Please visit our Sponsors
FAQs on Freshwater Aquarium Snail Identification

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

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

Tiny snail ID? Assassin or Malaysian Trumpet Snails?     8/16/14
thank you in advance for your help! I've read your snail id/info, but can't tell if these little guys in my tank are Malaysian Trumpet snails (or similar) or Assassin snails.
<Not Assassin Snails, anyway.>
I'm concerned for the well being of my horned Nerite, if they're assassins.
<Oddly enough, I keep Nerites and Assassins together without problems, but I know some haven't been so lucky.>
I've removed him from the tank for now. They must have come in with some shrimp or a Nerite about 3 weeks ago and were first noticed 2 days ago. Photo are attached. They're more active at night, but I still see some during the day.
some are the size of a grain of pepper, the largest I've seen is the size of a grain of rice. Last night there were several crawling on the Nerite, so I removed him, just in case.
Thank you for your website. It's a great resource!
<So see a page on my personal web space, at the link below, for a photo of a juvenile Clea helena; they're usually quite distinctive by the time you see them emerge from the sand.

More details here:

Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Tiny snail ID? Assassin or Malaysian Trumpet Snails?     8/16/14
Thank you for the links, and info.
Is your guess Clea helena then?
<Hmm... you did compare my/your photos? Juvenile Clea helena usually have brown spiral bands, that your photo seemed to lack.>
Re: Tiny snail ID? Assassin or Malaysian Trumpet Snails?     8/16/14
Thank you for the links, and info.
Is your guess Clea helena then?
<No. As I said, not Assassin Snails (= Clea helena). More than likely one of a dozen kinds of (more or less) harmless snails like Melanoides spp. (which includes the Malaysian Trumpet Snail) that you can remove or leave in your tank as you prefer. NM>

Re: Tiny snail ID? Assassin or Malaysian Trumpet Snails?     8/17/14
Thank you for the clarification.
Yes, I did compare the photos. I didn't know if it was the coloring I was looking to match or the grooves.
<Ah, the coloration; most/many of the higher gastropods have grooves of some sort or another on the shell. Habit should be a better distinction.
Melanoides and other algae/detritus eating gastropods will graze continuously, and you will see them moving their heads from side to side as they feed, e.g., on the glass. The whelks, like Clea helena, are active predators and carrion feeders, and tend to move (for snails) quite briskly and purposefully towards food, not stopping to graze on the way.>
It didn't seen to match to me, but wanted to make sure I wasn't misunderstanding the reason you sent the links.
Thank you again for your assistance.
<Most welcome. Neale.>

Snail I.D.    6/1/14
<Oh yeah... read here:

Bob Fenner>
I was hoping you could help me identify this snail, we bought duckweed from a local(Ohio) garden center and after placing the duckweed into it's own tank(to grow more). I noticed we had snails crawling around,
they will crawl on the underside of a translucent slim at the water level. all up and down the sides of the tank. the eggs look like clear gel globs. the one pictured is about medium size of the ones I have seen.
Thank you for any help, I definitely want to know what I am dealing with.

Live conch shell     5/29/14
Hello friends at WWM,
I was doing the routine weekly water change last Sunday (May 18) and two days later I noticed a very small conch shell (about 3/4th of an inch). I was surprised and took it out with a net. I believe that it came with the tap water.
<Ummm; not likely>

The tap water I am talking about is not the drinking water, but it is pumped from the bore well in my apartment complex. I did not add anything else in the tank that this shell may have come with (no plants, no rocks).
<Someone else placed this animal here; or it's come from some old substrate addition>

Anyway, for some reason, I thought it may be alive, so I put it in a plastic jar with regular tap water. I noticed it changed position in few hours. I tried finding on the internet on what they eat and it mentioned
algae. Since I had cleaned my tank recently, there was not much left, so I left few mushroom piece in his jar. I also gave some small pebbles with bit of algae from the fish tank.
My question is that, sometimes, he reaches to the top of the water (along the wall of the jar) at night, so I was wondering if this is because of lack of oxygen?
<More likely simply moving about; seeking food perhaps>
I throw about 90% of water everyday and replenish with tap water. Should I be adding de-chlorinator like I do for my fish tank?
<See WWM re frequent partial water changes>
I will appreciate if you could give me any information on how to keep him
<And this too... see the search tool? On every page... or go through the indices>

It is been 8 days since I have him now :)
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Live conch shell     5/29/14

Hey Bob,
Thanks for the quick reply.
Okay I do see that there is some material on shells at WWM (though most of the talk about salt water aquariums).
<Conchs are all marine. See WWM re freshwater snails...>

I also noticed one of the answers suggesting to feed the shell sea-weed. I will do that, too.
<... perhaps a photo? BobF>
Re: Live conch shell     5/29/14

