get sick and they WILL die prematurely. So let's cut to the chase here. A 20-gallon tank will be fine while they're small, up to about 10 cm/4 inches in length, but you need a 30 gallon system for these two Goldfish once mature; see here:
As for the snail, it's an Apple snail, and won't live more than 6-12 months in an aquarium. Wild snails aestivate in mud for part of the year, and without this resting phase, they seem not to live for their normal lifespan in captivity. When they die, they cause massive pollution. They mix poorly with fish. Fish nibble at them, damaging their "antennae", allowing secondary infections to set. Millions of Apple snails are sold to
inexperienced shoppers, and the vast majority of them die for one reason or another. There's a great Apple snail site, here:
Take a look at the needs listed in the Quick Guide section. Since you'll be taking the Goldfish out of the woefully inadequate 6 gallon tank, you might elect to dedicate that tank to the needs of Apple snails. They make interesting pets, and when kept in groups, breed quite readily. Rearing baby Apple snails isn't easy, but with luck, you'll get enough to keep a steady population going.>
The lady at the pet store checked the door to make sure it was alive. We have never had a snail before & thought it would start moving around by now. It has not moved around the tank at all & I have not seen the whole body come out.
<Often, they start moving, and then the Goldfish buffets them, and the snail goes into it's "scared" mode again. As I say, you can't usually keep Apple snails and Goldfish together. Many have tried, and most of them failed.>
I saw the siphon come out this morning & it did go from being totally closed up to being part way out of the shell. I read a LOT of the other FAQ's & did not see anything about this kind of behavior. Do you think it
is okay?
Or did we buy a dud?
<Apple snails tend to be either healthy or dead. You're at the tip-over point perhaps where a healthy snail isn't able to move about and feed, and yes, after a few days, it will die if it can't act normally.>
We do not have any live plants, so I put a piece of zucchini in the tank next to it & it didn't do anything. The fish pick at it like it is gravel.... It moves in & out of the shell a bit, but never all the way & it doesn't go anywhere.
<Just as I said.>
Is there another site you could direct me to, I looked at the ones I saw on your site, but I didn't see anything that looked like my issue......
Thanks a lot for any advise!
<Well, your first priority is to rehome the Goldfish. You CANNOT keep them in a 6-gallon tank. Period. End of story. If you ignore my advice here, they WILL get sick and the WILL die. Assuming you do this in the next day or two -- the only responsible course of action, really -- then your Apple snail may well recover of its own volition if left in the 6-gallon system.>
Here is a picture of what it looks like right now. Sorry in advance for any spelling or grammar errors, I used my spell checker & tried really hard to make it nice, but I am not very good at such things. :)
<Thanks for taking the time to write to us properly. It's appreciated. Good luck, Neale.>

Apple Snail Question 05/27/09
Hi there. Nine days ago, we purchased two apple snails for our new pond (the guy at the pet store said this was fine), we soon learned this wasn't good at all.
<Does depend where you live; if you happen to live in the subtropics or tropics, then Pomacea snails can adapt well to pond life. But they aren't at all suitable for ponds in the temperate zone, and even in warmer parts of the world they do need a "resting period" lasting some months. Personally, I don't rate Apple snails as particularly good pets, and the overwhelming majority of them die within a year, never reaching anything like their full size.>
In our crash course on water care and snails we lost one and surprisingly the other is still alive. We put in a new, bigger pond and placed him in there to get him out of the old toxic water and he started moving up and down the sides (it's about a 200 gallon pond).We were so happy that he was still alive that we bought a ten gallon tank for him and got him to other apple snails for company.
<They actually couldn't care less about company... more important you provide optimal conditions for one snail than try to house a bunch of them under less than perfect conditions.>
Well, the first day we put all three in the tank, he was partially out of his shell and wasn't moving for about twelve hours, and he appeared to be defecating and producing excess slime. We got worried and read that you should remove the snail immediately from the tank if they appear as if they are dying.
<You should certainly remove a dead snail from any aquarium, yes. But removing one that's merely behaving oddly isn't a good idea. Periodically shedding mucous and producing copious faeces are both normal behaviours.  Unless the snail is constantly shedding mucous, small amounts aren't anything to worry about, and like all herbivores, the more fibre-rich their diet, the more solid waste they produce.>
We put him in a 1.5 gallon tank with a filtering system and there are times he's floating on the bottom or in the middle of the tank and the next day he'll be sucked to the side.
<See, this is the thing. Conditions in a 1.5 gallon "tank" aren't tenable for an Apple snail, and really, such "tanks" are useless. Buckets are bigger! So, buying such a tank is a total waste of money. On top of that, because water quality WILL be less stable and likely less good in such a tank, moving from the 10 gallon to the 1.5 gallon will simply make a bad situation worse. Much better to identify the problem, and them act accordingly.>
Many times my husband has told me to just put him in the freezer, but I can't.
<And shouldn't; freezing animals is not a humane way to kill them. While I admit it's hard to empathize for a snail, what makes humans (potentially)
special is our ability to see what's cruel from what's humane. If you must euthanize a snail, use a humane method as described for fish. In any case, snails tend to be either "healthy" or "dead", so if the snail is active, there's hope! Put the snail in the right conditions, with the right water quality, and at the right temperature. In other words, an 8-10 gallon aquarium, with hard (10+ degrees dH) water at pH 7.5 to 8, with no salt, and at a middling to low temperature around 22-24 C. Ammonia and nitrite should be zero at all times, and the snail must have access to air, so allow a good couple of inches space between the waterline and the hood. For at least three months of the year, keep the temperature lower so the thing can go dormant; ideally, remove it from the water and keep in damp soil at around 18 C. Do note that Apple snails are neither tropical nor coldwater animals, and can't be kept indefinitely in either unheated tanks (outside of the subtropics, of course) or tropical tanks.>
Then later on he'll look good and surprise us by how active he is. Any way, he's been in separated for a day and a half now. How long do I wait to put him back, I feel like all I'm doing is testing water on both tanks and the pond. Is he behaving normal? The other two snails have not floated at all yet. I've read they do this but he does it quite a bit and doesn't close all of the way. Is he permanently damaged by being put into the untreated pond water? The nitrites were VERY high as was the ammonia.
<This is what's killing the snail; keep the snail in good conditions and it should pep up.>
He's in stable conditions now. Any info would be a great help. Thanks.
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Apple Snail Question 5/28/2009
Thank you so much, I'm determined to keep them alive. I appreciate your help, I couldn't get useful information anywhere else.
<Happy to help. Do try and track down "Apple Snails in the Aquarium" by Gloria Perrera and Jerry G. Walls; it's the single best book on the topic
published. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Apple Snail Question 05/29/09
Hi again, Thank you so much.
<Well, that's good news!>
He perked right up in the ten gallon tank. He's moving along with the other two as if nothing happened. He must've just been adjusting to the new  environment before or something.
<Sounds like you have everything under control. Good luck, Neale.>

