FAQs on Snails in Freshwater Aquarium Mystery, Inca/Gold
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: Apple/Baseball Snails,
Golden and Black Mystery Snails in my Little Brother's Tank.
Hi! My name is Alex. My little brother got a fish tank awhile ago and
absolutely adores the two pet freshwater snails that accompany the fish.
It is a freshwater tank. Recently, the black mystery snail got
on top of the gold mystery snail and they floated around together.
During this, a weird sort of pink substance came out of I don't know
where from the snails with little bubbles on it.
<Egg case. Looks like a big pink raspberry. Needs to be laid above the
waterline, otherwise the eggs will drown and no baby snails will
I figured it was mating or something like that and simply encouraged him
not to gawk.
<On the contrary, observing animals mating is one of the best ways to
develop an interest in zoology. Mating behaviours are often very
complex, even bizarre, and invariably adapted to the particular
conditions where an animal lives. Apple Snails are males or females
(unusual for snails, where most are hermaphrodites) and perform internal
fertilisation. Their egg cases are extremely odd, being calcareous (to
protect from predators, presumably) and each baby snail is rather large,
but the egg case needs to be place somewhere dry but above the water. At
hatching, the baby snail must be able to drop down into the water or it
will die. It's very odd for a water animal to lay eggs on land, but in
this case makes sense, because Apple Snails live in swamps where oxygen
levels are low. The adults breathe air from time to time, but the eggs
couldn't do that if they were laid underwater, so putting the egg case
above the waterline solves that problem. It does of course mean the
aquatic Apple Snail adult must, for a short period at least, come onto
land where it is much less mobile and liable to dry out if it doesn't
hurry up. Isn't evolution amazing!>
But ever since, the black mystery snail has been completely fine and
active, but the gold one is just floating on the surface, not doing
anything. I read other articles on your page and checked everything. The
tank is fine, there are no bubbles in the shell (that I could find), and
the snail is definitely still alive since when I poked it's door, it
slid into itself. But it still floats, half-exposed, on the water's
surface, not clinging to anything. I'm not sure if it's pregnant, or
whether it's sick, but my little brother loves it so much and I want to
make sure that it's okay. Thanks for your time! Please help if you can.
<Apple Snails are a bit hit-and-miss in aquaria. Do check the heater is
set to the right water temperature for a start (not too cold, not too
hot, 22-24 C/72-75 F). Do also check water chemistry (should be
relatively hard and alkaline, and definitely not acidic). Apple Snails
often get pestered by fish, so check the tankmates aren't nipping at its
tentacles. Apple Snails are best kept away from fish to be honest. Even
something as small as a 5-gallon aquarium will provide a fine home for a
small group of Apple Snails. Do review diet; floating a leaf of lettuce
on the surface is a good addition to whatever else you're offering
(algae wafers for catfish are an ideal staple). But when all is said and
done, most Apple Snails live for about a year in aquaria, and only a few
make it into their second or third years. The problem seems to be lack
of a "resting phase" they experience in the wild. So if you're providing
all the right conditions but one of your snails doesn't make it, don't
be altogether surprised. AppleSnail.net is a great website for more
details on their specific needs, but do also have a read of the *many*
messages we get about Apple Snails, here:
They simply aren't that easy to keep for their full lifespan without
tailoring the tank to their very specific needs.>
<Most welcome, Neale.>
My mystery snail mysteriously gets out, despite weighted
down lid! 2/5/14
Until a week ago, our gorgeous snail was living happily with just one
Swordtail (it's only a 9l Klar tank),
<Swordtails need much more room than this>
but has now escaped twice, despite a solid lid to which we even added
additional weight. (Both times she has then fallen more than a meter
(3ft) to the floor!) I thought perhaps she was escaping too-acidic
water, but all seems fine with the water. She has been napping a bit
more than usual (before each time resuming fifth gear) so I'm thinking
that she wants to hibernate (mid summer here).
-Can I provide a 'bed' in the water first and see if she is interested
in that before I do anything radical like remove her from the tank?
(There is no real room between the water and the lid.)
<Can you just lower the water level an inch or so? This is what I'd do>
-Will she then just go to sleep even if she doesn't want too?
-Is the quality of coconut husk from a plant nursery suitable?
-Am concerned that with our hot weather, husk will dry out rapidly -
-Will she wake up herself or must I wake her?
<I would simply leave this snail in-place; but do look into more
suitable livestock for this tiny volume. To wit, please read here:
Plus the Mystery Snail mat.s on WWM
Snail beh., where's Neale?
Hello good people at Wet Web Media. I have a question about my snails. I
have two golden snails in my 10 gallon tank along with
one (remaining) zebra danio. It’s an established tank and all
inhabitants were fine until a week ago. Tank is heated/filtered and I
have a naturally high pH due to our area’s water so this should be a
bonus for the snails. Anyway, I have had the snails for about a month
now and they were going along their business just fine until I caught
one of them floating last week.
<... are these Ampullaria species? Mystery snails? See WWM re... these
do have troubles>
Fearing death, I poked it and it released air bubbles
<Oh, could be a very bad sign... and stinky if it dies; or maybe...>
and sank to the bottom. Having done research, I realized it was still
alive and probably had air trapped in its shell. It eventually continued
on its way and seemed to act fine. The problem is that this seems to be
a recurring thing on a daily basis now.
I’ll come in, see it floating and try to get it to release bubbles, upon
which is sinks to the gravel and after a while it comes out and moves
about. It even ate a piece of cucumber I had in there quite voraciously
signaling that it was not on the verge of dying (?).
<Am not so sure>
The problem is it
will go to the surface, hang around on the glass and then eventually I
see it’s floating again. I have read that sometimes snails try to float
to move along the water stream and get to a place that is more
comfortable for them and wonder if that is what it is indeed doing?
<Perhaps looking for a spot to reproduce. I'd lower your water level
down an inch or so; or put in a small square of Styrofoam sheet>
The other snail does not
seem to be bothered though by the water quality or anything as it always
goes happily along its way. Is this a cause for concern, or is this just
an ornery snail? Is there anything I can try or do for it? Thanks so
much for taking the time to read this, and for any advice you may have.
<Here's hoping your snail is fine. Bob Fenner>
Re: Snails, lament for Neale
Thanks Bob, so much for the quick response. The snails were bought at
PetSmart and my Google search shows that they look like both apple
snails and mystery snails.
<Ah yes... same genus, sometimes the common names are used
I will read through the articles you referred
to. In the meantime, you are right in that it may be trying to lay eggs.
A couple of weeks ago, I noticed the one snail on top of the other for a
while and wondered if they were mating. I have a half moon 10 gallon and
the water level is normally 2-1/2" from the top. Is that enough or do I
have to lower the level further?
<Ah no; you're fine>
I hope too that the snail will be fine.
At first, this one was the more active of the two. Oh, and you mentioned
releasing bubbles could be a very bad sign. Why is this?
<Could be indication of decomposition>
All the info
I've found online seems to suggest releasing bubbles is a good sign that
the snail is not deceased and that is able to release the trapped air in
its shell. Thanks for your answer! Sylvia
Rapidly maturing snails 1/28/13
Hi. About two months ago, on a whim my friend (who works at a pet
store) convinced me to buy a blue "mystery" snail for my Betta's
tank. I'm really mad I did that.
<I bet. Not a huge fan of adding "critters" to Betta systems, and
Apple/Mystery Snails aren't good companions for fish anyway.>
I'm always really careful with what I put in my Betta's tank and I can't
believe I didn't look more into snails before I got one. My friend
told me that the snail would just eat whatever George (my Betta) would
leave behind. A few days after I had the snail it occurred to me
that that was probably not the case. After some research I found
out my snail was most likely a Pomacea diffusa (or at least I thought,
now I'm not so sure) so I started leaving bits of spinach and zucchini
for it to eat in the tank.
About a month into it the snail had babies and I freaked out. The
babies had started eating George's plants and anyway a Betta, a snail,
and a bunch of baby snails were waaay too much for George's 2 and 1/2
gallon tank. I took all of the snails out, gave George new rocks,
changed his filter, cleaned his plants, etc. His tank has been
snail free since then. I put the mama snail and the four baby
snails I had found into the cup I usually put George in when I'm
cleaning his tank. It was supposed to be a temporary fix until I
could find them a larger tank, but unfortunately they were in there a
little longer than they should have (about four days). I had been
changing the water everyday, but I guess that just wasn't enough because
the mama snail died. It was really awful.
<Unfortunately this happens all too often. Apple Snails aren't as easy
to keep as many suppose. Do see the excellent AppleSnail.net website for
I got the baby snails a 1/2 gallon tank. Everyday I change the
water alternating between changing a 1/3 of the water and changing the
whole thing. I give them a new leaf to eat every other day when I
do the full water change. This has been going on for a month and I
need to find a more long term solution because I've been becoming a
little lax with it and I hadn't done a full water change in about three
days and I found two new baby snails (which I threw away because
honestly I'm not having more snails, I felt bad but enough is enough).
From everything I read the snails shouldn't have been sexually matured
for at least a few months.
Also, I didn't find any sort of eggs. My plan was to eventually
give most of them to a friend once they were bigger, but they're not
really bigger yet. Help! Should I just give them to my friends
now? If I'm a little more vigilant with my cleaning can I keep the
snail population down until the snails are a little bigger? Could
they be pond snails and that's why I haven't seen any eggs (except their
mom was white and blue which I didn't think pond snails came in that
<Could easily be. Apple Snails lay very distinctive egg clusters ABOVE
the waterline. About the size, shape and colour of large raspberries, so
hard to miss! Apple Snails have to be in pairs to breed because they're
either boys or girls, unlike some snails which can produce offspring all
by themselves (e.g., the Malayan Turret Snail). Squishing unwanted Apple
Snails should be easy enough to do, or failing that, just remove the egg
cases as you see them. It's not hard to rehome true Apple Snail
offspring because pet stores can sell them on easily. On the other hand,
pond snails like Physella spp. can breed quite quickly, and it's
possible for these more pest-like snails to get into tanks via aquatic
plants or on the shells of Apple Snails.>
Mystery Snail Aggression (not mating)
My son has a small 3.5 gallon tank with two Mystery Snails that I
purchased a couple of months ago. A small black one and a larger yellow
one. The black one was much more active than the yellow and I witnessed
the black one "mount" the larger yellow one. This led to a web search in
which I concluded they were mating and dropped the water level down 2"
for it to lay eggs and lights out at night. Anticipating this I began to
monitor the tank. A couple of weeks went by and nothing had happened.
Now the larger yellow snail (the 'mountee") has grown rapidly, seems
almost constantly active, and is mounting the smaller black snail. Still
no eggs and I am totally confused as to what the sex of either of them
is. Aside from that confusion the black snail is now very sluggish and
every time I see it go up to the side of the tank and almost reach the
top to get air the yellow one races up ahead of it and gets on top of it
knocking it off the glass and down to the bottom. it seems to be totally
different behavior from mating. One the yellow one knocks it down it
goes on it's merry way. That is until the black one gets almost to the
top again for air. I am afraid it is going to drown the other snail. I
blocked it with the net a moment ago so the black one could get air but
time after time it does the exact same thing. I need your insight as I
have not been able to find the answer on my own. Can you diagnose a
snail as a psychopath? Thanks, DeAnna
<It's just a dumb, clumsy snail. Don't worry about it too much! Snails
often clamber over one another, and while this may knock the smaller one
off the glass, no harm is done. Cheers, Neale.>
Frog and Betta Fish 9/21/12
Can African Dwarf Frogs be placed with Betta fish?
<Sure. This is for your pond,right? Be careful the frog can't get out.
Snail and Betta Fish
Can mystery snails be placed with Betta fish?
<Sure. - Rick>
Frog and Betta Fish 9/21/12
I will be keeping the frog in an indoor aquarium.
It has a sensitivity to temperature changes and intolerance to 80 degree
Would a sponge filter work in an aquarium containing both a Betta fish
and an African Dwarf frog?
<A sponge filter would work well in this situation. - Rick>
A Question... Sm. FW... uncycled? 9/12/12
I tried to find answers via Google but I suspect that I am not having any
luck because my situation is hard to describe. My roommate and I, who
are completely new to fish, bought a 2.5 gallon tank to house two
Glofish and two mystery snails. The tank has been running for almost two
weeks and I have put in some sort of bacteria solution
that was recommended to me, as well as a chlorine and chloramine
<... is this system cycled?>
The snails are acting peculiar. I am aware that snails sometimes
<Uh, no; not when they're healthy>
and this is normal behavior, but both of our snails also each have a
strange thin membrane pushing out from their shells. The membranes look
like they are pushing out the "foot" of the snail. I have been told that
dead snails lose their "foot" so I am fairly certain that my snails are
not dead, however I am concerned about their well-being and if there is
anything I can do to help them, I would like to know. I have included a
picture of one of our snails for your reference because it is very hard
me to describe.
Thank you for your time, Michelle
<Please read here:
and soon... Bob Fenner>
HELP!! WORRIED 8/2/12
I just got two dwarf gourami and i already had a black mysterious snail
<Do you mean a Mystery Snail, Pomacea spp.?>
and i bought another i read a online that the dwarfs might eat my snails
i was hoping you might shed some light on this i really want my snails
so if they will eat them i have to return the fish before they do damage
<Fish and Mystery/Apple Snails don't mix well. What
usually happens is the fish nips at the snail's antennae, and before
long the snail gets damaged, then infected, and then it dies. Best keep
Mystery/Apple snails is their own aquarium.
