I decided to try keeping exotic aquarium snails in my tanks for the first time. So far, I’m really enjoying them. I recently picked up some Tylomelania cf. gemmifera “yellow antenna” and Tylomelania sp. “Poso Orange” for my tanks at home. I also got some Freshwater Nerite Snails, specifically the Tracked Nerite, for the lab to help eat the algae.
The Nerites are excellent algae eaters, although I’ve found they don’t enjoy being kept in tanks with very active fish. They can eat about a 4″ square patch of algae in a day! There are fresh, brackish, and saltwater Nerites. Most of the Nerites sold for freshwater tanks have been acclimated to freshwater. Nerite eggs need brackish-saltwater to hatch and develop, so it’s nice to know these snails won’t over run your tank.
Vittina semiconica is the species I have. It is native to Indonesia, Java, and Sumatra where it occurs in brackishwater strems and mangrove swamps.
I’m loving my Tylomelania snails at the moment. They are so bizzare looking but fun to watch. Tylomelania snails are essentially freshwater Ceriths. The genus Tylomelania is endimic to the island of Sulawesi (fromerly Celebes). Tylomelania are sometimes called Elephant Snails in the trade because of their elephant like “nose”. They use this nose to dig around the substrate searching for food. Tylomelania are scavengers and detritivores and will take care of any detritus in the tank. They gladly accept flake and pelleted fish foods with gusto.
Elephant snails are livebearers, but unlike the common livebearing trumpet snail, Tylomelania give birth to one young snail a month. These snails range in size from 1″ long to over 3″ long!
I’ve found my Tylomelania cf. gemmifera “yellow antenna” to be not a super active species, and thus haven’t been able to get a very good photo. My Tylomelania sp. “Poso Orange” are quite the opposite and are constantly moving about my tank digging through the substrate looking for food. They are quite entertaining to watch, especially when they find some food. They can really motor to it and then chow down.
Overall, Tylomelania snails are super cool, but sadly, they aren’t very common in the trade. Because they are livebearing and only have a baby a month, they haven’t been bred in numbers yet and many are wild caught. Hopefully this changes soon. I know I’m looking for new Tylomelania species to keep and hopefully breed.