My apple snail, repro. issues  4/30/09
<Hello Manda>
I have three apple snails, two are golden Inca and the other is a mystery snail. My question is this: One male golden and the female mystery both have what appears to be a strange crack on the front of their shells. It
looks like the shell split, and is growing back together. What is this, and should I be concerned? Also, The golden male and mystery female have been mating, or what I call "snex-ing". How long will it take before I find eggs in my tank?
<Ah, this likely explains the "crack". Often when apple snails mate they can damage their mantle (where the shell production occurs), the crack is not actually a crack, it is an area of no shell growth in the same place
where the damage occurred to the mantle. Other causes could be from rapid changes in temperature or availability of food, but considering the mating, I think that is the most likely culprit. If the crack the mantle damage isn't severe, which it doesn't sound like it is, then they should both be fine.>
<As far as the eggs go, make sure you have adequate space at the top of the tank without water against it. About the width of the snail shell is normally enough space, and the eggs will be laid up top on the glass
outside of the water.>
Thank you very much for taking time to read my question.
<Thank you for taking the time to write us, and include all the details even if they seemed unrelated. Those extra details are sometimes the final piece to the puzzle.>
<Josh Solomon>

Poecilia repro; Mystery fish (Rasbora borapetensis); Apple snail repro, aestivation 03/29/09
Dear Crew, I'd like to ask if my tank is suitable for breeding guppies. I have a 40 gal. tank, 3-4 platies, a few Danios, and 8-10 mollies. Just a few days ago, I recently purchased 4 male guppies and 3 female. I also purchased 5 snails. I do have a separate tank about 35+ gal., but I've never really used it for breeding.
<Well, the 40 gallon is certainly plenty big enough for breeding livebearers, though Danios are very good predators and will take any small fry they can find.>
Every time a get fry in my tank, we don't usually scoop them out. They're pretty good at hiding, and we usually notice them when they're 1-2 weeks old. Up until now, I've never been concerned about the other fish eating the fry, because they get fed about 3 times a day. But now, I'm thinking that I should transfer some of my fish to the other tank, or at least those
I suspect are going to reproduce. Should I? It's never been a problem before.
<Up to you; floating plants will protect some fry, and it's really only a big deal if you actually want to rear the fry and sell them on. If this is the case, moving the fry to a breeding tank as/when you find them is a good idea. If you get a production line going, and have just a single variety of Guppies (or Platy, or whatever) then the offspring should be good enough to
sell. Retailers tend not to want cross-breed fry, e.g., from Black Cobra males and Green Snakeskin females. On the other hand, if all you care about is the occasional fry surviving, then by all means let nature takes its course.>
Also, I was wondering if you could identify my Danios.
<Not Danios.>
When I bought them, my dad thought they were pretty cool, so we purchased 4-5 of them. Now, I'm having a little trouble breeding them, so if I knew what they were called, it might help. I'll attach pictures of the fish.
<These are Rasbora borapetensis, known as the Black-line or Red-tailed Rasbora. A nice fish, gets to about 5 cm long, needs to be kept in groups of 6+, and prefers slightly soft/acidic water (pH 6.5, less than 10 degrees dH). Water temperature should be relatively cool, 22-26 C recommended. Not particularly easy to breed, and certainly not compared to Danios. Rasboras generally are fussy about water chemistry, and won't breed at all if it isn't right.>
One more thing. I'm worried that my Golden Mystery Snails won't reproduce that well. Once, about a year ago, there was some reproduction, but eventually, the snails all died away.
<Absolutely typical.>
What should I do to keep the population alive?
<Allow the Apple snails to aestivate for 3 months of the year. Apple snails are adapted to a seasonal climate, and during the summer rest for three months buried in mud. Kept at tropical temperatures all year long they simply "burn out". This is why you ALMOST NEVER see full size Apple snails in aquaria. Adults can be the size of tennis balls, but the ones in fish
tanks are usually a lot smaller.>
Should I know how to tell the difference between a male and a female to add one or two if there isn't enough for reproduction?
<Sexing isn't easy, though the penis on the male is apparent if you know what to look for. Applesnail.net has some pictures.>
Thanks for reading the questions. I'll be looking for a reply soon! Bebe
<Hope this is soon enough! Neale.>