Re: HELP!! WORRIED 8/2/12
yes a black mystery snail they are both quite large half grown already
<Well there you go. Read my response, and act accordingly. Cheers,
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.>
Do snails drown? Are they cannibalistic?
My son (ok, it's mine, but it's in his room) has a 5 gallon tank with a
mystery snail, another snail (she's orange-ish in color, not
sure what kind) and 2 goldfish.
<Yikes… that's WAY too many Goldfish for a mere 5 gallons… even 20
gallons is far from ideal.>
The mystery snail, named Sir Snails A Lot (SSAL for short), kept turning
upside down over the past few days. I kept flipping SSAL back over
because I had heard that they can drown if they stay upside down for a
length of time.
<Correct. Apple/Mystery Snails, Pomacea spp., are air breathers,
and if for one reason or another they can't extend their siphons (their
"snorkels") above the waterline, they will indeed drown.>
Last night, I caught the other snail, Snailzy, on top of SSAL, attached
to him - it really looked like she was pulling him out of his shell.
This morning, SSAL was completely out of his shell - body in one place,
shell in another, and now Snailzy was upside down. What the heck is
going on? I removed SSAL's carcass from the tank...Do you think SSAL was
already dead and Snailzy was cleaning him up, or was she being a
Is there any truth to them drowning is they stay upside down?
<Anything or any behaviour that prevents breathing will cause them to
Thanks for your help,
Re: Do snails drown? Are they cannibalistic?
Wow - thanks for the quick response, Neale.
We were sad to lose SSAL...hopefully I got to Snailzy in time to flip
her over. She's been the most active of the snails we've had. Are 2
snails too many for that size tank?
<No, they're fine.>
It absolutely amazes me that what I consider to be aquatic animals can
<Hmm… dolphins, penguins, seals… all can drown. Many fish can drown too,
like Bettas, because they're obligate air-breathers, fish that evolved
to live breathing air because the water they swim in is oxygen-poor.>
Just as an interesting side note, the box that the aquarium came in
showed about 15 goldfish in the tank...I may not know much about fish,
but even I knew that was too many!!
<Yes, this is very misleading and sadly all too common marketing.>
The fish seem happy...they follow each other around, eat well and poop
regularly and often. :-) I hate to think I'm traumatizing them. What
kind of fish and how many would be appropriate for that size tank?
<Do start reading here:
Five-gallon tanks are tricky because they're so small, but a Betta is a
good bet, or for that matter, a combination of Dwarf Aquatic Frogs and
Cherry Shrimps offers a lively, colourful mix that'd get on fine with
your Apple Snails.>
We based what we bought on a recommendation from one of the big chain
And the links above re: Goldfish systems.>
<Most welcome, Neale.>
mushy mystery snail eggs 3/26/12
I have been searching the internet and reading your FAQ but couldn't find
any answers to my question. I have a mystery snail that is laying
"mushy" eggs. I've had mystery snails before that laid normal
raspberry shaped egg clusters above the water line, but this one is
<Yes; these eggs are soft when first laid, and as you state up next to the
She still lays her eggs above the water line but they are very runny.
She was laying some while I left for work and they fell into the water they
were so soft. The previous ones I've removed are soft like tapioca,
not hard like my other snail's eggs. I am not looking to breed them,
but miss the convenience of having a nice egg cluster to destroy. Is
there a reason her eggs are so runny?
<Perhaps an aspect of nutrition; maybe there's insufficient biomineral
content, alkalinity here>
I assume these eggs are not fertile due to their texture, especially when
they fall in the water. I have recently introduced another
mystery snail in the tank: would this help the egg situation normalize?
<Depends... on the cause... on if it's a male>
<Do measure the chemical make-up of your water... and read here:
Re: My Snail, Mystery, repro.
I did some research and found that it is a
Mystery Snail. I have two of them
actually. The second one I picked up after Sherlock
started acting strange and my step daughter was coming
over, (didn't want her to find her snail dead so I
jumped the gun on replacement). I am
sending a picture of one of three of these pink things
I have found at the bottom of the bowl. They
appeared three days after Sherlock started acting
strange (laying on the back thing), and one day after I
got the new snail. Sherlock seems back to normal
again. Are these eggs?
If so will they likely survive?
<Not underwater. They are laid above the waterline. They
absorb oxygen from the air. Underwater the baby snails
How do I continue to clean out the bowl and not kill
them if they are eggs?
<Not normally a problem if the eggs are outside the
water. Do research Pomacea spp. reproduction, e.g., on
The Beta (male) has snacked on them a little bit, but
they have now fallen into the stones and are protected.
When they first appeared they looked like exactly like
pink intestine, and now they appear to have egg like
shapes within the swirl. They are not white like
the pictures I have seen, but very pink. There is
also a cluster of very small round white things on a
leaf the snail was hanging out on for an extended period
of time. I will enclose a pic of that as well.
Also, I was watching them this morning. Sherlock
was on his back again and a small bubble was coming out
of him. He seemed to be working it out of him by
moving his snail parts (no idea what they technically
are). When it finally released it the bubble
floated to the top, attached to/landed under and stayed,
on a leaf, and it appeared that there was a sack with
very small white balls in it. Are these eggs or is
this how they defecate? There is also a bunch of
little white things, kind of oblong, scattered about the
tank in the rocks. They are not connected, and for
lack of a better explanation, they remind me of the lice
eggs my kids picked up at daycare years ago. What
<Betta, pronounced like "better". Not beta, and doesn't
sound like "beater".>
is a male, so I am assuming they are not from him.
Thank you so much for your help!
<Deb, please do thank us by not sending two 3.5 MB
photos! We do specifically ask for images around the 500
KB mark. Sending 7 MB clogs up about half out e-mail
storage space here, making it much more likely other
folks will have their e-mails bounced back if they've
sent attachments as well. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: My Snail
Sorry about the pics! I am a complete luddite so the size thing is
waaaaay over my head. Thanks for your help! Deb
<Most welcome, Neale.>
dying Mystery snails 10/21/11
I've been reading and enjoying your site, but have been unable to find
anything sufficiently like our problem to avoid writing.
Our tank is 10 gallons and quite new, having been set up 6-7 weeks ago.
We ran it with some live plants for a time, then added two mystery
snails from different stores as the tank was cycling about a week apart.
They appeared very happy in the tank, moving quickly and easily about,
eating the spinach, Swiss chard, bits of organic pear, etc., that we put
in. It also appeared that they were attempting to procreate on a daily
basis. Their active times were mostly at night.
<As is their nature.>
Cuttlefish bone scrapings were added and both snails were growing
healthy, smooth, well-colored new shell at a steady rate.
The tank finished cycling and all parameters are within the normal
ranges. pH is 8.4, hardness 170, tank temp about 25ºC,
<Bit warm for all-around care; for best results, cool slightly down to
18-20 C during the winter. Obviously this is only doable if the
tankmates are other subtropical species like the Apple Snails, but
frankly, Apple Snails do best on their own.>
nitrites & ammonia at 0, nitrates around 20.
The tank looked healthy and stable with several types of plants at this
point and we decided to add fish. The first round was three White Cloud
Mountain fish, on the small side, and very active.
<A subtropical species, and potentially good tankmates. However, they
can sometimes decide to start nipping at the "tentacles" of the poor
Snails, and that makes infections and stress more likely.>
A few days later, we added four more of the same, slightly larger in
this batch. Almost immediately, the snails retreated. They sat stuck to
the side of the tank, partially above the water line (where we had never
seen them previously), or mostly inside their shells at the bottom. They
seemed to head up the tank walls eager to pump air on a more frequent
basis and never regained their previous active state.
<Curious. Apple Snails will gulp more air if overheated. Turn the heater
down to 22 C today, and 20 C in 2-3 days time. That'll let the tank cool
down slowly. The Minnows will be fine; in fact they're happier kept cool
during the winter.>
One stayed mostly at the top of the tank, either stuck to the side
partially out of the water, or floating suspended in the water. The
other was nearly immobile at the bottom of the tank, occasionally
putting up its snorkel, but never climbing the glass again within days
after the fish had arrived. We poked its shell and it withdrew its
partially-extended foot, but otherwise rarely moved at all on the bottom
of the tank. It was seen floating in the last day or so with a small
glob of cloudy white matter, perhaps 1mm x 3mm, extended from under the
shell. That snail was checked a couple of times for smell and was found
today to have a foul odor while floating in the tank and was removed as
The other snail is slightly more active, still moving about a bit but
far far from its former highly-active state when it would cruise about
looking for his mate.
In the last few days, three ghost shrimp were added. They are active and
<Again, you're lucky here: Ghost Shrimps do well/better kept a bit
cooler than tropical.>
I find myself wondering if some sort of disease was brought into the
tank, either with one of the batches of fish, or with one of the plants.
If so, how would we go about treating it?
We have not seen the fish nipping at the snails at all.
Any input you may be able to offer will be gratefully received. We hope
to keep the second snail alive and give him another companion when it
seems safe again.
<Apple Snails don't do as well in aquaria as people think. Tropical
temperatures stress them, among other things. Do consider keeping them
cooler and see if that livens them up. Do also be aware they may
"aestivate" for part of the year, and at the very least, tend to enter a
period of dormancy for a few months. Maintaining Apple Snails for more
than 12 months is doable, but uncommon, and most specimens usually die
long before then. The are few reliable resources of information, but do
visit AppleSnail.net for some good scientific information on their
habitat, needs and care. I believe they have a forum too, which may be a
good place to ask questions.>
Re: dying Mystery snails 10/27/11
Thanks very much for your reply. We followed your advice and have
lowered the temperature in the tank. Unfortunately, the second snail
died and was removed.
<Sorry to hear this. Unfortunately these snails just aren't as easy to
keep as many suppose. If you want a general purpose snail, look for
Tylomelania "elephant snails". There are various species, some up to 12
cm/4 inches in length! They are hardy in well maintained tropical tanks,
undemanding in terms of diet, and breed, albeit slowly, so you have a
self-sufficient population rather than a plague. They don't eat plants
or algae, and instead work as excellent scavengers.>
A day or so later, we noticed that one of the White Cloud Mountain fish
was acting reclusive, hiding under a rock, and was showing very little
Its color was faded, it showed little interest in food, and its tail
tended to hang. We treated it three times over two days by removing it
to 2 liters of water from the tank with 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt
dissolved in it for about 20 minutes. Each time, he perked up
considerably and was more social and eating upon return to the tank. He
died last night.
Just now, I see we have a second fish showing just the same symptoms -
faded color, reclusive, inactive, drooping tail.
We've examined both the fish that died and the current sick fish and see
no signs of infections, such as spots, etc. My wife's one observation of
the dead fish is that its lips appeared to be reddish.
<Which may indicate some either fighting, irritation by something in the
water, or incipient Mouth Fungus (or some other bacterial infection).>
Reading through the FW fish disease page in the site, the behavioral
symptoms sound familiar there, but nothing lines up well enough that I
feel like I've solved the mystery.
We're just not seeing the surface signs of infection.
We've tested the water quality with two different kits, just to be sure.
Nitrates now read under 5, with all the other parameters in range.
<In range of what? I cannot stress too strongly how ammonia and nitrite
need to be zero. Forget ammonia test kits -- they sometimes report false
positives because of Chloramine -- but a nitrite test kit is a MUST,
more so even than ANY other test kit.>
Temp is now about 21C. Oxygenation appears fine, with no fish going to
the surface to breathe and the bubblers working actively.
We added a bit of Java Moss today and an Otocinclus, who is happily
cleaning algae off the rocks in the tank.
<Ah, now, Otocinclus are extremely sensitive fish. They're also
schooling fish. But in any event, if other animals don't last long, this
chap is even less likely to do well. Big picture, he needs 3-4 pals, but
for now, hold off until you have no more fatalities for at least a
Any thoughts you may have on what might be going on would be very much
<No obvious conclusions. Would sit and wait. Let tank settle down. Do
your usual 20-25% water change each weekend. Don't overfeed. Don't add
more livestock. Make sure your water conditioner treats not just
chlorine but also Chloramine, copper and (tap water) ammonia. If you
must, add a very little salt, but don't go bananas, 1 g/litre would be
Black Mystery Snail Eggs Below
Water Line... 9/22/11
Greetings WWM, and thank you for providing such an extensive and
educational information resource, I have found it quite valuable!
I have a 5 gallon freshwater tank with a single Black Moor goldfish and
a single Black Mystery snail. (I had another moor and snail, but sadly
there was a hurricane here recently that caused our power to be out for
6 days, and I lost them despite frequent water changes and treatments)
The water is filtered and planted, but not heated, and the ph is
suitable for the moor.
My Black Mystery snail began laying eggs above the waterline this
morning, but apparently my fish startled her and she fell below the
waterline, where she continued laying eggs. I intend to donate the
babies to my local pet store. Will the eggs that fell in the water be
able to develop?
