Trapdoor Snails? What's your opinion/experience?
Hi there! I'm new around here, and just curious to hear everyone's opinion on trapdoor snails and their experiences with them. I ordered a few online just recently, and should be getting them soon.
Welcome to Fishforum.com, Rynthae.
Could you please tell us which tanks you are putting them in? What is the temperature of the tank normally?
All snails of Viviparidae genus are finicky. These are not snails for beginners by any means especially as they prefer their temperature no more tha 76 degrees Fahrenheit even though a few are lucky to have vivs that did not mind the temperature a few degrees higher. Feeding is also a trouble as they will not take kindly to supplemental foods. They prefer to eat decaying plant parts and algae only. Algae has to be supplied constantly otherwise they will simply starve themselves.
I have no luck keeping them in tanks although in ponds, they do rather exceptionally well due to abundance of algae and decaying organic matter. Temperature there tends to fall as low as 74 degrees Fahrenheit which makes them happier in the pond than in the tank.
I would advise against mixing them with other snails that will outcompete them easily. Pomacea diffusa are notorious for being a little feistier when it comes to food as they tend to eat almost everything except healthy plants. Pomacea canaliculata are about the worst snail tankmates with aggression only rivaling goldfish when it comes to food.
Mating is also easy. Females tend to have two straight antennaes (labial tentacle). Males have one curlier labial tentacle. The labial tentacle is their reproductive organ and viviparus are all livebearing snails so usually they produce only two batches a year and the babies count no more than 4 on average per batch.
Hope this helps.
Thanks for all of your advice! I'm hoping to put them in both my 15 gallon and my 20 gallon tanks. If you're curious, the type of fish in each tank is listed in my signature. I have no other snails currently, and don't really plan on getting others, either, as long as things go all right. My tanks are currently in the low 80s, but with the fish I'm keeping, I'm sure I could lower the temperature down to that range. My tanks are freshwater, with no live plants. I usually feed the fish flake food, algae wafers, and supplement this with the occasional frozen brine shrimp, peas, and/or lettuce.
Unfortunately, your 15g contains all tropical fish. Bettas will certainly not tolerate the temperature bracket required by trapdoor snails. Besides that, trapdoor snails will end up harassed by bettas. It depends but bettas do have the tendency to nip the labial tentacles of trapdoor snails and antennaes of most apple snails. You also have two algae competitors, clown plecos and swordtail. I am sorry but a 15g will absolutely not work. Also, the 20g also does not have appropriate tankmates for the trapdoor snails. Goldfish, bristlenose plecos, Chinese algae eaters and swordtails are opportunistic. They will compete with your snails directly for algae.
This is an unsolicited advice but you are mixing the wrong fish. Chinese algae eaters and goldfish do not match very well. Chinese algae eaters can reach 10 inches in body length making them inappropriate for 20g tanks. Besides that, they also have a rather nasty temperament which develop as they mature. Their taste for algae eventually fades to be replaced by taste for protein such as their tankmates' slime coats. Once they acquire such taste, they will constantly harass all your fish. The stress alone will make your fish quite vulnerable to several health issues.
Your best bet is switch to apple snails. A 20g will work just fine for apple snails. Aim for 2.5g per snail. I suggest you remove your CAEs first before you get apple snails. As apple snails poop a lot rivaling your goldfish and plecos, then I'd advise getting only 1-2 snails and upgrade your filtration system.
What strain is your goldfish? Your goldfish needs to be moved to a larger tank. They are temperate species therefore the temperature bracket should not exceed 76 degrees otherwise your goldfish will simply live a very short life. Warm temperature increases metabolic rate. Increased metabolic rate increases growth rate and possibly stunting if kept in such a small space. This in turn causes them to die very quickly.
Fancy goldfish need 15g per first fish and each additional fancy goldfish should be given 10g space. Overall the minimum tank size for 2-3 goldfish should be 40g if one hopes to keep them for a lifetime otherwise a 20g could serve as a temporary rearing tank but only for a short period no more than 2-3 months before you end up stunting the fish since goldfish are very prone to stunting.
If goldfish is a pond type such as shubunkin, comet, hibuna/common goldfish, wakin, watonai or jikin, a general guideline for stocking is 20g per fish. Each additional fish needs 15-20g. They require more space as they grow far bigger than the fancy strains. They are much more suitable in ponds than in tanks however.
It seems like I always have the worst luck with hearing the wrong things before making a decision. :( I have heard how big CAEs get, but only after I got two. The guy at the store knew what size tank they were going into, and with what fish, and assured me it would be fine. I had been told before that they stay small, which was one of the reasons I got a couple, but apparently that wasn't right at all (as you've pointed out). One thing is that I'm not entirely sure if they're common Chinese Algae Eaters (can't exactly remember - would have to check at the store), but that was my guess since they look like them. They're maybe 2-3 inches right now. Honestly I'm not sure what to do if they get that big. I feel pretty terrible for getting them in the first place, but now I'm pretty attached to them, especially after helping one of them through a near-death experience... I guess I really don't know what to do.
Again, the goldfish I don't have extensive knowledge on (the tag at the lfs just said "fancy goldfish", but it wasn't with the other pond goldfish, and although it will grow a bit bigger, it certainly won't reach comet size. We only have one, and don't really plan on getting any more...
Again with the trapdoors, I read up on them as much as I could before buying, but maybe I was reading up in the wrong places. I was hoping that they'd mostly eat fishfood on the bottom of the tank, primarily in the gravel, and heard that they do this. Do they eat only algae? Would I be better off to get more cory cats instead? I don't know what I'm going to do now, though. The snails are already on the way, being shipped, so now I've got trapdoors on my hands and it sounds like they won't do anything for me.
Ugh, I hate having back luck with these things...
Trapdoor snails are very tricky to feed as I already mentioned earlier. Yes, they eat mostly algae only and will turn down most other foods unless you are lucky you get the ones that will not care how bad a food tastes. You could always ship them to anyone else interested since I believe they are not banned from interstate shipping.
I'd just rehome the goldfish and then the Chinese algae eaters. It is not worth the trouble if you start encountering aggression issues by CAEs against your other fish. You can then exchange for more corydoras which are a far safer choice of tankmates.
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