Apple snail - Maybe sick, definitely stressed, please help!   11/3/07
I have an apple snail that has a problem. I know I haven't been the best mom to it, but I would like to learn how to make it well, if at all possible.
This is my first snail, and it's brand new to me, so what little I know about snails I have learned very recently on the internet.
<Hmm... there are many articles, even books about Apple snails; so reading around the topic should help.>
I bought the snail last week to help keep a 10 gallon tank clean.
<Doesn't work this way. No animal "keeps a tank clean". They all make a tank dirtier. Imagine you had a live-in housekeeper for your home. That person might clean up the dishes and vacuum the carpet, but that person would also be eating food, drinking water, taking baths, going to the lavatory and so on. In other words, while your home might actually look a little tidier to you, it is actually now twice as dirty as before.>
The tank is used for breeding Bettas. (I'm a beginner at Betta breeding, too, but so many online resources have been helpful with that!) The tank is about half full of water. The water was filtered through a Brita, treated with a little aquarium salt, Stress Coat, and Top Fin Bacteria Supplement, then allowed to rest for three days before the addition of anything alive.
<Apple snails do not like salt. Various medications used to treat fish are harmful to snails, so only add things you know are specifically safe with invertebrates.>
The water has kept a steady 79 degrees Fahrenheit since starting.
<Far too warm for all-year maintenance. Apple snails require alternating warm and cool periods otherwise they become noticeably short lived. Typically when kept in tropical tanks Apple snails last about a year. In the wild they live more than 4 years. Something in the 20-25C (68-77F) range is about right. This is a bit cooler than Bettas prefer, and one reason why the two species are fundamentally incompatible.>
I am using a disposable carbon filter that hooks up to the air pump, which is pumping in a very very slow, steady stream of bubbles.
<Carbon filters are garbage. Carbon was used in the Dark Ages of fishkeeping to remove dissolved organic materials that turned water yellow over time. This was a problem because people avoided water changes like the plague, doing as little as 10% per month, on the assumption "old water" was best. We now routinely do 50% water changes per week. The prime job of carbon in the modern hobby is to extract money from inexperienced aquarists. While it has some value for certain jobs, such as removed leftover medications before introducing sensitive fish, 99% of the time it is redundant. What you need is a real filter that supports biological filtration. A plain vanilla sponge filter should be just fine.>
There are three plants. I don't know their scientific names, but at the store one was labeled a sword plant, one a banana plant, and the third I don't know the name of.
<Hmm... the Swordplant is presumably Echinodorus sp.; the Banana plant is Nymphoides sp., a species legendarily difficult to keep alive. While they aren't impossible to keep, they are picky about their environment. You need to identify the species. Some like warm water and will die in cold water, but there are cold water species that die in warm water! Soft, acidic water seems to be a prerequisite. As for the 'mystery plant' you need to be careful here; a LOT of aquarium shops sell terrestrial plants such as Dracaena and Chlorophytum spp. as aquatic plants. Needless to say, they die.>
The snail and all three plants came from the same plant tank at the same store.
When I first added the plants and snail, the snail was thrilled. It moved around quickly sometimes, and lingered on a plant or tank wall sometimes. It explored all the features of the tank. It seemed very happy. The plants got a bit chewed up, but I don't mind. It did produce what I thought was a huge amount of feces, appearing like a lot of black dots, often connected together by strands of mucous.
<Apple snails will, do eat aquarium plants.>
I added the pair of Bettas and they spawned on Sunday. The snail crawled up into the bubble nest and ate a bunch of eggs. I tried to gently knock it out, but it was determined to stay.
<It's a snail. It's learning abilities are minimal.>
I let it be for a while, but got really concerned when the collection of eggs in the nest was visibly smaller. I knocked the snail out of the nest (gently) and scooped it out of the tank into what I had available. Unfortunately, this was one of those flat sided half gallon bowls, half filled with Brita-filtered water. (I use the Brita because I live in an area where the water is recycled, I am concerned about what additives might be in my water. Straight from the tap, it has an unpleasant, strongly mineral and chloriney taste.)
<Not an issue. Add dechlorinator. The water will be fine for both fish and snail. For a 10 gallon tank you need to be doing 50% water changes per week. Producing 5 gallons of water through a drinking water filter will be ludicrously expensive. It's also pointless. Do not use water from a domestic water softener either. Just plain vanilla tap water with dechlorinator will be fine.>
The water is at room temperature, 75 degrees Fahrenheit. I fed it some lettuce and fish food. I don't know how much it ate, but it did climb the side and hang out just at the surface. It floated for a while, which didn't worry me after I researched this and found that if the door is closed tightly, floating is normal behavior.
<Not really normal for the species in general. Often a sign the snail has been harassed, perhaps by nippy fish.>
Well. The Betta fry are now free swimming, so I thought the snail might like to go back in the tank with the plants. I have been feeding the fish fry on small amounts of boiled egg yolk, infusoria, and baby brine shrimp.
Unfortunately, upon return to the tank the snail began to appear lethargic and swollen. That was last night. The snail's flesh still looks firm, coral pink and whitish, as it always has. But it will neither fully retract nor come all the way out. It's just sitting there, half in and half out. I worried that it might be dead or dying, and cause harm to the fry, so I changed the water in the quarantine bowl and returned the snail to it. I did not add any salt or fish treatments to the quarantine.
<Absolutely DO NOT keep this snail with your fish. It may well be dying, in which case its death will rapidly pollute the water.>
I read on your site that calcium and bicarbonate of soda are good additions for apple snails, so I added a pinch of baking soda, and cut a small piece off a calcium supplement and added it too. (It also contains vitamin D, is that OK?) I also added a small amount of food.
<No, no, no. Calcium carbonate is a supplement needed for shell formation. Mostly these snails extract it just fine from the food they eat. They have a great fondness for bits of crustacean exoskeleton, so next time you eat some shrimp, stick a bit of the skeleton from one into the snail aquarium. But that all said, if there's a lack of calcium carbonate, the snail doesn't become sick overnight. What happens is you notice pits on the shell as the snail has problems laying down new shell as it grows. This takes months to become visible. Randomly adding supplements to the water without having an idea what is actually wrong is kind of like a doctor prescribing a patient the first drug he pulls out of his bag.>
While moving the snail back to quarantine, I gently pressed on its shell door to see if it closed. It did not. I think it's swollen open for some reason. I see plenty of somewhat normal-looking folds of flesh, but I don't see eyes or antennae. They seem to be tucked inside, but most other parts are outside. I don't see any movement. On a bright note, the snail did not stink, so perhaps it is not dead, but simply really stressed out from being moved back and forth and back and forth.
<Snails don't really mind being moved about. They're amphibious to some degree, and move from pond to pond during rainstorms and floods.>
What can I do to help this unhappy creature?
<Keep in its own optimised aquarium.>
Did I simply buy an already
sick snail, and stress it beyond its limits with too-frequent moves?
<No idea. But restoring to proper aquarium conditions should help. Keep at moderate temperature, provide ample green foods, do copious water changes, and don't randomly add stuff to the water.>
Thanks for any advice you can offer,
<Cheers, Neale>

Re: Apple snail - Maybe sick, definitely stressed, please help!   11/14/07
Unfortunately, the snail didn't make it. Next time I try raising invertebrates, I'll get them their own tank!
<Hello Mary. Not surprised by this outcome. Please do read up on livestock before purchase. Your life (and theirs) will be much easier. Cheers, Neale.>

