FAQs on Snails in Freshwater Aquarium Apple/Baseball
Related Articles: Snails and
Freshwater Aquariums by Bob Fenner, Invertebrates
for Freshwater Aquariums by Neale Monks,
Assassin Snails and
Sulawesi Elephant Snails. Keeping Clea and Tylomelania in the Aquarium by Neale Monks, Fresh and Brackish Water Nerites by Neale Monks,
Related FAQs: Freshwater
Freshwater Snails 2, & FAQs on:
Freshwater Snail Identification,
Freshwater Snail Behavior,
Freshwater Snail Compatibility,
Freshwater Snail Selection,
Freshwater Snail Systems,
Freshwater Snail Feeding,
Freshwater Snail Disease,
Freshwater Snail Reproduction,
Snails by Species: Mystery Snails,
Apple/Mystery Snail Concerns/HELP Needed ASAP!!!
I have 2 fairly "good sized" mystery snails/apple snails (from what I
was able to determine online)...they have been happy mobile snails in my
10 gallon tank for about 7 months or so...they share the tank with other
6 other "harmless" guppies & neons, a Shrimp, a bottom feeder fish, and
have not had ANY issues with the others in the tank...
<Do read my comments on WWM about mixing fish with Apple Snails -- but
in short, it isn't a great idea, and doesn't usually work well
There's a distinct point in the life cycle of a snail that once a year
it becomes less active, and such snails are very vulnerable to pecking,
nipping and other damage.>
my question and concern is this~ I recently found the dark brown almost
black snail laying at the bottom of the tank on it's back with part of
its body out of its shell and it's antennas (and body) kind of curly
cued and immobile...I used my fish net to flip it back and it moved some
but not much...the other yellow snail has no issues and is moving at a
"brisk" pace around the tank...I checked the pH level this morning and
added a tablet to the tank and the dark snail seemed to move a little
more, antennas fully erect...a couple of hours later I went back in to
check on them and the dark one is on it's back again not looking good...
After reading several posts on your site regarding snail behavior, I
have assumed that the snails have been mating with one another for the
last month or so (it seems the yellow one is mounting the black
one??)...I don't know if this has anything to do with why the dark one
is not active...
<Can be. Snails aren't really social as such, but at the same time,
they're also pretty dumb. So provided they can feed and move about,
interactions between them seem to be harmless.>
I don't like to see the snails looking like they are in danger or dying,
I don't know what else to do!! Every time I flip it back, the it moves a
bit but then it will "fall over" on its side, almost upside down
again...is this normal?
<Common but not normal.>
Is it maybe hibernating or going into some kind of dormant state and not
<Sort of. Ideally, lower the temperature in a snail-only tank to around
18-20 C, and see if the snail rests up a while. After a few weeks, warm
it up again. Should come back to life. But realistically, getting snails
to go dormant in aquaria is tricky and arguably not worth trying. So in
the situation you're in, the best you can probably do is watch and see
what happens. Check water quality. Check water temperature. Check diet.
Make sure the fish and shrimps aren't harassing the snails. Look out for
signs of serious damage or sickness. I will warn you to remove
dead/dying snails quickly.>
If I could only have the snails in the tank I would, I find them
extremely fascinating to watch, but alas, my young son would not be
happy to see all his fish go...he has of course named all of his fish,
the shrimp, and both snails~
<I understand, but at the same time, there's a lesson there for any kid
-- animals aren't toys. They have specific needs. You can't force the
animal to your requirements. You can't have a vegetarian cat or a dog
that doesn't need long walks. Likewise, Apple Snails are best kept on
The yellow/almost white albino snail is "White Shadow" (from the movie
Turbo), and the dark one is named "Toothless" (from the movie How to
Train Your Dragon), so you can see our family is very attached to these
small critters and will do whatever it takes to help them! One of my
concerns is that we don't live in the city where I can just hop in the
truck and dash to the pet store for help, we are over an hour away from
the nearest PetCo/PetSmart, and to be honest, I don't know if I have
that much faith in the kids at the pet store!!
<Prudent, though there are some excellent folks even at the big chains.>
But obviously if I need to get something for them, I will! We have a
Wal-Mart here "in town" that has the essentials for fish tanks and
aquariums if there is maybe something I you can suggest and can look
there as well...or I can order something online?
<Do visit AppleSnail.net for a start... a great website.>
Do I need to separate the snails from one another?
I'm scared to introduce Toothless to a new environment and don't know
how much water to transfer to new tank so it won't get shocked on top of
everything else, but if that is what I need to do?....if I do need to
transfer Toothless to its own tank, how much water from it's 10 gallon
tank does it need, and do I just keep feeding it the same food as I have
been feeding the fish that they seem to like? I hate sounding like an
amateur, but let's be honest, I am! I'm a busy stay-at-home-mom trying
to keep her snails alive anyway I can!!
<For sure. Apple Snails are actually a lot of work, arguably more than
many tropical fish! They're fiddly and long-term care is a bit of a
voodoo thing, without a clear, cookbook list of steps you can follow.
Some of it is observation, some hunch, some luck/good genes.>
P.S.: I just noticed while typing that Toothless is moving, antennas
fully out, but it's like its drunk!! Keeps falling over onto its
side/back...there is also what seems to be a small crack in Toothless's
shell, could THAT be the issue and can I get another shell for it or is
it a goner? Oh Lordy! Now I'm super stressed!! HELP!!
Please Help White Shadow and Toothless!!
<Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Apple/Mystery Snail Concerns/HELP Needed ASAP!!!
The small fish keep to themselves (almost scared of the big snails) and
the shrimp likes to stay in his little cave so I don't think there is
really any harm there thank goodness!
<I'm sure you're right in your current situation. But the weight of
experiences tends to be that sooner or later one of the fish starts
pecking at the feelers, and once that happens, infections set in. At the
very least, the snail gets scared to expose its feelers, stops moving
around, starves, and dies. So if you want to persist with the snail/fish
combo, by all means do so, but keep an eye out for the first sign of
But needless to say, Just in case, I will put the snails in a tank by
themselves..I'll need to go get another tank and do the set up for it
when I head to the store later~if that's how they're going to live
longer, then so be it!
Do I set it up like a new fish tank with new water and just transfer
them over with a full tank of new balanced water or put some of the
water from their original tank in there with the new water?
** So you don't think the crack in it's shell is a problem?
<Not really, and there's nothing you can do anyway. Snails can't repair
their shells except at the very front where the mantle is actively
secreting new shell material.>
Unfortunately if it does die, I have learned from your website to remove
it very quickly for fear of ammonia contamination (is this correct?)
~ let's hope it doesn't go that far! I have had "the talk" with my son
just in case~ we live on a farm so he's familiar with the circle of life
and how/why animals die :(
<Ah, very wise.>
I have been monitoring it closely and will keep a good eye on it!! Thank
you for your help and the speedy reply!!
<Most welcome. Neale.>
Tank condition for apple snail question.
Just a quick background. I have 3 mystery snails and one Betta in a 29
gallon, heated and filtered tank. All are doing well and I understand
the basic needs of keeping my snails alive.
I was scouring your snail page and there was mention that keeping apple
snails alive longer than a year is unlikely because it's hard to
recreate their wild environment.
<Such seems to be the case. While not difficult to maintain for the
first year, mortality does seem to increase thereafter. This is why
relatively few people have seen/kept the really big adults, the ones the
size of tennis balls we read about in the books and on web sites.>
I thought that was really sad and why do we own them If we can't
properly care for them?
<Well, you should always put mortality in context. Apple Snails in the
wild rarely live more than a year, either. In that case, it's because
they're eaten or some environmental issue, such as drought, kills them.
Only a few make it into their second year, fewer still into their third
year, and so on. Indeed, it's probably safe to say only a small
proportion of the baby snails that hatch make it to adult size, let
alone their first, second or third birthdays! Once you accept this, the
fact our pet Apple Snails routinely live a year and sometimes longer
doesn't seem so bad. They certainly don't have much chance of
starvation, and predators aren't usually a problem either. So a pet
Apple Snail has a fairly comfortable life with few hazards. It's still
not a perfect life, but it's better than in the wild. Plus, in terms of
evolution, being domesticated is one of the best ways to guarantee your
species survival. Apple Snails now live all around the world, breeding
away, spreading their genes into the next generation. Like chickens,
cats, maize and apple trees, humans have become the guarantors of their
species success; even if individual Apple Snails die off after a year,
enough breed each year to ensure there are millions of Apple Snails left
behind carrying their genes forward. None of this removes concerns about
animal welfare, I hasten to add. We can and should do the best we can
for the individual animals we keep as pets or farm for food (especially
things like battery chickens or goldfish in bowls). But you should also
remember that life out in the wild is invariably brutal and bloody, and
not some sort of animal paradise.>
So I hopped over to apple snails.net to read more about their habits and
there is a lot of information (great information) so my question is
Besides ph levels, water temperature, and other basics mentioned in to
forum, how would you ideally get as close to possible to their natural
<The really tough bit is that Apple Snails "aestivate" (sometimes
written "estivate"). During the dry season they lay up in damp burrows
and enter a sort of hibernation state where they snooze through the
tough times. The rains return, their burrow fills with water, and the
snail comes back to life. This sleepy summer seems to help Apple Snails
somehow, perhaps by throttling back their growth rate or breeding
instincts. Whatever, the snails do seem reinvigorated when they wake up.
However, while the theory sounds fine, the problem is that I've yet to
see a sure-fire method for doing this. You could install the snails in a
tank with a soft substrate (maybe a mix of peat and sand) and over a few
weeks lower the water level.
Once the snails burrow into the substrate, all you'd need to do is keep
the substrate damp and warm (no cooler than 18 degrees C, remember, so
easiest in summer) and wait a couple/few weeks. Reverse the process to
bring them back to life. Dead snails smell horrible, so it should be
obvious if this method was working.>
Would you lower temperatures at certain times of the year?
<Varying between around 18-20 C in winter and maybe 26-28 C in summer
would replicate the Floridian climate these snails came from. Keeping
them at the warm end of their temperature range all year round would
indeed shorten their lives, just as it would any cold-blooded animal.
Cycling the temperature like this would probably be easier than getting
them aestivate, and can work well.>
Feed them less?
<Food requirement would certainly go down when they're cooler, but since
they're herbivores, I'd just be adding lettuce leaves and the like,
removing them once they're eaten. Carnivores are more tricky because
their food pollutes the tank if uneaten, but plant foods are low-protein
so not a big problem this way.>
What would your suggestions be to keep them not only healthy but
<I'd focus on breeding first. Get several generations of snails going.
You can then experiment a bit with some of the adults, aestivating them
for example, or raising/lowering temperature, knowing that you're trying
something out in good faith, but if it goes wrong, you still have the
population of snails going.>
I have a real ethical issue with keeping pets that can't be cared for
properly and I will go to great lengths to make sure I've done
everything possible to treat them respectfully (ask my Betta, he's
spoiled rotten lol) so basically if you could imagine the best possible
environment for an apple snail (short of returning them to the Amazon)
what would it be?
<You're doing a great job. These are pet animals now, so returning them
to the wild is not an option. Your job is to keep that animal in a way
that minimises any risk of suffering, and it sounds like you're
definitely doing that.>
Sorry so long winded, there was just so much information to sort through
on applesnail.net that I couldn't even imagine where to start!
<True; it's a great website with some really good "cook book"
instructions but while it does discuss aestivation in depth, it doesn't
really come out and tell you how to do it (or at least, I've not seen
such a page there).>
I appreciate you taking the time to read this and love the efforts you
all take to inform your readers about keeping Bettas! Thanks again,
<Most welcome, Neale.>
My apple snail killed my tetra then gave birth
I bought an apple snail that after one week I found it eating the belly
of my now dead 3 year old tetra Spanky :(
<Mmm, this snail didn't catch, kill the Tetra... unless indirectly; by
polluting the water somehow. The snail was only acting
opportunistically... the Tetra dead from other cause/s...>
The day after that the tank was filled with tiny baby apple snails.
Could that be why lil Spanky was eaten?
<... This is pretty fast for the new snail to lay eggs, for them to
What fish can I get that the snails won't eat.
<All sorts. Read here:
and the linked files above>
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
re: My apple snail killed my tetra then gave birth, now fdg.
Hey thanks for a fast reply!
What do I feed all these snails?
Besides sinking food,?
<Read the linked files where I've directed you. All will be revealed.
re: My apple snail killed my tetra then gave birth
Cuttle bone, algae pellets, and turtle chow check!
<Ah, well done. B>
run away snail 9/30/12
I have a 10 gallon tank with 2 platys, both female, and about 4 guppies, 3
female 1 male, and 3 apple snails; one orange, one black, and
<Population is pushing the limit of that tank. Those guppies will
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:
Re: run away snail 9/30/12
Thanks, he spit out the last stone after leaving him be in the breeding
net.. I moved him in to the bigger area of the tank and check him this
morning. He seemed to be sleeping in one of the decorations so I left
him be.. the fish are leaving him be and I patched the hole on the lid
that he crawled out of.
<Ah, good. Hopefully the snail makes a full recovery. - Rick>
Golden Apple snail, beh., hlth.
I was looking for a similar case but I found none so I decided to ask.
For the last two days my golden mystery snail has not moved.
She's not closed up. She's laying on her side with her body exposed
but still attached to the shell. I took her out and poked her but she
didn't react. However when I pulled gently on her door shell her body
didn't pop out and felt firmly in place.
<Possibly dead or dying.>
I noticed she hasn't added calcium to her shell on her new growth and
her foot looks almost translucent. I have cuttlebone in there for my
<How hard is your water and what is the pH? The cuttlebone may not add
enough calcium to the water if you live in a soft water area.>
I have two other snails. One a blue and one a black mystery snail. The
latter male and the former female. There have been caches above the
waterline from both the golden and the blue since last spring and all
through the summer. My blue and black are just fine. Don't seem bothered
by anything. My levels are fine. The temperature in the tank is between
75-80. No ammonia. I also have a baby Molly in the tank and she seems
happy as can be, too. Can you explain this behavior to me or have any
suggestion of what to do? It seems to me like she's sick.
<It isn't normal snail activity. Could just be old age since this snail
seems to be the only animal suffering from the illness.>
Re: Golden Apple snail 9/26/12
I don't have the equipment for my water hardness. But I do leave crushed
coral bags in there for added alkalinity and calcium.
