Among aquatic organisms, different species of snails stand apart. Most often, representatives of the class of gastropods are found in aquariums. Some of them are considered weedy, because, uncontrollably multiplying, they create an additional biological load on the aquarium and spoil the aesthetics. However, there are snails that are not only useful but are real decoration for any aquarium. And Spike-topped golden apple snails are undoubtedly the most important of them.
A quick table of notes about Golden apple snail:
|Common names||Discus, Symphysodon|
|Range||Amazon river. Can't find it in many places due to high requirments.|
|Size||12–15 cm or 4.8–6.0 in|
|Tank size||200+ liters or 50 gallons|
|Life span||around 10 years|
|Temperature||27-30 ° C or 80-86°F|
|pH||Display – 6.5 – 7.5
Breeding – 5.5 – 6.5
Grow-Out – 6.8 – 7.5
|Color||red, brown, blue, green, orange...|
|Food||carnivorous food/bloodworms or beef heart are popular|
|Breeding||monogamous/very hard process/better to use different aquarium|
|Temperament||peaceful and shy/ better use different aquarium for them/ need groups|
|Maturity||around 1.5 years|
|Eggs||up to 200 eggs/ hatching 2-3 days|
Golden apple snail is a group of the most common and popular aquarium snails. Check this article about the pros and cons in aquariums. They are distinguished by bright color, unpretentiousness in the care, and are beneficial in the aquarium by eating food left over from the fish, as well as cleaning the walls of algae.
Currently, the following types of golden apple snails are most often found: Pomacea bridgesii, Pomacea maculata, Pomacea canaliculata and Pomacea paludosa. In English-speaking countries, the golden apple snail is called “Snail-Apple” (snail-apple). The gastropods got such an interesting name because of the similarity of the color of the rounded shell to some varieties of apples.
The homeland of the golden apple snail is South America. In 1904, the first copies were delivered to Germany, and a few years later they were widely distributed among aquarists around the world.
Golden apple snails belong to large snails, individual specimens are able to grow up to 10 cm. In nature, they adapted to life in bodies of water with a low oxygen concentration. These mollusks adapted to breathing both with oxygen dissolved in water and atmospheric air, for which a long breathing tube, a siphon, is periodically protruded from the water. Its length can reach 12 cm. This feature allows snails to stock up on oxygen with minimal risk of being eaten by a predator.
It is important to remember that even despite the presence of gills, Apple snails periodically need to breathe atmospheric air, otherwise the snail will quickly die. In aquariums, this can be observed when mollusks are kept with large or active fish, which prevents them from crawling to the surface.
Apple snails periodically need a “breath” of atmospheric air
Finally, another important tool for survival is the lid of the shell mouth. This is a dark plate that the mollusk can close tightly. In this position, in a humid environment, golden apple snails are able to stay long enough until the conditions normalize. In an aquarium, this behavior, of course, is not observed. Also, the lid protects well from enemies.
It affects the ability of the snail to regenerate. A bitten organ, as a rule, is restored within a month.
Some people are afraid to get apple snails, learning that in nature this species is an intermediate host for some roundworms. It is worth noting that in snails bred at home, thus a parasite simply can not be there, because contact with the main carriers – wild rats – is excluded. And to get infected, the raw snail still needs to be eaten.
Often you can hear unusual stories that golden apple snails can hunt fish and eat them. But these are just legends. A leisurely and heavy snail is hardly capable of catching up or grabbing a fish passing by. Most likely, the basis of such stories is the fact that apple snail can often be found on dead fish in an aquarium. However, it feeds on the dead remains of dead fish; these mollusks do not hunt by hunting.
Golden apple snails have a curled shell, its color depends on the specific color variation. In the normal state, a wide “leg” sticks out from under the shell of the mollusk, with the help of which the snail moves along surfaces, including vertical ones. The organs of touch are the tentacles. Eyes are on thin legs of yellow-golden color. In addition to touch, the snail has a well-developed sense of smell, which allows it to accurately find food.
The sink is equipped with a lid called an operculum. In case of danger, the snail hides in the sink and covers its mouth with a lid. This allows you to tolerate adverse environmental conditions or attacks by predators.
The color of the shells is very diverse. The most popular are mollusks with a yellow shell. Recently, you can find blue, white, and even almost black snails. The classic version of the color is striped: the alternation of dark and light stripes on the sink.
The life expectancy of an apple snail is directly dependent on the temperature of the water in the aquarium. At high temperatures, the snail increase activity, increase growth, and the reproduction of their own kind is accelerated. However, accelerated metabolism also has disadvantages: the life span is reduced.
When the content of the snail in the temperature range of 18-25 ° C, life expectancy can reach 3-5 years. In warm water, usually no more than a year and a half.
Sexual dimorphism is not expressed, it is very difficult to distinguish a female from a male. A proven way to detect a pair is to catch two mating snails.
Care and maintenance
Apple snails can be kept both in a separate species aquarium and together with most species of peaceful tropical fish.
