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Housing Conditions, Feeding, and Companions

Substrate and Plants - I have my snails on sand, plain sand. I use CaribSea Super Naturals sand, although other keepers have used smaller gravel, colored gravel, and even small rounded rocks. The bulk of the snails species enjoy snuffling through the sand with their muzzles, and quite regularly enjoy burying themselves in the sand, and later resting with just their head emerged from the sand.

Because I have a mixed population, I also provide rocks and plants in the environment. A few of the species prefer climbing on rocks and harder substrate, so I provide a mix of decor to provide for all needs.

Some keepers will mix crushed coral in with their sand or gravel substrate, or place coral in their filters to add to carbonate hardness in the water.

I also have large Amazon Swords, red and green crypts, and even a Java Fern that is doing well with the rabbits. Softer plants such as Valisneria, parrot feather, and others do not lastwhich can include Java Fern. Many keepers also state that Anubias does well with rabbits. It will be a matter of experimentation to see how your set up will fare regarding plants and rabbit snails, but what has been listed above should provide a good start.

Water Parameters - Water conditioning is a MUST, especially if it is city water. Well water should be tested for what it contains if used directly. I have always conditioned well water when I have taken my snails traveling. Distilled water is not acceptable.

Here in the SoCal area, our tap water is hard, fairly alkaline with a pH of 7.5 from the tap. We also have 5 - 10 ppm Nitrates from the tap. My snails have adapted to our water conditions and have proven fruitful each year. I keep my numbers as close as possible to desirable levels. I also supplement with liquid calcium, due to my high population of snails.

I keep my water around 82F (27C) degrees, some keep theirs at 78F (25 - 26C), others keep it around 86F (30C).

Here are some numbers from the various lake habitats of Lake Matano and Lake Towuti:

Addition of salt to the water (if kept with mollies and such) is not desirable.

Feeding - The snails will accept most any fish food as flakes, algae wafers, sinking pellets, earthworm pellets, algae pellets, even frozen bloodworms. Many snails will favor the fresher foods, dark green leafy lettuce, blanched beans, carrots, broccoli, kale, spinach, peas, and I have even feed mine the large leaves of garden weeds, once certain those were washed clean of debris. I don’t use herbicides nor pesticides, so keep clear of chemicals. Repashy’s food mixes have proven successful for the snails also. I incorporate Repashy’s Soilent Green in my feeding. This can be purchased at Amazon. Many pellets I purchase at Ken’s Fish.

Some folks make their own Snail Jello, supplementing it with additional calcium. Make certain your calcium source does NOT contain additional copper and such. Copper is toxic to snails. Another way to add additional calcium sources is to add cuttlebone to the tank. Boil the cuttlebone first, as this will cause it to sink easily. It breaks down and leaches calcium into the water column, and the snails can graze upon it if desired.

Some keepers will mix crushed coral in with their sand or gravel substrate, or place coral in their filters to add to carbonate hardness in the water, supplementing the snails' need for calcium.

These snails are prodigious eaters, and must be fed regularly, especially to support breeding. I go through large amounts of lettuce and carrots when providing these foods. Attention should be taken to remove the food before it really fouls, most likely by the end of the 2nd day from introduction. By the third day stuff becomes pretty slimy.

Tank Companions - Many keepers have their snails in mixed communities also. I have personally kept mine with Danios, Endlers, Neon and Black Neon Tetras, cories, and otocinclus. I am also keeping them with Dwarf Chain Loaches, and they seem to be getting along quite well. The snails have suffered no injuries or losses, the loaches have been initially curious and I know they have cleaned off the shells of any tank pests (detritus worms or what have you). Other keepers have also housed them with the occasional Betta, rasbora, plecos, mollies, guppies, gobies, minnows, platies, even yo-yo loach and zebra loach. They also seem to settle quite well with various shrimp species, such as Amano, cherry, bamboo, and vampire. Their best companion shrimp would be the Sulawesi species, as they have identical living conditions.

Others also keep their snails with additional snail species, some of which are new on the aquarium scene. Admittedly, these snails are more prominant again in the European Aquarium trade than in the US. Long-nose snails, Faunus ater species (lava snails, red devils, volcano snails, are some of the common names for these), and King Snails are being kept also, adapting to the conditions for our Tylomelania. Although in the case of the King, long term captivity has not been documented successfully from my investigation. The King is a brackish-prefering species. Time will tell how well they can be kept with our Tylos.

For a very good article on Rabbit Snails written by CrustaHunter Chris Lukhaup, please follow this link: http://www.practicalfishkeeping.co.uk/content.php?sid=3053

Regarding keeping with Yo-yo loaches and some of the more aggressive fish, even some peaceful fish, please exercise personal judgement and observation. I have had no problems with danios. Some keepers have had mollies nip at the antenna of Rabbits, and some folks have had issues with Bettas. Every situation is unique, as are the individuals involved.

Emma Berry's rabbit snails
Sarah Elmassians rabbit snail hybrid
Erin Badzoing's rabbit snails
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Photo Courtesy Erin Badzoing

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 Housing, Feeding, and Friends

Photo Courtesy Sarah Elmassian

James Ong CK's long-nosed snail
Anna Dunn's Faunus ater
Jesse May's King snail

Photo Courtesy James Ong CK

Long-nosed Snail

Photo Courtesy Jesse May

King Snail

Photo Courtesy Anna Dunn

Faunus ater

 Questions? Comments?  Photos from Tylo Friends An Aquatic Whimsy RabbitSnails