Sick Snail 10/21/07
I think my snail is sick. I've only had him for a week, and he seemed to be doing fine. His shell has even grown a 1/4 of an inch. He was moving around the tank and appeared to be acting normal, and then 10 minutes later he was up at the top floating. I know snails do sometimes float, but his body was just hanging out of his shell. I promptly removed him from the tank and put him in a smaller container. When I picked him up he did not close up. He will occasionally move his antenna or stick out his siphon, so he is still alive, but he's just floating with his body hanging out. I really don't want to lose my snail. Is there anything I can do?
Thank you.
<Hi Shelby, I need some information here. What kind of snail? What sort of tank is he in? What is the water chemistry (specifically, hardness and pH). What is the temperature? What is the water quality (nitrite level, at the very least). What sort of filtration do you use? What else lives in his tank? These are all things we need to know. But broadly, "medicating" snails is impossible at the present time. However, most snail sickness seems to follow on from environmental issues. So if you happen to know what kind of snail you have (apple snails, Ramshorn snail, Colombian Ramshorn, Nerite snails, etc.) then review the conditions you're keeping it in, and see they match the tolerances of that species of snail. Cheers, Neale>

Re: Sick Snail 10/21/07
Thanks for the reply. The snail is an apple snail, in a 2.5 gallon Minibow tank with a Betta. I use a Whisper filter that came with the tank that has a medium sized bio-bag filter.. The temperature is 79, but does drop down during the night. Nitrite and Nitrate levels were at 0, Hardness was 150, Alkalinity was 300, and pH was 7.8. I bought a pH decreaser since the alkalinity and pH were high. The snail has attached himself to the side of the container, and has withdrawn mostly into his shell. Hopefully he'll be okay.
<For a start, stop using the pH-down adjuster. Unless you're also using soft water (not from a domestic softener, but RO water or rain water) then adjusting the pH is pointless... and potentially dangerous! Leave the water hard and alkaline. Your Betta doesn't mind, and your Apple snail prefers it. Also bear in mind Apple snails are *subtropical* not tropical animals, and don't live a long time when kept too warm. I'd keep them no higher than 25C/77F. My guess would be a combination of excessive heat and fluctuating water chemistry is the factor here. Do also watch the relationship between the Betta and the snail; Bettas have been known to nip at snails, damaging them. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Sick Snail  10/23/07
Just to clarify, the pH decreaser was not used previous to the snail getting sick. I only purchased it after he got sick, but thanks for letting me know to not use it.
I just wanted to let you know that after more testing, I'm almost positive the culprit was Copper in the water. The snail is now back in the tank with what I hope is copper free water, and he is slowly acting more and more like his old self.
Thanks for all the help.
<Ah, copper can be toxic to invertebrates. Most freshwater snails couldn't care less, but Apple snails are an exception. For the time being, keep doing water changes, and with luck this will flush the copper concentration down below the critical level. Do also watch the temperature: Apple snails are *subtropical* animals, and prefer slightly cooler conditions than that enjoyed by many tropical fish. 22-24 C is fine. If kept too warm, they end up dying prematurely. This is one reason (of many) why they shouldn't be kept with tropical fish. Good luck, Neale>
<<Copper is an effective molluscicide... a killer of all snails and their kin. RMF>>

Apple snail input for WWM and Betta woes <Incomp.>  7/12/07
Hi Crew!
This email is mostly to relate my experience in the hope that it might help others facing the same issues, especially since there is not a whole lot about Apple snails on WWM yet.
<There's plenty. Go here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwinverts.htm and go here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwsnails.htm and then read the various connected articles as your fancy takes you.>
After reading a couple of comments from Neale about Apple snails not faring so well in community tanks, I began to get worried about mine.
<Sad but true. They don't really mix, and the reason aquarium shops sell so many of them is because they die quickly and people just go on replacing them.>
He's been sharing an Eclipse 3 with our Betta for about 5 months. The temperature is around 80 normally, but in the summer it regularly climbs to 84-86, even with lights off and top door open.
<Way, way too hot for an Apple snail. Anything in the 70s is fine, and a bit cooler in winter if possible.>
But the main problem is that I recently noticed that the Betta was stealing food from the snail. He'd violently push the snail aside to get at the sinking wafers and then parade around the aquarium shaking his prize until it crumbled enough for him to eat (he ate one of our cherry shrimp too in our other tank, but we don't know if the shrimp was already dead or not). And since the Betta eats about anything (pellets, flakes, peas, Nori, sinking wafers, bloodworms, brine shrimp) and actively hunts for anything that falls to the bottom, I'm afraid the poor snail has not gotten much to eat in a while...
<Indeed. The best thing would be to put aside something for the snail the Betta can't eat. Thinly sliced courgette (zucchini) and blanched lettuce (*not iceberg*) would be a good start. The snail will graze this stuff happily.>
Not to mention that the snail is now keeping everything permanently tucked in (I used to enjoy the graceful antennae-waving dance, but now he keeps them where they're safe, under the "hood") and his shell very low over his head like a shield because the Betta kept picking at it... It got to the point where the snail was barely moving around the tank, and I became very worried.
<Unfortunately what you're describing is all too common. If this persists, the snail will starve and then die.>
I've now moved him (actually, if I can believe applesnail.net, it's a *her* because her operculum is concave - I've just referred to it as a *he" for so long I can't get used to thinking of him as a girl) to an unheated, unfiltered bowl that probably contains about a gallon of water - easy to change because there's no substrate yet, just a rock taken from our 10 gallon tank and a few water lentils that the other tanks keep producing in amazing quantity). It's going to be cooler too because there is no motor and no light, and it's uncovered so evaporation will do its job. I gave him plenty of food (found out he likes cucumber, will try other fruits and vegetables along with fish food) and a piece of a vacation feeder for calcium, until I get him either crushed coral or cuttlebone (his shell is very scratched and the new growth is very pale, so I'm trying calcium, iodine and food to see if it will make a difference on the new growth). I'll see how things go. I've wanted a fan shrimp for a long time and this might make a cute companion to my apple snail, if my research proves they're compatible (and be an excuse to get yet another tank!).
<This all sounds dandy. Apple snails are terrific fun, and you do want to have a go at breeding them. it's quite something to see the HUGE egg mass, and when the babies hatch, they're a delight to watch.>
So... Betta and Apple snail, in my case, didn't work out so well. The Neritina might have fared better because he eats algae (never seen him show interest in anything else) and already scoots around like a little tank with everything tucked in, even if everything in the tank ignores him.
<Nerites are generally much more resistant to fish because of their very heavy shells. They evolved in the sea where there are many more snail-eating predators, not just fish, but crabs, mantis shrimps, whelks, etc. Apple snails are a strictly freshwater group, and the diversity of aquatic snail-eating predators is fairly small. In fact the main predator on apple snails is a kind of hawk, the Florida kite if I recall the name correctly. Anyway, be that as it may, Apple snails are not heavily armoured because evolution hasn't driven them that way. When kept in the tight confines of an aquarium, they end up being harassed by fish quite a lot.>
Well, thank you for your time and I hope this can help someone!
<It's always good to know when people have furthered their research and made good decisions. I'm sure you're going to have some fun with the Apple snail. There are some books out there about them, including one from TFH called "Apple snails" or something clever like that. A fascinating read, and well worth tracking down. Filled with stuff about their natural history and biology as well as aquarium care. Cheers, Neale>

