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FAQs on Snails in Freshwater Aquariums 1

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 2, Freshwater Snail Identification, Freshwater Snail Behavior, Freshwater Snail Compatibility, Freshwater Snail Selection, Freshwater Snail Systems, Freshwater Snail Feeding, Freshwater Snail Disease, Freshwater Snail Reproduction, Snails by Species: Mystery Snails, Apple/Baseball Snails, Malaysian/Trumpet Snails, Ramshorn Snails,

Freshwater barnacle? Dear Crew,                 Last week I added 12 Nerite snail to my freshwater tank. Today I noticed small (1/32") white scales on the substrate and drift wood. They look like mini-barnacles. While I'd like to know what they are, I'd really like to know how to rid my tank of them before they multiply any further. FYI, my 30 gallon aquarium is a planted community tank. Your advice is greatly appreciated. Thanks. Best Regards, John Amico <Not barnacles (which are marine), but likely some other species/phylum... probably a mollusk of some sort. Not harmful... do send along a close-up pic if you can. Bob Fenner>

Mollies and Snails WWM Crew, First, I must say your site has been very informative. I've learned so much! I have read plenty about Mollies etc, but I have a couple concerns re: my mollies. I currently have 3 of them. 1 silver molly (M), 1 silver Lyretail (F), and black molly (F). My concern is with the two silver mollies. I did read that it is not uncommon for the male to chase around the female trying to breed. However my male is NONSTOP harassing the other silver female (she's pregnant too), and rarely messes with the black molly. Is there a special reasoning behind that? <Mmm, no... or not really. Some males are just like this... having more females, more "other" fishes, plants, other decor to break-up the physical environment... helps> I am worried that he will just wear her out, but I don't want to stock my tank with more females as I am already taking care of 16 fry as it is. Any ideas on the best way to handle this randy boy?? hahaha <Isolate him... at least for a while... perhaps in a floating, plastic colander if you don't have another tank> Second question... When is it safe to put the fry back into the larger tank with the adult mollies without the risk of them being eaten? <When they're "big enough" to not be consumed> I have 2 that are about a month old, but I don't want to take them out of the net too prematurely. The others are only a day or two old. Do you judge based on size? or age? <Size> And lastly (are you sick of me yet? haha), about a week and a half ago I noticed a small snail in my tank. Have NO IDEA how it got there as I sure didn't buy one from the store!! Then, when doing a water change the other, came across ANOTHER one that was twice it's size. I'm assuming it was under gravel somewhere because there's no way you could miss it otherwise! How do I know if it's ok to keep in the tank and breeding of snails etc?? I do NOT want more snails!! I have looked at the info on this site re: snails, and haven't come across one that looks like mine. Is it better to wait till they're more grown to determine the type of snail? And just out of curiosity... any ideas on how snails got in my tank? <Come in... with fish purchases in the water, some live foods... can be eliminated in a few ways, but not likely a problem... perhaps a help in keeping your tank clean... Not harmful to your fishes> Is it possible they hitched a ride on the fish as tiny lil thingies on them? Sounds crazy but, I have no other clue as to their appearance!  Thank you so much in advance for any help you can give! I will continue to research your site for more information. It's a great tool!! Sarah <Thank you for being part of it. Bob Fenner> 

Snails and Planted Tanks Hi! 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? Thanks! Dominique <I would wait a good two months here. Bob Fenner>

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

A question on snails Hello, I just purchased a snail from a local pet store, unsure what kind it is, the shell is brown with white, yellowish stripes and it is about the size of a quarter. <Sounds like a Ramshorn. Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwsnails.htm>   anyway I have put the snail in my 10 gallon fresh water tank to eat algae on my tank.  I have 3 painted tetras, a rainbow shark and a platy in the tank with plastic plants.  When I put the snail in the tank he did not move for hours, I then figured out that he was upside down, so I flipped him up right.  The next thing time I looked in the tank he was flipped upside down again so I flipped him back upside right. <No need to flip... will do this on its own... if it is alive. Bob Fenner> but he or something keeps flipping him upside down.  Is this normal and should I just leave the snail alone or what?  I am confused, This has happened several times now.  Thanks Kathy

Snails and Plecos Dear WetWeb Crew,      We have a 30 gallon tank with one snail (1 to 1-1/4" inches in diameter), one Pleco (1-1/4"), <Tiny!> one Bala shark, two Hatchetfish, two blue Paradisefish, two Rasboras, two tiny frogs, one brown Knifefish, and one glass catfish.  After the blue paradise fish battled each other for dominance (about 2-3 weeks), the tank has been harmonious for the past two months or so.      Question: Our snail is behaving erratically; several times, he(?) has just "closed up shop," and floated around the tank.  Then he re-adheres to the side, and behaves normally for awhile.  He spends most of his time now floating, with his shell half-closed.  He started doing this (we think) shortly after we observed the Pleco eating algae off of his shell.  (The algae was there when we got him two months ago, and has not seemed to have caused any problem thus far.) Concurrently, we noticed the snail appears to have suddenly grown about 1/8" of new shell right above his body, not touched by any algae. <What you describe so well is likely simply "natural" behavior... a way that these snails "get around" quickly... compared with going at a "snail's pace" via their "feet"... and no problem with the small Pleco cleaning off its shell. Bob Fenner>

Unknown snails in FW tank I've been reading up on the various snails that sometimes sneak their way into planted freshwater tanks and I'm left a little confused.  I understand that it's impossible to tell most snail's gender, but I'm not sure if it only takes 1 snail to turn into a million little copies of itself, or if it still requires two. <Some species are monoecious ("one house"... hermaphrodites, both functional sexes in one individual), others are dioecious...> Reason I'm asking is recently two such specimens showed up in our 20g tank, we quickly plucked them out and put them into an old 10g for quarantine.  They're not the same breed by any stretch, one looks like a Ramshorn and the other is some form of smaller apple snail from what I can tell.  In any even... they've been there for a few weeks munching away on algae and we've seen no signs of breeding or eggs.  Is it safe to put them back into the display tank?  Thanks! ~Mike~ <Always a bit of a risk... these may reproduce still... but then again, you may still have more snails to come from wherever these ones originated! Bob Fenner>
Re: Unknown snails in FW tank
Thanks for the info!  Unfortunately you were right, another Ramshorn popped up in the display tank.   No less than an hour after putting it in the quarantine there were eggs on the glass. <Ah ha! And like most humans, I do greatly enjoy (the rare occasion) of being "right", or actually hearing same. Heeeee! Do take a read re our take on FW snails: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwsnails.htm and the Related FAQs (linked, in blue, at top) You may want to employ a snail eater if these gastropods get to be "too much". Bob Fenner>

Snail question Hello,          My son and I just read your web page on snails and wondered if you could answer a question for us. We have a 10 gallon tank with a couple Catfish sharks and a Pleco. One day we found we had a visitor in our tank, a small Ramshorn (we think) snail (stowaway on a plant). Well we decided to keep "Gary" and now we have Gary's 1-100 in our small tank. I often manually remove several when the population gets too high but over all we enjoy all of the snails. Our question is this, often there are times when there are several snails in a big ball (about 5+ snails) the corner of the tank. We would like to know if you know if there is a reason they do this and or is it normal. We are just worried that its not a normal thing and there is something we can do to help them. We have thought of several reasons to this "snail ball" (hungry, cold, snail fighting :)  ) but we just don't know a lot about snails to know what's going on. Any help could give us would be great. < More than likely they are feeding on a piece of left over food or a dead fish. If you want to thin then out you can place a wafer food pellet on the bottom and after  a while you can remove the snail ball.-Chuck> Thank you for your time, Monte and Logan Chaney

We've Got a Floater!  12/13/2004 Hi, <Hello.> I came across your webpage, and I need some help.   <And help we shall!  I hope.> I  recently purchased two snails for my freshwater aquarium.  Both were doing  fine for almost a week, now the one is upside down and hasn't moved in over a  day (I'm assuming its dead?) <I would turn this feller over - there are some snail species that, once they get flipped on their backs, can't turn themselves right-side-up.  Pull him out - if he's dead, he'll reek like an open grave, you'll know instantly what I mean if he's dead.  If he doesn't reek, don't give him up for lost - put him back in, right-side-up.> and the other is alive, but floating at the top of  the cage.  Is it possible that the second one got air bubbles in its  shell?   <Yes.> If this happens, how does it get the air out?   <It might not be able to - hold the snail underwater and turn him, slooooowly, over and over in the direction that would let the air out of his shell.  Hopefully this'll clear any bubbles out.  Usually they can expel air themselves, but I've seen a few that needed help.> Will it be ok? <I certainly hope so.  Feel free to let us know if you need further advice.> Thanks! ~Anne <And thank you for writing in!  Wishing you and your new mollusks well,  -Sabrina>

Canister filter Qs + tank setups Hey WWM Crew, <Jamie> 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>

