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FAQs on Snails in Freshwater Aquarium Mystery, Inca/Gold 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: Apple/Baseball 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.>

Mystery Snails and Fish     9/13/18
Hi WWM Crew,
I have two Golden Mystery Snails and I am quite interested in stocking fish with them. I have a 10 gallon tank and my snails are thriving, however, after reading through these forums I have seen that you do not recommend stocking fish with Mystery Snails. My original intentions were to create a self-sustaining ecosystem by adding a mixture of snails, shrimp, and fish, but after watching my little guys thrive and reading through your forums I am nervous to do so. Should I throw away my idea of a self-sustaining ecosystem, or can I still stock fish with my snails? I would even be willing to cut it down to one fish as long as I was confident my snails would be alright and my efforts weren't wasted.
Thank you very very much,
<Hello Maddy. Apple or Mystery Snails are easiest kept alone. They will grow steadily and feed happily, and as/when they lay eggs, you might be lucky enough to have a few young snails to grow on! As you may already know, Mystery Snails sometimes struggle to live for more than a year in an aquarium, perhaps because they don't experience the 'resting phase' they would normally have in the wild, but if you're lucky these snails can live for 4-5 years. So far, so good. Now, when it comes to adding fish, you've got some challenges. Usually the fish pose the threat. Active fish (like tetras and barbs) peck at the Mystery Snails more out of curiosity than anything else, especially the tentacles. Any slight damage becomes infected, and before you know it, the snail gets sick and dies. Some fish simply view snails as food, though admittedly Mystery Snails are a bit big for casual predation in most cases. But even relatively small loaches and catfish will consume Mystery Snail babies. Occasionally you hear stories of
certain Apple Snail species catching and eating small fish. While that doesn't sound terribly likely where armoured or midwater fish are being kept, slow moving or dozy species that hang about at the bottom, especially while sleeping, might be more at risk. Hard to say. But in any event, you can probably get the sense from me that Pomacea spp. snails aren't ideal companions for fish. It's certainly been done, with Corydoras and Whiptail species being especially good, being completely harmless but also heavily armoured, so neither species poses a threat to the other. A singleton Betta might work, too. Snails and shrimps has been done, but again, there's a risk they'll pick at the snails, damaging them in the process. Certainly no guarantees it'll be safe. Let me also stress the fact you 10 gallon tank is rather small, and while perfect for snails, it's a bit small for most fish. Very few of the commonly traded community species are truly happy in 10 gallons.
So really, if this tank works, I'd leave it the way it is. Cheers, Neale.> 
Re: Mystery Snails and Fish      9/14/18

Thank you for the reply Neale!
<Most welcome.>
I don't quite want to add a Betta, I've been watching it pick at my friend's Nerite snails to no avail and I can only imagine what it will do to my poor Mysteries!
<Indeed. It's a crapshoot, as the Americans like to say.>
Although his tank setup is only a 2.5 gal (of which I had advised against based off what he had stocked it with) and mine is a 10 gal, I still worry about the Betta choosing to pick on them.
<It can happen. Depends a lot on the Betta. Most are pretty passive, but Apple Snail tentacles are fascinating to watch, and perhaps nibble on, especially if you're a bored little fishy!>
I could be wrong as it is a bigger tank but I am one to play things safe. I may end up adopting his snails as well, I worry for them very much!
<They're very well worth keeping alone. Full size adults are dramatic and impressive pets, and kept singly or in groups, they're pretty low maintenance. There's a website called AppleSnail.net that provides lots of info; well worth a visit.>>
Thank you for the advice, I think my snails will be happy alone with lots of room :)
<Wise move.>
<Cheers, Neale.>

Mystery Snail; hlth.       8/26/18
I have 2 mystery snails in a 10 gallon tank by themselves for the last 2 years.
<Nice size tank for these snails.>
I seem to have a magnetic like slime or gel that hovers around the snail and at the bottom the tank.
<Magnetic slime? Two obvious things to consider: blue-green algae and bacteria. Both form slimes, but plain bacteria slimes tends to be off-white in colour. It's rare in well-maintained tanks, but if there's a lot of uneaten food in a tank, and little/no filtration, and crucially, poor maintenance in terms of keeping the substrate physically clean, bacterial mats can develop. The conditions in the tank are usually really, really bad though by the time such large colonies of bacteria are visible! Blue-green algae can, obviously, be blue-green in colour, but other shades too, including dark green, red, even black. It often has a very musty smell and will grow best in spots where water current is slow or non-existent.
Although a type of bacteria, blue-green algae needs light, and often starts to develop in spots where there's direct sunlight. It's the classic 'slime' in tanks with inadequate lighting, and consequently, little/no plant growth, as well as minimal filtration, so that water currents don't sweep the bottom of the tank effectively. Blue-green algae is very common in small tanks precisely because these are the ones with poor lights and small filters. It's either very difficult or very easy to get rid of, depending on what you do next. Simply adding antibiotics will get rid of it, but if the tank stays the same, the blue-green algae will be back within weeks. On the other hand, if you physically remove it by siphoning the gravel and
scrubbing the glass and rock, you can prevent it from regrowing by ensuring conditions are improved. Block direct sunlight, boost filtration, ensures there's a lot more water current at the bottom, and if at all possible, add suitable plants for your system. Fast-growing plants inhibit the growth of blue-green algae, even simply plants like Duckweed if more traditional plants aren't an option. Of course even these will need some lighting, and that can be the tricky bit in small tanks. Review, and act accordingly.>
It appears to make then sluggish and ill.
<Blue-green algae aren't, in themselves, harmful, though few animals eat the stuff. But the conditions they enjoy are the opposite of what your snails and most fish appreciate. So rather than seeing the 'slime' as the cause of your sluggish snails, it might be that conditions in the tank are such that the 'slime' is thriving while the snails are suffering. Make
Any ideas of what it may be and how to treat it.
<See above.>
Thank you for your time.
<Most welcome.>
Respectfully, David
<And to you; cheers, Neale.>

Mystery snail deaths
I'm sorry to have to bother anyone with my problem but I'm at wits end! I belong to a fish forum and have gotten good advise there on fish but when it comes to my little mystery snail friends...I'm afraid I've gotten more bad information than good.
<To be fair, Apple Snails/Mystery Snails are difficult to keep. Long term, anyway. Anyone can keep them for up to a year, but the problems come soon after. In the wild they aestivate during the dry season, often in mud rather than underwater, and this period is a sort of "rest" for them. Not sure of the specifics. But in any case, kept underwater at tropical temperatures, sort of wears them out. In a sense, Apple Snails are easier if you think of them as disposable individually, and aim to keep a colony.
They're easy to breed, and the juveniles easy to rear. This way, if some/most only live a year or so, it's no big deal, and you might get lucky and find a specimen that lives two or three years, and these are the giant, tennis ball-sized specimens we see in photographs.>
I absolutely love snails, I started out with fish but became fascinated with snails, now my focus is more on them than the fish. When I started I knew nothing about snails and my ignorance resulted in snails not living very long. I decided I wasn't going to quit, so I learned as much as I could and kept trying. The big thing I learned was the water we have here is unbelievably soft, so I addressed that issue and then pH was addressed.
<Good. However, do understand pH is a bit less significant than carbonate hardness. If you go here:
Scroll down to the Rift Valley salt mix, and try using this, perhaps at half dose, to harden the water. Epsom salt raises general hardness, baking soda raises carbonate harness, so you can actually tweak the recipe as you
need. You may even opt to use the baking soda alone.>
My snails started to thrive and live longer but I'm still having problems.
My oldest snail was nine months when it died. I had other that lasted six months. Four out of the last six have all died within six months. I add calcium tabs x2 per week and kept a constant PH of 7.2 - 7.4 temp is around 77.0 F I am a fanatic about tank cleanliness as I do bi-weekly 30% water changes and my nitrates are never above 10-15 ppm.
<All sounds good. Do you feed them anything specific? I'd recommend catfish-style algae wafers (Hikari make an excellent brand) alongside regular offerings of "shelly" foods such as krill from which they can extract calcium.>
This tank has two canister filters and a behind the tank type. I have six black skirt tetras and two cory's in this 29 gal tank. I have live plants (very large Amazon ferns) which they seemed to love. I also have some other plants as well. Most of my snails have started floating before they die, all efforts to get the bubbles out have been to no avail. The latest snail to die was last night, it was female that had been floating for weeks, I was constantly putting her on the ferns. She would grab on but as soon as she let go...off she went! Last night I tried everything because I knew she
would die and sure enough within two hours she died. Here is the crazy thing; She appeared to have ripped open hanging out of her shell! I have seen this five times now and I cannot find an answer for this.
<Our understanding of snail medicine is basically zero. So far as modern science goes, snails are either healthy or dead -- we're just not at the point where we can diagnose their illnesses. On the other hand, snails are remarkably tough animals (ask any gardener!) and on top of that their requirements are very well understood. Specifically, a balanced diet will include plenty of calcium, and in the case of Apple Snails, a period of time once a year that allows them to "rest" for a few weeks, perhaps in an aquarium maintained a little cooler (18-20 C) than usual. Some aquarists have tried to get them to aestivate in damp coir, but I don't think there's an established protocol for this.>
I have put several post's up on my fish forum and out of a 120 views no one has seen this! It looks as if she was just cut open...sliced like a chub of bologna! I have had some snails die for obvious reasons, cracked or deteriorated shells, I've seen and understand what causes that but this thing where they are just ripped open has me stumped. I love snails and would like to raise them but I don't want to be responsible for killing anymore. Please if you have answers to this, I would be eternally grateful,
Thank you
<In the meantime, do review Tylomelania snails; massively easier to keep than Apple Snails, and in the UK at least, widely sold in an increasingly good range of types/colours:
Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Mystery snail deaths       4/20/16

Thank you so much for your quick reply! I was feeling a little guilty thinking I wasn't doing enough but from what you've said I think I'm on the right track. I guess I shouldn't take it so hard if they don't make it a year or so but I will turn the temp down a little and try everything you've suggest. I have been feeding them good food and the wafers as suggested but I've never been able to get them to eat veggies as others have told me they do. One thing I found early on was some of the shrimp pellets they were eating contained copper so I got rid of that and only feed them top quality foods. At the moment I only have one snail left, she's a real beauty...I wasn't going to get anymore but after your information I've decided not to give up...I love these little creatures too much. Thanks again, gratefully yours Gary
<Glad to have helped, and good like going forwards! There's a great website, AppleSnail.net, that happens to have a forum that would be a good place to chat with other apple snail keepers. They're not easy pets, despite their wide availability, as you're learning, there's a great deal of uncertainty to getting them surviving past the first year. Cheers,

Mystery Snails     1/9/16
Hi, I have a 5.5 gallon tank with three Danios and a beta. They all get along very well. I also have mystery snails as well; they are getting white dots on their shells and its on my decorations too. Are these eggs?
<Nope; see WWM re Ampullaria reproduction>
Or a parasite?

The dots don’t look like a fungus disease. They’re perfect white circles.
Thank you for your time.
<Likely "Hard water spots"... calcium, magnesium compounds. Do read re Mystery Snails on WWM... they're not really tropical. Bob Fenner>

Confused about water chemistry in freshwater tank; Pomacea sys.        9/12/15
Hi crew, I am trying to grasp the full concept of water chemistry, which has proven to be very difficult through Internet research alone! At least for me. As mentioned in the past I have a love for apple snails and separated them from my community tank a while back.
I have struggled with water parameters (mainly pH, KH, and GH). I think I have a better understanding of things now, but I just want to double check before making any changes.
<Fire away!>
My tap water has a pH value of 7.8, but a KH value of 3 (api drop test).
<So low carbonate hardness. This tends to mean whatever the pH you have, it won't be especially stable. Use of a buffer might be helpful if you're keeping animals that prefer alkaline conditions. Most tropical fish, however, from soft water habitats will be fine with this sort of water, provided you do regular (perhaps weekly) water changes to minimise the pH
drops/changes between those water changes.>
Adding calcium carbonate, calcium chloride and baking soda has a good effect on the KH and GH.
However it raises my pH to 8.2 according to my test kit.
<This is what carbonate hardness will do, specifically, the calcium carbonate you are using. If you don't want this, dial back the calcium carbonate (maybe to one-half the amount used) and the pH should drop back a bit.>
A few of snails seem sick (excess slime and lethargic), while others are prospering. I feel that the baking soda or maybe the high pH is the issue.
<Possibly, or at least, the pH changes. In itself high pH and carbonate hardness isn't a problem for Apple Snails.>
I so struggle with nitrates but have been able to decrease them from 160 to 40 with no improvement from the weaker snails. I was considering adding a pH regulator to my tap water before adding the alkalizing agents.
<Pointless. Select one buffering method and stick to it. Either the Rift Valley salt mix modified as needed, OR a commercial product. Not both.>
Hoping this will keep the pH at around 7.5-8.0 as opposed to the 8.2 and rising. The pH regulator is composed of sulfuric acid.
<It is?>
My questions are: does it make sense to lower the pH of my tap water before adding the agents that are causing the high pH?
Is sulfuric acid safe for inverts (mainly Pomacea diffusa)?
<Poured directly into the tank, then no, it isn't safe. But added to each bucket of water, as described on the instructions, it should be safe. Would I bother? Nope. I'd stick with the Rift Valley salt mix, perhaps halving the baking soda portion, and let the snails adapt to that. There may be a period of adjustment for them, but once settled, this is a cheap, reliable way to keep them.>
Is it possible for baking soda to irritate my snails or is it most likely the nitrates?
<Hard to say, but provided you have dissolved the baking soda completely, it should be safe. Apple Snails are somewhat sensitive to "old" water, and are a bit finicky at the best of times, so I wouldn't overreact to unusual behaviours or even occasional deaths. Few survive anything beyond a year, despite potential lifespans of 4-5 years. That's why so few reach
tennis-ball size. Quite why they don't do as well in tanks as they do in ponds or the wild is a topic for discussion; you might peruse AppleSnail.net for more on this interesting topic.>
Thank you! Danielle
<Cheers, Neale.>
<<PS. I would also test for copper in your water. Definitely lethal to Pomacea spp. Any good marine aquarium shop can do this for you, gratis/token cost. Cheers, Neale.>>

Mystery snail with a shriveled foot, help!?!     7/20/15
Almost 2 weeks ago, my golden mystery snail decided to not come out. We had just added 4 cherry shrimp to the tank, so we thought she was just being a baby about no longer having the place to herself. We moved her to another tank for 2 days alone and she still did not come out of her shell. I decided to move her back to the original tank and was acclimating her in a
plastic container when she began to stick her tentacles out and attempt to come out. This is when I realized that her foot was all shriveled and she was unable to use it. I am currently letting her sit in a shallow dish of ro water in an attempt to give her a chance to use her foot. Can anyone tell me what is going on?
<Can't really answer this without some facts about the snail's environment.
So let's recap. Apple/Mystery snails cannot be kept with fish. Fish peck them, eventually causing damage. Shrimps may or may not do the same thing.
They also need a "resting" period once a year. Ideally, you'd keep them reasonably warm for most of the time (24 C/75 F is about right) but cool them down (18-20 C/64-68 F) for a month or two. In the wild they'd actually aestivate during the summer, in a mud burrow or similar, but recreating that is hard. So simply cooling them down for a while, so they become
inactive, is the next best thing. They shouldn't be disturbed during that time, so don't combine with other livestock while this is going on. While it is possible to maintain Apple Snails at a constant tropical temperature all year long, this usually ends up with the snail "wearing out" within a year or two, and it's pretty uncommon for people to maintain them for the 4-5 years they can reach under optimal conditions (which also explains why the legendary tennis ball-sized specimens are rarely seen as well).
Finally, a word about water quality. Assuming the tank is upwards of 20 litres/5 gallons, it's big enough for two or three Apple Snails, but you also need filtration (just as with any other livestock) and crucially, water chemistry must be hard and alkaline. This doesn't mean add salt, which actually harms them, but it does mean the water must have a reasonably high mineral content, upwards of 10 degrees dKH is good, and the pH certainly above 7. Never, ever use fish medicines in a tank with Apple Snails as both copper and formalin are highly toxic to them, and many other fish medicine ingredients are probably bad for them too. I'd strongly recommend the AppleSnail.net website, including it's forum, where people will gladly help you out. Hope this helps, 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.>

