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Freshwater Snails

  • Snail caresheet: Assassin snail (Clea helena)

    Snails in the aquarium are fun and all, but some just multiply a little too quickly. If you've found yourself with a snail plague on your hands you might be wondering how to get rid of the annoying things. After all, they're not harmful, but they sure aren't pretty to look at!

    Most snail eating fish get much too large for the average aquarium or are overly aggressive, but don't despair. The solution is here, and you might be surprised to hear that... it's a snail.


    Scientific name: Clea helena

    Common names: Assassin snail, snail eating snail

    Difficulty level: Easy

    Origin: South-East Asia


    Assassin snail appearance

    Clea helena is definitely not the most inconspicuous assassin out there. Its bright yellow and dark brown banded trumpet shell is sure to draw attention! This means that even if you're not looking to have it massacre some pest snails, it'll still be a colorful addition to your aquarium. With a maximum size of around 0.5" it doesn't need a large set-up.

    Setting up an assassin snail aquarium

    Assassin snail requirements

    If you're interested in acquiring a few assassin snails, you can do so as long as your aquarium is larger than around 5 gallons. Anything smaller might not hold a steady cycle and the snails' bioloads could be too much.

    Your assassin snail aquarium should be filtered, fully cycled and heated. The snails don't have any specific demands when it comes to décor. They appear to naturally inhabit waters with a sandy substrate where they can hide and wait for unsuspecting prey, but aquarists have found they do just fine on gravel as well.

    Assassin snail water quality

    The most important factor to keep in mind for any snail (besides your cycle) is water hardness. Snail shells are comprised of calcium and very soft water can actually cause shell deterioration in the long run. This can eventually become fatal, so be sure to keep your pH relatively high and your water on the harder side.

    pH: 7.5-8.5
    Temperature: 75-80 °F

    Assassin snail tankmates

    If you want to keep assassin snails, you'll have to choose their tankmates wisely. As you've probably guessed by now, these are active predators that will snatch anything they can catch. Now, they're not that fast so they won't be able to harm fish and larger inverts (even bottom feeders), but care should obviously be taken when combining them with snails. Small snails are bound to get eaten sooner or later. There is a bit of ongoing discussion on whether ornamental snails like Nerites are safe, but we'd personally rather not find out.

    Additionally, there is some debate on whether assassin snails are shrimp safe or not. Some hobbyists do report their assassins catching baby shrimp, although they probably don't damage your shrimp population all too much. Still, if your tank contains expensive shrimp or if you're working hard on multiplying your stock, you might want to pass up on these snails.

    Clea helena.png By RSX - cropped from the File:Anentome Helena 2010.jpg. (Cropped by User:Snek01)., CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

    Assassin snail diet

    You probably won't be surprised to find out these snails are mainly carnivores. Their natural diet consists of snails and anything else that floats by their sandy hiding place - alive or dead. That being said, they'll also eat algae and pretty much anything they can find.

    In the aquarium, your assassin snails will snack on pest snails and any leftover fish foods they can find. You can supplement their diet using commercial fish foods and frozen foods. If you're serious about assassin snail care (if you're trying to breed them, for example) you can even set up a separate snail breeding container to make sure this natural food source is always available.

    Breeding assassin snails

    Breeding assassin snails is just easy enough to be an enjoyable project for beginners, but just difficult enough to avoid ending up with another snail infestation. Even if you do end up with a few too many you'll usually be able to sell them pretty easily.

    All you have to do in order to get your assassin snails to reproduce is get a group that's large enough to guarantee the presence of both males and females. Feed high quality, nutrient rich foods and make sure your water quality is always high. The snails will take care of the rest and start producing egg sacs when they're sexually mature.

    Buying assassin snails

    These useful snails have found their way into the mainstream aquarium hobby. You should be able to find them at some aquarium stores and there are also plenty of hobbyists out there selling a snail or two.

    If you don't want to leave the comfort of your home just to go out and buy a few snails, you can easily order these assassins online at The Shrimp Farm. Buy your snails here!

    the shrimp farm

  • Snail caresheet: Chocolate rabbit snail (Tylomelania zemis)

    Looking for inhabitants for your Sulawesi biotope? Maybe something to combine with your blue leg poso shrimp? Look no further! Lake Poso and Matano in Sulawesi, Indonesia aren't just called home by various beautiful shrimp varieties - they also contain snails from the genus Tylomelania. One of these is the chocolate rabbit snail (Tylomelania zemis), which is quite unique but still uncommon in the hobby.