Lethargic Snails? - 11/01/2004 Do freshwater snails hibernate or something similar?   <Well, kinda, yeah.  Their metabolism will slow dramatically in extreme cold....> We have 2 apple, 2 rams horn and 2 cone shaped snails in our tank.  Everyone was very active and moving about the tank.  Two days ago we noticed that everyone was just hanging out in their shells and not moving.  It has been two days and the only movement has been the fish around them or the bubbles.   <The likeliest culprit here is poor water quality - what are your readings for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and pH?  Has pH changed recently?  If ammonia or nitrite are above zero, even by a tiny bit, that would cause the snails to close up shop and hide; high nitrate may do the same (nitrate should be less than 20ppm).> My husband says they are dead and wants to get rid of them.   <Pull one out of the tank - if it smells like the devil himself has come for a visit, the snail is dead.  You will KNOW, immediately, if the snail smells dead.> I  can't figure out what would kill them all in one evening.   <I'm not confidant they're dead yet - check 'em and see.  My best guess is still water quality.> We did add 3 new fish, but we did not add the water they came in.  Any ideas? <Possible ammonia spike from the new additions....  How many and what kind of fish in how large a tank?  Another possibility is that you might have a fish that is picking on/harming the snails.  Keep an eye out for this, and do get back to us with a list of your livestock, and the readings on your water tests - I hope we can nail this down for you, so you can fix it and not have the problem again in the future!> Thank you... Snail less in Seattle <Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

Apple Snails and no clue Hello, I have just bought 2 apple snails which do enthrall me, but I know nothing about them, care etc, would love advice also other snails. Thank you, Mary. <Well Mary, I spend most of my energy trying to get rid of snails! But here is a website devoted to Apple Snails. http://www.applesnail.net/ Have fun! Don>

In search of perfect snail water Hi, I know you can answer my question (love your website). I currently have a 75 gallon aquarium with 5 hatchet fish, 5 Corydoras, 6 Pristellas, 2 apple snails, and 1 common Pleco. All water parameters are good - zero ammonia, zero nitrites, 10 nitrates. <Great> My pH is 7.5 but my hardness is 5 degrees GH and 4 degrees KH. <All good> I know that the snails would do better with harder water but don't know about the rest of the fish. <Wouldn't mess with it> The question is if the water does need to be a little harder for all <only the snails will like it harder> how can I go about doing this without raising the pH??? <I wouldn't tinker with the water chemistry here. You may want to dose with iodine to help with shell formation. Kent Marine Iodine is what I use. Add one drop per 10 gallons per week or after water change. This is a tiny amount, no more! Do not add at the strength listed on the bottle. Other brands have different concentrations, so the dose would vary if you try another brand. Your conditions are much the same as mine and my snails have no problems growing and reproducing. They do too well in fact. Don> Thanks for your help. Goldfish dilemma Hello <Hi there Lukas> I have a question about gold fish and their survival outside. My in-laws have a large pond in there back yard and we were all wondering if we could place some gold fish in to it and leave them in there over winter?   They are not Koi.   How ever I have been told that a lady that my mother in law knows keeps gold fish and Koi out side all winter and does not house them in side at all.  I also have to mention that they live just out side of Calgary Alberta.  So it does get quite cold out there. <Does the pond freeze all the way to the bottom? If it is deep enough, perhaps protected from the elements... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/pdmaintwint.htm> My other question is I have just bought 4 small clown loaches and I have been told that they will eat snails.  I have 2 rather large Ramshorns in my tank and I kind of want them gone.  They have been happily munching and destroying my plants.  So now  for the question will these loaches eat the rams horns? <Very likely so. May take some time due to the relative size of the prey, predators> I also wanted to say good work on the site I use it every time I have a dilemma with my fish, and manage to get an answer with out emailing you guys. Lukas <Be chatting, Bob Fenner>

About Kuhli loaches and snails hi, I have a bit of a snail problem in my 20-25gal tank. (size isn't 100% sure since it's not a standard tank) I pick out snails whenever I see them and I don't usually notice them much but sometimes it gets to be a problem. Also on my java fern which is in separate living quarters at the moment because of the education I am using) there are a ZILLION baby snails. (not surprising - I noticed several snail egg sacs on the fern when I moved it to its current quarters) I'm treating the separate bucket with Had-a-snail. oh yes and I am currently treating the main tank with CopperSafe for Ich, which is supposed to be 'dangerous' to invertebrates but it doesn't seem to bother the snails at all! <Figures! But it may be doing a number on your filter. Please check for ammonia and nitrite spikes. Much better to QT fish for treatment and allow the tank to be fish free for a month. Treating the main tank can cause you more problems than snails.> (I am using a half-strength dosage to be gentle on plants, tetras and Otos) Anyway I am concerned about this as the last thing I want is a big snail infestation. I'm wondering if Kuhli loaches might do the trick? Obviously a clown loach would be the most effective, but I don't want to have to trade the fish back again as I live over an hour's drive from the nearest pet store.  Also I was reading your faq a bit and you guys mentioned zebra loaches - I've never seen one but they also sound like a good option if I could actually find them. <Hi, Don here. Please check the link below for an thread on this subject going on in the forum right now. Please feel free to join in. Aquabid.com is great for finding fish not stocked in most LFS. Of course with the price of shipping added in, it can be costly. Perhaps talk to the manager at a pet store. > [l] http://wetwebfotos.com/talk/thread.jsp?forum=3&thread=23318&tstart=0&trange=30[/l] Can you guys give any recommendations?  a permanent, live in fish would be best. If the Kuhli loaches might do it (I have heard in a few places that they may eat snails) I have had them in the past and I quite enjoy them :) If zebra loaches wouldn't get too big (the tank is around 36 inches long and about 15 wide, and 10-12 deep, I don't recall exactly), and if I could find them, they seem like the best choice. Thanks for any help you can give, your site has always been helpful :) ~Anna

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

Iodine and Inverts - Freshwater - 08/22/2004 Hi, <Hello.> You guys recommended Kent iodine supplement for freshwater snails. <Not so much "us guys" as just me, I think - Sabrina here, the freshwater-shrimp-obsessed.> I had the chance to order some and when I received it I discovered that it is a marine aquarium product.  Did I get the right product? <Yes.> If so, what's the correct dosage for a freshwater tank with one big snail? :) <I use one drop per ten gallons every week for my freshwater shrimp tanks.  This seems to have worked wonders for the animals, despite the *seemingly* insignificant amount of iodine - it has proven the difference between life and death in my tanks.> Thanks!! <You betcha!  Wishing you and your snail well,  -Sabrina> ~Anna

Mmmm, Escargot - 08/19/2004 Can a snail survive without its shell? <I do not believe so.> For example, if someone was to pull the shell off <I don't think this could be done without causing the snail extreme damage - after which the snail would undoubtedly perish very soon.> or somehow the shell falls off, <I don't believe the shell would fall off of a healthy animal....  For a snail to lose its shell, it would be at death's door, I would think.  The only time I've seen a shell-less snail, it was a land snail, already dead, found in my pond.  Really creeped me out, to be honest.> can the snail survive? <I really, really don't think so.> For how long? <Okay, let's say a perfectly healthy snail wandered into a time warp or something and magically its shell disappeared.  Though the animal was perfectly healthy, it has now lost all means of protection - from predation and its environment.  If it's a land snail, it has lost the ability to keep moist (a dry snail is a dead snail).  I do not believe it is feasible for the animal to survive very long at all in this condition - if a land snail, I'd think perhaps a few hours?  A water snail, with no predators, perhaps longer....> Thanks <You bet.  May I ask what prompted this question?  I've really gotten curious, now ;)  Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>
Mmmm, Escargot - II - 08/22/2004
Thanks so much for answering my question. <Any time.> My boyfriend and I were outside one night and we came across a slug. We began talking about it and snails. <These are some of the neatest creatures, aren't they?!> We made a small bet because he said that a snail could not survive without a shell and I said that it could. I guess he wins! <Hope it wasn't a significant dollar amount!> I am glad that I came across your address because we had been researching for days and could not get a solid answer. <I also recommend you check out http://www.applesnail.net for some more good snail stuff.> Thanks Again!!! <Sure thing.  Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

Snails  8/2/04 My Daughter is 6 years old and would like to "catch" some snails from our outside Garden.   Nothing special about these snails.  But what can we put them in and feed them?  Is this safe for the snails? Thank you, Anne Dillon <<Hello. I've no idea what to feed them, I would assume the same thing that aquatic snails eat, which is just about anything :) You can try small scraps of vegetable matter, like lettuce leaves, or maybe even turtle pellets or flake food. I have no idea what land snails eat.  You should be able to keep them in a jar with holes in the lid, or even a Betta hex bought at your LFS.  Perhaps you could do a Google search and find some info on them. Good luck :) -Gwen>>

