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Apple snails: a special kind of invertebrate
Many aquarists are of the opinion that snails belong in a beautiful, natural aquarium just like fish and plants. However, the apple snail, which one might consider robust, need special care.
The appearance of the apple snails
Thanks to their beautiful shell shape and interesting behavior, apple snail are among the most popular aquarium snails. The snails come in yellow, brown, black, and blue. But mostly brown or yellow specimens are offered in stores.
The apple snail is air breathers, which is why the freeway up to the water surface must always be guaranteed. To breathe, the snails crawl to the surface of the water and stretch their breathing tube out of the water.
Therefore, apple snail should never be kept together with snail-eating fish since they can damage the breathing tube and thus lead to an asphyxiation of the snails.
Apple snails attitude
Water changes should be carried out regularly, as apple snail is quite sensitive to slightly increased nitrate levels. How many snails fit into an aquarium can be calculated by assuming about five centimeters for each snail. Then five centimeters (per snail) per liter of water apply.
Snails also need a certain amount of lime in the water (water hardness); otherwise, their shell becomes porous. Before buying it, find out what values the water must-have. If your aquarium water is significantly softer, you can subsequently harden the water – provided it is compatible with the other aquarium inhabitants.
Apple snail diet
The same applies to apple snail as to other aquarium inhabitants. It should be fed varied and adapted because this promotes the health of the animals. Snails are not “garbage disposal” – they need additional food in addition to the leftover food from the fish they eat.
You can use algae tablets and Offer granulated food that quickly sinks to the bottom. In addition, lettuce leaves and cucumber slices that have previously been scalded with hot water are popular. However, you should be careful not to leave the vegetables in the water for more than two days; otherwise, they will rot and pollute the water.
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Apple snail breeding
Apple snails are separate sexes but have no external characteristics that differentiate the sexes. You should, therefore, always keep several snails in the aquarium for breeding. As soon as a pair has been found, mating begins.
An animal makes swinging and circular movements. The other animal often just keeps eating. The clutches of snails are deposited above the surface of the water, consist of lime and are pink to whitish in color.
It must never fall into the aquarium water; otherwise, the young snails will drown. If the nest has not been attached firmly enough, you can carefully remove it and place it on the reinforcement of the side window or on the “float” of a spawning box. To prevent the nest from drying out, you should always keep it slightly moist.
Generally, the humidity under the aquarium cover is sufficient for this. But if the nest is in a very warm place, you need to moisten it additionally. It is sufficient to run a moistened finger over the nest once or twice a day.
As soon as the young animals hatch, they usually fall into the water on their own. If this is not the case, you can simply put the apple snail in the water.
Import ban for the genus Pomacea
In 2012 a law against the import of the Pomacea species was passed. This law applies within the EU and prohibits the trade and distribution of the apple snails of the genus Pomacea. Private individuals are also affected.
The reason for the passing of the law is the enormous spread of the snail in Spain, which has severely affected the rice fields there.
Any trade in the Pomacea species is prohibited for aquarists, even as a private person. The breeding of snails is allowed, provided they stay in your own household. The reasons for the law were reviewed in 2015, but nothing has changed: the import ban remains in place.