    Keep reading for everything you need to know about keeping chocolate rabbit snails in your own aquarium!


    Scientific name: Tylomelania zemis

    Common names: Chocolate rabbit snail, chocolate Poso snail, Sulawesi snail

    Difficulty level: Easy

    Origin: Sulawesi


    How to care for the chocolate rabbit snail in in your aquarium #aquariums #aquatic Hover over image to pin to Pinterest

    Chocolate rabbit snail appearance

    Like the more common golden rabbit snail and other snails from the genus Tylomelania, chocolate rabbit snails have an elongated pointy shell with an operculum. The shell is smooth and light brown, while the body features a more chocolatey color. An adult size of up to 4" (10cm) is not uncommon.

    Setting up a chocolate rabbit snail aquarium

    Chocolate rabbit snail requirements

    When setting up an aquarium for your chocolate rabbit snails, keep in mind that due to their adult size, these snails won't do well in nano setups. Try going for a tank of at least 10 gallons to be safe and prevent overstocking.

    All the regular tank setup guidelines apply. Your aquarium should be filtered and always fully cycled before any livestock is introduced. A working heater is also a must, as the Sulawesi lakes are naturally very warm and these snails don't respond well to cold.

    Plenty of hiding places and relatively dim lighting are appreciated by chocolate rabbit snails. Also be sure to provide plenty of leaf litter at all times: this makes a great natural food source. If leaf litter and other foods are lacking these snails are known to take a bite or two out of any soft aquarium plants they can find. Stick to sturdy plants and make sure your rabbit snails don't go hungry.

    Chocolate rabbit snail water quality

    Like most creatures from the Sulawesi lakes, chocolate rabbit snails appreciate a relatively high pH. Very soft water should be avoided, as it can cause shell deterioration over time.

    Keep a close eye on your water values. Any traces of ammonia or nitrites can be toxic and nitrates should ideally be kept under 10. Do regular water changes to keep the water quality high.

    pH: 7.5-8.5

    Temperature: 27-30°C/81-86°F

    Chocolate rabbit snail tankmates

    Chocolate rabbit snails are peaceful creatures that won't bother their tankmates and don't respond well to being bothered themselves. They do well in peaceful setups; any fish or invert that appreciates similar water values and has a calm temperament should work.

    If you're interested in keeping one of the fascinating Sulawesi shrimp species, chocolate rabbit snails are one of your few tankmate options. They come from the same waters and will leave baby shrimp alone.

    Chocolate rabbit snail diet

    As mentioned earlier, chocolate rabbit snails are detritus feeders that do well if a constant supply of leaf litter is present. To supplement their diet, you can try feeding powdered (baby) shrimp foods and pellet foods with high veggie content such as shrimp wafers. Again, be sure to keep these snails well fed or your aquarium plants might turn into their dinner!
    chocolate rabbit snail

    Breeding chocolate rabbit snail

    Although we could not find data pertaining specifically to chocolate rabbit snails, many Tylomelania snails do reproduce in the aquarium. You won't need to worry about overcrowding, though - it's a pretty slow process. Only one baby snail is produced at a time, and this doesn't happen very often. The offspring is nurtured in the mother snail's pouch for quite a while before eventually being released. Initially it will be covered in an egg sack, but it won't take long to emerge and head out in search of food.

    Buying chocolate rabbit snail

    Although Tylomelania snails seem to be gaining popularity very quickly, they can still be a little hard to find. Your local aquarium store might not carry many varieties besides the most popular golden rabbit snail. Luckily, there are a few online sellers that carry chocolate rabbit snails. The Shrimp Farm now sells chocolate rabbit snails in packs of three - you can order your snails online here and have them shipped to your doorstep!

    the shrimp farm

  • Snail caresheet: Red racer Nerite snail (Vittina waigiensis)

    Who said snails are drab? If you still think of aquatic snails as annoying pests or only useful for algae removal, think again. Introducing: Vittina waigiensis, better known as the red racer Nerite snail. This species has much to offer, but the absolute best thing about it is definitely its stunning color and pattern.