Re: Apple snail and Betta woes – 07/18/07
Hello Neale, or other Crewmember,
Here are some updates about my snail... and some comments to your email!
> there is not a whole lot about Apple snails on WWM yet.
> <There's plenty. Go here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwinverts.htm and go here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwsnails.htm and then read the various connected articles as your fancy takes you.>
Yes, I've read those already. But until Neale started commenting on Apple snails, nothing indicated that I might be having a problem with mine. Those pages kind of say the same thing over and over again, which is really not that much when you remove the redundant information.
> This all sounds dandy. Apple snails are terrific fun, and you do want to have a go at breeding them. it's quite something to see the HUGE egg mass, and when the babies hatch, they're a delight to watch.>
And then they get sold to those people who keep buying them because they keep dying... sad fate :-) My boyfriend would probably frown if I tried to breed them - he wanted to avoid the multiple-tank syndrome, and we're already at 3 permanent wet dwellings... and planning for a 30 gallon brackish system... :-) But it is very tempting.
> <It's always good to know when people have furthered their research and made good decisions. I'm sure you're going to have some fun with the Apple snail.
Thank you. I certainly try. There's nothing worse than the feeling that I'm not providing an adequate environment for my pets - they're so entirely dependent on us!
The snail, by the way, is doing better. He actively moves about the tank looking for food, eats well, has a grip on the bottom of the bowl he hasn't had in a while, and now closes his door entirely shut when we move him (this he hasn't done in months). I will get him a small tank and filter, if only to avoid having to change water daily, which is a real annoyance. How can people stand to keep fish and animals in bowls for any length of time? It's such a hassle!
Thank you again (and big thanks also from the much-happier snail!)
<Hello again, Audrey! I'm not sure I get why you think those snail articles say "the same things over and over". They look pretty comprehensive to me. But OK. Anyway, it sounds like you've fixed the snail problem and are enjoying your pet. Please do try and hunt down that Apple Snail book, it really is *that* good, and covers everything from natural history to evolution to breeding. I think you'll get a kick out of learning how cool these animals are. They've very underrated in the hobby, but once you get to play with Apple Snails a while, you appreciate that they're really nice animals. The baby snails, by the way, if you don't keep them make good food for predatory fish like puffers and loaches. In fact a *lot* of fish eat snails, given the chance. So get rid of the babies isn't usually a problem. You can also eat Apple Snails, I'm told. They aren't big here in England (we prefer sea snails of various types, with generally much filthier habits, like whelks) but in their native countries Apple Snails are considered fine fare. So that's another option! You're right about bowls. People buy them thinking they're cheaper and easier, and then find out they're nothing but a hassle as well as a death-trap. The reality is with fishkeeping that the bigger the tank and the better the filter, the easier the hobby becomes. I've certainly had far less problems with 200 gallon tanks than 10 gallon tanks. It's a question of scale, I suppose. Anyway, good luck with it all! Cheers, Neale>

Apple snail odd behavior   5/10/07
I have two apple snails in a 28 gallon bow front tank. There are other residents there also but, the snails are troubling me with the behavior I am seeing. One is slightly larger than the other both are blonde in color. The larger of the two seems to be quite active moving all over the tank very quickly. The smaller one seems very shy and will come out after it has been laying still for a long time. If any of the fish brush against the smaller snail it will close up and lay still for a very long time. Well, the question I have is about the larger snail seeming to "attack" the smaller one. The larger snail seems to come almost completely out of its shell, wrapping itself around the others shell covering it up almost all the way holding on very tight. When I see this happening I separate the two but the larger one will hang on for a moment before I can coax it loose. Is the larger of the two trying to hurt the smaller one?
<Mmm, no... is trying to mate with it>
I have even went as far as moving the small one to another tank where it seems to come out and move around quite a bit more and seems less shy when I have taken it out of the tank with the larger one. My husband and I have gotten on several websites trying to sex the two and find out why this hanging on to each other type behavior is happening. I don't want any of the animals I have in my tank to get hurt especially by another resident of the tank as there is no where for the aggressor to get away from the aggressor except to hide and seem unhappy. I have had these types of snails in the past and have never experienced this type of behavior. Could the larger snail being trying to hurt the smaller one? Is there a mating dance going on?
Is there an easier way to tell which sex they are?
<Not as far as I'm aware>
I feel I am not doing these two justice by not knowing what to do for them to make it comfortable for them to co-exist. I would appreciate any help you can offer to figure this out.
<Best to keep them separated>
I currently have three tanks going and am just a novice at the fish game. I have the 28 gallon, a 29 gallon with a very territorial/aggressive African cichlid who lives alone after killing his mate.
<Do not put snail/s here>
The 10 gallon has a king's crown Betta, a couple of small mollies and two small Rasbora (spell?) and one very young female rainbow angel ram. The African cichlid has only allowed a Pleco to live in his tank without trying to kill it. I really want my fish to live in a happy environment as well as my two little snails. Thanks for listening, my husband just called me a motor mouth so I will end this now. Any suggestions you can make for my snail issue would be greatly appreciated!!
Mona J.
<Bob Fenner>

My apple snail has broken her shell   1/19/07
Hi there
<And to you>
I have a big apple snail in an open-style paludarium.  She went mountain-climbing last night, and I woke after hearing her land on the kitchen floor (I've been burgled recently so I'm a bit sensitive to noises in the night).  
She's damaged the back part of her shell.  I put her back in the tank and she has moved around since then, not much but she is definitely still alive.
<I see>
She's quite big now, probably about 5cms in diameter.  I was wondering if maybe there was something I could glue onto her shell that would seal it up, but at the same time, wouldn't hurt her.  A little bit of her body is sticking out the hole.
<Yes... I would dry the outside of the shell off a bit, and apply a thin sheen of "super glue" (cyanoacrylate) about the cracked area... even on to the bit of exposed flesh>
Do you have any suggestions?
Thanking you in advance!
Kind regards
<Am hopeful for a complete recovery. Bob Fenner>