<That should do the trick.>
Assuming I purchased them from the pet store at about the same age she
would be the middle child.
<Hard to tell relative age.>
Her shell is also the only one suffering from deterioration.
<Maybe something that happened to this snail before you purchased it.>
She cracked the tip of her whorls a while back but it didn't bother her.
She also had green matter on her shell. Though she was the only thing in
the tank with it growing on her I figured it to be some kind of algae
and managed to wipe most of it off. It didn't grow back and now this.
Thanks for getting back to me so quickly. I'll watch her until I'm sure
she's gone. I just hope it isn't contagious or anything. Do you think if
should separate her from them or leave her?
<Probably wise. That molly might nibble on the body if allowed to.>
<Welcome and good luck.>
Re: Golden Apple snail 9/28/12
She's passed away now so if anything happens with my remaining snails I
will ask you then.
<Sorry to hear that. I assume you've removed the snail from the tank.
Hopefully it was a one-off thing.>
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?
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
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
<Actually, they hatch out large enough to see w/ the unaided eye. BobF>
Golden Apple Snail 7/29/12
Hi, yesterday I bought four Apple Snails and one of them has
gotten a rock stuck in its shell.
Now it won't come out of its shell, and i am wondering if i should do
something to help, or if it will get it out on its own.
<Snails have soft bodies, and so it's difficult for something to get
trapped inside them permanently. There are no bones to wedge things in
place. So, with time, it should clear itself. But if you're concerned
and it's still there a day or two later, then you could try two things.
The first is to flush it out with cool/lukewarm water -- obviously
nothing hotter than their aquarium -- and use a very gentle stream of
water from the tap to wash the thing out. You may need to keep the
operculum ("trapdoor") from closing using a finger, but don't pull it
too hard. The second thing is to try using Longnose forceps to winkle
the stone out, but again, be super-careful because the soft body of a
snail is very easily damaged, bruised or cut.>
I am worried about it and really need some help. Please help,
<Good luck, Neale.>
Re Apple snail 7/30/12
Thanks, it has fixed the problem on its own and is doing just fine.
Thanks for your help, Logan
<Cool. Cheers, Neale.>
Two dead Apple Snails in one night 2/21/12
Hello - I had two Apple snails die at once last night - I got them at a LFS last
December, and until this morning they seemed happy and healthy. When I checked
on them today, both were on their backs, not moving - the snail is partly out of
the shell, but the flesh looks healthy and whole - they're just not moving. The
tank has a bunch of what I think are little Ramshorn snails living in the gravel
that traveled in on the plants - they're still booking around, so whatever
killed the Apples doesn't look like a straight crustacean killer...
<Mmm, for both to be so suddenly affected, coincidence or something re the
environment must be off>
Parameters seem fine (nitrites=0, ammonia=0, pH=7.5);
<What re Nitrate conc.? Higher than 20 ppm?>
the temps are probably a bit higher than they're happy with, but needs to be
for the tankmates (around 75 degrees F). 55 gallon tank. One young angelfish
(about quarter-sized), five Cory cats, four zebra Danios, one Synodontis
<This Mochokid might be picking on them>
and two white skirt tetras share the tank. The angelfish seemed to be a bit
nippy around the snails, but they seemed pretty good at evading him - and the
two bodies look undamaged - I would find it extremely odd if he could
mysteriously take both of them out in one night.
Water from well, treated by StressZyme before adding to tank. About a teaspoon
of salt per 5 gallons of water goes in during water changes... no copper in
water (I had my husband check).
Very disconcerting. I don't think I'll be adding more crustraceans to the tank,
<Mmm, these/snails are Molluscs>
as I've read that the angelfish will only get nippier as he gets older, but I
am curious as to what happened to these two little guys... I asked my vet (who
happens to keep salt water tanks) and she joked that they might have had a
suicide pact... she had no clue as to what could have happened to my guys,
though - even though I have fresh water tanks, she knows enough about it to know
that the parameters were decent...
Could the stress of having the angelfish pick on them actually kill them?
Both at once?
<Not likely; no>
Is it possible they caught some disease from the hitchhiker ramshorns?
Thank you for any insight you can provide... J.
P.S. Two more bits of information - the snails pretty much ate algae from the
sides of the tank (and there was a constant supply!) and flake food (I know they
were eating it, because I witnessed the consumption). Also, there are plants in
the tank, which they nibbled from as well - water sprite, Vallisneria, and
Selaginella wildenowii .
<Again... this genus of snail is not really suited for tropical aquarium use...
Please do read here re:
and the linked FAQs file above: FW Snail Disease
Apple snails and discus, not
I've got quite a dilemma on my hands, I've got a planted
aquarium, up and running for about 3 years, 55gal, 0 nitrates, 0
ammonia, 82F, hard city water (obviously treated before added to the
tank), we've had 4 discus, and apple snails in the tank. The first
snails we bought from the LFS reproduced like crazy, we had to sell off
200+ snails this year, they just wouldn't stop. I realize the high
temps result in a much shorter life span, but everyone seemed very
happy and healthy, we made our own snail food of calcium powder, brine
shrimp, and algae tabs, crushed in a food processor and frozen, they
LOVE it, and shell integrity is fantastic! We've also got a 35 gal
and two 10 gals that we moved the excess snails into while they waited
to grow big enough to sell, so there was rarely an over populous of
snails in the 55gal tank.
So here's the problem, we had internal parasites come through and
wreak havoc on our discus, we treated, they came back within a few
months. We followed the process exactly, treated with Metronidazole and
then a dewormer, it seemed like it worked like a charm, and then the
parasites came back a few months later, and this time, they weren't
to be defeated.
<This is actually very typical, and it is usually the case you need
to treat 2, even 3 times.>
We did a whole round, looked like we were in the clear, and within days
the discus weren't eating, and white stringy poo again. So,
needless to say, we've been treating with this medication for what
seems like forever, and, this past week, we lost 2 of our discus, about
5 days apart.
Here's the bizarre thing, the second discus that died wasn't
emaciated, she looked plump and healthy (not bloated, but a healthy,
full discus), unlike the first that was obviously starving from the
parasite battle. She looked perfectly healthy, and showed no signs of
stress other than not eating for a few days.
<Is often the case. Parasites probably affect most farmed aquarium
But the ones that show symptoms are the ones that, for some reason or
another, have been weakened. Bad genes can be part of the answer, but
stress is another.>
Even more bizarre, with this water change that seemed to do her in,
which, by the way was unmedicated, we had about 5 snails just start
floating with their bodies out. Now I know they like to float, and I
gave them the benefit of the doubt, but when we found the second discus
dead a day after the water change (it was about 50%) and the snails
were still floating, I started pulling them out and they were bloated,
and really hanging out, most were dead, and we found 2 others dead on
the bottom, otherwise completely healthy looking shells and bodies. We
saved 3 and put them in the smaller tank for observation. What do you
think could have caused this strange mass killing?
<Many parasite medications are toxic to snails and shrimps.>
Needless to say, we rearranged everyone, and have cleared the tank,
assuming there is something very wrong with it. My husband is guessing
it may be pockets of toxins caught in the substrate, releasing,
although we did a complete teardown and rebuild about a year and a half
ago, new substrate, plants, with a large canister filter, Fluval
Any ideas? We're considering a complete tear down again, we've
got the 2 discus in the 35gal and changing up the treatment to PraziPro
for a week and then going back with the standard parasite treatment. We
haven't treated the snails at all, just in good clean water.
Any insight would be greatly appreciated! The 2 discus left are a great
hardy pair, before the parasite hit, they laid eggs once every other
week for a straight year, non making it past the free swimming stage
(we're not really set up for babies!) but every LFS thinks this is
a sign of health.
They haven't laid eggs in about 6 months, so I'm guessing this
is a sign of stress.
<I would simply not keep Discus with snails. Why bother? At the very
least, keep the Discus in a clean, easy-to-clean aquarium for a few
months while you get your fishkeeping hobby back where you want it.
There's also the risk that the snails themselves can carry
parasites that infect your fish, or at the very least, harbour them in
between medicating your Discus (this is especially the case of the
medication was in the fish's food rather than the water). Cheers,
Could I release my Golden Apple Snail
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
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.
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
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
Hoping to hear back!
Cape Town, South Africa
Re: Could I release my Golden Apple Snail hatchlings?
Thanks Neale for the info - I promise I won't release them.
<Cool. 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
<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
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.
<Nice aquarium, and clearly very happy snails. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Could I release my Golden Apple Snail hatchlings?
Thank you :) and thanks for the help. Attached an AWESOME picture
of how happy my silly snail is.
<A happy snail indeed! Best wishes, Neale.>
Spotted Deterioration? <<RMF>>
Long time reader, first time writer here.
It seems my apple snails have been getting some
round deterioration on the center of its shell,
and I was wondering what the cause may be.
I appreciate any information in this matter, and thanks
very much for your time!
<Hello! The pitting on the shell is likely caused by
insufficient calcium <<And/or alkalinity>>
in the diet and/or acidic water. Ensure your snail has a
calcium rich diet (a chunk of cuttlebone will be nibbled
on, if provided) and that the water is moderately hard,
10+ degrees dH, pH 7.5. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Spotted Deterioration?
Thanks very much for the quickest reply!
My Apple Snails and I thank you. I will get to that
<Glad to help and good luck! Neale.>
Apple Snail Question; sys., comp. w/ Figure Eight Puffers
Hi WWM team
I picked up 2 apple snails today and I was wondering if
it is possible to keep them in my brackish tank with my
figure 8 puffers.
<No. Any salinity high enough to keep your Figure-8s
happy will quickly kill Apple snails.>
I understand that they have a trap door which will
inhibit the puffers from eating it and they're quite
big, so the puffers probably won't be able to get their
little mouths around it.
<Ah, by no means! The Puffers will eat the snail one
bite at a time, starting with its tentacles. Apple
Snails do badly with almost all fish except perhaps
uber-peaceful species like Corydoras. Even Neons nip
these poor snails!>
My salinity is roughly 0.004, no lower than 0.003 and no
higher than 0.005.
Can the apple snail survive in that level of brackish?
Will my puffers manage to eat it ?
Thanks a ton
Re: Apple Snail Question
Thanks for quick response...I see I made a typo error,
my brackish tank isn't 0.004...it's 1.004. Silly me.
<Indeed. But understood what you meant!>
Anyway, I forgot to ask another question about the apple
snail. I read online that they may even eat other
<Seems improbable, but I'm sure they scavenge and will
eat a dead/dying snail.>
I have them with my red ramshorns which are laying eggs
like it's going out of fashion and I don't want the
apple snails to now devour all my other baby snails I'm
breeding as food for my puffs. Would it be
advisable to get rid of them all together and stick to
<I honestly can't imagine Apple snails would make much
difference. They are very much herbivores, and mine were
very keen on lettuce leaves.>
Also, I had a situation where I decided to add a couple
of mollies to the brackish tank with my f8's. I
came home one day to find one floating with it's head
and fins chomped off and I swear all the puffs had a
guilty look on their faces.
<Indeed. Figure-8s are extremely variable. Some
specimens are entirely placid, others just occasionally
nippy. But a few, as you've seen, can be very aggressive
and nasty. That's pretty much Puffers across the board.>
Today, at the petstore, I was told by a very experienced
fish keeper that if I want to add any other fish with
f8's, I should remove the puffers, rearrange the tank,
put the new fish in first and then add the puffers
afterwards, to give them the idea that they are new and
it's not their territory that a new fish has entered.
<That is one approach that works with territorial fish.>
Do you think this will work?
<Might. But absolutely no guarantees, and you need to
have a Plan B for rehoming the Puffer or the new fish if
the two don't get along.>
Or will the f8's just chomp anything?
<Potentially anything that looks edible and doesn't eat
the Puffer first.>
I did however take one of the more aggressive f8's back
to the pet store today, unfortunately. I was told
to remove one as I have a 29 gallon tank and I should
only have 2 f8's in that size.
<Possibly, or else a group of 5 in a slightly bigger
tank, so that none of them take ownership. Overcrowding
brings its own problems though.>
Thanks in advance.
Re: Apple Snail Question
Sorry bout this Neale
How long should I keep the puffers out the big tank to
try the approach I mentioned previously?
A few hours, a day, a week?
<If using the "remove and rearrange" approach, taking
the fish out for an hour or two should be ample.>
I think this will be the last msg from me for a while
Keep well, and happy new year.
<Glad to help and good luck. Cheers, Neale.>
Apple snails mating 12/8/11
I was wondering could you help me, I have 3 apple snails , 2 are
male and one female. I had one for about 6 months and he was fine on his
own, he was Golden. I bought 2 other brown ones and now the all mate
with each other .
The 2 guys seem to always mating with the female and I'm concerned for
her health! Is this normal?
I have just one tank so I cant really move them to another tank. And if I
buy another snail it might be a male. Basically is it ok that they're
always mating - they all go their separate ways but eventually she's
mating with one of them- I don't want her to be attacked all the time!
What should I do?
<Enjoy them... has the female laid eggs? Please read here:
regards Adrian :)
<And you, Bob Fenner>
apple snails, beh. – 11/08/11
hi I have an apple snail and recently bought another one ..the older one
keeps covering the new one and wont let go .??? is it ok and normal
<Is normal. Likely mating. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: apple snail (now: where to buy Tylomelania) 11/4/11
I have gotten my snails in their aquarium and they seem to be doing
What kind of vegetables would be good to give them?
They get veggie rounds and flake fish food but I would like to keep
their diet from getting monotonous.
<Hello Laura. Slices of cucumber and courgette (zucchini) seem to be
popular with all snails. You can also try cooked spinach, squashed
canned peas, and blanched lettuce. Most healthy plants seem to be left
alone, as far as I can tell. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: apple snail (now: where to buy Tylomelania)
Next questions. What are good decorations for snails?
<Anything! They bring their own shelter with them, so they really don't
care. They like plants, and the baby ones seem to really like the leaves
and roots of floating plants, I guess because there are lots of tiny
algae and micro-invertebrates for them to eat. Some shelter, like from a
clump of Java moss, is good for newborn snails to hide in. Soft sand
might well be a plus, but isn't essential by any means.>
What kind of live plants do they not like and what plants will grow in
<Virtually all plants prefer to be rooted in sand rather gravel.
Exceptions are, of course, those plants that don't like being stuck in
gravel either, such as Java fern and Anubias, which do better attached
to bogwood or lava rock.>
Do they need decorations at all?
