Freshwater Snail Eggs: What to Expect, and How to Remove if Needed

Freshwater Snail Eggs What to Expect, What to Do, and How to Remove if Needed

What is the Freshwater Snail Breeding Process Like?

Reproduction speed: The breeding process varies from snail to snail.

Reproduction type:  Another difference between snail species is that some freshwater snails can even reproduce entirely by themselves; these snails are either asexual or hermaphrodites. While some freshwater snails species do not need another snail to reproduce.

  • Asexual (Parthenogenesis or so-called ‘virgin birth’) snails can reproduce without a snail of the opposite gender. However, they are not hermaphrodites because females can give birth only to more young female clones without a male to fertilize the eggs (for example, Malaysian trumpet snails).
  • Hermaphrodite snails work a little differently because they are both genders. A hermaphrodite snail will possess female parts that will allow it to lay eggs. It will also possess male parts that allow the snail to fertilize the eggs. For example, Pond Snails, Bladder snails, Ramshorn Snails.
  • Sexual reproduction in freshwater snails requires a male and female couple to reproduce. For example, Nerite snails, Rabbit snails, Assassin snails, Mystery snails, Brotia Pagoda snails, Japanese Trapdoor Snails.

Reproduction form: There are two forms of reproduction in freshwater snails.

  • Viviparity. Baby snails develop inside eggs that remain in the mother’s body until they are ready to hatch. For example, Japanese Trapdoor Snails and Malaysian trumpet snails.
  • Egg-laying. Baby snails develop inside eggs that remain attached to some surface until they can survive on its own, at which point the snails hatch.

Now, based on this information we can figure out what kind of snails can become potential problems in our aquariums. Obviously, it can be way more difficult for aquarium owners to control snail populations if they are egg-laying, hermaphrodites, or can reproduce asexually.

Therefore, if you are looking for decorative snails in the display tank, snails that hardly breed would be the best fit for a tank.

The Differences of Reproduction in Snail Species

Nerite Snails (Nerite sp.)

General Information and Reproduction Information

Nerite snails spend most of their time roaming around your tank and eating algae. This species of snail requires a male and a female to reproduce. Getting just one nerite snail ensures that you will not have to worry about breeding in your tank.

How to Care for Nerite Eggs

Nerite snails lay egg capsules which contain anywhere from 36 to 106 eggs. The egg capsules can attach to the substrate, other snail shells, plants, and decorations. If you need to move the eggs to a new tank, be sure to remove the item that they are attached to.

The eggs need saltwater, or brackish water, to hatch. The eggs will not survive in freshwater, which makes Nerite snails ideal for people worried about overpopulation.

Did your snails lay their eggs in freshwater and you want them to hatch? That’s not an issue. You can move the eggs from the freshwater tank to a brackish water tank (5-10 ppt) and they will still hatch normally. The hatchlings do not require a huge tank. They will survive in a 1 to 5-gallon (20 liters) tank. Hatchling Nerite snails are tiny, so be sure to use a sponge filter.

The species prefers harder water. The pH of the tank should be in the 7 to 8 range, which is extremely important. Acidity in the tank can dissolve the shells of your snails. The snails are extremely adaptable when it comes to temperature. So, it should not worry you. However, in warmer temperatures, they develop faster.

Your tank will also need to be able to support algae growth before the eggs hatch. You will need to give the tank at least 24 hours of light in order to start algae growth in the tank. Hatchling Nerite snails will eat algae, just like the adult snails. You can also feed them golden pearls and phytoplankton.

Read more about this species in my article “Nerite Snails – Detailed Guide: Care, Diet and Breeding”.

Mystery Snails (Pomacea Brigesii / Pomacea Diffusa)

General Information and Reproduction Information

Mystery snails (or Apple snails) require a partner to mate as well. This helps avoid overpopulation. Apple snails will also eat some algae. However, they cannot be compared with Nerite snails, if you are looking to completely remove algae from your tank.
One thing to be aware of with this species is that there are different species in genus Pomacea, which are also commonly referred to as “Apple” snails. Some of them (like Pomacea canaliculata) do enjoy eating plants. So, if you are looking to create a planted tank, you have to choose only plant safe species (Pomacea Brigesii or Pomacea Diffusa).

How to Care for Mystery Snail Eggs

Mystery snail egg clutch can contain between 50 – 200 eggs, depending mainly on female size. The eggs need to remain between 65- and 82-degrees Fahrenheit. The eggs are normally light pink. These snails will lay their eggs above the water in the tank. You should keep them from being submerged or the eggs will die.

Humidity plays a huge role in determining if Mystery snail eggs will hatch. Low humidity will dry out the eggs. If the humidity and temperature conditions are correct, then your eggs should hatch in 2-3 weeks. Try to keep the eggs moist but not wet.

Be careful not to kill the eggs with too much moisture.  If your eggs do not hatch after 4 weeks, they may have been unfertilized and will not hatch.

