Freshwater Snails are some of the most prolific aquatic animals you can own. While some species only lay 1-4 eggs at a time many Snails lay dozens or hundreds in a single round!
These eggs can be a complete surprise to beginners and advanced hobbyists alike! Fortunately, caring for Freshwater Snail eggs is a simple task and we’ll be discussing how to care for some of the most common species below!
Where Can I Find Freshwater Snail Eggs?
Here is the most likely placement of freshwater snail eggs in your aquarium
Apply and Mystery Snails
Mystery Snails are a species of Apple Snail and all Apple Snails lay large bundles of a few dozen eggs at a time. These bundles are laid above water in a damp place; usually along the exposed glass, tank lip, or hood where the humidity remains high.
Apple Snail eggs develop over the course of 3 to 4 weeks, with small dark spots being a sign of fertile, developing embryos. Eventually the young Freshwater Snails break free and drop down into the aquarium
Ramshorn Snails are the species most people think of when they imagine a tank overrun by Freshwater Snails. They lay eggs in gelatinous masses that hold 1-2 dozen embryos at a time.
The development time is temperature dependent and can take anywhere from 1 to 4 weeks, with heat speeding up the process.
The trick with Ramshorn Snails is that they reproduce both sexually and asexually. If there’s only a single Snail they can still create clones of themselves that will eventually overrun your aquarium! This is why Ramshorn Snails are often seen as troublesome pests in the hobby.
If Ramshorn Snails are your favorite Freshwater Snail or you’re looking for means to control their numbers, have a look at my Ramshorn Snail Guide!
Malaysian Trumpet Snails
These Freshwater Snails are unusual because they are livebearing Snails! Rather than laying eggs they have a single baby roughly once per month and can reproduce both asexually and sexually.
Assassin Snails are carnivorous Freshwater Snails that aren’t as prolific as some of their cousins. They generally lay a single egg per mating (but do mate frequently). Each egg takes 1 to 2 months to develop, temperature depending. These eggs are scattered about the aquarium in protected places like plant thickets and driftwood nooks.
If you find Nerite Snail eggs you have nothing to fear if you’re worried about overpopulation. They will prolifically scatter the small white eggs across any hard surface they can find.
However Nerite Snails eggs and young need brackish or full saltwater to develop successfully. You won’t be seeing baby Nerite Snails in your aquarium anytime soon.
What Should I Do When I Find Eggs?
Freshwater Snail Eggs are generally self-sufficient. They are usually either encased in a gelatinous mass that’s bitter and unappealing or a hard material that’s tough to break into.
While Freshwater Snails aren’t devoted parents they do have good instincts and many species lay their eggs above the water line or hide them among decorations. There’s little for you to do unless you’re worried fish or other inhabitants may eat the young Snails.
How Long Until The Eggs Hatch?
The time period for snail eggs to hatch is dependent both on the species in question as well as factors like pH and temperature.
Ramshorn Snail eggs have one of the quickest development times, with young Snails hatching as fast as a week from being laid.
Assassin Snails are some of the slowest, with 1 to 2 months being typical gestation periods.
Caring For the Young Freshwater Snails
If you’ve left your young Snails in with their parents they can be treated like miniature adults in terms of care and feeding. Vegetarian and detritivorous Snails can be offered blanched vegetables like spinach and cauliflower.
Carnivores will eat meaty prey and both usually take prepared foods. Night feedings are the best way to ensure your young Freshwater Snails get enough to eat and aren’t bullied by tank mates.
What If I Don’t Want More Snails?
Removing any eggs you find is the safest bet. Apple and Mystery Snails are the easiest to control because they lay their eggs above water.
Simply scan for egg clusters once per day and scrape away any that you find.
Ramshorn Snails are a bit harder to control; when they lay eggs on glass these can be scraped away as well. However the egg masses are transparent when newly laid and easy to miss anywhere else in the aquarium.
Assassin Snails breed slowly and the eggs take even more time to develop. Baby Snails do tend to burrow even more than adults and can be hard to hand remove.
Baiting your Assassin Snails with fish or other meat will also attract young Snails that can then be removed.
As livebearers Malaysian Trumpet Snails don’t have eggs to remove or control – baiting and hand removing the young is the best option. And since they require brackish or saltwater to develop Nerite Snail eggs are self-controlling!
If you have another egg-laying Snail species it will tend to follow one of these breeding methods. You can simply adapt your strategies to fit their needs!