Hey Bob,
Oh sorry! I should have sent a picture. Here it is attached.
With the hard shell around it, I did not think it was a snail, but then I barely know anything about them.
<?.... this isn't a conch... Keep reading. B>

Snail ID   10/5/13
Hello WWM!
If you could please help me Id this snail so i can find out if this one is Good/Bad!
I think it might be a *Melanoides species...*
<Looks like it. Do read here:
Thank you
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Snail identification and possible infestation     4/9/13
Hello WWM,
The problem: I accepted some plants from a neighbour. It seems that there were some snails in the plants and now there are some snails in my tank. I fear that there may be many snails.
The steps I have taken: First step: Identify the snails. The largest is very small, but I want to act fast if this is the beginning of an infestation, so I took the attached photos.
<... your pix... I'd shoot larger files, crop the subject/s... send these on. These appear to be Ramshorns, Planorbis, from what I can make out. See WWM re the genus>
 The first and third are of a snail and are unfortunately rather blurry owing to their size and the poor quality of my cell phone.
<... a lesson in...>
 The snail is attached to the glass at about the centre of the first photo.
The snail is at the bottom left of the third photo. The second shows white spots which I am seeing on the glass of the tank and on plant leaves.
<Egg casings>
The only thing I can see in your material which looks like this is a snail you have identified as a Planorbis or Ramshorn snail.
<I do concur>
It seems that these can become a serious pest and destroy plants.
Second step: Assuming that I have correctly identified the snails and I do need to take steps to avoid an infestation, it seems that a good way to deal with them is to buy some Clea helena or assassin snails.
<One approach...>
Third step: Check with the people at WWM before acting in case I am incorrect and make things horribly worse.
Conditions:10 gallon planted tank.0 ppm ammonia0 ppm nitrates10 - 20 ppm nitrites Ph is 7.8Temperature is 78 degrees Substrate is gravel Inhabitants: 3 neon tetras1 male guppy 2 Nerite snails I change 1/3 of the water every two weeks or so
1. Have I correctly identified the snails? 2. Is it true that they will wreak havoc with the plants?
Can I leave them?
<Could; though I'd periodically "thin the herd"... w/ baiting/removal>
3. If I must take action, what should I try first?
<Up to you>
 I have seen it suggested that I put vegetable matter in at night and remove it in the morning.
<Ah yes>
Will this just put off the problem?
<"So many foxes, so many hens">
4. Should I go straight to the Clea helena?
<Could... I wouldn't>
 Is it true that I would need  5 to 6 Clea helena to control the problem?
<About this number>
5. Can my tank sustain 5 to 6 Clea helena?
<Not indefinitely no... what would they eat?>
 Will they leave enough algae for the Nerite snails?
<Will kill, consume these as well>
6. Will I ever be free of snails without starting over?
<Possibly not. There are chemical molluscicides... they have their potential and real downsides though>
As always, I am enormously grateful for your help with this.
Elisabeth in Toronto
<BobF in San Diego>

Please help me to identify this snail!
I recently started a new aquarium and I noticed 2 snails in my tank.
According to the fish shop, I should remove an snails I see as it will turn into an infestation over time! Oh, I live in Singapore if it will help the identification.
However, I'm inclined to leave it be if it doesn't do any harm to the aquarium. So can you please help me to identify this snail and tell me if it can go with my guppies, cardinal tetra and fire shrimps? Many thanks!
<This is a Melanoides spp., like Melanoides tuberculata, often called the Malayan Turret Snail. It's harmless and in fact does some good aerating the substrate as it burrows through it, but Melanoides tuberculata breed notoriously quickly. They don't eat healthy plants and only eat dead animals and plants, algae, fish faeces, etc. but it's best to remove them on sight if you want a snail-free aquarium. Some aquarists hate them, others view them as a blessing. Personally, I don't mind them, but do try to keep their numbers down, for example through the use of snail-eating snails (Clea helena) and prompt removal of uneaten food, dead fish, and so on that would drive excessive population growth. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Please help me to identify this snail!
Thank you very much for your help and your prompt reply. We have decided to keep them :)
<Cool. But do make sure you understand the risk -- these chaps breed quickly, and once you have them, removal can be difficult (though certainly not impossible). Keep the tank clean, and every few weeks go on a "snail hunt" removing all that you can see. Rest assured, some will be hidden away and those will quickly make up the numbers.
Cheers, Neale.>