Super-Short Snail Question - 08/01/2004 Do snails found in the river need to stay in the water at all times? <Without knowing the particular type of snail, or at least the location of the river, the short answer is "Yes".  Keep in mind, though, that some land snails will venture into water to absorb moisture and to drink, and some aquatic snails will venture onto land to lay eggs (though this is NOT true of all species).  If we are talking about an aquatic snail, then chances are, yes, it must remain submerged to live.  Wishing you 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

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, Becky          <You betcha - glad to hear how Ivan's doing!!  Wishing you, Ivan, and Pot Sticker well,  -Sabrina>

Snail Questions Hello: <Hi, Mike D here> I have been trying to locate some basic information on snails. My boyfriend bought a snail for his son at PetSmart a few months ago. We were wondering about a few things and was wondering if you could answer our questions. I guess I should tell you that I don't know what kind of snail this one is, as far as species goes, but as far as size goes, it's a little smaller than an egg and it has a brown shell (don't know if that helps or not) <Yes it does. The most common large snail in the aquarium trade is the Mystery Snail>. Our questions are:   1). We keep the snail in water, in a jar that has an hourglass shape to it (bigger at the bottom with a narrowing around the neck that is big enough for your hand). Is this the proper environment for a snail because I have read some things on the Internet that talks about placing a snail in a jar with soil and sticks and such. We are really confused! <MY first suggestion would be to look up "Mystery Snails" on your browser or in the Google feature here. I'd attach a link myself for you, but we've been experiencing technical difficulties all day and I keep losing the entire question when I try> 2). The water gets dirty very quickly. We change his water (bottled spring water) about every week now. I was wondering if this causes any trauma to it, transferring it back and forth and is there something that we can add to the water to help it stay clearer, longer? <Actually a bowl or small aquarium such as the 2 gallon complete set ups offered in many shops would be a better choice for a snail of this size.> 3). We noticed yesterday when we got home that the water look a light grey. We changed the water and the snail has been floating ever since. I've read articles that talk about how snails like to "float". How long should we wait to determine if the snail has passed or not?? We would like to replace it before a little boy finds it floating. <I'm truly afraid that your speedster has gone to the great snail beyond already, and before long you'll notice an extremely unpleasant smell as well> I think that covers the main questions or concerns. Any other advice and info that you could share with us would be great! <Sorry I couldn't be of more help. If you wish to keep using the same vase that you're currently using, a smaller species, such as a Red Ramshorn would work better. I'm almost afraid to ask, but were you feeding it anything?> Thank you in advance for taking the time to read my note.<You're so very welcome, and even snails can be a simple introduction into the wonderful world of pets for a young guy such as yours. Do just a little reading and your next experience out to be much more satisfying> Carly   
Snail Question (Continued)
<Hi, MikeD here again> Thank you for the information. We will look into your suggestions about either a larger container or a smaller snail. <I assume the last one had indeed passed on?  They make small 2 gallon Aquariums, complete with a light, filter and pretty much most of what's needed. While this may seem like overkill, it's often the beginning of a life long hobby. I got my first tank when I was seven, fifty years ago. **grin**> We were feeding it the small disks/wafers (that look like a button) as per the instructions, which were every other day. Is that the norm or should we look into other food?? <That's one of the things snails will eat, assuming it was an algae wafer. They also eat many marine plants, the green algae that grows on the glass and some even lettuce> Thanks again.

Snail Missing Antennae 7/4/04 Hi, <Hi, Pufferpunk here> I took a good look through your website (great) but didn't find my question answered. I just got a 'zebra snail' for my aquarium, and he's doing a great job in it so far, but when I got him he had lovely, long tentacles, and I'm afraid my Betta has bitten them to about 1/4 their proper size. My question is... do they grow back? I'm considering moving the Betta out for a couple reasons, and if I knew the tentacles would grow back that would encourage me to do so. (If they won't grow back then the damage is done). <Yes, they will grow back.  I have never heard of a Betta doing this though.> Thanks guys! Lynn <Good luck with your snail friend.  I'm a snail-lover too!  I have an apple snail the size of my fist!  ~PP>

Snail Questions - 06/19/2004 Hi, <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) <Excellent.> 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
Thanks! <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>

Snails, freshwater, unwanted Hi Bob, My first time here.....but I have a 10 gal starter aquarium and I had 2 platys (1 male & 1 female) . The male died today after about a week of some stress we just could not guess; he kept to the surface of the water & was very lethargic. About 8 weeks before, the female died of ich & we treated the water with "Rid Ich+"  so could the male have had the same? < Unless you saw the white spots then it wasn't ich.> Our tank seems infested with common water snails. could they be the cause for this? < Snails are scavengers. They eat excess food and decaying matter. They are rarely cause for disease.> Would like  some advice on how to save 2 baby platys still alive? < It sure sounds like you are overfeeding your tank or don't have enough filtration. I would recommend a 30% water change and service the filter. Next week vacuum the gravel to remove uneaten food lodged in the gravel. Feed only enough food so the platies eat it all in a couple of minutes each day. No more.-Chuck> Thanks Sad beginner

Yoyo Loach and other questions Hi I emailed you a couple of weeks ago. I have the over-population of snails. I called about 11 different pet stores that sold fish. Finally I found a Aquarium store. Well no one has Skunk Botias. The people at the fish store told me to get the Yoyo's because they are smaller and wont kill my baby fish. Yeah I'm experimenting with breeding fish. Well I have 5 guppies and I have no clue how many babies. I have 2 from almost a month ago but i saw some really small ones today. I have 3 yoyos and 2 shrimp. I can't remember what kind it is. It isn't a ghost shrimp. Also I have 2 big snails.. They sell them at pet smart. Will the Yoyo's do the job?  I read that they don't like Malaysian snail. Could that prove a problem. My fish tank is 15 gallons. Is it too over populated? If so what is a good way for catching baby fish? Or what would you recommend. I have a 2 gallon in my kitchen I can transfer them to. It is empty. thanks <Should work out. Bob Fenner>

Too much Escargot! My fish tank is over ran with I think Malaysian Snails. I thought it was cool when they first popped up. but now that I don't have cichlids in the tank and guppies instead... I can't keep them under control. My tank walls are covered. I know they are the earth worms of the fish tank world but how can I bring them down in Numbers without killing all of them? >>A fish known as a skunk loach or skunk Botia. I don't know how big your tank is, I'm hoping around 15-20 gallons at least for this animal. They stay relatively small and peaceful as far as Botia are concerned. Botia morleti Marina  

