Blue Turbo Snail – Detailed Guide: Care, Diet, and Breeding

Blue Turbo Snail (Celetaia persculpta) – Detailed Guide Care, Diet, and Breeding

Celetaia persculpta, commonly known as Blue Turbo Snail, is a freshwater species with a quite unique shell structure. I am sure that given the opportunity, many aquarium enthusiasts would undoubtedly want one in their tank.

Celetaia persculpta has incredibly specific requirements when it comes to its care and dietary needs. As a result, it can be pretty difficult to keep them in captivity for beginner aquarists.

Unfortunately, scientific knowledge about these snails is limited. In this article, I have compiled everything known about Blue Turbo snails, summarizing both scientific studies and the experiences of the lucky ones who have kept them.

Quick Notes about Blue Turbo Snail

Name Blue Turbo Snail
Other Names Freshwater Turbo snail, Sulawesi Turbo snail, Turbo Sky snail, or Sulawesi Turbo snail
Scientific Name Celetaia persculpta
Tank size (optimal) 10 gallons (~40 liters)
Keeping Difficult
Breeding Difficult
Size up to 2 inches (5 cm)
Optimal Temperature 82 – 84°F (28 – 29°C)
Optimal PH 7.0 – 8.0 
Optimal GH 3 – 5   
Nitrate Less than 40 ppm
Diet Algae eater/Omnivore
Temperament Peaceful
Life span up to 5 years
Color Form Gray to dark brown

Note: Blue Turbo snails are named “Turbo” snails because of their spinning top-shaped shell. However, the “Blue” part of their name is simply a marketing trick to attract more attention.

Taxonomy 

  • Kingdom: Animalia (Animals)
  • Phylum: Mollusca  (Mollusks)
  • Class: Gastropoda (Snails and slugs)
  • Superfamily: Viviparoidea (Live-bearing snails)
  • Family: Viviparidae (Freshwater live-bearing snails)
  • Subfamily: Bellamyinae (Specific traits)
  • Genus: Celetaia
  • Species: Celetaia

In 1898, this snail was described by Swiss naturalists Paul Benedict Sarasin (1856 – 1929) and Karl Friedrich Sarasin (1859 – 1942) as Viviparus persculptus.

In 1966, Harvard professor and curator of the mollusk collection at the Museum of Comparative Zoology, William James Clench (1897–1984), reclassified the species into the newly established genus Celetaia due to its significant differences from other genera.

Distribution of Blue Turbo Snail

Blue Turbo Snail (Celetaia persculpta) – Detailed Guide Care, Diet, and Breeding - destributionCeletaia persculpta has a very limited distribution range. It is endemic to Lake Poso in Sulawesi.

Habitat of Blue Turbo Snail

The substrate of Lake Poso consists mainly of sand, gravel, and rocky bottoms. Near the shoreline, there are also patches of mud and organic detritus.

Description of Blue Turbo Snail

Blue Turbo Snail (Celetaia persculpta) – Detailed Guide Care, Diet, and Breeding
photo credit to Maruchi

Celetaia persculpta is a freshwater snail.

  • Size. Blue Turbo snail is a medium-sized snail. The average size of the shell is around 1 – 2 inches (2.5 – 5 cm) in length.
  • Shell. It has a thick-walled and conical shell. It is also adorned with heavily sculpted 4-5 whorls, shouldered, and marked by 5-6 deep grooves and prominent ribs parallel to the suture, often with a corroded apex.
  • Operculum. The operculum is thin, horny, and oval, with concentric growth lines, and a decentralized nucleus. Celetaia can be distinguished from other genera with a concentric inverted-comma-shaped operculum.
  • Shell Color. The shell is usually gray to dark brown.
  • Eyes. The eyes are located directly at the base of the tentacles. The snout is long and fleshy.
  • Body color. There are two different morphs in the coloration of the soft body. It can be yellow-orange or black, with distinct mottled pigmentation on the snout and tentacles of both morphs.

If you need a more detailed and scientific description of this snail species, you can read about it in this study here.

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Lifespan of Blue Turbo Snail

Currently, there is no data available on the maximum lifespan for Celetaia persculpta in the wild.

However, in captivity, these snails can live up to 5 years, if appropriately cared for.

Behavior of Blue Turbo Snail

Celetaia persculpta is a completely non-aggressive species. These snails do not have any means to attack other tank inhabitants and have only their operculum (trap-door) and shell for protection from aggressors.