My snail :( (in)comp. w/ Bettas, tropicals      10/27/14
<Hello, Felicia!>
So originally I bought a Betta for my office at work.
<In a filtered, heated aquarium, I trust.
I mention this because a lot of the "executive" aquaria are too small (less than 5 gallons), too cold (need to be heated to 25 C/77 F), and too dirty (need a filter, preferably a biological filter with a gentle current).>
I wanted to give him a mate so I received a golden apple snail.
<Oh dear. Apple Snails aren't good choices for life with aquarium fish
, having somewhat different requirements and in all honesty not living that long kept with fish. Usually what happens is the fish (Bettas included) peck at the antennae and breathing tube (siphon) on the front of the snail.
Since Apple Snails need these organs, damage to them causes stress, and more often than not the poor snail ends up dead. I'm sure there's the odd exception out there, but unless you have another aquarium you can move fish or snail too if things go wrong, it's not worth the gamble.>
My snail (White Shadow) was flourishing and very active, but my Betta (Mr. Limpet) started losing his color and hiding in a plant I later found out was hurting him.
<Does not compute. By which I mean, plants don't hurt Bettas. Quite the reverse. Unless you've got some sort of mutant Venus' Fly Trap, your Betta will appreciate floating plants of all sorts, such as Indian Fern. These
provide shade and shelter, as well as somewhere to rest.>
So I removed all harmful plants and purchased a smaller tank for my snail, as well as another snail to keep him company.
<Can I just state something up front before we get bogged down in anthropomorphising pet fish too much -- Bettas don't want company. They don't need company. They're solitary, territorial fish that view other fish
as either (a) predators, (b) competitors, (c) potential mates, or (d) food. There is no (e) friends on this list because Bettas aren't social. Adding companions is at best pointless and at worse a source of problems, including stress on the poor Betta which physically and psychologically just isn't adapted to living with tankmates. We've bred them with super-long fins that make swimming difficult, so feeding and escaping are
hard, yet they still have this antipathy towards other fish, especially ones that look like Bettas. What Bettas do want are (a) space, (b) heat, and (c) clean, filtered water. Make sense? Virtually all problems with Bettas come down to not doing these. Give them an aquarium 4-5 gallons in size, with a heater than keeps the temperature around 25 C/77 F, and install a small biological filter, and they're quite easy to keep.>
I washed everything really well and set up my tank for my snails (Whiplash and White Shadow) then I went home for the weekend. I came in this morning and found them both floating :( Whiplash smelled horrid and was almost all the way out of his shell, and White shadow was partially exposed.
<Indeed, dead snail is a unique smell!>
When I removed White Shadow he seemed to pull back into his shell but it was very slow, same as with coming back out. So I washed everything again and I removed Whiplash (May he RIP) and I put White Shadow back into it.
<Do a decent water change, check the ammonia or nitrite levels, check the filter is running and not blocked with snail corpse. If ammonia or nitrite aren't zero, be ready to do a succession of daily water changes, 25% each
Now it is still floating, it is coming out of his shell but I don't see any of its antennas moving and he is just floating. Did I make a mistake in thinking he was still alive?
<Dead snails smell... by all means remove to a separate container of dechlorinated water and see what happens. Provided the water isn't too cold (below 18 C/64 F is lethal for Apple Snails) you should be able to tell if he's dead or alive.>
He didn't smell bad when I had him out of the water.
Please help,
<Would have you review Bob F's writing on Bettas generally, here:
And also our general FAQs on Apple Snails, starting here and following the links:
There's a good Apple Snail website too, called AppleSnail.net you may find rewarding. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: My snail :(      10/27/14
Hello Neale,
Thanks for the speedy response! My tank is not heated nor is it filtered.
<Yikes! Both essential
. Not negotiable. Bettas are tropical fish, so unless your office happens to be somewhere like Singapore and doesn't have air conditioning, then the water is too cold. North American and Europe for example are not tropical, hence Bettas are sold as "tropical fish" for "tropical fish tanks".>
I have a little heater I have at home I could bring in.
<Good call.>
my single Betta lives in a 2.5 gallon tank (I'm not allowed to have bigger in my office)
<Ah, now things become clearer. Too much livestock in too little water.
Remember, anything smaller than 3 gallons is basically a bucket, and if you understand that, you'll realise adding lots of creatures isn't a good idea.>
and since I removed everything he is doing so much better. I should also clarify that the plant that was harming him was a hard plastic plant that didn't like to stay flared out. Now Mr. Limpet has two little silk plants he can hide in and a castle he loves sleeping in.
And I am still unsure about White Shadow. He has come out further to where I can see his antenna...but he is still floating so I'm not sure if he is coming out on his own, or falling out. He still doesn't smell though.
<Cheers, Neale.>
e: My snail :(      10/27/14
Hello Neale,
I will bring in my heater from home. I can't do anything about the filter, but now that I know I should I will be changing the water diligently.
<Realistically, 10-25% daily if at all possible. Do bear in mind the "Bettas in jars" you hear about are kept in heated fish rooms where the breeder changes almost all the water in each jar every day, perhaps more
often than that. Such fishkeeping is very labour intensive, hence filters being practically essential.>
White Shadow moved so I am no longer worried. Thank you for your information and your site is a huge help :)
<Glad to help.>
<Cheers, Neale.>

blue mystery snail; comp.       9/21/14
I have a blue mystery snail that I love, but there are pond snails (that came on some plants I bought) in the tank too. The pond snails attach to the mystery snail's foot. ate they biting him or hurting him?
<No, they're not biting him. Pond snails (typically Ramshorns and Physa spp.) are harmless, though they do breed quickly given the chance, so you may want to physically remove them anyway. Others simply keep their tanks clean and algae-free, in which case a few snails won't breed much and can actually do some useful work aerating the substrate and eating any leftovers. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: blue mystery snail      9/21/14
Thank you very much!
<Welcome. Neale.>

White Goo     9/11/14
Hi I was reading through all your FAQs and none of them had the issue (or non-issue I'm not sure) that I'm experiencing. So far Pachi-Senpai (my yellow mystery snail) seems happy, he's even getting bigger! Lately though he/she (idk) has been leaving big chunks or white goo on the walls of the tank. The other morning he must have fallen asleep in it, that chunk was Huge! Anyway I was reading some other posts on other sites that it may be a way of spawning? The water gets oily so maybe that's it? DO you think he's sick? I'm not certain because like I said he seems generally happy, no lethargy, wakes up bright and early..sometimes he eats himself to sleep. I feed him bottom feeder pellets maybe a little lettuce when we have it. I just want to make sure my child is ok...
<Probably just mucous and nothing to worry about. Eggs are laid above the waterline and look like raspberries so are very distinctive. Snails pretty much exist in a binary state: alive or dying, and generally Apple Snails are pretty hardy if kept away from other livestock. Cheers, Neale.>

Golden and Black Mystery Snails in my Little Brother's Tank. Repro.       5/28/14
Hi! My name is Alex. My little brother got a fish tank awhile ago and absolutely adores the two pet freshwater snails that accompany the fish. It is a freshwater tank. Recently, the black mystery snail got on top of the gold mystery snail and they floated around together.

During this, a weird sort of pink substance came out of I don't know where from the snails with little bubbles on it.
<Egg case. Looks like a big pink raspberry. Needs to be laid above the waterline, otherwise the eggs will drown and no baby snails will appear.>
I figured it was mating or something like that and simply encouraged him not to gawk.
<On the contrary, observing animals mating is one of the best ways to develop an interest in zoology. Mating behaviours are often very complex, even bizarre, and invariably adapted to the particular conditions where an animal lives. Apple Snails are males or females (unusual for snails, where most are hermaphrodites) and perform internal fertilisation. Their egg cases are extremely odd, being calcareous (to protect from predators, presumably) and each baby snail is rather large, but the egg case needs to be place somewhere dry but above the water. At hatching, the baby snail must be able to drop down into the water or it will die. It's very odd for a water animal to lay eggs on land, but in this case makes sense, because Apple Snails live in swamps where oxygen levels are low. The adults breathe air from time to time, but the eggs couldn't do that if they were laid underwater, so putting the egg case above the waterline solves that problem. It does of course mean the aquatic Apple Snail adult must, for a short period at least, come onto land where it is much less mobile and liable to dry out if it doesn't hurry up. Isn't evolution amazing!>
But ever since, the black mystery snail has been completely fine and active, but the gold one is just floating on the surface, not doing anything. I read other articles on your page and checked everything. The tank is fine, there are no bubbles in the shell (that I could find), and the snail is definitely still alive since when I poked it's door, it slid into itself. But it still floats, half-exposed, on the water's surface, not clinging to anything. I'm not sure if it's pregnant, or whether it's sick, but my little brother loves it so much and I want to make sure that it's okay. Thanks for your time! Please help if you can.
<Apple Snails are a bit hit-and-miss in aquaria. Do check the heater is set to the right water temperature for a start (not too cold, not too hot, 22-24 C/72-75 F). Do also check water chemistry (should be relatively hard and alkaline, and definitely not acidic). Apple Snails often get pestered by fish, so check the tankmates aren't nipping at its tentacles. Apple Snails are best kept away from fish to be honest. Even something as small as a 5-gallon aquarium will provide a fine home for a small group of Apple Snails. Do review diet; floating a leaf of lettuce on the surface is a good addition to whatever else you're offering (algae wafers for catfish are an ideal staple). But when all is said and done, most Apple Snails live for about a year in aquaria, and only a few make it into their second or third years. The problem seems to be lack of a "resting phase" they experience in the wild. So if you're providing all the right conditions but one of your snails doesn't make it, don't be altogether surprised. AppleSnail.net is a great website for more details on their specific needs, but do also have a read of the *many* messages we get about Apple Snails, here:
They simply aren't that easy to keep for their full lifespan without tailoring the tank to their very specific needs.>
<Most welcome, Neale.>

My mystery snail mysteriously gets out, despite weighted down lid!     2/5/14
Nap time?
Hello Gurus!
Until a week ago, our gorgeous snail was living happily with just one Swordtail (it's only a 9l Klar tank),
<Swordtails need much more room than this>
but has now escaped twice, despite a solid lid to which we even added additional weight. (Both times she has then fallen more than a meter (3ft) to the floor!) I thought perhaps she was escaping too-acidic water, but all seems fine with the water. She has been napping a bit more than usual (before each time resuming fifth gear) so I'm thinking that she wants to hibernate (mid summer here).
-Can I provide a 'bed' in the water first and see if she is interested in that before I do anything radical like remove her from the tank? (There is no real room between the water and the lid.)
<Can you just lower the water level an inch or so? This is what I'd do>
-Will she then just go to sleep even if she doesn't want too?
<Mmm, no>
-Is the quality of coconut husk from a plant nursery suitable?
-Am concerned that with our hot weather, husk will dry out rapidly - better solution?
-Will she wake up herself or must I wake her?
Thank you,
<I would simply leave this snail in-place; but do look into more suitable livestock for this tiny volume. To wit, please read here:
and here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_5/volume_5_3/stocking.htm
Plus the Mystery Snail mat.s on WWM
Bob Fenner>

Snail beh., where's Neale?      3/24/13
Hello good people at Wet Web Media. I have a question about my snails. I have two golden snails in my 10 gallon tank along with one (remaining) zebra danio. It’s an established tank and all inhabitants were fine until a week ago. Tank is heated/filtered and I have a naturally high pH due to our area’s water so this should be a bonus for the snails. Anyway, I have had the snails for about a month now and they were going along their business just fine until I caught one of them floating last week.
<... are these Ampullaria species? Mystery snails? See WWM re... these do have troubles>
 Fearing death, I poked it and it released air bubbles
<Oh, could be a very bad sign... and stinky if it dies; or maybe...>
and sank to the bottom. Having done research, I realized it was still alive and probably had air trapped in its shell. It eventually continued on its way and seemed to act fine. The problem is that this seems to be a recurring thing on a daily basis now.
I’ll come in, see it floating and try to get it to release bubbles, upon which is sinks to the gravel and after a while it comes out and moves about. It even ate a piece of cucumber I had in there quite voraciously signaling that it was not on the verge of dying (?).
<Am not so sure>
 The problem is it
will go to the surface, hang around on the glass and then eventually I see it’s floating again. I have read that sometimes snails try to float to move along the water stream and get to a place that is more comfortable for them and wonder if that is what it is indeed doing?
<Perhaps looking for a spot to reproduce. I'd lower your water level down an inch or so; or put in a small square of Styrofoam sheet>
The other snail does not
seem to be bothered though by the water quality or anything as it always goes happily along its way. Is this a cause for concern, or is this just an ornery snail? Is there anything I can try or do for it? Thanks so much for taking the time to read this, and for any advice you may have. Sylvia
<Here's hoping your snail is fine. Bob Fenner>
Re: Snails, lament for Neale
Thanks Bob, so much for the quick response. The snails were bought at
PetSmart and my Google search shows that they look like both apple snails and mystery snails.
<Ah yes... same genus, sometimes the common names are used interchangeably>
 I will read through the articles you referred
to. In the meantime, you are right in that it may be trying to lay eggs.
A couple of weeks ago, I noticed the one snail on top of the other for a while and wondered if they were mating. I have a half moon 10 gallon and the water level is normally 2-1/2" from the top. Is that enough or do I have to lower the level further?
<Ah no; you're fine>
I hope too that the snail will be fine.
At first, this one was the more active of the two. Oh, and you mentioned releasing bubbles could be a very bad sign. Why is this?
<Could be indication of decomposition>
 All the info
I've found online seems to suggest releasing bubbles is a good sign that the snail is not deceased and that is able to release the trapped air in its shell. Thanks for your answer! Sylvia
<Welcome. BobF>

Rapidly maturing snails   1/28/13
Hi.  About two months ago, on a whim my friend (who works at a pet store) convinced me to buy a blue "mystery" snail for my Betta's tank.  I'm really mad I did that.
<I bet. Not a huge fan of adding "critters" to Betta systems, and Apple/Mystery Snails aren't good companions for fish anyway.>

I'm always really careful with what I put in my Betta's tank and I can't believe I didn't look more into snails before I got one.  My friend told me that the snail would just eat whatever George (my Betta) would leave behind.  A few days after I had the snail it occurred to me that that was probably not the case.  After some research I found out my snail was most likely a Pomacea diffusa (or at least I thought, now I'm not so sure) so I started leaving bits of spinach and zucchini for it to eat in the tank.
About a month into it the snail had babies and I freaked out.  The babies had started eating George's plants and anyway a Betta, a snail, and a bunch of baby snails were waaay too much for George's 2 and 1/2 gallon tank.  I took all of the snails out, gave George new rocks, changed his filter, cleaned his plants, etc.  His tank has been snail free since then.  I put the mama snail and the four baby snails I had found into the cup I usually put George in when I'm cleaning his tank.  It was supposed to be a temporary fix until I could find them a larger tank, but unfortunately they were in there a little longer than they should have (about four days).  I had been changing the water everyday, but I guess that just wasn't enough because the mama snail died.  It was really awful.
<Unfortunately this happens all too often. Apple Snails aren't as easy to keep as many suppose. Do see the excellent AppleSnail.net website for more.>
I got the baby snails a 1/2 gallon tank.  Everyday I change the water alternating between changing a 1/3 of the water and changing the whole thing.  I give them a new leaf to eat every other day when I do the full water change.  This has been going on for a month and I need to find a more long term solution because I've been becoming a little lax with it and I hadn't done a full water change in about three days and I found two new baby snails (which I threw away because honestly I'm not having more snails, I felt bad but enough is enough).  From everything I read the snails shouldn't have been sexually matured for at least a few months. 
Also, I didn't find any sort of eggs.  My plan was to eventually give most of them to a friend once they were bigger, but they're not really bigger yet. Help!  Should I just give them to my friends now?  If I'm a little more vigilant with my cleaning can I keep the snail population down until the snails are a little bigger?  Could they be pond snails and that's why I haven't seen any eggs (except their mom was white and blue which I didn't think pond snails came in that color)?
<Could easily be. Apple Snails lay very distinctive egg clusters ABOVE the waterline. About the size, shape and colour of large raspberries, so hard to miss! Apple Snails have to be in pairs to breed because they're either boys or girls, unlike some snails which can produce offspring all by themselves (e.g., the Malayan Turret Snail). Squishing unwanted Apple Snails should be easy enough to do, or failing that, just remove the egg cases as you see them. It's not hard to rehome true Apple Snail offspring because pet stores can sell them on easily. On the other hand, pond snails like Physella spp. can breed quite quickly, and it's possible for these more pest-like snails to get into tanks via aquatic plants or on the shells of Apple Snails.>
Thanks, Annie
<Cheers, Neale.> 