Possible Odd Question - Escargot coming out of our ears! I have a simple 5-gallon tank, and have been lovingly maintaining it for almost 2 years with the same fish in it...We have 5 Rasboras (black and yellow stripe), 5 Day-Glow(?) Tetras (these are Orange and black striped), and three Neon Tetras (I know this one for sure), and a Pleco (standard semi-ugly, but very useful fish).  In addition, and here lies the problem, we have an overpopulation of snails.  We originally had a single large Mystery snail, but were given 4 small (and I do mean small, like pin-head size) snails on a whim by someone after only 6 months of having the tank. For a little while all was bliss in my tank, though after a water change, I lost the Original snail. No big loss, by then I had a dozen mini-snails to fill in....Heh, now I can conservatively say that I am the proud owner of nearly a hundred of these lovelies in my tank... did I mention it's only a 5-gallon?  So, my question is such; Is there a way to cut back on the snail explosion? Some small fauna that will trim the population without upsetting the rest of the fish, or maybe just a way to keep them from profligating so quickly next time I manually cull the ranks?  Any help would be appreciated... I like having the little guys, but enough is enough, you know? Thanks, Ben <<Dear Ben; First, I must mention that your 5g tank is WAY overstocked. You should be keeping 5 small fish in this tank, total. Including the Pleco, which is probably a Hypostomus species and will grow to two feet in length. Yes, it will still try to grow in a such small tank, until it cannot any more, at which point it will become sick and die. Possible transmitting it's disease to all your other fish. Also, what are you feeding it? I'm surprised it hasn't died of sheer hunger yet. Anyways, I would seriously recommend that you buy some test kits to measure fish waste, e.g. for ammonia (which should test at zero), nitrite (also should be zero) and nitrates. Keep the nitrates at around 40ppm (or lower) with regular partial water changes. I can guarantee you that your nitrate level is off the chart right now...not healthy long-term AT all. How often are you doing your water changes? IF you have not been doing them twice a week, my advice to you is to start right away doing small partial water changes, DAILY, until you get your nitrates to 40ppm (or lower..) Pick 5 or 6 of your favorite fish, and give the rest away (including the Pleco), or return them to the LFS. Five or six fish will still require weekly water changes, but the nitrates should be easier to keep at a low level. Also, physically remove all the snails. Every single one. Replace these fast reproducers with one gold apple snail, hopefully it won't reproduce :P One snail, an inch in diameter, is plenty enough to keep a 5g clean. As the snail grows, it will need extra food, you can feed it algae wafers, sinking pellets, etc. They eat everything they can nab. Normally I would tell you to forget any snails, algae eating fish, etc, and just do the inside glass cleaning yourself, since 5g tanks are so small. But since you seem to like your snail pets, here is a website about apple snails for you to look at: http://www.applesnail.net/ and hopefully give you an understanding of their needs. Have fun :) -Gwen>> 
Possible Odd Question -II
Gwen, (or whosoever is manning the station this eve) I must profusely apologize, as I have given misinformation, and it makes a hell of a change in the situation, though if the Pleco gets as big as you say, it might be a problem anyway. He's about 4 inches now, and has been about that for almost a year. The tank in question is a *10* Gallon. I know, smack me with a stupid stick, but there ya go. Must of had an old brain injury come ba... um, what was I talking about? Anyway. I don't think I could have kept a 5 gallon alive and well for 2 years with this many fish in it, mine has been humming along nicely with no sick fish, and with the exception of the dead snail, and a jumper that was scared out of the tank entirely by our family cat, who didn't even have the decency to eat it, everyone seems to be happy and healthy. I will go ahead and manually remove the snails, if that is the most probable way to rid the tank, though with snails being so prolific, I doubt I will be able to find all of the eggs hidden around, but it's worth a try. I suppose I could also remove most of the rocks and scrub em down, but I would hate to think of all the good stuff that I would be scrubbing away, too.... Sorry about the mix-up, and Thank you very much for the assistance. Ben <<Dear Ben; LOL! That's much better. A ten gallon does make more sense, though I do hope you are doing the water changes weekly...Yes, manual removal of the snails is the best way to go. There are chemicals out there, e.g. Had-A-Snail, (which is copper) but I do not recommend these products. Basically, killing a bunch of snails in your tank all at once makes for an instant ammonia problem, and a fully stocked 10g will not be able to handle that, as you must already realize. There are also snail-eating fish you can add, but again, the tank is fully stocked so that idea is out. That leaves manual removal. You can place some food in the tank before bedtime, and remove what is left in the morning, hopefully full of snails :) You can use romaine lettuce held by a rubber band onto a rock. Search and crush all snails you see on the glass and decor, and eventually you should get it under control. Also, you can remove 50% of the water into a bucket, then net out the fish into the same bucket, and carry the tank to the sink and rinse the gravel with tepid water to flush out anything else. Scrub all the walls of the tank, then carry it back, re-add the fish and their water, and top off the last 50% of the water. Clean the filter and impeller chamber, but not the media. Just check the filter media for snails, and put it back into the cleaned filter. You don't want to destroy too many bacteria at once, and the gravel washing may remove a certain amount, so play it safe and keep the filter media intact for now. You can clean the media next water change. As you know, always rinse filter media in dechlorinated water. Remove all snails and any eggs you find. This should help immensely. Let me know how it goes :) -Gwen>>

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 ID and Betta question Howdy folks. David here. A couple questions. Number one: over the past several weeks, I have been finding snails in my main display tank. I'm not sure how they got in there in the first place. I'm guessing they came with some plants I bought but I probably had the plants 2 or more weeks before I found my first snail. < You are probably right. These are common pond snails and they are often found with plants.> It is a 55 gallon freshwater tank with tetras, swordtails and Otos. I don't really want the snails in there because I'm growing plants and I'm not sure if they will harm them so as I find the buggers, I've been moving them to my Betta's 2 gallon tank. I have included a picture of one of the snails. There are probably 6 or 7 of them in there by now. In the upper right-hand corner, you can see what I believe to be snail eggs. < You are right . These are snail eggs.> I would simply like to know what kind of snails these are and whether I should be concerned with having them in my main tank and also my Betta's tank. Also, should I remove the eggs? < They really don't do too much damage. They may eat the softer parts of plants like new shoots and leaves but they also eat algae and left over food too. Removing the eggs will help but I am afraid you won't be able to keep up. There are probably little nests like that scattered all over the aquarium already.> At what point will there be too many snails for that 2 gallon tank? < I guess when they really bother you.> And do they provide any benefits for the tank, such as sifting thought the gravel and cleaning it? < If there gets to be a point to where they seem to be taking over the tank then there are a couple of ways to go. You could use chemicals that are poisonous to the snails but if it is slightly overdosed then it will kill the fish too. I would use some biological control like Botias or puffers. They get rid of all of them but will at least keep the population under control.> My second question is in regards to my Betta, Casper. I have had him for almost 2 years. For almost all of that time, he was in a one-gallon, unlighted, unheated tank. I wised up a while back and got him the 2 gallon tank with a light and a heater that keeps the tank around 80 F. It also has a UGF and I'm growing some plants in there: some Aponogeton bulbs and some floating Riccia. I have also included a picture of him and I'm sure you will spot my concern right away. The color on the front half of his body is very faded. He was not always like this. I was hoping the new tank conditions would help out but it doesn't seem to have had an effect thus far. There does not appear to be anything else wrong with him. He is active enough for a Betta. He eats well. He likes looking at himself in the mirror and flaring up every now and then. He is usually always excited to see me. Seems like a normal healthy boy but the dullness of color really concerns me. Is there anything I can do for him? < I think the lack of color may be a factor of age. If that is the case then there is not much you can do. You might try some live food like brine shrimp or daphnia and see if that helps.-Chuck> Thanks so much for your help. David

Cichlids, wanted plants, got snails, doesn't want snails... loach solution! Greetings!  <Greetings to you.>  I am the sad owner of a 90g Mbuna cichlid tank, I tried having plants (they survived quite a while, but ended up looking pretty ragged) and all I got was a lousy snail infestation.  <you are not the first person to have that happen to him.>  I reluctantly introduced three clown loaches - I prefer to have a biotope aquarium (with the exception of the rubber Plecostomus that keeps algae that also came with the plants under control) of sorts. The small (1.5") loaches seem to have no idea what a snail is - there certainly are enough to keep them busy round the clock if they so desired.  Here are my three questions: do the loaches have to get to a certain size before they'll start eating snails?  <Not really, I have seen smaller loaches eat snails also. But, I have found that it happens more with the larger loaches. It might be that they don't like the Malaysian trumpet snails. I know many fish that don't like eating them. I have puffers, that normally eat snails like there is no tomorrow, have Malaysian trumpet snails living quite nicely in their tank. They do eat a few but not as much as one would expect. The Trumpet snails have a really hard shell that many animals can't get around. By either sucking them out or cracking threw the shell it's a hard job to eat those guys.>  (There are some tiny snails in this aquarium.) Do some loaches just not eat snails, the way some cats are birders and others are mouse catchers?  <I have known loach owners saying that one loach eats snails better than the others. But, it's only a casual observation. It could be possible, but I think that every loach has it in him to eat a snail if hungry.>  At what point do I know all hope is lost and my tank is overrun (at which point I'll board my fish, get all new gravel, turn over the filters, cycle the tank and start over, I guess)  <I think the loaches are simply getting enough food elsewhere (from the plant matter and extra fish food) that they aren't bother with the snails. I think you might want to cut back on the food you are feeding the other fish and see if it has an effect on the loaches. Without the food I think they will quickly switch to the snails.>  Thank You, Daniel Heller  <Good luck with the snails. Magnus>

Snailicidal Goldfish; Reader's Experience - 03/27/2004 Hi, <Hello, Sabrina here, today!> I'm writing to respond to a conversation between Candace and Sabrina on 2/22/04.  I think it was Sabrina that said she didn't think Goldfish would be ambitious enough to eat live snails.   <I did, indeed.> Just to set the record straight, we have large goldfish, and about a week or so after purchasing large snails, I witnessed one of the goldfish thrashing something that resembled white flesh.  Then I realized that it was a snail!  It still had the plate(?) attached to it.  The goldfish had ripped it right out of its' shell!   <Holy goldfish!  Er, Mackerel, that is.  But WOW!> A few days later, our entire family witnessed the same scene while eating dinner.  Absolutely amazing!   <Agreed!> We still have 2 large snails remaining, but it's probably just a matter of time.  :(  Margie <I must honestly say, I've never, ever experienced this, nor expected it to be a likely scenario!  Thank you so much for writing in with your experience, Margie, and I will definitely keep an eye or two out for any signs of other snail-eatin' goldies!  Thanks again,  -Sabrina> Shy Snail? - 03/27/2004 I recently bought a snail for my 20 gallon freshwater tank. I have a few other fish in tank that are about a year old. I noticed today the snail was tucked in his shell and wasn't eating, is this normal for a snail to stay in it's shell all day long? <Mm, possibly, but certainly isn't a good sign.  Check ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and pH, to be on the safe side.> I don't know much about snails, if there is a certain temp. for water...etc. <To be honest, I don't know, especially without knowing what species you have.  Try looking here:   http://www.applesnail.net/ .> Any information you can give me would be greatly appreciated. I just hope he hasn't passed on. <Me, too!> Hoover, was so much fun to watch. <"Hoover"?  What a fitting name!  My most recent acquisition, an L-260 Pleco, has been named "Suckhead" :) > Yes, we named all the fish including the snail. <Understandable, of course :) > Please reply.  Sandra <Done.  Hope you can find the answers you're looking for!  Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

