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FAQs on Freshwater Aquarium Snail Reproduction/Culture

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Assassin snail eggs? 4/4/2011
I have a twenty gallon tank with a single female Betta, 3 assassin snails, and I just added 6 glass or ghost catfish.
Two of the assassin snails were crawling all over each other for almost a half a day and the next day I found about 10 little spots on the glass that look like sacs with something inside. They're about 1mm.
I've included a pic but I'm sure if you can tell from it.
My question is can I use a gravel cleaner in there or will I take a chance on killing some of them? How long will I have to wait?
Thank you,
<Hello Tim. Clea helena lay eggs in transparent, sachet-like capsules about 1 mm across. They tend to be dotted about on hard surfaces, far apart rather than in clumps. Once they hatch, the baby snails dive into the substrate, so yes, you want to leave the substrate alone. I've only kept them in tanks with sand -- in the wild they burrow into sand and silt -- and the juvenile snails reappear at shell lengths around 5-6 mm long,
usually several months later. I wouldn't keep them in a tank with gravel given their ecology. In any event, using a gravel cleaner is generally pointless so I'd lay off if you want to breed these snails. In a sandy tank you don't ever use a gravel vacuum, the snails cleaning the sand all by themselves. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Assassin snail eggs? 4/4/2011
The substrate is mostly the smaller material for growing plants. I wasn't planning on breeding them but it happened. Should I try and make a sandy area for them?
<Wouldn't bother for now. See what happens!>
<Do have some personal observations here:
Cheers, Neale.>

Clea helena New Baby 3/15/11
I know I don't have a perfect track record of identifying new born snail species (I brought home pests on plants and had no idea back then) but I'm sure I'm right on this one. I have a new baby Clea Helena.
<Cool! They breed rather slowly, but yes, they do breed.>
Thing is, I only had one since November 1st. I haven't seen "mom" for a bit but that isn't unusual.
<Indeed not.>
There's plenty of empty Ramshorn shells that shows the job is being taken care of. This new snail though is extremely tiny.
<Yes; a couple of mm long, with a small brown shell, sometimes with the yellow stripes visible.>
So even though I haven't seen both together, there's no way it's the same snail. I'm talking about the size of a baby Ramshorn. I would never have seen it if it wasn't on the glass and it is so small I'm surprised it wasn't eaten.
<Somehow they survive!>
I'll get a picture later after the camera charges. I just didn't know how unusual this is to start with "one" and four months later have two. I know this is a rather new to the trade creature so I wanted to share my discovery.
<Thanks for sharing. Mine do breed, and to a degree, you should end up with a stable population. Better still, they help to keep pest snails in check.
Cheers, Neale.>
Clea helena New Baby
<PS. I have a photo of a young Clea helena about halfway down this page:
Cheers, Neale.>

Little critters, FW... 02/05/11
Good morning crew
Hope you are all well.
When feeding my fish and a general checking I noticed that the bog wood in my tank were covered with little white dots. Please pics attached.
At first I thought they might be Neon Tetra eggs but then noticed that they were moving.
This is a planted tank that is a 10 month mature with 7 Neon Tetras, 1 Panda Platy and 2 male Sunset Gouramis Colisa labiosa.
I think they might be baby snails can you assist?
Many thanks in advance
<These look like Nerite snail eggs to me. They may hatch, but the snail larvae don't usually develop in freshwater conditions. In the wild the larvae drift down to the sea, so develop in either brackish or marine
conditions. Cheers, Neale.>

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

Double checking I'm doing things right; Xenopus and "eggs" 11/03/10
I do have tadpoles and I've discovered a number of egg clusters.
The baby snails appear unfazed when the toads kick them around the tank - I guess growing up with big toad feet kicking them helped a little on that. The snails just continue on as if nothing happened. The poor cameras have had the worst time getting a picture of the egg clusters, but I got a good shot... well, it's not completely in focus, but the best of the ones I've taken. These eggs are incredibly small - much tinier than the head of a pin. The poor camera really had the worst time focusing on the eggs since they're backlit by my window, transparent and very tiny!
<I don't think these are Xenopus eggs. They look too small. Xenopus eggs are quite large -- 2-3 mm across -- and laid singly, not in jelly-like masses. They aren't transparent either. I think these are Physa or Physella eggs. Do use Google to see pictures of Xenopus eggs.>
I think I'll just let nature handle how things work out now. I really only need to maintain the water level and clean the filter unless I want to risk the babies' lives. The plants (which have no actual roots) have been growing like crazy on the surface and even some that the toads did not uproot on bottom have been doing well.
<Floating Indian Fern is the best for Xenopus tanks.>
At best, I'll keep a close eye on the tadpoles and move the adults to a separate tank if things start getting out of hand. I've got a spare tank on standby - filter and all should the need arise. Thus far, they haven't even noticed the tadpoles, but I think I need to do further research on the metamorphosis of the toads for timing. I discovered the eggs last Thursday and clusters have shown up since... Sage has been busy. It would appear the adult snails left eggs of their own before dying, but apart from the already hatched babies, there hasn't been a whole lot of activity for those eggs up above the waterline in three separate clusters of their own. Jennifer
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Double checking I'm doing things right
Well, somebody's been busily laying eggs. There's at least 12 clusters all over the tank. I'm pretty sure I've seen tadpoles in there, too. Jennifer
<Hello Jennifer. I don't doubt that your frogs have been breeding; I just don't think those eggs are Xenopus eggs. There's an easy test: stick some in a breeding trap, let them hatch, and see if you find tadpoles in there or snails. In the meanwhile, use Google to compare the eggs of Physa snails against Xenopus frogs, and come to your own conclusion. Good luck, Neale.>

Look more like snail eggs to me!