Freshwater snail I.D. 9/22/11
Hi crew,
Would you mind trying to I.D. this snail for me?
It would appears that some hitched a ride in on some plants that I ordered which have been in a cycling, unstocked (fish) tank for one week. This is the biggest (about 0.5 cm long), but a few more 'babies' seem to appear each day (last count ~10 individuals visible).
Should I remove them or let them be?
I live in Singapore, if that helps your I.D. attempts.
Cheers and thank you so much for your time,
<It's a Physa or Physella species, of the sort often called Tadpole Snails.
They're basically harmless and feed on algae (diatoms, primarily) and organic detritus. Some people report damage to plants, but I have them in my planted tanks and they never seem to do any noticeable harm. They do breed fairly quickly, laying jelly-like masses of eggs, but they rarely become plagues in the same way as Melanoides spp. snails can do. I think they're rather fun to watch and add character to an aquarium. Cheers, Neale.>

Unidentified Snail. 8/12/11
Hello there!
This evening I was looking at my 20 gallon long planted tank when I saw a tiny snail on a piece of driftwood.
I attached a photo. Do you know what it is?
<Likely Planorbis; read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwsnails.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Need help ID ing a snail 8/12/11
I recently bought a pair of Apple Snails (which I think are both female, but it remains to be seen if I am correct), and a bunch of cherry shrimp along with a little bit of Java Moss.
Amongst my purchases I had two hitch-hikers -- one baby Apple Snail and this little fella. He is tiny -- no more than a couple of mm long. He is super active and speedy -- would circle a cup within 30 seconds and comes straight out of his shell within a second or two of popping him in the water. I would love your help trying to ID him before he gets too big in case he ends up being a pest (would be far easier to get rid of one of him than say 100!)
Thanks heaps for any help you could provide me with and sorry about the pic being a bit fuzzy/out of focus as he is sooo tiny it was super hard to get any pic of him at all (he's on a tissue). Oh, and I'm from Australia if that helps any.
<Mmm, appears to be a species of "pond snail", Physella gyrina possibly. Bob Fenner>

Help! Snail eggs! (They just don't work well in omelets ) 7/24/2009
Hello -
<Hi Melissa.>
There seem to be snail eggs in my daughters fish tank.
Looking at the picture, yes, those are snail eggs.>
From what I've researched, she has two gray mystery snails from PetSmart.
It seems these eggs should have been laid above the water line. Maybe there wasn't enough room up there or maybe they fell, because they are in the bottom of the tank and the number of eggs has decreased, dramatically.
<They likely fell. You can read about snail reproduction here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWsubwebindex/fwsnailreprofaqs.htm >
Maybe more than half are gone.
<Fish food.>
Is there any chance that some of these could hatch under water?
<It is possible.>
If not, I'd rather get them out of the tank while my daughter is visiting with her cousins...which gives me 2 days.
<I would remove them.>
Thanks in advance for your help!
<My pleasure.>

Re: Help! Snail eggs! (They just don't work well in omelets ) 7/24/2009
Mike -
<Hi Melissa.>
Thanks so much for the quick reply.
<My pleasure.>
They are practically all gone now.
<I'm sure the fish found them delicious.>
Too bad. I'll make sure we keep a lower water line so there is some space at the top of the tank for next time.
<That would be fine.>
Lol...I just saw your comments about omelets!

Hey There,
Can you please identify this type/class of snail for me. He was purchased @ a local Pet Store 4 months ago or so. See attached pics.
<... see WWM re the genus Pomacea>
Recently, for about 2 days he laid dormant on the bottom of my 78 degree tank. After cleaning the tank & re-establishing a better PH balance, with
conditioner, I think he is okay, but am worried about the possible issues that may be plaguing his health. He is active again at this point but not to the extent he was previously, before the altercation. He is not acting the same i.e.: not sliding over the remnants of the tank, like he did before. He used to cruise around in a speedy fashion on a regular basis. Now he is only sticking his body to items near the filter of the tank & hanging out on the temperature gauge, not moving around a lot at all. He is out of his shell somewhat, but not like before as you can see in the Pics.
<... keep reading>
We only feed him fish food. Is that enough? It obviously was enough for the past few months but is it healthy for him to only eat that. Will he eat
shrimp/crab shell or green lettuce? What do you think he would prefer? How do I check the exact PH balance of my tank? Is he growing his own shell? see pics
Pl/email me back
Thank You,
Laura Lee
<Laura... all this is posted, archived on our site... Please learn to/use the search tool, indices. Bob Fenner, on too-slow a conn. to give you the URLs>
<<Yay! Your snail looks very healthy... B>>

sorry, should work now..
really confused 3/23/09
hey guys,
yea this has been something puzzling me for a while now. I know its has something to do with snails because I have had this in my fresh water tank as well (only when I added snails to the tank), and I cant find any pics showing that they could be eggs. (either that or its Ich?)
<Are eggs>
What are these things? Hope the pic is clear, took with webcam. Thanks guys