Do they like to hide in things like tunnels?
Also, what do I use to keep the vegetables at the bottom of the tank?
<Don't worry too much about this. Lead weight can be used to hold down
bits of cucumber, but algae wafers as sold for Plecs seem to work just
as well, and being more protein-rich, might even speed up growth and
reproduction. Tylomelania are completely opportunistic though, and I
feed mine whatever I have to hand. Cooked peas, soft lettuce leaves, the
shells from raw prawns, little bits of fish… whatever I'd give my
catfish, these snails seem happy to eat alongside them. To be honest,
I'm finding them outstanding scavengers for use in tanks with big, but
not snail-eating, fish, such as Panaque catfish and Ctenolucius "gar".>
I put a few small pieces of zucchini in the tank and they floated which
kind of defeats the purpose.
<Lead weight. Aquarium shops sell rolls, very cheaply, for weighting
down clumps of pond weed. One package will last for many years. For some
reason I seem to lose bits as the years pass, so I do eventually have to
buy a new roll, but the I'm still using the stuff I got around 2005!>
Thank you for your knowledge and patience with me.
<Always glad to help. Cheers, Neale.>
apple snail, sys. 10/28/11
I have three apple snails, two golden and one opal. I am attempting to
set up an aquarium for just the snails. I am inquiring as to what I
should use on the floor of the tank. Should I use sand from a LFS,
gravel, or dirt from the back yard? I have read on www.applesnail.net
that they live in muddy waters and that not all snails need to
aestivate, but I would like to attempt to provide the habitat for them
that is optimal. One of the snails is the size of a golf ball, and the
other two are just under that size. The two Goldens are in a 75 gallon
tank right now and have laid three clutches of eggs. As of yet, none of
them have produced any babies but I am still hoping. Any advise would be
<Hello Laura. The AppleSnail site is excellent. Yes, most Apple Snails
live in muddy habitats thick with plants, but for all that, a plain
silica sand or fine gravel substrate would be fine, perhaps with 10% by
volume coral sand stirred in to improve alkalinity. And yes, there is
variation among them with regard to aestivation. Nonetheless, the
majority don't last longer than a year or so in aquaria, rather than the
3-5 years they should live for. Hence, we only rarely see the tennis
ball sized specimens apparent in the wild. So, what's the deal? Likely
other factors come into play, and lack of a "rest period" is just part
of an array of stresses Apple Snails fail to tolerate under aquarium
conditions. Monotonous diet, pecking by fish, constant breeding all year
around, and indifferent water quality and water chemistry management may
all play a part. I'd recommend cooling them down to 22 C/72 F for 3
months a year, ideally around winter, so they aren't in the mood to
breed and they slow down a bit. Then warm them back up in spring, to 24
C/75 F, and hopefully that'll get them back into a growing and breeding
modus. With luck, the resting phase will help the snails live longer
lives. I kept and bred Apple Snails without much bother, but confess
than I was replacing adults with their offspring across the year or so.
I now find other snails, particular Tylomelania, all around better
snails for general aquarium use. Hope this helps, Neale.>
Re: apple snail (now: where to buy Tylomelania) 10/29/11
Yes these tips do help a great deal. The idea is for the snails to live
away from fish so the nipping part is our of the equation. Where can I
find these other snails you mention as I have not heard of them.
<Well, in the UK these snails are quite widely sold through the aquatics
chain Maidenhead Aquatics. They cost anything between £2-4 (about $3-5)
depending on the species and size. Elsewhere you may have to buy them
online or have your aquarium retailer order them in especially. If you
search online for "Tylomelania" you will find that they're traded under
a variety of names -- Sulawesi Elephant Snails, Poso Snails, Yellow
Rabbit Snails, etc. There are actually lots of species, but retailers
often don't know which one they have in stock. But they are excellent
aquarium residents, and generally get along perfectly well with aquarium
fish that don't eat snails (Clown Loaches and Puffers would be poor
tankmates!). So I do hope that more retailers realise how much better
they are than Apple Snails, and start ordering them instead. Do note
that you can't sex them (unlike Apple Snails) so buy a reasonably large
group if you want to breed them, at least 4 specimens.>
I am limited in my choices of shops to get my snails from. Thank you so
much for your time and consideration. I continue to enjoy and learn from
WWM and it's crew.
<Glad to help. Cheers, Neale.>
Freshwater "Pond" Snails... NOT
releasing to wild 9/28/11
Hello, I have already spent many hours reading your website, somewhat
aimlessly, as the information is always interesting. After reading the
posts on pest snails, one question remains:
I live in the temperate Midwest. I have a container of snails I have
collected from my freshwater aquariums that presumably hitchhiked on the
many plants that I have bought for these tanks. Rather than kill them,
I'd like to release them into a local pond and leave the question of
their survival to nature. Is there any reason I shouldn't do this?
<I wouldn't release them. There's a risk they can carry diseases from
the tropical fish trade into native waters. If you need to get rid of
them, then kill them (squishing does the trick) and you can actually use
the squished snails as food for many fish, including loaches, cichlids
and many catfish.>
By-the-way, I am one of the unsuspecting and naive aquarists that
purchased "apple" snails when I (re)started with this hobby. I have two.
Unlike the fish and plants I keep, I never researched them. After one
and half years, they seem quite healthy and have grown rather large.
<Well done! It's pretty uncommon for them to live their full lifespan in
tropical aquaria, but it does happen. I've seen specimens get to tennis
Thanks for your help,
<And thanks for writing. Cheers, Neale.>
hi crew 8/10/11
My query is regarding Apple snail or golden snail ,. I
wanted to know the reason behind my two snails coming out of
tank mostly at nights ,
. For the past 5 days ,. I put them back again I find them on the floor
near my fish tank again ,. Can you all please let me know how to prevent
<A better, complete cover... Do read re... These are not entirely
. And also why are they coming out ,. I had them with me for more than
six months ,. I have put them together with my discus fishes
<Not compatible... hard, alkaline, cooler water vs. the opposite for
,. 400 liter tank ,. Water parameter are fine with a heater ,.
Filtration is fine ,. I always do water changes ,. Thanks in advance ,.
Appreciate the time and effort you guys put in to reply our questions ,.
God bless ,. Azam from India .
<Keep studying Azam. Bob Fenner>
question about apple snail
I am a student of zoology. I have studied your website & I have
question. Please answer me through mail.
Q1.Brown spot on the body of apple snail is a disease or anything
<Likely either a non-organic "scale" (chemical) of some sort or a mix of
algae and other Protists. Read here:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
FW Snail... hlth.
This is an MMS message.
This growth looks like a shell but is soft. Had him for 2 years in a 10
gallon 2 other snail's 1 black molly and 5 ghost shrimp never tested the
water( I know this is bad ) never had anything die yet. He doesn't look
like he's gonna make it he is turning black but still moving
around....poor guy....thank u for your time!
<Mmm... please send along data re the system, water quality
tests/results, foods/feeding, other tankmates, history...
and the linked files re freshwater snails above.
This is an MMS message.
This growth looks like a shell but is soft. Had him for 2 years in a 10
gallon 2 other snail's 1 black molly and 5 ghost shrimp never tested the
water( I know this is bad ) never had anything die yet. He doesn't look
like he's gonna make it he is turning black but still moving
around....poor guy....thank u for your time!
<This is an Apple Snail and the soft part of his shell implies a lack of
calcium in the water. Apple Snails should be provided with a source of
calcium, particularly if the water is soft, which is what I think is the
problem here. Start by improving water chemistry (a half-dose of Rift
Valley Salt Mix should do) and placing a small (inch square) piece of
cuttlebone in the tank for him to graze.
Snails can't repair damaged shell in any meaningful way, but they can
survive this sort of damage, all else being favourable. Cheers, Neale.>
Apple Snail Aestivation 6/9/11
I currently have a 36gal tank that houses a couple breeding apple snails. I know
that to grow them to their maximum size and keep them healthy they must
aestivate for a few months, but I'm unsure of how to do this. Any ideas? The
tank is also stocked with fish so I would prefer to have the snails aestivate in
another container if this is feasible.
Thank you very much!
<Hello Kyle. There's really not much experience on doing this well, at least
under home conditions. In the wild the commonly traded species, Pomacea
canaliculata, go dormant during the summer because their ponds dry up, so they
rest in the mud until the rains return. In aquaria the prime problem is that
they're kept constantly warm all year around, and literally age faster than they
should, typically dying within a year or so. Your best approach is to alternate
tropical conditions with somewhat cooler conditions for 3-4 months, e.g., about
25 C/77 F for some of the time, and then down to about 18-20 C/64-68 F for the
rest. At the cooler temperature they'll be less active. Don't keep them any
colder than 18 C because that
can cause them serious health problems, and may be fatal over long periods (they
are, after all, native to Florida). For what it's worth, Apple Snails don't do
especially well in community aquaria, though some fish, for example Platies,
Danios, and most Corydoras will not only tolerate cooler water for a few months
but will even benefit from it. So if you choose tankmates wisely, cooling the
tank shouldn't cause problems. Cheers, Neale.>
Apple snail, white spots on foot
Hello! I had been searching through your site and saw on 1/3/11 where
someone asked a similar question about white spots or blotches on their
snails foot but I'm not sure if there is anything I can do since you stated
it could be physical damage or decay. Jasper, about 1.5" long, is in the
tank with one other snail, about 0.5" long, and they get along just fine.
The little one often hitches a ride on Jasper and they travel the tank
together! The little one does not have these spots on her foot so I figure
it can't be bacterial related. I've never had any fish in the tank (10
gallon), only snails. The only objects I have in the tank are: two fake
plants, both with rounded edges; a terra-cotta type plant holder, washed
with water and never used as a plant holder; filter; heater; sand at the
bottom of the tank.
I've noticed for a few weeks or so that he's been developing these white
spots on his foot. I wasn't worried at first since he's always active and
eats not long after I drop some food in (fish flakes and algae wafers,
sometimes boiled veggies). I have noticed recently that he sometimes
produces a white slime, but it doesn't seem to leave a trail, just kind of
floats in the water. I'm becoming worried now that there are more spots and
the white slime is continuing. I wonder if this is something I've done to
hurt him without knowing or if he's just getting old? I've attached a
picture to help visualize what I'm talking about.
<Hello Vanessa. Your snail looks quite healthy to me. Are these white spots
on the "meat" of the foot? Do they come away after a while? My guess would
be white spots are silt and the white slime mucous, and there's nothing
particularly wrong here. Snails generally have two modes -- healthy and
dying -- so provided he's scuttling about eating happily, I wouldn't worry
too much. If you haven't already visited, AppleSnail.net is a great site for
general Pomacea spp. reading. But there isn't a huge amount known about
apple snail disease, so it's all about keeping them healthy. Provide lots of
greens and calcium-rich foods, don't let them burn themselves on the heater
(a heater guard is very useful), keep the tank fairly cool for part of the
year, and don't let other fish nip them. Copper is toxic, and because they
breathe air, don't use things like bug spray around them. Hope this helps.
Re: Apple snail, white spots on foot
I would say its not on the meat of the foot, if you mean that they are directly
on the outside foot. The spots don't come off as he moves, they seem like
they've developed inside the foot and show on the outside if that makes sense?
I've noticed the spots develop greater in number, never reduced so I don't
believe they come and go. Although I probably haven't given either of them
enough calcium rich foods so maybe it's a sign that I need to; he's the only one
with the spots on his foot. I never knew about a heater guard but I'll be
looking into it today, he does like to hang around it quite a bit.
<Burns are usually obvious, much like small wounds.>
I have noticed he sometimes curls part of his foot in; it looks like a raisin
texture, kind of wrinkled.
Like if the inside of your palm was his foot and you curl a couple fingers part
way in towards your palm, that's what his foot curling is like.
I'm happy he's still an active guy! Thanks for all the info :)
<Glad to help.>
<Wouldn't worry too much about this chap. Cheers, Neale.>
Sick Snail, apple 1/3/11
Hi, my snail is sick.
<Ah, difficult to fix once the damage is done.>
I have a 44 gallon fish tank w 3 snails, 2 dojo's, 2 Corey cats, a clam, 2
shrimp, and 3 goldfish. I noticed the other day that one of the snails had
white blotches on his foot.
<Sounds like physical damage and decay.>
The next day the snail was floating.
<Common problem when a snail is sick.>
We took it our but noticed it was still alive so returned it to it's tank.
Over the last 2 weeks the white spots expanded and now it's foot is
completely white (which it was formally black) and it is upside down seeming
to writhe in pain. (poor thing) it is still moving. About a week after I
noticed these blotches on the snails foot we noticed that one of our
goldfish has a white blotch on it's head that seems to be expanding. We are
currently treating the tank for Ich but I am not fully convinced that that
is what it is because it doesn't look like any of the pictures of Ich on
<Oh noes! Ick medications will stress, kill snails. Do please read the
instructions carefully -- copper and formalin are both extremely toxic to
Any suggestions of what it might be and how to treat it?
<Apple Snails do not tend to live long in aquaria for various reasons. Do
Also, AppleSnail.net is a good place to get information specific to these
animals. Most are killed by their owners one way or another, and I do not
recommend people keep them before providing an aquarium just for them. Fun
animals kept that way. Cheers, Neale.>
Brown Growth on Apple (Mystery)
Snail, and Betta sys. 12/17/10
I woke up this morning to find that my blue apple (mystery) snail was
floating around and hanging outside his shell.
At first I thought he was dead, but after closer examining him he is just
fine. The problem is that he has this circular large brown round spot that
is not allowing him to completely close his trapdoor (it's closed basically,
but the edges are not). I'm wondering if he has some sort of disease or
other problem? Maybe mantle detachment? I don't think so though, he is
sticking to the wall and is able to retract just fine.
<No, he's in a very bad way.>
He lives with a Betta,
<In a coldwater tank? Then the Betta will die pretty soon, unless you happen
to live in the tropics and the water keeps at a steady 25 C/77 F or more.>
a plant, and a really tiny snail that came with the plant (which was
floating either too, but now went off somewhere). I have removed the snail
from the tank because I was afraid he was dying or had a disease. Still sort
of worried that he is suffering mantle detachment though.