Re: Double checking I'm doing things right - 11/7/10
Actually, now that I think about it, the egg clusters you saw in the picture didn't begin appearing until after all the adult snails were long gone and I'm pretty sure the babies are too young to lay any eggs yet. Besides, you said the mystery/apple snail has to lay their eggs above the waterline - these are below... mostly well below the waterline. The highest cluster I can find is about an inch below the surface. Probably won't know for sure for a couple months, though. Any tadpoles are presently too small for the cameras to catch. At least we know the toads and snails get along when the snails are born in the toads' tank. One of the toads kicks at least one baby snail daily and the snail just keeps going about its business as if the toad's foot means nothing to it. Jennifer
<Hello again Jennifer. As I said last time, the only way to be 100% sure is to isolate those egg masses in another tank and see what emerges. Five seconds on Google should show you what Xenopus eggs look like, and they don't look anything like blobs containing bunches of near-microscopic eggs. On the other hand, that's exactly what Physa and Physella spp. egg masses look like. Again, as I'm sure I've stated before, apple snail eggs are pink and laid above the waterline, and I never said that these egg masses were produced by Pomacea species. These egg blobs have nothing whatsoever to do with your apple snails so forget about connecting the appearance of these egg masses with the happiness (or otherwise) of your Pomacea spp. snails. Look up Physa and Physella on Google and you'll see what these snails look like and what their egg masses look like. As for the happiness of your apple snails, the problems usually occur once the snails are about 12-18 months old, which is when most specimens die. Keeping them alive for 3-4 years so they reach their full, tennis ball size is the hard part. I've never said apple snails are difficult to keep alive for the first year! Cheers, Neale.>

Snail hatchlings. 9/18/10
I've searched your site (and the internet), and while I found a similar description of my dilemma on your FAQ's, there wasn't much of an answer and the link returned me to the same page
Anyways, I have a 10 gal tank I've set up for raising freshwater snails, partly to feed my puffer. I'm not sure of the breed of snails, people usually just refer to them as pests, but I've had them before and I'm familiar with their eggs.
<If the snails have shells around 5-6 mm long, their shells are conical rather than flat ram's horns, and their bodies are brown in colour, then these are likely Physa or Physella spp. snails.>
However, I recently noticed the egg sacks appearing and today noticed some hatchlings.. As I watched one of the egg sacks, I noticed what appeared to be little worms, either coming out of the sack or feeding on it.
<Likely the latter. Flatworms, such as Dugesia spp., are quite common in aquaria. Fish tend to eat them, but if there aren't any fish, then there's a good chance they're flatworms. Nematodes are also common.>
Are these 'worms' baby snails or something else? If not snails, are they predatory towards snails or eggs? Any info would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!
<In all likelihood completely harmless. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Snail hatchlings.
Thank you so much for responding, and so quickly at that.
<No problem.>
Your answers have brought up a few more questions... I'd consider putting a few fish in with the snails, but my concern is they'll feed on the baby snails or eggs,
<They won't. Snail eggs seem to be unpalatable, and snails themselves, even tiny ones, are targeted as food only by specific types of fish: puffers, loaches, Synodontis catfish, some cichlids, and a few others. Most community fish ignore snails.>
though I would like for them to eat the worms or nematodes, whatever they are Some of the fish I'd consider putting in with the snails would be: mollies, juvenile or adult, bumble bee gobies, cherry barbs, or even a striped peacock eel.
<Do be sure the read on the needs of these fish. The Mollies, gobies, and even the Peacock Eel would thrive best in a planted, slightly brackish aquarium with a bit of salt added, around 4-5 grammes per litre. The Cherry Barbs wouldn't like those conditions, so if you can substitute for, say, Endler's Guppies or Platies, you'd be laughing. I will stress than spiny eels generally are difficult to keep, and the use of slightly brackish water and a "smooth" silica sand substrate really do help dramatically.>
Will any of these feed on the 'worms' and/or might they feed on the snail hatchlings or eggs? Thanks again!
<The nematodes and flatworms are multiplying according to how much food there is for them to eat. All tanks have a few, and fish generally ignore them and conversely these worms do little harm and potentially some good by keeping the substrate clean. But with all this said, if you have a lot of snails and worms in your aquarium, it probably means you're overfeeding and/or under-cleaning the substrate.>
Re: Snail hatchlings. 9/20/10
Well thank you.
<Ahh, Neale is "marked out" for the week. BobF in his stead here>
This tank was just set up recently intended as a planted tank and for snails to multiply. It has a substrate specifically for plants instead of gravel, and I only started with 4 or 5 snails, which just started laying eggs. As far as feeding goes, I really don't put food in except some occasional flakes, I figure the snails will eat decaying plant matter and algae.
<Mmm, maybe sufficient, but if you're shooting for production, I would investigate the species needs, preferences, and provide some par-boiled or microwaved terrestrial vegetable material>
There is a very small amount of salt in this tank,
<? Why?>
below the recommended amount for even a freshwater tank.
<See Neale's pc. on WWM re such use:
My larger tank with fish, has salt, the recommended amount for freshwater, but below brackish.
But thank you! You've been very helpful!
<And our archives re FW Snails:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Snails in one tank to provide food for my puffer? 5/24/10
Hope all is well, I have a quick question. I have two tanks, one is a 55G freshwater tank with a few different types of catfish and a spiny eel.
All levels are zero and water quality is maintained by doing weekly water changes. All the fish are doing well and healthy. My other tank is a 20G brackish aquaria with a Figure 8 puffer and several bumble bee gobies.
That tank too has all zero levels and water quality is maintained by doing weekly water changes.
My question is this, can I put a snail or two or three in my 55 gallon freshwater tank to supply my puffer with enough snails for food?
<Worth trying... I'd look for "Ramshorn" species myself...>
I was going to setup a snail only breeding tank but am now thinking it may be beneficial to have some snails in my 55. I don't want them to take over and wasn't sure if this is a sound idea. How fast will these things propagate?
<More or less continuously if mature... but you'll not be able to grow enough to produce all food for this puffer>
Is it a good thing to have some snails in my 55G tank for cleanup and what not?
<Not really... Snails are problematical for a few reasons; the most significant for being vectors of many fish and human diseases... Read here:
and the linked files above>
I'm scared that if I put a couple in, the next thing I know my 55G tank will be crawling with them and no matter how fast I remove and feed them to my puffer it won't be enough to keep up with how fast they multiply. Or do you think setting up a separate snail nursery is a better idea?
<Read on! Bob Fenner>