Speedy Gonzales Snail. FW, ID, comp. f's 2/27/09 Hi- Summer here again. <And Robare pronto> I have a very small snail in my 240 L Juwel Rio tank which is still cycling with 6 zebra Danios, gravel, live and fake plants, bogwood, rocks and now an 8 inch airstone. I say the snail is a 'he' because I am thinking of 'him' that way. He's been around for about a week, and now I want to know how he contributes (or not) to my tank. <Mmm> He must have arrived on one of my live plants. <Usual> I'm amazed at how quickly he gets around. He's small and hard to spot, and moves so fast that in 30 seconds he's on the other side of the bogwood. Hence, I named him Speedy Gonzales. Questions are: 1) From the below photos, apologies for poor quality, can you tell me what type of snail he is? I'm guessing Ramshorn. <You are correct> 2) Can he reproduce on his own and if so, is that to be expected and a potential problem? <Can, possibly> I read http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWsubwebindex/fwsnails.htm
and it says they are hermaphroditic, just not clear if they need another snail to make more. I've seen no other signs of snails in my tank. 3) Is he good for my tank? <Mmm, perhaps more good than not> He eats dropped food (very quick hunter, this one) and seems to leave the plants alone. He usually hangs out on the bogwood. I'd like to keep him, he's pretty cool so far. As always, thank you so much! Summer <A tough one Summer... on the one hand, I really like these sorts of "hitchhikers"... but too much of a good thing? You could remove the one, keep it elsewhere... or plan on countervailing/population control in a few ways should there be an explosion of unwanted Ramshorns. Bob Fenner>

Re: Speedy Gonzales Snail Thanks Bob! I'm going to keep my eyes out for a snail explosion and leave Speedy G in the tank for now. <Sounds good... BobF, making that cartoon sound>

Magic Snails, FW, sel., ID 10/5/08
I've looked over all the FAQ pages, and I haven't quite found what I'm looking for, so I resort to asking you. I have a 75g reef tank as well as a 30g freshwater tank. I've noticed over the past few weeks that I have dozens of what appear to be Cerith snails in my freshwater tank.
<In the freshwater tank at least, these are likely Melanoides spp. (such as Melanoides tuberculata). They're useful, predominantly nocturnal snails that burrow through the sediment feeding on organic matter. They are livebearers, and can become very numerous if they find enough to eat -- a comment on the cleanliness of the tank more than anything else! They don't do any harm, and numbers can be controlled by physical removal, trapping, cleaning the tank, or installation of a suitable predator such as the whelk Clea helena.>
The tank has been established for several years, with nothing being added in the past 2 years but fish. I've let all of the ornamental fish complete their lifecycles, and I only have one Pleco and a few feeder fish for my fuzzy lion (I'm weaning him off successfully, but he's taking his time). I've had a ton of Cerith eggs in my reef tank, is it possible that they hitchhiked on the net while in the plankton stage, and developed in my FW tank?
<It's certainly possible for certain intertidal or estuarine marine snails to survive in freshwater conditions, for example Puperita pupa and Neritina virginea. These are sometimes sold as freshwater snails despite doing better in brackish/marine conditions. They don't tend to breed in freshwater tanks though, because their larvae need saltwater conditions to develop. This said, most snails sold for reef tanks will be stenohaline rather euryhaline species.>
I can't think of any other place they could come from.
If this is the case, is there any way of re-acclimating them to saltwater? Thanks for your
<Cheers, Neale.>

Nerite snail 2/5/08 Hello Crew, I just received a Nerite Snail as a belated birthday gift.. My friend had asked for a freshwater snail and was sold this lovely little fellow. I'm trying to figure what species he is though. As you can tell he's in a jar right now, and I tested his water to make sure of it's freshwaterness. I'm trying to figure out if he's one of the ones that rathers freshwater or brackish water. Though this seems to merely be a matter of opinion from what I can tell. Any help would be greatly appreciated though! -Collin <It's almost certainly Neritina natalensis, the most common Nerite currently sold in the UK trade at least. It's a true freshwater species, though it does inhabit mountain streams and the like rather than swamps or lakes, so needs a tank with lots of water movement and plenty of oxygen. Otherwise a nice little algae-eating snail. Cheers, Neale.>

Snails, horns? 10/25/07 Hello, I was told today that snails have horns, but I always thought that they didn't have horns as I thought they had eyes. So please could you clear up this question for me. Many thanks Amanda <Hello Amanda. Not sure what you mean by "horns". Clearly not the keratin structures specific to certain mammals, such as goats and cows! But if you mean antennae (or "feelers") then snails have varying numbers of these, depending on the type of snail in question. Most snails have at least one pair, but these may be very short and little more than triangular stubs (as in the case of Physa spp. pond snails or Patella spp. limpets). But other snails have long, mobile antennae that they use to locate food and find their way around. Apple snails (family Ampullariidae) not only have antennae but also eyes at the end of eye-stalks and a single long breathing tube called a siphon that they use to gulp air while remaining under water. Cheers, Neale>
Re: snails 10/25/07
Hello It was question in a quiz and I was told that snail have retractable horns and like I said I have always thought that these were called eyes or tentacles. Amanda <Well, no idea what your quiz-master was talking about. Molluscs don't have horns, period. They may well have eyestalks and antennae, but that's about it. Cheers, Neale.>

