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FAQs on Pond Snails

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Aquatic Gardens

Ponds, Streams, Waterfalls & Fountains:
Volume 1. Design & Construction
Volume 2. Maintenance, Stocking, Examples

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by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Pond snail is slowing down    2/5/12
Our 3 week owned pond snail lives in a 10 gallon tank with a Betta.
<How was this system cycled? That is, biological filtration established?>
 A couple days ago we noticed a new baby snail.  Our big snail has slowed way down, seems to be sleeping a lot, and spends a lot of time floating while closed up. 
<Not good>
Tonight she just sat on the bottom of the tank not moving partially open.  She used to be fast.  There are plants in the tank that she likes to chew on.  Her shell appears normal, no cracks or thin areas.   
The temperature is consistent, there is a filter. 
<What species of snail is this? Where, how was it kept before your acquiring it? If kept in cool/er water, this may be cause for trouble here>
A few days ago I shut off the filter off 24 hours to encourage algae growth.  The light is on only during the day.  Any tips?  I feel bad for her/him.
<Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/PhysaF.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Re: Pond snail is slowing down   2/7/12

Thanks for your quick response.  Our tank is 70 degrees. 
<Mmm, again... what species of snail is this? Have you read where you were referred?>
We got him from the pet store and they said to put him with a filter in a warm tank.  The filtration system is a black box that runs the water through a square filter.  Our snail has now not moved for two days.
<Bad sign>
  His shell isn't closed.
He's kind of open about 1/2 an inch.  I think he's a goner.  How do we know if he's dead?
<Pick it up, give it a whiff... anybody home?>
The baby snail is zipping around the tank though.  It helps ease the sadness for our little girl.
<... "and the linked files above..." BobF>
Re: Pond snail is slowing down 02/08/12

Thanks Bob.  I did read the links where you sent me.  I don't really know what kind of snail it was.  I gave my best guess based on photos.
<Which is what?...>
When we sniffed him we almost passed out though so we guessed he was dead. 
<Sorry for the loss>
I appreciated your tips though.  Hopefully the baby does better.
<Usually organisms borne into given settings do. Cheers, BobF>

Pond snails... stkg./sel.   11/5/11
My daughter brought home a pond snail from school that was raised in our math & science center. Can we introduce this snail to our established freshwater aquarium?
<No... are cold water organisms; not suitable for indoor use, and too likely to harbor/vector disease... DO wash your hands after touching. Bob Fenner>
Re: Pond snails
Even though our aquarium is not heated, it is keep at room temp.
<Even though>

Pond Snails. stkg./sel.   10/17/11
Hello there!
I've been reading lots of information on your website with regards to pest snails and what's best to do.
My current situation that I would appreciate advice on is this:
So it's the same old story, so snails hitch hiked their way to my tank on a plant. The snails I caught (wanted to avoid killing them) are presently living in a tub with some cut off's from the plant and the odd fish flake to eat. I gave the main plant itself a salty-warm bath, to eradicate anything else, given it a through clean and have put it back in the tank after giving it a weeks quarantine. So all is well there.
The snails also laid some eggs in their little tub. So yesterday I was doing a quick clean (with a little pipette just sucking up the dirt) and I was very careful to avoid the eggs (they'd fallen off the plant they were
originally hanging on and were lying on the bottom) I then topped up the water a little bit. However today I cannot see the eggs any more, they seem to have disappeared?
<Mmm, maybe>
There are no baby snails, as I doubt the eggs would have hatched after 5 days. So not sure what happened there?
<Could be just very small at this point; too small, transparent to see>
I was also considering taking the snails to my parents house, to live in the ponds at their house. They have 2 wild life ponds, with mainly frogs and newts. Would it be safe to release the snails there?
<Mmm, please don't do this. These are highly unlikely indigenous... You could/might well be spreading a pest... Or worse; many gastropods are vectors/carriers of parasitic disease... some for humans>
I've read mixed things about it, some say no as snails may or may not carry diseases, or some say yes, that they are a good addition?
<In general not.>
Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!
<Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/pdsnailwgm.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Re: Pond Snails   10/20/11