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

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

Freshwater Snails... culturing for food 8/22/09
Hello, I just purchased a Green Spotted Puffer fish.
<A fascinating brackish water species. Sadly, often kept in freshwater, where it quickly dies. Do see here:
While I'd like to think you're keeping your puffer in brackish water, you'd be surprised how many people don't, and the consequent numbers of sick and dead Green Spotted Puffers there are in the world! Juveniles are best kept around SG 1.005 at 25 degrees C/77 degrees F, that's about 9 grammes of marine salt mix per litre. Adults should be kept in more saline conditions, around SG 1.010, or 15.5 grammes of marine salt mix per litre.>
I also purchased 12 little snails that range from the size of a pea to the size of a pin head. The snails are a different variety (Ramshorn and others.) I do not know anything about snails but have been told these reproduce very quickly.
<Quite possibly, but rarely fast enough to provide live food in a pufferfish aquarium. Even if the puffer only eats a modest meal of ten snails, that's practically the whole of your population. Repeat that daily, and you'll quickly wipe out any population. The exception to this may be the Malayan Livebearing Snail (Melanoides spp.) that thrive in brackish water and stay hidden under the substrate, but these have such tough shells their value as food is essentially zero. Only when hungry will puffers go for them, and even then, only the smallest specimens. Some aquarists consider them a danger to puffers, their shells being strong enough to crack pufferfish teeth. Whether this is a valid risk or not is debatable, but it's a concern some experienced keepers have raised. So, in total, there's no point whatsoever adding snails to a pufferfish tank on the basis of providing a suitable amount of food. It won't work unless we're talking a pond-sized aquarium where a population of hundreds, if not thousands, of suitable snails (e.g., Physa spp.) could be maintained.>
The fish store said they were all self reproducing. I put all 12 snail into a 1 gallon aquarium along with an air stone. I do not have any substrate in the tank just an empty bottom. It has fresh water that was treated with "Prime" and is at room temperature. The snails were all very active crawling all over the sides of the aquarium. I put a piece of lettuce in the aquarium (washed in treated water) and put the air stone on top of it to push the lettuce down to the bottom. When I got up the next day all the snails were laying on the bottom of the aquarium. I kept an eye on them and none of them have moved since. after it got dark I took a flashlight and looked in the aquarium and I could see 1 of them coming out of his shell but he never moves. I removed the lettuce and put an algae wafer in the bottom along with a little bit of tropical flake food. At this point they are not moving around. I got these to feed the puffer fish but I am afraid to give them to the puffer because I do not know what is going on. I have checked the ammonia, nitrites and nitrates but since it is fresh water only 2 days old everything was at zero. I did put 6 other snails into a 30 gallon aquarium the was already cycled but I cannot find them at this point. I got the 1 gallon tank free and I figure they would be easy to find so I could feed the puffer. Any help would be appreciated.
<Rear suitable snails in another tank. Physa spp. are ideal for smaller puffers (to around 8-10 cm) while larger puffers will take Planorbis, Viviparus spp.>
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Freshwater Snails 8/22/09