Damage on Snail's Shell - 02/22/2004 I'm new to this...keeping up a small aquarium and finding info on the internet. Anyway, my problem is similar to one I read from a fellow named Ryan writing to WWM. <I can't seem to find this particular correspondence, but hopefully we can help you out.> I have a Ramshorn snail that appears to have something (a parasite or organism?) eating away at its shell. <Mm, likely not an organism, but a deficiency in a certain nutrient(s).  What is your pH?  What about total and carbonate hardness?> The shell has a covering of algae on it but at the very center on each side, the area where the spiral is the tightest (if that is a word), the shell looks as if it is being eaten away. <I understand precisely what you mean.  This is more likely than not a nutrient deficiency.> Ryan, in his message described it as appearing as if someone has taken sandpaper to the shell. That is what I am seeing too. The strange thing is that it appears to be following the spiral, as if an organism is eating from the center outwards. <The reason this is happening is because the inner part of the spiral, near the center, is the oldest part of the shell; as the snail grows, the shell in the center just gets older and older, it's not living tissue.  If the water lacks certain stuff (calcium and iodine, primarily) the shell dissolves over time.> In this case the only other organisms in the 5 gal. tank are a small goldfish now about 2 in. long tip to tip and a small catfish about 1 in. long. When I mentioned this to the pet store they seemed to think that the fish would not be doing this. <Agreed.> Is the goldfish doing this? <No.  I doubt that goldfish are ambitious enough to eat live snails - and certainly aren't capable of pitting their shells in this manner.> or is there a parasite or other organism responsible? <I highly doubt that this is the case; I know of no organism that does this.> If the fish is doing it wouldn't it have random pitting all over the shell instead of a pattern identical on both sides?   <Of the few fish that would damage snail shells (puffers come to mind), I agree, yes.  The best suggestion I have for you is to check your pH, GH, and KH, and depending upon what you're at now, you may consider adding a satchel of crushed coral substrate to try to bring up the calcium (and thereby, hardness, which will bump your pH up, too - so beware).  Before you do that, I recommend trying adding iodine (use Kent marine iodine, at a rate of one drop per ten gallons weekly - NOT the saltwater dose printed on the label).  I do this for my freshwater shrimp, and as a side effect, the few large Ramshorn survivors in my tank have rich, lustrous shells now.  The damage that has already happened on the shell is basically not reversible, but fixing the problem should help your snails to produce lovely shells from here on out.> Candace <Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

Salvageable Snails, or Escargot? I have an 80g freshwater tank.  Two of my fish are ill with fin rot, and I am treating this with an antibacterial medicine, but unfortunately now my snails look very sick.  The snails are gold ones and black mystery snails, their shells appear to be deteriorating.  Do you think it is the medicine doing this?  Or do they have some other condition that I could treat? <What antibiotic are you using, specifically?  Some medications will effect snails quite negatively, and some will seem to have no effect whatsoever. However, the deterioration of the shells is more likely due to a lack of certain minerals in the water that they need to build their shells nice and thick.  I have noticed that the snails in my shrimp tanks began producing much finer shells after I started using iodine for the benefit of the shrimps; you can even see the exact point where it began to change.  I use one drop of Kent Marine iodine per ten gallons of water every week in my freshwater shrimp tanks.  The difference has been unbelievable, not only in the shrimps, but the snails as well.  I would also recommend that you test your general and carbonate hardness, and raise if necessary, provided you can do so safely with the fish that you have.  I also encourage you to take a look at http://www.applesnail.net/ , there is a whole load of snaily information there.> Thank you very much for your time.  Marilyn  God bless! :o) <Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

Baby Snails This summer my daughter found a large snail in a local lake and brought it home to place in her fish tank.  This was done about June.  Today we noticed at least 8 babies about 1/2 the size of an eraser.  I'm assuming the snail must have been pregnant when it was found.  Currently they are in a small fishbowl and I don't know if they should be separated or they need any special care.  This was not found in saltwater and their are two fish in the tank with them. >>Hello April, congrats on having babies :P I don't know what species of snail you found, but chances are they are a cold water species (whereabouts do you live?) The further north you are, the more "coldwater" your snails are. All I can recommend is to feed them regularly with fish food, keep them relatively cool, and do regular partial water changes, just like you do for your fish. Perhaps, if you are interested, you can try to find pics and a scientific name for them online. Best wishes! -Gwen<<

Snail eggs I got two Ramshorns snails last Wednesday and put them by themselves for a couple of days to make sure they would live. One is a golden color the other is the stripped kind. Then I put them in a small two gal tank with two Corys. Yesterday I saw them stuck together and now today, I have a egg sack stuck to the glass. I have three questions. 1.   Should I keep the water level above the eggs? >>Not sure. Here are some snail websites: http://www.mtbaker.wednet.edu/harmony/ditch/ramshorn_snails.htm, http://www.applesnail.net/, http://www.naturegrid.org.uk/biodiversity/invert/snailram.html.<< 2.   How long will it be, before they hatch? >>I am not sure.<< 3.   Will the Corys eat the eggs or the babies once the hatch? >>Chances are good that they will eat them, yes. Check out the websites, I hope they will help you. :D<< Thanks W.D. >>You are welcome. -Gwen<<

New Betta!  1/14/04 <Hi, Pufferpunk again> Thank you so much for the advice! <You're welcome, happy to help.> Today I bought Tate, a blue and red Betta. <My favorite colors for Bettas> He seems happy and energetic in his new home, and he's eating 2 pellets of food twice a day. In a few days I am going to look for a snail to live with Tate. (I would have gotten one today, but none of them looked very healthy at that particular store.) <Yes, make sure you get a healthy one.  Nothing fouls a tank worse than a dead snail.  Phew!  If he doesn't move for a while, take it out & press lightly on the "foot".  If it has resistance, it's still alive.  If the body caves in, or it smells bad, it's not.> Basically, I am wondering what I should feed the snail, and if I should move it into the tank the same way I would a fish. I've never had an aquatic snail before, so this should be quite an adventure. <It wouldn't hurt to acclimate your snail.  Whatever your Betta eats, the snail will eat, just make sure he gets some.> Thanks again!  -Kathryn <Enjoy your fish!--Pufferpunk>

Rams' Horn Snails - Good Guys or Bad? I have been reading through a lot of the FAQ's and didn't find my question...so here goes.  I have a Ram Horn snail recently placed in my 55 gal. freshwater tank.  There is also an old large Pleco and an old large Tiger Oscar.  No one seems to bother the snail.  My question:  The Ram Horn snail has laid several clusters of eggs in the artificial plant.  Will these eggs hurt my Oscar and Pleco?   <No, not at all.  The Plec may even eat some as he cleans.> Should I remove the eggs?   <Heh, that depends on whether or not you want lots of snails.  They can multiply tremendously.> How do I handle this? <You can either do nothing, or you can pull out the plant and scrape the eggs off - but I'm fairly positive there will be eggs elsewhere in the tank, as well.  Either way, it is nothing to be horribly concerned about, except that they can become an eyesore when there are too many of 'em.  More here:   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwsnails.htm .> Thank you for any help you can give.  Beverley <Sure thing!  Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>
Rams' Horn Snails - Good Guys or Bad? - II
Thanks so much for your quick reply.   <You bet!  We do try to answer things quickly.... with the volume of questions we get, things sometimes slip through the cracks, but we certainly try to do our best!> You have made an instant fan.  Beverley <Ah, wonderful to hear!  Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

Here comes another one, just like the other one Hi I wrote to you last week but did not see an answer posted.   <Wow, my deepest apologies!  We do try to get everything answered right away, I'm sorry this one fell through the cracks.> My question is... can lobsters and snails live in the same tank?  The reason I ask is because two days after I put a snail in the tank with my lobster my lobster died.  He died on his feet, but the night before he died he had flipped over onto his back twice. Could it have been the ph? <Woah....  Dude....  De ja vu and a half!  I'm sure this is related to a correspondence I just had with another person about the exact same topic, but just in case, all the info again:  Assuming that the snails and 'lobster' are freshwater, as I was told in the other correspondence, I feel that the 'lobster' death is likely unrelated to the snails.  Test the water for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and pH; if any of these are out of whack, it could be what did in the little crustacean.  Your little lobster (actually, either a Macrobrachium shrimp or a crayfish) may possibly have just suffered a bad molt.  Sometimes, when they shed their old skins, the new shell doesn't harden properly or tears, or has some other sort of complication.  This is one of those things that can 'just happen'.  The best way to avoid it ever happening in the future is to dose the tank with iodine (I use Kent marine) at a rate of one drop per ten gallons every week.  Beyond this, the only risk in keeping these two animals together is to the snails - I wouldn't put it past the shrimp/crayfish to decide to dine on escargot some day.> I would greatly appreciate any input. Thank you in advance! Deysha Rivera <Hope this gets to you properly, this time!  Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

