How to Care for Trapdoor Snails

Updated November 21, 2016

Trapdoor Snails are a Japanese species of snail that is raised and sold to pond and aquarium owners to help control algae growth in aquariums and ponds. In the wild and in existing ponds that have been established, trapdoor snails thrive well and reproduce quickly with little or no care. However, raising trapdoor snails in an aquarium, although not as involved or difficult as raising fish, still requires a certain level of care and skill.

Install a low-flow filter in the aquarium to replicate the slow streams that trapdoor snails are accustomed to in the wild.

Install an aquarium light to encourage the growth of algae in the aquarium. Choose light bulbs that are labelled "daylight" or have a kelvin rating of 5000-6700k to facilitate both plant and algae growth.

Place aquatic plants in the aquarium to oxygenate the water, remove impurities and provide shelter for the snails.

Place the trapdoor snails in the water. It may take as long as two hours before the snails open up and begin to explore the tank. It is not necessary to float the bag as is done with fish. If you plan to breed the snails, insert 10 to 12 snails to start your system. This will allow a good chance of having males and females in the mix since it is not possible to determine the sex of the snails visually.

Supply the aquarium with flaked fish food, live food such as tubifex worms and a variety of fresh vegetables to supplement the algae and feed the omnivorous snails. Trapdoor snails will thrive on both plant and animal foods.

Remove and replace half of the water in the tank every week to keep it fresh. Rinse the filter bag or cartridge in the dirty tank water when you replace the water. The filter bag should be replaced every few months.

Test the nitrate, nitrite and ammonia levels of the tank weekly. Nitrite and ammonia should always register at 0 ppm, and nitrate should be under 40 ppm. If levels test higher than this, perform daily, 50-to-70-percent water changes until levels are back under control.

Things You'll Need

  • Freshwater aquarium
  • Low-flow filter
  • Aquarium light
  • Aquatic plants
  • Live fish food (tubifex worms or similar)
  • Flake fish food
  • Vegetables
  • Water testing kit
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