<Nope. Almost certainly been killed by the poor conditions in your
I have this tank 1.77 gallons with filter (w/o the pink gravel and the fake
plant, replaced with white gravel, fish decoration items, and real plant):
<A useless product and a waste of money.>
I feed my Betta 4-6 pellets a day, twice a day. I figured snail would eat
fish food and the plant if it got hungry. Maybe I should add some other
foods too? I put freeze dried blood worms in there every couple of days too.
Brown spot looks like this (though my snail is blue on snail and actual
<Copyright image not shown here, and irrelevant anyway. Do please read here:
Apple Snails need very specific conditions, and generally don't live long
when improperly kept. AppleSnail.net is a great site for more details.
Apple Snail brown spot problem fixed, I hope
I think the problem was that it was not getting enough calcium. So it is
probably a operculum problem.
I happened upon these pictures:
These pictures look exactly like the brown spot that I was talking about.
So I broke up some pieces of cuttle bone and stuck them in the tank to add
calcium. I also put the snail back in. Hopefully, he will be able to recover
<Your research sounds well worthwhile. But do review the big picture. A
cuttlebone will not compensate for poor environmental conditions. Cheers,
Re: Apple Snail brown spot problem fixed, I hope
Well actually my tank is at the right temperature, not a cold water tank as
<Good to hear. There was no mention of a heater in your question, and the
"Marina Cool 7 Goldfish Aquarium Kit" doesn't include a heater. Some people
think that an unheated aquarium will be warm enough for their Betta if their
home is centrally heated or they place the tank under an angle-poise lamp.
They are wrong. So let's just clarify. You have a heater? If the answer is
yes, then that's fine. If the answer is no, then you need one, and without a
heater, your Betta WILL die unless your ambient air temperature happens to
be 25-30 C/77-82 F, e.g., you live in a hot, humid jungle in South America.
Nowhere in Europe or the continental United States, except perhaps Hawaii,
will be hot enough for a Betta in an unheated aquarium. You would be
saddened to know just how many people don't understand this, and because of
it, millions of poor Bettas are chilled to death every year. I get messages
from such folks about once every 2-3 days here, and it breaks my heart,
because I quite like Bettas. I just wish people wouldn't keep them in
So besides the calcium, I'm not sure what poor conditions you are talking
<Apple Snails and Bettas need completely different conditions. They aren't
compatible, at least, not for long. Apple Snails come from the subtropics,
e.g., Florida, and they experience a slightly cool winter and a hot summer.
During the winter they become somewhat inactive, and in summer they become
dormant completely, resting in the mud. In practise keeping Apple Snails in
aquaria is hard, and the vast majority, 99% of them, don't live for more
than a year. You need to keep them around 18-22 C/64-72 F most of the time,
towards the cool end for a month or two in winter, so they can rest a bit.
Getting them to aestivate during the summer is tricky, but do-able if you
place them in wet moss or something similar and keep them in a container
that allows air in but keeps the snail from crawling out. They should be
kept this way for a few weeks. In aquaria they sometimes get away without
the aestivation, but the winter cooling really does help. Otherwise Apple
Snails simply burn out. In any case, Apple Snails really need about 5 US
gallons, together with a heater and a simple air-powered filter. They must
be able to breathe air as well, so make sure there's space between the
waterline and the hood. Water chemistry should be towards the hard and
basic, otherwise the shell becomes pitted -- probably what you've observed.
In other words, 10+ degrees dH, pH 7.5 is just about perfect. Food should be
biased towards plant-based foods, for example algae wafers, cooked peas,
spinach, etc. Weekly offerings of lancefish chunks or small unshelled
shrimps would be good sources of protein and calcium.>
The tank is big enough
<It's really not. 2.5 gallons is worthless. You don't have to believe me,
but I've been doing this a lot longer than you, and I've got the books, the
magazine articles, and the PhD to prove I know what I'm talking about. If I
got a dollar for every message about sick Bettas in tanks smaller than 5
gallons, I'd be a very rich man by now. The folks who ignore advice from
experienced fishkeepers are the ones who end up with dead animals. Your
and if you're talking about the filter I fixed it up to be less powerful and
stressful on the Betta.
<Good stuff. Air-powered sponge and box filters are ideal for Bettas. But at
the same time, the flow of water needs to be sufficient to ensure zero
ammonia and zero nitrite -- I assume you have at least a nitrite (not a
nitrate) test kit. Do please understand that most sick snails, fish etc. are
killed by their owners, and not by diseases that creep in through the window
one dark and stormy night. I'm glad you're reading about your pets and
making efforts to optimise their living conditions. But the data you sent me
was limited, and it isn't obvious you've covered the basics like heating and
water chemistry. Read about these, and act accordingly. I'm not psychic so I
can't read your mind, and all I can do is hope to point out the possible
problems and their best remedies. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Apple Snail brown spot problem fixed, I hope 12/17/10
I'm guessing the temperatures are the main problem for why these two don't
<Pretty much, yes. Apple Snails have a poor track record in tropical
aquaria. Most don't live longer than a year, though they can live 4-5 years
and reach the size of a tennis ball. Occasional specimens do thrive, but
Snail should be colder during the winter (64 F about)?
And they need mud and moss in summer (basically along the lines of hermit
crabs, I know not an exact comparison but best I can think of)?
<Certainly worth trying. Do read the AppleSnail.net for more on this.>
There should be space to breathe for snails in winter too or only for a
while in the summer?
<Both the Betta and the Apple Snail need a breathing space at the top of the
tank, and in both cases *all year around*. Cheers, Neale.>
apple snail, repro. 11/22/10
My daughter and I each have an apple snail. How long after they mate
will the female lay her eggs?
<Difficult to say. But assuming the snails are sexually mature, and that
you have a male and female, you should find the raspberry-like egg
masses laid ABOVE the waterline within a few weeks of introducing them
to the same aquarium. Cheers, Neale.>
Double checking I'm doing things right 10/15/10
In all your articles about Mystery snails, nobody
mentions having fire bellied toads.
In my case, I've had my two Oriental Fire Bellied toads for about a year
and a half, they're both happy, healthy and have very much developed
Since their tank has full afternoon sun, algae was a major problem, so,
to help solve that problem, I bought myself a couple mystery snails from
Though I'm not positive what I've done wrong, those first two (probably
because they were simply dropped into the tank, which you've said is a
no-no) died on me not long after I bought four more.
<Apple and Mystery Snails aren't normally killed by being moved from one
tank to another.>
Two of those died because they were also simply dropped into the tank
but before the two died, they left me a surprise: babies.
<Yes, they will lay their raspberry-like egg masses quite readily.>
I discovered them initially two at a time. For a couple weeks, I had
just four babies. Yesterday, I bought four more adults, giving me four
gold, one black and one ivory mystery snail. This morning, I found more
babies than I can keep track of, but the adults are all seemingly
hibernating inside their shells.
<Yes, very likely. Apple/Mystery snails spend part of the year
"aestivating" in the muck at the bottom of ponds. Think of them having a
nine-month year so far as activity goes, with the three hottest months
of the year being spent in a state of dormancy. Because this is
difficult to provide in aquaria, very few specimens last more than a
The four new ones are floating and the original two are just sitting on
the bottom of the tank. Near as I can figure, the adults are all healthy
and the babies are going nuts.
<Breeding Apple snails is actually not hard; keeping the adults alive
past the first 12 months is very much more tricky.>
The largest of the babies, whom I call Junior (after the Schwarzenegger
movie Junior) is now almost a full 1/2" long when completely out of its
shell. The tank setup was actually not recommended for the toads.
They're supposed to have half land half water.
Instead, my pair have a 10 gallon tank with 7 gallons of water and a
In spite of this, these two have developed into strong swimmers and are
absolutely madly in love with the live plants they keep uprooting.
<Well… they are digging animals.>
They've had this setup since the day I got them. Given all the baby
snails I've got, I'm hesitant to change the water.
<Don't be. Baby snails aren't delicate at all.>
The toads don't seem to mind as I find them frequently floating among
the plants they love so much watching whatever movie I have playing on
the TV that's at a 90 degree angle to the tank. Those two are more than
content to enjoy flies, moths and even grasshoppers besides their normal
crickets of both freeze-dried and live variety. I guess what I'm asking
is should I try to change the water at the risk of all the baby snails
or just maintain the water level, watch them grow and sell adults to the
<Do what you'd normally do: change 20-25% every week or two. I assume
there's some sort of filter in the water? If not, change 20-25% the
water every couple of days. Apple snails are quite heavy polluters, and
they need a lot of food to stay alive. They aren't "algae eaters" in any
meaningful sense, and will starve to death if you don't provide daily
meals of soft green foods like lettuce, cucumber and spinach.>
The worst the toads do is what I call "snail soccer" in which they
simply knock the snails off the wall of the tank and in swimming around,
kick them around the tank a little.
<Actually, this is fairly serious. One of many reasons why Apple snails
do poorly kept with fish is that the constant disturbance alarms them,
and so stops them feeding. If they're stressed, they can't feed, and
then they starve.>
The toads are actually coming up on their own dormancy winter period, so
they're not as active as they would be normally anyway. Should I just
leave the little ecosystem alone?
<Depends on the temperature. Apple snails will rest between 18-22 C, and
die if exposed to colder than 18 C for more than a few days. On the
other hand, kept warmer than 25 C for more than a few months they simply
"burn out". Do visit the excellent AppleSnail.net site for more on the
ecology and requirements of these animals.>
The other question would be (this isn't setup yet or even ready to be
setup yet) I've got a small pond/waterfall set in the back yard, would
the mystery snails be all right in that once full grown or would they
climb out and go everywhere?
<Yes, they can escape, and that being the case, it may well be illegal
to keep them outdoors. Check with your local Fish & Wildlife department.
Apple Snails are a serious pest species in places where they should not
be, and can carry diseases.>
One final question: how do I officially sex a fire bellied toad?
I've found so many differing opinions online I can't tell.
<You can't sex them outside of breeding. During the breeding season the
males will sing. That's it!>
My site, part of my signature below, has a page featuring my toads and
snails. I figure that's easier than trying to attach pictures.
<Possibly, but honestly, we have limited time and answering questions
depends very much on people sending whatever they want us to look at
*with the e-mail*. Clicking on links and watching videos and all that
sort of thing doesn't really help us to help you. If there are images
you want us to look at, please attach them to an e-mail, but keep them
under 500 KB or so otherwise they clog up our e-mail allowance and take
forever to download and open.>
Probably the fastest way to find the page is through my site map. I'm a
student of web design, so my navigation might be a bit confusing as yet.
<I'm sure you know the webpagesthatsuck.com website. One of my personal
favourites. Do be sure to read up on what they call "mystery meat
I think I've got one male, one female, but I'm definitely not positive.
<As I say, listen to who's singing. That's the male.>
The toad I call Sage is distinctly bigger than the one I call Rowen and
Rowen's tried for amplexus, but Sage keeps throwing him off. I'm not
sure if they're just playing or honestly trying to mate.
They're both mature toads, but that doesn't seem to mean much either.
I'm really not sure who's what sex!
<If it's any consolation, often the toads don't know either.>
Re: Double checking I'm doing things right
Oriental Fire Bellied toads are great little hardy toads, too. My toad
Rowen decided he was going to try copying Superman last night when I had
the movie playing. He took a flying leap off the island and found the
front wall of the tank cut his flight short so he simply decided to
float where he landed and watch the rest of the movie instead of trying
to "beat up" Lex Luthor. These two little toads of mine got their name
from an old cartoon series from the 80s called Ronin Warriors. Their
full names are Rowen of Island Strata and Sage of the Bubble Halo.
I haven't even found where the snails have laid their eggs, the babies
just keep coming out of nowhere.
<They do/must lay their eggs above the waterline.>
Despite being buffetted about the adults haven't come out of their
shells at all, but the babies are going nuts! I can't feed the adults
when the won't come out.
The plants don't seem to care that they're floating on the surface and
have also been going crazy growing.
<Most aquatic plants will, to a degree, since they've evolved to
propagate vegetatively, typically by bits being uprooted or torn away
and then ending up somewhere else where they grow new roots. But rooted
plants normally can't be grown indefinitely as floating plants. Some
exceptions of course, like Indian Fern and Hornwort. But Vallisneria,
Amazon Swords and those sorts of true rooted plants do need to be
The snails might not be delicate, but I think I've got toad tadpoles.
I'm not positive, but I know I've seen something tiny swimming besides
the snails. I haven't gotten my computer microscope working yet, so I
can't confirm. All the more reason why I'm being cautious - I don't want
the siphon to suck up any babies of either sort.
<Cool. Sometimes frogs and toads do breed in aquaria without the
hobbyist knowing about it.>
For the most part, the "snail soccer" only occurs when the snails are
near the surface and it's not terribly common that the toads will choose
that time to swim since they spend the majority of their time on the
island unless there's a movie playing. Even when there is a movie
playing, they'll just sit mostly on the island to watch or float away
from the walls anyway.
Even when the toads do swim over to the snails, I've gotten pictures of
the toads resting their front feet on the snail and the snail still out
and feeding as if the toad doesn't bother them.
<Well, that all sounds positive.>
My room's generally at about 75 F for the most part, which I know the
toads love. It can get a bit warmer by the window in the afternoons,
though since I'm in Nevada and the window gets full afternoon sun as I
Okay, scrap the thought of putting the snails in the pond, I'll just
stick with the idea of putting fish out there maybe. As for sexing the
toads, I guess that means I've got one boy and one girl. Sage must have
a crush on her namesake, because she keeps kicking Rowen away!
<Ah yes, what red-blooded male toad hasn't experienced rejection at some
time in its life.>
I've gotten differing stories about the life span of the fire bellies.
Anywhere from 3-30 years. What is the actual life span of the little
The other question might be, if I do have tadpoles, just how big are
they at birth? I haven't found anything for that, either. One site said
they don't reach full sexual maturity until they're 3 years old. Is that
accurate? I'm trying to gather accurate information on both and keep
finding different stories all over the place. The pet store said the
snails would love the algae and eat it like crazy. The information the
pet stores gave for the toads said they live 5 years. Most vets in my
area don't have a clue what to do with a fire belly or the snails. The
information on the tank the snails came from at the pet store said
they're mystery snails. It
took me a couple hours just to find out they supposedly reproduce
asexually. I'm tired of getting a multitude of different stories, I want
the mystery around these little animals cleared up as best as possible!
<Lifespan varies on temperature, the length/regularity of their
cold-season resting phase, and the precise species of Bombina being
maintained. But Bombina orientalis, if properly maintained, should live
for about 20 years.