Apple Snail Question  7/23/06
Hello WWM Crew,
  I finally have a question I can't find the answer for. I've read through the snail FAQs and the article on freshwater snails. A lot of them talk about the snail being possibly dead, but not why they were dying, or were dead (I could have missed one on that topic though, sorry if I have). I've had my ten gallon set up now for about, seven months or so, and I haven't lost any fish.
However, it seems to be a death trap for apple snails! I'm so confused. At first I started off with one snail, and I really enjoyed him. Then my friend gave me a large snail she had found in a local fish store as a present. I acclimated him, and everything seemed to go well. Then the larger snail stopped moving, and I didn't think too much of it until he hadn't moved a day later either. My fish were gasping, pale, and obviously very stressed. So, I did the "snail test," picked him up and took a sniff. What a horrendous smell!
<Ah yes... have this chemical memory... Yeccch!>
I removed the snail, checked the water parameters, and changed water until ammonia was back to 0. About a week or two later, my smaller snail followed the same route. I ended up missing my "cleanup" crew and got myself two more snails. I had them for
around... three, possibly four months. They grew somewhat, though not as quickly as my other two snails I have in a 20 gallon and 5 gallon, which nearly doubled in size within a month. These big ones are now the only two snails I have left, my newer two died Wednesday, and Friday of this week. The first one I think died because of a cracked shell, when I bought him he had a slight chip at
the entrance to his shell and I figured it'd heal over and he'd be fine. The crack instead grew with him, though for the longest time it had white/cream shell over it instead of his brown. The white disappeared and you could see through to his foot. I was gone all day and came home to another disaster. Fish gasping, stressed out, and pale... and I just knew one of the snails passed. I
removed the snail and changed the water until Ammonia was 0 again. Then I noticed my other snail start floating around at the top a lot, I've read elsewhere on the Internet this is normal behavior. Though when my other snails did this, they were always inside their shells, not hanging out of the shell like this one (which I read in your FAQs can be a bad sign).
I had a negative feeling, but didn't remove him... unfortunately, which I will remember for next time. Came
home, fish were stressed out, again! Just fantastic! Followed the same procedure, and the fish have fully colored up again, and swim normally. Now I'm snail-less in my ten gallon tank, and really don't want to get any more until I figure out what is causing my ten gallon to be a serial snail killer. I'm considering the swing in Ammonia and Nitrates might have ailed the second snail in the tank, but since I lowered both with water changes, and I didn't lose any fish, I'm not sure. Though, what would have killed the first two snails I had in
the beginning?
<Mmm... the most common causes of Ampullaria/Pomacea spp. death are "poisoning" from too much, too soon addition of metals, sanitizers (and chemicals added to neutralize these by well-meaning aquarists)... second to this source is the absence of readily assimilable biomineral and alkaline content... water mostly that is deficient in calcium and bicarbonate... third is likely a dearth of palatable foods. Oh, and a huge source of loss... likely as large as all others combined, is the poor initial health of these snails from dealers... most are doomed from pollution, starvation, poor "handling">
I have (and always had after the cycle) a water change schedule, approximately 25% once a week, vacuuming the gravel at the same time. I feed my fish and the snails, regular tropical flakes, goldfish flakes, freeze-dried blood worms, broccoli, algae wafers, and Spirulina discs (of course not everything in one day). I don't believe they were starved because they didn't have
a "shrinking/shriveled" foot which I read can signal they aren't getting any food. My ammonia is 0, nitrites 0, nitrates are kept in the 5-10 range, and the pH is currently unknown (getting the kit from a friend soon, I'm out of money sadly and figured the other test kits were most important since you can acclimate inverts/fish to pH if it's kept stable). I've never had to treat with any medicines, and the only thing I add to my water is a de-Chlor, though I'm not sure I have to (I'm on well-water). The temperature is kept at 76-78 degrees
Fahrenheit. I have Neon Tetras, Corydoras, and Pygmy Gouramis (Trichopsis pumilus),
<Good "test" fishes... if these are doing well, so should Pomacea>
didn't know if a fish list would help any, but figured I'd give as much information as possible. Is it possible the snails were just old, despite the small (approx. an 1in.-1 1/2in.) size?
<Not likely>
Is the temperature too high and increasing their metabolism, and lessening their life span?
<Mmm, no>
Or maybe I don't have enough minerals in my water, but I think that'd affect my other two snails too?
<Can become "habituated"...>
Any help is much appreciated! Sorry for all the parenthesis, and long email, but usually you want all that can be provided, so I did try to help with that.
Thanks a bunch!
<Thank you for writing so well, completely. I would try these Apple Snails again, but keep them for a few weeks in "one gallon pickle jars" with old tank water, some floating plant material, and no new water, or chemical treatment whatsoever... With such conditioning and "rest" they should be able to make the transition into your main system. Bob Fenner>

Apple missing trap door  6/10/06
Good evening.  I have had a purple apple snail for about 6 months.  When I first received him from a friend I was also given a Ramshorn.  Both snails were about a quarter of an inch across.  The Ramshorn grew more quickly than the apple and in only a month was quite a bit bigger.
One morning I found the Ramshorn attached to the apple where the door normally is.  Apparently the Ramshorn had eaten off the door on the apple's shell.
<Sounds/reads like a lack of alkalinity, biomineral here... the one snail consuming the other for this>
That was 5 months ago.  The two were immediately separated after the incident and while the apple is still living, active and growing it still has not regrown it's door.  I have been keeping it with a ghost shrimp in a fish bowl and wanted to wait until it was better to introduce it into my main tank.  Will it ever regrow it's door?
<Likely so>
Will the loss of the door eventually kill it even if I keep it by itself?  Thanks in advance for any help you can offer.  
<One can only hope. Please read:
and the linked files above, particularly "Snail Systems", "Nutrition". Bob Fenner>