Thank you for your time and expertise. Regards, Cynthia
<Hello Cynthia. It does occasionally happen that Apple/Mystery snails
don't lay their eggs above the waterline, but when that happens, the
eggs usually don't hatch. Cheers, Neale.>
Indeed; these eggs are unviable/fungused. RMF
Black Mystery Snail Eggs Below Water Line... 9/22/11
Thank you for responding so quickly! Apparently Bob the Moor
interrupted George the snail's egg laying, (I just learned
George is actually a georgette today) she only laid about a
dozen eggs, and from what I've read, apple snails can lay up to
600 eggs? Good grief, I'm going to have to donate to several pet
stores!!! Here is a picture of her laying, you can clearly see
the eggs, maybe this will help future readers. Thank you again
for answering me so quickly!
<The number of eggs varies wildly, and sometimes they'll lay a
few bunches of eggs instead of one big batch. They're fun to
breed, and you shouldn't have problems giving away some of the
offspring. But if you get too many eggs, just squish 'em!
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>
Strange Frog & Snail Behavior
Hello, I have several questions regarding my aquarium and am really
hoping you can help. I currently have an apple snail (I believe it’s a
<Apple Snails aren't compatible with Bettas; they have
much different requirements.>
a crown-tailed beta,
<Total aside, it's pronounced "better", not "beater", from the native
name, "bettah". Now you can show off to your friends!>
and two ADF in my 1 gallon tank.
<This tank is too small. Switch to a tank at least 5 gallons in size,
with a heater and biological filter.>
The bottom is live gravel.
<What do you mean by "live" gravel? By itself gravel doesn't filter the
water. An undergravel filter with a pump that draws water through the
gravel can work, but do you have an undergravel filter? With a filter
plate under the gravel and 2-3 inches of gravel on top?>
I recently added a small dracaena plant and am worried that it will rot
if kept fully submerged underwater since it‘s not a true aquatic plant.
I’ve also seen the snail crawling on it; does it have any chemicals /
toxins that could harm anything in my tank? Should I remove it?
<Yes, and treat like a houseplant.>
I've also noticed one of my two frogs has begun to unwillingly float to
the top, and has a lot of trouble staying down.
<Stressed, sick, maybe dying.>
I don't see any sign of fungus on him, or any bloating / swelling. I
watched him eat at their last feeding and neither frog has any lack of
<Stressed. What's the water quality like? How did you cycle the filter
before adding livestock? Do you measure ammonia or nitrite?>
What do you think this could be, and how could I treat it?
<Poor care and a too-small tank are the problems.>
And along with the frog’s strange new behavior, I’ve noticed the apple
snail acting unusually. He’s always occasionally climbed all the way to
the top to breath, but instead of crawling back down like he usually
does; he’s started un-sticking himself and drifting back down to the
bottom. There’s no discoloration of his shell or body, and there hasn’t
been any change in his diet. Is this dangerous in any way to the snail
or any of the other tank inhabitants?
<Yes, dying snails quickly pollute small aquaria.>
Would it harm my frogs if it were to land on them? Well, thank you for
your time; I’d really appreciate any answers or advice you can give me.
<Lots of work to do. First, buy a bigger tank. Two, install an adequate
filter if you aren't using one. Do also read:
Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Strange Frog & Snail Behavior 8/2/11
Okay, thank you so much for all the information! I read the articles and
they really helped. I'm going to take out the dracaena plant right away
and put it in a vase or something.
<Will need soil, not too damp. Quite easy to grow, and can get very
impressive. Dracaena sanderiana is typical.>
I'll consider giving the snail to my grandmother, whose tank is kept at
a more suitable and stable temperature than my beta tank.
<Confused by this. Bettas need MORE stable temperatures than Apple
The thing about Apple Snails is they need to be kept cool some of the
year, around 18 C/64 F, for maybe three months, and the rest of the time
warmer, 25 C/77 F. Your Betta, by contrast, must be at 25-30 C/77-86 F
all year around.>
And since the frogs need more space, I'll use my birthday money for a
larger tank with the proper heating & filtration they need. Thanks
<Glad to help. Cheers, Neale.>
Is My Mystery Snail Checking
Good afternoon. New snail owner here!
I have a medium sized glass tank on my work desk, no filtration system,
<Unacceptable, and the immediate cause of problems.>
not even sure of the PH and water conditions (temp is probably about 75
degrees) as I just started the tank last week with a Betta <Does need
filtration (0 ammonia, nitrite) and steady water temperature at 25-28
C/77-82 F, which isn't likely unless you live in the tropics, so a
heater is necessary, even somewhere "warm" like California or Southern
Europe. The dry air in offices can also cause problems for Bettas, and
Bettas will of course make suicidal leaps out of uncovered bowls.>
and some plants and the Mystery Snail for eating the algae (along with
the small algae eater pellets I put in for extra food)
At first Applebee McFriday's was zooming around the tank in really good
shape. But now, for the last two days he's been floating at the
waterline, he had large white fluffy mucous thing hanging off him. I
took him out, touched the shell door, he was slow to close but closed it
(not all the way though). I did a water change, and I put him back in
and he attached himself to the glass and made his way to the other side
of the tank within 30 minutes or so. Always at the waterline with the
top of his shell sticking out of the water.
Come back today and he is still waterline floating, I took him out
again, he doesn't smell bad (he smells like dirt). he slowly closed his
shell door but again not all the way. I put him back in and he's been
floating in the middle of the tank now for about 20 minutes.
<Dying; Betta will likely follow suit in due course.>
The Betta just attacked him (which the Betta has never bothered him
before he started floating) and he closed his shell door up all the way.
He won't sink to the bottom though which maybe it's normal, I don't know
it seems odd as he went from the bottom of the tank to the side and now
he's free floating around.
I'm thinking he's dying .. But then I read about hibernation in the
summer and we've had a crazy heat wave since the weekend.
<Hmm, no, you misunderstand. Aestivation, the summer pause when the pond
dries up, is difficult to replicate in aquaria and isn't something
you're likely to see. It's one possible reason why *healthy* Apple
Snails seem to die young; without this rest, they burn out. In any
event, seemingly "resting" or "lazy" snails in aquaria tend to be either
genuinely resting if for just a few hours, or else dying if for days at
So now I'm not so sure. But I don't want to leave him in with the Betta
if he's got something that may kill the fish too.
Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated!
<Do review what Bettas need, here:
5+ gallons, a heater, a filter are all non-negotiable. Healthy Apple
Snails can make viable companions, but not always, and some Bettas,
indeed, many fish, will nip at Apple Snails given the chance. As you'll
read elsewhere at WWM, I do not recommend keeping Apple Snails with any
types of fish.
Your immediate action here will likely be removing dead/dying snail, and
upgrading the aquarium to a viable, humane one rather than some sort of
bowl. Daily water changes of 25-50% with dechlorinated tap water will
keep things safe-ish for a few days, weeks until you can buy, cycle a
real aquarium. Fish are a terrible choice for office pets for reasons
that should become clear after some reading, and I would urge you to
reflect upon this and replace with troll, pet rock, or some other "pet"
that won't place moral, ethical demands upon you. Hope this helps.
Re: Is My Mystery Snail Checking Out? 7/14/11
While I totally understand what you mean about "troll" "pet rock" etc…
I would not have started this had I not known someone who has a
Betta/mystery snail cohabitation in his office in a "bowl" living
happily side by side for over a year now.
<And countless other Bettas kept in bowls die within a year, often a few
weeks. The lifespan of a Betta kept properly is between 2-4 years. If
you aren't keeping your Betta in a heated, filtered aquarium, you aren't
keeping it humanely. You can rationalise all you want, but if your
aquarium is smaller than 5 gallons, isn't heated, and isn't filtered,
it's not a healthy, humane habitat for your Betta. End of story. Please
do look over the Betta disease section of WWM to see how many messages
we get from people keeping Bettas precisely the way you're describing.
If I sound inflexible on this, it's because I'm having to deal with
these situations weekly, and it's heart-breaking. Obviously I volunteer
here because I like animals and want to see people keep their pets
humanely. When people resist that, and insist on keeping their animals
in what any experienced fishkeeper will tell you is the wrong way, then
I feel frustrated and irritated. There's nothing morally wrong about
someone keeping an animal in an inhumane way because they don't know any
better. But once someone knows they're keeping their animal in a way
likely to cause suffering or disease, then things change, and that
person has a choice to make -- ignore those facts and carry on with what
they're doing, knowing the animal has a high probability of being
stressed or dying prematurely, or else to swallow their pride, spend the
money, and buy a habitat with all the accessories needed to keep their
pet animal humanely. Those are the two choices on the table -- your
Thanks for the input!
<Glad to help and have a good weekend. Cheers, Neale.>
Question about my Apple/Mystery snails 6/3/11
Hey I have a question. I bought a apple/Mystery snail from my locate Wal-Mart
and have had him for about a month now , <Are difficult to keep in the long
term; do visit AppleSnail.net. Dead snails pollute the tank VERY quickly,
stressing or killing remaining livestock. Best not kept with fish for a variety
of practical reasons.>
well today I picked up 2 more and brought them home. After about 20 min in the
tank the male snail I have had started to mate with one of the new snails. So my
question to you is , it is now 12:18 at night and he has been matting with her
since 3pm , are they ever going to stop having sex?
Is it OK for them to be doing this for this long?
<Not much you can do about, beyond keeping more females than males!>
I hope to hear back from you soon..Thank you
<Have fun with your snails, Neale.>
snails... Actually Crustaceans? No,
snails... stkg/sel. 4/23/2011
Today I introduced two crustacea to my 10 gallon fresh water
aquarium. I also have 5 Neons, three molly and three platy in the tank.
<Hmm… male Platies can be trouble in 10 gallons; would recommend 15+ if you have
males, though two female Platies might be okay. Do remember both Neons and
Platies prefer cool water, 22-25 C/72-75 F. Don't keep them higher than that!>
I know I am at my limit with fish, but is there a number limit
recommended for crustacea living in a 10 gallon tank?
<Depends. You shouldn't keep ANY Crayfish in a community tank! But
shrimps can work very well. In a 10 gallon aquarium with 6 Neons (you
really should get 6 in total) and 2 female Platies could carry another 6 Cherry
Shrimps without problems.>
Re: snails 4/23/2011
Thank you so very much for the helpful information. I made a mistake when I
stated that I had two crustacea. That is how my snails were labeled at the
payout counter. I have two snails: one black and one yellow
(very pretty). Allow me to correct myself: is there a limit to the number of
snails suitable to a 10 gallon tank?
<The Mystery or Apple snails (Pomacea spp.) make poor
companions for fish, rarely living for more than a year, but apart from these,
most other snails are very easy to keep. A couple of, for example, Nerite snails
would be excellent algae eaters and all-around 10 gallon tank additions. Cheers,
Question about Mystery Snails... sys.,
beh. (important elements of life history) 4/1/11
Hi, I just had a really quick question and I have searched on the web and have
not found an answer. I have four Mystery Snails and want them to have a good
quality life. They are quite spoiled often getting treats of apple, blue berry
or grapes along with their algae wafers. Anyway I heard that Mystery Snails need
a period of time spent in mud so they can "sleep"
so to speak. I have no problem doing this but, what sort of mud do I use?
Do I use potting soil or mud from my yard or what? I don't want to harm this
with bad bacteria so, I really don't know what to do. Please help?
<Hello Aimee. This is a really good question. The easiest way is simply to
"rest" the Apple Snails is in a slightly cooler water, maybe 18 C/64 F.
This may well be room temperature in many homes, especially in summer, which is
when Apple Snails tend to become dormant. Before you need to do this, you'll
notice your Apple Snails become less and less active, basically sitting around
almost (but not quite) closed up. Turn the heater down, so that the water
gradually cools to the required temperature. In theory, dormant Apple Snails
could then be moved across to moist coir (coconut fibre, cheaply and widely sold
as hard blocks at reptile shops) or perhaps peat if you can't find coir. But in
all honesty, this is hard to do and most farmed Apple Snails aren't likely to
survive. So I'd simply keep them cool, as stated above, and hope for the best.
Change some of the water every couple of weeks. A couple of months "rest" should
be adequate. After that time, turn the heater back up, or earlier if you notice
the snails moving about looking for food. Now, on paper at least the farmed
Apple Snail varieties should be able to go without this resting phase, but in
practise they don't seem to live as long if kept active all year around.
You may want to experiment a bit and see how you go, resting some snails that
become dormant while letting the others carry on if they seem happy and active.
Hope this helps, Neale.>
Double checking I'm doing things right 10/15/10
In all your articles about Mystery snails, nobody
mentions having fire bellied toads.
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.>
Golden Mystery Snail - Sick? 8/11/10
Around 4-5 weeks ago I purchased a golden mystery snail (which I've
research is actually just mislabeled, and is an apple snail in origin?)
<The two names are used interchangeably for Pomacea species.>
After having done some research, I believe it to be a bridgesii. Anyhow!
when I first bought it, I placed it directly into the 10g tank without
acclimating it to the new water; I have since learned A LOT about
responsible aquatic care since previous weeks fortunately. The snail
seemed to be doing great, despite having an Betta in the tank with it.
It was often spotted moving around frequently searching for food,
sometimes climbing the tank walls to the surface for air. However, this
all changed about 3 weeks ago. It eventually started slowing down and
increasingly less active and more lethargic. Eventually its activities
have come to a dead stop almost.
