I started my adventures in rabbit snail keeping here at PetSolutions in 2014 when I saw my first Yellow Rabbit Snail in person. I had read about them, and had seen them many times in trade publications but I had never been nose to nose with one against the aquarium glass until then. When one has been keeping fish for decades, becoming jaded is something a danger. Sometimes though, encountering a new creature draws out the tell tale “oh, cool” verbal reaction. Once that comes out the deal is all but sealed.
In the Beginning…There Was Snail
I purchased three snails, which I have since identified as Tylomelania sp. “yellow poso”. I took the snails home and added them to my aquarium which had been sitting with only some live plants and Malaysian driftwood in it for several weeks, so the snails had no possibility of fish or other aquarium residents bothering them. I had read about quite a few different foods which are offered to these snails, some of which would be not particularly common. I decided I would try different foods I had readily available for purchase here in our warehouse as my first choice for food and if I needed to go to a different type of food sold elsewhere, then I would. I started out with flake food, but quickly came to realize that with the amount of water current spinning around my aquarium, that would never work even when well saturated and sunken to the bottom of the aquarium. All the flake food did was make more for me to clean up. The second food I tried was one which at the time was new to our company called TetraVeggie Algae Wafers Xtreme and that has been my primary go to snail food ever since. The secondary food I give them is one which is actually designed for small freshwater shrimp, and it is called Fluval Shrimp Granules. With the algae wafers, they floated a bit too much for my taste, and I wanted them to be in several places to make it easier for the snails to find them. I break the wafers into several small pieces, and pre soak those pieces a bit by holding them below the water surface. I could also soak them in a small glass of water for a couple of minutes if I wanted to, but that isn’t what I typically do. I drop the wafer pieces nearby where I find a snail, and there is usually nothing for me to clean up once a snail finds a piece of pellet.
The Persistence of Snail
I’ve been keeping the snails for about nine months now, though I am down to two. I had a heater fail and the temperature dropped pretty low in the aquarium before I noticed. One thing about these snails is that they do prefer warm water, warm to the point that they would probably make a great tank mate for discus. I’ve read some rabbit snail keepers have their temperatures sitting at around 84 degrees Fahrenheit, though I tend to keep mine hovering right around 80F. The two who held on through the chilly couple of days are doing very well, and are pretty active (for snails). They tend to be more active when the lights go off in the aquarium, but I have also seen them active while the lights are on, typically in the morning. Much I have read about Yellow Rabbit Snails states that they love to burrow, but even in the somewhat fine and lightweight substrate of my planted aquarium mine only seem to burrow on occasion. The majority of the time they seem to just close up their shells and lay where they stop. The snails have been living alone, with the entire aquarium to themselves up to this point. I will be adding fish, more invertebrates, and additional plants to the aquarium in the very near future.
Welcome to the Neighborhood
The rabbit snails, especially those which have reached a size nearing 2 inches long as mine are, can handle many tank mates just fine. Avoiding African cichlids and the larger, more aggressive South American cichlids is definitely something to do. Some of those fish specialize in eating snails, and a rabbit snail might make an expensive and heartbreaking meal. Since I have my rabbit snails in a small aquarium of 3o to 40 gallons which includes live plants, I will be sticking to peaceful fish which will not harass the snails or try to eat them. Corydoras catfish, small tetras, Red Crystal Shrimp (or similar shrimp), Otocinclus catfish, and smaller non harmful cichlids such as German Blue Rams are prime examples of fish available at PetSolutions which would work well with the yellow rabbit snails. As long as the rabbit snails are fed occasionally, they will have no interest at all in going after your plants but they work great to help keep the substrate of your aquarium free of wasted fish food.