Cold-blooded animals generally live much longer for their size/weight
than equivalent birds or mammals.>
Great appreciation, Jennifer.
<Glad to help. Cheers, Neale.>
Apple Snail Escape, sys. 10/12/10
<Not Sabrina today…>
I have a question/problem to run past you,,
I have some Apple Snails (Pomacea bridgessii) and have two tanks, a 60
Gal @22C (sponge filtered, sand and granite, crayfish, leopard danio',
<Hmm… can see some problems already.>
and a 15 Gal @26C (limestone, cleaned beach pebbles, shrimp, Betta
I had the snails in my 60g originally, and they had no problems at all,
ate well, some truly epic breeding attempts. However when I bought my
Cherax quadrinatus' I moved them in case they became food into to the
<Do bear in mind crayfish eat snails. So you're keeping lions and zebras
in the same enclosure.>
They grew well in that tank, I presume from the extra calcium /
alkalinity and heat. However the tank had been a past 'tank of death'
for apple snails for some reason unknown.
<Not unknown to me. Apple Snails are NOT easy to keep in aquaria. Or
more specifically, what they need is NOT what fish need. Apple Snails
need fairly cool conditions plus a resting phase of about three months.
Kept warm all year around they tend to die within a year. Plus, fish
view Apple Snails as moving buffets, nipping at their tentacles and
thereby making them sensitive to bacterial infections. Apple Snails are
best kept alone.>
Prior to putting the snails in the 15g I had removed what I thought was
past problems, pebbles possibly containing ore's (although my Amano and
bamboo shrimp have never shown signs of problems)
<Provided the pebbles were sold in an aquarium shop as aquarium safe,
they should be fine. Yes, some metals, such as copper, can be toxic, and
it's important not to place rocks containing seams of these metals into
an aquarium. But no reputable pet shop should be selling such rocks
The snails now often go to the surface for air, as oppose to every now
and again in the 60g, and today I noticed one missing!
<They surface to breathe air, and if they do that far more often than
normally, that's a common sign they're too warm. But Apple Snails also
lay their eggs above the waterline, and WILL try to crawl out of the
tank no matter what. Plus, after a few months Apple Snails will want to
aestivate -- to rest for a few months -- and in aquaria they either do
this by becoming dormant at the bottom of the tank or else trying to
seal themselves up on a ledge above the waterline. One other reason
they'd try to escape is predation. If a snail is constantly being
harassed by a crayfish, it may well try to crawl out and find a new
pond. In the wild Apple Snails certainly do move from one pond to
another as conditions change.>
I found him under the dresser with his trap tightly closed, and a crack
in his shell. I used some clear nail varnish on his shell to hold the
crack as I have read in a few places they don't repair, I then put some
water on his 'door' to see if he was alive, and he is :D Maybe this is
karma for him killing a female after the epic 6hr breeding attempt!
<Cracked shells aren't a big deal for the most part, so I wouldn't
bother with repairs.>
So he is now in my 55g, hopefully so he doesn't escape and cause more
damage, do you think there could be a problem in my 15g that is making
them want to escape?
Sources on the web indicate this could be a water problem. All regular
water tests are fine, although I have no 'metal' tests.
Would you think they could be better off in the 55g with the crayfish?
<He'd be dinner.>
They seemed to be quite happy in there before the crayfish, if a little
slow growing. It seems a hard call to me, both could have possible bad
consequence in my opinion, possible irritant, or possibly eaten.
Thanks for reading,
<Glad to help.>
Re: Apple Snail Escape 10/13/10
Thanks for the reply!
<Glad to help.>
The snails have been kept in a smaller tank since I got the crayfish bar
the incident with the snail cranking its shell the other day. He was put
back into the smaller tank shortly after I sent the email to you as I
the crayfish ready to make a move on it.
After reading I will set up a separate tank for the snails, at a lower
temperature. What you said has made sense of everything, like why they
keep hiding in my filter and under the wood etc.
<Indeed. There's a great Apple Snail site called AppleSnail.net. They've
got some very, very good articles on the biology and needs of these
The large tank with the Cherax Quadrinatus is going to be raised up to
25C-26C gradually, the tank had been kept un-heated prior to the
crayfish and I want to acclimate the current inhabitants (molly's and
Danios) gently from 19C.
<OK. Wouldn't worry too much about this; should only take a few hours
for Danios to adjust to a temperature change like this.>
The small tank the snails are currently in has a Betta so can't be
turned down from 26C either, although the Betta in particular never
bothered the snails.
<Usually don't, to be fair. But fish and Apple Snails aren't a great
Gives me a reason to set up a planted shrimp and snail tank though!
<Well, Apple Snails can, will eat plants.>
From what you said about leaving shell damage, does all shell damage
<No. Snails can only grow new shell around the mantle, i.e., the living
tissue at the front end of the snail. Anything further back than, say,
10% from the aperture is unrepairable.>
As there is a small v shaped chip missing from his shell, looks like he
could catch himself on it.
<Superglue is safe to use, especially since these snails can be kept out
of water for the few minutes needed for the glue to dry. But otherwise
there's not much you can do about broken shells. For what it's worth,
many, perhaps most snails go through their lives with damaged shells,
often the apex being lost completely.>
Choosing a snail, FW, Apple admonition... again
We bought a very lovely Apple snail, Carl, who was about an inch in
diameter. He seemed to be thriving for about a year and a half. He was
mobile and active a lot of the time and did a great job cleaning algae
and I suppose any food debris. I also made available to him (her?) the
algae pellets every few days or so and he also liked the shrimp pellets.
Then one morning, he was dead. No signs of trauma. Just dead. I checked
the usual suspects (temp, chemistry, etc) and nothing was out of whack.
<As I've stated here at WWM endlessly, Apple snails do not survive for
much beyond a year under most aquarium conditions. They need an
alternation of warm, watery conditions with a couple of months when
they're kept out of
water in damp soil. This replicates aestivation. If kept constantly in
warm water, they eventually "burn up". They are, generally, poor choices
for aquarium pets.>
I then read that the life of Apple snails is shortened by keeping them
in a common aquarium temp of 73 degrees.
<On the contrary, keeping them relatively cool for at least a few months
can be beneficial.>
So even though I wanted to immediately replace Carl, I didn't think it
would be right to knowingly place a snail in an environment that would
shorten his life.
<With Apple snails, you may as well treat them as disposable pets. They
very rarely live more than a year.>
Is there a non-pest snail whose life is not shortened in a 73 degree
<Oh, you could try some of the Nerite snails. They come from tropical
streams so do well slightly on the cool side provided the water is
briskly moving and has plenty of oxygen. Because they eat ONLY algae,
they will starve if the aquarium is too small, so allow one large
specimen (about 2 cm long) or two smaller ones (1 cm long) per 10-15 US
gallons. They need moderately hard to hard water, and won't live long in
Alternatively, you could try Marisa cornuarietis, the Colombian
Ramshorn, which is very much like the Apple snail but does rather well
underwater constantly. It's a very bad plant eater though!>
Apple Snail Hibernation
We recently noticed our Apple snail not moving very much? He seemed to
be asleep for 2 whole days.
He's quite a big fella (2-3 inches across) and we've had him about a
After looking on your site, I realize now, he may be going into
hibernation and would like some info on how to get him to survive this.
I really dont want to loose him. We are just entering Autumn in
Australia (no heater on the tank which is about 120Litres and has
various other fish and one western blue crayfish, about 17-20cm long).
I've also noticed a crack in his shell (along the growth ring about 1/2
inch from the front) like the whole front section/ring of his shell has
broken off but is still attached. I have no idea how this could of
happened, he has never left the tank, is never handled??? It's a
Any help you can give me will be greatly appreciated
<Hello Danni, and thanks for writing in with such interesting questions.
Tackling the second question first, cracks will often appear in shells
if the water isn't hard and basic. Check water chemistry. If necessary,
buffer the water by adding some Rift Valley Cichlid Salt mix (not
The calcium carbonate in this mix will help snails build their shells
better. Snails have minimal ability to repair broken shells except close
to the growing edge, the mantle, though cracks further back may get
filled in with some material from underneath. Do note than snails are on
the natural diet list of crayfish, so keeping snails and crayfish
together isn't entirely safe, even for big snails like this one. As to
"hibernation" (technically, aestivation, since it's a summer rather than
winter event). This is very difficult to do in captivity, and in reality
very, very few people manage to get their Apple Snails to live more than
a year or two.
Aestivation essentially involves resting in damp mud whilst being kept
fairly warm, and in theory moving the snail to a tank with a peaty or
coir substrate, lowering the water slowly, across several days or a
couple of weeks, and so encouraging the snail to "dig in". The sleeping
snail could then be packaged up in a food contain with some damp peat or
coir, with a lid secure enough to prevent escape (but loose enough it
allows air in) and then kept somewhere warm and dark, like an airing
cupboard, where the animal could sleep for a few weeks at a 18-20
degrees C. Apple snails quickly die below 18 C. Spray the peat or coir
periodically to keep the snail damp but not wet or waterlogged. You
could then put the peat/coir and snail back in an empty aquarium, an
then slowly add some water over a few hours to mimic rainfall, and hope
the snail wakes up. A dead snail smells terrible, so if it smells of
nothing, it's probably alive. Do bear in mind that below 20 degrees C
Apple Snails naturally become sluggish even if moving around, and many
snail keepers use a heater to keep it slightly warmer than that through
winter, so the Apple Snail stays active. By alternating between 22 C in
winter and 25 C in summer, you might just about get the Apple Snail to
stay healthy all year around without the need for aestivation, though
frankly, this approach doesn't always succeed. Cheers, Neale.>
Apple snail... sys.
hello crew! I have been thinking about getting a couple of apple snails
and I was wondering if they can live in a 5 gallon bowl without filter
or heater and there water would be changed 2 times a week at least.
<Short answer is no, unless you live in the subtropics, e.g., Southern
Florida, which is where they come from. Anywhere cooler, and certainly
anywhere air conditioned, isn't going to work well outside of summer. Do
review the needs of Apple snails, e.g., at the excellent AppleSnail.net
web site. Most people fail to keep them alive for long. Cheers, Neale.>
hello I have an apple
snail that got part of his foot missing. 1/6/2010
my large common Pleco decide to have a snack. he seems to be ok he is
just not moving around as much. will he be ok?or is he suffering and
going to die?
<Assuming optimal water conditions (including warmth, filtration and
access to air) Apple snails can heal a certain amount of damage. But
that said, they are notorious for dying quickly when abused like this,
and in doing so can cause gross pollution. By all means transfer to
another, hospital aquarium, but don't expect it to do well in the same
tank as the Plec.
our new snail... Apple, comp., sys.
Hi. Thank you for taking the time to read this,
<Happy to help.>
We set up an aquarium for my daughter about a week and a half ago.
<If your daughter is a minor, then you're setting up the aquarium *for
yourself*. Always remember that. Children make very poor guardians of
animals, so the responsibility for any animals you buy rests squarely on
It is a 6 gallon, Marineland.
<Too small for Goldfish or indeed any other fish except Bettas.>
It has a carbon filter and a BIO-Wheel. We have a small Fantail & a
small Black Moore, we got a snail on Sunday.
<This aquarium isn't acceptable for these fish. They WILL get sick and
they WILL die prematurely. So let's cut to the chase here. A 20-gallon
tank will be fine while they're small, up to about 10 cm/4 inches in
length, but you need a 30 gallon system for these two Goldfish once
mature; see here:
As for the snail, it's an Apple snail, and won't live more than 6-12
months in an aquarium. Wild snails aestivate in mud for part of the
year, and without this resting phase, they seem not to live for their
normal lifespan in captivity. When they die, they cause massive
pollution. They mix poorly with fish. Fish nibble at them, damaging
their "antennae", allowing secondary infections to set. Millions of
Apple snails are sold to
inexperienced shoppers, and the vast majority of them die for one reason
or another. There's a great Apple snail site, here:
Take a look at the needs listed in the Quick Guide section. Since you'll
be taking the Goldfish out of the woefully inadequate 6 gallon tank, you
might elect to dedicate that tank to the needs of Apple snails. They
make interesting pets, and when kept in groups, breed quite readily.
Rearing baby Apple snails isn't easy, but with luck, you'll get enough
to keep a steady population going.>
The lady at the pet store checked the door to make sure it was alive. We
have never had a snail before & thought it would start moving around by
now. It has not moved around the tank at all & I have not seen the whole
body come out.
<Often, they start moving, and then the Goldfish buffets them, and the
snail goes into it's "scared" mode again. As I say, you can't usually
keep Apple snails and Goldfish together. Many have tried, and most of
I saw the siphon come out this morning & it did go from being totally
closed up to being part way out of the shell. I read a LOT of the other
FAQ's & did not see anything about this kind of behavior. Do you think
Or did we buy a dud?
<Apple snails tend to be either healthy or dead. You're at the tip-over
point perhaps where a healthy snail isn't able to move about and feed,
and yes, after a few days, it will die if it can't act normally.>
We do not have any live plants, so I put a piece of zucchini in the tank
next to it & it didn't do anything. The fish pick at it like it is
gravel.... It moves in & out of the shell a bit, but never all the way &
it doesn't go anywhere.
<Just as I said.>
Is there another site you could direct me to, I looked at the ones I saw
on your site, but I didn't see anything that looked like my issue......
Thanks a lot for any advise!
<Well, your first priority is to rehome the Goldfish. You CANNOT keep
them in a 6-gallon tank. Period. End of story. If you ignore my advice
here, they WILL get sick and the WILL die. Assuming you do this in the
next day or two -- the only responsible course of action, really -- then
your Apple snail may well recover of its own volition if left in the
Here is a picture of what it looks like right now. Sorry in advance for
any spelling or grammar errors, I used my spell checker & tried really
hard to make it nice, but I am not very good at such things. :)
<Thanks for taking the time to write to us properly. It's appreciated.
Good luck, Neale.>
Apple Snail Question 05/27/09
Hi there. Nine days ago, we purchased two apple snails for our new pond
(the guy at the pet store said this was fine), we soon learned this
good at all.
<Does depend where you live; if you happen to live in the subtropics or
tropics, then Pomacea snails can adapt well to pond life. But they
at all suitable for ponds in the temperate zone, and even in warmer
parts of the world they do need a "resting period" lasting some months.