WOW!!! Thanks for the fast response! I have posted on forums on my journey to learn more about puffers, snails and others and all I get is "I think" and "Maybe."
<I'm glad to have helped.>
I appreciate you also commenting on the puffer as well. I actually found the webpage you referenced right off the bat when doing my Googling. This puffer is about 1" big and has been kept in freshwater.
<Still a pup! Can be somewhat delicate when young, but not especially difficult to keep.>
You think it is best to start slowly changing him to brackish water now?
<Don't do anything radical. Simply use normal water changes to replace water with slightly brackish water. For a fish this size, SG 1.003 is ample. That's about 6 grammes of marine salt mix per litre. So if you take out a 15 litre bucket of water, add 15 litres with 15 x 6 = 90 grammes of marine salt mix. Once the fish is more than twice the size he is now, do water changes where you're replacing water with water that has 9 grammes of marine salt mix added per litre, i.e., a 15 litre bucket would contain 15 x 9 = 135 grammes. This is about SG 1.005 at 25 degrees C. In theory, you can keep GSPs perfectly well even at that low salinity, but once the fish are near full grown (around 10 cm/4 inches) you may care to nudge the salinity upwards to SG 1.010, about 15.5 grammes of marine salt mix per litre.
Again, you'd do this simply by doing water changes. Going slowly like this allows the bacteria in the filter to adjust.>
I also read that they come with parasites in them and they should be medicated right away which will extend their life. Is this something I need to do?
<Not unless there are obvious signs of infections. Over-medicating can cause all sorts of problems. Brackish water will kill a wide range of external parasites anyway, including Ick and Velvet as well as various "worms" and "lice".>
How can you tell how much food is enough for them?
<With puffers, a good rule of thumb is to feed them until their bellies slightly swell outwards. They shouldn't look like they swallowed a bowling ball! Skipping a meal once a week does no harm. Vary the diet, offering mostly shell-on foods such as krill, daphnia, bloodworms, etc. Some puffers enjoy cooked peas. Soft meaty things like squid and mussel are good for them, but use in moderation to avoid problems such as constipation and vitamin deficiency.>
I read they will eat until they rupture their stomachs.
If I drop 1 snail into the tank (the puffer goes wild) his stomach gets fairly large after he eats it so I stop feeding him at that point.
Am I feeding him enough food?
<So long as he isn't "hollow" bellied, he's fine.>
Keep in mind the snails are about the size of a pea or smaller. Your page says you have to GSP as well. What is best to feed a puffer of this size?
Your page says one thing to feed them is ghost shrimp.
<Adults certainly enjoy them.>
Being that my puffer is only about 1" big will he be able to eat ghost shrimp or is he to small?
<Probably not. Daphnia and brine shrimps, as well as wet-frozen krill and Mysis, will be fine. My puffers sometimes refuse things like krill and Mysis, I suppose because these foods are "hard work" to chew and swallow.
Don't relent! If needs be, starve your puffer a day or two, and then offer these nutritious goodies.>
Can I keep the ghost shrimp with the snails or will the ghost shrimp try to eat the snails? I think I need to make a trip out to the store to find some other types of food. I have been giving him a snail every other day and freeze dried brine shrimp (which you do not list as a food for them.) I did by some shrimp for me and gave him a little piece which he looked like he really enjoyed. I have only had him for about 1 week at this point.
<Brine shrimp are a fine treat, and they're full of fibre, but they contain almost no other nutrition. So while fine once a week, don't use them too often.>
I did find that most of the snails did move late last night. When I got up most of them were around the algae wafer, others were on the sides of the tank. Should they be constantly moving? <Yes.>
I read on your posts that some people have experienced the snails laying on the bottom and just moving at night. Other say their snails are constantly moving. I am sure it also depends on the type of snail.
<Precisely so.>
Thanks for taking the time to answer my email.
<My pleasure.>
I have a friend who has been raising cichlids for 15+ years but when it comes to brackish\salt water fish and puffers he doesn't really know too much about them. It is nice to see that someone with experience is willing to take time to respond to so many emails (of which I bet you get a lot of) and take the time to help others out so they can learn the best way to care for their aquariums.
<We try and do our best, at least. Enjoy your fish! Cheers, Neale.>

Do snails carry their eggs? 7/10/09
Hello. I have been browsing your website for the answer but could not find it. My young daughter brought home some snails from a school project.
They are small and have black shells. They are fresh water snails.
<Could be anything! But do review the genus Physa, the so-called Tadpole Snails, and the genus Planorbis, the Ramshorn Snails. Both are common and include numerous small, easily maintained species.>
The 2 of them were huddled together for a while and a film grew around them. I thought they were dead but soon enough they began moving around the tank again. Just recently one of the snails has been upside down in the tank. Again I feared it was dead. A strange bubble (with bubbles inside) formed and the snail is actually holding it (I have seem its soft body moving, grabbing and moving this bubble). Are these eggs?
<Can't tell from your description, to be honest. Snail eggs typically look like tiny (a few mm across) masses of jelly, within which you will see a few dark spots, the developing snail embryos. There are numerous exceptions to this description, but this is the most common way coldwater pond snails breed.>
If so, what should we do to help the little ones survive. This is a very basic tank... a few pebbles and 3 tiny plants. We are far from knowledgeable aquatic life caregivers! :-) Thank you for reading.
<Basic care of snails is similar to that of fish. Simply in terms of good water quality, you'll need a tank 5 gallons in size or upwards, and equipped with a filter of some sort, an air-powered sponge being ideal.
Change 25% of the water every week or two, adding water conditioner to each bucket of water to removing chlorine and copper, both of which kill snails quickly. For food, algae will be the main thing, and that should grow readily enough if you put the tank somewhere sunny, like an east-facing windowsill so it gets a few hours sunlight but doesn't overheat (above 30 C for extended periods is bad for coldwater snails). Such sunlight will also help your plants survive without additional lighting; snails will eat "struggling" plants so do choose your plants carefully. Aquarium shops often sell plants that either require strong lighting or won't live underwater for more than a few weeks; such plants will start to die and soon become snail food. Once a week, add a tiny pinch of fish food or half a catfish algae wafer. Remove dead snails as/when you find them to avoid problems with decay and water pollution. That's about it, really. Do read here:
Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Mystery balls in a freshwater tank 6/1/2009
Here are some pictures. I am not sure what these things are.
<Nor me, to be honest! I'd assume the balls are snail eggs, and the yellow fuzz fungus consuming something dead. Pomacea snails usually lay their eggs above the waterline, but I suppose they might fall into the water and decay, resulting in the fungi appearing. Pomacea eggs are distinctly "crunchy", so the texture would be a give-away.>
There are clumps of yellow balls and clumps of yellow fuzz. Info: 29 gal tank, full of guppies, two mystery snails, one loach, and two sunburst platy wags.
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Mystery balls in a freshwater tank 6/1/2009
thanks. I believe i have fungus because the yellow fuzz turned to yellow balls over night, and they are soft and mushy.
<Problem solved then. Or rather, changed. Healthy aquaria shouldn't have any visible fungus at all: organic matter should be removed before it develops. Cheers, Neale.>