Mystery Snail Aggression (not mating)    11/7/12
My son has a small 3.5 gallon tank with two Mystery Snails that I purchased a couple of months ago. A small black one and a larger yellow one. The black one was much more active than the yellow and I witnessed the black one "mount" the larger yellow one. This led to a web search in which I concluded they were mating and dropped the water level down 2" for it to lay eggs and lights out at night. Anticipating this I began to monitor the tank. A couple of weeks went by and nothing had happened. Now the larger yellow snail (the 'mountee") has grown rapidly, seems almost constantly active, and is mounting the smaller black snail. Still no eggs and I am totally confused as to what the sex of either of them is. Aside from that confusion the black snail is now very sluggish and every time I see it go up to the side of the tank and almost reach the top to get air the yellow one races up ahead of it and gets on top of it knocking it off the glass and down to the bottom. it seems to be totally different behavior from mating. One the yellow one knocks it down it goes on it's merry way. That is until the black one gets almost to the top again for air. I am afraid it is going to drown the other snail. I blocked it with the net a moment ago so the black one could get air but time after time it does the exact same thing. I need your insight as I have not been able to find the answer on my own. Can you diagnose a snail as a psychopath? Thanks, DeAnna
<It's just a dumb, clumsy snail. Don't worry about it too much! Snails often clamber over one another, and while this may knock the smaller one off the glass, no harm is done. Cheers, Neale.>

Frog and Betta Fish 9/21/12
Can African Dwarf Frogs be placed with Betta fish?
<Sure. This is for your pond,right? Be careful the frog can't get out.
Snail and Betta Fish

Can mystery snails be placed with Betta fish?
<Sure. - Rick>
Frog and Betta Fish 9/21/12
I will be keeping the frog in an indoor aquarium.
It has a sensitivity to temperature changes and intolerance to 80 degree plus temperatures.
Would a sponge filter work in an aquarium containing both a Betta fish and an African Dwarf frog?
<A sponge filter would work well in this situation. - Rick>

A Question... Sm. FW... uncycled?    9/12/12
  I tried to find answers via Google but I suspect that I am not having any luck because my situation is hard to describe. My roommate and I, who are completely new to fish, bought a 2.5 gallon tank to house two Glofish and two mystery snails. The tank has been running for almost two weeks and I have put in some sort of bacteria solution
<What Brand/name?>
 that was recommended to me, as well as a chlorine and chloramine neutralizer.
<... is this system cycled?>
 The snails are acting peculiar. I am aware that snails sometimes float
<Uh, no; not when they're healthy>

 and this is normal behavior, but both of our snails also each have a strange thin membrane pushing out from their shells. The membranes look like they are pushing out the "foot" of the snail. I have been told that dead snails lose their "foot" so I am fairly certain that my snails are not dead, however I am concerned about their well-being and if there is anything I can do to help them, I would like to know. I have included a picture of one of our snails for your reference because it is very hard for me to describe.
Thank you for your time, Michelle
<Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm
and soon... Bob Fenner>

HELP!! WORRIED    8/2/12
I just got two dwarf gourami and i already had a black mysterious snail
<Do you mean a Mystery Snail, Pomacea spp.?>
and i bought another i read a online that the dwarfs might eat my snails i was hoping you might shed some light on this i really want my snails so if they will eat them i have to return the fish before they do damage please help
<Fish and Mystery/Apple Snails don't mix well. What usually happens is the fish nips at the snail's antennae, and before long the snail gets damaged, then infected, and then it dies. Best keep Mystery/Apple snails is their own aquarium.
Cheers, Neale.>
Re: HELP!! WORRIED    8/2/12
yes a black mystery snail they are both quite large half grown already
<Well there you go. Read my response, and act accordingly. Cheers, Neale.>

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.>

Do snails drown? Are they cannibalistic?     4/4/12
Hello crew:
My son (ok, it's mine, but it's in his room) has a 5 gallon tank with a mystery snail, another snail (she's orange-ish in color, not sure what kind) and 2 goldfish.
<Yikes… that's WAY too many Goldfish for a mere 5 gallons… even 20 gallons is far from ideal.>
The mystery snail, named Sir Snails A Lot (SSAL for short), kept turning upside down over the past few days. I kept flipping SSAL back over because I had heard that they can drown if they stay upside down for a length of time.
<Correct. Apple/Mystery Snails, Pomacea spp., are air breathers, and if for one reason or another they can't extend their siphons (their "snorkels") above the waterline, they will indeed drown.>
Last night, I caught the other snail, Snailzy, on top of SSAL, attached to him - it really looked like she was pulling him out of his shell. This morning, SSAL was completely out of his shell - body in one place, shell in another, and now Snailzy was upside down. What the heck is going on? I removed SSAL's carcass from the tank...Do you think SSAL was already dead and Snailzy was cleaning him up, or was she being a cannibal?
<Likely scavenging.>
Is there any truth to them drowning is they stay upside down?
<Anything or any behaviour that prevents breathing will cause them to drown.>
Thanks for your help,
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Do snails drown? Are they cannibalistic?     4/4/12

Wow - thanks for the quick response, Neale.
<A pleasure.>
We were sad to lose SSAL...hopefully I got to Snailzy in time to flip her over. She's been the most active of the snails we've had. Are 2 snails too many for that size tank?
<No, they're fine.>
It absolutely amazes me that what I consider to be aquatic animals can drown.
<Hmm… dolphins, penguins, seals… all can drown. Many fish can drown too, like Bettas, because they're obligate air-breathers, fish that evolved to live breathing air because the water they swim in is oxygen-poor.>
Just as an interesting side note, the box that the aquarium came in showed about 15 goldfish in the tank...I may not know much about fish, but even I knew that was too many!!
<Yes, this is very misleading and sadly all too common marketing.>
The fish seem happy...they follow each other around, eat well and poop regularly and often. :-) I hate to think I'm traumatizing them. What kind of fish and how many would be appropriate for that size tank?
<Do start reading here:
Five-gallon tanks are tricky because they're so small, but a Betta is a good bet, or for that matter, a combination of Dwarf Aquatic Frogs and Cherry Shrimps offers a lively, colourful mix that'd get on fine with your Apple Snails.>
We based what we bought on a recommendation from one of the big chain stores.
<Do read:
And the links above re: Goldfish systems.>
Thanks again,
<Most welcome, Neale.>

mushy mystery snail eggs    3/26/12
I have been searching the internet and reading your FAQ but couldn't find any answers to my question.  I have a mystery snail that is laying "mushy" eggs.  I've had mystery snails before that laid normal raspberry shaped egg clusters above the water line, but this one is different.
<Yes; these eggs are soft when first laid, and as you state up next to the water line...>
 She still lays her eggs above the water line but they are very runny.  She was laying some while I left for work and they fell into the water they were so soft.  The previous ones I've removed are soft like tapioca, not hard like my other snail's eggs.  I am not looking to breed them, but miss the convenience of having a nice egg cluster to destroy.  Is there a reason her eggs are so runny?
<Perhaps an aspect of nutrition; maybe there's insufficient biomineral content, alkalinity here>
  I assume these eggs are not fertile due to their texture, especially when they fall in the water.  I have recently introduced another
mystery snail in the tank: would this help the egg situation normalize?
<Depends... on the cause... on if it's a male>
Thank you,
<Do measure the chemical make-up of your water... and read here:
and here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwsnailreprofaqs.htm
Bob Fenner>

Re: My Snail, Mystery, repro.  1/17/12
Hi Bob,
I did some research and found that it is a Mystery Snail.  I have two of them actually. The second one I picked up after Sherlock started acting strange and my step daughter was coming over, (didn't want her to find her snail dead so I jumped the gun on replacement).  I am sending a picture of one of three of these pink things
<Egg cases…>

I have found at the bottom of the bowl.  They appeared three days after Sherlock started acting strange (laying on the back thing), and one day after I got the new snail.  Sherlock seems back to normal again.  Are these eggs?
If so will they likely survive?
<Not underwater. They are laid above the waterline. They absorb oxygen from the air. Underwater the baby snails drown.>
How do I continue to clean out the bowl and not kill them if they are eggs?
<Not normally a problem if the eggs are outside the water. Do research Pomacea spp. reproduction, e.g., on AppleSnail.net.>
The Beta (male) has snacked on them a little bit, but they have now fallen into the stones and are protected.  When they first appeared they looked like exactly like pink intestine, and now they appear to have egg like shapes within the swirl.  They are not white like the pictures I have seen, but very pink.  There is also a cluster of very small round white things on a leaf the snail was hanging out on for an extended period of time.  I will enclose a pic of that as well.  Also, I was watching them this morning.  Sherlock was on his back again and a small bubble was coming out of him.  He seemed to be working it out of him by moving his snail parts (no idea what they technically are).  When it finally released it the bubble floated to the top, attached to/landed under and stayed, on a leaf, and it appeared that there was a sack with very small white balls in it.  Are these eggs or is this how they defecate?  There is also a bunch of little white things, kind of oblong, scattered about the tank in the rocks.  They are not connected, and for lack of a better explanation, they remind me of the lice eggs my kids picked up at daycare years ago.  What are these?
<No idea.>
My beta
<Betta, pronounced like "better". Not beta, and doesn't sound like "beater".>
is a male, so I am assuming they are not from him.
Thank you so much for your help!
<Deb, please do thank us by not sending two 3.5 MB photos! We do specifically ask for images around the 500 KB mark. Sending 7 MB clogs up about half out e-mail storage space here, making it much more likely other folks will have their e-mails bounced back if they've sent attachments as well. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: My Snail 1/17/12
Sorry about the pics! I am a complete luddite so the size thing is waaaaay over my head.  Thanks for your help! Deb
<Most welcome, Neale.>

dying Mystery snails   10/21/11
I've been reading and enjoying your site, but have been unable to find anything sufficiently like our problem to avoid writing.
Our tank is 10 gallons and quite new, having been set up 6-7 weeks ago. We ran it with some live plants for a time, then added two mystery snails from different stores as the tank was cycling about a week apart. They appeared very happy in the tank, moving quickly and easily about, eating the spinach, Swiss chard, bits of organic pear, etc., that we put in. It also appeared that they were attempting to procreate on a daily basis. Their active times were mostly at night.
<As is their nature.>
Cuttlefish bone scrapings were added and both snails were growing healthy, smooth, well-colored new shell at a steady rate.
The tank finished cycling and all parameters are within the normal ranges. pH is 8.4, hardness 170, tank temp about 25ºC,
<Bit warm for all-around care; for best results, cool slightly down to 18-20 C during the winter. Obviously this is only doable if the tankmates are other subtropical species like the Apple Snails, but frankly, Apple Snails do best on their own.>
nitrites & ammonia at 0, nitrates around 20.
<All fine.>
The tank looked healthy and stable with several types of plants at this point and we decided to add fish. The first round was three White Cloud Mountain fish, on the small side, and very active.
<A subtropical species, and potentially good tankmates. However, they can sometimes decide to start nipping at the "tentacles" of the poor Snails, and that makes infections and stress more likely.>
A few days later, we added four more of the same, slightly larger in this batch. Almost immediately, the snails retreated. They sat stuck to the side of the tank, partially above the water line (where we had never seen them previously), or mostly inside their shells at the bottom. They seemed to head up the tank walls eager to pump air on a more frequent basis and never regained their previous active state.
<Curious. Apple Snails will gulp more air if overheated. Turn the heater down to 22 C today, and 20 C in 2-3 days time. That'll let the tank cool down slowly. The Minnows will be fine; in fact they're happier kept cool during the winter.>
One stayed mostly at the top of the tank, either stuck to the side partially out of the water, or floating suspended in the water. The other was nearly immobile at the bottom of the tank, occasionally putting up its snorkel, but never climbing the glass again within days after the fish had arrived. We poked its shell and it withdrew its partially-extended foot, but otherwise rarely moved at all on the bottom of the tank. It was seen floating in the last day or so with a small glob of cloudy white matter, perhaps 1mm x 3mm, extended from under the shell. That snail was checked a couple of times for smell and was found today to have a foul odor while floating in the tank and was removed as dead.
The other snail is slightly more active, still moving about a bit but far far from its former highly-active state when it would cruise about the tank
looking for his mate.
<I see.>
In the last few days, three ghost shrimp were added. They are active and look fine.
<Again, you're lucky here: Ghost Shrimps do well/better kept a bit cooler than tropical.>
I find myself wondering if some sort of disease was brought into the tank, either with one of the batches of fish, or with one of the plants. If so, how would we go about treating it?
We have not seen the fish nipping at the snails at all.
Any input you may be able to offer will be gratefully received. We hope to keep the second snail alive and give him another companion when it seems safe again.
<Apple Snails don't do as well in aquaria as people think. Tropical temperatures stress them, among other things. Do consider keeping them cooler and see if that livens them up. Do also be aware they may "aestivate" for part of the year, and at the very least, tend to enter a period of dormancy for a few months. Maintaining Apple Snails for more than 12 months is doable, but uncommon, and most specimens usually die long before then. The are few reliable resources of information, but do visit AppleSnail.net for some good scientific information on their habitat, needs and care. I believe they have a forum too, which may be a good place to ask questions.>
Many thanks,
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: dying Mystery snails   10/27/11

Hi Neale,
Thanks very much for your reply. We followed your advice and have lowered the temperature in the tank. Unfortunately, the second snail died and was removed.
<Sorry to hear this. Unfortunately these snails just aren't as easy to keep as many suppose. If you want a general purpose snail, look for Tylomelania "elephant snails". There are various species, some up to 12 cm/4 inches in length! They are hardy in well maintained tropical tanks, undemanding in terms of diet, and breed, albeit slowly, so you have a self-sufficient population rather than a plague. They don't eat plants or algae, and instead work as excellent scavengers.>
A day or so later, we noticed that one of the White Cloud Mountain fish was acting reclusive, hiding under a rock, and was showing very little energy.
Its color was faded, it showed little interest in food, and its tail tended to hang. We treated it three times over two days by removing it to 2 liters of water from the tank with 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt dissolved in it for about 20 minutes. Each time, he perked up considerably and was more social and eating upon return to the tank. He died last night.
<Too bad.>
Just now, I see we have a second fish showing just the same symptoms - faded color, reclusive, inactive, drooping tail.
We've examined both the fish that died and the current sick fish and see no signs of infections, such as spots, etc. My wife's one observation of the dead fish is that its lips appeared to be reddish.
<Which may indicate some either fighting, irritation by something in the water, or incipient Mouth Fungus (or some other bacterial infection).>
Reading through the FW fish disease page in the site, the behavioral symptoms sound familiar there, but nothing lines up well enough that I feel like I've solved the mystery.
<I agree.>
We're just not seeing the surface signs of infection.
We've tested the water quality with two different kits, just to be sure.
Nitrates now read under 5, with all the other parameters in range.
<In range of what? I cannot stress too strongly how ammonia and nitrite need to be zero. Forget ammonia test kits -- they sometimes report false positives because of Chloramine -- but a nitrite test kit is a MUST, more so even than ANY other test kit.>
Temp is now about 21C. Oxygenation appears fine, with no fish going to the surface to breathe and the bubblers working actively.
We added a bit of Java Moss today and an Otocinclus, who is happily cleaning algae off the rocks in the tank.
<Ah, now, Otocinclus are extremely sensitive fish. They're also schooling fish. But in any event, if other animals don't last long, this chap is even less likely to do well. Big picture, he needs 3-4 pals, but for now, hold off until you have no more fatalities for at least a month.>
Any thoughts you may have on what might be going on would be very much appreciated.
<No obvious conclusions. Would sit and wait. Let tank settle down. Do your usual 20-25% water change each weekend. Don't overfeed. Don't add more livestock. Make sure your water conditioner treats not just chlorine but also Chloramine, copper and (tap water) ammonia. If you must, add a very little salt, but don't go bananas, 1 g/litre would be ample.>
<Cheers, Neale.>