Slimy brown worms are back! -- 06/07/07 Good Morning- Samantha again. <Hiya Samantha, Darrel here ... again> I have the baby Red Ear Slider turtles and then the slimy sticky worms popped up in my tank. Remember me? <Yes I do, Samantha. Usually when I hear people mention "slimy, sticky worms" I think of my brother-in-law, but I do remember you and your infestation.> Well I've been cleaning the tank regularly and no worms have come about. <Good. Progress.> However, when I clean out my tank and also when I dump the water from my feeder tank I just throw it in my grass in the back yard. <So do I - often the water waste can be good fertilizer> Tonight I went out and saw one of those worms on the wall. I realized a few days after I sent the first email that they look a lot like slugs. I took a picture, do you think these are coming from the tank water? <That's a great picture, Samantha and that is definitely a slug. To me, it looks like a run of the mill garden slug except being much darker brown than we usually see. So while it's possible that the slugs came from the lawn or the garden ... if you didn't have slugs in your backyard until after you dumped slugs and water from your aquarium into your backyard we can assume that they came from the tank. Slugs need a lot of moisture to survive, Samantha, so try dumping your water somewhere else for a while -- let's see if drying out the back yard a bit sends the slugs away.> I also attached a picture of one of the turtles. Am I correct that it is a red-ear slider? <Yes you are .. a very cute picture of a baby Pseudemys scripta elegans (Red Eared Slider!> Samantha

Small snail like parasites??? 5/30/07 Dear Crew: It has been a long time since I have had any problems, all has been great since the death of Maggie, platy. Your site has been a great help, and I have spent many hours learning about my aquarium and habitants. I recently had a Betta die, who was otherwise very healthy, when I found her she was covered in a white fluffy like substance, <Perhaps after the fact... decomposers> and I noticed these very tiny snail like things on the tank walls. I treated my tank with Maracide, <For?> every other day for 3 treatment days, and on putting the first dose in, noticed a platy and another Betta rubbing their bodies on the gravel. <Perhaps, most likely, due to the medicine addition...> all seemed to be going well. Today, I find the tank once again infested?? with these very tiny worms? Or snails, they do not have backs, and they do have what appears to be feelers. There is a lot <No such word...> of them, I can not seem to find out what they are. Do you know what they are? and what I should do with them? I appreciate and thank you for any feedback. Thank you for your time. Charlie <Likely are worms, very likely not harmful... Opportunistically reproduced to noticeable levels given the abundance of food (the dead Betta)... will "go" in time. I would leave them be for now. Bob Fenner>
Re: Small snail like parasites??? 5/31/07 Hello Mr. Fenner: <C und B> Thank you for your time. I think you were right about the decomposer, I did not think it happened too quickly, <Oh yes... many 'things' happen quickly underwater, compared to terrestrial events> and I thought it must have been a disease. I treated the tank for Ich, velvet, and other external parasites. The other fish appear to be fine. I do not know why she died, the tank seems fine as are the water conditions. After spending many hours on your site last night, it is wonderful, (me thinks you are too), <Why thank you> I wonder if they might be trumpet snails? <Mmm, maybe... don't look quite long enough to be Malaysians... but might just be small... Where would they have been introduced? Ah, yes, on the plants> I have taken a picture, I hope you can see it. <Yes> At night there are hundreds of them, on the plants, glass and gravel, on closer inspection, they appear to have tiny shells. During the day, only the very tiny seem to be active, they appear on the glass. I have had no new additions to the tank in a year, I do not have live plants, and is it possible they lie dormant until conditions are favorable? <Yes...> I am just baffled to where they might have come from, <This species mainly lives in/under the sand/substrate by day, coming out to forage at night> they are quite fascinating to watch, and my four year old son thinks they are bees knees!! You are right about them being harmless, they appear to not bother the fish at all, and vise versa. <Correct... within not-too-high population numbers they are an asset... keeping the gravel stirred...> Thank you again for your help. Have a wonderful day. Sincerely, <Thank you my friend. BobF>