<Yes. Absolutely normal. These snails are not active all year around,
and spend several months in a dormant state. They do this when it gets
hot. So when we keep them at tropical temperatures, we're basically
snail to get ready to get dormant. Keeping them at tropical temperatures
constantly "burns them out", which is why Apple Snails ***are not***
viable additions to tropical fish tanks. They do MUCH, MUCH better in
unheated tanks at room temperature, 18 C/64 F being ideal.>
Now, if its not stuck to the glass walls in one spot for days on end,
its floating in the water (most of the time completely retracted in its
shell, but sometimes mildly hanging the door open). Its also secreting
some sort of white goo substance that sticks to the tank walls, along
with its normal stool. Since its recent decline in activity, I have
separated it away from the 10g and into a 1g tank by itself with marbled
substrate and aquarium salt.
<No, take the salt out!>
Sadly it hasn't regained its active self yet, and is still staying in
one spot against the glass for long periods of time; although its
floating activities have seemingly stopped. I wasn't sure that this
could be hard metals in the water (for I thought that would kill the
snail quickly and not leave it lingering on) but now I'm unsure. The
only other thing that is slightly scary to think about is that its
mantle may have collapsed? In my research I heard that the snail can
still live for weeks after having this happen, but eventually -will-
<These snails need to go dormant. Place the thing in the 1 gallon tank
at room temperature. Put some peat or coconut fibre at the bottom,
enough to cover the snail. Slowly lower the water level. Eventually take
water out. Keep the soil damp but not waterlogged. Leave it thus for 2-3
months. Then slowly fill the tank up as though the rains were returning.
With luck, the snail will zip back into life. Alternatively, you can
keep the snail in a filtered but unheated aquarium for that time. It
will remain dormant, hopefully, but won't need to be fed until it
springs back to life.>
-Snail has greatly decreased activity
-Secreting white goo
-Sometimes floats, sometimes floats with door slightly open
-Does not smell
<It's all aestivation.>
-Tetra 3-10g Whisper Filter
-Tetra 2-10g heater
-Average temp: Day = 83 Night = 77
-----Ammonia-??? (I have a cheap strip-tester kit, which doesn't test
-Tank Mate: Male Betta Splendens VT
-Decor: Fake Plants, 2 bulb real plants, cavern and pirate ship
Uncompleted cycled 10g tank. I'm currently doing 40% water changes every
3 days with gravel vaccing. I hope I gave you enough information!
<Do read about the life cycle of Pomacea spp; it'll soon become clear
why you almost never see the full-sized adults in aquaria. Cheers,
My snail 7/20/10
I am worried about my gold mystery snail's shell.
We got it recently (from now on I'll refer to it as 'he' though we do
not know his gender) from PetSmart. He is active, the ph level is
between 7 and 8 (not exact) but his shell has recently been chipping or
shedding - his shell was orangey gold but now it's starting to become
white near the base.
<The shell will chip in acidic water, so do try to be accurate about
water chemistry. Try adding the Rift Valley salt mix as outlined here:
Carbonate hardness is critical.>
I have tried adding Johnson's calcium tablets and vitamin D as it is
recommended by other websites for two days and the damage might even
<Indeed. Largely pointless. You need to [a] get the right water
chemistry and [b] provide some calcium-rich food, such as unshelled
He eats a lot of fish food. I tried floating some lettuce on the top of
the water but 'he' didn't have any. He lives with 3 young goldfish. I
have all the main 3 types of filters. The floor is gravel and the tank
is 25 gallons. I do not want to do anything serious like putting on
epoxy or eggshells as I do not know if the damage is severe.
<It's not reparable. Snails can only patch up the region where the shell
is laid down, the opening. So any pitting on the shell will only get
worse. You do need to fix this.>
His feelers are slightly bent. I am scared that 'he' will die as I am
just beginning to raise fish and snails. I've grown so attached to him
<Apple snails aren't particularly easy to keep. They need a variety of
things to do well in the long term. There's a good summary here:
Yes I did find a way to delete this stupid Sent from my iPod soggy
thing. I'm too lazy to go back and change that soggy to saggy. Oh well.
Anyways, I bet you guys never expected anything so impossibly
challenging from me. Bet you guys can't do it. Whoa that's a long saggy
:) and nobody say I have too much time on my hands (Azande!) oh gosh did
u know on ur iPod when u type in Azan it
Anyways I am a fast typer. So ha.
Oh and btw I got banned from my computer/laptop SAME THING
Strange just 2 days ago I was banned from my iPod .
Vu just turned into by.
Not gonna say it's strange.
<I have no idea what that was about. But okay. Cheers, Neale.>
Snail Help, Pomacea/Mystery,
other induced/env. hlth. issues 3/26/10
Hello! I would appreciate any help that I can receive.
Here is my problem: My snails foot seems to have some sort of
development/disease issue. His "foot" is almost dying off. I have noticed
that he isn't near as chipper as when I purchased him several weeks ago as a
baby. he was approx. 1/2 inch when I got him and has grown a bit since
having him. He did not have this problem when I got him and I am fearing the
worst for him.
<This photo is very blurry, I can't really see what's going on at all.>
I have 2 other snails. 1 is ivory 1 is an apple and he is a black.
<OK. Any fish in there? Apple snails generally do poorly with fish, and
sooner or later the snails get damaged. Without exception, apple snails are
best kept away from fish in their own subtropical (rather than tropical)
aquarium. Given good water conditions (i.e., filtration) small wounds heal
adequately well; but serious damage to snails and indeed molluscs generally
tends to be fatal, at least under aquarium conditions.>
I only noticed this problem a couple of days ago. I hadn't done a water
change in two weeks and tested my water and my levels were all out of
sorts..my fish and snails all seemed happy so I wasn't concerned until I
decided to test prior my water change. I had put a new filter in about 2
days prior to the testing. I did a 30% water change and added API Stress
Coat+ as I typically do after a change. My water has previously checked out
well minus the fact that I did not realize that my snails shell
deterioration was not a normal part of the life cycle I am having little
luck trying to rectify the situation I added API Proper pH 7.0 to the tank
just today. My fish seem rather jumpy this change and now my snail seems to
have a problem am I doing something wrong. I am a novice aquarist and all
help is much appreciated.
10 gallon tank
<Not a good choice for a tank this size.>
2 African dwarf frogs
and the 3 snails
2 plants (live)
<Yikes! This is lethal, and likely why a minor wound has become infected.
Fix this, STAT.>
<Much too low for the animals listed; Platies, Snails and Frogs will all do
better in neutral to moderately hard water. Aim for pH 7.5, 10+ degrees dH.>
Food: (for all)
HBH frog & tadpole bites
Hikari Algae Wafers (sinking)
Tetra Min and Tetra Color fish flakes
Blood worms & Hikari Tubifex Worms
<Your tank is badly stocked with fish species that need more space. Either
the filter is inadequate or immature, or else you're wildly overfeeding, but
2.0 mg/l nitrite is lethal and WILL kill these animals quickly. No hope at
all for the apple snail while these bad environmental conditions are
maintained. Read about the needs of your livestock prior to purchase and
mature the filter before adding any livestock at all. Your problem here
isn't so much disease or injury, but poor environmental conditions brought
about by careless stocking of the (too small) aquarium. Cheers, Neale.>
Help, NO2, 3/26/10
My biggest problem is that I cannot sift through all of the poor products
with promises that they do not keep do you have any advice on what I should
do to fix my levels?
<Your high levels of nitrite imply one, two or all three of the following:
 The tank is immature and the filter hasn't matured.  The tank is
overstocked/under-filtered for the size/number many of.  The fish are
overfed. The number of fish may not be high, but the types of fish chosen
are poor choices; Danios need at least 60 cm/24 inches swimming space, and
Platy males can be very aggressive towards each other and females in very
small tanks. So, if your tank is new, less than 6 weeks old, then the high
nitrite levels imply the filter hasn't matured -- or hasn't been allowed to
mature. Check you have an adequate filter with a turnover rating not less
than 4 times the volume of the tank. Filter media needs 6 weeks to mature,
but if you don't look after the filter properly, it'll never mature. Always
clean biological media gently in a bucket of aquarium water, not under a hot
tap. Make sure you have enough biological media (things like sponges and
ceramic noodles) and don't waste filter space with things like carbon you
don't really need. In short, read here:
I was told by a couple of other aquarists in the area that this was a good
combination of fish.
<Perhaps, but not in an aquarium this small.
Should I get another Smaller Aquarium?
<No, you need a bigger aquarium. As you will have learned by reading before
spending money, 10 gallon tanks are a waste of money. Always have been. The
price difference between a 10 and 20 gallon tank isn't that great, and a 20
gallon "long" aquarium doesn't take up much more space yet provides ample
swimming space for Danios and other active fish. Consider yourself
"suckered" because you fell for the lure of a 10 gallon tank without reading
up first. As I've said, if you read first, you avoid wasting money. Buying a
second 10 gallon tank, or God forbid an even smaller tank will be good money
after bad. Cheers, Neale.>
Sorry, where I said " The tank is
overstocked/under-filtered for the size/number many of" I obviously edited
that sentence without reading what I'd written. I meant " The tank is
overstocked/under-filtered for the size/number of fish".
Mystery Snail Babies
I've been reading about Mystery Snail reproduction here, and have
learned a lot (albeit after the fact!) about what just happened in my
aquarium. I have a golden Mystery snail who was quite enamored of her
blue Mystery sweetheart (who, sadly, passed last week), and now I have
about 40 Mystery miniatures in my 10 gallon tank. Honestly, as the two
adults were in the tank for close to six months with no offspring, I
didn't actually think it
<Does depend on the temperature and the season. Pomacea spp. snails
generally do best kept cool for a few months and then warmed up for
summer, much as if they were in the wild. When kept constantly warm or
constantly cold, they never really do well.>
My question now is this: how long can I wait before I separate these
babies out of the tank?
<It's best to raise the baby snails away from fish, at least until
they're about 1 cm in shell width.>
The fish population doesn't seem to be bothering with them - I have a
pair of guppies, a Cory, and 8 assorted Tetras - so I'm not anxious to
go searching for all the teeny babies just yet.
<Depends what you want from life. If you want rear a whole bunch of them
so you can sell them or share them with your friends, then rearing them
alone ensures all the snails get plenty to eat. Even if they don't get
eaten by the fish they're with, some will surely starve, and you'll
likely find out of 40 baby snails you end up with half a dozen of
On the other hand, how long will it be before they start multiplying
<Sexually maturity is attained within 3-4 months, at which point their
shells should be about as wide as your thumb.>
I'd like to segregate them to their own tank before that happens.
<Overbreeding is almost never a problem with Pomacea spp. because the
snail eggs are laid above the waterline, usually on the hood. Check once
a week, and if you see the red, raspberry-like egg clusters, just scrape
On another note, I have two Betas in large bowls with live plants. Would
a snail baby do well in each of those, or should they be in a
<I don't understand the either/or bit. You CANNOT keep a Betta in an
unheated tank, and really the tank for a Betta should be filtered too.
If you're keeping a Betta in a bowl without a filter and without a
heater, you'll soon have a dead Betta. Yes, I know people sell them in
cups, but that's wrong of them. Bettas need, at minimum, a 5 gallon
tank. Unless you're changing 50% of the water daily, you need a filter.
Ammonia and nitrite levels must be zero. If you live in the tropics and
water temperature is a balmy 28 C/82 F, then you don't need a heater.
But if it's
cooler than that, e.g., inside a centrally heated home, then the Betta
MUST have a heater. Forgive me if I misunderstood your question here,
but it just looks to me like you're keeping Bettas in unheated tanks,
of the tropics (or a specially heated fish room) that's just wrong. Do
Thanks for your help!
Snail sacks won't hatch
Our Mystery snail has laid 7 sacks of eggs on the glass in our tank. The
first 2 sacks were laid mid November and still have not hatched. One
sack was laid mid December and hatched in about 2 weeks. I saw about 5
or 6 babies for a few days and now I don't see any.
<Two main reasons. Firstly, if the water is too cold, the snails will
simply die. Bear in mind these are subtropical animals, and you simply
can't expect them to reproduce at room temperature (unless you live in
the subtropics, of course!). If you're anywhere wintery, then forget it.
Secondly, hatchling snails also need suitable food. Algae is the prime
food, together with decaying organic matter. On top of this, review
water chemistry (needs to be hard and alkaline) and any tankmates
(shouldn't be any, at all).>
The last sack was laid 1 week ago. So, we still have 6 sacks that have
not hatched yet. Can a snail lay many infertile sacks?
<Unlikely, but if the air is cold, they won't develop.>
The tank condition seems fine for laying eggs, but maybe not for
hatching them? I have seen a drop of water hanging off the bottom of 2
of the sacks.
Is that bad?. We really want some baby snails, but honestly, the tank is
getting so full of yuck at the bottom, we need to clean it.
<Indeed, but don't go bananas, since a certain amount of organic matter
is precisely what these snails eat. A simple air-powered sponge filter
should do the trick, and algae and infusoria will grow on the sponge and
that's what the snails will eat. Use a turkey baster to pipette out
detritus as/when seen on the bottom of the tank in between the weekly
Filters are only lasting a week now because they are getting clogged. We
also have 5 "Glo" fish, 2 placastamus and a gold fish in the tank.
Should we just get rid of all the sacks, clean the tank and let the
snails lay more later?