Black Mystery Snail Eggs Below Water Line... 9/22/11
Greetings WWM, and thank you for providing such an extensive and educational information resource, I have found it quite valuable!
I have a 5 gallon freshwater tank with a single Black Moor goldfish and a single Black Mystery snail. (I had another moor and snail, but sadly there was a hurricane here recently that caused our power to be out for 6 days, and I lost them despite frequent water changes and treatments) The water is filtered and planted, but not heated, and the ph is suitable for the moor.
My Black Mystery snail began laying eggs above the waterline this morning, but apparently my fish startled her and she fell below the waterline, where she continued laying eggs. I intend to donate the babies to my local pet store. Will the eggs that fell in the water be able to develop?
Thank you for your time and expertise. Regards, Cynthia
<Hello Cynthia. It does occasionally happen that Apple/Mystery snails don't lay their eggs above the waterline, but when that happens, the eggs usually don't hatch. Cheers, Neale.>

Indeed; these eggs are unviable/fungused. RMF
Re: Black Mystery Snail Eggs Below Water Line... 9/22/11
Thank you for responding so quickly! Apparently Bob the Moor interrupted George the snail's egg laying, (I just learned George is actually a georgette today) she only laid about a dozen eggs, and from what I've read, apple snails can lay up to 600 eggs? Good grief, I'm going to have to donate to several pet stores!!! Here is a picture of her laying, you can clearly see the eggs, maybe this will help future readers. Thank you again for answering me so quickly!
<The number of eggs varies wildly, and sometimes they'll lay a few bunches of eggs instead of one big batch. They're fun to breed, and you shouldn't have problems giving away some of the offspring. But if you get too many eggs, just squish 'em! 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>

Strange Frog & Snail Behavior   8/1/11
Hello, I have several questions regarding my aquarium and am really hoping you can help. I currently have an apple snail (I believe it’s a Pomacea diffusa),
<Apple Snails aren't compatible with Bettas; they have much different requirements.>
a crown-tailed beta,
<Total aside, it's pronounced "better", not "beater", from the native name, "bettah". Now you can show off to your friends!>
and two ADF in my 1 gallon tank.
<This tank is too small. Switch to a tank at least 5 gallons in size, with a heater and biological filter.>
The bottom is live gravel.
<What do you mean by "live" gravel? By itself gravel doesn't filter the water. An undergravel filter with a pump that draws water through the gravel can work, but do you have an undergravel filter? With a filter plate under the gravel and 2-3 inches of gravel on top?>
I recently added a small dracaena plant and am worried that it will rot if kept fully submerged underwater since it‘s not a true aquatic plant. <Correct.>
I’ve also seen the snail crawling on it; does it have any chemicals / toxins that could harm anything in my tank? Should I remove it?
<Yes, and treat like a houseplant.>
I've also noticed one of my two frogs has begun to unwillingly float to the top, and has a lot of trouble staying down.
<Stressed, sick, maybe dying.>
I don't see any sign of fungus on him, or any bloating / swelling. I watched him eat at their last feeding and neither frog has any lack of appetite.
<Stressed. What's the water quality like? How did you cycle the filter before adding livestock? Do you measure ammonia or nitrite?>
What do you think this could be, and how could I treat it?
<Poor care and a too-small tank are the problems.>
And along with the frog’s strange new behavior, I’ve noticed the apple snail acting unusually. He’s always occasionally climbed all the way to the top to breath, but instead of crawling back down like he usually does; he’s started un-sticking himself and drifting back down to the bottom. There’s no discoloration of his shell or body, and there hasn’t been any change in his diet. Is this dangerous in any way to the snail or any of the other tank inhabitants?
<Yes, dying snails quickly pollute small aquaria.>
Would it harm my frogs if it were to land on them? Well, thank you for your time; I’d really appreciate any answers or advice you can give me. J
<Lots of work to do. First, buy a bigger tank. Two, install an adequate filter if you aren't using one. Do also read:
Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Strange Frog & Snail Behavior   8/2/11

Okay, thank you so much for all the information! I read the articles and they really helped. I'm going to take out the dracaena plant right away and put it in a vase or something.
<Will need soil, not too damp. Quite easy to grow, and can get very impressive. Dracaena sanderiana is typical.>
I'll consider giving the snail to my grandmother, whose tank is kept at a more suitable and stable temperature than my beta tank.
<Confused by this. Bettas need MORE stable temperatures than Apple Snails.
The thing about Apple Snails is they need to be kept cool some of the year, around 18 C/64 F, for maybe three months, and the rest of the time warmer, 25 C/77 F. Your Betta, by contrast, must be at 25-30 C/77-86 F all year around.>
And since the frogs need more space, I'll use my birthday money for a larger tank with the proper heating & filtration they need. Thanks again! :)
<Glad to help. Cheers, Neale.>

Is My Mystery Snail Checking Out? 7/14/11
Good afternoon. New snail owner here!
I have a medium sized glass tank on my work desk, no filtration system,
<Unacceptable, and the immediate cause of problems.>
not even sure of the PH and water conditions (temp is probably about 75 degrees) as I just started the tank last week with a Betta <Does need filtration (0 ammonia, nitrite) and steady water temperature at 25-28 C/77-82 F, which isn't likely unless you live in the tropics, so a heater is necessary, even somewhere "warm" like California or Southern Europe. The dry air in offices can also cause problems for Bettas, and Bettas will of course make suicidal leaps out of uncovered bowls.>
and some plants and the Mystery Snail for eating the algae (along with the small algae eater pellets I put in for extra food)
At first Applebee McFriday's was zooming around the tank in really good shape. But now, for the last two days he's been floating at the waterline, he had large white fluffy mucous thing hanging off him. I took him out, touched the shell door, he was slow to close but closed it (not all the way though). I did a water change, and I put him back in and he attached himself to the glass and made his way to the other side of the tank within 30 minutes or so. Always at the waterline with the top of his shell sticking out of the water.
Come back today and he is still waterline floating, I took him out again, he doesn't smell bad (he smells like dirt). he slowly closed his shell door but again not all the way. I put him back in and he's been floating in the middle of the tank now for about 20 minutes.
<Dying; Betta will likely follow suit in due course.>
The Betta just attacked him (which the Betta has never bothered him before he started floating) and he closed his shell door up all the way. He won't sink to the bottom though which maybe it's normal, I don't know it seems odd as he went from the bottom of the tank to the side and now he's free floating around.
I'm thinking he's dying .. But then I read about hibernation in the summer and we've had a crazy heat wave since the weekend.
<Hmm, no, you misunderstand. Aestivation, the summer pause when the pond dries up, is difficult to replicate in aquaria and isn't something you're likely to see. It's one possible reason why *healthy* Apple Snails seem to die young; without this rest, they burn out. In any event, seemingly "resting" or "lazy" snails in aquaria tend to be either genuinely resting if for just a few hours, or else dying if for days at a time.>
So now I'm not so sure. But I don't want to leave him in with the Betta if he's got something that may kill the fish too.
Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated!
Thank you!
<Do review what Bettas need, here:
5+ gallons, a heater, a filter are all non-negotiable. Healthy Apple Snails can make viable companions, but not always, and some Bettas, indeed, many fish, will nip at Apple Snails given the chance. As you'll read elsewhere at WWM, I do not recommend keeping Apple Snails with any types of fish.
Your immediate action here will likely be removing dead/dying snail, and upgrading the aquarium to a viable, humane one rather than some sort of bowl. Daily water changes of 25-50% with dechlorinated tap water will keep things safe-ish for a few days, weeks until you can buy, cycle a real aquarium. Fish are a terrible choice for office pets for reasons that should become clear after some reading, and I would urge you to reflect upon this and replace with troll, pet rock, or some other "pet" that won't place moral, ethical demands upon you. Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Is My Mystery Snail Checking Out? 7/14/11
While I totally understand what you mean about "troll" "pet rock" etc…
I would not have started this had I not known someone who has a Betta/mystery snail cohabitation in his office in a "bowl" living happily side by side for over a year now.
<And countless other Bettas kept in bowls die within a year, often a few weeks. The lifespan of a Betta kept properly is between 2-4 years. If you aren't keeping your Betta in a heated, filtered aquarium, you aren't keeping it humanely. You can rationalise all you want, but if your aquarium is smaller than 5 gallons, isn't heated, and isn't filtered, it's not a healthy, humane habitat for your Betta. End of story. Please do look over the Betta disease section of WWM to see how many messages we get from people keeping Bettas precisely the way you're describing. If I sound inflexible on this, it's because I'm having to deal with these situations weekly, and it's heart-breaking. Obviously I volunteer here because I like animals and want to see people keep their pets humanely. When people resist that, and insist on keeping their animals in what any experienced fishkeeper will tell you is the wrong way, then I feel frustrated and irritated. There's nothing morally wrong about someone keeping an animal in an inhumane way because they don't know any better. But once someone knows they're keeping their animal in a way likely to cause suffering or disease, then things change, and that person has a choice to make -- ignore those facts and carry on with what they're doing, knowing the animal has a high probability of being stressed or dying prematurely, or else to swallow their pride, spend the money, and buy a habitat with all the accessories needed to keep their pet animal humanely. Those are the two choices on the table -- your move.>
Thanks for the input!
<Glad to help and have a good weekend. Cheers, Neale.>

Question about my Apple/Mystery snails 6/3/11
Hey I have a question. I bought a apple/Mystery snail from my locate Wal-Mart and have had him for about a month now , <Are difficult to keep in the long term; do visit AppleSnail.net. Dead snails pollute the tank VERY quickly, stressing or killing remaining livestock. Best not kept with fish for a variety of practical reasons.>
well today I picked up 2 more and brought them home. After about 20 min in the tank the male snail I have had started to mate with one of the new snails. So my question to you is , it is now 12:18 at night and he has been matting with her since 3pm , are they ever going to stop having sex?
Is it OK for them to be doing this for this long?
<Not much you can do about, beyond keeping more females than males!>
I hope to hear back from you soon..Thank you
<Have fun with your snails, Neale.>

snails... Actually Crustaceans? No, snails... stkg/sel.    4/23/2011
Today I introduced two crustacea to my 10 gallon fresh water aquarium. I also have 5 Neons, three molly and three platy in the tank.
<Hmm… male Platies can be trouble in 10 gallons; would recommend 15+ if you have males, though two female Platies might be okay. Do remember both Neons and Platies prefer cool water, 22-25 C/72-75 F. Don't keep them higher than that!>
I know I am at my limit with fish, but is there a number limit recommended for crustacea living in a 10 gallon tank?
<Depends. You shouldn't keep ANY Crayfish in a community tank! But shrimps can work very well. In a 10 gallon aquarium with 6 Neons (you really should get 6 in total) and 2 female Platies could carry another 6 Cherry Shrimps without problems.>
many thanks,
Janice g.
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: snails   4/23/2011
Thank you so very much for the helpful information. I made a mistake when I stated that I had two crustacea. That is how my snails were labeled at the payout counter. I have two snails: one black and one yellow (very pretty). Allow me to correct myself: is there a limit to the number of snails suitable to a 10 gallon tank?
my best,
Janice g
<The Mystery or Apple snails (Pomacea spp.) make poor companions for fish, rarely living for more than a year, but apart from these, most other snails are very easy to keep. A couple of, for example, Nerite snails would be excellent algae eaters and all-around 10 gallon tank additions. Cheers, Neale.>

Question about Mystery Snails... sys., beh. (important elements of life history)   4/1/11
Hi, I just had a really quick question and I have searched on the web and have not found an answer. I have four Mystery Snails and want them to have a good quality life. They are quite spoiled often getting treats of apple, blue berry or grapes along with their algae wafers. Anyway I heard that Mystery Snails need a period of time spent in mud so they can "sleep"
so to speak. I have no problem doing this but, what sort of mud do I use?
Do I use potting soil or mud from my yard or what? I don't want to harm this with bad bacteria so, I really don't know what to do. Please help?
<Hello Aimee. This is a really good question. The easiest way is simply to "rest" the Apple Snails is in a slightly cooler water, maybe 18 C/64 F.
This may well be room temperature in many homes, especially in summer, which is when Apple Snails tend to become dormant. Before you need to do this, you'll notice your Apple Snails become less and less active, basically sitting around almost (but not quite) closed up. Turn the heater down, so that the water gradually cools to the required temperature. In theory, dormant Apple Snails could then be moved across to moist coir (coconut fibre, cheaply and widely sold as hard blocks at reptile shops) or perhaps peat if you can't find coir. But in all honesty, this is hard to do and most farmed Apple Snails aren't likely to survive. So I'd simply keep them cool, as stated above, and hope for the best. Change some of the water every couple of weeks. A couple of months "rest" should be adequate. After that time, turn the heater back up, or earlier if you notice the snails moving about looking for food. Now, on paper at least the farmed Apple Snail varieties should be able to go without this resting phase, but in practise they don't seem to live as long if kept active all year around.
You may want to experiment a bit and see how you go, resting some snails that become dormant while letting the others carry on if they seem happy and active. Hope this helps, 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.>

Golden Mystery Snail - Sick?   8/11/10
Around 4-5 weeks ago I purchased a golden mystery snail (which I've research is actually just mislabeled, and is an apple snail in origin?)
<The two names are used interchangeably for Pomacea species.>
After having done some research, I believe it to be a bridgesii. Anyhow! when I first bought it, I placed it directly into the 10g tank without acclimating it to the new water; I have since learned A LOT about responsible aquatic care since previous weeks fortunately. The snail seemed to be doing great, despite having an Betta in the tank with it. It was often spotted moving around frequently searching for food, sometimes climbing the tank walls to the surface for air. However, this all changed about 3 weeks ago. It eventually started slowing down and becoming
increasingly less active and more lethargic. Eventually its activities have come to a dead stop almost.
<Yes. Absolutely normal. These snails are not active all year around, and spend several months in a dormant state. They do this when it gets hot. So when we keep them at tropical temperatures, we're basically telling the
snail to get ready to get dormant. Keeping them at tropical temperatures constantly "burns them out", which is why Apple Snails ***are not*** viable additions to tropical fish tanks. They do MUCH, MUCH better in unheated tanks at room temperature, 18 C/64 F being ideal.>
Now, if its not stuck to the glass walls in one spot for days on end, its floating in the water (most of the time completely retracted in its shell, but sometimes mildly hanging the door open). Its also secreting some sort of white goo substance that sticks to the tank walls, along with its normal stool. Since its recent decline in activity, I have separated it away from the 10g and into a 1g tank by itself with marbled substrate and aquarium salt.
<No, take the salt out!>
Sadly it hasn't regained its active self yet, and is still staying in one spot against the glass for long periods of time; although its floating activities have seemingly stopped. I wasn't sure that this could be hard metals in the water (for I thought that would kill the snail quickly and not leave it lingering on) but now I'm unsure. The only other thing that is slightly scary to think about is that its mantle may have collapsed? In my research I heard that the snail can still live for weeks after having this happen, but eventually -will- kill it.
<These snails need to go dormant. Place the thing in the 1 gallon tank at room temperature. Put some peat or coconut fibre at the bottom, enough to cover the snail. Slowly lower the water level. Eventually take all the
water out. Keep the soil damp but not waterlogged. Leave it thus for 2-3 months. Then slowly fill the tank up as though the rains were returning. With luck, the snail will zip back into life. Alternatively, you can keep the snail in a filtered but unheated aquarium for that time. It will remain dormant, hopefully, but won't need to be fed until it springs back to life.>
-Snail has greatly decreased activity
-Secreting white goo
-Sometimes floats, sometimes floats with door slightly open
-Does not smell
<It's all aestivation.>
-10g tank
-Tetra 3-10g Whisper Filter
-Tetra 2-10g heater
-Average temp: Day = 83 Night = 77
-Gravel Substrate
-Chemical levels:
-----Ammonia-??? (I have a cheap strip-tester kit, which doesn't test for
ammonia sadly)
-Tank Mate: Male Betta Splendens VT
-Dechlorinated water
-Decor: Fake Plants, 2 bulb real plants, cavern and pirate ship
Uncompleted cycled 10g tank. I'm currently doing 40% water changes every 3 days with gravel vaccing. I hope I gave you enough information!
<Do read about the life cycle of Pomacea spp; it'll soon become clear why you almost never see the full-sized adults in aquaria. Cheers, Neale.>