They are pretty slow even for the snails.

Blue Turbo snails can burrow in soft substrates and stay there for a long time, especially, during the day. Nonetheless, they generally do not move under it.

Like most snail species, these ones are mostly nocturnal. The nocturnal behavior is not uncommon for grazing invertebrates and is mainly associated with attempting to avoid visual predators whilst feeding.

Features:

  • Social: Yes
  • Activity level: Low
  • Peaceful: Yes
  • Burrowers: Yes

Diet of Blue Turbo Snail

Blue Turbo snails are omnivorous and scavengers. In aquariums, they will usually graze and feed on algae and plant detritus.

Another unique feature of this species is that they can also filter plankton from the water they breathe.

Important: While not their primary method of feeding, this aspect can be crucial for successfully maintaining them as pets.

In aquariums, their diet consists mainly of grazing on:

Additionally, I would definitely supplement their diets with vegetables and commercial foods. They will eat the same food you feed your fish and shrimp (such as flakes, algae wafers, pellets, and granules).

Important: Do not forget that calcium plays a huge role in snails. Calcium is needed for several vital life processes in snails, the most obvious being the formation of shells. 

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Features:

  • Diet Type: Omnivore
  • Feeding Frequency: 1 – 2 times a week

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Are Blue Turbo Snails Safe to Keep in Planted Tanks?

Generally, they will not eat any healthy plants in the tank.

However, it is worth noting that while they crawl and burrow, they might accidentally uproot some of your plants.

Caring and Keeping Blue Turbo Snails

Blue Turbo snails should not be attempted by beginner aquarists. They are not the easiest Sulawesi species.

These snails require a specific system that is focused on their needs. Therefore, if you want to create the best possible conditions for them in our tanks, here are some care guidelines to help you out.

First of all, it is important that you cycle your tank before bringing them home. However, the mere fact that your tank is cycled is not enough for this species.

Wait at least a few more weeks, and let the tank develop a stable ecosystem with biofilm and algae as a natural source of food for the snails.

Tank Size:

The minimum recommended tank size for Blue Turbo snails is a 10-gallon (40-liter) tank. These snails need a lot of room to crawl, eat, and explore.

If the tank is smaller, you may have feeding problems unless you supplement their diet. Basically, there may not be sufficient algae and biofilm present in the tank to sustain them. Additionally, it will be hard to keep your water parameters stable.

Water parameters:

Water values ​​in Poso Lake according to the study:

Crystal clear water.

  • Temperature: 82 – 84°F (28 – 29°C). You will need a heater. These snails prefer a warm habitat and can get shocked if the temperature drops below 77 °F (25 °C).
  • Hardness: GH 3 – 4.5 (or 64 – 76 ppm)
  • pH: Optimal water pH should be provided for this species around 8.4 – 8.5
  • TDS: 80 – 110 µS/cm (or 40 – 60 ppm)
  • Phosphate:  <0.01
  • Nítrate: <1.6
  • Ammonia: <0.02
  • Oxygen: 7.25 mg/l. Potentially, you will need an extra air pump to keep the water oxygenated. Low oxygen can be a real problem.

Lighting:

No special requirements. Blue Turbo snails are nocturnal creatures. So, they could not care less about it.

However, if you decide to keep these snails in planted tanks, lighting should be adapted to the needs of plants.

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Filtration:

No special requirements.

As long as you have got the filter that works great with the size of the tank you have got you will be fine.

Substrate:

In their natural environment, Blue Turbo snails live in substrates primarily composed of sand, mud, and rocks.

This is quite important for them as they also filter sand to find food. Therefore, a sandy substrate is essential, allowing them to both forage and burrow.

Decorations:

The main purpose of adding decor to an aquarium is to recreate natural habitats and create an optimal environment for the snails.

In fact, the more hiding places available, the more active and engaging Blue Turbo snails become. This is because when they feel less secure due to a lack of hiding places, they tend to hide more frequently.

To enrich their environment and provide plenty of shelter options, consider incorporating live/fake plants, PVC pipes, bark, driftwood, stones, and other decorations.

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Acclimation:

Once you get these snails, avoid simply placing them directly into the tank, as sudden changes in habitat can harm them.

Instead, acclimate snails to the tank gradually, as you would with all invertebrates. Take your time, do not rush the process. Do it very slowly to prevent any unnecessary stress.