Read more about this species in my article “Mystery Snail – Detailed Guide: Care, Diet and Breeding”.

Assassin Snails (Clea Helena)

General Information and Reproduction Information

Assassin snails are well-known for being used to handle snail infestations. These snails will eat other snail species. These snails do have specified genders. You will need two snails of the opposite gender for reproduction.

How to Care for Assassin Snail Eggs

After the pair mates, the eggs will be laid on any surface that the female can find. These snails have a very low reproduction rate. Females often deposit only 1 to 4 egg capsules per clutch in a straight line, separated from each other by 5 mm approximately.

They will hatch in 6 to 8 weeks. The babies will then bury themselves into the sand until they are mature. This may take up to a few months.

The tank should be between 65- and 77-degrees Fahrenheit. These snails prefer hard water and a pH level between 7.0 and 8.0.

Baby Assassin snails are also carnivores. They can eat blood worms and protein-rich fish or shrimp food.

Read more about this species in my article “Assassin Snail – Detailed Guide: Care, Diet, and Breeding”.

Ramshorn Snails (Planorbella duryi, Planorbarius corneus)

General Information and Reproduction Information

These snails are great for cleaning algae. However, they do breed at a rapid rate which makes overpopulation an issue. They are hermaphrodites which means that they can also breed with any other snail.

The only way that you can control their breeding is by rationing their food. The Ramshorn snails normally grow to be an inch long.

How to Care for Ramshorn Snail Eggs

Eggs are normally laid on the walls of the tank and on aquarium plants. The eggs are laid in clusters which usually contain about 12 eggs. The eggs will appear to be translucent and will hatch in two to five weeks. The hatchlings will eat algae like the adults.

Ramshorn snails can breed almost under any conditions. However, the ideal temperature would be between 75 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit (24 – 27 C) when you are trying to hatch the eggs.

Read more about this species in my article “Ramshorn Snails – Detailed Guide: Care, Diet, and Breeding”.

Malaysian Trumpet Snails (Melanoides Tuberculata)

General Information and Reproduction Information

These snails are great even for beginners and are commonly found in tanks. Malaysian Trumpet Snails are also great at aerating the substrate and cleaning tanks. Melanoides Tuberculata are avid consumers of algae and debris, especially debris that has fallen on and into the substrate.

The problem though is that they can quickly overpopulate a tank.

How to Care for Malaysian Trumpet Snail Eggs

Malaysian Trumpet snails are live-bearing snails. By the time that you notice the offspring, they will already be born into the tank.

Because the eggs are very tiny (around 0,01mm), it allows the snails to carry them in the brood-pouches. The number of developing snails in the brood-pouches usually reaches about 100 eggs.

Baby snails develop in brood-pouches and are released as juveniles with up to 1.5 to 2.0 mm in length. They grow really fast and in a few months can reach 1 – 1.5 cm (0.4 – 0.6 inches) size.

Read more about this species in my article “Malaysian Trumpet Snail – Detailed Guide: Care, Diet, and Breeding.

Rabbit snails (Tylomelania sp)

General Information and Reproduction Information

Rabbit snails are one of the most popular additions to freshwater tanks. They are slow-moving, peaceful creatures and prefer spending the majority of their time grazing on the algae that build up on the different surfaces in the tank.

They have a very low reproduction rate.

How to Care for Rabbit Snail Eggs

Rabbit snails have both male and female genders. As with many snail species, it is not possible to see the difference with the naked eye, as visual differences are not apparent.

After mating, the female will carry only a few (1 – 5) eggs for 4 to 6 weeks. After that, the gelatinous “egg” sac will be attached to the hard surface in the aquarium. In a few hours, baby snails will emerge from this sac.

Note: Due to the fact that eggs hatch almost immediately, biologists usually call them viviparous freshwater snails.

Baby snails immediately start crawling around looking for food (algae, biofilm, and detritus). Rabbit snails prefer warm (26 – 30°C  or 77°F – 86°F), alkaline water (pH 7.8 – 8.2).

Read more about this species in my article “Rabbit Snail – Detailed Guide: Care, Diet and Breeding”.

Japanese trapdoor snails (Viviparus sp.)

General Information and Reproduction Information

I do believe that these snails are one of the most beautiful snails in the aquarium hobby. They are also one of the few snail species that give birth to living offspring that develop within the mother’s body.

They also need a lot of time to become mature and start breeding. Juveniles usually appear when the females attain the age of 18 months old.

How to Care for Japanese trapdoor snails Eggs

They are live bearers, so they do not lay hard eggs on surfaces like many snail species do. The females hatch eggs within their bodies and give birth to live young.

Depends on the female’s size, they can give birth from 1 – 15 (usually one or two live babies). The female gives birth to live babes with fully developed shells.

For optimum growth, they need a temperature of 18 to 25 C (~66 – 78 F), a pH of 7.0 – 8.0.

