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Discussion Starter #1
I just thought this would help a lot of people to identify their snails. :)

Freshwater Limpet - Acroloxus lacustris


Size: 0.04 - 0.3 inches

These are the snails which are usually thought to be baby snails, but their adult size is usually only 5 millimeters maximum. They are small and can't do much damage to plants, but since they are small, it's impossible to find and remove eggs and the baby snails. There's also the River Limpet, Ancylus fluviatilis, which grows a bit bigger and darker, the top of the shell points straight back when freshwater limpet shell's top points to the side. No trapdoor (operculum). Hermaphroditic (no separate sexes).

Bladder Snails - Family Physidae


Size: 3/8 - 6/8 inches

Often mistaken as pond snails. The one in the picture is Physa fontinalis. These are probably one of the most common snails in the aquariums. They multiply fast and lay clear, jellylike egg clutches on plant leaves and other surfaces. The eggs are possible to find and remove. Sinistral shell, thin tentacles. No trapdoor (operculum). Hermaphroditic (no separate sexes).

Common Pond Snail - Lymnaea peregra


Size: 3/8 - 1 inches

These are probably one of the most common snails in the aquariums alongside the bladder snails. Has dextral (when you keep the snail towards you and the spire pointing up, the shell lip/opening points to the right) shell, dotted skin and flat, triangular tentacles. When Physidae's feet end pointed, Lymnaeidae's feet end rounder and they are shorter. They multiply fast and lay clear, jellylike egg clutches on plant leaves and other surfaces. The eggs are possible to find and remove. No trapdoor (operculum). Hermaphroditic (no separate sexes).

Picture for easiest identification:


Malaysian Trumpet Snail - Melanoides tuberculata


Size: 1/2 - 1 1/4 inches

These are considered the most useful snail species. They burrow in the substrate. Hard to get rid of once you get them, since they give birth to live offspring and don't need to get the eggs fertilized in order reproduce (parthenogenesis). MTS females have the ability to clone their genetic material and create offspring without the presence of a male. Therefore, most - or quite likely all - of the MTS in our tanks are most likely females. It's actually vary hard to come across a male MTS nowadays. There are several different color variations and also some other species which look alike. Has a trapdoor (operculum). Separate sexes.

Small ramshorn snail species - Family Planorbidae


Size: 0.1 - 3/8 inches

There are several small ramshorn snail species. The one in the picture is most likely Gyraulus albus, white ramshorn snail. It's rather hard (nearly impossible for a regular hobbyist) to tell them apart, but they all behave the same so there's no need to find the exact species. They lay tiny egg clutches on the plant leaves and other surfaces and I would say that it is near to impossible to actually spot and remove the eggs. They are capable of damaging the plants if population is too large, but usually don't do much damage. No trapdoor (operculum). Hermaphroditic (no separate sexes).

Ramshorn snail species - Planorbidae


Size: 3/8 - 6/8 inches

There's also medium sized ramshorn snail species, for example Planorbis planorbis and Planorbella duryi. Again it's hard to actually know the exact species, but they also behave the same. They lay clear, disc shaped thin egg clutches, there's about 10-30 eggs per clutch and they are protected by a singular hard disc shaped layer (like there's a contact lens on top of the eggs). The picture is of blue, red and brown ramshorn snails, species isn't certain. Seems that in most cases these snails will leave the plants alone and it's possible to keep them in a planted tank (like I do), but in some peoples tanks they have eaten live plants too. No trapdoor (operculum). Hermaphroditic (no separate sexes).

Great Ramshorn Snail - Planorbarius corneus


Size: 3/4 - 1 1/4 inches

Planorbarius corneus is the biggest of the ramshorn snail species belonging to family Planorbidae. In the picture there's a young, adult and baby snail. They behave the same as other ramshorn snails, but since they are bigger, they might do more damage if they get interested in live plants. But it's also possible that they won't do any damage at all. No trapdoor (operculum). Hermaphroditic (no separate sexes).

Colombian (Giant) Ramshorn Snail - Marisa cornuarietis


Size: 1 1/2 - 2 inches

Giant ramshorn doesn't belong to the same family as the other ramshorn snails mentioned in this post. They are actually apple snails. They lay clear, large, jellylike egg clutches under water. They have a siphon like regular apple snails and will raise to surface to breathe once in a while. Has a trapdoor (operculum). Separate sexes.

Apple Snail - Pomacea bridgesii


Size: 1 1/2 - 2 3/8 inches

Apple snails, Pomacea bridgesii, are beautiful things with amazing variety of colors. They usually don't touch live plants and are considered plant friendly. They lay peach coloured egg clutches above the water surface, so it's best to keep them in a tightly sealed tank or else you might find the females wandering around the room and possibly getting in an accident. They are considered a non-plant eating species by USDA and will be allowed to be shipped from state to state in USA. Has a trapdoor (operculum). Separate sexes.

