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*Non-hermaphroditic snails

*Pros to non-hermaphroditic snails

*Over-run by snails?

*Snail reproduction

Snails, yes I'm talkin about those slimey things with those shells on their backs and long antennae. Some people consider them ugly and down right disgusting. But, I love my snails. They are so cute and comical to watch as they glide around so quietly and fluently throughout the aquarium. Climbing up plants and over rocks, stumbling upon new adventures. Some people say to avoid snails wherever possible, they will take over your aquarium with outbursts of snaily populations. But, this isn't totally true. There are snails that you definitely should avoid, but there are also snails that are not all as horrible as you have heard.

Snails are an interesting part of the aquarium trade. They are workhorses that clean plant matter, like algae, as they travel smoothly along their way. They are unique and fun to observe. They come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and wonderful colors.

Many people have often inquired about getting a snail to help control the algae in their aquarium, but they have certain doubts because they've heard that snails multiply too rapidly, resulting in infestation instead of actually helping out with the algae problems.

Well, this is true in most cases, but it depends on the type of snail you buy. Most species of snail are of both sexes or "hermaphrodites". You could have one single snail one moment, and then 20-30 little snails the next. But, it doesn't have to be this way at all, there are species of snails out there that aren't hermaphrodites and you can be ensured that you won't be overrun by snails. A few examples of non-hermaphroditic snails are:






albino mystery snail

black mystery snail

mystery snail

golden snail

Some snails are livebearing and others lay their eggs in a jelly like sac attached to anything permanent.

PROS TO NON-HERMAPHRODITE SNAILS: These snails are indeed an interesting addition to any home aquarium. They are interesting to watch and prove helpful when algae problems arise. They are also helpful aids when water conditions are not right. When the water is poisoned, or PH levels are too high, or other problems you can't see are within the water, snails will let you know. They are sensitive to toxins and other bad stuff that can contaminate your water. They will pull themselves inside their shells and remain there for days, or until the water conditions are corrected. But, snails will sometimes pull themselves inside their shells when they are startled or scared, so don't be too quick to judge a problem in your aquarium. If there is nothing wrong with the water, and the snail has pulled himself into his shell, he will crawl back out and continue on his way in a couple of minutes.

SO YOU HAVE SNAIL PROBLEMS?: Well, you went out and bought a snail not asking the proper questions about it and now you've found yourself in quite a dilemma. Your cute little single snail has now turned into hundreds of little sliding crawlies! Aaaahhh! What in the world do you do to get rid of all those snails? Well, snail control can be purchased at your local pet store in the form of chemical deterrents. Or, you can purchase snail eating fish, such as the larger gouramis, or angel fishes. Snails can be crushed and fed to many fish, particularily cichlids. Personally I would recommend the snail eating fish. Chemical deterrents may have unwanted affects on your fish.

SNAIL REPRODUCTION: Referring to the snails that are not hermaphrodites. They mystery snails and other snails that require both sexes to produce offspring do so in quite an unusual way. The male will crawl up onto the females back and forward towards the front of the opening of her shell and remain there for hours. Some people have also said that they will float around together for days. My female albino mystery snail will walk around carrying the male "piggie back" until he decides he's had enough and goes on his way. I don't know this for sure, but I was told that female snails that have mated will lay eggs the very next day and the eggs will hatch a week later. But my snail has mated many times and no eggs, so I don't know what to think. I have also heard that the females will store the sperm, so maybe that is it? I heard that to tell the different sexes, males are more round and females more oblong.

When she is ready, the female will crawl out of the water and lay her eggs on whatever is permanent and not too far from the water. The eggs must remain dry but slightly damp. She will lay a fairly large clutch, ranging from 100-200 eggs or more. They will be an orangish color when they are laid and as they begin to become ready to hatch, they will turn a greyish dull color. When the baby snails do hatch, they will immediatly turn to the water and start looking for food. If you want your snail babies to survive, I would recommend removing the eggs before they hatch to a safe environment away from snail eating fishies. Some people scrape the eggs carefully from their original positioning and place them on some floating styrofoam.

That's all I can think of to put for now, I will try to have some more info up soon, or if you have a snaily question please email me. If you have any further info I could use on snails, please also feel free to email me.


Snail Pics courtesy of: Stijn Ghesquiere @