My snail 7/20/10
I am worried about my gold mystery snail's shell.
We got it recently (from now on I'll refer to it as 'he' though we do not know his gender) from PetSmart. He is active, the ph level is between 7 and 8 (not exact) but his shell has recently been chipping or shedding - his shell was orangey gold but now it's starting to become white near the base.
<The shell will chip in acidic water, so do try to be accurate about water chemistry. Try adding the Rift Valley salt mix as outlined here:
Carbonate hardness is critical.>
I have tried adding Johnson's calcium tablets and vitamin D as it is recommended by other websites for two days and the damage might even have spread.
<Indeed. Largely pointless. You need to [a] get the right water chemistry and [b] provide some calcium-rich food, such as unshelled shrimp.>
He eats a lot of fish food. I tried floating some lettuce on the top of the water but 'he' didn't have any. He lives with 3 young goldfish. I have all the main 3 types of filters. The floor is gravel and the tank is 25 gallons. I do not want to do anything serious like putting on epoxy or eggshells as I do not know if the damage is severe.
<It's not reparable. Snails can only patch up the region where the shell is laid down, the opening. So any pitting on the shell will only get worse. You do need to fix this.>
His feelers are slightly bent. I am scared that 'he' will die as I am just beginning to raise fish and snails. I've grown so attached to him please help!
<Apple snails aren't particularly easy to keep. They need a variety of things to do well in the long term. There's a good summary here:
Yes I did find a way to delete this stupid Sent from my iPod soggy thing. I'm too lazy to go back and change that soggy to saggy. Oh well. Anyways, I bet you guys never expected anything so impossibly challenging from me. Bet you guys can't do it. Whoa that's a long saggy :) and nobody say I have too much time on my hands (Azande!) oh gosh did u know on ur iPod when u type in Azan it
Becomes Azande?
Anyways I am a fast typer. So ha.
Oh and btw I got banned from my computer/laptop SAME THING
Strange just 2 days ago I was banned from my iPod .
Deja vu.
Vu just turned into by.
Not gonna say it's strange.
<I have no idea what that was about. But okay. Cheers, Neale.>

Snail Help, Pomacea/Mystery, other induced/env. hlth. issues   3/26/10
Hello! I would appreciate any help that I can receive.
Here is my problem: My snails foot seems to have some sort of development/disease issue. His "foot" is almost dying off. I have noticed that he isn't near as chipper as when I purchased him several weeks ago as a baby. he was approx. 1/2 inch when I got him and has grown a bit since having him. He did not have this problem when I got him and I am fearing the worst for him.
<This photo is very blurry, I can't really see what's going on at all.>
I have 2 other snails. 1 is ivory 1 is an apple and he is a black.
<OK. Any fish in there? Apple snails generally do poorly with fish, and sooner or later the snails get damaged. Without exception, apple snails are best kept away from fish in their own subtropical (rather than tropical)
aquarium. Given good water conditions (i.e., filtration) small wounds heal adequately well; but serious damage to snails and indeed molluscs generally tends to be fatal, at least under aquarium conditions.>
I only noticed this problem a couple of days ago. I hadn't done a water change in two weeks and tested my water and my levels were all out of sorts..my fish and snails all seemed happy so I wasn't concerned until I decided to test prior my water change. I had put a new filter in about 2 days prior to the testing. I did a 30% water change and added API Stress Coat+ as I typically do after a change. My water has previously checked out well minus the fact that I did not realize that my snails shell deterioration was not a normal part of the life cycle I am having little luck trying to rectify the situation I added API Proper pH 7.0 to the tank just today. My fish seem rather jumpy this change and now my snail seems to have a problem am I doing something wrong. I am a novice aquarist and all help is much appreciated.
10 gallon tank
3 platys
<Not a good choice for a tank this size.>
3 Glofish
2 African dwarf frogs
and the 3 snails
2 plants (live)
Nitrate: 60
Nitrite: 2.0
<Yikes! This is lethal, and likely why a minor wound has become infected. Fix this, STAT.>
GH: 140
Chlorine: safe
KH: 40
<Much too low for the animals listed; Platies, Snails and Frogs will all do better in neutral to moderately hard water. Aim for pH 7.5, 10+ degrees dH.>
Food: (for all)
HBH frog & tadpole bites
Hikari Algae Wafers (sinking)
Tetra Min and Tetra Color fish flakes
Blood worms & Hikari Tubifex Worms
<Your tank is badly stocked with fish species that need more space. Either the filter is inadequate or immature, or else you're wildly overfeeding, but 2.0 mg/l nitrite is lethal and WILL kill these animals quickly. No hope at all for the apple snail while these bad environmental conditions are maintained. Read about the needs of your livestock prior to purchase and mature the filter before adding any livestock at all. Your problem here isn't so much disease or injury, but poor environmental conditions brought about by careless stocking of the (too small) aquarium. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Snail Help, NO2,    3/26/10
My biggest problem is that I cannot sift through all of the poor products with promises that they do not keep do you have any advice on what I should do to fix my levels?
<Your high levels of nitrite imply one, two or all three of the following:
[1] The tank is immature and the filter hasn't matured. [2] The tank is overstocked/under-filtered for the size/number many of. [3] The fish are overfed. The number of fish may not be high, but the types of fish chosen
are poor choices; Danios need at least 60 cm/24 inches swimming space, and Platy males can be very aggressive towards each other and females in very small tanks. So, if your tank is new, less than 6 weeks old, then the high
nitrite levels imply the filter hasn't matured -- or hasn't been allowed to mature. Check you have an adequate filter with a turnover rating not less than 4 times the volume of the tank. Filter media needs 6 weeks to mature, but if you don't look after the filter properly, it'll never mature. Always clean biological media gently in a bucket of aquarium water, not under a hot tap. Make sure you have enough biological media (things like sponges and ceramic noodles) and don't waste filter space with things like carbon you don't really need. In short, read here:
I was told by a couple of other aquarists in the area that this was a good combination of fish.
<Perhaps, but not in an aquarium this small.
Should I get another Smaller Aquarium?
<No, you need a bigger aquarium. As you will have learned by reading before spending money, 10 gallon tanks are a waste of money. Always have been. The price difference between a 10 and 20 gallon tank isn't that great, and a 20 gallon "long" aquarium doesn't take up much more space yet provides ample swimming space for Danios and other active fish. Consider yourself "suckered" because you fell for the lure of a 10 gallon tank without reading up first. As I've said, if you read first, you avoid wasting money. Buying a second 10 gallon tank, or God forbid an even smaller tank will be good money after bad. Cheers, Neale.>

Sorry, where I said "[2] The tank is overstocked/under-filtered for the size/number many of" I obviously edited that sentence without reading what I'd written. I meant "[2] The tank is overstocked/under-filtered for the size/number of fish".
Cheers, Neale

Mystery Snail Babies   3/17/10
I've been reading about Mystery Snail reproduction here, and have learned a lot (albeit after the fact!) about what just happened in my aquarium. I have a golden Mystery snail who was quite enamored of her blue Mystery sweetheart (who, sadly, passed last week), and now I have about 40 Mystery miniatures in my 10 gallon tank. Honestly, as the two adults were in the tank for close to six months with no offspring, I didn't actually think it
would happen.
<Does depend on the temperature and the season. Pomacea spp. snails generally do best kept cool for a few months and then warmed up for summer, much as if they were in the wild. When kept constantly warm or constantly cold, they never really do well.>
My question now is this: how long can I wait before I separate these babies out of the tank?
<It's best to raise the baby snails away from fish, at least until they're about 1 cm in shell width.>
The fish population doesn't seem to be bothering with them - I have a pair of guppies, a Cory, and 8 assorted Tetras - so I'm not anxious to go searching for all the teeny babies just yet.
<Depends what you want from life. If you want rear a whole bunch of them so you can sell them or share them with your friends, then rearing them alone ensures all the snails get plenty to eat. Even if they don't get eaten by the fish they're with, some will surely starve, and you'll likely find out of 40 baby snails you end up with half a dozen of sellable size.>
On the other hand, how long will it be before they start multiplying again?
<Sexually maturity is attained within 3-4 months, at which point their shells should be about as wide as your thumb.>
I'd like to segregate them to their own tank before that happens.
<Overbreeding is almost never a problem with Pomacea spp. because the snail eggs are laid above the waterline, usually on the hood. Check once a week, and if you see the red, raspberry-like egg clusters, just scrape them off.
Problem solved.>
On another note, I have two Betas in large bowls with live plants. Would a snail baby do well in each of those, or should they be in a filtered/heated tank?
<I don't understand the either/or bit. You CANNOT keep a Betta in an unheated tank, and really the tank for a Betta should be filtered too. If you're keeping a Betta in a bowl without a filter and without a heater, you'll soon have a dead Betta. Yes, I know people sell them in cups, but that's wrong of them. Bettas need, at minimum, a 5 gallon tank. Unless you're changing 50% of the water daily, you need a filter. Ammonia and nitrite levels must be zero. If you live in the tropics and water temperature is a balmy 28 C/82 F, then you don't need a heater. But if it's
cooler than that, e.g., inside a centrally heated home, then the Betta MUST have a heater. Forgive me if I misunderstood your question here, but it just looks to me like you're keeping Bettas in unheated tanks, and outside
of the tropics (or a specially heated fish room) that's just wrong. Do read here:
Thanks for your help!
<Cheers, Neale.>

Snail sacks won't hatch 1/6/2010
Our Mystery snail has laid 7 sacks of eggs on the glass in our tank. The first 2 sacks were laid mid November and still have not hatched. One sack was laid mid December and hatched in about 2 weeks. I saw about 5 or 6 babies for a few days and now I don't see any.
<Two main reasons. Firstly, if the water is too cold, the snails will simply die. Bear in mind these are subtropical animals, and you simply can't expect them to reproduce at room temperature (unless you live in the subtropics, of course!). If you're anywhere wintery, then forget it.
Secondly, hatchling snails also need suitable food. Algae is the prime food, together with decaying organic matter. On top of this, review water chemistry (needs to be hard and alkaline) and any tankmates (shouldn't be any, at all).>
The last sack was laid 1 week ago. So, we still have 6 sacks that have not hatched yet. Can a snail lay many infertile sacks?
<Unlikely, but if the air is cold, they won't develop.>
The tank condition seems fine for laying eggs, but maybe not for hatching them? I have seen a drop of water hanging off the bottom of 2 of the sacks.
Is that bad?. We really want some baby snails, but honestly, the tank is getting so full of yuck at the bottom, we need to clean it.
<Indeed, but don't go bananas, since a certain amount of organic matter is precisely what these snails eat. A simple air-powered sponge filter should do the trick, and algae and infusoria will grow on the sponge and that's what the snails will eat. Use a turkey baster to pipette out detritus as/when seen on the bottom of the tank in between the weekly water changes.>
Filters are only lasting a week now because they are getting clogged. We also have 5 "Glo" fish, 2 placastamus and a gold fish in the tank. Should we just get rid of all the sacks, clean the tank and let the snails lay more later?
<Depends what you're after. You can't breed Apple snails in an aquarium with fish, that's a given. But there's nothing to stop you putting any baby snails you find into a breeding trap and hoping they don't crawl out. Most *will* crawl out and get eaten by the Goldfish and catfish, but a few might survive long enough. Otherwise, yes, you'll need a 5+ gallon aquarium with a heater and a sponge filter to breed Apple snails. It isn't difficult -- done so many times -- but there are things you need to have set up first to be successful.>
Thanks for your time,
<Cheers, Neale.>

Seriously sick gold mystery snail   12/7/09
Hey there.
I have been through your site a thousand times and it has helped me so much but it seems that I have a rather strange problem.
I have a 5 gallon tank with two gold mystery snails, an Oto, and two wild mosquitofish.
<Right. I see. Well, this isn't going to work in the long term. Mosquitofish (Gambusia spp.) are incredibly aggressive and nippy, and they'd be a threat to something like an Apple Snail. Otocinclus are *schooling* fish, and singletons last even less time than groups of them (they're delicate fish unsuitable for small tanks, despite what retailers might suggest). The mortality rate of Otocinclus would astound you. Keep in groups of six or more, in mature tanks 15 gallons or bigger, and make sure the water isn't too warm and there's plenty of oxygen.>
I know that wild fish are bad to have in a tank, but they were the only reason that I got a tank in the first place.
<No, wild fish aren't bad to keep at all. Indeed, they can be lots of fun. What doesn't work so well is mixing wild and farmed fish without first planning carefully. Imagine keep a wolf cub with a Chihuahua.>
I have had my snails for about 6 months now and they have been doing very well.
<Pomacea spp. snails often do well for up to 12 months, but then they invariably give up the ghost. In the wild they can live several years, 4 or more, but they do so by "resting" for a few months each year in a mud burrow. This is the bit people find it difficult to do in captivity. You can sort of mimic it by keeping them cool for part of the year, but really, the best bet is to remove them and place them in damp sand or coir for a couple of months. Store somewhere adequately warm (around 18-20 C should be fine) and then wake them up gently by slowing filling up the container with water. Now, even if your Apple snail is doing fine kept warm all year around, it won't live as long as an Apple snail that snoozes for a few months of the year.>
They started out about as wide as the top half of my thumb, and now they are longer than my entire thumb. So recently I noticed that my smaller one has been getting really sick.
<Unfortunately, once Apple snails are sick or damaged, they often die (and decay) very quickly. Mosquitofish are precisely the sorts of "nibblers" that would damage their antennae, and it's not a long step from their to a dying snail.>
They both go from active to lethargic which I have taken as normal, but my poor snail looks terrible. I am afraid that he is separating from his shell.
<They cannot do this voluntarily; if the body is "loose", it's dying.>
I used to see a pink patch through his shell that I assumed was where he was connected to it, and that spot is gone now. He is hanging half in and half out of shell, but a LOT farther than normal. I can see a ring of his flesh about a half inch out farther than usual, that I am afraid should be in his shell.
<Do also review water chemistry. Soft, acidic water is dangerous to these animals.>
There also seems to be a large bubble under his skin that is now hanging out. He is in a quarantine tank that is 1 gal, half full of very fresh water. I am afraid that he may not make through the next couple of days… I would send pics but the tank sides create a funhouse effect that would be of no help at all. Thanks for your help, EB
<There's a very good Apple snail site, here:
They have a forum as well as lots of articles, so you might find it well worth getting a second opinion there. Cheers, Neale.>

Mystery snails, sys. water quality  – 11/10/09
Got one quick question, am i supposed to have a few extra empty shells in my tank for the mystery snails when they start to grow?
<No, though if you live in a soft water area, adding a few seashells is a good idea. They'll buffer the water a bit, and the snails will chew them to extract the calcium carbonate they need.>
or does the shell grow with the snail?
<Yes, indeed, this is what happens.>
<Cheers, Neale.>

Ivory Mystery Snail, beh.   9/14/09
To the Crew,
I have a small 1/2 inch Ivory Mystery Snail. We have a large snail shell, in the tank for decoration. Our little snail has climbed in and hasn't come out for a day. Can it be stuck?
It's been in there before, but never that far. We can see the end of it's shell way in there but don't know what to do. Any thoughts?
<Try and get the Mystery Snail out. Animals can suffocate inside shells, and I've even lost a Corydoras that way.>
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Ivory Mystery Snail 09/15/09
Thanks Neale,
It was finally able to get out on it's own. We'll be sure to remove the large shell from our tank.
<Sounds wise.>
Thank you for your quick reply.
<Happy to help.>
<Cheers, Neale.>