Read more about this species in my article “Japanese Trapdoor Snail – Detailed Guide: Care, Diet, and Breeding”.

Note: Of course, there are some more freshwater species in the aquarium hobby. However, they are either pretty rare (Brotia Pagoda snails, Black Devil Snail, Asolene Spixi) or simply not welcome in most aquariums (Bladder snails and Pond snails). So, if you want to know more about these snails, check my guides about them.

How to Avoid Overpopulation

Be Aware of Breeding Rates and Choose a Species That Fits Your Needs

Some species breed at a rapid pace. To make things worse, most snail species can actually breed alone. This means that having just one snail in your tank could lead to overpopulation depending on the species.

Another factor that can lead to overpopulation is the amount of offspring created during one mating session. Some species may rarely breed, but can also create a hundred or more offspring during one breeding session. Even if a species does not breed often, it still may not be the best fit for your tank.

Discourage Breeding If Needed

You can discourage breeding by decreasing the food supply in your tank. Feed your fish or shrimp as you normally would but try not to overfeed them.

The remaining food is an extra food source for snails so you should suction any extra food out of your tank. Having an extra food source can encourage snails to breed more. This is because the snails will feel that they do not need to compete for resources.

Keeping Up with Breeding

Overpopulation in a tank can cause a variety of different issues. Therefore, it is best to remove unwanted snail eggs as soon as possible. You can also avoid having to deal with snails reproducing by choosing a species of snail that requires a partner to reproduce.

What to Do If You Find Unwanted Snail Eggs

Scoop or Scrape Them Out

Some species of snails will lay eggs on the aquarium glass or above the top of the water in your tank. These eggs can easily be scraped or scooped out before they hatch.

Remove Attached Items

You can also physically remove decorations or plants that have eggs attached and soak them in saltwater for ten minutes. The saltwater will kill the eggs.

Be sure to quarantine and disinfect the decorations or plants before putting them back into the tank.

How to Quarantine and Disinfect Aquarium Plants

What to Do If You Find Unwanted Live Offspring

There are some ways to remove unwanted snails from the tanks. For example:

  1. You can bait the offspring using food and remove them by hand. The same method can be used with any hatchlings that are already hatched.
  2. Use snail traps.
  3. Introduction Assassin snails or snail-eating fish in the tank.
  4. Use special chemicals that are lethal to freshwater snails.
  5. Cut down feeding.

You can find more information in my article “How to Remove Snails from a Shrimp Tank”. 

How can I stop Snails to leave Eggs everywhere in the Tank?

Many aquarists complain that their snails (especially Nerite snails) lay eggs everywhere. Unfortunately, there are only a few possible options to solve this problem. We are very limited here and let me tell you why.

  1. Depending on the reproduction type. We can wait when they start mating and separate all males and females to different tanks.
    This method will not work with snails that can reproduce asexually, or are hermaphrodites.
  2. Putting only a single snail of the species into your tank.
    However, it will not guarantee that you will not find yourself with a bunch of snail eggs in a nearby future.  The problem though is that females are also capable of carrying semen long term, using it over the course of many weeks. Some freshwater species can store it even for months!
  3. Keeping one snail of each species.
    This method can work only with Nerite snails. There are many Nerite species and they usually do not crossbreed. Therefore, keeping one of each species should prevent them from leaving eggs everywhere in the tank.

General Guide to Proper Care for Freshwater Snail Eggs

Do Not Move Snail Eggs Unless Necessary

In most cases, it can take 2-4 weeks for freshwater snail eggs to hatch. Moving snail eggs can possibly harm the eggs, but it may be necessary to move the eggs. For example, you may need to move the eggs if fish are trying to eat them.

You should also keep in mind that some snails lay their eggs above water. These eggs should stay above water because the embryos will die if submerged. Leave the eggs to hatch naturally.

General hardness and pH

The pH of the tank should be at 7 or above. Acidic water slowly dissolves their shell (usually in form of tiny holes). Soft water is not good for shell formation as well.

How to Take Care of Baby Snails

Feeding baby snails is easy. They will eat the same food as adults. Basically, in a well-established tank, they will often find enough supply of food (algae and biofilm) by themselves.

There is no need to buy dedicated baby snail food, they are natural scavengers and enjoy eating decaying matter and cleaning up after their tankmates.

Baby snails will accept almost any fish or shrimp food like flakes, algae wafers, Spirulina wafers and tablets, sinking pellets, earthworm pellets, algae pellets, even frozen bloodworms. Other reliable food sources are lettuce, spinach, and blanched green zucchini.

Like all other species of snails, you will want to provide them with some sort of calcium supplement to help keep their shell beautiful and healthy. I highly recommend reading my article “How to Supplement Shrimp and Snails with Calcium”.

Related articles:

List of Freshwater Aquarium Snails. Pros and Cons

Freshwater Snail Eggs What to Expect, What to Do, and How to Remove if Needed pinterest

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