Apple Snail's Had A Fall!   6/11/06
I really hope you can help me.... While cleaning my 60ltr aquarium we took our Apple Snails out of the tank and while holding one of the Snails my wife dropped her about 3 and a half feet onto a laminated floor.
This fall caused some damage to her shell (Some parts of the front of the shell have broken off) we have removed the really sharp parts of the damaged shell but that is not our main concern. At the moment she is sitting in the tank with her shell partly open with white mucus seeping out, is this a sign that she stressed or is she dying as we don't want to prolong her pain? Could you please advise us as to the best course of action as soon as possible please.
From two very worried snail owners
<Mmm, one can never tell, but these Pomacea snails are quite tough... I do hope yours recovers... I would do my best to keep this system stable (not make too large water changes for instance). Bob Fenner>

Apple snail feeding   1/17/06
Thanks for the advice on Platy's repro.
I have a question about apple snails. I have an adorable apple snail (speedy) who lives in my 60 liter tank. I had to buy this tank last week
because my 30 liter tank started leaking and I don't know how to fix tanks yet.
<Not hard to do...>
There is no algae in the tank, and I already have a Siamese algae eater (who is always eating - except at night) will there be enough food in
the tank for both of them?
<Maybe... but I'd watch the S/CAE for possible over-aggressive behavior>
I find it difficult to add vegetables for speedy, but an concerned about starving the little guy.
<There are useful sinking wafer and pellet foods that are "green" based here>
Tienie de Coning
(Jeffrey's Bay, South Africa)
<Do a search on WWM re these two species. Bob Fenner>

Plant sticks / golden apple snails / feeding... Synodontis comp., fdg.  7/5/06
I think before I purchased three golden apple snails my plants were looking a little eaten / worn -  some more than others. All I currently have is two
Synodontis nigriventris which I feed every other day with one to two pinches of flakes (morning and evening for example).
<This small African Catfish species can make plants ragged... chew small holes. Generally at night>
To add variety I include frozen bloodworm / peas and greens. I think that I am feeding them enough, better to give too little than too much?
<Hard to so... Mochokid catfishes are so active that they seem to "swim off" any excess food>
I have three plant sticks embedded in the sand - should I stick one underneath each plant, if that's the case then I had better use the others as I have around eleven plants in my 18.6 gallon.
<Mmm, worth trying... though it may be that you have "too many foxes, too few hens"... that the catfish will still be too much for the volume of plant material present>
I expect the snails will accelerate the plant munching though one of the reasons I chose them was because I was informed that they weren't a major problem in this respect.
<Mmm, generally not... though Pomacea/Ampullaria species are individualistic...>
Please advise me.
Many thanks team.
<Best to keep your eyes on all, consider moving the Synodontis. Bob Fenner>

Apple Snail Mystery   2/13/06
I was reading some of the messages on your forum hoping to find some information about my problem with an apple snail I have had since early January 2006.  He is about 2 1/2 inches in diameter and has taken to giving off tremendous amounts of slime and mucus.  He seems to be otherwise okay. I have separated him from the aquarium (10 gallon) in a bowl by himself.  He doesn't seem to be very active and doesn't appear to eat much.  He is not dead because he does come out and move around some, but not like the other smaller apple snail I have.  Any ideas what the mucus production is about?
Mike (new aquarium owner)
<Could well be "something" chemically about the system is bothering this snail... too high pH, alkalinity, salts... metal... These animals are in many ways more sensitive than fishes to such challenges, changes. Best to treat, store new water before using, and to be very regular re water changes (not add water simply to replace evaporated). Bob Fenner>

Apple Snail  9/27/05
Hi there, <Hi, Catherine here.>
I need some help. We have a 29 gallon tank.  Two weeks ago we put in an apple snail, cute little guy, well I shouldn't say little he's about 2 1/4".  He seemed to be doing very well, moving around lots, cleaning up.  Then about two days ago he started bobbing on the top of the water, for days straight.  He also seems to be changing the color of his shell.  We are very concerned about him and wondered if you could tell us if this is normal behavior? <No, this isn't normal behavior.  If the snail has detached, he is probably dead.  If you are unsure, I would move him to a small tank (even a jar filled with tank water) as a precaution.  If he is dead, he'll quickly pollute the tank.  Unfortunately, there is very little information on treating snail illness.  If your tank has ever had a copper based medication, this could kill him.  He also might have been stressed by the move to the new tank.  Give him a veggie or two (peas, squash) to eat in the new tank and cross your fingers.
Thank you,  Beverly Ventimiglia  <Sorry I didn't have better news.  Catherine>

Dead Snail 7/4/05
Hi my name is SuzAnn and I have two apple snails blonde in color. Anyway one has been floating for three or four days way out of it's shell and teenie weenie bubbles are forming around the front of the snail . The bubbles are in some form of thin slime. Is this snail dying?
< Unfortunately your snail has passed away and needs to removed quickly so its decomposing body doesn't add to the ammonia and nitrate problem.-Chuck>