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

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

Pink crusty oblong growth on inside of tank lid? Apple Snail Laying Eggs 4/16/08 This is a 7 gallon acrylic tank with a inside hanging filter. It did hold my Betta at one point, has a huge black snail, a Pleco, and two small angels. I transferred the Betta out to a bowl. So just the two fish of Angels. A pet shop sold me a beat up angel cheaply, but it did die two weeks later. When I took the lid off of the tank then, I noticed a pink crusty oblong growth on the inside of the lid. I just disposed of it, and the tank went on it's merry way. But now when I transferred the two angels, I noticed a similar growth! I have transferred all livestock out of the tank and plan to disinfect everything with a 5% bleach solution and just let the tank sit empty for a while. Any idea what this thing is, or what caused it? Sincerely, Chris <As a way to avoid predators your snail is actually laying eggs out of the water. When the eggs hatch the baby snails will fall into the water and start to grow.-Chuck>

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

My Ramshorn snail is reproducing :| -03/27/08 Hello again everyone! I've been reading about snails on your website so long my eyes feel like they're going to fall out! Very helpful, but i just have a couple quick questions for you. I recently bought a Ramshorn snail from the pet store, and he's been doing great so far in my tank - a little too great in fact. He (and she, I suppose) just laid a nice big batch of eggs in one of our fake plants. From what I've read online so far, I understand that this will probably not be the only time this happens and snails tend to lay eggs like crazy. Now, being the paranoid fish owner that I am, I am worried about the fish in my tank! I know they will probably not do well to have a snail infestation. I've got a collection that includes one violet goby, one dojo loach, two Bala sharks, one clown Pleco, three black skirts, one emperor tetra, and two blue rams. So far, no one has touched the eggs as a meal, so I am worried that once they hatch there'll be a similar reaction - that is, none. I read that loach's eat the baby snails, but will any of the other fish? And if not, should we try to get rid of any future eggs before they hatch to prevent the snails from taking over? Thanks so much for your time, Kelly <Yes, the Loach will eat the baby snails. Chances of the snail population causing problems are low, but if you want to be sure, by all means remove the snail eggs. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Green Spotted Puffer, Coquina Clams, and Mole Crabs... + Now, raising snails... for puffer food 12/14/2007 Marco, Within two hours of placing the snails into the 20 gallon, I had a cluster of eggs smack-dab in the middle of the front pane of glass. Now, a few days later, they are getting' down-and-going' to town. Another question: I've read that one should rinse lettuce leaves (Romaine), dry them, then freeze them for a few minutes before feeding to the snails. Is it okay to just buy a head of lettuce, separate the leaves, wash, dry, and leave in the freezer until needed? <Sounds okay. Personally I prefer feeding well washed slices of cucumber and other vegetables in addition to old (but still good) fish flakes. Ramshorns are not picky and as long as you do not poison them with pesticides or heavy metals they seem to thrive on various foods.> What I buy always goes bad in the fridge before the snails can eat it all. It may be a silly question, but I want to make sure before I do so. Thanks for the link on picky puffer feeding. I've read it. Pete doesn't have a problem with other dead foods. Loves squid and bloodworms (dead, of course) and will even eat some greens (macro algae). He also gets mealworms (live) and snails when I have them available......I'll try the chopstick trick and see if I can get him to eat clams/oysters that way....or maybe I won't need to now that I can use Coquinas. Speaking of feeding him live foods....my backyard is Roly-Poly Central (Woodlice). I think I read somewhere that these are okay to feed him. Just double-checking with you. Are they? <I feed them from time to time to GSPs and other puffers, but they are not among their favourite foods and seem not to be very tasty.> There are no pesticides that we use, so they should be okay in that regard. Our sprinkler system does use water that isn't potable, though. <You can rinse them and freeze them if you are feeling unsure.> By the way, I called the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Dept and was told that I could remove 20 clams/crabs at a time without a license. Yeah! <That's good news. Very good you called.> Hey, where's your picture under the Crew Bio section? I've seen Jeni on her Harley and Bob in his leopard print wrestling tights (eeeee hehehehe), Anthony with his beanie and goatee (you ROCK, Dude); plus pictures of other crew members. But no Marco.....! What gives? I'm just sayin', is all. <I'm very shy and reclusive.. just kidding. Will send a picture to Bob if needed. Until then you can find a picture on my homepage http://www.geo-lichtenberger.de.vu/ , click at Zur Person.> Thanks again, Corinthian. <Not much to do here for me, but lots of good information for other GSP owners by you. Thanks for writing. Great how you care for Pete. Marco.>