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Breeding Blue Turbo Snails

Unfortunately, due to the limited scientific study of Celetaia persculpta, very little is actually known about the life cycle requirements of these snails.

As a result, some online articles mistakenly classify this species as hermaphroditic. In reality, this is not the case. Celetaia persculpta has separate sexes.

Sexing:

According to the study, the tentacles of females are both rather short with small pointed tips. In male specimens, the left tentacle is the same short form as in females, while the right tentacle is elongated and thus somewhat longer.

In males, the right tentacle serves as the copulatory organ and has an elongated shape.

Near the ureter opening, close to the mantle edge, there is a transverse narrowing. This is followed by a short section of a thickened tube made up of muscle cells, ending in a clearly forward-protruding lip that extends into the mantle cavity. The female genital opening is located at the end of this tube.

Reproductive Traits:

  • Viviparous Reproduction: Celetaia persculpta is viviparous. It means that they give birth to live young rather than laying eggs.
  • Brood Pouch: Females have a brood pouch where the embryos develop until they are ready to be released as fully-formed juvenile snails.

Currently, it is unknown the gestation period, average number of babies, and the rate at which they reach sexual maturity.

Blue Turbo Snails and Suitable Tankmates

These snails are completely harmless animals. They can be a good option for any peaceful community tank  as long as tankmates share similar water preferences and don’t bother them.

Fish

Their tankmates should include other calm and peaceful fish such as:

Dwarf Shrimp

Shrimp species that prefer alkaline water will be the best choice to keep with Batman snails. For example, Vampire shrimpBamboo ShrimpAmano ShrimpGhost shrimpCherry shrimpBlue tiger shrimpSnowball shrimpCaridina cf. babaultiBlue Velvet ShrimpMalawa Shrimpetc.

Snails

Any type of freshwater snails will be good tank mates, except Assassin snails.

Avoid:

Also, keep Blue turbo snails away from all types of Crayfish (even Dwarf Mexican crayfish), most types of freshwater crabs, and even some types of predatory shrimp such as Macrobrachium family (such as Red Claw ShrimpWhisker shrimp, etc.).

They should also be kept away from large or snail-eating snails, such as puffers, including Dwarf puffers.

In Conclusion

Blue Turbo snails are cute, unique, and simply gorgeous! Unfortunately, there are several main problems:

  1. They are very rare in the pet trade.
  2. They are extremely demanding in terms of feeding, water quality, and environment. Along with monitoring your water parameters, you also must closely monitor the temperatures of the tank. You cannot allow any fluctuations.

As someone who deeply cares about invertebrates, I strongly encourage everyone to think twice before buying these snails. Even experienced aquarists struggle to keep them alive due to the damage sustained during transport from Asia to the US or Europe.

References:

  1. Sarasin P., Sarasin F. (1898): Die Süsswasser-Mollusken von Celebes (Wiesbaden), 1: 62, pi. 10, fig. 129-130; pi. 9, fig. 121. ( Vivipara persculpta).
  2. Zhang, Le-Jia, and Thomas von Rintelen. “The neglected operculum: a revision of the opercular characters in river snails (Caenogastropoda: Viviparidae).” Journal of Molluscan Studies87, no. 2 (2021): eyab008.
  3. Ng, Ting Hui, Siong Kiat Tan, Wing Hing Wong, Rudolf Meier, Sow-Yan Chan, Heok Hui Tan, and Darren CJ Yeo. “Molluscs for sale: assessment of freshwater gastropods and bivalves in the ornamental pet trade.” PLoS One11, no. 8 (2016): e0161130.
  4. Richter, Romy. “Die Evolution und Biogeographie der südostasiatischen Sumpfdeckelschnecken (Viviparidae).” (2015).
  5. Kaban, Siswanta, Yoga Candra Ditya, and Khoirul Fatah Safran Makmur. “Water Quality and Trophic Status to Estimate Fish Production Potential for Sustainable Fisheries in Lake Poso, Central Sulawesi.” Polish Journal of Environmental Studies32, no. 5 (2023): 4083-4093.
  6. Clench,WJ (1966): Celetaia, new genus of viviparidae from the island of Celebes, Indonesia.- The Nautilus 79(4), 137.
  7. Haas (1939): Malacological Notes.- Zoological Series of Field Museum of Natural History, Vol. 24, Chicago, September 19, 1939, № 8

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