Saving Snaily  6/20/09
<Hi there Tamara>
I have read through a great deal on your sight about what could be wrong with my Ivory mystery snail and what to do to treat him, but cannot find a similar description to what is happening to my snail.
Yesterday morning I found him lying on the bottom of the aquarium half hanging out of his shell.
I have a 41 gallon aquarium with 2 ivory mystery snails, 1 Ryukin, and 1 Oranda. All have lived together in harmony for the last 6 months. I do 30% water changes once a week and the current temp is 74 degrees. Anyway, I thought he was dead so I scooped him out right away. Not being completely sure if he was dead I put him in a 1.5 gallon quarantine tank.
Long and behold his little antennas were slowly moving and he stuck his syphon up. I noticed he had some gravel substrate stuck to his flesh so I gently removed that with my finger. 5 minutes later I noticed more gravel on him that was not there earlier (I have no gravel in the quarantine tank). So I removed the gravel again and while doing that noticed him pushing out another pc from inside his shell so I removed that as well.
Then I noticed a small amount of white 'goo' for lack of a better term come out of his syphon. The goo had some very tiny clear bubbles in it. This is the one and only time he has had this goo. He has been in the quarantine tank for about a day and half and he is just so sick. I have been trying to keep the water in the quarantine tank clean since it is so small, but he still in not improving. He is very very weak. He is moving sooooooooo slow and is just stuck to the side of the tank at the top. When I remove some of the water to add more clean water (treated with Aqua Plus tap water conditioner and Cycle) he falls half out of his shell or completely falls off the side of the glass when the water level goes below his shell. Once the water level is up again he painstakingly slowly climbs back up to the top of the water line and just sits there. I put in a small piece of lettuce for a couple of hours just in case he felt hungry, but he just ignored it so I removed it. Do you please have any remedies I can try to help him feel better. I am not certain it is a water quality issue since the other (larger) ivory mystery snail is doing terrific. I have no ammonia or nitrites registering on the tests I am doing and PH is just about 8. Please help me figure out how to make this little guy feel better! Much thanks, Tamara
<I wish I knew what specifically was wrong here, but I don't... perhaps your one snail has an internal issue, some genetic predisposition. You did the right thing by removing it to the small, quarantine system... and I would continue to leave it there, and change a good deal of the water every few days... with water from the main system... and offer foods per your reading here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwsnailfdgfaqs.htm
and do take solace from reading the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Snail Questions, Mystery, sys., sel.  04/21/09
Great site! Now I just have to find the time to ready through it all. So far I think it's the best one out there.
<Thank you.>
I am setting up a 10 gallon tank for the first time. I have a Mystery Snail that I rescued from a Betta Bowl where he was being harassed. So the snail will be part of my 10 gallon community. A friend gave me an old
10 gallon tank, but nothing else. Researching what I need I thought the "Eclipse 1" would be good, however I'm concerned about how it works.
Tank Question:
I have not seen the eclipse 1 yet, but if the filters work from the top, doesn't the water have to be topped off for it to work?
<Don't know this filter myself, but you should see a "minimum" waterline somewhere on the filter. Usually, the water is about keeping the motor from overheating more than anything else. Anyway, if the water is below this line, it's unsafe.>
Don't snail need at least 1" of air space for their respiration?
Reference From: www.peteducation.com
Respiration: Snails of the Ampullariidae family have both gills and a lung.
They use a siphon, much like a snorkel, which the snail can extend out to the water surface allowing the snail to breathe while submerged. Therefore, in an aquarium setting, there should be two to four inches of open air space above the waterline to provide the snail with open air to breathe.
The siphon of the Pomacea genus is typically longer than the length of the snail's body.
<Contrary to what people imagine, Apple Snails actually aren't good additions to fish tanks. There are multiple reasons, two of which are the need for air and the tendency many fish have of nipping at the Apple
Snails. But Apple Snails are also seasonal creatures that spend part of the year in "hibernation", usually during summer when the water level is low.
Without a resting phase, they simply burn out, which is why so few Apple Snails ever get as big in captivity as they do in the wild.>
Snail Health Questions:
The snail has not been looking good since he was being harassed. Now he has a lot of white cloudy stuff all over his shell and a lot of gooey stuff coming out of him all the time. He also is very inactive. Is he dying?
<Quite possibly. Once damaged, Apple Snails are prone to dying, which is why I recommend people keep them in their own quarters, away from fish.
That way, you can control all the variables. Prevention is definitely better than cure.>
Will it be safe to add him to the tank or is he too sick?
<I wouldn't; a lump of rotting snail meat wouldn't help water quality one bit. Much better to leave it in a reasonably large bucket (say, 3-5 gallons) with an airstone, and see what happens. Assuming it's not too cold where you live, you might not even need a heater.>
Any idea what is wrong with him and how I can help him recovery.
<Snail medicine is very much in its infancy! So far as we can tell, Apple Snails are either in rude health or dying; there isn't much in between.>
I've tried searching for the answers, but wasn't having any luck and I want to get the tank setup this week if possible.
Thank you for your time & knowledge,
<Hope this helps, Neale.>
Re: Snail Questions
Hi Neale,
Your answers were very helpful - thank you for your time.
<My pleasure. Good luck! Neale.>

Mystery Snail Mating... beh., sys.  - 03/06/09
I bought two gold mystery snails the other day and tossed them in my 10 gallon tank with some zebra Danio. A few days later I noticed they were mating. After a few hours I returned to find that one snail had buried itself under the gravel almost completely (see attached photo) (you have to zoom in on the center under the bridge). Is this normal? What is going on?
I thought they laid their eggs above the water line. Should I dig the snail up? Thanks for you help!
My info: 10 gallon tank, over the back filter, water temp at 74 degrees, live Micro Sword Grass (Liaeopsis novae-zelandiae),
pH 6.8 - 7.4, lighting on timer for day and night modes.
<Greetings. Your Pomacea is likely attempting to aestivate, i.e., to enter its normal resting phase. In the wild, Apple snails live a life that involves a few months of dormancy each year. The reason they don't survive in tropical aquaria for more than a year is because aquarists deny them this. Kept active for more than 12 months they usually "burn out". So what should you do? Ideally, you'd remove the snail, place it in a container with some wet mud, and let it snooze for at least a month somewhere, taking care that it (and the mud) stayed damp. You could then try and wake the snail up by placing the snail in a bucket and partially covering it with water from the aquarium. Don't cover it with water or throw it into the aquarium just yet, or it will drown! If the snail starts moving about (this may take some hours, because it's in "suspended animation") you're good to go, and can put the snail in the aquarium. The alternative is to leave the snail in your aquarium even though its resting. Sometimes this does no harm, but sooner or later, Apple snails do die when kept going all the time, which is why you never see the full sized (tennis ball sized!) specimens in pet shops or home aquaria. By the way, your pH variations are insanely dangerous, and need to be looked into. Remember, one "step" on the pH scale means a ten-fold increase in acidity or alkalinity. So while 6.8 to 7.4 doesn't sound much, it's actually a huge change, and quite possibly one that is stressful to your fish and snails. Review the carbonate hardness of the water, and check that you're doing sufficient water changes to dilute the nitrate and organic acids in the water. A 10-gallon tank is really too small for Danios, so I'm concerned you have an overstocked, under-filtered system. Cheers, Neale.>

Snails reproducing or fighting? 11/20/08
<Hi Sanea>
I purchased a gold mystery snail and a black mystery snail about five days ago. They are in a 10 gallon tank with two platy fish and three mollies.
Yesterday I found the gold snail (the larger of the two), on top of the black snail, with a portion of its body on the body of the black snail. The black snail seemed to try to close itself up inside of its shell, but was unable to do so because the gold snail remained attached. The gold snail tried to twist and tended to turn the black snail onto its side. I got concerned that the twisting was going to rip the shell off of the black snail, so I separated the snails. After separating the snails, about two minutes later, the snails were on the glass of the tank and the golden snail was on the shell of the black snail again. Once again the golden snail was twisting the shell of the black snail and really looked like it was stretching the membrane that attached the shell to the snails body. I detached the snails from one another again out of fear that the weight of the larger snail would kill the black snail, by tearing the shell off. My question is, are these snails mating or trying to kill each other?
<Mating would be my guess... most animals haven't quite perfected the art as well as humans. Some "conflicts" arise... sometimes it looks like fighting. Nothing to worry about though...>
I thought snails were peaceful creatures.
<So are frogs generally... but have you seen them during mating season?
Breeding tends to make even "peaceful" animals a bit aggressive.>
If they are harming one another, do I need to separate them? If they are mating, will the fish in the tank eat the babies? These fish ate the molly babies earlier this week.
<The fish will likely eat the eggs before you ever even see them. If you're interested in breeding snails, you'll have to put them in a separate tank. Otherwise, the eggs aren't bad fish food. ;-)>
Sara M.
P.S. This is a nice site for Ampullariidae:

Snail tank water quality issues... 10/23/08
Hi everyone,
I have a 10g tank set up for 4 apple snails. I'm pretty sure they're P. bridgesi. Here's the set up.
Hydro Lustar Sponge filter I hooked to a Rena Air 3 pump and an air stone so I get 40GPH.
Rena Air 50W heater set to 77 degrees F
Standard aquarium gravel and some fake plants and décor
Limnobium Spongia floating on top
<All sounds good, but do remember Apple Snails will not live more than a year if kept warm all year around. It's difficult to accommodate this in the aquarium, which is why aquarium specimens rarely last a year in captivity, compared with 3-4 years in the wild. You could try removing them to a bucket of muddy water in early summer and then slowly remove the water, encouraging the snails to become dormant. Store them thus for a few months. Some aquarists have got the snails to go dormant by cooling the tank to around 18 C or slightly less, and when the snails stop moving about leave the tank running like that for at least a couple of months. Sure, this sounds like a lot of work, but full grown (tennis ball-sized) Apple Snails are very impressive.>
Everyone seems happy, but here are the numbers:
NH3/4=0, NO2=0, NO3= 5.00, pH=6.8, KH=40, GH=25
<Slightly on the acidic side, but not critical.>
Mainly what I'm concerned about is KH and GH. I'm concerned that these aren't high enough to support good shell growth and protection. After reading the FAQ section, I tried putting 3 small pieces of Cuddle bone in the tank, but after 24 hours the numbers are the same.
<Cuttlebone isn't really what you want here. Instead try using a Malawi Salt mix to harden the water. You can make your own, very cheaply, literally pennies per water change, using marine salt mix plus two things from the shops. Here's one mix, per 5 gallons/20 litres:
1 teaspoon baking soda (sodium bicarbonate)
1 tablespoon Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate)
1 teaspoon marine salt mix (sodium chloride + trace elements)
Give you don't need incredibly hard water, even 50% the dose listed here should work just fine.>
I know better than to mess to much with things like pH, because stable is better, but one of the snails appears to have a small area of pitting in his shell and I don't want it to get to a level where it's harming him. Also, I'm nervous that an entire 4? cuddle bone in a 10G tank will throw the whole system out of whack. So, if you guys have any hints on what to do, or not to do for my snails, I'd appreciate it.
<Take the cuttlebone out and replace with the mix listed above. Note that sea salt alone isn't the thing, but the combination of mostly Epsom salt, a bit of baking powder, and a bit of salt that does the hardening.>
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Snail tank water quality issues... 10/23/08
When you say, slowly remove the water, do you mean until there's no water in
the bucket?
<Pretty much. There's really no sure fire way to keep Apple Snails alive for their full lifespan in captivity. As I say, almost all die within the first year or so. So I'd recommend reading up on Apple Snails (there are numerous web sites as well as an excellent book by Perera & Walls) and experimenting. Breeding Apple Snails (if you want to) is easy, so you'll soon get dozens of youngsters to play around with. Bear in mind what the aim is -- getting the snails to "aestivate" -- and work from there. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Snail tank water quality issues... 10/23/08
Sorry for the trouble but I was re-reading your answer and want to be sure. In one place you say baking soda and in another you say baking powder. Baking powder has (usually) crème of tartar in it. Which did you mean?
<Ah, my mistake. Baking soda: sodium bicarbonate.>
<Sorry for the confusion. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Snail tank water quality issues... 10/23/08
One last thing, I promise. Do you think I should use this solution in my other two tanks as well? One is a 10g with a Crowntail Betta, and the other is a 55g with 5 African Clawed Frogs.
<Shouldn't be necessary for these fish. Neither Bettas nor Frogs particularly need hard water conditions. So if they're happy now, leave 'em be. The "magic potion" you're making is all about making water harder and more alkaline. Snails like that sort of water, as do certain types of fish: livebearers, goldfish, Rift Valley cichlids, Central American cichlids and so on.>
Thanks again!
<Cheers, Neale.>

Follow up on Snail tank water quality issues...  10/25/08
Hi again,
So, I changed the water yesterday and replaced it with the Malawi Salt Mix you recommended. The water certainly got harder and I thought everything was ok. Then, this afternoon all of the snails were racing about with their siphons out. I tested the water. The numbers were:
And no chlorine.
Thinking GH of 300 might be too high, I did a water change and used the Salt Mix at 50% the dose per 5g, then tested again. pH came down to 7.8 but GH and KH remained largely unchanged. The snails stopped racing about but they all are stretching their siphons farther than I've seen before. They're not going to the surface, mind you. Just stretching them out. I don't know what else to test. Do they not like the salt? Am I worried for nothing?
Thanks in advance.
<Hello Laura, It's unwise to completely change all the water at once. Forgive me if I didn't make that clear. What one normally does when changing water chemistry is to stick with your normal water change routine (e.g., 25% per week) but with each new batch of water that goes in, add the salt mix. So over the weeks the water will steadily become harder and more alkaline. In any case, if the snails aren't at the surface "gasping", and are otherwise active and feeding normally, I wouldn't be too concerned. Going by your numbers, a 50% dose should be ample. Cheers, Neale.>
Ok, thanks.
<Most welcome. Cheers, Neale.>

Mystery snail babies...but no mate  4/6/08
Hi guys, it's been awhile! (Our clowns, Maria and Carlos, are doing great!) I have two beta fish in separate 5 gallon tanks, with one plastic decoration in each tank. About four months ago I got what was labeled as golden mystery/apple snails, and placed one in each tank. I figured mystery snails would be a good choice because I didn't want a ton of baby snails going around.
<Ah, I see where this is going...>
Anyway, these snails have not been with another snail for these past four months, and while the snail in The Professor's tank is still solitary, suddenly I'm seeing A TON of baby snails in Xavier's tank. I was under the impression these snails were sexual and needed a mate to reproduce.
<Correct; they are not parthenogenic, though like most snails they are hermaphrodites.>
Will you take a look at these photos and tell me if these are in fact a breed different from the mystery/apple snail? Thank you!
<Yes, this are indeed baby Pomacea. The snail you had must have stored a packet of sperm since it was last with another snail. Squish the babies if you don't want them, but otherwise they're easy to rear, and pet shops happily take them.>
<Cheers, Neale.>

Black Mystery Snail, hlth.   7/5/07
Hello to the operators of WWM,
I found your site using Google because I was searching for information on injuries to black mystery snails. I tried to do as you requested and search the listings, but I couldn't find an answer to my specific issue. I found my snail this afternoon leaning back with his door wide open.
His body was exposed and I thought that perhaps he had been eaten by my shark. However, when I removed him from the water and touched his exposed body he attempted to close the door, so I suspect that he is still alive. This is when I noticed what the problem was. Although his muscle (body?) is still attached to the door, the hinge part where it attaches to the shell is broken. I set him back inside the tank upright, but I am concerned that he will not be able to open the door and crawl around to get air or to eat. Is this injury fatal and if not, what can I do to assist him in his recovery?
<To start with, apple snails are only very rarely good additions to a tank with fish. Small fish peck at them, bigger fish bite them. Either way, the snail gets damaged. When a snail "gapes" as you're describing, it is usually very sick. A healthy snail will either be moving about or closed up tightly -- there's nothing in between. Just like buying clams or mussels from the fishmongers, really. But there are some other factors to consider. For one thing, apple snails naturally aestivate for part of the year, and one reason they don't last long in aquaria is they don't get this resting period. The common species are also subtropical rather than tropical, so if the tank is too warm, that will stress them. It's important it has ample breathing space above the tank, to the degree that it can crawl out of the water if it wants. Water chemistry is very important, as these snails (like most others) prefer water that is hard and alkaline. Snails cannot really repair damage to their shells or operculum because of the way these structures are laid down by the mantle (the shell secreting tissue). At best, they can patch up the area near the growing margin. So I doubt your snail will "repair" its operculum (the trapdoor) if the damage is severe. I'd highly recommend moving your apple snail to a hospital tank. A dead snail rapidly pollutes the aquarium, and you don't want that. In the meantime, try and get hold of Perera & Walls (1996) 'Apple Snails in the Aquarium' by TFH -- possibly the single best book for the science and husbandry of these (and other) aquarium snails.>
Thank you for your assistance,
<You're welcome.>
<Cheers, Neale>