Personally, I don't rate Apple snails as particularly good pets, and the
overwhelming majority of them die within a year, never reaching anything
like their full size.>
In our crash course on water care and snails we lost one and
surprisingly the other is still alive. We put in a new, bigger pond and
placed him in there to get him out of the old toxic water and he started
moving up and down the sides (it's about a 200 gallon pond).We were so
happy that he was still alive that we bought a ten gallon tank for him
and got him to other apple snails for company.
<They actually couldn't care less about company... more important you
provide optimal conditions for one snail than try to house a bunch of
under less than perfect conditions.>
Well, the first day we put all three in the tank, he was partially out
of his shell and wasn't moving for about twelve hours, and he appeared
defecating and producing excess slime. We got worried and read that you
should remove the snail immediately from the tank if they appear as if
they are dying.
<You should certainly remove a dead snail from any aquarium, yes. But
removing one that's merely behaving oddly isn't a good idea.
shedding mucous and producing copious faeces are both normal behaviours.
Unless the snail is constantly shedding mucous, small amounts aren't
anything to worry about, and like all herbivores, the more fibre-rich
their diet, the more solid waste they produce.>
We put him in a 1.5 gallon tank with a filtering system and there are
times he's floating on the bottom or in the middle of the tank and the
he'll be sucked to the side.
<See, this is the thing. Conditions in a 1.5 gallon "tank" aren't
tenable for an Apple snail, and really, such "tanks" are useless.
Buckets are bigger! So, buying such a tank is a total waste of money. On
top of that, because water quality WILL be less stable and likely less
good in such a tank, moving from the 10 gallon to the 1.5 gallon will
simply make a bad situation worse. Much better to identify the problem,
and them act accordingly.>
Many times my husband has told me to just put him in the freezer, but I
<And shouldn't; freezing animals is not a humane way to kill them. While
I admit it's hard to empathize for a snail, what makes humans
special is our ability to see what's cruel from what's humane. If you
must euthanize a snail, use a humane method as described for fish. In
snails tend to be either "healthy" or "dead", so if the snail is active,
there's hope! Put the snail in the right conditions, with the right
water quality, and at the right temperature. In other words, an 8-10
gallon aquarium, with hard (10+ degrees dH) water at pH 7.5 to 8, with
no salt, and at a middling to low temperature around 22-24 C. Ammonia
and nitrite should be zero at all times, and the snail must have access
to air, so allow a good couple of inches space between the waterline and
the hood. For at least three months of the year, keep the temperature
lower so the thing can go dormant; ideally, remove it from the water and
keep in damp soil at around 18 C. Do note that Apple snails are neither
tropical nor coldwater animals, and can't be kept indefinitely in either
unheated tanks (outside of the subtropics, of course) or tropical
Then later on he'll look good and surprise us by how active he is. Any
way, he's been in separated for a day and a half now. How long do I wait
to put him back, I feel like all I'm doing is testing water on both
tanks and the pond. Is he behaving normal? The other two snails have not
floated at all
yet. I've read they do this but he does it quite a bit and doesn't close
all of the way. Is he permanently damaged by being put into the
untreated pond water? The nitrites were VERY high as was the ammonia.
<This is what's killing the snail; keep the snail in good conditions and
it should pep up.>
He's in stable conditions now. Any info would be a great help. Thanks.
Re: Apple Snail Question 5/28/2009
Thank you so much, I'm determined to keep them alive. I appreciate your
help, I couldn't get useful information anywhere else.
<Happy to help. Do try and track down "Apple Snails in the Aquarium" by
Gloria Perrera and Jerry G. Walls; it's the single best book on the
published. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Apple Snail Question 05/29/09
Hi again, Thank you so much.
<Well, that's good news!>
He perked right up in the ten gallon tank. He's moving along with the
other two as if nothing happened. He must've just been adjusting to the
new environment before or something.
<Sounds like you have everything under control. Good luck, Neale.>
My apple snail, repro. issues 4/30/09
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
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.>
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
<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.
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.
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
tanks are usually a lot smaller.>
Should I know how to tell the difference between a male and a female to
add one or two if there isn't enough for reproduction?
<Sexing isn't easy, though the penis on the male is apparent if you know
what to look for. Applesnail.net has some pictures.>
Thanks for reading the questions. I'll be looking for a reply soon! Bebe
<Hope this is soon enough! Neale.>
Apple snail - Maybe sick, definitely
stressed, please help! 11/3/07
I have an apple snail that has a problem. I know I haven't been the best mom to
it, but I would like to learn how to make it well, if at all possible.
This is my first snail, and it's brand new to me, so what little I know about
snails I have learned very recently on the internet.
<Hmm... there are many articles, even books about Apple snails; so reading
around the topic should help.>
I bought the snail last week to help keep a 10 gallon tank clean.
<Doesn't work this way. No animal "keeps a tank clean". They all make a tank
dirtier. Imagine you had a live-in housekeeper for your home. That person might
clean up the dishes and vacuum the carpet, but that person would also be eating
food, drinking water, taking baths, going to the lavatory and so on. In other
words, while your home might actually look a little tidier to you, it is
actually now twice as dirty as before.>
The tank is used for breeding Bettas. (I'm a beginner at Betta breeding, too,
but so many online resources have been helpful with that!) The tank is about
half full of water. The water was filtered through a Brita, treated with a
little aquarium salt, Stress Coat, and Top Fin Bacteria Supplement, then allowed
to rest for three days before the addition of anything alive.
<Apple snails do not like salt. Various medications used to treat fish are
harmful to snails, so only add things you know are specifically safe with
The water has kept a steady 79 degrees Fahrenheit since starting.
<Far too warm for all-year maintenance. Apple snails require alternating warm
and cool periods otherwise they become noticeably short lived. Typically when
kept in tropical tanks Apple snails last about a year. In the wild they live
more than 4 years. Something in the 20-25C (68-77F) range is about right. This
is a bit cooler than Bettas prefer, and one reason why the two species are
I am using a disposable carbon filter that hooks up to the air pump, which is
pumping in a very very slow, steady stream of bubbles.
<Carbon filters are garbage. Carbon was used in the Dark Ages of fishkeeping to
remove dissolved organic materials that turned water yellow over time. This was
a problem because people avoided water changes like the plague, doing as little
as 10% per month, on the assumption "old water" was best. We now routinely do
50% water changes per week. The prime job of carbon in the modern hobby is to
extract money from inexperienced aquarists. While it has some value for certain
jobs, such as removed leftover medications before introducing sensitive fish,
99% of the time it is redundant. What you need is a real filter that supports
biological filtration. A plain vanilla sponge filter should be just fine.>
There are three plants. I don't know their scientific names, but at the store
one was labeled a sword plant, one a banana plant, and the third I don't know
the name of.
<Hmm... the Swordplant is presumably Echinodorus sp.; the Banana plant is
Nymphoides sp., a species legendarily difficult to keep alive. While they aren't
impossible to keep, they are picky about their environment. You need to identify
the species. Some like warm water and will die in cold water, but there are cold
water species that die in warm water! Soft, acidic water seems to be a
prerequisite. As for the 'mystery plant' you need to be careful here; a LOT of
aquarium shops sell terrestrial plants such as Dracaena and Chlorophytum spp. as
aquatic plants. Needless to say, they die.>
The snail and all three plants came from the same plant tank at the same store.
When I first added the plants and snail, the snail was thrilled. It moved around
quickly sometimes, and lingered on a plant or tank wall sometimes. It explored
all the features of the tank. It seemed very happy. The plants got a bit chewed
up, but I don't mind. It did produce what I thought was a huge amount of feces,
appearing like a lot of black dots, often connected together by strands of
<Apple snails will, do eat aquarium plants.>
I added the pair of Bettas and they spawned on Sunday. The snail crawled up into
the bubble nest and ate a bunch of eggs. I tried to gently knock it out, but it
was determined to stay.
<It's a snail. It's learning abilities are minimal.>
I let it be for a while, but got really concerned when the collection of eggs in
the nest was visibly smaller. I knocked the snail out of the nest (gently) and
scooped it out of the tank into what I had available. Unfortunately, this was
one of those flat sided half gallon bowls, half filled with Brita-filtered
water. (I use the Brita because I live in an area where the water is recycled, I
am concerned about what additives might be in my water. Straight from the tap,
it has an unpleasant, strongly mineral and chloriney taste.)
<Not an issue. Add dechlorinator. The water will be fine for both fish and
snail. For a 10 gallon tank you need to be doing 50% water changes per week.
Producing 5 gallons of water through a drinking water filter will be ludicrously
expensive. It's also pointless. Do not use water from a domestic water softener
either. Just plain vanilla tap water with dechlorinator will be fine.>
The water is at room temperature, 75 degrees Fahrenheit. I fed it some lettuce
and fish food. I don't know how much it ate, but it did climb the side and hang
out just at the surface. It floated for a while, which didn't worry me after I
researched this and found that if the door is closed tightly, floating is normal
<Not really normal for the species in general. Often a sign the snail has been
harassed, perhaps by nippy fish.>
Well. The Betta fry are now free swimming, so I thought the snail might like to
go back in the tank with the plants. I have been feeding the fish fry on small
amounts of boiled egg yolk, infusoria, and baby brine shrimp.
Unfortunately, upon return to the tank the snail began to appear lethargic and
swollen. That was last night. The snail's flesh still looks firm, coral pink and
whitish, as it always has. But it will neither fully retract nor come all the
way out. It's just sitting there, half in and half out. I worried that it might
be dead or dying, and cause harm to the fry, so I changed the water in the
quarantine bowl and returned the snail to it. I did not add any salt or fish
treatments to the quarantine.
<Absolutely DO NOT keep this snail with your fish. It may well be dying, in
which case its death will rapidly pollute the water.>
I read on your site that calcium and bicarbonate of soda are good additions for
apple snails, so I added a pinch of baking soda, and cut a small piece off a
calcium supplement and added it too. (It also contains vitamin D, is that OK?) I
also added a small amount of food.
<No, no, no. Calcium carbonate is a supplement needed for shell formation.
Mostly these snails extract it just fine from the food they eat. They have a
great fondness for bits of crustacean exoskeleton, so next time you eat some
shrimp, stick a bit of the skeleton from one into the snail aquarium. But that
all said, if there's a lack of calcium carbonate, the snail doesn't become sick
overnight. What happens is you notice pits on the shell as the snail has
problems laying down new shell as it grows. This takes months to become visible.
Randomly adding supplements to the water without having an idea what is actually
wrong is kind of like a doctor prescribing a patient the first drug he pulls out
of his bag.>
While moving the snail back to quarantine, I gently pressed on its shell door to
see if it closed. It did not. I think it's swollen open for some reason. I see
plenty of somewhat normal-looking folds of flesh, but I don't see eyes or
antennae. They seem to be tucked inside, but most other parts are outside. I
don't see any movement. On a bright note, the snail did not stink, so perhaps it
is not dead, but simply really stressed out from being moved back and forth and
back and forth.
<Snails don't really mind being moved about. They're amphibious to some degree,
and move from pond to pond during rainstorms and floods.>
What can I do to help this unhappy creature?
<Keep in its own optimised aquarium.>
Did I simply buy an already
sick snail, and stress it beyond its limits with too-frequent moves?
<No idea. But restoring to proper aquarium conditions should help. Keep at
moderate temperature, provide ample green foods, do copious water changes, and
don't randomly add stuff to the water.>
Thanks for any advice you can offer,
Re: Apple snail - Maybe sick,
definitely stressed, please help! 11/14/07
Unfortunately, the snail didn't make it. Next time I try raising
invertebrates, I'll get them their own tank!
<Hello Mary. Not surprised by this outcome. Please do read up on
livestock before purchase. Your life (and theirs) will be much easier.
Sick Snail 10/21/07
I think my snail is sick. I've only had him for a week, and he seemed to be
doing fine. His shell has even grown a 1/4 of an inch. He was moving around the
tank and appeared to be acting normal, and then 10 minutes later he was up at
the top floating. I know snails do sometimes float, but his body was just
hanging out of his shell. I promptly removed him from the tank and put him in a
smaller container. When I picked him up he did not close up. He will
occasionally move his antenna or stick out his siphon, so he is still alive, but
he's just floating with his body hanging out. I really don't want to lose my
snail. Is there anything I can do?
<Hi Shelby, I need some information here. What kind of snail? What sort of tank
is he in? What is the water chemistry (specifically, hardness and pH). What is
the temperature? What is the water quality (nitrite level, at the very least).
What sort of filtration do you use? What else lives in his tank? These are all
things we need to know. But broadly, "medicating" snails is impossible at the
present time. However, most snail sickness seems to follow on from environmental
issues. So if you happen to know what kind of snail you have (apple snails,
Ramshorn snail, Colombian Ramshorn, Nerite snails, etc.) then review the
conditions you're keeping it in, and see they match the tolerances of that
species of snail. Cheers, Neale>
Re: Sick Snail 10/21/07
Thanks for the reply. The snail is an apple snail, in a 2.5 gallon Minibow
tank with a Betta. I use a Whisper filter that came with the tank that has a
medium sized bio-bag filter.. The temperature is 79, but does drop down during
the night. Nitrite and Nitrate levels were at 0, Hardness was 150, Alkalinity
was 300, and pH was 7.8. I bought a pH decreaser since the alkalinity and pH
were high. The snail has attached himself to the side of the container, and has
withdrawn mostly into his shell. Hopefully he'll be okay.
<For a start, stop using the pH-down adjuster. Unless you're also using soft
water (not from a domestic softener, but RO water or rain water) then adjusting
the pH is pointless... and potentially dangerous! Leave the water hard and
alkaline. Your Betta doesn't mind, and your Apple snail prefers it. Also bear in
mind Apple snails are *subtropical* not tropical animals, and don't live a long
time when kept too warm. I'd keep them no higher than 25C/77F. My guess would be
a combination of excessive heat and fluctuating water chemistry is the factor
here. Do also watch the relationship between the Betta and the snail; Bettas
have been known to nip at snails, damaging them. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Sick Snail 10/23/07
Just to clarify, the pH decreaser was not used previous to the snail
getting sick. I only purchased it after he got sick, but thanks for
letting me know to not use it.
I just wanted to let you know that
after more testing, I'm almost positive the culprit was Copper in the
water. The snail is now back in the tank with what I hope is copper free
water, and he is slowly acting more and more like his old self.