Tiny water snail? 5/24/07 While I was searching to identify an unknown species of flatworm I happened across this photo submitted by someone else. It was never identified and I was wondering if you could satisfy my curiosity as to what type of snail this is; or if it is a snail at all. The original poster stated that it was found on the remains of a muskrat along a creek bed. Thank you in advance for any help you can provide. <Assuming the thing wasn't actively wriggling about, it looks like a germinating seed to me. Certainly doesn't look like a snail. What's the size of the thing? Did it move? Was it "hard" or "soft"? Cheers, Neale> <<Neale... gots to move all incoming graphics to the folder labeled "Emails with Images"... RMF>>

Tom: Limpets? 12/26/06 Hi Tom, <<Hi, Rachel and Happy Holidays to you.>> I had a quick question. Somewhere along the way I accidentally introduced what I thought were common pond snails to my aquarium. (I do have live plants but I removed as many snails as I saw and quarantined the plants as well. No more snails showed up, so I put the plants in the tank. I certainly could've missed one though. They appeared after I added the mystery snail, so one could've come in on his shell.) <<Either is possible. Eggs might be easily missed as well.>> After observing the snails for quite awhile, I'm starting to think they're freshwater limpets. <<Interesting'¦>> They're very small, no longer than two millimeters or so, and have the asymmetrical conical shell; they look like pictures of freshwater limpets from Google. They've been hanging out on the tank walls wherever there's algae, and on the leaves of the plants. I couldn't find much information on their diet--what I did find was that they eat algae, fungus, and bacterial slime. Sounds great. <<Kind of makes Christmas dinner pale by comparison. :)>> However, a few sites suggested they also eat plants. My plants aren't the focus of my tank, but I would like to at least keep them alive, and the leaves have been looking ratty lately. Think the limpets are the culprits? I'd like to think the limpets are just eating bits of algae off the plant leaves... but I'll certainly remove them if I need to. <<I wouldn't rule it out, Rachel, but the 'yummies' you mentioned earlier would likely be the mainstay of their diets. If anything, they might be making a meal of the plants due to their condition rather than creating the condition. I'm certainly no authority on either but I've run across information that suggests that plants that are 'ratty' would be far more enticing to these than healthy plants would be. Rotting vegetation would be more to their liking.>> One more thing--In keeping an eye on my tank, I've noticed little invertebrates crawling around in the gravel, on the mystery snail's shell, and today a few hung out on the Betta for a while, but dropped off and didn't seem to have done him any damage. They're so tiny and they move so quickly I can hardly describe them myself, much less get a picture--just little tiny spheres zipping around. They seem to be a brownish color. I'm betting they're some kind of harmless freshwater pod, but is there any chance they'll munch on my fish? <<I'm totally unaware of gastropods causing fish any harm by munching on them. Most all are herbivores/detritivores and should pose no threat to your Betta.>> Thanks for any help! Rachel <<Don't think I've done much more than confirm what you already probably suspected here, Rachel, but it was good hearing from you again. Enjoy the rest of the 'Season'. Tom>>
Re: Tom: Limpets?
12/28/06 Thanks very much for your help, Tom! I really appreciate having a second opinion from someone so much more knowledgeable than me! <<Don't short-change yourself, Rachel. You pulled off some very respectable research on this last one.>> Happy Holidays to you too, and to the rest of the Crew. <<Speaking for us all, we thank you, Rachel.>> I'm surprised to find you all are still answering questions during the holiday season. But, here I am reading them! <<Lots of very fine people on board here, our readers included.>> Rachel <<Continued success, Rachel. Best regards. Tom>>

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

Re: Help to identify snail 6/25/06 - Dear Bob, <Jason> 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>