Apple snails are large snails, so it is advisable that at least 10 liters of water per adult. Therefore, for a separate content of mollusks, it is better to stop at aquariums from 40 liters.
The aquarium for golden apple snails must be equipped with a lid and not have large technological holes. Snails, especially females, in search of a place for masonry, are able to crawl out of the aquarium, and for them, it usually ends in failure – the snails fall to the floor and dry out if they are not found in time. The maximum time that they can survive without water is about a day. Falling from a height can also lead to injury to the sink.
It is very important to organize a powerful filtration in an aquarium with ampoules. Snails are quite voracious and leave a lot of waste. To prevent water from turning into a swamp, install a powerful filter, and regularly make water changes with a siphon of soil. A compressor is also necessary for additional aeration because apple snails breathe mainly oxygen dissolved in water.
Soil is best to use sand or rounded pebbles so that snails do not damage their soft tissues. When choosing plants, it is best to focus on hard-leaved species: anubias, cryptocorynes, giant Vallisneria. Golden apple snails – omnivorous snails. And despite the fact that in the first place they will pay attention to animal feed, with insufficient nutrition they can easily begin to eat tender leaves of plants.
The optimal water parameters for the content of ampoules: T = 23-25 ° C, pH = 6.5-7.8, GH = 8-18.
At low temperatures, the metabolism of golden apple snail slows down, and they spend most of the time in hibernation. In warm water, snails, on the contrary, are very active, but their lifespan is noticeably reduced.
You can’t keep the snail in very soft water, because they need calcium to build a shell. Therefore, having discovered the destruction of shells in mollusks, attention should be paid to the hardness of the water. Golden apple snails can tolerate a slight increase in salinity if the salt concentration increases gradually.
Sometimes, for one reason or another, snails die. It is advisable to remove dead snails from the aquarium as soon as possible so that they do not impair water quality. It is not difficult to identify a dead mollusk; their muscles relax and cannot keep the lid of the sink closed. Also, do not rush to throw the snail out if it has surfaced, often it is simply pushed out by the air that has accumulated in the sink after the next replenishment of oxygen by means of a siphon.
Apple snails are excellent cohabitants because they are not able to harm any fish. But many fish very often disturb unhurried mollusks.
Ideal companions for ampoules will be small live-bearing fish, catfish, tetra, zebrafish, neon.
It is not recommended to plant snails with active barbs (Sumatra), they often bite the antennae with snails. Large cichlids, labyrinths can also easily destroy the ampoule both directly (by eating) and indirectly – preventing snails from climbing to the surface for respiration.
Categorically excluded fish that eat snails: tetrapods and Botia. Not the best neighbors will be predatory snails Anentome helena. Large golden apple snails will be too tough for them, but small ones will be quickly destroyed.
Feeding golden apple snails
Feeding omnivorous spike topped apple snails in an aquarium is not a serious problem. First of all, they perfectly eat up any food that the fish do not have time to eat. Flakes, chips or granules that have fallen to the bottom will be found by snails and eaten. It is important to remember that apple snails cannot compete with fish in speed, and therefore you should not rely solely on the remains from the fish table. In addition, feed with a high vegetation content must be included in the diet. This not only diversifies their nutrition but also allows you to keep alive living plants planted in an aquarium.
Therefore, it is additionally necessary to feed snails with sinking feed for bottom fish. For this purpose, Tetra Pleco Spirulina Wafers or Tetra Wafer Mix are well suited. They are made from selected raw materials and contain a large number of spirulina algae. The feed quickly sinks to the bottom, which allows targeted feeding of the snails. The special structure of the plates allows them to maintain their shape for a long time, in order to eliminate the cloudiness of the water.
Unlike most other snails, golden apple snails are dioecious, therefore, for reproduction, a male and a female are needed. Unfortunately, sexual dimorphism in mollusks is not expressed, therefore, the most accurate way will be to acquire at least 6 individuals in the aquarium.
Apple snail puberty occurs at the age of about a year. Some additional action on the part of the aquarist is not required. First, the mating of snails occurs, after which the female creeps out above the water level and lays on the glass egg-laying, similar to a bunch of grapes. A similar method in nature allows you to save eggs from aquatic predators.
The eggs are quite large, they can reach a diameter of 2-3 mm. At first they are soft but harden during the day. Depending on the type, the masonry can be painted white or pink.
The incubation period directly depends on the temperature of the medium. At 24-26 ° C, snails hatch after 2 weeks, and at 18-20 ° C only after three. During this period, it is important to ensure that the masonry does not dry. To do this, you can periodically spray it with water from a spray bottle. But it is impossible for the eggs to be completely immersed in water, this will violate their outer layer.
Formed young snails break through the shell of the egg and fall into the water. If there is no desire to increase the number of snails in the aquarium, you must either remove the masonry in advance or substitute any container under it that small snails will fall into. Newborn golden apple snails are fully formed and do not require additional care. It is only necessary to monitor the frequency of water and feed the young.