Thanks for all the help.
<Ah, copper can be toxic to invertebrates.
Most freshwater snails couldn't care less, but Apple snails are an
exception. For the time being, keep doing water changes, and with luck
this will flush the copper concentration down below the critical level.
Do also watch the temperature: Apple snails are *subtropical* animals,
and prefer slightly cooler conditions than that enjoyed by many tropical
fish. 22-24 C is fine. If kept too warm, they end up dying prematurely.
This is one reason (of many) why they shouldn't be kept with tropical
fish. Good luck, Neale> <<Copper
is an effective molluscicide... a killer of all snails and their kin.
Apple snail input for WWM and Betta woes
This email is mostly to relate my experience in the hope that it might help
others facing the same issues, especially since there is not a whole lot
about Apple snails on WWM yet.
<There's plenty. Go here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwinverts.htm and go here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwsnails.htm and then read the
various connected articles as your fancy takes you.>
After reading a couple of comments from Neale about Apple snails not faring
so well in community tanks, I began to get worried about mine.
<Sad but true. They don't really mix, and the reason aquarium shops sell so
many of them is because they die quickly and people just go on replacing
He's been sharing an Eclipse 3 with our Betta for about 5 months. The
temperature is around 80 normally, but in the summer it regularly climbs to
84-86, even with lights off and top door open.
<Way, way too hot for an Apple snail. Anything in the 70s is fine, and a bit
cooler in winter if possible.>
But the main problem is that I recently noticed that the Betta was stealing
food from the snail. He'd violently push the snail aside to get at the
sinking wafers and then parade around the aquarium shaking his prize until
it crumbled enough for him to eat (he ate one of our cherry shrimp too in
our other tank, but we don't know if the shrimp was already dead or not).
And since the Betta eats about anything (pellets, flakes, peas, Nori,
sinking wafers, bloodworms, brine shrimp) and actively hunts for anything
that falls to the bottom, I'm afraid the poor snail has not gotten much to
eat in a while...
<Indeed. The best thing would be to put aside something for the snail the
Betta can't eat. Thinly sliced courgette (zucchini) and blanched lettuce
(*not iceberg*) would be a good start. The snail will graze this stuff
Not to mention that the snail is now keeping everything permanently tucked
in (I used to enjoy the graceful antennae-waving dance, but now he keeps
them where they're safe, under the "hood") and his shell very low over his
head like a shield because the Betta kept picking at it... It got to the
point where the snail was barely moving around the tank, and I became very
<Unfortunately what you're describing is all too common. If this persists,
the snail will starve and then die.>
I've now moved him (actually, if I can believe applesnail.net, it's a *her*
because her operculum is concave - I've just referred to it as a *he" for so
long I can't get used to thinking of him as a girl) to an unheated,
unfiltered bowl that probably contains about a gallon of water - easy to
change because there's no substrate yet, just a rock taken from our 10
gallon tank and a few water lentils that the other tanks keep producing in
amazing quantity). It's going to be cooler too because there is no motor and
no light, and it's uncovered so evaporation will do its job. I gave him
plenty of food (found out he likes cucumber, will try other fruits and
vegetables along with fish food) and a piece of a vacation feeder for
calcium, until I get him either crushed coral or cuttlebone (his shell is
very scratched and the new growth is very pale, so I'm trying calcium,
iodine and food to see if it will make a difference on the new growth). I'll
see how things go. I've wanted a fan shrimp for a long time and this might
make a cute companion to my apple snail, if my research proves they're
compatible (and be an excuse to get yet another tank!).
<This all sounds dandy. Apple snails are terrific fun, and you do want to
have a go at breeding them. it's quite something to see the HUGE egg mass,
and when the babies hatch, they're a delight to watch.>
So... Betta and Apple snail, in my case, didn't work out so well. The
Neritina might have fared better because he eats algae (never seen him show
interest in anything else) and already scoots around like a little tank with
everything tucked in, even if everything in the tank ignores him.
<Nerites are generally much more resistant to fish because of their very
heavy shells. They evolved in the sea where there are many more snail-eating
predators, not just fish, but crabs, mantis shrimps, whelks, etc. Apple
snails are a strictly freshwater group, and the diversity of aquatic
snail-eating predators is fairly small. In fact the main predator on apple
snails is a kind of hawk, the Florida kite if I recall the name correctly.
Anyway, be that as it may, Apple snails are not heavily armoured because
evolution hasn't driven them that way. When kept in the tight confines of an
aquarium, they end up being harassed by fish quite a lot.>
Well, thank you for your time and I hope this can help someone!
<It's always good to know when people have furthered their research and made
good decisions. I'm sure you're going to have some fun with the Apple snail.
There are some books out there about them, including one from TFH called
"Apple snails" or something clever like that. A fascinating read, and well
worth tracking down. Filled with stuff about their natural history and
biology as well as aquarium care. Cheers, Neale>
Re: Apple snail and Betta woes – 07/18/07
Hello Neale, or other Crewmember,
Here are some updates about my snail... and some comments to your email!
> there is not a whole lot about Apple snails on WWM yet.
> <There's plenty. Go here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwinverts.htm and go here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwsnails.htm and then read the various
connected articles as your fancy takes you.>
Yes, I've read those already. But until Neale started commenting on Apple
snails, nothing indicated that I might be having a problem with mine. Those
pages kind of say the same thing over and over again, which is really not that
much when you remove the redundant information.
> This all sounds dandy. Apple snails are terrific fun, and you do want to have
a go at breeding them. it's quite something to see the HUGE egg mass, and when
the babies hatch, they're a delight to watch.>
And then they get sold to those people who keep buying them because they keep
dying... sad fate :-) My boyfriend would probably frown if I tried to breed them
- he wanted to avoid the multiple-tank syndrome, and we're already at 3
permanent wet dwellings... and planning for a 30 gallon brackish system... :-)
But it is very tempting.
> <It's always good to know when people have furthered their research and made
good decisions. I'm sure you're going to have some fun with the Apple snail.
Thank you. I certainly try. There's nothing worse than the feeling that I'm not
providing an adequate environment for my pets - they're so entirely dependent on
The snail, by the way, is doing better. He actively moves about the tank looking
for food, eats well, has a grip on the bottom of the bowl he hasn't had in a
while, and now closes his door entirely shut when we move him (this he hasn't
done in months). I will get him a small tank and filter, if only to avoid having
to change water daily, which is a real annoyance. How can people stand to keep
fish and animals in bowls for any length of time? It's such a hassle!
Thank you again (and big thanks also from the much-happier snail!)
<Hello again, Audrey! I'm not sure I get why you think those snail articles say
"the same things over and over". They look pretty comprehensive to me. But OK.
Anyway, it sounds like you've fixed the snail problem and are enjoying your pet.
Please do try and hunt down that Apple Snail book, it really is *that* good, and
covers everything from natural history to evolution to breeding. I think you'll
get a kick out of learning how cool these animals are. They've very underrated
in the hobby, but once you get to play with Apple Snails a while, you appreciate
that they're really nice animals. The baby snails, by the way, if you don't keep
them make good food for predatory fish like puffers and loaches. In fact a *lot*
of fish eat snails, given the chance. So get rid of the babies isn't usually a
problem. You can also eat Apple Snails, I'm told. They aren't big here in
England (we prefer sea snails of various types, with generally much filthier
habits, like whelks) but in their native countries Apple Snails are considered
fine fare. So that's another option! You're right about bowls. People buy them
thinking they're cheaper and easier, and then find out they're nothing but a
hassle as well as a death-trap. The reality is with fishkeeping that the bigger
the tank and the better the filter, the easier the hobby becomes. I've certainly
had far less problems with 200 gallon tanks than 10 gallon tanks. It's a
question of scale, I suppose. Anyway, good luck with it all! Cheers, Neale>
Apple snail odd behavior 5/10/07
I have two apple snails in a 28 gallon bow front tank. There are other
residents there also but, the snails are troubling me with the
behavior I am seeing. One is slightly larger than the other both
are blonde in color. The larger of the two seems to be quite
active moving all over the tank very quickly. The smaller one
seems very shy and will come out after it has been laying still
for a long time. If any of the fish brush against the smaller
snail it will close up and lay still for a very long time. Well,
the question I have is about the larger snail seeming to
"attack" the smaller one. The larger snail seems to come almost
completely out of its shell, wrapping itself around the others
shell covering it up almost all the way holding on very tight.
When I see this happening I separate the two but the larger one
will hang on for a moment before I can coax it loose. Is the
larger of the two trying to hurt the smaller one?
<Mmm, no... is trying to mate with it>
I have even went as far as moving the small one to another tank
where it seems to come out and move around quite a bit more and
seems less shy when I have taken it out of the tank with the
larger one. My husband and I have gotten on several websites
trying to sex the two and find out why this hanging on to each
other type behavior is happening. I don't want any of the
animals I have in my tank to get hurt especially by another
resident of the tank as there is no where for the aggressor to
get away from the aggressor except to hide and seem unhappy. I
have had these types of snails in the past and have never
experienced this type of behavior. Could the larger snail being
trying to hurt the smaller one? Is there a mating dance going
Is there an easier way to tell which sex they are?
<Not as far as I'm aware>
I feel I am not doing these two justice by not knowing what to
do for them to make it comfortable for them to co-exist. I would
appreciate any help you can offer to figure this out.
<Best to keep them separated>
I currently have three tanks going and am just a novice at the
fish game. I have the 28 gallon, a 29 gallon with a very
territorial/aggressive African cichlid who lives alone after
killing his mate.
<Do not put snail/s here>
The 10 gallon has a king's crown Betta, a couple of small
mollies and two small Rasbora (spell?) and one very young female
rainbow angel ram. The African cichlid has only allowed a Pleco
to live in his tank without trying to kill it. I really want my
fish to live in a happy environment as well as my two little
snails. Thanks for listening, my husband just called me a motor
mouth so I will end this now. Any suggestions you can make for
my snail issue would be greatly appreciated!!
My apple snail has broken her shell 1/19/07
<And to you>
I have a big apple snail in an open-style paludarium. She went
mountain-climbing last night, and I woke after hearing her land on the kitchen
floor (I've been burgled recently so I'm a bit sensitive to noises in the
She's damaged the back part of her shell. I put her back in the tank and she
has moved around since then, not much but she is definitely still alive.
She's quite big now, probably about 5cms in diameter. I was wondering if maybe
there was something I could glue onto her shell that would seal it up, but at
the same time, wouldn't hurt her. A little bit of her body is sticking out the
<Yes... I would dry the outside of the shell off a bit, and apply a thin sheen
of "super glue" (cyanoacrylate) about the cracked area... even on to the bit of
Do you have any suggestions?
Thanking you in advance!
<Am hopeful for a complete recovery. Bob Fenner>
Apple Snail Question 7/23/06
Hello WWM Crew,
I finally have a question I can't find the answer for. I've read through
the snail FAQs and the article on freshwater snails. A lot of them talk
about the snail being possibly dead, but not why they were dying, or were
dead (I could have missed one on that topic though, sorry if I have). I've
had my ten gallon set up now for about, seven months or so, and I haven't
lost any fish.
However, it seems to be a death trap for apple snails! I'm so confused. At
first I started off with one snail, and I really enjoyed him. Then my friend
gave me a large snail she had found in a local fish store as a present. I
acclimated him, and everything seemed to go well. Then the larger snail
stopped moving, and I didn't think too much of it until he hadn't moved a
day later either. My fish were gasping, pale, and obviously very stressed.
So, I did the "snail test," picked him up and took a sniff. What a
<Ah yes... have this chemical memory... Yeccch!>
I removed the snail, checked the water parameters, and changed water until
ammonia was back to 0. About a week or two later, my smaller snail followed
the same route. I ended up missing my "cleanup" crew and got myself two more
snails. I had them for
around... three, possibly four months. They grew somewhat, though not as
quickly as my other two snails I have in a 20 gallon and 5 gallon, which
nearly doubled in size within a month. These big ones are now the only two
snails I have left, my newer two died Wednesday, and Friday of this week.
The first one I think died because of a cracked shell, when I bought him he
had a slight chip at
the entrance to his shell and I figured it'd heal over and he'd be fine. The
crack instead grew with him, though for the longest time it had white/cream
shell over it instead of his brown. The white disappeared and you could see
through to his foot. I was gone all day and came home to another disaster.
Fish gasping, stressed out, and pale... and I just knew one of the snails
removed the snail and changed the water until Ammonia was 0 again. Then I
noticed my other snail start floating around at the top a lot, I've read
elsewhere on the Internet this is normal behavior. Though when my other
snails did this, they were always inside their shells, not hanging out of
the shell like this one (which I read in your FAQs can be a bad sign).
I had a negative feeling, but didn't remove him... unfortunately, which I
will remember for next time. Came
home, fish were stressed out, again! Just fantastic! Followed the same
procedure, and the fish have fully colored up again, and swim normally. Now
I'm snail-less in my ten gallon tank, and really don't want to get any more
until I figure out what is causing my ten gallon to be a serial snail
killer. I'm considering the swing in Ammonia and Nitrates might have ailed
the second snail in the tank, but since I lowered both with water changes,
and I didn't lose any fish, I'm not sure. Though, what would have killed the
first two snails I had in
<Mmm... the most common causes of Ampullaria/Pomacea spp. death are
"poisoning" from too much, too soon addition of metals, sanitizers (and
chemicals added to neutralize these by well-meaning aquarists)... second to
this source is the absence of readily assimilable biomineral and alkaline
content... water mostly that is deficient in calcium and bicarbonate...
third is likely a dearth of palatable foods. Oh, and a huge source of
loss... likely as large as all others combined, is the poor initial health
of these snails from dealers... most are doomed from pollution, starvation,
I have (and always had after the cycle) a water change schedule,
approximately 25% once a week, vacuuming the gravel at the same time. I feed
my fish and the snails, regular tropical flakes, goldfish flakes,
freeze-dried blood worms, broccoli, algae wafers, and Spirulina discs (of
course not everything in one day). I don't believe they were starved because
they didn't have
a "shrinking/shriveled" foot which I read can signal they aren't getting any
food. My ammonia is 0, nitrites 0, nitrates are kept in the 5-10 range, and
the pH is currently unknown (getting the kit from a friend soon, I'm out of
money sadly and figured the other test kits were most important since you
can acclimate inverts/fish to pH if it's kept stable). I've never had to
treat with any medicines, and the only thing I add to my water is a
de-Chlor, though I'm not sure I have to (I'm on well-water). The temperature
is kept at 76-78 degrees
Fahrenheit. I have Neon Tetras, Corydoras, and Pygmy Gouramis (Trichopsis
<Good "test" fishes... if these are doing well, so should Pomacea>
didn't know if a fish list would help any, but figured I'd give as much
information as possible. Is it possible the snails were just old, despite
the small (approx. an 1in.-1 1/2in.) size?