Breeding, fungi or alien phenomenon? Gastropod repro. 11/08/07 Hi Guys! Tried to find an answer on your awesome site but it's hard to phrase the problem I'm having! But I'll give it a try! So, I emailed Sabrina a few months back coz my two common goldfish were fighting. She told me this was normal and that it could be the start of them showing breeding behaviour which totally matches with the other info I've recently found. However, I was cleaning out my tank the other day and found small, clear bubble like things on the little ornaments and along the top of the tank at water level. <Ahhh! Snail eggs likely> At first I thought they were just bubbles but they weren't - they were solid. Anyway, concerned it was some sort of fungi I removed them all from the tank and did a full clean to eradicate any trace of them, although considering the behaviour of the fish I started to think maybe they were fry?!? <Mmm, no... not fishes> (They did try to eat them and they have been chasing each other a lot...) However this seems grossly out of character in these winter months despite the mild weather here) and they're not even a year old yet. Do you have any idea what these clear things were?! So confused! Thanks in advance! Chloe H, London :-) <You do have snails of some sort... likely Ampullaria/Pomacea... "Mystery, Apple...". These are the eggs of these. Bob Fenner>

Litter size for "Japanese livebearing snails"? Help me, WWM, you're my only hope! <Ah, a Star Wars reference!> I've recently acquired some "Japanese livebearing snails"/"trapdoor snails" (/Cipangopaludina chinensis /or /Viviparus malleatus/ depending on exactly who you ask). <Apparently Bellamya chinensis now...> I'm a 'snail-head', I got the critters on purpose after searching for them for quite some time, so the "good vs. bad" issue isn't a debate here for me. I know the basics about the species (they like colder water, they're non-hermaphroditic livebearers who drop live young 1-3 times a year usually in the summer, etc) and I feed and dose them (iodine and calcium) like my other snails (/Pomacea/, /Planaria/, and /Asolene/). <Very good.> The one question I cannot for the life of me find an answer to, is how *many *young does a female typically drop at any given time? Google, Applesnail.net, and all my other common resources have failed me. One of mine has actually already released 3 young snails (and wow they're huge compared to newborns of my other species). But all I can find is "they reproduce slower and have fewer young than most snails". Does that mean roughly 2-3 a batch, 20-30 a batch, 2-3 a year, or 20-30 a year? <According to 'In utero predator- induced responses in the viviparid snail Bellamya chinensis' by R.S. Prezant, E.J. Chapman, and A. McDougall the exact number depends on various factors including levels of predation. Where predators are present these researchers found the snails produced more, generally smaller but variable babies. In each tank they put 5 adult snails. In the control (no predator) they got between 5-20 offspring per week. Where "crayfish scent" was added to mimic a predator, they got between 10-60 offspring. (You might want to read the PDF of this paper yourself, just to check I understood the graph right.) Either way, it doesn't seem these snails are nearly as productive as Melanoides.> Thank you so much for your time! Best regards, Diana <Hope this helps, Neale>

Mysterious (Not Mystery) Eggs 5/3/07 So, I have quite a snaily tank, I have a large number of little Ramshorn snails & two , maybe four mystery snails. I say maybe because two days after I got my two newest alleged mystery snails I have discovered an unusual clutch of eggs. They don't look like the eggs my Ramshorns leave & they certainly aren't mystery snail eggs. I can't get a good picture of them, but they are rice grain shaped yellowish dots in a water droplet looking sac about two centimeters above the water line on the glass. <Are very likely Mysteries/Ampullaria> The whole thing is about as big as a clutch of Ramshorn eggs but there are many many more eggs in this than there are in that of a Ramshorn. I was told they could be common pond snail eggs, <Do you have these snail species as well?> but unless one of my new mystery snails are really something different then I don't know if that is the case. Can you help. <A pic would be useful> -Thanks Jen <I would remove them... with a sharp single-edge razor blade if you didn't want more... Bob Fenner>

Mystery snail? Tons of Babies! - 04/20/07 I bought one golden snail a few months ago and now it has had at least 40 babies. There have been no eggs they just show up the size of pinhead. <Quite probably not the apple (Pomacea sp.) snail. These snails lay bright pink egg masses the colour, size, and shape of raspberries. The eggs are laid *above* the water line, usually on the roof of the aquarium. So if they're there, you'll see them! The babies are around 1 mm or so across when they hatch, and look exactly like small apple snails.> Since there is only one snail how is it reproducing? How can I control it? <Apple snails are dioecious, that is, there are male and female apple snails and they must mate before the female can lay eggs. While it is certainly possible your snail is a female that was fertilized before you purchased her, you would have surely seen the egg mass before the baby snails. Far more likely that these baby snails are just regular snails, maybe Physa sp., that have come in on aquatic plants, in a batch of live food, in the water with some aquarium fish, or maybe even stuck to the apple snail.> Thanks, Katie <Cheers, Neale>