    Keep reading for everything you need to know about red racer Nerite snails and keeping this stunning snail species in your own aquarium!


    Scientific name: Vittina waigiensis

    Common names: Red racer Nerite snail, red racer snail, red Nerite

    Difficulty level: Easy

    Origin: Philippines


    vittina waigiensis

    Vittina waigiensis appearance

    Although there are many beautiful Nerite snail varieties out there, red racer Nerites take the cake. These 1.2" (3cm) snails feature a brightly colored shell with red and orange bands and a row of "v's" that looks just like a racing track.

    Setting up a Vittina waigiensis aquarium

    Vittina waigiensis requirements

    Although red racer Nerite snails are easy to keep and suitable for beginners, there are a few care guidelines you should keep in mind.

    If you're interested in keeping these snails, make sure you have an aquarium of at least 3 gallons (or more if you want to keep more snails). As always, the tank should be filtered and fully cycled. A heater is usually a must as well.

    As we'll be discussing in the 'diet' section below, red racer Nerites prefer a diet of algae and biofilm. This means it's not a good idea to go crazy with the cleaning tools every week: a squeaky clean aquarium makes for hungry Nerites. Leave algae growing on one or more of the glass panes or even grow it separately on rocks which can then be added to the tank if you don't like the 'dirty' look.

    Vittina waigiensis snail water quality

    Red racer Nerites are not too demanding when it comes to water quality. Obviously the aquarium should always be fully cycled and free of ammonia and nitrites, as these molluscs can be slightly sensitive.

    Another important point is pH. With a lifespan of up to 4 years red racer Nerites are pretty long-lived, but like other snails they don't do all that well in acidic waters. A pH over 7.0 is recommended for a longer lifespan and smaller risk off shell deterioration. If your pH is under 7.0, be sure to use a calcium supplement. Even then, though, you might find your Nerites living shorter lives than they would in harder water.

    pH: 6.2 – 8.0 (lifespan longer in alkaline pH of 7+)

    Temperature: 71.6° - 87.8° F (22° - 28° C)

    kH: 2-12

    Vittina waigiensis snail tankmates

    If you're here at The Shrimp Farm reading this snail caresheet you're probably interested in both shrimp and snails. You're in luck - they are the perfect combo! Both red racer Nerites (and other snails) and (dwarf) shrimp are very peaceful. Shrimp especially won't do well with larger and more aggressive tankmates, so these harmless Nerites are a great choice if you want to add some extra life to your shrimp tank. You can also keep them with one or more of the various other fascinating snail species the aquarium hobby has to offer.

    If you want to keep your red racer Nerite snails with fish, be sure to go for species that won't nip at their antennae.

    Vittina waigiensis snail diet

    One important aspect of keeping your red racer Nerites healthy is a proper diet. Although these snails will usually adapt to eating plant-based dry foods, the best staple for them is all-natural algae and biofilm. They are fantastic algae eaters but won't attempt to consume your plants, which makes them a great addition to your aquarium cleaning crew. As discussed earlier, be sure to cultivate some food for them and don't keep your tank overly clean.

    If you are low on algae or just want to offer some extra variety, high quality shrimp foods are a good option for your red racers. They usually contain plenty of algae, plant matter and calcium, which is important for shell growth. If your pH is on the low side consider adding an extra mineral source - montmorillonite powder helps with shrimp molts so it might be beneficial for your Nerites as well.

    Breeding Vittina waigiensis snail

    Like other Nerite snails, red racers don't breed in freshwater. In fact, it doesn't appear many aquarists have succeeded in breeding them at all. Brackish or saltwater is needed for the eggs to hatch. This is a downside for those who love to see their stock multiply, but at least there is no risk of a red racer snail infestation!

    Buying Vittina waigiensis snail

    Red racer Nerite snails are still a very new addition to the aquarium hobby, so you might have some trouble finding them. You can try asking your local aquarium store if they're able to order a few for you, but the best option is probably to buy online. The Shrimp Farm sells red racer Nerites - you can find your set of three snails here!

    the shrimp farm

  • Aquarium Snails

    Aquarium snails are great tank mates for your fish, and also for your shrimp. They won't harm the babies, but if you have plants there are chances that they can be devoured. But if you can take good care of them, they can be very good. Continue reading

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