Dead Snail  4/22/07
<Hi Jen, Pufferpunk here (my name's Jeni too!)>
I got home tonight and went to feed the fish in my 10 gal and saw my Ivory Mystery Snail's shell on the floor of the tank. He is up in the corner...not moving at all. I think he might be dead but I don't want to give up on him. He has only been in there a month or so and was doing fine. The only thing I did differently today then any other day was clean the tank...I am hoping the stress of that did not make him come out of his shell and if he is still alive, for how long and will his shell grow back?
<I'd take him out ASAP!  There is nothing that will foul your tank & kill everything in it, faster then a dead snail!  You can tell, because they have the worst odor you'll ever smell in your life.  Snails do not crawl out of their shell & then make another one.  How did you "clean" the tank exactly?  (Please be sure to use proper capitalization in your letters.  I corrected this one for you, so we can post it in our FAQs.)  ~PP>
Thank you so much!!  Jen

Re: Ivory Mystery Snail  - 04/22/07
Hi Pufferpunk,
<Hi Jen>
I used a sponge & cleaned all the green algae off the sides. We had an infestation of "the little snails that won't die." Not sure what they are called, they showed up when I put the plants in. I totally cleaned the tank and got the Ivory Mystery Snail. That's when the green algae showed up. I think the little snails kept it in check. I am not sure what to do, he is still moving...kinda...
<The snail  cannot live without a shell.  He will only pollute the tank.  I deleted your message with the pictures.  They were overloading our bandwidth --way too large.  ~PP>
Thank you SOOO much, Jen

Re: Ivory Mystery Snail. Euthanizing a Snail  4/22/07
So, Should I just take him out of the tank? What is the most humane way to take care of him? I re-sized the pics, I hope they work. Jen
<I did see the earlier picks, just couldn't leave them here or post them in our FAQs.  You could freeze the snail body in a Baggie with tank water.  ~PP>

Re: Ivory Mystery Snail. Getting Rid of Pond Snails  4/22/07
Thank you for all your help. I opened the tank tonight and he was right at the opening and MAN did he smell bad. He was no longer moving and when I touched him with the fish net he just fell off. So I flushed him.
<I'd do a 50% water change now.  That dead snail has been polluting your tank.>
I think I am done with snails for now. Now if I could just get the "snails that won't die" to go away I would be a lot happier. Any ideas on that?
<Now begins the tedious job of picking them out 1 by 1.  As soon as you see any eggs, scrape them off.  ~PP>

Black Mystery snail in trouble   4/9/07
  I have had a 5 gallon tank with a cherry barb, a zebra Danio, and a black mystery snail for over a year.  The snail has grown to almost the size of the palm of my hand
<Is not a "Mystery" snail then... maybe a "Baseball", "Apple"... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwsnails.htm>
and is usually very healthy.  This weekend, my husband and I went out of town and left a weekend feeder in the tank.
<Most of these are white, chunky masses of dubious food value, not-so-doubtful sources of outright pollution...>
We've had warm weather for the past few weeks and were not aware of the cold front that was moving in over the weekend.  The central air was on, instead of the heat, and I am not sure how cold it got in the house. When we returned, the temperature of the water in the tank was reading below 64 degrees,
<The tank itself should have a heater...>
and our little pets did not appear to be doing so well.  The zebra Danio was fine, the cherry barb was stuck in an overturned decoration at the bottom of the tank, and the black mystery snail was curled up, half in and half out of his shell at the bottom of the tank.  We rescued the cherry barb, and he seems to be returning to normal, but the snail is not looking very good.  For several hours he remained in the same position (the only thing moving were his antennae and I could not tell whether he was alive or the water current was just moving them around).
<You'll know if this animal perishes... They have a signature stench... plus the poor behavior of its tankmates>
He began to unfold very slowly, but seemed to be caught in the same position with his shell resting on the bottom of the tank and his foot facing the wall of the tank, unable to turn himself right side up. The next time I saw him, he was further out of his shell, but there was a large (about the size of a quarter) air bubble under part of his skin.
<Bad sign... decomposition>
  It seems that the air bubble is keeping him trapped in that position, but I think he is too heavy to float to the top.  The skin around the air bubble seems to be thinning, and he looks like he's about to pop.  We brought him to the surface of the water, to see if he would let the air bubble out, but he folded himself over and the air was trapped in.  He is obviously alive for now, but I am worried he might not be for long.  Is there anything we can do?  Thank you so much for this site, and for your help,
<May be for naught... but I might try "popping" this bubble area (with a straight pin)... to release the gas. Bob Fenner>

A sick freshwater tank (Betta and unknown snail)    1/14/07
<Hey Lucy, JustinN with you today.>
I have read your FAQs on snails and Bettas and searched for information generally on the web and could still use some guidance on my sick tank if someone please has any time!
<Of course, Lucy. Is what we're here for.>
I have one Betta who I've had for nearly a year now. I've just got him back from a friend who kept him for me while I was away for 6 weeks, and had to clean out a lot of moldy food from the bottom of the bowl. Now he has a spot on his forehead that looks like it's lost it's scale and there's even a bit of blood showing. There are also two opaque scales on one side (not visible in the photo, but could possibly be related to the spot on his head). This does not look like fin rot to me, nor Ich, and, as it's a round bowl with a live plant, I can't think of how he could have cut himself to invite a fungal infection.
<Mmm, is none of the above. The symptoms you describe are likely completely environmental. Bowls are not really appropriate for the keeping of Bettas, they really need a space more in the range of 2 to 3 gallons minimum, with some sort of adequate filtration and heating provided. Stability is the key here, and a bowl simply does not provide that. Please read through here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm and the files linked in blue above.>
I use an anti-bacterial already in the bowl (have tried both 'Betta Fix' and 'Broad Spectrum Medication for Fish' - the latter includes mafenide HCl, Aminacrine HCl and malachite green), and I keep a lamp over the top to keep him warm.
<When you say that you already use an anti-bacterial agent in the bowl, do you mean that you are always prophylactically treating your Betta? This is not a good idea, it will weaken the immune system of your Betta when being used unnecessarily, and when coupled with the small, unstable environment, this leads me to believe that your Betta is living in a very uncycled system. See here for more on tank cycling: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm and the files linked in blue above.>
Should I give him a salt bath and, if so, won't it hurt the open wound he seems to have? I'd hate to try it for the first time with fatal consequences!
<Your problem is not a disease, Lucy. You need to get your Betta into appropriate quarters, and he will perk right back up in no time!>
Secondly, a few days ago I purchased a snail (not sure what type, possibly a smooth turban snail, judging from the pictures in Google?).
<Looks like a common 'Apple snail' to me.>
He lies inert all day, either closed or partly open, like in the attached picture, with lots of mucous coming off him.
<Not good.>
Usually in the mornings, I find him floating at the surface of the tank, like his shell has filled with air.
<Also not good.>
I read that it hurts snails to be on their backs, so have been pulling him out so the air comes out and dropping him back in the tank, right-way up. I've changed the water once in a few days and am happy to do it again, but if there's something that's upsetting both snail and Betta, I'd like to fix them both (especially if the tank/conditions is the problem). Would adding salt help them both, for instance, or would that help the Betta but not the snail?
<Adding salt to the bowl would completely kill your snail, which is likely on its way out anyway. By adding the snail to this already unstable environment, which is complete with medications in the water, you have poisoned it and likely doomed it. Most, if not all, effective medications will harm or kill invertebrate life. I recommend you remove the snail before it gets any worse, chances are its already losing the battle. Next, at least in the interim, perform 25 to 50% water changes in your bowl every couple of days until you can equip yourself with an aquarium with proper filtration and heating, and begin its cycling process. Fix your environment, and you'll fix your Betta right up!>
Any help would be most appreciated!
<I apologize if I've been a bit of a downer here, Lucy, but knowledge is crucial. Aquarium salt may help your Betta in small amounts, but I would be wary of trying to balance salt content in a bowl, as small and unstable as it would be. I certainly hope this helps you out! -JustinN>

Re: A sick freshwater tank (Betta and unknown snail)  1/14/07
Hi Justin -
Not a downer at all! An answer is just what I needed. Thanks so much for getting back to me, will work on the environment!
<Excellent, glad to hear it.>
Many thanks,
<Do keep in touch, Lucy! Good luck! -JustinN>

Re: Tom: Snail update and hang-on filter trick  - 12/04/06
Hello Tom,
<<Hello again, Rachel.>>
I wanted to update you on the cuttlefish bone addition for my mystery snail.
<<Updates are always welcome, Rachel.>>
The bone seems to be very slowly dissolving into the water, and his shell has stopped deteriorating. The tank's pH has not changed. Once in a while I notice the snail munching while on the bone, but I couldn't say whether he's munching the bone or a bit of algae off the surface. I don't see any tell-tale teeth marks. Worth noting, though, is the fact that he did chew with gusto on one of those terrible plaster "vacation feeders." The pet store had run out of automatic feeders... thankfully I got my family to bring me an automatic feeder just in time for break, and I pulled the awful plaster thing out of my tank! But anyway, the bone seems to have served its purpose.
<<I’ve never used a vacation feeder but, since plaster is largely composed of calcium sulfate, perhaps yours wasn’t so “terrible” after all or, at the least, your snail knows something we don’t. :) >>
I also wanted to pass on a trick I discovered for my Whisper Micro in-tank filter. My tank is a MiniBow kit and I've written in before about a few modifications that can be made to these kits to make them quieter and healthier. One more! I had some leftover filter sponge from covering the intake of the filter, so I slipped a piece behind the filter body. It helps keep the filter from resting on the tank wall (which it's not supposed to do anyway; the suction cup is supposed to prop it up but it's too flat) so the vibrations and noise are greatly reduced. I also padded the hook that hangs the filter from the tank's lip with a bit of sponge. Sounds much better! And it feels better too now that the tank isn't vibrating, for me since this tank sits on my desk, and hopefully for Terrence the Betta inside too.
<<I like your thinking, Rachel. Thanks for passing this along to us and the rest of our readers.>>
Thanks for your help, Tom!
<<Happy to have been of assistance, Rachel, and thanks for the nice update and tip. My best to you. Tom>>

Oranda Goldfish and Mystery Snails   8/24/06
Hello WetWebMedia Crew!
<Me Bob, you Jane>
First of all, I am very impressed by your website. I am new to the aqua world, and I found so much useful information here.
<Ah, good>
Here is my story. Four months ago, I got a ten gallon tank, cycled it for about a week with filter, water conditioner and then got a small Oranda.
<Mmmm, likely needed to cycle longer...>
Everything was going well, he was eating well and growing fast. I was feeding him flakes, sinking pellets and peas or spinach. I was also fascinated with mystery snails, so I got five
of them from my LFS.
For a while, everybody looked good and healthy. Then, one of the snails stopped moving around. I separated him from the rest but he died few days later.
One by one, three more snails died. I think that one of them was in the tank for a while before I noticed that it has died. I should mention that I was changing water more or less every day, about 2 gallons each time. But when the snails got sick, the water turned smelly and greenish and I had to do water changes twice a day.
<Oh, yes>
Ammonia levels were good according to the color chart. Then one morning I found my Oranda on the bottom of the tank, not moving much and not interested in food which was
unusual for him. I continued to do water changes, then went to my LFS and they suggested Maracyn 2 medication.
<... for?>
Got that, took the filter out and started medicating. By then, Oranda was gulping for air all the time, and the water was slimy. Yesterday I found my Oranda dead. He was beautiful. Do you think he got sick because of the snails?
<To a large extent, yes... their deaths likely poisoned the water, increased stress levels too high, too fast>
Is it a bad idea to have mystery snails with goldfish?
<Mmmm, no... "like" about the same water quality, not predaceous with each other... But both need to be healthy, fed...>
Is it possible to have both and keep them healthy? I appreciate your advice. Thank you!
<Yep... please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwsnails.htm
and here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Re: Oranda Goldfish and Mystery Snails  8/25/06
Thank you, Bob.
<Welcome Jane>
<LFS... the other applies to stony corals...>
guy recommended Maracyn 2 for dropsy after I described my situation to him just as I did it to you.
<... okay>
I have to confess, I got four more snails right before my Oranda died (again from the LPS). Now I am somewhat afraid to get another goldfish. At least for a month or so, until the water is clean again and assuming the snails are alive and well.
<A good idea to wait at this time... Cheers, BobF>

Help to identify snail   6/24/06
Dear Crew,
I'm trying to identify and breed my new freshwater snails.  The fish shop said that they had it for 3 to 4 months, but no eggs were to be found.  I've searched the Internet, but was still not able to identify it.
Attached are some pictures of the snail.  Took it from my phone, so it is a little blurry.  If the photo is too poor, please let me know, so that I can borrow a decent camera!!
Notice the "spikes" sticking out from its shell.  Each has several of these "spikes".  It is roughly about 1 cm in length.
If only I can get the scientific name, than I can search for more info on the web!!
Best regards,
<Hard to be sure, but this looks like a juvenile Ampullaria (Pomacea) individual to me. http://images.google.com/images?q=ampullaria&sa=N&tab=wi
Bob Fenner>

Re: Help to identify snail  6/25/06 -
Dear Bob,
Thanks so much for your prompt reply.  I have attached some better pictures of the mystery snail.  Could you please help verify that it is a juvenile Ampullaria (Pomacea) again?
Thank you very much!!
Best regards,
<I do think this is so. BobF>

Snails Don't Like Ammonia - 03/18/2006
Hi folks, In my 45 g tank I have a large Ramshorn snail. It is active for most of the day.
However, for the past 4 days it had not moved out of its shell, everything else in the tank looked okay. On a hunch, I checked ammonia and it was about .5 ppm.
I immediately changed 20% of water and again tested ammonia to be zero.
To my surprise, the snail started moving after an hour or so and is now active like it was before. Does this mean that snails are more sensitive to ammonia than fishes as none of the fish was showing any signs of discomfort? Thanks Sandeep R
< Snails are very sensitive to chemicals in the water like copper and ammonia. You should investigate why you are experiencing elevated ammonia levels.-Chuck>

FW Snail reproduction
Ok, I bought a gold and a black mystery snail a couple weeks ago. If they laid eggs, would they have been at the water line?
And if the eggs hatched, what do the new born snails look like?
<Like small versions of adults, light tan/brown>
I'm seeing 5 or 6 very small, mostly clear snails with good sized antennae, with shells that curl off to one side instead of just being very vertical like the nuisance snails that take over your tank. They might not be mysteries, as I have Frogbit that I put in there when I got the big snails, so they could've come with that (after all I found a dragon fly larvae in it too). Or they could be from the big mysteries. I just need to know what new born mysteries look like. Thanks! Get more from the Web.
<I suspect these are Mystery young. Bob Fenner>

Snails Don't Move at all!
My children decided that they wanted two snails. So off to the pet store we go and we purchase two black mystery snails. I thought for sure they were dead before we ever got them home so we put them in our 10 gallon aquarium anyways just to be sure. This was on Sunday. On Monday they were just lying with their little openings in the air still and had not moved at all. Well the kids were upset and we were sure they were dead. So out we go to return them to the pet store. The pet store assured me they are fine since they don't stink and they still have their feet. So back home we go and plop them back in the tank. The larger one now is just floating around and the little one is just lying at the bottom with his opening in the air. Neither one has come out or moved at all. We have 2 Mollies, 3 Gouramis, and 13 Molly babies about a week old. The fish swim by them but never pick at them and I am just at a loss on what to do. Are they okay? Thanks, Christy
<Did you acclimate them to your tank when you got them? Inverts need to be acclimated just as fish do to prevent shock. Make sure they are in a position so that if they do decide to move, they can grab onto something and leave them for a day or two longer to see if they begin to move around. Ronni>

