What Do Apple Snails Eat [Full Guide]

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You may have heard that apple snails and mystery snails are the same animals, but this is a common misconception. If the pet store tries to sell you an apple snail when you are searching for a mystery snail, you may wind up with more than you can handle.

Both species are similar and make good additions to the aquarium. Still, they have their key differences that need to be understood to have a successful aquarium. To learn about these differences, keep reading.

what do apple snails eat

What Are Apple Snails?

Apple snails are one of the most common snails available for aquariums. They are commonly mistaken for mystery snails because the two are almost identical in shape and color. However, apple snails can grow to six inches in diameter versus the mystery snails’ two inches.

To read how mystery snails are different from apple snails, check out our guide here.

Like mystery snails, apple snails have adapted to breathe both air and water. They have both gills and lungs that primarily function to help wild snails. When they live in areas like swamps and shallow ponds, the water can be dirty and lacking in oxygen, so their lungs help them breathe.

They cannot be fully out of water for too long or they will dry up, but they can survive outside of water for a few hours. This is useful in the wild because it allows them to survive droughts. It is also useful in an aquarium setting if the tank doesn’t have a lid and they happen to escape.

Nerite Snails Vs Mystery Snails – What Is The Difference?

The biggest difference between nerite snails and mystery snails is what they eat. Mystery snails will eat a bit of algae, but they mainly eat detritus around the tank. Alternatively, nerite snails will not eat detritus, but they are much better algae eaters. If you are looking specifically for an algae cleaner, nerite snails will be the better option.

What Tank Conditions Help Them Thrive?

In the wild, apple snails can be found in numerous places like ponds, rivers, swamps, and lakes. What is their preferred habitat?

Tank Mates

what do apple snails eat

Apple snails are a great addition to most tanks. They are active and fun to watch, but they are also peaceful and docile. While they will devour plants, they will not harm any living animals.

While it’s better to house apple snails with other peaceful species, they usually can adapt to more aggressive species. Their shells are meant to protect them and they will use them as a defense against any nippers.

Equipment

Make sure to equip your tank with a properly secured lid so that your snails won’t escape. They are curious and like to explore. Further, they will seek air to lay their eggs, so they can and will try to get out of the tank. While they can survive an excursion for a few hours, if you don’t find them and return them to the tank in time, they will dry out and die.

They also prefer still waters, and too much of a current can stress them out. If you would like to house these snails, make sure that the filter is not too strong.

Water Conditions

Apple snails prefer the same water conditions as most tropical fish, but they do have a few preferences that need to be met to keep them healthy. Hard water over soft will help keep their shells healthy.

They need calcium for their shells or they will begin to degrade. If your water does not have enough natural calcium, you will need to provide supplements. Supplements that you can add include cuttlebones (found in the bird section of pet stores), sea shells, or powdered marble. You can also feed them calcium-rich vegetables.

In general, you will want to keep your tropical snail and fish tank within these parameters:

pHAmmoniaNitritesNitratesTemperature
7.0-7.50ppm0ppm<40ppm70-78o F
HEALTHY WATER CONDITIONS FOR A TROPICAL AQUARIUM

What Do Apple Snails Eat?

what do apple snails eat

Apple snails will eat just about anything set in front of them, even more so than mystery snails. While apple snails will not go after live fish, they are omnivores and will feed on the bodies of dead fish.

Here are some of the things apple snails like to eat most:

  • Dead fish
  • Smaller snails
  • Snail eggs
  • Green, leafy vegetables
  • Detritus like leftover fish food
  • Plants

Unlike mystery snails, apple snails love to eat plants, so some aquarists don’t like to house them in their tanks. If you wish to keep a planted aquarium, you are better off housing mystery snails.

To read more about what mystery snails eat, read our guide here.

Do Apple Snails Eat Algae?

Like mystery snails, apple snails will eat algae. Because apple snails become larger than mystery snails, they may be better at ridding your tank of algae. However, because apple snails like to eat plants, if your aquarium is planted, they will go after the greens and ignore the algae.

What To Feed Apple Snails?

Although apple snails will feast on just about everything, it is still important to feed them on a regular basis. Don’t leave their diet up to chance because it will negatively effect their health.

Here are some of the best things to feed your snails:

  • Vegetables like spinach, carrots, and lettuce. Make sure you rinse and blanch the veggies first to rid them of any harmful chemicals
  • Algae wafers or bottom feeder pellets. Wafers contain essential nutrients your apple snails need to stay healthy

How Much Food?

How much food you need to give your apple snails depends on their appetite and how many snails are housed in the tank. Typically, you don’t want to feed them more than they can eat in a few hours. If you see there is still leftover food after a few hours, remove it from the tank before it dirties the water.

You can always adjust the amount you are giving them depending on how much they are eating.

Conclusion

Apple snails are the larger, plant-loving cousins of the mystery snail. They are very similar to mystery snails in that they will help clean the tank and are safe to keep around most species of fish and invertebrates. The main thing you want to keep in mind is that apple snails will grow significantly larger than mystery snails and that they like to eat plants.

If you have a larger tank with artificial decorations, apple snails can be a great addition to your tank. If you have a smaller tank stocked with live plants, mystery snails will be your ideal choice.

Want to know if you can eat apple snails?! Read our full guide here.

Also interested in mystery snails or perhaps zebra snails? Read our guide on how big mystery snails getwhat mystery snails eat here or exactly what zebra snails eat. Find more guides to mystery snails and other kinds of snails here. You can also find out whether snails can swim here.

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Jason Williamson

By Jason Williamson

Jason is a huge animal lover with many pets of his own. He loves sharing all his knowledge of all creatures here and learning more whenever he can.