Whose Eggs? Goldfish? Not attached 2/5/07 <Hi Rob, Pufferpunk here> Our goldfish, Sally, has been with us nearly 4 years now. With your help, we have grown together and learned a lot, even bringing her back from a near death water quality experience early in our young/naive relationship. <Fantastic! They can live into their 20s if cared for properly.> Today, while cleaning her tank, I noticed many egg-looking items attached to the air tube and filter intake. They are clear, colorless spheres about 1 mm in diameter and pop when squeezed. Are they indeed eggs? <Sounds more like snail eggs. Any snails in there?> I should note that Sally has always lived alone in her 12 gallon tank. pH = 7.4, NH3 = 0.0, Nitrite = 0.0, Nitrate = 20 - 30. <I'd aim for nitrates <20. GF are very messy fish. Adult-size fish should be kept in a tank much larger, like 30g.> Any danger of this being some weird parasite? <Doubtful> She continues to eat well and seems healthy except for a small sore that developed on her lip a few weeks ago but that seems to be healing. She finally resumed digging in her gravel the last day or two. This is her favorite activity but she had abandoned it for awhile, I assumed because of her sore lip. Also while her lip sore was new, she would sit with her mouth right up to the filter intake for long periods of time (but not a current behavior). <Melafix should help her lip.> I'm not sure how much of this info is relevant. Bottom line is that I found some eggs in my goldfish convent and I'm positive that a male rogue has not been climbing the walls for nocturnal visits. Is this normal, anything I should be doing? <Larger tank & in the meantime, larger weekly water changes. Most serious GF keepers do 90% weekly. ~PP> Thanks, Rob

Snail gestation 11/12/06 Hi, I was looking on the web for the length of a snails gestation. It is a brown and black snail that I bought at a fish store to control algae. I have my tank in a sunny room so algae was out of control. I was very excited to find 3 spots where eggs have been laid. How long before I see a hatch? thank you barb <Mmm, some species a couple of weeks... others up to a month or so. Bob Fenner>

Snail Reproduction 9/4/06 I have two snails, I think that they are Mystery snails but I'm not sure. A few weeks ago we noticed two more little babies, and then today when I was looking in our tank I noticed two more smaller babies and a whole bunch of little tiny worm looking things. My question is what are the stages of the baby snails and are all these little worm things more babies. <Not likely the latter> ( They are all moving so I'm pretty sure that they are living.) FYI: We have a fresh water tank with only three fish and the two (now 6) snails. <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwsnailreprofaqs.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Snail Eggs - 05/17/2006 Okay I live in Eastern PA and I caught two tadpoles (bullfrogs) and a snail. All fresh water. Well my husband cleaned out the cage yesterday and well today I noticed it was kind of foggy and stuff I thought maybe he put too much food in it. But now I see our small brown snail laid eggs. <The eggs are likely not the cause of the "foggy" look; you will probably need to test your water quality urgently. You can read more about water quality and tank maintenance on WetWebMedia. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwmaintindex.htm > He is no bigger then my pinky nail. She laid them on the side of the tank a little above the water. <This may give some insight as to snail species, but without seeing the animal or knowing exactly what it looks like, I won't be able to tell you what it is. You might try looking at http://www.applesnail.net/ .> Now my question is we don't have another snail in our tank. So will they get fertilized or were they fertilized when laid? <Actually, MANY freshwater snails practice hermaphroditic self-fertilization. Your snail's eggs are likely fertile. Only a few are actually male or female and need one of each to reproduce.> And is it okay for me to clean my tank? <Oh yes. A necessary thing to keep your livestock healthy. Again, please read on WWM for more information to help you along.> Oh and she keeps crawling on them or beside them and it making little air bubbles. I don't know what that means but thought I'd add it. <I'm not sure why, either, especially not knowing what species it is.> Please answer me by sending an email this is very important! Yours Truly ~Missie <Wishing you and your future snail babies well, -Sabrina>

FW Strange things? 4/3/06 <Tom> I have a 74g freshwater aquarium, fully cycled with angels, tetras, clown loaches, sharks, Corys and snails (apple, golden and blue). I found a strange thing while vacuuming the bottom and wondered if you might know what it was. It was about the size of a large marble, crunchy feeling, pinkish in color, and it's consistency was like that of a honeycomb, or beehive, with pinkish interiors. Was it snail eggs? My mother found the same sort of thing attached above the water line behind her power filter. Please let me know if you have any idea? <Sounds, indeed, like you found a snail clutch. Your Apple snails will deposit eggs either above or below the water line so I believe your "guess" is correct.> Thanks, Cindy <Any time. Tom>

