Apple Snail Pomecea Mystery Snails

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Apple Snails

Pomacea bridgesii, commonly named Apple, Mystery, Ivory or Inca snails, are a family of large freshwater snails, aquatic gastropod mollusks with both a gill and a lung, with the mantle cavity being divided in order to separate the two types of respiratory structures. This adaptation allows these snails to be amphibious.

Pomacea, and the Ampullariidae family is considered to be gonochoristic unlike some others. This means that in order to breed, a male and female snail are needed. In captivity, apple snails are most active at night. During the day they usually retreat to somewhere shaded. When it is night time, the apple snail will actively feed, mate, and lay eggs.

In their natural tropical habitat, apple snails have an operculum which enables the snail to seal the entrance to the shell, preventing drying out while they are buried in the mud during drier periods. Apple snails inhabit ponds, swamps and rivers in various conditions. Apple snails can survive out of water, but they spend most of their time under water.


Are Apple Snails illegal in the UK?
The Apple snail, also known as the Mystery Snail, and most species of Pomacea mollusc in the family Ampullariidae, were found to be causing ecosystem issues in Spain and were classified invasive by the EU in 2011. They were subsequently banned for sale in the United Kingdom and the European Union. However from early 2021, thanks in part to OATA lobbying and "Brexit", the apple snail is no longer banned in the UK, and this popular favourite is once again available for aquarium stockists to retail. 

How big do Apple Snails get?
Apple snails, or Mystery Snails, will commonly grow to a maximum size of around 4-5" inches in captivity, or about the size of an apple. Some species varieties however have been known to grow to exceed 6" inches. Growth can depend on factors like diet and temperature, it is often believed that keeping Apple Snails in the higher temperature range encourages growth (and breeding).

Are Apple Snails aggressive?
Apple snails are peaceful and will not act aggressively towards any species of fish or shrimp. It is often mistaken, because they scavenge and feed on the carcasses of dead fish, that the snail has killed the fish. Apple and Mystery snails will not attack active fish or shrimp. Care must be taken not to house with snail-killers however, such as assassins or loaches, because they are still vulnerable to predators themselves.

Features

Approx. supplied size: 3-5cm (small) / 1-2"
Maximum size: 15cm / 6"
Origin: USA, Central and Southern America, West Indies
Ideal number kept together: 1+ (2 for breeding)

Water conditions
Our conditions: temp 22°C, pH 7.5
Ideal pH: 6.0-8.0
Ideal temperature: 18 – 28 °C

Ease of care
Easy. Require plenty of vegetation to feed, and an aquarium big enough to accomodate growth.

Diet
The food of choice would be an algae supplement, small or large algae wafers. A calcium block will help strengthen the shells. Apple snails will eat voraciously, so their diet should be supplemented with plenty of greens, such as courgette and spinach. Use organic vegetables to avoid potential harmful pesticide exposure.

Compatibility
Some aquarium species will eat apple snails, including puffers, loaches (such as the clown loach or any other member of the genus Botia), bettas, crayfish, and most gouramis. Assassin snails will also prey upon apple snails. Good fish tank mates for snails include danios, guppies, White Cloud Mountain minnows, neon tetras, and corydoras catfish. All of these are non-aggressive fish that cohabit easily with snails.

Breeding / Sex
Prolific. This family is considered to be gonochoristic unlike some other snails. which means that in order to breed, a male and female apple snail are needed. When mating, male and female will join each other and the male is always on top. After the breeding is over the female leaves the tank water and lays a number of pink eggs above the water surface (see photos) This remarkable strategy of aquatic snails protects the eggs against predation by fish and other aquatic inhabitants.

Life Span
Apple snails can live up to 10 years in perfect conditions. In lower temperatures, a maximum lifespan of 3 years is common, whereas at higher temperatures the lifespan of an apple snail is expected to exceed 5 years.

Photo credits: thanks to valued customer DJ Romesh for his contribution of photos (3/Blue background). If you would like to submit your own images for publication on our site please contact us.

For more information on general fishkeeping and our shipping procedures click here.