Abalone snails in my freshwater community tank... Need ID 12/20/2005 I am trying to establish abalone snails in my freshwater community tank. I have purchased them from a local aquarium supply store. They are round, about 1-1.5 cm in diameter and about 0.5-0.75 cm high. The snails seem to do fine for a while (I've had some for several months) and are laying numerous eggs (hundreds) on the glass walls of the tank. None, however, have hatched after more than six weeks. When I was in the store today, the fellow there said that he was having the same problem in his home tank. The eggs are usually in clumps and about 1 mm in diameter. They are usually cream or beige, but are sometimes white. They seem stable for several weeks, then disintegrate, leaving thin small rings marking their circumferences. <There are no actual non-marine Haliotids... true abalones. Can you tell me/us what these are in terms of scientific name, or higher taxonomy? Am totally unfamiliar> The tank is a 77 gallon tall tank. It has two Emperor 400 filters and one Fluval 403 filter. The filtration includes charcoal and Kent Nitrate Sponge. I have two Red Sea CO2 generators to put CO2 in the tank. It is heavily planted with a variety of plants, all of which are thriving. It is well lit. It has been established for 25 years. <Nice> Both Buenos Aires Tetras and Corydoras cats have reproduced in it. It also has Chinese Algae Eaters, Otocinclus, a Rainbow Shark, Cardinal Tets, Minicrabs, and Algae Eating shrimp, and an ongoing population of red Ramshorn snails in it. <Mmm, I suspect these snails are not amenable to your water chemistry... nor your clerk at the LFS's> With each monthly water change (about 70%) I add Kent Freshwater Plant, Kent Freshwater Essentials, Kent Pro-Choice, either Kent Blackwater Expert or Instant Amazon (Marc Weiss Companies, Inc.), <These chemicals may also be playing a role here... but need to know the snails tolerances for water quality> Kordon NovAqua +, and one TBS of Seachem Neutral Regulator and one TBS of Seachem Acid Buffer. I also add FreshWater Plant, Pro-Choice, and Blackwater Expert or Instant Amazon on a weekly basis. I have used this recipe for years. I keep the water at 78-79 degrees. the most recent water chemistries were: pH: 6.8 (Doc WellFish), 7.0 (TetraTest) GH: No test (Doc WellFish), 5.0 dH TetraTest) NO3: 20 mg/l (Doc WellFish), 25 mg/l (TetraTest) NO2: 0 (Doc WellFish), No test (TetraTest) NH3/NH4: <0.25 mg/l (Doc Wellfish), No test (TetraTest) Any suggestions as to how I can get these snail eggs to hatch? Any info you can give me would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Bruce McAllister I hope this works, Thanks, Bruce <Mmm, even a photo you can send along may help with actual identification. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Spruce Creek River Snail 9/23/05 While fishing in the spruce creek river, Florida. I noticed snails on the rocks , a lot of them everywhere .A friend told me that species only lives in this river. He didn't know the name of the snails. They have a conch shape with spikes on the cone end , and the biggest is 3" long. Can you tell me about this guys and if there safe for aquarium life. Oh this river is about 10 miles south of Daytona Beach . >> Without a photo it is difficult to say what species of snail this is. What fish were you catching? Is the water brackish, or are you very close to the estuary? Do you want to put the snail in a freshwater or saltwater aquarium? What else is in the aquarium now? Snails may bring in parasites, or eat the other animals and plants in your tank. Without knowing more about it I would not recommend putting it in your tank. Good Luck, Oliver.

Snail ID... 8/31/05 I have a snail that is about the size of two or three golf balls and I don't know what kind it is. <Likely an "Apple" or "Baseball Snail"... please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwsnails.htm> It has holes that open and close and little worm things come out. Can you tell me what the worm things are? <Nope. Please see the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Can you help me identify this snail? 8/22/05 Hi! I found a snail in the river today and I want to find out how to take care of it, but I can't figure out what kind it is. It is very tiny, smaller than a BB gun pellet, so it is hard to see detail. It's shell is goldish brown and pretty transparent. The shell is a squat, round spiral. The opening is more on the left, with the fat little cinnamon bun spiral ending on the right. Its body is white-yellow. I wonder if it is a baby or just a very small species. I found it on a rock on the bottom of a shallow slow moving river here in Massachusetts. It is in about 1 1/2 inches of water in a glass bowl right now, munching on a clam shell that I found near it in the river. I will really appreciate any help you can give. Thank-You! -Danielle <Mmm, I would use the Net... search under "river life of... your area".... maybe even the term freshwater snails... of MA... Bob Fenner>

Small hard round shell like animals on my fresh water tank glass 8/22/05 Hi, my name is Michelle and I tried to find my answer on your website but can't find any thing like this. <Hi Michelle> I have these small hard round shell like animals on my fresh water tank glass, they are about the size of a pin head, not very big, really hard to take a picture of they don't show up, when I clean the inside of the glass I take a clean cloth and drag it from the bottom to top and can bring up as many as four to ten depending? The only way I can get them off is to take a paper towel push down on them with my finger nail and it smashes them on to the paper towel, that is because they have a hard shell, what are they, I noticed them when I was using the product CYCLE, They almost seem snail like and they do move! This is fresh water I am talking about, are they harmful to my fish? what are they? <Larval freshwater snails. The eggs are nearly invisible and can enter the system attached to plants or bogwood. Not harmful to fish but do tend to multiply uncontrollably. I like to leave some in the system unless live plants are present as the little snails help to eat left over waste and algae. If they get out of control, add a clown loach (provided your system can support one) and the loach will clear the tank of snails in no time.> Thank you for your time, <No problem at all.> Michelle Wrathell <Cheers -- Glenn> Re: small hard round shell like animals on my fresh water tank glass 8/22/05 Thank you! Thank you! <Quite welcome.> That is a relief! Because I do tend to feed too much and thought that was the problem, seems strange that we like to overfeed our fish too much and that gives us more work (cleaning more) and most of our problems when it comes to disease and parasites. <Indeed.> You said that either from plants or bogwood, I don't have neither, what else could they have come from? I was thinking the Cycle. <Cycle wouldn't introduce snails. They could have come in on anything that was previously in another tank, or even in the shipping water of fish. IME most freshwater tanks will inevitably get snails at some point if set up long enough.> Thank you for your time I really appreciate it, that makes me feel better that it isn't something that I have done. <No worries. Best of luck!> Michelle W. <--Glenn>