<Depends what you're after. You can't breed Apple snails in an aquarium
with fish, that's a given. But there's nothing to stop you putting any
baby snails you find into a breeding trap and hoping they don't crawl
out. Most *will* crawl out and get eaten by the Goldfish and catfish,
but a few might survive long enough. Otherwise, yes, you'll need a 5+
gallon aquarium with a heater and a sponge filter to breed Apple snails.
It isn't difficult -- done so many times -- but there are things you
need to have set up first to be successful.>
Thanks for your time,
Seriously sick gold mystery snail 12/7/09
I have been through your site a thousand times and it has helped me so
much but it seems that I have a rather strange problem.
I have a 5 gallon tank with two gold mystery snails, an Oto, and two
<Right. I see. Well, this isn't going to work in the long term.
Mosquitofish (Gambusia spp.) are incredibly aggressive and nippy, and
they'd be a threat to something like an Apple Snail. Otocinclus are
*schooling* fish, and singletons last even less time than groups of them
(they're delicate fish unsuitable for small tanks, despite what
retailers might suggest). The mortality rate of Otocinclus would astound
you. Keep in groups of six or more, in mature tanks 15 gallons or
bigger, and make sure the water isn't too warm and there's plenty of
I know that wild fish are bad to have in a tank, but they were the only
reason that I got a tank in the first place.
<No, wild fish aren't bad to keep at all. Indeed, they can be lots of
fun. What doesn't work so well is mixing wild and farmed fish without
first planning carefully. Imagine keep a wolf cub with a Chihuahua.>
I have had my snails for about 6 months now and they have been doing
<Pomacea spp. snails often do well for up to 12 months, but then they
invariably give up the ghost. In the wild they can live several years, 4
or more, but they do so by "resting" for a few months each year in a mud
burrow. This is the bit people find it difficult to do in captivity. You
can sort of mimic it by keeping them cool for part of the year, but
really, the best bet is to remove them and place them in damp sand or
coir for a couple of months. Store somewhere adequately warm (around
18-20 C should be fine) and then wake them up gently by slowing filling
up the container with water. Now, even if your Apple snail is doing fine
kept warm all year around, it won't live as long as an Apple snail that
snoozes for a few months of the year.>
They started out about as wide as the top half of my thumb, and now they
are longer than my entire thumb. So recently I noticed that my smaller
one has been getting really sick.
<Unfortunately, once Apple snails are sick or damaged, they often die
(and decay) very quickly. Mosquitofish are precisely the sorts of
"nibblers" that would damage their antennae, and it's not a long step
from their to a dying snail.>
They both go from active to lethargic which I have taken as normal, but
my poor snail looks terrible. I am afraid that he is separating from his
<They cannot do this voluntarily; if the body is "loose", it's dying.>
I used to see a pink patch through his shell that I assumed was where he
was connected to it, and that spot is gone now. He is hanging half in
and half out of shell, but a LOT farther than normal. I can see a ring
of his flesh about a half inch out farther than usual, that I am afraid
should be in his shell.
<Do also review water chemistry. Soft, acidic water is dangerous to
There also seems to be a large bubble under his skin that is now hanging
out. He is in a quarantine tank that is 1 gal, half full of very fresh
water. I am afraid that he may not make through the next couple of days…
I would send pics but the tank sides create a funhouse effect that would
be of no help at all. Thanks for your help, EB
<There's a very good Apple snail site, here:
They have a forum as well as lots of articles, so you might find it well
worth getting a second opinion there. Cheers, Neale.>
Mystery snails, sys.
water quality – 11/10/09
Got one quick question, am i supposed to have a few extra empty shells
in my tank for the mystery snails when they start to grow?
<No, though if you live in a soft water area, adding a few seashells is
a good idea. They'll buffer the water a bit, and the snails will chew
them to extract the calcium carbonate they need.>
or does the shell grow with the snail?
<Yes, indeed, this is what happens.>
Ivory Mystery Snail, beh.
To the Crew,
I have a small 1/2 inch Ivory Mystery Snail. We have a large snail
shell, in the tank for decoration. Our little snail has climbed in and
hasn't come out for a day. Can it be stuck?
It's been in there before, but never that far. We can see the end of
it's shell way in there but don't know what to do. Any thoughts?
<Try and get the Mystery Snail out. Animals can suffocate inside shells,
and I've even lost a Corydoras that way.>
Re: Ivory Mystery Snail 09/15/09
It was finally able to get out on it's own. We'll be sure to remove the
large shell from our tank.
Thank you for your quick reply.
<Happy to help.>
Saving Snaily 6/20/09
<Hi there Tamara>
I have read through a great deal on your sight about what could be wrong
with my Ivory mystery snail and what to do to treat him, but cannot find
a similar description to what is happening to my snail.
Yesterday morning I found him lying on the bottom of the aquarium half
hanging out of his shell.
I have a 41 gallon aquarium with 2 ivory mystery snails, 1 Ryukin, and 1
Oranda. All have lived together in harmony for the last 6 months. I do
30% water changes once a week and the current temp is 74 degrees.
Anyway, I thought he was dead so I scooped him out right away. Not being
completely sure if he was dead I put him in a 1.5 gallon quarantine
Long and behold his little antennas were slowly moving and he stuck his
syphon up. I noticed he had some gravel substrate stuck to his flesh so
I gently removed that with my finger. 5 minutes later I noticed more
gravel on him that was not there earlier (I have no gravel in the
quarantine tank). So I removed the gravel again and while doing that
noticed him pushing out another pc from inside his shell so I removed
that as well.
Then I noticed a small amount of white 'goo' for lack of a better term
come out of his syphon. The goo had some very tiny clear bubbles in it.
This is the one and only time he has had this goo. He has been in the
quarantine tank for about a day and half and he is just so sick. I have
been trying to keep the water in the quarantine tank clean since it is
so small, but he still in not improving. He is very very weak. He is
moving sooooooooo slow and is just stuck to the side of the tank at the
top. When I remove some of the water to add more clean water (treated
with Aqua Plus tap water conditioner and Cycle) he falls half out of his
shell or completely falls off the side of the glass when the water level
goes below his shell. Once the water level is up again he painstakingly
slowly climbs back up to the top of the water line and just sits there.
I put in a small piece of lettuce for a couple of hours just in case he
felt hungry, but he just ignored it so I removed it. Do you please have
any remedies I can try to help him feel better. I am not certain it is a
water quality issue since the other (larger) ivory mystery snail is
doing terrific. I have no ammonia or nitrites registering on the tests I
am doing and PH is just about 8. Please help me figure out how to make
this little guy feel better! Much thanks, Tamara
<I wish I knew what specifically was wrong here, but I don't... perhaps
your one snail has an internal issue, some genetic predisposition. You
did the right thing by removing it to the small, quarantine system...
and I would continue to leave it there, and change a good deal of the
water every few days... with water from the main system... and offer
foods per your reading here:
and do take solace from reading the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Snail Questions, Mystery, sys., sel.
Great site! Now I just have to find the time to ready through it
all. So far I think it's the best one out there.
I am setting up a 10 gallon tank for the first time. I have a
Mystery Snail that I rescued from a Betta Bowl where he was being
harassed. So the snail will be part of my 10 gallon community. A
friend gave me an old
10 gallon tank, but nothing else. Researching what I need I thought
the "Eclipse 1" would be good, however I'm concerned about how it
I have not seen the eclipse 1 yet, but if the filters work from the
top, doesn't the water have to be topped off for it to work?
<Don't know this filter myself, but you should see a "minimum"
waterline somewhere on the filter. Usually, the water is about
keeping the motor from overheating more than anything else. Anyway,
if the water is below this line, it's unsafe.>
Don't snail need at least 1" of air space for their respiration?
Reference From: www.peteducation.com
Respiration: Snails of the Ampullariidae family have both gills and
They use a siphon, much like a snorkel, which the snail can extend
out to the water surface allowing the snail to breathe while
submerged. Therefore, in an aquarium setting, there should be two to
four inches of open air space above the waterline to provide the
snail with open air to breathe.
The siphon of the Pomacea genus is typically longer than the length
of the snail's body.
<Contrary to what people imagine, Apple Snails actually aren't good
additions to fish tanks. There are multiple reasons, two of which
are the need for air and the tendency many fish have of nipping at
Snails. But Apple Snails are also seasonal creatures that spend part
of the year in "hibernation", usually during summer when the water
level is low.
Without a resting phase, they simply burn out, which is why so few
Apple Snails ever get as big in captivity as they do in the wild.>
Snail Health Questions:
The snail has not been looking good since he was being harassed. Now
he has a lot of white cloudy stuff all over his shell and a lot of
gooey stuff coming out of him all the time. He also is very
inactive. Is he dying?
<Quite possibly. Once damaged, Apple Snails are prone to dying,
which is why I recommend people keep them in their own quarters,
away from fish.
That way, you can control all the variables. Prevention is
definitely better than cure.>
Will it be safe to add him to the tank or is he too sick?
<I wouldn't; a lump of rotting snail meat wouldn't help water
quality one bit. Much better to leave it in a reasonably large
bucket (say, 3-5 gallons) with an airstone, and see what happens.
Assuming it's not too cold where you live, you might not even need a
Any idea what is wrong with him and how I can help him recovery.
<Snail medicine is very much in its infancy! So far as we can tell,
Apple Snails are either in rude health or dying; there isn't much in
I've tried searching for the answers, but wasn't having any luck and
I want to get the tank setup this week if possible.
Thank you for your time & knowledge,
<Hope this helps, Neale.>
Re: Snail Questions
Your answers were very helpful - thank you for your time.
<My pleasure. Good luck! Neale.>
Snails reproducing or fighting? 11/20/08
Mystery Snail Mating... beh.,
sys. - 03/06/09
I bought two gold mystery snails the other day and tossed them in my 10
gallon tank with some zebra Danio. A few days later I noticed they were
mating. After a few hours I returned to find that one snail had buried
itself under the gravel almost completely (see attached photo) (you have to
zoom in on the center under the bridge). Is this normal? What is going on?
I thought they laid their eggs above the water line. Should I dig the
snail up? Thanks for you help!
My info: 10 gallon tank, over
the back filter, water temp at 74 degrees, live Micro Sword Grass (Liaeopsis
pH 6.8 - 7.4, lighting on timer for day and night
<Greetings. Your Pomacea is likely attempting to aestivate, i.e.,
to enter its normal resting phase. In the wild, Apple snails live a life
that involves a few months of dormancy each year. The reason they don't
survive in tropical aquaria for more than a year is because aquarists deny
them this. Kept active for more than 12 months they usually "burn out". So
what should you do? Ideally, you'd remove the snail, place it in a container
with some wet mud, and let it snooze for at least a month somewhere, taking
care that it (and the mud) stayed damp. You could then try and wake the
snail up by placing the snail in a bucket and partially covering it with
water from the aquarium. Don't cover it with water or throw it into the
aquarium just yet, or it will drown! If the snail starts moving about (this
may take some hours, because it's in "suspended animation") you're good to
go, and can put the snail in the aquarium. The alternative is to leave the
snail in your aquarium even though its resting. Sometimes this does no harm,
but sooner or later, Apple snails do die when kept going all the time, which
is why you never see the full sized (tennis ball sized!) specimens in pet
shops or home aquaria. By the way, your pH variations are insanely
dangerous, and need to be looked into. Remember, one "step" on the pH scale
means a ten-fold increase in acidity or alkalinity. So while 6.8 to 7.4
doesn't sound much, it's actually a huge change, and quite possibly one that
is stressful to your fish and snails. Review the carbonate hardness of the
water, and check that you're doing sufficient water changes to dilute the
nitrate and organic acids in the water. A 10-gallon tank is really too small
for Danios, so I'm concerned you have an overstocked, under-filtered system.
I purchased a
gold mystery snail and a black mystery snail about five days ago. They
are in a 10 gallon tank with two platy fish and three mollies.
Yesterday I found the gold snail (the larger of the two),
on top of the black snail, with a portion of its body on the body of the
black snail. The black snail seemed to try to close itself up inside of
its shell, but was unable to do so because the gold snail remained
attached. The gold snail tried to twist and tended to turn the black
snail onto its side. I got concerned that the twisting was going to rip
the shell off of the black snail, so I separated the snails. After
separating the snails, about two minutes later, the snails were on the
glass of the tank and the golden snail was on the shell of the black
snail again. Once again the golden snail was twisting the shell of the
black snail and really looked like it was stretching the membrane that
attached the shell to the snails body. I detached the snails from one
another again out of fear that the weight of the larger snail would kill
the black snail, by tearing the shell off. My question is, are these
snails mating or trying to kill each other?
<Mating would be my guess... most animals haven't quite perfected the
art as well as humans. Some "conflicts" arise... sometimes it looks like
fighting. Nothing to worry about though...>
I thought snails were peaceful creatures.
<So are frogs generally... but have you seen them during mating season?
Breeding tends to make even "peaceful"
animals a bit aggressive.>
If they are harming one another, do I need to separate them? If they are
mating, will the fish in the tank eat the babies? These fish ate the
molly babies earlier this week.
<The fish will likely eat the eggs before you ever even see them. If
you're interested in breeding snails, you'll have to put them in a
separate tank. Otherwise, the eggs aren't bad fish food. ;-)>
P.S. This is a nice site for Ampullariidae:
Snail tank water quality issues... 10/23/08
I have a 10g tank set up for 4 apple snails.
I'm pretty sure they're P. bridgesi. Here's the set up.