Getting Into FW Snails, I'm Telling You, I'm Gonna Post It! 12/10/05 Hi, My 5 year old son is getting into fish and snails... hence that means that I am getting into them as well! We bought two snails for our freshwater aquarium. They are about the size of a quarter. How do you know who is the male and the female? < Hard to tell. Males are said to have a rounder shell opening.> At PetSmart, they have about 25 snails in 1 clear box with a wedge of zucchini in it, and long (arm-like) tentacles were coming out of some of these snails.... I mean, seemed as long as the snail itself, almost like he had a garden hose in there! I imagine that that was a reproductive organ of some type? (male or female... who knows?) I could take a guess, but might be wrong! :-) < The appendage is actually a snorkel for breathing and both sexes have it.> The questions are: How can you tell male/female? What was the long thing? Do snails eat raw zucchini? < In the wild they do not come in contact will zucchini. Years ago an aquarist figured out that this could be used as feed to herbivorous aquatic animals.> Do snails need an aerator in the tank? < Not really but they will do better with a clean aquarium.> Background info: (We started a fish tank after Hurricane Charlie in Florida.... we live across from a lake... during Hurricane Charley, we lost power, and the sewer didn't pump... so the water from the lake came up through the sewer drain in the middle of our street, and formed a puddle in the front driveway. We thought they were tadpoles... and many were , so we raised them... but we wound up with 5 one-inch long transparent looking fish... who have managed to survive from tap water and a filter in our 10 gallon aquarium. (They also have lake sand, and some plants that we have bought at the fish store. ) They even had babies, but they ate the babies before we learned we had to separate them. So, now the snails have been added to this.... I just bought an aerator, but perhaps this could kill them all? < No .> Do some fish need low oxygen? <You can not provide too much oxygen with an aerator.> Can too much oxygen kill them? < Too much of anything can kill. But this is not a problem in the aquarium.> I could never imagine being a fish owner... or a snail owner.... but this is kind of neat.... (We even bought them a castle in the tank! ) Thanks! (You don't have to post this on your website if these questions are too basic or silly) Nathalie Day < We post everything!-Chuck>

Tired of Reading? Snail Eggs Hi Sorry to trouble you, I no longer have the energy to keep reading to find my answers. We have an established tank with 2 Oscars, 1 small yellow unknown and 4 yellow snails (species unknown also). Recently we found 2 growths near the roof of the tank (out of the water). I thought it was due to bad housekeeping and promptly removed them however there are now another 2 growths back same area but situated differently. They appear to be cylindrical in shape, about 3cm long and 1 cm width and depth. They are a brown/white colour and there are a lot of round "bubbles". We do regular testing and all levels are normal however our snails do venture out regularly above the water line - I'm just assuming they're adventurous. Upon assuming this, I'm also hoping that these "growths" are snail eggs? If not, what? If so, any idea how long before they hatch? Would love to see them before the Oscars eat them. On a side note, when we first introduced the snails, it was quite a sight to see one of the Oscars suck on a snail and take it to the other side of the tank. I thank you very much for any feed back you can give me. Kind Regards Trish < Those are indeed snail eggs. The Oscars probably won't eat the eggs but will try and eat the smaller snails.-Chuck>

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

Breeding Snails Hi Chuck Thanks so much for replying. If I was a week later I could have answered my question - I actually got to see a snail laying eggs! It was the most amazing thing to watch and I most definitely feel for the poor girl having to be there so long. Anyway, I have 2 more questions for you please. I know that the snails lay their eggs outside the water and that it will be around 4 weeks before they hatch. What I'm worried about is that 5 clusters of eggs have fallen into the water and sunk to the bottom of the tank. Is this normal and if not is there anything I can do? Thank you once again. Trish <The clusters should remain dry until the eggs hatch. Sometimes the materials used for hoods like plastic, glass and metal don't make very good repositories for snail eggs. In the wild they lay their eggs on vertical stems of aquatic plants. Try placing a few branches of driftwood in the back of the tank to see if the females will lay their eggs on it instead next time.-Chuck>

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

Snail Breeding Tank for Puffer food 5/28/05 Hi Crew. <Hi, Pufferpunk here> Thank you for your wonderful website. I've learned so much from you. <You're very welcome, that's what we're here for!> I'm getting ready to set up my first "big" 100 gal aquarium, and have been reading your site every day for about 3 weeks. I haven't even made a dent in it. I have two juvenile figure eight puffers. I also have a 2.5 gal "snail tank" for them. I put in 6 1.5 centimeter snails, and waited for babies. Finally, after much agonizing, they've laid 3 batches of eggs! Once the eggs hatch and I have a reasonable "infestation" of snails I'd like to put something in this tank with the snails. It looks empty and sad. I was thinking maybe a Betta or a male guppy, maybe even a couple tetras. That said I do not want to do this if the fish will eat all the snails, leaving none for the puffer babies. I was hoping you could advise me if this would be okay. <I have kept a Betta in my 2g snail tank, with no problems. Just keep an eye on the water parameters & make sure the tank stays nice & clean for the Betta. Congrats on your snail breeding success!> This question is less important and I am just curious. My husband is an automation engineer. He thinks changing the water in a tank is inefficient. He seems to think that nitrates could be removed from water using an "ion plate." I told him I had never heard of such a thing. He responded "It should work. I wonder if anybody is doing it. He asked if you all had ever heard of such a thing. <I am not familiar with this "ion plate" but there are many products on the market that claim to remove nitrates. The fish are still living in a toilet bowl, no less...> PS Pufferpunk was so helpful in teaching me about my "babies" that we decided to name them after her. They are Pufferpunk, and Pufferpink aka Pufferpigger :) <Awwww shucks, I'm honored! At least your "human" children aren't stuck with that name! ~PP>

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>

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>

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/ >

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 beeches in New York State. They are Cone shaped and spiral. <This describes several different types of snails so you'll 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>

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>

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>

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<<

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>>

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>

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>

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