Murderous snails? dear sir, <Or maam?  ;)  Sabrina here today> my boss has requested me to ask you for some information regarding snails and lobsters.   <First chunk of info I need here - are we talking freshwater snails and lobsters, or saltwater snails and "lobsters" (crayfish, Macrobrachium shrimp)??> You see, she recently put two snails into the same tank as her lobster.   <Do you happen to know what kind of snails, and what kind of lobster?> Three days later, the lobster was dead.  The day before he died, he was exhibiting sluggish behavior and even turned himself over onto his back twice? <Two things come to mind; one, that he had a 'bad' molt and didn't survive it, or that water parameters were out of whack - what are/were your readings for pH, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate (and salinity/specific gravity and calcium, if we're talking saltwater)? Is it possible that the slugs murdered him with their deadly pH?   <Uhm, I'm a touch confused, here....  snails, or slugs?  And by "their deadly pH" what do you mean, exactly?  Did the pH change after you added them?> I would appreciate any input you have on the occurrence. Thank you for your time. Cricket McLeod p.s. it was a little blue lobster. <Just a touch more info (FW or SW, water parameters) will greatly help us to help you.  Wishing you well,  -Sabrina.>
Murderous snails? continued
He/she was a fresh water little blue lobster (well that is what the pet store told me anyway) about four inches long. <Likely either a Macrobrachium shrimp or a blue crayfish then; a few species of these are often sold under the name "blue lobster".> Fresh water snails also. I don't know what kind light brown in color, does that help? <Since we're talking freshwater, I think the type/species of snail is irrelevant; there are a few marine snail-types that are quite venomous; although it'd have been a long shot, it was a thought.> Not sure if the water was out of whack. I did not test it after adding them. Could the snails have altered the ph, ammonia, etc..? <If one died, yes, but other than that, I'd think it far more likely that the water quality was going downhill (do you change water regularly, vacuum gravel, etc.? how big of a tank?) or that the 'lobster' simply had a bad molt.  This threat can be avoided (though not completely eliminated) by dosing the tank with Iodine (I use Kent marine) at a rate of one drop per ten gallons every week.> But if all ph, ammonia, etc. is normal is there any reason they can not live together? <Well, these (both the big arm shrimps and the crayfishes) are really equal opportunist eaters.  I remember as a kid feeding crayfish in a friend's pond stale potato chips (not a good idea, though!).  I might be concerned that the 'lobster' would decide to munch the snails, but that's the only issue I see with it.> thank you again! <Sure thing!  -Sabrina>

Snails 11/02/03  <Hi, Pufferpunk here>  I have a small aquarium with one Betta and one snail in it. The snail has been in there for several months. Yesterday I came home to find the snail dead and two baby snails crawling around. I guess my question is, how did this happen?  <I think that you probably didn't notice the snail eggs or the hatchlings until you noticed the dead one. What food are you offering the snail/s? Are you adding a little extra food than just the Betta will eat? Obviously the babies are tiny, so they may get enough food for now, but I offer mine algae wafers once/week.>  I just find this very strange. Thank you for your time.  Joyce  <You're welcome--Pufferpunk> 

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 so 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 :) ) <CHARGE!!> 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,        -Chris

Very vague snail question Is there any way to protect snail eggs from predation? <Well, I guess first of all, it would depend on what kind of snail you're talking about....  Are you asking about a freshwater snail?  Pond or aquarium?  Or a saltwater snail?  What kind or species, if you know?  Or is this question a follow up on a previous question/answer?  Although there isn't much information for me to go off here, the easiest answer I can give you is to physically separate the eggs from any predators in the system, either by moving them into another system or by containing them somehow, perhaps.  -Sabrina>

Can I Release Snails into a Local Pond? To whom it may concern: <Hello there> I searched via Google, but I could not find an answer to my question.  I apologize if it has been asked and answered previously.  I bought some plants for my fish tank.  Unbeknownst to me, some snails were attached to the plants. About one month ago, my fish died.  I am not going to buy another fish, so I wondered if there was a safe way (safe place) to release the snails.  Certainly, I do not want to kill them, but I do not want to keep a tank filled with snails.  Can you help? Thank you.  Pete <Can help. It may seem cruel, but please DO NOT release the snails (or anything live for that matter) into any natural environment... Not only for the sake of not causing competition with local species, but snails in particular are very common vectors (carriers, hosts) for many, MANY parasitic diseases... of fishes, invertebrates, even humans. Far better to place them in a plastic bag, put them in the freezer (this is painless) and dispose of them in the trash later. Bob Fenner>

Snail shell erosion Hello all!  How are you tonight?   <Absolutely wonderful, thank you!  Sabrina here tonight....> I have a quick question for you.  I've had two Apple Snails in my 120 with a bunch of large Central American Cichlids for the past year or so.  They're doing well, growing and eating and pretty active as far as snails go.  But I've noticed lately, their shell are pitting and seem to be wearing away.  I have crushed coral gravel in the tank and I thought that should give them enough minerals to keep their shell in shape, but I guess not. The Ph is around neutral, no ammonia, no nitrites, low nitrates, etc.  And they have all the algae then want to graze on along with veggie and carnivore cichlid pellets, frozen tiger shrimp and bloodworms. <Hmm.  Everything sounds excellent, really.> Is there some kind of mineral supplement for freshwater snails or what else can I do for these guys?  They're doing so well, I hate to lose them because their shells are rotting away. <Well, I can tell you my experience with snails (and their shells), even though in my plant tank, they were an absolute pest, not a welcome denizen....  I am very much obsessed with freshwater shrimp, and have learned that freshwater shrimp tanks should be dosed with iodine (Kent's reef iodine supplement is fine, and is what I use) at a rate of one drop per ten gallons every week.  After I started dosing my tanks with iodine, I noticed the shrimps were growing more, they were more active, seemed all-around healthier.  Another (possibly undesirable to me) side effect was that all the snails that remained (only the ones too large for some Botias to eat) no longer had holes in their shells, and were no longer ragged and thin looking at the openings.  Instead, all the remaining snails in my tank now have thick, dark, lustrous shells.  I wonder if iodine would do the trick for you?> Thanks in Advance, Kristen:)

Snails hi! I have (or had, I'm not sure yet) 2 snails for my 10 gallon aquarium. just recently, the bigger snail went up into his shell and hasn't came out for about a week now. then, just a couple of days ago, my other snail seemed to stay in its shell for a long time. but the smaller snail's plate is kind-of just hanging there, and on the bigger snail the plate is quite a ways back. I'm not sure if there dead, or alive. I still have them, but removed them from the tank and put them in a small one. what should I do???? <The snail might be dead. I would check the water quality of the main aquarium-also do watch the main aquarium closely for other fish/invert deaths. Good Luck, IanB>

One of Millions of Questions from a Novice >Please don't laugh.   >>Oh, alright.  ;)  Marina here today. >I visited your site and have learned much.  I don't come anywhere close to the serious care of fish and other aquatic animals.  My wife gave my daughter Aquababies two years ago.  Of course the fish have died.  However, I have been caring for snails that started with two.  This is the third year of caring of what the LFS referred to as Tiger snails.   >>Fairly easy keepers.  Though they can be somewhat prolific. >They are small dark brown with a spiral cone and have never gotten larger that about three quarters of an inch.   >>Sounds like the animal to me. >I don't have the heart to let them die.  So I've tended to cleaning the little tank and cleaning the stones once or more a month.  They float upside down and suck what ever they can from guppy fish food.  I have been curious as to what would be normal for life cycle, what do they normally eat.   >>Don't know their life cycle, and they're very common in planted systems.  If you want to add some easy to grow plants, Anacharis and the like are good, though you'll have to pull a lot of die-off out.  You can also try weighing down stuff like zucchini for them, too.  Of course, good old fish food works, just don't give too much. >I noted that if I supply a lot of floating food the eight to twelve come to the surface.  A day or so later there appears a cloud or smoke beneath them.   >>Snail poo?   >I allow one of these cycles but usually clean the tiny tank.  Generally the tank will turn brown like nicotine about a week or two later.   >>Does it require anything more than a water change?  If so, consider a small sponge filter (air driven) to help out. >I may not being doing these guys any favors keeping them in such a small environment not knowing too much about them.   >>They truly don't know the difference, don't worry about it. >If I let them, they multiply very fast.  Randell >>You're very kind to take heart to these little mollusks, and it sounds as though you're giving them a good home.  I wouldn't really change anything.  I'm sorry I can't give you more/better information on them.  Marina