Thanks so much!
<Welcome Aimee>
I had briefly read that article, but I've now realised my snails fall in the 'un wanted' category of belonging to the Physa species.
Is it okay to continue looking after them in the tub they currently reside in, or should I kill them?
<Up to you...>
I've heard of people keeping snails in buckets and the tub they currently have is like a mini bucket, 125mm across the entire top and 130mm high, usually filled about half way (there is also a lid with small holes to stop any escapee's).
There's only 3 snails (that are currently sized around 7mm in length) and I imagine the population will be fairly easy to control as I will spot eggs and can then keep or destroy them depending on numbers?
<You'll see>
I was considering moving them into a 21 litre tank that will be available sometime early next year (maybe keeping a few guppies or Betta with them?
Or will they just kill the snails?)
<They'll all get along>
only issue really is that the top of the tank has grates, so I imagine they may try to escape and/or the population may be difficult to control, losing track of how many are in there?
<Highly unlikely an issue>
I know it may sound a bit crazy looking after snails that are considered pests, but they are so interesting to watch and observe and their shells have such lovely colours and patterns! What do you think would be best to do?
<I have this genus of Gastropod...>
I'm a bit unsure on which option is best to take!
<Then wait till you are sure. BobF>
Thanks, I appreciate the help!

Freshwater "Pond" Snails... NOT releasing to wild    9/28/11
Hello, I have already spent many hours reading your website, somewhat aimlessly, as the information is always interesting. After reading the posts on pest snails, one question remains:
I live in the temperate Midwest. I have a container of snails I have collected from my freshwater aquariums that presumably hitchhiked on the many plants that I have bought for these tanks. Rather than kill them, I'd like to release them into a local pond and leave the question of their survival to nature. Is there any reason I shouldn't do this?
<I wouldn't release them. There's a risk they can carry diseases from the tropical fish trade into native waters. If you need to get rid of them, then kill them (squishing does the trick) and you can actually use the squished snails as food for many fish, including loaches, cichlids and many catfish.>
By-the-way, I am one of the unsuspecting and naive aquarists that purchased "apple" snails when I (re)started with this hobby. I have two. Unlike the fish and plants I keep, I never researched them. After one and half years, they seem quite healthy and have grown rather large.
<Well done! It's pretty uncommon for them to live their full lifespan in tropical aquaria, but it does happen. I've seen specimens get to tennis ball size.>
Thanks for your help,
<And thanks for writing. Cheers, Neale.>

Pond Snails, repro.    4/15/11
Hi there,
I just found my pond snails mating, so I would like to know, where do they lay the eggs? Above the water level? If so, how high up? I want to know because at the moment, there's 1.5 inches of water that doesn't fill the tank, is that high enough so the pond snails don't crawl out of the tank?
Also, what do I need to feed the hatchlings?
Thanks :)
<Greetings. Generally, snail babies are entirely self-sufficient and you won't need to do anything! Physa, Lymnaea, Planorbis, and most of the other pond snails lay their eggs underwater in jelly-like clumps, and the snails that emerge from the eggs are easily big enough to fend for themselves.
Pomacea spp. (Apple or Mystery snails) are a bit different because they lay their eggs in calcareous rose-coloured masses above the waterline. In the wild, they climb around 30 cm up from the surface of the water, but in aquaria they usually lay their eggs on the underside of the hood. Either way, the eggs hatch and the baby snails then go into the water and develop there. They aren't especially difficult to rear, but some algae and blanched lettuce leaves will be much appreciated. Cheers, Neale.>

Apple Snail Question 05/27/09
Hi there. Nine days ago, we purchased two apple snails for our new pond (the guy at the pet store said this was fine), we soon learned this wasn't good at all.
<Does depend where you live; if you happen to live in the subtropics or tropics, then Pomacea snails can adapt well to pond life. But they aren't at all suitable for ponds in the temperate zone, and even in warmer parts of the world they do need a "resting period" lasting some months. Personally, I don't rate Apple snails as particularly good pets, and the overwhelming majority of them die within a year, never reaching anything like their full size.>
In our crash course on water care and snails we lost one and surprisingly the other is still alive. We put in a new, bigger pond and placed him in there to get him out of the old toxic water and he started moving up and down the sides (it's about a 200 gallon pond).We were so happy that he was still alive that we bought a ten gallon tank for him and got him to other apple snails for company.
<They actually couldn't care less about company... more important you provide optimal conditions for one snail than try to house a bunch of them under less than perfect conditions.>
Well, the first day we put all three in the tank, he was partially out of his shell and wasn't moving for about twelve hours, and he appeared to be defecating and producing excess slime. We got worried and read that you should remove the snail immediately from the tank if they appear as if they are dying.
<You should certainly remove a dead snail from any aquarium, yes. But removing one that's merely behaving oddly isn't a good idea. Periodically shedding mucous and producing copious faeces are both normal behaviours.  Unless the snail is constantly shedding mucous, small amounts aren't anything to worry about, and like all herbivores, the more fibre-rich their diet, the more solid waste they produce.>
We put him in a 1.5 gallon tank with a filtering system and there are times he's floating on the bottom or in the middle of the tank and the next day he'll be sucked to the side.
<See, this is the thing. Conditions in a 1.5 gallon "tank" aren't tenable for an Apple snail, and really, such "tanks" are useless. Buckets are bigger! So, buying such a tank is a total waste of money. On top of that, because water quality WILL be less stable and likely less good in such a tank, moving from the 10 gallon to the 1.5 gallon will simply make a bad situation worse. Much better to identify the problem, and them act accordingly.>
Many times my husband has told me to just put him in the freezer, but I can't.
<And shouldn't; freezing animals is not a humane way to kill them. While I admit it's hard to empathize for a snail, what makes humans (potentially)
special is our ability to see what's cruel from what's humane. If you must euthanize a snail, use a humane method as described for fish. In any case, snails tend to be either "healthy" or "dead", so if the snail is active, there's hope! Put the snail in the right conditions, with the right water quality, and at the right temperature. In other words, an 8-10 gallon aquarium, with hard (10+ degrees dH) water at pH 7.5 to 8, with no salt, and at a middling to low temperature around 22-24 C. Ammonia and nitrite should be zero at all times, and the snail must have access to air, so allow a good couple of inches space between the waterline and the hood. For at least three months of the year, keep the temperature lower so the thing can go dormant; ideally, remove it from the water and keep in damp soil at around 18 C. Do note that Apple snails are neither tropical nor coldwater animals, and can't be kept indefinitely in either unheated tanks (outside of the subtropics, of course) or tropical tanks.>
Then later on he'll look good and surprise us by how active he is. Any way, he's been in separated for a day and a half now. How long do I wait to put him back, I feel like all I'm doing is testing water on both tanks and the pond. Is he behaving normal? The other two snails have not floated at all yet. I've read they do this but he does it quite a bit and doesn't close all of the way. Is he permanently damaged by being put into the untreated pond water? The nitrites were VERY high as was the ammonia.
<This is what's killing the snail; keep the snail in good conditions and it should pep up.>
He's in stable conditions now. Any info would be a great help. Thanks.
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Apple Snail Question 5/28/2009

Thank you so much, I'm determined to keep them alive. I appreciate your help, I couldn't get useful information anywhere else.
<Happy to help. Do try and track down "Apple Snails in the Aquarium" by Gloria Perrera and Jerry G. Walls; it's the single best book on the topic
published. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Apple Snail Question 05/29/09

Hi again, Thank you so much.
<Well, that's good news!>
He perked right up in the ten gallon tank. He's moving along with the other two as if nothing happened. He must've just been adjusting to the new  environment before or something.
<Sounds like you have everything under control. Good luck, Neale.>

Swimmer itch ... nematodes, ponds...   5/9/06 greetings- i have been enjoying your snail reading- We have the "swimmer itch"- so our water dogs tell us-  so the reading on this subject says some varieties of snails are hosts- so i am looking for predator snails to eat all the other ones- or turtles etc... what do you think- and where could we purchase? <I would utilize either a copper based algicide to kill the intermediate hosts (the snails) or other purposeful molluscicide here. Are you in the U.S.? There may well be a government or university agency that can/will tell you what they specifically advise here. We used to use "blue stone", copper sulfate... with about ten percent citric acid mixed in... in the infested lakes we maintained, for this purpose. Bob Fenner> > thank you > Alexander Eriksson

Re: New pond, worms 8/18/05 Hi Bob <Wendy> Decided to get back to you and update you on the worms. My vet said she could not dispense medication without seeing a patient.  I told her my dead fish are buried in the garden. I found this site: http://www.kensfish.com to be EXTREMELY helpful.  I was able to obtain some Prazi (Praziquantel) without any difficulty, and have used it.  2 doses recommended to get rid of eggs etc that may have been shielded by the adult worm/fish on 1st application. I still have newts in my pond, and have seen then swimming around with the fish and eating the fish food at feeding time!  Lovely!  I am so glad the Prazi didn't harm them. <Ah, good> I am thinking of adding a few pond snails.  Could you tell me what fish medications would harm them. <Most any of the metals, dyes... when, where in doubt, leave them out> Anyway, thanks for all your help.  I really want to recommend Kens fish site to anyone having difficulty getting Prazi in the UK.  They are excellent. Wendy. <Thank you for this valuable input. Bob Fenner> Need to buy pond Snails 6/29/05 Hi Robert I am looking to buy snail here in Orlando Florida can you tell me of any place that may carry snails. They are for a pond. Thank you for your help. Marie. <Mmm, I'd look in your local "Yellow Pages", under "Gardens", "Ponds" or call your local fish stores re such. Bob Fenner>

Snails in the Winter I purchased 3 gold Inca's for my 1000 gallon pond this summer and they sure kept it clean.  The filter never had to be changed it was wonderful.  Now winter is coming upon us fast here in Connecticut and from what I have read I do not believe they are hardy snails.   <Definitely coincides with what I've read, as well.> Will I have to bring them indoors and how do I keep them alive for 5 months?   <A great informative site on apple snails (gold Incas are in this group, I think): http://www.applesnail.net/ .  I'd probably bring them in for the winter, in perhaps a 20 gallon 'long' or 'breeder' type aquarium, with the water level a couple of inches low (to facilitate egg laying if it happens and prevent the urge to escape).  A small power filter, heater, lid and light, a bit of substrate, and some Anacharis/elodea to munch on, some dechlorinated tap water, and you're all set. I hate to see them die.  Sandy Rich <I'll admit, I'm a plant-tank gal myself, so snails are pretty much, eh, how do I put it nicely.... "evil"....  in my tanks, and become fish food.  I am quite fascinated with the apple snail-types, though, and perhaps will try some for my ponds some day.  -Sabrina>

Pond snails in the winter Hello, I have a small water garden in a pot, about 30 gallons (I think), <Pi R squared times height... in inches... divided by 231 (cubic inches per gallon)... will give you an approximation for cylinder volume> on my front porch. A landscaper friend gave me several snails out of her man-made ponds and now I am wondering what to do with them for the winter. <Best to "bring them in"... perhaps your container can be re-set up in a garage (if it doesn't get freezing cold, or an enclosed patio...>   I live in NE Ohio and already the nights get down to 50 degrees.  I am planning on bringing in the plants and just keeping them in my basement in buckets of water. <Do the same with the snails>   I had thought to just put the snails in the buckets with the plants but now I am thinking I might find a tank and keep them as "pets" for the winter.  What do I need to do and should I go ahead and bring them in now? <I would bring all in before it gets any colder. The tank can be run with a simple "box filter" or even easier, a hang on power filter. Your local fish store can show you these> Will this work, and do they need water to live in or just moist soil? <Likely in, as totally aquatic conditions. You can ask your friend if these are amphibious species or not> I am assuming they are pond snails and will need at least several inches of water. How do I set up this temporary home for my snails (and the many babies I have noticed clinging to the roots of my floater plants!).  Speaking of, will I have too many for a small tank? <Doubtful... most larger species (Ampullaria) are not bisexual... are slower to reproduce> If so, what do I do with the extras? <Trade them in at a shop, give them to neighbor children...>   How do I feed them, or can I add some of my floater plants for them to nibble on ( I have plenty and can get more for free if they devour them).  So far I have just used water from my spigot (un-softened, well water) and they have survived the summer, so I assume I can just use the same for the tank. I have a lot of questions and any info you can give me will be helpful. Thanks! Kim in Ohio <Please peruse the many pond and freshwater snail files (articles and FAQs) archived on these subwebs on WetWebMedia.com for much more of a complete understanding of what you are about. Bob Fenner>

Giving Snails the heave-ho from a Taro farm Hi, I am a Hawaii taro farmer and I was wondering how can I eliminate the golden apple snails or is there a method used that I have tried to kill these plant killers ??? Without destroying my crops.. Thanks and Aloha James.... <There are indeed commercial molluscicides... do you have any other invertebrate or fish in culture with your taro/poi plants? If not, I would look into using simple "blue stone" (copper sulfate pentahydrate) with about ten percent (by weight) citric acid mixed in (to keep the cupric ion in suspension longer) and broadcast this (with a hand spreader) at about two ounces per hundred square feet. Won't hurt your plants (but will kill back algae). Bob Fenner>

Re: floating snails I bought a couple of snails for a very small pond last summer.  I don't remember what kind they are (they're large and yellow in color).  Almost immediately, they disappeared into the "depths" of the pond and we didn't see them again.  Today my husband found them both floating on top of the water.   We live in the northwestern U.S. (500 feet from the Canadian border). <Brrrrr!> We've never changed the water in the pond, though in the summer we added fresh water and lately we've had A LOT of rain. There is also no fresh vegetation, since most everything has shut down for the winter. Are the snails okay?  Are they dead? <Not okay, but not dead yet hopefully>   Do I need to do something different?  This is the first "artificial" pond we've had - as opposed to natural ponds with their own ecosystems.   <Also coldwater... the snails you have don't, can't live in such cold water. Do collect them and bring them in (to the garage if it's attached to the house) at least... and if they still are floating a week from now, into an unheated aquarium or other large container in the house till a few weeks after freezing weather next year. Perhaps take a read through our snail and pond articles, FAQs stored here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/Pond%20Sub%20Web.htm> Thanks for you help. <And you for your concern. Be chatting, Bob Fenner> Cynthia Bateman

Golden snail We have couple of about 3 inch size snails in our pound. They laid eggs frequently however none of the eggs produced baby snails. Perhaps we need to get male snails, is there any way one can differentiate male from female snail when we buy them?  <Mmm, not this species. Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/snailspds.htm> Also once in a while one of the snail would venture out of the pond and travel on the land. I s this normal?  <Not normal unless there is "something" wrong for them in your system... Your baby snails may be being lost for related reasons. Do you have sufficient alkalinity in this pond? Do you ever see any young at all, or do the eggs just disappear? Maybe a predator is eating the young (turtles, fishes...), or they're unable to find sufficient food, biominerals in your pond to build their shells. Bob Fenner> Thanks for your help. sincerely yours, T, C, Yao

Snails, again Hi Bob, Hey do you write in French too or did someone translate for you? I was looking around on the net and found your article on snails in Le jardinier aquatique. As I was glancing through it I thought, gee that sounds like Bob's article... and then saw your name at the top! <Interesting... could be our friend Claude who transliterates, provides our website in French (there are other folks in German, Japanese)... Ces magnifique!> Anyway, could you please tell me the difference between Viviparus malleatus and Ampullaria cuprina? And which one is called the Japanese Trapdoor Snail? <Neither as far as I know... please use your search engines here (am on holiday in Miami, on way out on a liveaboard... so no access> Would you have another identification for those cone-shaped snails that are in two of the photos, since they're from our pond here in northwest Indiana and can't be Melanoides tuberculata, which aren't hardy around here? <Oh they might... very commonly "let go" in the wild...> Also, just fyi, we are switching over to computer-to-plate for printing and have picked up a new place to do scanning of photos, and we're adding a week to the production schedule to make sure everything works out okay. This means that we'll need copy for the Jan/Feb 2002 issue by October 8 if possible... Just let me know if this will be a problem. <Copy of? The swimming pool to pond piece? Other title?> Thanks much Best Sue <Chat with you soon. Back on the 30th. Bob Fenner>

Pond Snails We have a couple of Ampullaria austrailis in our pond. Lately they laid orange colored egg clusters on the rock and plant stems near the water surface. However these eggs never seem to hatch. After couple, three weeks the cluster just drop off into the pond. Is there any way we can help to hatch these eggs? Thanks, we appreciate your time to help us out. Sincerely T. C. <Could be a few things at play here... You may have a "couple" of females! And need a male (these are dioecious species, boys/girls)... Could be your temperature is too low (not likely too high)... and you would have more luck moving them egg clusters indoors... to a heater aquarium setting... Bob Fenner>

comments on: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/snailsagb.htm Hello Robert, I just wanted to say I really enjoyed reading your webpages. Very thorough, descriptive, and fun to read! I have bookmarked your page for further perusal. <Thank you for your kind words. Very encouraging> I just added some black mystery snails to my goldfish tank....and boy am I glad I picked those ones and not some of the other more prolific kinds. I just felt after reading your information on snails and plants in aquariums. I had to say thank you, extremely well done!! I also enjoy the humour you put into the descriptions makes it highly enjoyable to read. <Thank you again my friend. Be chatting. Bob Fenner> Best regards, Heather O'Connor :)

Aquatic Gardens

Ponds, Streams, Waterfalls & Fountains:
Volume 1. Design & Construction
Volume 2. Maintenance, Stocking, Examples

V. 1 Print and eBook on Amazon
V. 2 Print and eBook on Amazon 

by Robert (Bob) Fenner
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