Is the temperature too high and increasing their metabolism, and lessening
their life span?
Or maybe I don't have enough minerals in my water, but I think that'd affect
my other two snails too?
<Can become "habituated"...>
Any help is much appreciated! Sorry for all the parenthesis, and long email,
but usually you want all that can be provided, so I did try to help with
Thanks a bunch!
<Thank you for writing so well, completely. I would try these Apple Snails
again, but keep them for a few weeks in "one gallon pickle jars" with old
tank water, some floating plant material, and no new water, or chemical
treatment whatsoever... With such conditioning and "rest" they should be
able to make the transition into your main system. Bob Fenner>
Apple missing trap door 6/10/06
Good evening. I have had a purple apple snail for about 6 months. When I
first received him from a friend I was also given a Ramshorn. Both snails
were about a quarter of an inch across. The Ramshorn grew more quickly than
the apple and in only a month was quite a bit bigger.
One morning I found the Ramshorn attached to the apple where the door
normally is. Apparently the Ramshorn had eaten off the door on the apple's
<Sounds/reads like a lack of alkalinity, biomineral here... the one snail
consuming the other for this>
That was 5 months ago. The two were immediately separated after the
incident and while the apple is still living, active and growing it still
has not regrown it's door. I have been keeping it with a ghost shrimp in a
fish bowl and wanted to wait until it was better to introduce it into my
main tank. Will it ever regrow it's door?
Will the loss of the door eventually kill it even if I keep it by
itself? Thanks in advance for any help you can offer.
<One can only hope. Please read:
and the linked files above, particularly "Snail Systems", "Nutrition". Bob
Apple Snail's Had A Fall! 6/11/06
I really hope you can help me.... While cleaning my 60ltr aquarium we took
our Apple Snails out of the tank and while holding one of the Snails my wife
dropped her about 3 and a half feet onto a laminated floor.
This fall caused some damage to her shell (Some parts of the front of the shell
have broken off) we have removed the really sharp parts of the damaged shell but
that is not our main concern. At the moment she is sitting in the tank with her
shell partly open with white mucus seeping out, is this a sign that she stressed
or is she dying as we don't want to prolong her pain? Could you please advise us
as to the best course of action as soon as possible please.
From two very worried snail owners
<Mmm, one can never tell, but these Pomacea snails are quite tough... I do hope
yours recovers... I would do my best to keep this system stable (not make too
large water changes for instance). Bob Fenner>
Apple snail feeding 1/17/06
Thanks for the advice on Platy's repro.
I have a question about apple snails. I have an adorable apple snail (speedy)
who lives in my 60 liter tank. I had to buy this tank last week
because my 30 liter tank started leaking and I don't know how to fix tanks yet.
<Not hard to do...>
There is no algae in the tank, and I already have a Siamese algae eater (who is
always eating - except at night) will there be enough food in
the tank for both of them?
<Maybe... but I'd watch the S/CAE for possible over-aggressive behavior>
I find it difficult to add vegetables for speedy, but an concerned about
starving the little guy.
<There are useful sinking wafer and pellet foods that are "green" based here>
Tienie de Coning
(Jeffrey's Bay, South Africa)
<Do a search on WWM re these two species. Bob Fenner>
Plant sticks / golden apple snails / feeding... Synodontis comp., fdg.
I think before I purchased three golden apple snails my plants were looking
a little eaten / worn - some more than others. All I currently have is two
Synodontis nigriventris which I feed every other day with one to two pinches
of flakes (morning and evening for example).
<This small African Catfish species can make plants ragged... chew small
holes. Generally at night>
To add variety I include frozen bloodworm / peas and greens. I think that I
am feeding them enough, better to give too little than too much?
<Hard to so... Mochokid catfishes are so active that they seem to "swim off"
any excess food>
I have three plant sticks embedded in the sand - should I stick one
underneath each plant, if that's the case then I had better use the others
as I have around eleven plants in my 18.6 gallon.
<Mmm, worth trying... though it may be that you have "too many foxes, too
few hens"... that the catfish will still be too much for the volume of plant
I expect the snails will accelerate the plant munching though one of the
reasons I chose them was because I was informed that they weren't a major
problem in this respect.
<Mmm, generally not... though Pomacea/Ampullaria species are
Please advise me.
Many thanks team.
<Best to keep your eyes on all, consider moving the Synodontis. Bob Fenner>
Apple Snail Mystery 2/13/06
I was reading some of the messages on your forum hoping to find some
information about my problem with an apple snail I have had since early January
2006. He is about 2 1/2 inches in diameter and has taken to giving off
tremendous amounts of slime and mucus. He seems to be otherwise okay. I have
separated him from the aquarium (10 gallon) in a bowl by himself. He doesn't
seem to be very active and doesn't appear to eat much. He is not dead because
he does come out and move around some, but not like the other smaller apple
snail I have. Any ideas what the mucus production is about?
Mike (new aquarium owner)
<Could well be "something" chemically about the system is bothering this
snail... too high pH, alkalinity, salts... metal... These animals are in many
ways more sensitive than fishes to such challenges, changes. Best to treat,
store new water before using, and to be very regular re water changes (not add
water simply to replace evaporated). Bob Fenner>
Hi there, <Hi, Catherine here.>
I need some help. We have a 29 gallon tank. Two weeks ago we put in an apple
snail, cute little guy, well I shouldn't say little he's about 2 1/4". He
seemed to be doing very well, moving around lots, cleaning up. Then about two
days ago he started bobbing on the top of the water, for days straight. He also
seems to be changing the color of his shell. We are very concerned about him
and wondered if you could tell us if this is normal behavior? <No, this isn't
normal behavior. If the snail has detached, he is probably dead. If you are
unsure, I would move him to a small tank (even a jar filled with tank water) as
a precaution. If he is dead, he'll quickly pollute the tank. Unfortunately,
there is very little information on treating snail illness. If your tank has
ever had a copper based medication, this could kill him. He also might have
been stressed by the move to the new tank. Give him a veggie or two (peas,
squash) to eat in the new tank and cross your fingers.
Thank you, Beverly Ventimiglia <Sorry I didn't have better news. Catherine>
Dead Snail 7/4/05
Hi my name is SuzAnn and I have two apple snails blonde in color. Anyway one has
been floating for three or four days way out of it's shell and teenie weenie
bubbles are forming around the front of the snail . The bubbles are in some form
of thin slime. Is this snail dying?
< Unfortunately your snail has passed away and needs to removed quickly so its
decomposing body doesn't add to the ammonia and nitrate problem.-Chuck>
Snail Questions - 06/19/2004
<Hello. My apologies for any lateness in reply....>
I have a pretty large happy seeming apple snail, not P. bridgesii but one of the
canaliculata group (plant eaters as opposed to decaying matter eaters.... she
ate a little rotunda plant almost to death before I moved it to the other tank,
and nearly killed my wisteria as well :/ but now she has plastic plants).
<Heh, learnin' the hard way! At least the snail enjoyed the snacks, I'm
sure. And after you replant, you can give the snail cuttings from the planted
tank when you prune. Yum!>
She's currently living in a 10 gallon tank with varying numbers of her offspring
and 3 zebra Danios. (The Danios must eat the eggs & young snails as my tank has
not been overrun, but I have seen eggs and baby snails at various times and even
a few as big as peas)
<Mmmm, peas.... Whups, wrong topic, sorry! It would not surprise me that the
Danios might dine on the eggs of these snails.>
This tank was originally home to a Betta,
<Ah, now *he* would dine on very small snails, too. Another boon to your
snails' population control.>
5 Danios, 3 scissortail rasboras, and a Cory. (The Cory and the rasboras have
been moved to the bigger tank that has also, 6 harlequins and an Oto).
<Corys will eat smaller snails, as well. Well, not in a separate tank, but if
you get overrun, you could consider reintroducing the Cory.>
Two of the Danios and the Betta sadly succumbed to hex, which I treated for
multiple times but could not seem to cure in such small fish :(
<So sad to hear that. My apologies for your loss.>
I have two questions about this snail (Jaws is her name... it seemed
<HAH! Appropriate, indeed! I love it.>
How do I know if she is eating enough? I feed the Danios every day or two,
sometimes three, and about every other time I feed the Danios I throw in an
algae pellet or two. (oh yea, the snail when we got her was about as big around
as a quarter, and now is more like a golf ball - she's almost completely grown a
new round on her shell since Jan/Feb when we got her!).
<Sounds like she's eating plenty. If you have any concerns, you might get her
some elodea/anacharis/Egeria and let her munch at leisure, and just replace
these inexpensive plants as they are devoured - many folks use this plant as an
excellent food source for goldfish; it would taste quite good to Jaws, I'm
Her newest shell growth seems pretty thick and is a very nice rich golden color,
<A wonderful sign.>
although when my brother fed her an algae pellet every day for a couple weeks
she grew a quarter of an inch of pretty thin looking shell :/ that was shortly
after we got her though.
<As you seem to be well aware, it might be best not to use that feeding scheme
;) Sounds like she's doing great now, though, eh?>
My other question, which I didn't even think about until I was browsing your
forums... Should I be concerned if she is getting some flaking on the middle few
rounds of her shell?
<I would be concerned, yes.>
She was completely algae covered when we got her (the new shell has been growing
in a beautiful gold color and the algae hasn't spread)
and now about a pea sized area of her center spirals on the outside is flaking
to a creamy white.
<Possibly a lack of calcium, perhaps even iodine.... the few large-ish snails
in my shrimp tanks have very obviously benefited from adding Kent Tech Marine
iodine, at a rate of one drop per ten gallons each week (*not* the normal marine
Also how do I test water hardness, and other nutrient levels necessary for the
<You can test total hardness (GH) and carbonate hardness (KH) with test kits
available from most fish stores, or can purchase the kits online from online
e-fish stores, like some of our sponsors. Be sure to get kits for freshwater
I don't really have any money to spend on them now sadly (and the next cash I
get has to go toward plant food for the bigger tank as half the plants are
falling apart and dying)
<Yikes! You might benefit from reading through our plant sub-web: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PlantedTksSubWebIndex/AquariumGardenSubWebIndex.html
but when I do have the cash I would like to be able to take care of all my
<A good plan, for sure. Your snail can probably wait for you to get test kits,
I imagine her problem is not imminently life-threatening. I would, however, try
the Kent iodine for sure.>
Our town water is usually pretty hard though (leaves hard water stains on all
the faucets, etc). That's a good thing for snails right?
<You bet. Hard water stains usually indicate high-ish levels of calcium and
other minerals in the water - certainly good news for Jaws.>
Thanks for any help you guys can give. :)
<Any time, Anna. Please feel free to let us know if we can help you
further. Wishing you and your inverts well, -Sabrina>
Anna R. Dunster
Snail Question (Continued)
<Hi, MikeD here again>
Thank you for the information. We will look into your suggestions about either a
larger container or a smaller snail.<I assume the last one had indeed passed
on? They make small 2 gallon Aquariums, complete with a light, filter and
pretty much most of what's needed. While this may seem like overkill, it's often
the beginning of a life long hobby. I got my first tank when I was seven, fifty
years ago. **grin**>
We were feeding it the small disks/wafers (that look like a button) as per the
instructions, which were every other day. Is that the norm or should we look
into other food??<That's one of the things snails will eat, assuming it was an
algae wafer. They also eat many marine plants, the green algae that grows on the
glass and some even lettuce>
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>
Hi all!!! Hope everything is going okay for you tonight!!!
<So far so good, I'm about to get off work and go pickup my car from the body
shop. WOOO HOOOO.>
I have a quick question for you. I guess I'm among the minority who actually
like snails because I can find no info on them other than how to kill them:(
<You should meet my girlfriend, best form of snail control ever, she would hand
pick them out of my plant tank every day and keep them as pets.>
I recently bought three nice big apple snails to help control an algae problem
in my 120 gal cichlid tank.
They've done a beautiful job cleaning up the tank and also love to crawl along
the surface and suck down cichlid pellets and Spirulina disks. They are just so
neat to watch!!! I'll never be without one or two again!!!
My question is this....One of my snails laid eggs on the inside of one of the
aquarium lids about a week ago. The bright pink eggs are in two clusters and
they are very hard and dried out. I was wondering, are these eggs going to
hatch??? Or are they dead because they're dried out??
<Its possible, apple snails like to lay their eggs out of the water.>
My 3yr old and 5yr old peek in there every day and keep asking me when they're
going to hatch. But I'm sure with your help,
I will be able to answer their question shortly.
Thank you for your time,
<Well Kristen (whoa my girlfriends name is Kristine, maybe those whose names
begin with K have a thing for snails, weird.) have I got a link for you, just
found it when searching for apple snails, should answer most of your questions.
Best Regards, Gage
Apple snail question
is it normal for a fairly large apple snail to spend most of her time in a
corner inside her shell? She comes out when I drop bits of zucchini in for her
to eat but spends almost all of the rest of her time inside her shell in the
back of the tank.
I guess I just want to know if this is something I should be concerned about, or
if its perfectly normal behavior and I should just let her do her thing.
< Snails usually come out to forage for food. If you are feeding the snail well
then there is really no need for your snail to be out and about. To be sure try
not feeing the snail for awhile and see if it comes out looking for food. I
think the only problem is your snail is fat and happy ( and lazy)-Chuck>
Apple snails and salt
Hi! Oh please don't laugh at this question, but I really haven't been able
to find a conclusive answer to it:
Can Apple Snails survive in a tank with salt? I have a fancy goldfish tank with
a weather loach (yup, they all get along at 75 F) in a 60 gallon tank. Every
time I do a water change I add salt at a concentration of 1 rounded tablespoon
per 4 gallons. I use Aquarium Salt. Sill the salt harm my apple snail? Thanks!
<These and most all other freshwater snails do NOT care for salt in their water,
but there IS some salt (in chemistry, ionic combinations of metals and
non-metals) in all freshwaters... the amount you list should be okay. Bob