Pushmipullyu Ramshorns?? - 08/16/2005 I have 2 Ramshorn snails that are about the sizes of a dime on some and a nickel for others. I have noticed that in the past 4 months that 2 of them have grown what looks like another head. <?!> This growth is on the direct opposite side as its head is but has no antennas. <You're not just seeing the "tail" end, are you?> Two more of these snails have exceptionally large "penises" along with this other head. <Perhaps these two are just growing/developing faster than the others?> Is this possible or are they just one of those things? <I'd like to refer you to http://www.applesnail.net/ . There is a forum there that you could possibly post in and see if someone can help you find an answer, if you are unable to find it within their (very informative) site.> Sherry Tulenko <Wishing you well, -Sabrina>

Garden Snails Aquatic? 7/22/05 Hi there, I love your site! I visit often and would like to thank you for all your very useful advice. I have a question for you. Today a friend of mine at the local grocery store found a snail cruising around the back room, produce department and offered it to me for my fish tank. <Be on the lookout when you buy your tomatoes next time...> My problem is.. I don't know what kind of snail this is, and I have a tank in which I just added some aquarium salt to yesterday. ( which my guppies are very happy about) So I'm worried the salt will harm it. <Aquatic snails have no problem dealing with salt. However, it does not seem as if this one was aquatic. If it was found on dry land, leave it on dry land, don't stick it in water.> I looked online and think it may be a garden snail, if it is, can it survive in an aquarium? <Doubtful.> Right now its in a fish bowl with some cabbage and a tiny bit of water, until I find out what to do with it. I'd like to keep it, the kids adore it. So any advice on what kind of snail this is and how to care for it would be very much appreciated! Thanks in advance. (Picture is attached.) <I'm sorry, I didn't receive any photo, so I really cannot help you there. However, Google is magic: do an image search on Garden snails, see if it matches your snail. If so, switch to a web search and start reading! Mike G> -Gina

Snail Question Dear WWM Crew, <Lynn> I'm hoping you will know my snail by a description, as I don't have a picture to send. I've searched the net for a pic or description that suits him but haven't found anything thus far. I'm asking because I'm quite fond of him and would like to make sure I'm taking proper care of him. 'Garfunkel' is about 1cm, or 1/2 an inch, and his shell has stripes of black and orange-yellowish that run from the front to back. There is one small turn in his shell, toward the back on his right side, where all the stripes end (or begin?). He has a door that he can close and only two tentacles, and his skin is striped as well. He doesn't eat my plants, has never multiplied, keeps the (freshwater) tank spotless, and is growing very slowly (if at all). I'd appreciate your help if you can offer any info such as: his name, what he eats, any special needs, where his kind comes from. I'd like to keep him alive and well as long as possible. Regards, Lynn VanAsseldonk <Have no idea... you might try writing your description on the larger hobbyist BB's re live plants... like the Krib... Send along a pic if you can make one. Bob Fenner>

Freshwater Abalone Hello all I purchased a few mollusks that were called Freshwater Abalone recently (please see picts). <Mmm, there are no freshwater abalone per se (family Haliotidae... all marine), but there are some freshwater limpets... which of a few family possibilities is what these appear to be> They seem to do well in my plant tank. They devour algae voraciously and have grown considerably. I currently keep them in a 100 gallon tank with gold clams, gold mussels, Malaysian trumpet Snails, Amano Shrimp, SAEs and a Farlowella. Are they truly Abalone? Also, are those eggs that are seen in the background of the pictures? <Look like it> Thanks for any information, Stan <Please put the term "freshwater limpets" in your search tools... Much to be found/read re these fascinating mollusks. Bob Fenner>

Re: Freshwater Abalone Hello Bob Thanks for your response. These guys are constantly in motion. The few limpets I encountered in the past (all freshwater) were fairly stationary. The eggs I showed you are definitely being laid by these mollusks but I have as yet to see any offspring. Perhaps this species requires brackish or fully marine conditions to hatch properly. Regardless, thanks for your help. I am going to try researching these further. Stan <If spawned in freshwater, very likely will hatch there... Bob Fenner>

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

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

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

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

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

Become a Sponsor Features:
Daily FAQs FW Daily FAQs SW Pix of the Day FW Pix of the Day New On WWM
Helpful Links Hobbyist Forum Calendars Admin Index Cover Images
Featured Sponsors: