Freshwater snails offer a wide variety of size, shape and color. Very good algae eaters, they are appreciated in community aquariums. They cohabit perfectly with freshwater fish, but beware of botias which appreciate them particularly for their meal!
They can also live with freshwater shrimps, be careful with some dwarf crayfish, they could eat them.
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Do snails molt ?
Aquarium snails do not rot, they may have some wounds, but it is impossible for them to rot, simply because they have a hard shell. Moreover, they were designed to live in water, so there are no problems!
What do snails eat?
Snails will eat anything they can get their hands on in the aquarium: decaying plants, organic waste, dead bodies, food scraps. It is important to provide them with what they need to satisfy their needs.
You will need to provide them with calcium to build their shells and to be able to grow. In addition to the minerals in the water, snails also get calcium from their food. You can add limestone rocks in the tank and a cuttlebone. You can also give them various leaves that they like to nibble on: oak leaves, walnut leaves, maple leaves, dried beech leaves.
You can also give them vegetables that they will love.
They also eat herbs: dandelion, clover, yarrow, daisies, nettles and stellaria.
Fruits can be used but must be removed quickly because of the quick pollution they can bring.
Bottom pellets, flakes or granules are also eaten.
How do snails reproduce?
All species do not reproduce in the same way: some are hermaphrodites, that is to say that they have both the male and female reproductive organ (lymnea, planorbes and physes), they can fertilize and be fertilized but are also capable of self-fertilization (planorbarius corneus, Gyraulus chinensis)!
The last mode of reproduction is the parthenogenesis: the reproduction is then ensured only by the female without intervention of the male -Girl Power !- The female releases tiny snails (Melanoides tuberculatus, Thiara Winteri, Tarebia granifera).
Most snails lay their eggs on a hard substrate underwater, while the genus Pomacea bridgesii, P. canaliculata and P. haustrum stick their eggs only on the surface of the water. The eggs are found in the open air and once hatched, the newborns find their way back to the water.
The genus Cerithioidea and Viviparides release juveniles developed by the mother directly.
The eggs of some varieties require brackish water or sea water to develop, so it is not possible to have juveniles in fresh water (Neritina turrita).
However, some species have been classified as invasive! (The genus Ampullaroidea)
How to limit the development of snails?
1. Feed your fish less
When you feed your fish, all the food should disappear within 5 minutes. If it doesn’t, you are giving them too much.
The more waste there is, the more the snails eat and the faster they reproduce. This is because they have the ability to self-limit their proliferation depending on the amount of food they can find in the aquarium.
2. Remove snails manually
This is a very simple but proven technique. To reduce the number of snails in your aquarium, simply remove them by hand (or with a net).
Note that snail traps are available, but you can also make your own. Simply leave a lettuce leaf at the bottom of the aquarium overnight. In the morning, it should be covered with snails!
3. Washing new accessories
In order to avoid unknowingly introducing new snails into your aquarium, you should absolutely rinse your new accessories (plants, decorations, gravel…) thoroughly.
However, to be more effective, it is safer to use disinfection. Mix 10 mg of potassium permanganate in 1 liter of water. Soak plants and decorations in this mixture for 30 minutes. Then rinse with clean water.
4. Clean the aquarium
Weekly cleaning of the aquarium floor with a small vacuum cleaner or vacuum bell can be a good way to avoid overpopulation of snails. Also, it is advisable to prune the damaged leaves of the plants in the aquarium every week.
But if these small steps are not enough, you can also clean your aquarium completely. All the elements of your aquarium will have to be carefully cleaned (filter, decorations, floor, glass…). However, this technique is only possible if you have a second aquarium in which you can place your fish during the cleaning.
5. Adopt snail-eating fish
This is a very popular solution for aquarists. Not only does it not require much effort, but it is also completely natural. All you have to do is introduce one or more snail-eating fish into your aquarium. Several species exist: clown loaches, horas loaches, fighters…
However, it is highly recommended to ask your pet shop for advice on which species to choose. Indeed, it is essential to choose fish that can get along with the fish already present in your aquarium. In addition, you should make sure that your aquarium is suitable for these snail-eating fish and that they will be able to thrive there.
Finally, you should know that if you choose this solution, you will not have any snails in your aquarium. This is a shame, considering the usefulness of these animals for the ecological balance of your aquarium…