Zebra Apple Snail - Asolene spixi


Size: 3/4 - 1 inches

Zebra apple snails are cute and small apple snails. They are more prone to eating live plants, especially the young snails. But they are usually compatible with a planted tank. They are more closely related to Marisa than Pomacea and can actually cross-breed with Marisas, so don't mix them. The egg clutches are laid under water, usually attached to plants, the colour is light peach and the clutch is clear and jellylike. Has a trapdoor (operculum). Separate sexes.

Apple Snails - Family Ampullariidae


Size: 1 1/2 - 4 inches

First picture: Pomacea canaliculata, second picture: Pomacea haustrum, pictures from applesnail.net. There are many other apple snail species in genus Pomacea, and there are also others from the genera (the family is Ampullariidae) Afropomus, Asolene, Felipponea, Lanistes, Pila, Saulea, and Marisa. Most of the other ones available in stores than P. bridgesii aren't suitable for planted tanks (Pomacea canaliculata and Marisa cornuarietis), but they are still really interesting species.

If you think you have regular apple snail but it eats plants, you most likely have P. canaliculata. If you have an apple snail that is closer to 4 inches, you might have P. insularum or P. haustrum. They all have a trapdoor (operculum). Separate sexes.

Pomacea canaliculata and Marisa cornuarites are banned in some states and won't be allowed a shipping permit in any state in the USA. USDA might confiscate the snails if they find out that you've gotten some shipped from another state or if you own them in a state where they are banned.

Trapdoor snails - Family Viviparidae


Size: 1 - 1 1/2 inches

Vivs, trapdoor snails, are cold water snails so they don't do that well in tropical tanks. They give birth to live offspring like malaysian trumpet snails do. The one in the picture is a young Viviparus viviparus. They have a trapdoor (operculum). Separate sexes.

Nerite Snail - Family Neritidae


Size: 3/8 - 1 2/8 inches

The first one is zebra nerite, Neritina natalensis, the second one is olive nerite Vittina usnea. There are several nerites available in stores once in a while. Many of them are actually marine or at least prefer brackish water, but the two mentioned, zebra and olive nerites will do fine in fresh water. Olive nerites are said to even reproduce in fresh water, but zebra nerites will assumable need brackish water for the eggs to hatch. The eggs are white, round or seed shaped and hard, they are laid separately on the glass or other surfaces and are tightly attached to the surface. Nerites are excellent algae eaters and won't usually do any damage to healthy plants. Personally, I've seen olive nerites in the ocean in Florida (Gulf Coast) and the zebra nerites will lay eggs in freshwater tanks. Fertilized or not, they will never hatch. They have a trapdoor (operculum). Separate sexes.

Sulawesi Snails - Family Tylomelania


Size: 0.8 - 4.7 inches

Sulawesi snails are absolutely gorgeous and some can be considered giants! Their appearance is very variable, but always stunning. There are many varieties, from relatively smooth shell structures to heavily-sculptured long, conical shells. The bodies and feet display truly a feast of color. Some have black bodies strewn with white or yellow dots. Some are monochrome, yellow or orange, or pitch black with yellow tentacles - but all of them look truly stunning. Most species have not been scientifically described so far, but many are already offered in the trade. They all have a central nucleolus surrounded by 5 to 11 rings. For almost all Tylomelania snails taken from nature it soon becomes clear that they do not like their tanks too bright. Sure signs of excessive light are if the snails are jumpy and retreat to darker corners. If you offer them hideaways, in the form of crevices or dense foliage, they will make use of them. The young snails are born live. They have a trap door (operculum). Separate sexes.

Assassin Snails - Clea helena


Size: 2 - 3 inches

Assassin snails are carnivorous. They feed on worms and gastropods, and received its name as the "assassin snail" for its habit of eating other snails. These snails will feed on snails much larger than them (that includes apple snails), often burying themselves and ambushing their prey. In the aquarium they are very good at hunting down and eating small problem snails that over time take over a tank. They will also eat high protein foods such as algae wafers and certain sinking food pellets.

I hope everyone enjoys this little guide and that everyone, beginners and experienced fish keepers can use this guide to help with their snails. :)
 

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Very informative, thanks for all the hard work!
 

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Very good guide, thanks Kiara!

Not that Kiara was incorrect or left out any info, I just want to make it clear to everyone that hermaphroditic species do not reproduce on their own, there needs to be two individuals and fertilization needs to take place- they just have both male and female reproductive organs. It's often said that pond snails, ramshorns, etc don't need a mate, which is false- it's just commonly reported because often times only one snail will be visible and suddenly more will pop up, usually because the eggs were present or the snail was still using stores genetic material (1 fertilization can lead to multiple clutches).
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the extended information Matt! I've had situations where I've gotten a ramshorn that was already pregnant. Therefore, I got more eggs. Now I have plenty of ramshorns, but it's just a warning to others. If you don't want snails, don't keep one as a "pet" (unless if it's a nerite or an apple snail).
 

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This thread has been temporarily closed and moved to the Reference Submission area while the OP is contacted.
 
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