Snail Questions - 06/19/2004
<Hello.  My apologies for any lateness in reply....>
I have a pretty large happy seeming apple snail, not P. bridgesii but one of the canaliculata group (plant eaters as opposed to decaying matter eaters.... she ate a little rotunda plant almost to death before I moved it to the other tank, and nearly killed my wisteria as well :/ but now she has plastic plants).   
<Heh, learnin' the hard way!  At least the snail enjoyed the snacks, I'm sure.  And after you replant, you can give the snail cuttings from the planted tank when you prune.  Yum!>
She's currently living in a 10 gallon tank with varying numbers of her offspring and 3 zebra Danios. (The Danios must eat the eggs & young snails as my tank has not been overrun, but I have seen eggs and baby snails at various times and even a few as big as peas)  
<Mmmm, peas....  Whups, wrong topic, sorry!  It would not surprise me that the Danios might dine on the eggs of these snails.>
This tank was originally home to a Betta,
<Ah, now *he* would dine on very small snails, too.  Another boon to your snails' population control.>
5 Danios, 3 scissortail rasboras, and a Cory.  (The Cory and the rasboras have been moved to the bigger tank that has also, 6 harlequins and an Oto).   
<Corys will eat smaller snails, as well.  Well, not in a separate tank, but if you get overrun, you could consider reintroducing the Cory.>
Two of the Danios and the Betta sadly succumbed to hex, which I treated for multiple times but could not seem to cure in such small fish :(  
<So sad to hear that.  My apologies for your loss.>
I have two questions about this snail (Jaws is her name... it seemed appropriate).  
<HAH!  Appropriate, indeed!  I love it.>
How do I know if she is eating enough?   I feed the Danios every day or two, sometimes three, and about every other time I feed the Danios I throw in an algae pellet or two.  (oh yea, the snail when we got her was about as big around as a quarter, and now is more like a golf ball - she's almost completely grown a new round on her shell since Jan/Feb when we got her!).  
<Sounds like she's eating plenty.  If you have any concerns, you might get her some elodea/anacharis/Egeria and let her munch at leisure, and just replace these inexpensive plants as they are devoured - many folks use this plant as an excellent food source for goldfish; it would taste quite good to Jaws, I'm sure.>
Her newest shell growth seems pretty thick and is a very nice rich golden color,
<A wonderful sign.>
although when my brother fed her an algae pellet every day for a couple weeks she grew a quarter of an inch of pretty thin looking shell :/ that was shortly after we got her though.  
<As you seem to be well aware, it might be best not to use that feeding scheme ;)  Sounds like she's doing great now, though, eh?>
My other question, which I didn't even think about until I was browsing your forums... Should I be concerned if she is getting some flaking on the middle few rounds of her shell?
<I would be concerned, yes.>
She was completely algae covered when we got her (the new shell has been growing in a beautiful gold color and the algae hasn't spread)
and now about a pea sized area of her center spirals on the outside is flaking to a creamy white.  
<Possibly a lack of calcium, perhaps even iodine....  the few large-ish snails in my shrimp tanks have very obviously benefited from adding Kent Tech Marine iodine, at a rate of one drop per ten gallons each week (*not* the normal marine dose).>
Also how do I test water hardness, and other nutrient levels necessary for the snail?
<You can test total hardness (GH) and carbonate hardness (KH) with test kits available from most fish stores, or can purchase the kits online from online e-fish stores, like some of our sponsors.  Be sure to get kits for freshwater aquaria.>
I don't really have any money to spend on them now sadly (and the next cash I get has to go toward plant food for the bigger tank as half the plants are falling apart and dying)
<Yikes!  You might benefit from reading through our plant sub-web:  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PlantedTksSubWebIndex/AquariumGardenSubWebIndex.html >
but when I do have the cash I would like to be able to take care of all my animals properly.  
<A good plan, for sure.  Your snail can probably wait for you to get test kits, I imagine her problem is not imminently life-threatening.  I would, however, try the Kent iodine for sure.>
Our town water is usually pretty hard though (leaves hard water stains on all the faucets, etc). That's a good thing for snails right?
<You bet.  Hard water stains usually indicate high-ish levels of calcium and other minerals in the water - certainly good news for Jaws.>
Thanks for any help you guys can give. :)
<Any time, Anna.  Please feel free to let us know if we can help you further.  Wishing you and your inverts well,  -Sabrina>
Anna R. Dunster

Snail Question (Continued)
<Hi, MikeD here again>
Thank you for the information. We will look into your suggestions about either a larger container or a smaller snail.<I assume the last one had indeed passed on?  They make small 2 gallon Aquariums, complete with a light, filter and pretty much most of what's needed. While this may seem like overkill, it's often the beginning of a life long hobby. I got my first tank when I was seven, fifty years ago. **grin**>
We were feeding it the small disks/wafers (that look like a button) as per the instructions, which were every other day. Is that the norm or should we look into other food??<That's one of the things snails will eat, assuming it was an algae wafer. They also eat many marine plants, the green algae that grows on the glass and some even lettuce>
Thanks again.

Apple Snail Info
The other day I bought a large apple snail, and I mean large. But after having him (or her) for about a week he's full of antics and great fun. Climbing all over stuff, and he's very fast for a snail. But I might be interested in breeding them. So my question is, do they actually have male and female sides to the species, or should I just get another snail and they will do their thing?
< Apple snails do have male and female sexes. The difference is very slight but you are suppose to be able to tell from the spiral on the shell. One of the sexes spiral is supposed to be more pronounced.-Chuck> 

Apple snails
Hi all!!!  Hope everything is going okay for you tonight!!!
<So far so good, I'm about to get off work and go pickup my car from the body shop.  WOOO HOOOO.>
I have a quick question for you.  I guess I'm among the minority who actually like snails because I can find no info on them other than how to kill them:(
<You should meet my girlfriend, best form of snail control ever, she would hand pick them out of my plant tank every day and keep them as pets.>
I recently bought three nice big apple snails to help control an algae problem in my 120 gal cichlid tank.
They've done a beautiful job cleaning up the tank and also love to crawl along the surface and suck down cichlid pellets and Spirulina disks.  They are just so neat to watch!!!  I'll never be without one or two again!!!
My question is this....One of my snails laid eggs on the inside of one of the aquarium lids about a week ago.  The bright pink eggs are in two clusters and they are very hard and dried out.  I was wondering, are these eggs going to hatch??? Or are they dead because they're dried out??
<Its possible, apple snails like to lay their eggs out of the water.>
My 3yr old and 5yr old peek in there every day and keep asking me when they're going to hatch.  But I'm sure with your help,
I will be able to answer their question shortly.   
Thank you for your time,
<Well Kristen (whoa my girlfriends name is Kristine, maybe those whose names begin with K have a thing for snails, weird.) have I got a link for you, just found it when searching for apple snails, should answer most of your questions. Best Regards, Gage http://www.applesnail.net/ >

Apple snail question
is it normal for a fairly large apple snail to spend most of her time in a corner inside her shell?  She comes out when I drop bits of zucchini in for her to eat but spends almost all of the rest of her time inside her shell in the back of the tank.   
I guess I just want to know if this is something I should be concerned about, or if its perfectly normal behavior and I should just let her do her thing.
< Snails usually come out to forage for food. If you are feeding the snail well then there is really no need for your snail to be out and about. To be sure try not feeing the snail for awhile and see if it comes out looking for food. I think the only problem is your snail is fat and happy ( and lazy)-Chuck>

Apple snails and salt
Hi! Oh please don't laugh at this question, but I really haven't been able to find a conclusive answer to it:
Can Apple Snails survive in a tank with salt? I have a fancy goldfish tank with a weather loach (yup, they all get along at 75 F) in a 60 gallon tank. Every time I do a water change I add salt at a concentration of 1 rounded tablespoon per 4 gallons. I use Aquarium Salt. Sill the salt harm my apple snail? Thanks!
Mr. T
<These and most all other freshwater snails do NOT care for salt in their water, but there IS some salt (in chemistry, ionic combinations of metals and non-metals) in all freshwaters... the amount you list should be okay. Bob Fenner> 

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