Snail gestation Dear Crew, Hi, <Good morning!> I would like to know when the gestation period for snails are. Due to the fact that my teacher has an aquarium in our classroom and no one knows how or why but all of a sudden there were massive snails in the tank. So what we would like to know is how long their gestation period is.   Thank you much, The Class <Its hard to say for sure without knowing the exact species but take a gander at http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwsnails.htm and the related FAQs. These pages should give you lots of info. Ronni>
Re: Snail gestation
These snails Have a Cone shaped shell. These are the shells most commonly found on beaches in New York State. They are Cone shaped and spiral. <This describes several different types of snails so youll have to do some research and see if you can find your kind and their gestation. The link I sent yesterday is a good starting point. Ronni>

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

Clown loaches and snails Hi gang, <Greetings!> 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!  =) <Im 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 Ive seen clowns eat snails that were over an inch in size so Id 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 Ive 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 youre welcome! Ronni>

Ramshorn snails I got a Ramshorn snail a few weeks ago. Since I got him (Ryan is his name) he has gotten a white patch that is growing. It kinda looks like someone took sandpaper to his shell. Is this something to worry about? I got 22 baby swordtails less then 3 months old, 1 Pleco, 1 spiny loch, and one clown loach. My setup is in a 20 gallon high. I got a heater and keep my tank around 72-74. Is my snail healthy? <Hes probably getting picked on by the loaches (especially the Clown) and they will end up killing him as snails are a favorite food of theirs. Ronni>

Breeding snails for puffer food (03/10/03) hi there! <Hi! Ananda here on the puffer patrol tonight...> I am considering breeding snails to feed my spotted green puffers. <Good idea.> Can you tell me what the best type of snail to breed would be... <I use the small nuisance snails that are free from most fish stores... some are small rams-horn snails, others are round with a bit of a taper on the end. Avoid the ones that are cone-shaped.> How many snails I need to purchase initially... <Purchase? None, hopefully. I'd take as many as the fish store will give you, depending on the size of tank you have.> what size of tank/container they should be kept in... <As small as a gallon, depending on how many snails you want and how many puffers you have -- I have a 5.5 gallon tank as full-time snail farm.> Whether it needs filtration/aeration... <Yup, and water changes, too -- though you can use the old water from your puffer tank as new water for the snails.> And does it need to be covered? <Only to keep the evaporation down. You don't have to worry about the snails crawling around outside the tank. My snail tank is open-topped.> your advise is greatly appreciated! Irene <A couple of other tidbits: you don't need any substrate at all in the tank. In fact, using substrate will just make it more difficult to get the snails out. Do vacuum the crud off the bottom of the tank when you do a water change. And you will need to feed the snails -- old fish food, frozen/thawed vegetables, etc. --Ananda>

Re: SNAILS!! HI Ronni, boy were you right... <Drat, sometimes thats not a good thing!> This morning I woke up and there was a snail moving about on my driftwood- from your website it looks like a Ramshorn. Now its small, but hey, don't want it there. <I dont blame you!> The driftwood did come with a note saying it was 'live driftwood' <Oops, this may not be a good thing unless you want little crustaceans in your tank.> and I've seen little mollusk looking creatures on it from time to time, and I think I actually caught another snail and pulled it out- it was black. However, I guess since I didn't QT plants (the Bacopa and the Mondo grass)- even though I washed it sooo well--I thought- there was a snail this morning  I tried to 'get him' but he was pretty quick <My guess is that you probably got snails from both the plants and the driftwood.> and I didn't want to upset the Amano (who as you predicted are ok--up and out munching on driftwood this morning)- <Glad to hear this part anyway!> So is it true that snails are like mice, you really never have just 1? <Unfortunately yes. Freshwater snails multiply like crazy.> If yes, how do I get rid of him? I looked at fish called Yo Yo loach, but they say it gets up to 5 6 inches, too big for my tank. Is there another smaller (like 2-3 max) fish to eat snails? Or should I let it go for now? <There are several smaller fish that eat them but not really any that will work in your system (Bettas, Puffers, etc). I would go get one Loach, either a Clown or a Yo-Yo and let them do their job for a while. Fortunately, the Loaches do seem to grow fairly slowly so if you keep one for a few months and then trade it back in you should be fine.> NEVER AGAIN no QT!! <Im glad to hear this but sorry that you had to learn it the hard way. But its better that you found out from snails than from a disease like so many people do.> Also, my Otos survived their first night-- they are small, smaller than the Rasbora and white cloud and the fish were circling around them and freaking them out, but everyone seems on today. I figure if Otos make it through weekend, they won't 'die'- read they do sometimes.  If they are happy for about 2 weeks, then can I add either rummy nose tetra (2) or the cherry barbs? <If possible, it would be best to wait about 4 weeks.> And if I get a fish that eats snails, I guess I'll get it and omit the rummies- Arghhh. <Youll be able to add the Rummynose Tetras once your snail problem is taken care of and you trade the Loach back in.> Thanks for help, have a GREAT weekend, Best Rosa <Hope you have a great one too! Ronni>

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>

Snails and starting over I love your site and thought if anyone can help it will be you. I have a HUGE snail problem in my 30 gallon tank. It started with two snails and now is up to oh, 200 or so. <LOL! I'm sorry for laughing but I've had this same problem myself.> My tank contains a black angel, a balloon molly, a platy, a crab, a Plecostomus and now two clown loaches.  I tried aquarium salt (no effect) <Salt won't have an effect on the snails unless it's in very large quantities, nearly brackish conditions and this can harm some of your fish.> None of the fish or the crab wants to eat the snails except the tiny clown loach that is an inch long.  The large one 4 inches just hides!  I am moving march first and wonder if it would be easier to get new gravel and start over (my gravel is the same color as the snails) Do I have to do the gold fish thing again and of so what do I do with the fish and crab till that's done?  Or can I just set up the tank and put in the fish? <To avoid having to go through the whole cycle process again you should set it back up with the same gravel and filter media and some dirty water from this tank. Unfortunately, this won't help the snail problem. I'm going to tell you how I would do this to avoid the cycle period again and still eradicate the snails. It's up to you if you want to try this though because it doesn't always work and sometimes your tank will still go through the cycle period again. So use this method at your own discretion. Get yourself several bottles of a product called Lime-It (if you can't find it at your LFS you can mail order it from several online stores). Follow the directions and use this to soak your gravel/plants/decorations/etc. The Lime-It will kill all of your snails. Rinse all of your stuff very well. Set your tank back up using all of the stuff you just rinsed. Have your LFS give you a large bag or two of *very* dirty water from one of their tanks or you can use dirty water that you saved from when you tore your tank down. Dump all of this water into the tank and fill it as normal. Your water will be very murky but will clear. The more dirty water you can add the better, for a 55g tank I used 4 gallons of dirty water so I'd recommend at least 2 gallons of it for your tank. This should provide enough of a bacteria start that you will be able to avoid at least the worst of the cycle. Still keep a very close eye on your ammonia and nitrite levels and do water changes as necessary.> Thanks for your help. <Good luck! Ronni>

Eggs (FW snails) Hi sorry to bother you again my cousin has a 20 freshwater tank setup...In it is a pair of Scissortails, pair of neon tetra's iridescent shark, Pleco, 2 red claw crabs, 1 large yellow snail & 2 Chinese algae eaters...& today she found a egg cluster & we can't figure out who it goes with. I was hoping you could help us...I've included a pic for you to look at...Please help So, we know what to do: Thanks Again!!! <Do you have one or more "Mystery Snails"? This looks like a batch of eggs that they produce. Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwsnails.htm Bob Fenner>

Floating Snail I have a snail that has been floating on and off for the last couple of days. When it is floating it is closed up inside of it's shell. Is something wrong with it? <Hopefully not> What would make it float? <It may be looking for food> I'm not sure what kind of snail it is, but it is not cone shaped. It is round. I have four larger gold fish in the ten gallon aquarium with the snail. I do not feed the snail anything extra because I thought there would be enough algae, and left over fish food. Do I need to supplement feed the snail? <Likely not> Any help you could give would be greatly appreciated. I've never had a snail before. Thanks, Lonnette <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwsnails.htm and the FAQs file (in blue, at top) re these snails. Bob Fenner>

Re: snails floating Halloo I have a 2 gallon fishbowl with one Betta and 3 snails (brand: unknown.) These snails have a peculiar behavior lately of floating on the top. If I pick them up they retract, and they otherwise seem to be happily doing their job (slithering around, cleaning the bowl.) Is this a precursor to something bad? Thanks -- KN <Likely nothing wrong here. Some snails are more amphibious than truly totally aquatic... they may be looking for more food, perhaps going to the surface for more oxygen. But the Betta is a "facultative aerial respirator" (breaths atmosphere), so not to worry re the latter for its sake. Bob Fenner>

