White Wizard Snail – Detailed Guide: Care, Diet and Breeding

White Wizard Snail (Filopaludina martensi) – Detailed Guide Care, Diet and Breeding

White Wizard Snail also known as Filopaludina martensi is a relatively new species of freshwater snails in the aquarium hobby. Even though they are still not that common, these snails have all chances to become one of the favorites.

So, what is so special about them?

White Wizard snails grow large and prefer warm water. They can also use their gills to filter feed. That makes them literally unique! These snails fall into the category called viviparous, which means giving birth to living offspring that develop within the mother’s body.

Although the ecology of this species is poorly researched, in this article, I will tell you everything I know about White Wizard snails and how to care for them.

Quick Notes about White Wizard Snails 

Name White Wizard Snail
Other Names White Ghost Wizard Snail, Ghost Wizard Snail, White Mage Snail, Ghost Piano River Snail, or White Trapdoor Snail
Scientific Name Filopaludina martensi
Tank size (optimal) 10 gallons (~40 liters)
Keeping Easy to medium
Breeding Easy (slow)
Size up to 5 cm (~2 inches)
Optimal Temperature 23 – 26 °C (73 – 79 °F)
Optimal PH 7.0 – 8.5 
Optimal GH 5 – 20   
Optimal KH 4 – 12
Nitrate Less than 40 ppm
Diet Algae eater/omnivore
Temperament Peaceful
Life span up to 5 years
Color Form White with a dark tip

Origin / Habitat of White Wizard Snails

Filopaludina martensi species is majorly distributed in Southeast Asia (Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos).

These snails prefer to live in fresh still waters (canals, swamps, ponds, rice fields, ditches, etc.). However, they can also be found in waters with slow currents as well (streams, and rivers).

Interesting fact: This species was discovered and described by Eduard von Martens in the distant 1860. However, until recent years, it was completely forgotten.

Description of White Wizard Snails

White Wizard Snail (Filopaludina martensi) Detailed Guide Care, Diet and BreedingWhite Wizard is a very unique and attractive snail, it possesses these notable features:

  • The color of the shell is white with light brown marks.
  • A White Wizard Snail shell color is off-white, creamy, and smooth in texture. It often turns a little bit darker to the end of the spike.
  • They have thick and broadly conical shell with 6 – 7 whorls. The last whorl is swollen.
  • Fine lines on the shell.
  • White Wizard snails also have an operculum (the trap-door) which they use to completely close their shell when disturbed or threatened.
  • Another unique feature of these snails is that their “face” and tentacles have blue coloration. Although their bodies are yellow with brownish spots.
  • The cephalic tentacles are moderately long.

White Wizard snails can grow up to 5 cm (2 inches). These snails can live up to 3 – 5 years (according to the shells analyses). However, in captivity, their lifespan can barely reach 2 – 4 years at most. The problem is the lack of care knowledge.

Behavior of White Wizard Snails

White Wizard snails are non-aggressive, solitary, and very shy by nature. They prefer a calm aquatic environment and peaceful tank mates.

These snails have no means to attack other tank inhabitants and have only its operculum and shell for protection from aggressors.

They are more active at night, and often rest during the day time. Once settled in the tank, they will come out in the daytime to do some foraging as well.

White Wizard snails are quiet and get scared easily that can affect their behavior. It means that they can be active for some time and when … suddenly slow down and barely move for days.

So keep that in mind and do not panic if they spend a lot of time inside the shell without movement from time to time.

White Wizard snail is a burrower type of snails.

Feeding White Wizard Snails

White Wizard Snail (Filopaludina martensi) in planted tankWhite Wizard snails are omnivorous and great scavengers. They eat algae, but they are not very great at it. Therefore, if you are looking for the snails that can help you with that, you need to choose other species.

In nature, White Wizard snails mostly feed on detritus (decomposing plant and animal matter).

Another interesting feature of Filopaludina martensi species is that these snails use their gills to filter feed. They trap small (micro) organisms in the water column that makes your tank cleaner.

Note: Even though they use their gills to filter feed, it is not their primary way of feeding. Do not expect miracles. It is just an interesting bonus.

In the aquarium, they will eat the same food you feed your fish and shrimp (shrimp pellets, shrimp granulesfish flakesalgae wafers, etc. – check out the price on Amazon). They may even pick up the crumbs and leftovers, so to speak.

Considering the fact that this is a pretty big snail, you may need to supplement your snails’ diets. For example, algae wafers (or tablets, pellets, fish/shrimp flakes) are good options for these snails as they will sit on the bottom of the tank and stay there until your snails come across them.

In addition, adding blanched vegetables (like carrot, sprouts, spinach, cucumber, zucchini) will make them happy.

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

Keep in mind that just like other invertebrates, White Wizard snails are sensitive to copper and copper compounds (read more here). Therefore, when purchasing aquarium fertilizers ensure that they do not contain copper-based chemicals.

You can read some of my related articles (the principle is the same with snails):

Are White Wizard Snails Plat Safe?

Yes, White Wizard snails are plant safe unless they are starving and cannot find any other food to eat.

You can easily avoid this by adequately feeding the snails regularly and giving them fresh veggies.

Keeping and Housing White Wizard Snails

As far as aquatic creatures go, White Wizard snails are fairly easy to take care of. In fact, they are considered pretty low maintenance across the board because they are very adaptable and can do well in a range of water conditions.

Nonetheless, as with any fish, shrimp or snail tank, make sure that the tank is set up correctly, and that the water is properly cycled.

