Land snails are popularly known for snail meat delicacies while freshwater snails are known for their aquarium qualities.
Freshwater snails are very often considered as pests, although there are many species bred and raised for their utility and ornamental value.
Not all freshwater snails can make it down to your aquarium due to several reasons which include being a host of parasites and also a predator to other water organisms.
Any freshwater snail that makes it to an aquarium definitely has a role to play in ecology and in the survival of other aquarium life.
Freshwater Aquarium Snails
There are various species of fresh water snails; they are in abundance even more than the land snails.
Each species have their preferred diet, habitat and friends in nature.
Freshwater snail diet preference ranges from those snails that enjoy algae; some are more interested in decaying plant matter; some are carnivorous and of course there are those that can eat anything and everything that looks like food.
It is therefore important to know which diet a freshwater snail specie prefer before adding them to your aquarium collection.
You don’t want to put a carnivorous snail with it’s prey now, would you?
Some freshwater snails enjoy burrowing as a past time so having those means they will help to aerate the tank and also remove detritus.
They are natural aquarium maintenance organisms and this prevents the buildup of phosphates.
Freshwater Snails For An Aquarium
The Apple Snail Specie
This specie is a favourite of many aquarium lovers.
Apple snails are also called mystery snails in some quarters and are native to the Americas.
They are slow to reproduce than other freshwater aquarium snails. They are gonochoristic; they are either male or female unlike most snails that are hermaphrodites.
Despite being slow producers, they are amazing when they do as they can lay up to 500 eggs at a time and they lay above the water level.
They also have many colour varieties which include gold, pink, blue and ivory.
Their friends in the aquarium world include the betta fish and goldfish.
They are easy to tend to and have a relatively good diet combination.
Their preferred diet include: algae, decaying plants and fresh vegetation. They are about 2 -6 inches in length.
The environment where apple snail can survive should be pH of 7-8 and a temperature of 18-260C.
The Rabbit Snails
Rabbit snails are a slightly big freshwater species of snail, unlike their apple snail relatives; they are diligent burrowers making use of their long cone shaped shells.
They are not so very common and also have colour varieties. They are native to Sulawesi, India.
They are an extremely slow reproducer; just a single egg at a time!
The rabbit snail eggs are pearly white in colour sometimes with a tinge of blue and it’s smaller than a pea too.
These eggs are laid in or on the substrate.
Their feeding preference includes algae, decaying plants and rarely eats live plants.
However, just like snails generally, they can eat anything when starved even leaves.
Rabbit snail habitat has to have a pH of 7-8 and a temperature of 23-260C. They grow to about 2 inches in length.
The Devil Spike Snails
I wonder why they are called devil spike snails because they are harmless except to live plants.
In fact, they are an excellent clean up crew for your aquarium! They are however not to be in a planted aquarium, then they are the devils to these plants. *LOL
They are smaller when compared to the rabbit snails but with a sharper apex and smoother shell.
They burrow and scavenge for decaying plant and animal matters.
They can survive in an aquarium but cannot reproduce in freshwater; how is that? They require brackish water to breed!
Environment needed for their survival is a pH of 7.0-8.5 and a temperature of 21-25°C. They grow to about 3 inches.
The Japanese Trapdoor Snails
These snail species are less common but very interesting and useful.
They get their name from their robust operculum which is the hard disc that covers the mantle.
Their own operculum is an excellent when they retract in their shell making them similar to the apple snail.
They are native to Asia and Europe and are moderate in size.
These special breeds are slow reproducers but they give birth to live snails!
Trapdoor snails enjoy algae, decaying plants and fresh vegetation. They can survive in cold temperatures and this makes them suitable for outdoor ponds.
Other environment for survival is a pH of 7.0-8.0 and temperature of 18-26°C. They grow to about 2 inches.
The Nerite Snails
They are often boldly patterned snails that are well known for their diet which include diatoms (brown algae) which many snails won’t touch.
They also do not reproduce in freshwater. Some nerite snails even prefer saltwater though the common ones are found in fresh and brackish water.
Varieties in nerite snails include the ones with stripes, broken lines and even horned shells.
They are exotic and beautiful creatures for an aquarium although they do not tolerate soft water (water without calcium content).
Habitat for survival is a pH of 7.0-8.5 with a temperature of 21-29°C. They enjoy diatoms, decaying plants and fresh vegetation.
The Assassin Snails
They are totally unique snail to have in your freshwater aquarium. They got their name from eating other snails; you can have them to remove unwanted snail specie form your aquarium.
Freshwater snails burrow easily with the help of their long body shape marked with a bold pattern of black and yellow swirls.
When they deplete the snail population in the aquarium, they will need feed supplement such as fish flakes, meaty frozen or dry foods.
Habitat for survival is a pH of 6.5-7.8 and a temperature of 21-29°C. They grow to about 5 inches and can reproduce easily in a freshwater tank.
Precaution In Raising Freshwater Snails In Aquarium
Freshwater snails need a certain amount of minerals in the water especially mostly calcium.
It is important to maintain a proper level of water hardness for their survival.
Also note that when plant matter or fish food decays, it releases phosphate which is prime algae food, therefore, it is important to keep the phosphate levels low.
Freshwater snails are excellent inhabitants of aquarium. They may be included by mistake most times and become a blessing.
Most freshwater snails can help in maintaining the aquarium as they can be an excellent cleaning crew.
Rearing freshwater aquarium snails is an excellent side business anyone can go into especially as an aquarium lover.
Freshwater snails can be reared for fun or for profit making by selling to aquarium fish stores or online.
Aquarium snails are colourful, beautiful, and exotic and can make your space even more amazing!