Sponge filter I hooked to a Rena Air 3 pump and an air stone so I get
Rena Air 50W heater set to 77 degrees F
gravel and some fake plants and décor
Limnobium Spongia floating on
<All sounds good, but do remember Apple Snails will not live more
than a year if kept warm all year around. It's difficult to accommodate
this in the aquarium, which is why aquarium specimens rarely last a year
in captivity, compared with 3-4 years in the wild. You could try
removing them to a bucket of muddy water in early summer and then slowly
remove the water, encouraging the snails to become dormant. Store them
thus for a few months. Some aquarists have got the snails to go dormant
by cooling the tank to around 18 C or slightly less, and when the snails
stop moving about leave the tank running like that for at least a couple
of months. Sure, this sounds like a lot of work, but full grown (tennis
ball-sized) Apple Snails are very impressive.>
Everyone seems happy,
but here are the numbers:
NH3/4=0, NO2=0, NO3= 5.00, pH=6.8, KH=40, GH=25
<Slightly on the
acidic side, but not critical.>
Mainly what I'm concerned about is KH
and GH. I'm concerned that these aren't high enough to support good
shell growth and protection. After reading the FAQ section, I tried
putting 3 small pieces of Cuddle bone in the tank, but after 24 hours
the numbers are the same.
<Cuttlebone isn't really what you want
here. Instead try using a Malawi Salt mix to harden the water. You can
make your own, very cheaply, literally pennies per water change, using
marine salt mix plus two things from the shops. Here's one mix, per 5
1 teaspoon baking soda (sodium bicarbonate)
tablespoon Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate)
1 teaspoon marine salt mix
(sodium chloride + trace elements)
Give you don't need incredibly
hard water, even 50% the dose listed here should work just fine.>
know better than to mess to much with things like pH, because stable is
better, but one of the snails appears to have a small area of pitting in
his shell and I don't want it to get to a level where it's harming him.
Also, I'm nervous that an entire 4? cuddle bone in a 10G tank will throw
the whole system out of whack. So, if you guys have any hints on what to
do, or not to do for my snails, I'd appreciate it.
cuttlebone out and replace with the mix listed above. Note that sea salt
alone isn't the thing, but the combination of mostly Epsom salt, a bit
of baking powder, and a bit of salt that does the hardening.>
Re: Snail tank water quality issues... 10/23/08
When you say, slowly remove the water, do you mean until there's no water in
<Pretty much. There's really no sure fire way to keep Apple Snails alive for
their full lifespan in captivity. As I say, almost all die within the first year
or so. So I'd recommend reading up on Apple Snails (there are numerous web sites
as well as an excellent book by Perera & Walls) and experimenting. Breeding
Apple Snails (if you want to) is easy, so you'll soon get dozens of youngsters
to play around with. Bear in mind what the aim is -- getting the snails to
"aestivate" -- and work from there. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Snail tank water quality issues... 10/23/08
Sorry for the trouble but I was re-reading your answer and want to be sure. In
one place you say baking soda and in another you say baking powder. Baking
powder has (usually) crème of tartar in it. Which did you mean?
<Ah, my mistake. Baking soda: sodium bicarbonate.>
<Sorry for the confusion. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Snail tank water quality issues... 10/23/08
One last thing, I promise. Do you think I should use this solution in my other
two tanks as well? One is a 10g with a Crowntail Betta, and the other is a 55g
with 5 African Clawed Frogs.
<Shouldn't be necessary for these fish. Neither Bettas nor Frogs particularly
need hard water conditions. So if they're happy now, leave 'em be. The "magic
potion" you're making is all about making water harder and more alkaline. Snails
like that sort of water, as do certain types of fish: livebearers, goldfish,
Rift Valley cichlids, Central American cichlids and so on.>
Follow up on Snail tank water quality issues... 10/25/08
So, I changed the water yesterday and replaced it with the Malawi Salt Mix you
recommended. The water certainly got harder and I thought everything was ok.
Then, this afternoon all of the snails were racing about with their siphons out.
I tested the water. The numbers were:
And no chlorine.
Thinking GH of 300 might be too high, I did a water change and used the Salt Mix
at 50% the dose per 5g, then tested again. pH came down to 7.8 but GH and KH
remained largely unchanged. The snails stopped racing about but they all are
stretching their siphons farther than I've seen before. They're not going to the
surface, mind you. Just stretching them out. I don't know what else to test. Do
they not like the salt? Am I worried for nothing?
Thanks in advance.
<Hello Laura, It's unwise to completely change all the water at once. Forgive me
if I didn't make that clear. What one normally does when changing water
chemistry is to stick with your normal water change routine (e.g., 25% per week)
but with each new batch of water that goes in, add the salt mix. So over the
weeks the water will steadily become harder and more alkaline. In any case, if
the snails aren't at the surface "gasping", and are otherwise active and feeding
normally, I wouldn't be too concerned. Going by your numbers, a 50% dose should
be ample. Cheers, Neale.>
<Most welcome. Cheers, Neale.>
babies...but no mate 4/6/08
Hi guys, it's been awhile! (Our clowns, Maria and Carlos, are doing
great!) I have two beta fish in separate 5 gallon tanks, with one
plastic decoration in each tank. About four months ago I got what was
labeled as golden mystery/apple snails, and placed one in each tank. I
figured mystery snails would be a good choice because I didn't want a
ton of baby snails going around.
<Ah, I see where this is going...>
Anyway, these snails have not been with another snail for these past
four months, and while the snail in The Professor's tank is still
solitary, suddenly I'm seeing A TON of baby snails in Xavier's tank. I
was under the impression these snails were sexual and needed a mate to
<Correct; they are not parthenogenic, though like most snails they are
Will you take a look at these photos and tell me if these are in fact a
breed different from the mystery/apple snail? Thank you!
<Yes, this are indeed baby Pomacea. The snail you had must have stored a
packet of sperm since it was last with another snail. Squish the babies
if you don't want them, but otherwise they're easy to rear, and pet
shops happily take them.>
Black Mystery Snail, hlth. 7/5/07
Hello to the operators of WWM,
I found your site using Google because I was searching for information on
injuries to black mystery snails. I tried to do as you requested and search the
listings, but I couldn't find an answer to my specific issue. I found my snail
this afternoon leaning back with his door wide open.
His body was exposed and I thought that perhaps he had been eaten by my shark.
However, when I removed him from the water and touched his exposed body he
attempted to close the door, so I suspect that he is still alive. This is when I
noticed what the problem was. Although his muscle (body?) is still attached to
the door, the hinge part where it attaches to the shell is broken. I set him
back inside the tank upright, but I am concerned that he will not be able to
open the door and crawl around to get air or to eat. Is this injury fatal and if
not, what can I do to assist him in his recovery?
<To start with, apple snails are only very rarely good additions to a tank with
fish. Small fish peck at them, bigger fish bite them. Either way, the snail gets
damaged. When a snail "gapes" as you're describing, it is usually very sick. A
healthy snail will either be moving about or closed up tightly -- there's
nothing in between. Just like buying clams or mussels from the fishmongers,
really. But there are some other factors to consider. For one thing, apple
snails naturally aestivate for part of the year, and one reason they don't last
long in aquaria is they don't get this resting period. The common species are
also subtropical rather than tropical, so if the tank is too warm, that will
stress them. It's important it has ample breathing space above the tank, to the
degree that it can crawl out of the water if it wants. Water chemistry is very
important, as these snails (like most others) prefer water that is hard and
alkaline. Snails cannot really repair damage to their shells or operculum
because of the way these structures are laid down by the mantle (the shell
secreting tissue). At best, they can patch up the area near the growing margin.
So I doubt your snail will "repair" its operculum (the trapdoor) if the damage
is severe. I'd highly recommend moving your apple snail to a hospital tank. A
dead snail rapidly pollutes the aquarium, and you don't want that. In the
meantime, try and get hold of Perera & Walls (1996) 'Apple Snails in the
Aquarium' by TFH -- possibly the single best book for the science and husbandry
of these (and other) aquarium snails.>
Thank you for your assistance,
Dead Snail 4/22/07
<Hi Jen, Pufferpunk here (my name's Jeni too!)>
I got home tonight and went to feed the fish in my 10 gal and saw my
Ivory Mystery Snail's shell on the floor of the tank. He is up in the
corner...not moving at all. I think he might be dead but I don't want to
give up on him. He has only been in there a month or so and was doing
fine. The only thing I did differently today then any other day was
clean the tank...I am hoping the stress of that did not make him come
out of his shell and if he is still alive, for how long and will his
shell grow back?
<I'd take him out ASAP! There is nothing that will foul your tank &
kill everything in it, faster then a dead snail! You can tell, because
they have the worst odor you'll ever smell in your life. Snails do not
crawl out of their shell & then make another one. How did you "clean"
the tank exactly? (Please be sure to use proper capitalization in your
letters. I corrected this one for you, so we can post it in our
Thank you so much!! Jen
Re: Ivory Mystery Snail - 04/22/07
I used a sponge & cleaned all the green algae off the sides. We had an
infestation of "the little snails that won't die." Not sure what they are
called, they showed up when I put the plants in. I totally cleaned the tank and
got the Ivory Mystery Snail. That's when the green algae showed up. I think the
little snails kept it in check. I am not sure what to do, he is still
<The snail cannot live without a shell. He will only pollute the tank. I
deleted your message with the pictures. They were overloading our bandwidth
--way too large. ~PP>
Thank you SOOO much, Jen
Re: Ivory Mystery Snail. Euthanizing a Snail 4/22/07
So, Should I just take him out of the tank? What is the most humane way to
take care of him? I re-sized the pics, I hope they work. Jen
<I did see the earlier picks, just couldn't leave them here or post them in our
FAQs. You could freeze the snail body in a Baggie with tank water. ~PP>
Re: Ivory Mystery Snail. Getting Rid of Pond Snails 4/22/07
Thank you for all your help. I opened the tank tonight and he was right at
the opening and MAN did he smell bad. He was no longer moving and when I touched
him with the fish net he just fell off. So I flushed him.
<I'd do a 50% water change now. That dead snail has been polluting your tank.>
I think I am done with snails for now. Now if I could just get the "snails that
won't die" to go away I would be a lot happier. Any ideas on that?
<Now begins the tedious job of picking them out 1 by 1. As soon as you see any
eggs, scrape them off. ~PP>
Black Mystery snail in trouble 4/9/07
I have had a 5 gallon tank with a cherry barb, a zebra Danio, and a black
mystery snail for over a year. The snail has grown to almost the size of the
palm of my hand
<Is not a "Mystery" snail then... maybe a "Baseball", "Apple"... Please read
and is usually very healthy. This weekend, my husband and I went out of town
and left a weekend feeder in the tank.
<Most of these are white, chunky masses of dubious food value, not-so-doubtful
sources of outright pollution...>
We've had warm weather for the past few weeks and were not aware of the cold
front that was moving in over the weekend. The central air was on, instead of
the heat, and I am not sure how cold it got in the house. When we returned, the
temperature of the water in the tank was reading below 64 degrees,
<The tank itself should have a heater...>
and our little pets did not appear to be doing so well. The zebra Danio was
fine, the cherry barb was stuck in an overturned decoration at the bottom of the
tank, and the black mystery snail was curled up, half in and half out of his
shell at the bottom of the tank. We rescued the cherry barb, and he seems to be
returning to normal, but the snail is not looking very good. For several hours
he remained in the same position (the only thing moving were his antennae and I
could not tell whether he was alive or the water current was just moving them
<You'll know if this animal perishes... They have a signature stench... plus the
poor behavior of its tankmates>
He began to unfold very slowly, but seemed to be caught in the same position
with his shell resting on the bottom of the tank and his foot facing the wall of
the tank, unable to turn himself right side up. The next time I saw him, he was
further out of his shell, but there was a large (about the size of a quarter)
air bubble under part of his skin.
<Bad sign... decomposition>
It seems that the air bubble is keeping him trapped in that position, but I
think he is too heavy to float to the top. The skin around the air bubble seems
to be thinning, and he looks like he's about to pop. We brought him to the
surface of the water, to see if he would let the air bubble out, but he folded
himself over and the air was trapped in. He is obviously alive for now, but I
am worried he might not be for long. Is there anything we can do? Thank you so
much for this site, and for your help,
<May be for naught... but I might try "popping" this bubble area (with a
straight pin)... to release the gas. Bob Fenner>
|A sick freshwater tank (Betta and unknown
<Hey Lucy, JustinN with you today.>
I have read your FAQs on snails and Bettas and searched for information
generally on the web and could still use some guidance on my sick tank
if someone please has any time!
<Of course, Lucy. Is what we're here for.>
I have one Betta who I've had for nearly a year now. I've just got him
back from a friend who kept him for me while I was away for 6 weeks, and
had to clean out a lot of moldy food from the bottom of the bowl. Now he
has a spot on his forehead that looks like it's lost it's scale and
there's even a bit of blood showing. There are also two opaque scales on
one side (not visible in the photo, but could possibly be related to the
spot on his head). This does not look like fin rot to me, nor Ich, and,
as it's a round bowl with a live plant, I can't think of how he could
have cut himself to invite a fungal infection.