Clown loaches for snail control <Ananda here tonight, answering the freshwater fish questions...> hi guys need your help again if you do not mind . <Not at all -- that's what we're here for.> 100,s of stinking snails. these are the cone shaped type not sure of scientific name. <Probably the ones commonly called "Malaysian trumpet snails".> guy at local fish store said clown loaches will not eat them shells too hard <Baloney. My clown loaches eat these all the time. They don't need to crush the shells; loaches suck the snail out of the shell.> want to refrain from chem.s-  he suggested a product called had-a-snail. <I'm surprised he's trying to sell you chemicals rather than more fish.> at my wits end  heeeeeeelp meeeee rocky <Check out our loaches page and its associated FAQs: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/cobitids.htm ...also http://www.loaches.com has much info from loach fans. --Ananda>

Up late stressing about my four Corys <Ananda here this late night/early morning, fielding the puffer questions...> I just did what now seems to be a very stupid thing. I had an overflow of snails so I read all about loaches and went to the local aquarium store to buy myself a small pack of them, having read they where a schooling fish. I was a little nervous about this and was easily manipulated by the evil aquarium experts?   <Always stick to your guns when you have researched something...keep in mind that the people at the store are trying to sell you something and that non-commercial web sites about fish generally have the fishes' best interests at heart.> Anyways they told me I would be better off buying a single Puffer fish, and after asking what fish I already had in my aquarium told me to add a teaspoon of rock salt per gallon of water to my aquarium. <Knowing you had Corydoras catfish? Shame on them!!> It has been a little over a week now and my Cory Catfish are not eating, and I just read that Corys can not tolerate salt, <Usually not well at all. I would do a 50% water change with no salt in the new water.> but I now have a green spotted puffer fish as well. <Cute and intelligent fish, requiring salt as they mature.> Tell me how to safe my fishies without buying a second aquarium please.  :(    <Oh my. That is difficult, because the puffer needs salt, and the Corys can't tolerate it. Very young green-spotted puffers (under 2" in length) can tolerate freshwater for short periods. But your long-term solution is another tank for the puffer.> <Best wishes, Ananda>  

Red Ramshorn snail Hi <Hi there! Scott F. here today> My friend has a single red Ramshorn in her tank (no other inhabitants).  The shop she bought it from had no idea about giving info on how to care for it properly.  She has had it for several weeks but over the last month it's shell has been getting very dark (almost black).  He spends his time lying on his side in the tank (he is not dead). She checked the pH it was 8 but is now 7 Any suggestions? Thanks, Liddy <Well, Liddy- the Ramshorn snail is a remarkably adaptable animal (just ask anyone who has them in their planted tanks!). They do eat a large amount of vegetable matter, can eat uneaten food, etc. Snails do spend a lot ofttimes just "sitting around". I know that you've heard the term "slow as a snail"...It's for a reason! I would keep an eye out on that pH. A downward shift in pH is a call to re-examine husbandry procedures (i.e; water changes, etc.). If this pH reduction was intentional, please disregard this! Good luck! Scott F.>

Re: snails-Ramshorn Thank you in regards to the question of sex of the single birthing mother snail.  Now another for  you please.  I have 3 large goldfish or carp now, and was wondering if I can put snails in the same tank without them getting eaten. <This should work out fine. These minnow fishes don't generally eat snails>   Also, I do not use a heater in my carp tank, just room temperature, and do have snails born in another tank I have that have a heater, will they survive the temperature of room and if yes or no, can you tell me some names of snails that can survive with my carp in room temperature.   tanks, Paul <This also should be fine. Please see here re your last question: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/pdsnails.htm Most all of the larger species of snails sold in our interest (particularly of the genus Pomacea (= Ampullaria) will do well. Bob Fenner>

Snail Stuff Hi Scott The pH reduction was on the advice of the fish shop man. but he said he didn't have a book to look up in so he was guessing. What should pH be for a Ramshorn? Liddy <Well- no specific pH. Like with other aquatic creatures, stability is what works best...Make sure that the snail has plenty of food, a stable water temp, and he/she will be just fine! Good luck!  Scott F.>

Where did they come from? I HAVE HAD AN AQUARIUM FOR TWENTY YEARS NOW. ONE DAY I DISCOVERED A SNAIL IN THERE. NEVER HAVE I NOTICED SNAILS BEFORE. WHERE DO THEY ORIGINATE FROM? <If freshwater, from live plants mostly likely. If saltwater, from liverock.> THE FISH FOOD WAS MY FIRST THOUGHT. ALGAE WAS MY NEXT. WILL THEY HARM MY FISH? <No> HOW DO I TAKE CARE OF THEM IF THEY ARE GOING TO BE IN THERE? <They generally take care of themselves. -Steven Pro> <P.S. Please do not write in all capitals.>

ABOUT SNAILS Do you think it's ok to put a snail that we find outside in our freshwater tank with our fish and if so, what should we feed it? <tough to say from your general question. If the snail that you find is terrestrial... then definitely no. If it is aquatic but you live in a temperate climate, the answer is still no. The truth of the matter is that it is generally a bad idea to capture wild animals indiscriminately for captive care without correct identification of the species needs/husbandry and quarantine. There is a very real risk of introducing a fatal disease to your fishes by such random introductions. Kindly, Anthony>

Snail I know it seems silly to ask about a snail, but I'm curious.. My husband recently took over my old tank when I got a new one. He has a silver tip shark and an Oscar (It was against my advice to get the Oscar!!!) We had a storm that knocked out the power at about 12:45 am (which sucks since I work for the electric comp!) I stirred both tanks w/ a wooden spoon before going to bed to oxygenate the water. Power came back at about 3:30 am.. In the morning I poked my head in to ck on my husband's fish and they were fine.. Don't remember seeing the snail.. That night when I went to feed them, snail was dead.. Are they that sensitive to outages..  <not at all! Quite the contrary... many tidal, shore dwelling species... leaving, breeding even feeding out of water and living in not so pristine conditions. Its death may very well have been coincidental.> The house was around 76 deg which is what they are used to. <best regards, Anthony>

Snails, calcium supply for same Yes, i have a question my snails shelves look really ugly I have mystery snails and i guess they need calcium. what kind of food do i give them the has calcium? thanks -----Jeff c. <Many choices here. A bit of a "feeder block" made for vacations for freshwater systems will do a good job for you here. Bob Fenner>

Snail infestation problem in my 75 gal freshwater tank. Hi I have a problem with snails in my freshwater tank. <Not uncommon...> I purchased plants at a local pet store few months ago and it came with uninvited guests. It started out with one cute snail and now there are whole colonies of them. It's out of control!!!! It is amazing how fast they multiply. I try to pick them out as much as I can everyday but without any dent on the snail population. ARGGGGG I would like to get rid of them. What should I do? <Take a look here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/snailsagb.htm and the associated FAQs... you will know, develop a control strategy. Bob Fenner> thanks -Thomas

Snails (freshwater, info.) Hello, I'm a form seven student from Palmerston North and I was just wondering if you could please send me some information on aquatic snails as I need information for a biology animal study for bursary. Thank you it would be much appreciated. yours sincerely, Julia <Please see the section, "Snails, Bane or Boon?" posted on the Freshwater Section of our website: www.WetWebMedia.com for what you're likely looking for. In you have further questions, please feel free to re-contact me here. Bob Fenner>

SNAILS! Somehow, someway one of our tanks (the 30 gal. one) "developed" these very ugly brown snails...which seem to multiply daily...we have not a clue as to where they came from or how to rid our tank of them. What, short of breaking down the tank, can we do, if anything? Thanks for your anticipated response. >> Is this a freshwater set-up? My fave methods of snail eradication for tropical aquariums are the Loaches... one or two Clown Loaches (Botia macracantha) or if your tank's a little crowded, one of the smaller species, like the Skunk (B. sidthmunki)... a day or two later... nothing but snail shells! Bob Fenner, who says, please write back if my guess is wrong about your tank... and it's marine...

Controlling Snails Dear Pet Store Hi, my name is Brian Halstead and i was wondering if you had any suggestions for me. I have a bunch of fish and i went to a pet store and bought some live plants. The plants that i bought had snails on them and now i have snails in my aquarium. I cleaned it out but they kept coming back. Since they multiply by them selves i don't know what to do and it drives me crazy because they make the water dirty. It is like there is a million of them and if i try to take the net and get some out they just come back. If you have something that would kill them for ever and kill the eggs than that would be good. Thank you for taking the time to read this letter and i hope you have some suggestions. Thanks Again Brian Halsted  >> There are a few approaches to freshwater snail control... and I'll briefly outline them for you here: First off, in terms of long-term success, and least problems, are biological means... there are some animals that are tireless snail eaters. My favorite pick are the fishes called Loaches (family Cobitidae)... and you didn't say how big your tank is, but I'll assume it does have a thermostatically controlled heater... If the tank is small (less than twenty gallons) look into a couple of Skunk Loaches (usually Botia sidthmunki)... If it is bigger, maybe a couple of small (to start) Clown Loaches (Botia macracantha)... you will be amazed at the job these will do... and they're neat to have as wet pets as well. There are other types of approaches, manual/mechanical and chemical... but let's not even consider them, as the loaches mentioned above will "do the job" much better and safer. Bob Fenner

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