I would like to start off by saying that these snails are not for beginners. They have some specific requirements if you want to create an ideal environment for them.

Tank size

White Wizard snails are relatively big snails. Therefore, it is recommended that you provide a tank that is about 5 gallons (20 liters) per one adult snail you plan to house in the tank.

It is possible to keep 2 – 3 snails in a 10 gallon (40 liters) tank. Anything smaller and you will have problems.

Water parameters:

White Wizard snails are not very fussy about water parameters. According to some studies, these snails were more resistant to heavy metals as indicated by their behavior and physiological responses.

pH and hardness: Try to aim for a pH between 7.0 – 8.0 and a hardness between 5 – 20. Although these snails can tolerate pH 6.5 and lower, it is better not to leave them in acidic water for a long time (weeks). Acidic water slowly dissolves their shell (usually in form of tiny holes).

Temperature: White Wizard snails thrive in warm temperature conditions 23 – 26 C (73 – 79 F). However, they will be OK in the range of 20 – 28 C (68 – 82F).

Filtration:

There are no special requirements as well. As long as you have got the filter that works great with the size of the tank you have got your snails will be fine.

Do not worry, if you are worried that the filter flow is not strong enough, for White Wizard snails to filter feed.

You do not need any secondary pump. After all, besides rivers (where they have water flow to filter feed), they are mostly found in canals, marshes, swamps, and ponds. Therefore, I would not worry about the flow very much.

Substrate

Regarding substrate, in the wild White Wizard snails live attached to rocks as well as on sandy bottoms. So, provide a sandy or fine coarsed substrate which serves as a resting and sifting ground for the snails where they search for food particles.

Ideally, your substrate should be deep enough to burrow down into the ground and disappear.

Note: Hard substrate (large rocks, gravel) prevents them from burring that can stress them a lot.

Lighting:

White Wizard snails are nocturnal and do not really need light. They do better in a dark or very low light tank.
Lighting should be adapted to the needs of plants and fish in the tank.

For more information, you can read my “Advanced Guide to Planted Tank Lighting

Decorations, etc.

Decoration, driftwood, and plants will provide more surface area for algae and biofilm growth. Biofilm is one of the favorite foods for snails and it plays an important part in their menu.

Do not forget that they need careful acclimation (read more about it here) as all invertebrates. 

Basic Tank Equipment (links to check the price on Amazon)

Mating of White Wizard Snails

White Wizard snails are gonochoristic. This means that both a female and a male snail must be available for them to reproduce.

Unlike many other snail species, males and females can be distinguished by external features. The males can be recognized by the fact that one of the antennas is modified in shape. It is thicker than the other. The females have the same length and size of the antennas equal.

According to observations, the male snail approaches the female, crawls over her shell, and when at the last whorl searches for the genital aperture, grasping with his penial sheath, and inserts it.

Copulation can last a few hours.

Breeding of White Wizard Snails

White Wizard snails have a very low rate of reproduction. So even if they are kept in large groups it will not be likely to over-populate the aquarium.

It can be a relief for many aquarists who have a tendency to worry about crowding or overpopulation.

White Wizard snails exhibit viviparity (they give birth to live young ones).

Their embryos develop in capsules kept in the mother’s brood chamber. Viviparity provides protection for the developing young. They are enveloped by the egg capsule, which breaks before birth.

Females gave birth to juveniles mainly at night. The total amount of baby snails per female usually varies between 5 and 15 and depends on the female’s size.

The female gives birth to live babes with fully developed shells. They are fully formed miniatures of the adults. The only difference is that their color will be darker with a yellowish tint. Do not worry, with time, when they get older, their shells will become more white.

These young snails should be feed finely powered food at least once a day to increase their survival rate. 

White Wizard Snails and Suitable Tank Mates

White Wizard snail is very peaceful and they will not cause any problems to its tank mates. These snails will be a great choice for any community tank. 

Fish

Concerning the fish species and some natural enemies, White Wizard snails should not be kept with Botia lohacata, Cichlids, Loaches, and Goldfish. Keep in mind that some fish do not feed on the snails but eat the exposed eyestalks or long tentacles.

Their tankmates should include other calm and peaceful community tank fish (for example, Panda Garra, Pygmy Cory Catfish, and Otocinclus Catfish).

Dwarf Shrimp

Shrimp species that prefer slightly alkaline water will be the best choice to keep with White Wizard snails. For example, Vampire shrimpBamboo ShrimpAmano ShrimpGhost shrimpCherry shrimpBlue tiger shrimpSnowball shrimpCaridina cf. babaultiBlue Velvet Shrimp, Malawa Shrimp, etc.

Snails

White Wizard snail’s tank mates can also include other snails like Black Devil Snails, Brotia Pagodula snails, Rabbit snailsNerite SnailsMystery Snails,  Ramshorn snailMalaysian Trumpet snails and others of their kind. Do not keep them with Assassin snails, they can eat them.

Crayfish

Also, keep White Wizard 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. All of them can be very aggressive towards the snails. 

In Conclusion

White Wizard snail is a truly amazing and fascinating species. These peaceful and undemanding creatures will be good companions to dwarf shrimp and non-carnivorous fishes.

They are also considered to be quite hardy and can be a great addition to any freshwater tank. 

All these features make them perfectly suitable even for beginners looking to keep ornamental pet snails.

Related articles:

White Wizard Snail (Filopaludina martensi) – Detailed Guide Care, Diet and Breeding pinterest

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