<Mmm, is none of the above. The symptoms you describe are likely
completely environmental. Bowls are not really appropriate for the
keeping of Bettas, they really need a space more in the range of 2 to 3
gallons minimum, with some sort of adequate filtration and heating
provided. Stability is the key here, and a bowl simply does not provide
that. Please read through here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm and the
files linked in blue above.>
I use an anti-bacterial already in the bowl (have tried both 'Betta Fix'
and 'Broad Spectrum Medication for Fish' - the latter includes mafenide
HCl, Aminacrine HCl and malachite green), and I keep a lamp over the top
to keep him warm.
<When you say that you already use an anti-bacterial agent in the bowl,
do you mean that you are always prophylactically treating your Betta?
This is not a good idea, it will weaken the immune system of your Betta
when being used unnecessarily, and when coupled with the small, unstable
environment, this leads me to believe that your Betta is living in a
very uncycled system. See here for more on tank cycling:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm and the
files linked in blue above.>
Should I give him a salt bath and, if so, won't it hurt the open wound
he seems to have? I'd hate to try it for the first time with fatal
<Your problem is not a disease, Lucy. You need to get your Betta into
appropriate quarters, and he will perk right back up in no time!>
Secondly, a few days ago I purchased a snail (not sure what type,
possibly a smooth turban snail, judging from the pictures in Google?).
<Looks like a common 'Apple snail' to me.>
He lies inert all day, either closed or partly open, like in the
attached picture, with lots of mucous coming off him.
Usually in the mornings, I find him floating at the surface of the tank,
like his shell has filled with air.
<Also not good.>
I read that it hurts snails to be on their backs, so have been pulling
him out so the air comes out and dropping him back in the tank,
right-way up. I've changed the water once in a few days and am happy to
do it again, but if there's something that's upsetting both snail and
Betta, I'd like to fix them both (especially if the tank/conditions is
the problem). Would adding salt help them both, for instance, or would
that help the Betta but not the snail?
<Adding salt to the bowl would completely kill your snail, which is
likely on its way out anyway. By adding the snail to this already
unstable environment, which is complete with medications in the water,
you have poisoned it and likely doomed it. Most, if not all, effective
medications will harm or kill invertebrate life. I recommend you remove
the snail before it gets any worse, chances are its already losing the
battle. Next, at least in the interim, perform 25 to 50% water changes
in your bowl every couple of days until you can equip yourself with an
aquarium with proper filtration and heating, and begin its cycling
process. Fix your environment, and you'll fix your Betta right up!>
Any help would be most appreciated!
<I apologize if I've been a bit of a downer here, Lucy, but knowledge is
crucial. Aquarium salt may help your Betta in small amounts, but I would
be wary of trying to balance salt content in a bowl, as small and
unstable as it would be. I certainly hope this helps you out! -JustinN>
Re: A sick freshwater tank (Betta and unknown snail)
Hi Justin -
Not a downer at all! An answer is just what I needed. Thanks so much for
getting back to me, will work on the environment!
<Excellent, glad to hear it.>
<Do keep in touch, Lucy! Good luck! -JustinN>
Re: Tom: Snail update and hang-on filter trick - 12/04/06
<<Hello again, Rachel.>>
I wanted to update you on the cuttlefish bone addition for my mystery snail.
<<Updates are always welcome, Rachel.>>
The bone seems to be very slowly dissolving into the water, and his shell has
stopped deteriorating. The tank's pH has not changed. Once in a while I notice
the snail munching while on the bone, but I couldn't say whether he's munching
the bone or a bit of algae off the surface. I don't see any tell-tale teeth
marks. Worth noting, though, is the fact that he did chew with gusto on one of
those terrible plaster "vacation feeders." The pet store had run out of
automatic feeders... thankfully I got my family to bring me an automatic feeder
just in time for break, and I pulled the awful plaster thing out of my tank! But
anyway, the bone seems to have served its purpose.
<<I’ve never used a vacation feeder but, since plaster is largely composed of
calcium sulfate, perhaps yours wasn’t so “terrible” after all or, at the least,
your snail knows something we don’t. :) >>
I also wanted to pass on a trick I discovered for my Whisper Micro in-tank
filter. My tank is a MiniBow kit and I've written in before about a few
modifications that can be made to these kits to make them quieter and healthier.
One more! I had some leftover filter sponge from covering the intake of the
filter, so I slipped a piece behind the filter body. It helps keep the filter
from resting on the tank wall (which it's not supposed to do anyway; the suction
cup is supposed to prop it up but it's too flat) so the vibrations and noise are
greatly reduced. I also padded the hook that hangs the filter from the tank's
lip with a bit of sponge. Sounds much better! And it feels better too now that
the tank isn't vibrating, for me since this tank sits on my desk, and hopefully
for Terrence the Betta inside too.
<<I like your thinking, Rachel. Thanks for passing this along to us and the rest
of our readers.>>
Thanks for your help, Tom!
<<Happy to have been of assistance, Rachel, and thanks for the nice update and
tip. My best to you. Tom>>
Oranda Goldfish and Mystery Snails 8/24/06
Hello WetWebMedia Crew!
<Me Bob, you Jane>
First of all, I am very impressed by your website. I am new to the aqua world,
and I found so much useful information here.
Here is my story. Four months ago, I got a ten gallon tank, cycled it for about
a week with filter, water conditioner and then got a small Oranda.
<Mmmm, likely needed to cycle longer...>
Everything was going well, he was eating well and growing fast. I was feeding
him flakes, sinking pellets and peas or spinach. I was also fascinated with
mystery snails, so I got five
of them from my LFS.
For a while, everybody looked good and healthy. Then, one of the snails stopped
moving around. I separated him from the rest but he died few days later.
One by one, three more snails died. I think that one of them was in the tank for
a while before I noticed that it has died. I should mention that I was changing
water more or less every day, about 2 gallons each time. But when the snails got
sick, the water turned smelly and greenish and I had to do water changes twice a
Ammonia levels were good according to the color chart. Then one morning I found
my Oranda on the bottom of the tank, not moving much and not interested in food
unusual for him. I continued to do water changes, then went to my LFS and they
suggested Maracyn 2 medication.
Got that, took the filter out and started medicating. By then, Oranda was
gulping for air all the time, and the water was slimy. Yesterday I found my
Oranda dead. He was beautiful. Do you think he got sick because of the snails?
<To a large extent, yes... their deaths likely poisoned the water, increased
stress levels too high, too fast>
Is it a bad idea to have mystery snails with goldfish?
<Mmmm, no... "like" about the same water quality, not predaceous with each
other... But both need to be healthy, fed...>
Is it possible to have both and keep them healthy? I appreciate your advice.
<Yep... please read here:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Re: Oranda Goldfish and Mystery Snails 8/25/06
Thank you, Bob.
<LFS... the other applies to stony corals...>
guy recommended Maracyn 2 for dropsy after I described my situation to him just
as I did it to you.
I have to confess, I got four more snails right before my Oranda died (again
from the LPS). Now I am somewhat afraid to get another goldfish. At least for a
month or so, until the water is clean again and assuming the snails are alive
<A good idea to wait at this time... Cheers, BobF>
|Help to identify snail 6/24/06
I'm trying to identify and breed my new freshwater snails. The fish
shop said that they had it for 3 to 4 months, but no eggs were to be
found. I've searched the Internet, but was still not able to identify
Attached are some pictures of the snail. Took it from my phone, so it
is a little blurry. If the photo is too poor, please let me know, so
that I can borrow a decent camera!!
Notice the "spikes" sticking out from its shell. Each has several of
these "spikes". It is roughly about 1 cm in length.
If only I can get the scientific name, than I can search for more info
on the web!!
<Hard to be sure, but this looks like a juvenile Ampullaria (Pomacea)
individual to me.
|Re: Help to identify snail 6/25/06 -
Thanks so much for your prompt reply. I have attached some better
pictures of the mystery snail. Could you please help verify that it is
a juvenile Ampullaria (Pomacea) again?
Thank you very much!!
<I do think this is so. BobF>
Snails Don't Like Ammonia - 03/18/2006
Hi folks, In my 45 g tank I have a large Ramshorn snail. It is active for
most of the day.
However, for the past 4 days it had not moved out of its shell, everything
else in the tank looked okay. On a hunch, I checked ammonia and it was about
I immediately changed 20% of water and again tested ammonia to be zero.
To my surprise, the snail started moving after an hour or so and is now
active like it was before. Does this mean that snails are more sensitive to
ammonia than fishes as none of the fish was showing any signs of discomfort?
Thanks Sandeep R
< Snails are very sensitive to chemicals in the water like copper and
ammonia. You should investigate why you are experiencing elevated ammonia
FW Snail reproduction
Ok, I bought a gold and a black mystery snail a couple weeks ago. If they
laid eggs, would they have been at the water line?
And if the eggs hatched, what do the new born snails look like?
<Like small versions of adults, light tan/brown>
I'm seeing 5 or 6 very small, mostly clear snails with good sized antennae, with
shells that curl off to one side instead of just being very vertical like the
nuisance snails that take over your tank. They might not be mysteries, as I have
Frogbit that I put in there when I got the big snails, so they could've come
with that (after all I found a dragon fly larvae in it too). Or they could be
from the big mysteries. I just need to know what new born mysteries look like.
Thanks! Get more from the Web.
<I suspect these are Mystery young. Bob Fenner>
Don't Move at all!
My children decided that they wanted two snails. So off to the pet store we
go and we purchase two black mystery snails. I thought for sure they
were dead before we ever got them home so we put them in our 10 gallon
aquarium anyways just to be sure. This was on Sunday. On Monday they
were just lying with their little openings in the air still and had not
moved at all. Well the kids were upset and we were sure they were dead.
So out we go to return them to the pet store. The pet store assured me
they are fine since they don't stink and they still have their feet. So
back home we go and plop them back in the tank. The larger one now is
just floating around and the little one is just lying at the bottom with
his opening in the air. Neither one has come out or moved at all. We
have 2 Mollies, 3 Gouramis, and 13 Molly babies about a week old. The
fish swim by them but never pick at them and I am just at a loss on what
to do. Are they okay? Thanks, Christy
<Did you acclimate them to your tank when you got them? Inverts need to
be acclimated just as fish do to prevent shock. Make sure they are in a
position so that if they do decide to move, they can grab onto something
and leave them for a day or two longer to see if they begin to move
Clown loaches and snails
I have a planted tank with several medium (3") clown loaches...initially stocked
to control snail stowaways on plants, which they do well. In fact, not only
have the loaches become one of my favorite fishes in all my tanks, I actually
breed and raise Ramshorn snails just so I can give them a treat a few times a
<I’m sure they love this, I do it myself with my clowns.>
My question: I have a couple LARGE (2" or so) Gold Inca (not exactly sure of
the species) snails in need of a home. They've been housed in my quarantine
tank for nearly a year, so I doubt introducing pathogens would pose a risk to
the tank, however, would the clown loaches pose a risk to these big guys?
<Very possibly. I know I’ve seen clowns eat snails that were over an inch in
size so I’d be afraid to try it even with snails as large as yours.>
Also... now that I have your attention, hehe. What are some species of plants
(if any) that would do OK in a moderately aerated tank? I'm not looking to win
any awards in these tanks, just to add some "live" decorations.
<A lot would depend on your lighting. Some of my favorites for moderately lit,
moderately aerated tanks are Anacharis (this one is rumored to be touchy but
I’ve always had good luck with it), Elodea, and Anubias.>
Thanks a bunch, and keep up the good work on WWM! Cheers, Michael
<Thank you and you’re welcome! Ronni>
Sorry to bother you with what's probably a simple question, but I can't seem to
find a set answer on it anywhere else. I was wondering, is there any set rule as
to stocking mystery snails in a tank? I know the '1" of fish per gallon' rule
(and the surface area rule, and...) but how should mystery snails of this
species be counted in regards to the tank's bio load/stocking levels?
<Well, honestly, I was not to sure either so I checked with Bob for both of our
benefits. "I think about one per five gallons of any of the common species is
"about right"." You could also try starting with 1 per 5 gal, then slowly
adding more and testing your water quality.>
So far the only advice I've been able to find is one individual who doesn't
think they add much bio load since their nitrate levels haven't changed since
adding two to their 10g Betta tank, and another who has about 40 small ones in a
1 gallon container with a 60gph filter and air stone.
<I am willing to be 40 snails in a 1 gallon container will be hard to maintain
in the long run.>
I know the snails produce a lot of waste, but they (at least the ones I
currently have) also seem to do a good job of roaming the tank cleaning up
leftover food and dead leaves (and have left my various live plants completely
alone, other than occasionally using them as ladders) that might otherwise
pollute the water. Also given they get some of their oxygen from the surface.
weird watching one of them crawling up a wall, air siphon extended :) )
Thanks for your time and any advice you're able to offer, I'll likely pass it on
to the two forums I posted this question on (Aquamaniacs and Applesnail.net) for
the folks there as well.
<Hope it helps, keep a record of your trials and tribs for others benefit as
well. Best Regards, Gage>
Snail Stocking Part Two
Thanks for the response, I've got two in the 10 gallon right now (I had a
regular brown one in there, what I've seen called the 'wild-type' shell pattern,
then saw a little blue one shoved into one of the 'Betta cups' at Wal-Mart the
other day and decided it needed a home). The only other one I'm possibly
planning to add in the future is maybe the one from my 6g African dwarf frog
if any water problems develop there.