Clown loaches and snails
Hi gang,
I have a planted tank with several medium (3") clown loaches...initially stocked to control snail stowaways on plants, which they do well.  In fact, not only have the loaches become one of my favorite fishes in all my tanks, I actually breed and raise Ramshorn snails just so I can give them a treat a few times a month!  =)
<I’m sure they love this, I do it myself with my clowns.>
My question:  I have a couple LARGE (2" or so) Gold Inca (not exactly sure of the species) snails in need of a home.  They've been housed in my quarantine tank for nearly a year, so I doubt introducing pathogens would pose a risk to the tank, however, would the clown loaches pose a risk to these big guys?
<Very possibly. I know I’ve seen clowns eat snails that were over an inch in size so I’d be afraid to try it even with snails as large as yours.>
Also... now that I have your attention, hehe.  What are some species of plants (if any) that would do OK in a moderately aerated tank?   I'm not looking to win any awards in these tanks, just to add some "live" decorations.
<A lot would depend on your lighting. Some of my favorites for moderately lit, moderately aerated tanks are Anacharis (this one is rumored to be touchy but I’ve always had good luck with it), Elodea, and Anubias.>
Thanks a bunch, and keep up the good work on WWM! Cheers, Michael
<Thank you and you’re welcome! Ronni>

Snail Stocking
Hello again,
Sorry to bother you with what's probably a simple question, but I can't seem to find a set answer on it anywhere else. I was wondering, is there any set rule as to stocking mystery snails in a tank? I know the '1" of fish per gallon' rule (and the surface area rule, and...) but how should mystery snails of this species be counted in regards to the tank's bio load/stocking levels?
<Well, honestly, I was not to sure either so I checked with Bob for both of our benefits. "I think about one per five gallons of any of the common species is "about right"."  You could also try starting with 1 per 5 gal, then slowly adding more and testing your water quality.>
So far the only advice I've been able to find is one individual who doesn't think they add much bio load since their nitrate levels haven't changed since adding two to their 10g Betta tank, and another who has about 40 small ones in a 1 gallon container with a 60gph filter and air stone.  
<I am willing to be 40 snails in a 1 gallon container will be hard to maintain in the long run.>
I know the snails produce a lot of waste, but they (at least the ones I currently have) also seem to do a good job of roaming the tank cleaning up leftover food and dead leaves (and have left my various live plants completely alone, other than occasionally using them as ladders) that might otherwise pollute the water. Also given they get some of their oxygen from the surface. (It's
weird watching one of them crawling up a wall, air siphon extended :) )
Thanks for your time and any advice you're able to offer, I'll likely pass it on to the two forums I posted this question on (Aquamaniacs and Applesnail.net) for the folks there as well.
<Hope it helps, keep a record of your trials and tribs for others benefit as well. Best Regards, Gage>

Snail Stocking Part Two
Hello again,
Thanks for the response, I've got two in the 10 gallon right now (I had a regular brown one in there, what I've seen called the 'wild-type' shell pattern, then saw a little blue one shoved into one of the 'Betta cups' at Wal-Mart the other day and decided it needed a home). The only other one I'm possibly planning to add in the future is maybe the one from my 6g African dwarf frog tank
if any water problems develop there.
So far no problems with the 10g since adding the second mystery snail, other than slightly elevated nitrates (25 rather than 20), but I think that's likely due to overfeeding of the bottom feeders, or my trimming back a lot of the Anacharis that's in there. I'm going to try adding a little duckweed (I know, it
takes over tanks. I read somewhere about someone making a 'corral' with airline and airline clips to keep it within an area of their tank. So I'll see if that works.) to pick up the extra nitrates. Plus I heard there's a chance the mystery snails might like to nibble on it.
<Duckweed is an excellent way to suck up excess nutrients.>
I'll let you know if there's any problems with either level of snails in the future.
On a different topic, since WWM's amphibian area is a bit sparse right now, I thought I'd offer the following feeding idea, if you'd like to post it:  One of the biggest problems I had with African dwarf frogs was trying to get them to eat before their food (frozen bloodworms) fell between the gravel, resulting in hungry frogs and food polluting the water. So as a solution, I got a plastic water bowl from the reptile section of PetSmart and half buried it under the gravel. The plastic's a single piece of unpainted molded plastic, so I figure it should be safe to use. Now I just squirt the defrosted bloodworms (mixed with water from the tank) into the bowl with a turkey baster. The frogs swim
right over and start feasting, they've also taken to trying to nip at the turkey baster if it's in the tank since they've figured out that's where food comes from. Posted this idea on a few forums and the regulars seemed to like it, so figured I'd pass it on incase it's of use to any of WWM's regular readers.
<Great idea, I have heard of something similar for feeding Corydoras live worms that dig into the substrate before the fish get a chance to eat them.  Thanks for the info, best of luck, Gage>
Thanks again,

Breeding Mystery Snails
I have a five gallon aquarium with a Betta, 2 ghost shrimp, and 1 black mystery snail. Now I want to add one or two more mystery snails because i heard they breed very quickly and that Betta's like to eat young snail is this true? Also I really want to add a pair of angelfish but I worried about weather or not the Betta will get along with the angel fish will he? He is fairly docile spending most of the time hiding behind a plant in the corner of the tank, and the rest of his time slowly swimming in circles. Any way what do you think? Thank you, Aren M. Dowden
<<Dear Aren; Here is some info I took from a snail link: "Black Mystery Snails usually breed with little encouragement as long as their environmental conditions are optimized by the time they are more than four months old. Black Mystery Snails lay their eggs underwater. You should provide some plant or rock to which they can attach these eggs, which are usually deposited in the form of a slimy material. Some of these snails have also been observed to lay eggs in tan egg cases on land areas. Clutches usually consist of more than one hundred eggs that will hatch in 10 to 14 days. It should be noted that it is very difficult to distinguish males from females, and many people often believe, erroneously, that they are hermaphrodites for this reason." You can read the rest of the page here: http://www.centralpets.com/pages/critterpages/fish/freshwater_inverts/FWI4995.shtml
I find your 5 gallon tank is a bit fully stocked. I hope you will do weekly water changes on this tank to keep the nitrates low, since snails that size eat quite a lot. That means they produce a lot of both solid and liquid waste...also, you will need to supplement their feeding. You can feed them sinking foods (sold for bottom feeding fish like Plecos), fresh spinach leaves, and frozen beef heart every now and then (found at your LFS). If you find your snails a bit too big for a 5 gallon, you can always try pond snails, the little snails that you usually find attached on live plants. They will reproduce quickly, and stay much smaller than the mystery snails, but pond snails will eat live plants. Do NOT add angelfish to this tank. You are already at your stocking limit, and angelfish need room to grow, a twenty gallon tank is the minimum tank size to grow out angels properly. For angels, taller tanks are better, by the way. A nice tall tank will give you adult angels with nice, long finnage. I've seen too many adult angels with stunted fins to advise otherwise.. Good luck. -Gwen>>

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 Questions - II - 06/22/2004
<You Betcha!>
So is the shell flaking off from the conditions she was raised in, or conditions in the tank now, or both?   
<Perhaps a bit o' both, but more due to the water she's in now, I'd wager.>
I'll keep an eye out for the Kent Iodine. Do they replenish the old shell as they grow, too?
<Not really.  Hopefully, though, there isn't much damage, and it will not be very obvious or apparent once you are keeping an eye on hardness and dosing with iodine - remember, just a drop per ten gallons of the Kent Tech iodine, *not* the marine dose listed on the bottle.>
Also, is garden lettuce a decent thing to feed her?  
<I don't see why not.  Most lettuces don't have a whole lot in the way of nutrition, so you might try for the little bitty baby leaves way down in the center of the lettuce head when you open it up for dinner.  Spinach would be another good one to try.  The younger leaves are probably better, again.>
We don't use chemicals on it (more from laziness than anything but they don't really need it either).  
<Sounds like a tasty treat.  Other green garden goodies, like asparagus, shelled peas, green bean innards (just open the bean), and other such yummies will be of good use, too.>
I gave her a piece a couple days ago, it's all gone now.   Can I assume as long as she's growing new healthy shell that she is eating plenty, and if she's growing too fast she's probably eating too much? :)
<Sounds like a plan.>
Thanks again for your help. :)
<Any time, Anna.  Wishing you and Jaws well,  -Sabrina>

Ivan the Terrified - 07/26/2004
I believe the last crew member I spoke with was Sabrina. This is an update email and a question about Black Mystery snails.
<Holy Mackinaw, I'm SO sorry on the delay!>
I am the proud and indulgent Momma of a spoiled Pink Kisser named Ivan the Terrified.
<I could never forget.>
I wrote back in January about a rash-type condition on his tail which is now cleared up completely.
<Ah, delightful!>
He's up to about 5 inches long and is much less hand-shy. Per your suggestion I added several plastic plants and some floating live plants to the tank (name of it escapes me just now but it is vine-like with patches of 6 leaves growing from the main stalk every 1/2 inch or so).
<Sounds like elodea/Egeria/Anacharis - a great munchin' plant.  How's he liking his new digs?>
After a few weeks I had a bad algae bloom that I couldn't get a permanent handle on (10% water changes every day for 2 weeks did almost nothing: I'm guessing a nitrate jump from the leaves dying and the change in fish poop),
<Could be.  You may have ended up with Elodea canadensis, which is a coldwater Anacharis-type plant; it tends to die instead of grow, in aquaria.  Though, I would guess Ivan at least helps with cleaning up the plant scraps?>
so off I hiked to the fish store and invested in a Black Mystery snail named Bubble. Before I knew it, I had pin-head sized baby snails crawling around on the glass which I removed to a 2 gal. "nursery" tank. The woman at the store said "they're a self-breeder" (which makes little sense in a practical application because even the hermaphroditic ones can't breed with themselves, can they?),
<Many/most snails will self-fertilize.  One turns into very, very many, much to some plant keepers' chagrin!  Though, they CAN cross-fertilize, too.  A few, like the apple snail, require a male and a female to reproduce.>
but my research said that they're opposite sexed (shell door concave= female, convex=male) or hermaphroditic (sources argued) and shouldn't breed if there's only one in a system.
<Umm, if I understand correctly (and after a brief jaunt at http://www.applesnail.net , I'm sure I don't), they do indeed have genders....  Please consult that website; there is SO much info there, it's just unbelievable.>
With a 10 gal and only 1 fish, 1 snail should be plenty to maintain the system.
<Er, until Ivan gets a foot long ;) But until he gets too big, yeah, the snail should' a been fine.>
Then, Bubble died. I'm pretty sure that was of "old age" since she was over 3", what the store said is the max for that kind of snail.
<Yeah, that's a pretty good sized hunk o' escargot!  (Which reminds me....  have you ever SMELLED a dead snail?  How can folks EAT that?!)>
I figured then that my snail population was down to the babies I had, which I found homes for except for 1 that I kept for cleaning purposes.
<Sounds appropriate.>
Now, I've researched the heck out of these things and I can't get a definitive answer about sexing and breeding and the snails keep coming.
<Again, please consult http://www.applesnail.net for more comprehensive info.  I believe there's even a forum there.>
The baby born and raised in my system, Pot Sticker, is up to about an inch across the shell doing all her normal snaily things (concave door and floating around on top of
the water munching on a leaf), but I have a pretty steady population of snails between almost-can't-see-'em pin head sized and big enough to pick up with tweezers and take out of the tank. How the heck did they get here and why don't they stop?
<Umm, it's sounding like these are NOT apple/mystery snails.  Though, it may be that you got some pond snail eggs in on your plants.>
I pick them off the glass (which I feel bad about but I'm afraid they'll clog the filter) when I see them. Supposedly my Kisser will eat them and if that's the case I really don't have a problem, only I've never seen him eat any. If I stop giving him his tropical flakes for a few days would he start going after the snails?
<He may.  Don't feed him for several days (he can take it - especially if there are plants around) and see if he starts pickin' 'em off.>
I don't want to use chemicals to get rid of them since I'd like to keep Pot Sticker healthy and it wouldn't be good for Ivan either.
<I agree.  I would just remove them manually.  One way to do so is to place a some pellet food or a slice of blanched zucchini on a small plate in the tank (shielded from Ivan, if possible) just after lights-out.  In the morning, remove the plate - it should have a bundle of snails on it.>
Am I still just being a paranoid first time fishkeeper?
<Yes.  But that's a good thing :D >
I haven't tried taking Pot Sticker
<Pot Sticker?  I bow to you, O Ye of Great Names.>
out of the tank either because I don't want my algae to get out of control again. Any suggestions?
<Just as above....  I would try fasting Ivan first - but that's just 'cause I don't like killing things except to be eaten....  I'm weird like that.>
Thanks in advance,
<You betcha - glad to hear how Ivan's doing!!  Wishing you, Ivan, and Pot Sticker well,  -Sabrina>

Mystery snail 7/29/04
Based on my searches, it would appear the snail I had resembles the Ramshorn and/or apple/mystery snail, except for one important feature. The snail in my tank never revealed a siphon, even though it spent almost all of its time
submerged. If it had a siphon, of any size, I never saw it being used. Is there another freshwater snail, likely to be sold at pet stores such as PetSmart, that would resemble the apple, mystery, or Ramshorn snail, but would not have a siphon? It is possible this was a pond snail? < Pond snails tend to be rather small. I am sure you snail was a black mystery snail. Look for the siphon when the snail is near the surface.-Chuck>
First, I know nothing about them, other than the people at a pet store told my wife that they would be good to keep algae down. So, we bought one. I don't know how to identify it. It was brown, with the shell somewhere between a quarter and a half dollar. He had a distinct flap he could use to cover the opening of his shell, and he had long antennae looking things on his head. His mouth faced down, and you could watch it move as he slid (and date?) while sliding along the side of the tank. I've looked for pictures of various snails, but so far haven't found one that looks like him. The only thing in the tank (freshwater 10 gallon) are 7 African dwarf frogs. Last night, we noticed the snail was floating, and being tossed about by the filter. I immediately isolated him into a small storage tank, but he was already dead. Is there a way to identify him? We had him for 4 to 6 months. We had only one snail, and we never had any others show up (could the frogs have been eating the eggs or little snails if there were any?)
< Probably a black mystery snail. They lay their eggs out of the water but I suppose that the frogs could have been eating the little ones if there were any.>
I'd like to get another snail, but I'd like to make sure I get one that will be OK in the tank. We got lucky with the first one, but I am really hesitant to trust the store staff (they told us a freshwater shrimp would be ok with our frogs -- the shrimp ate 2 and killed a 3rd before we got him out of the tank and returned him to the store).
< Generally snails eat some algae but you need to get some food down to the bottom where the snails can get to it. If the algae is gone then they will eat some live plants. You snails should be fine with the frogs.-Chuck>
Thanks, Greg

Canister filter Qs + tank setups
Hey WWM Crew,
A big ol' Thank You! to Gwen for answering my last email (the one below this one). It helped me picture what's happening with the canister filter. I'm sure it'll all be crystal clear once I bring one home, lol. I'm also hoping that the plants won't become snail food, hehe. The snails are Pomacea bridgesii effusa Apple snails, the ones that do not eat live plants and safe for the planted tank. They haven't eaten any of mine for the year or so I've had 'em so I think I'm in the clear, lol.
<We'll see>
Anyway, I have indeed pondered more and more about my setup with the 20Ls. Since putting them together with one canister filter is not a good idea, I've been thinking what would. Maybe two Whisper power filters, but I am afraid that the water turbulence may be too much for both inhabitants and plants, and that they wouldn't bring up much of the snail mess.
<These are actually a good choice... not too turbulent...>
Then I thought maybe sponge filters would work but wouldn't I be compromising space for my plants and the snail mess might still pose a problem. Any suggestions??? I'm open-minded and all ears :)
<I would go with hang-on, outside power filters>
Also, I've looked over more of the Eheim canister filters and found the Ecco Comfort Plus Filter 2232 and 2234. Is this a good one or should I just stick with the Filstar for either the 30 or 33L??
<I prefer the Ecco products over the Filstar>
Sorry for all the questions, figured that while you're all available I should ask the pros everything I can ;)  And, as always, thanks for help, it is greatly appreciated :)
~ Jamie
<Bob Fenner>

Snails and Planted Tanks
I would like to add a single already grown Pomacea bridgesi (mystery) and one Melanoides (Malaysian trumpet snail) specimen to my heavily planted tank. I'm afraid that they could already be fertilized when I bring them in the aquarium.
<Me too>
How much time can it take between fertilization and time to give birth/lay eggs? In other words, how long should I quarantine them to be sure they wont lay eggs or give birth in the display tank?
<I would wait a good two months here. Bob Fenner>

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