So far no problems with the 10g since adding the second mystery snail, other
than slightly elevated nitrates (25 rather than 20), but I think that's likely
due to overfeeding of the bottom feeders, or my trimming back a lot of the
Anacharis that's in there. I'm going to try adding a little duckweed (I know, it
takes over tanks. I read somewhere about someone making a 'corral' with airline
and airline clips to keep it within an area of their tank. So I'll see if that
works.) to pick up the extra nitrates. Plus I heard there's a chance the mystery
snails might like to nibble on it.
<Duckweed is an excellent way to suck up excess nutrients.>
I'll let you know if there's any problems with either level of snails in the
On a different topic, since WWM's amphibian area is a bit sparse right now, I
thought I'd offer the following feeding idea, if you'd like to post it: One of
the biggest problems I had with African dwarf frogs was trying to get them to
eat before their food (frozen bloodworms) fell between the gravel, resulting in
hungry frogs and food polluting the water. So as a solution, I got a plastic
water bowl from the reptile section of PetSmart and half buried it under the
gravel. The plastic's a single piece of unpainted molded plastic, so I figure it
should be safe to use. Now I just squirt the defrosted bloodworms (mixed with
water from the tank) into the bowl with a turkey baster. The frogs swim
right over and start feasting, they've also taken to trying to nip at the turkey
baster if it's in the tank since they've figured out that's where food comes
from. Posted this idea on a few forums and the regulars seemed to like it, so
figured I'd pass it on incase it's of use to any of WWM's regular readers.
<Great idea, I have heard of something similar for feeding Corydoras live worms
that dig into the substrate before the fish get a chance to eat them. Thanks
for the info, best of luck, Gage>
Breeding Mystery Snails
I have a five gallon aquarium with a Betta, 2 ghost shrimp, and 1 black
mystery snail. Now I want to add one or two more mystery snails because i heard
they breed very quickly and that Betta's like to eat young snail is this true?
Also I really want to add a pair of angelfish but I worried about weather or not
the Betta will get along with the angel fish will he? He is fairly docile
spending most of the time hiding behind a plant in the corner of the tank, and
the rest of his time slowly swimming in circles. Any way what do you think?
Thank you, Aren M. Dowden
<<Dear Aren; Here is some info I took from a snail link: "Black Mystery Snails
usually breed with little encouragement as long as their environmental
conditions are optimized by the time they are more than four months old. Black
Mystery Snails lay their eggs underwater. You should provide some plant or rock
to which they can attach these eggs, which are usually deposited in the form of
a slimy material. Some of these snails have also been observed to lay eggs in
tan egg cases on land areas. Clutches usually consist of more than one hundred
eggs that will hatch in 10 to 14 days. It should be noted that it is very
difficult to distinguish males from females, and many people often believe,
erroneously, that they are hermaphrodites for this reason." You can read the
rest of the page here:
I find your 5 gallon tank is a bit fully stocked. I hope you will do weekly
water changes on this tank to keep the nitrates low, since snails that size eat
quite a lot. That means they produce a lot of both solid and liquid
waste...also, you will need to supplement their feeding. You can feed them
sinking foods (sold for bottom feeding fish like Plecos), fresh spinach leaves,
and frozen beef heart every now and then (found at your LFS). If you find your
snails a bit too big for a 5 gallon, you can always try pond snails, the little
snails that you usually find attached on live plants. They will reproduce
quickly, and stay much smaller than the mystery snails, but pond snails will eat
live plants. Do NOT add angelfish to this tank. You are already at your stocking
limit, and angelfish need room to grow, a twenty gallon tank is the minimum tank
size to grow out angels properly. For angels, taller tanks are better, by the
way. A nice tall tank will give you adult angels with nice, long finnage. I've
seen too many adult angels with stunted fins to advise otherwise.. Good luck.
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 Questions - II - 06/22/2004
So is the shell flaking off from the conditions she was raised in, or conditions
in the tank now, or both?
<Perhaps a bit o' both, but more due to the water she's in now, I'd wager.>
I'll keep an eye out for the Kent Iodine. Do they replenish the old shell as
they grow, too?
<Not really. Hopefully, though, there isn't much damage, and it will not be
very obvious or apparent once you are keeping an eye on hardness and dosing with
iodine - remember, just a drop per ten gallons of the Kent Tech iodine, *not*
the marine dose listed on the bottle.>
Also, is garden lettuce a decent thing to feed her?
<I don't see why not. Most lettuces don't have a whole lot in the way of
nutrition, so you might try for the little bitty baby leaves way down in the
center of the lettuce head when you open it up for dinner. Spinach would be
another good one to try. The younger leaves are probably better, again.>
We don't use chemicals on it (more from laziness than anything but they don't
really need it either).
<Sounds like a tasty treat. Other green garden goodies, like asparagus, shelled
peas, green bean innards (just open the bean), and other such yummies will be of
good use, too.>
I gave her a piece a couple days ago, it's all gone now. Can I assume as long
as she's growing new healthy shell that she is eating plenty, and if she's
growing too fast she's probably eating too much? :)
<Sounds like a plan.>
Thanks again for your help. :)
<Any time, Anna. Wishing you and Jaws well, -Sabrina>
Ivan the Terrified - 07/26/2004
I believe the last crew member I spoke with was Sabrina. This is an update
email and a question about Black Mystery snails.
<Holy Mackinaw, I'm SO sorry on the delay!>
I am the proud and indulgent Momma of a spoiled Pink Kisser named Ivan the
<I could never forget.>
I wrote back in January about a rash-type condition on his tail which is now
cleared up completely.
He's up to about 5 inches long and is much less hand-shy. Per your suggestion I
added several plastic plants and some floating live plants to the tank (name of
it escapes me just now but it is vine-like with patches of 6 leaves growing from
the main stalk every 1/2 inch or so).
<Sounds like elodea/Egeria/Anacharis - a great munchin' plant. How's he liking
his new digs?>
After a few weeks I had a bad algae bloom that I couldn't get a permanent handle
on (10% water changes every day for 2 weeks did almost nothing: I'm guessing a
nitrate jump from the leaves dying and the change in fish poop),
<Could be. You may have ended up with Elodea canadensis, which is a coldwater
Anacharis-type plant; it tends to die instead of grow, in aquaria. Though, I
would guess Ivan at least helps with cleaning up the plant scraps?>
so off I hiked to the fish store and invested in a Black Mystery snail named
Bubble. Before I knew it, I had pin-head sized baby snails crawling around on
the glass which I removed to a 2 gal. "nursery" tank. The woman at the store
said "they're a self-breeder" (which makes little sense in a practical
application because even the hermaphroditic ones can't breed with themselves,
<Many/most snails will self-fertilize. One turns into very, very many, much to
some plant keepers' chagrin! Though, they CAN cross-fertilize, too. A few,
like the apple snail, require a male and a female to reproduce.>
but my research said that they're opposite sexed (shell door concave= female,
convex=male) or hermaphroditic (sources argued) and shouldn't breed if there's
only one in a system.
<Umm, if I understand correctly (and after a brief jaunt at
http://www.applesnail.net , I'm sure I don't), they do indeed have
genders.... Please consult that website; there is SO much info there, it's just
With a 10 gal and only 1 fish, 1 snail should be plenty to maintain the system.
<Er, until Ivan gets a foot long ;) But until he gets too big, yeah, the snail
should' a been fine.>
Then, Bubble died. I'm pretty sure that was of "old age" since she was over 3",
what the store said is the max for that kind of snail.
<Yeah, that's a pretty good sized hunk o' escargot! (Which reminds me.... have
you ever SMELLED a dead snail? How can folks EAT that?!)>
I figured then that my snail population was down to the babies I had, which I
found homes for except for 1 that I kept for cleaning purposes.
Now, I've researched the heck out of these things and I can't get a definitive
answer about sexing and breeding and the snails keep coming.
<Again, please consult
http://www.applesnail.net for more comprehensive info. I believe there's
even a forum there.>
The baby born and raised in my system, Pot Sticker, is up to about an inch
across the shell doing all her normal snaily things (concave door and floating
around on top of
the water munching on a leaf), but I have a pretty steady population of snails
between almost-can't-see-'em pin head sized and big enough to pick up with
tweezers and take out of the tank. How the heck did they get here and why don't
<Umm, it's sounding like these are NOT apple/mystery snails. Though, it may be
that you got some pond snail eggs in on your plants.>
I pick them off the glass (which I feel bad about but I'm afraid they'll clog
the filter) when I see them. Supposedly my Kisser will eat them and if that's
the case I really don't have a problem, only I've never seen him eat any. If I
stop giving him his tropical flakes for a few days would he start going after
<He may. Don't feed him for several days (he can take it - especially if there
are plants around) and see if he starts pickin' 'em off.>
I don't want to use chemicals to get rid of them since I'd like to keep Pot
Sticker healthy and it wouldn't be good for Ivan either.
<I agree. I would just remove them manually. One way to do so is to place a
some pellet food or a slice of blanched zucchini on a small plate in the tank
(shielded from Ivan, if possible) just after lights-out. In the morning, remove
the plate - it should have a bundle of snails on it.>
Am I still just being a paranoid first time fishkeeper?
<Yes. But that's a good thing :D >
I haven't tried taking Pot Sticker
<Pot Sticker? I bow to you, O Ye of Great Names.>
out of the tank either because I don't want my algae to get out of control
again. Any suggestions?
<Just as above.... I would try fasting Ivan first - but that's just 'cause I
don't like killing things except to be eaten.... I'm weird like that.>
Thanks in advance,
<You betcha - glad to hear how Ivan's doing!! Wishing you, Ivan, and Pot
Sticker well, -Sabrina>
Mystery snail 7/29/04
Based on my searches, it would appear the snail I had resembles the Ramshorn
and/or apple/mystery snail, except for one important feature. The snail in my
tank never revealed a siphon, even though it spent almost all of its time
submerged. If it had a siphon, of any size, I never saw it being used. Is there
another freshwater snail, likely to be sold at pet stores such as PetSmart, that
would resemble the apple, mystery, or Ramshorn snail, but would not have a
siphon? It is possible this was a pond snail? < Pond snails tend to be rather
small. I am sure you snail was a black mystery snail. Look for the siphon when
the snail is near the surface.-Chuck>
First, I know nothing about them, other than the people at a pet store told my
wife that they would be good to keep algae down. So, we bought one. I don't know
how to identify it. It was brown, with the shell somewhere between a quarter and
a half dollar. He had a distinct flap he could use to cover the opening of his
shell, and he had long antennae looking things on his head. His mouth faced
down, and you could watch it move as he slid (and date?) while sliding along the
side of the tank. I've looked for pictures of various snails, but so far haven't
found one that looks like him. The only thing in the tank (freshwater 10 gallon)
are 7 African dwarf frogs. Last night, we noticed the snail was floating, and
being tossed about by the filter. I immediately isolated him into a small
storage tank, but he was already dead. Is there a way to identify him? We had
him for 4 to 6 months. We had only one snail, and we never had any others show
up (could the frogs have been eating the eggs or little snails if there were
< Probably a black mystery snail. They lay their eggs out of the water but I
suppose that the frogs could have been eating the little ones if there were
I'd like to get another snail, but I'd like to make sure I get one that will be
OK in the tank. We got lucky with the first one, but I am really hesitant to
trust the store staff (they told us a freshwater shrimp would be ok with our
frogs -- the shrimp ate 2 and killed a 3rd before we got him out of the tank and
returned him to the store).
< Generally snails eat some algae but you need to get some food down to the
bottom where the snails can get to it. If the algae is gone then they will eat
some live plants. You snails should be fine with the frogs.-Chuck>
Canister filter Qs + tank setups
Hey WWM Crew,
A big ol' Thank You! to Gwen for answering my last email (the one below this
one). It helped me picture what's happening with the canister filter. I'm sure
it'll all be crystal clear once I bring one home, lol. I'm also hoping that the
plants won't become snail food, hehe. The snails are Pomacea bridgesii effusa
Apple snails, the ones that do not eat live plants and safe for the planted
tank. They haven't eaten any of mine for the year or so I've had 'em so I think
I'm in the clear, lol.
Anyway, I have indeed pondered more and more about my setup with the 20Ls. Since
putting them together with one canister filter is not a good idea, I've been
thinking what would. Maybe two Whisper power filters, but I am afraid that the
water turbulence may be too much for both inhabitants and plants, and that they
wouldn't bring up much of the snail mess.
<These are actually a good choice... not too turbulent...>
Then I thought maybe sponge filters would work but wouldn't I be compromising
space for my plants and the snail mess might still pose a problem. Any
suggestions??? I'm open-minded and all ears :)
<I would go with hang-on, outside power filters>
Also, I've looked over more of the Eheim canister filters and found the Ecco
Comfort Plus Filter 2232 and 2234. Is this a good one or should I just stick
with the Filstar for either the 30 or 33L??
<I prefer the Ecco products over the Filstar>
Sorry for all the questions, figured that while you're all available I should
ask the pros everything I can ;) And, as always, thanks for help, it is greatly
Snails and Planted Tanks
I would like to add a single already grown Pomacea bridgesi (mystery)
and one Melanoides (Malaysian trumpet snail) specimen to my heavily
planted tank. I'm afraid that they could already be fertilized when I
bring them in the aquarium.
How much time can it take between fertilization and time to give
birth/lay eggs? In other words, how long should I quarantine them to be
sure they wont lay eggs or give birth in the display tank?
<I would wait a good two months here. Bob Fenner>