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Beginners Guide

How To Guide Bladder Snail: Care, Food, Breeding, Tank Mate, and More.

by Catherine Tran 19 Jun 2023 0 Comments

How To Guide Bladder Snail: Care, Food, Breeding, Tank Mate, and More.

Species Summary.

The bladder snail (Physa Acuta) is an abundant mollusc commonly found in freshwater tanks. They can be a welcome addition to your aquarium in controlled quantities (if you will). They can act as a vital part of the aquarium cleaning team and will spend most of their time nibbling on waste and various algae (more on that later).

Whether or not you intentionally introduce them to your tank, learning about this snail (and what it takes) can help you get the most out of it.

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The bladder snail has a thin and clear shell. They are slightly yellow and may have some distinct yellow markings. You can see the snail meat through the snail. Usually, it is grey with black or purple streaks.

The mantle, which forms the outer wall of the snail's body, is slightly more colourful. It has bright orange-yellow spots.

Overall, the shell has a pretty interesting shape. It is more egg-like in shape and has a defined head. Four to five twists create the characteristic spiral, which moves to the left. Poking out from under the shell were thread-like tentacles. The sensory tentacles hold the eyes, which are small black spots.

The difference between snails and pond snails.

Many people confuse bubble snails with garden pond snails. It is easy to confuse the two because they can easily coexist in the same environment. Bladder snails occur on every continent in the world except Antarctica. These snails have spread to the point where zoologists don't know where they originated!

While they look similar, closer inspection reveals some obvious differences. The first difference is the size. Pond snails are two to six times larger than bladder snails. Moreover, the shell is different. On pond snails, the shell is opaque and brown. As for the bubble snail, it is translucent and slightly yellow. Even the shape is unique.

The shell spirals to the left, which is quite rare in the mollusc world. Most species, including pond snails, live on the main axis and have armour twisted to the right. Furthermore, bubble snails do not have the gill cover that most snails use for protection. The last notable difference is the tentacles. Pond snails have thick triangular tentacles instead of the thin thread-like tentacles of snails.



Under suitable living conditions, the average lifespan of a bladder snail is usually no more than two years. Of course, they can fight the disease much earlier. There are no guarantees when it comes to longevity.

Author's Note: That said, their environmental condition has a significant impact on a snail's lifespan. In general, dirtier aquariums offer more feeding opportunities for snails. As a result, they tend to live longer and reproduce more often

Middle size.

The average bladder snail size is half an inch. With luck, some specimens can reach 0.6 inches in length.

These are small molluscs that do not take up much space. However, do not make the mistake of thinking that they will not affect bioavailability. Larger populations can have as much impact as larger fish!

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Bladder snail care.

Bladder snails are resilient little creatures! They don't take long to grow in your aquarium. For most aquarists, the goal is to kill these invertebrates instead of supporting them!

Tank size.

When it comes to tank size, bubble snails have no preference. They can survive in a small one-gallon tank! Thanks to their small size, they are quite adaptable regardless.

Remember that every living thing you add to your aquarium will have a biological load that impacts water conditions. Bladder snails are no different.

If you want to keep these snails for cleaning and maintenance, it is better to keep them in a larger tank to reduce their influence.

Water parameters.

There are no hard and fast rules for bubble snails. This species is super adaptable and can live in a wide variety of conditions. In the wild, they can even live in wastewater treatment plants!

In general, these snails prefer to live in water with little or no current. But for the most part, they are not demanding. As a result, you can focus on the other creatures in your aquarium instead of the snails. Just follow the following parameters to ensure snail survival.

  • Water temperature: 64°F to 84°F
  • pH: 7.0 to 8.0
  • Water hardness: 12 to 18 dGH (harder water)
  • Calcium

When they are born, bubble snails have very soft shells. Almost immediately, they will look for some calcium to strengthen their armour.

A decent amount of calcium in the water is essential for the snail's survival. Without it, this species tends to suffer from growth retardation and limited reproduction rates. You can use that fact to your advantage if you're trying to manage an out-of-control population.

But if you want live snails to stay healthy, consider adding some crushed eggshells or squid bones.

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What to put in their tank.

Once again, Snails are not picky eaters. They have a unique respiratory system that allows them to float, sway and swim in the water as they see fit. They can remove the air from their respiratory system to sink to the bottom or use it to shake off unwanted parasites and bugs.

You won't see them digging in the sand like other snails do. They can hide in decorations and cover themselves with a soft substrate, but they do not penetrate the bottom of the tank. For this reason, they don't even have a preference between sand or gravel!

The same goes for plants. They like to have trees to climb and hide in. They also like to eat decaying plants. However, they do not touch healthy plants or eat thriving plants.

Unveiling The Enigmatic Beauty: Discovering The World Of Ramshorn Snails

Common diseases.

Illness is not something that too many aquarists worry about when it comes to snails.

Technically, they can fight all the same diseases as any other freshwater mollusc. The most common diseases your snail can experience are fungal and bacterial infections. Severe cases can cause some significant damage to the shell.

Even parasites are possible. However, those tend to be rare with snails. As mentioned earlier, they can flush worms and microorganisms from the body if an infestation is felt.

Like any other fish or inversion fish, the key to avoiding disease is to maintain the conditions in the tank. Check water parameters regularly and make any necessary changes to avoid noticeable fluctuations. Also, perform quarterly water changes every few weeks to keep ammonia and nitrate levels low.

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Food & Diet.

Snails have an appetite that can't be left out! They are constantly eating! Not only that, they will consume pretty much anything they can get with their small mouths.

Being omnivores, bubble snails eat everything from algae to rotting meat or insects. In aquarium environments, they tend to act as algae eaters for much of their diet. However, they will also consume leftovers, rotting waste, etc.

There are many great food sources in an aquarium. In terms of food, it's the perfect environment for these snails!

However, keep in mind that too much available food can lead to some trouble. A growing snail population is a sign that you are eating too much fish food! Try to limit waste and rotting items to ensure that the snail population in your freshwater aquarium stays at a manageable level.

Unveiling The Enigmatic Beauty: Discovering The World Of Ramshorn Snails

Behavior & Temperament.

The bladder snail is a type of tank dweller that "flies under the radar". Many people don't even realize they have snails until months after they've been introduced into the tank. Thanks to their small size, they can be easily hidden from view.

Throughout the day, scavenging and foraging are their main focus. These snails are constantly searching for food. When they find it, they tend to stick to the same area until they deplete it.

Occasionally you can see snails "swimming" in the water. That's completely normal and usually snails use air bubbles to get out of trouble.

When they're not trying to run away from predators that could become predators, bubble snails spend their days crawling in trees, tank walls, and more. They do not dig like other snails. Interestingly, they can also move pretty fast!

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Tank mates.

Bladder snails can coexist with any freshwater organism. However, the best course of action is to keep them with natural predators. Doing so will keep snail populations in check and ensure that you never run into an inability to control an infestation to deal with.

So while this may not sound like a traditional “tankmate” scenario, it is a common practice for most aquarists. The bladder snail acts as the feed for:

  • Betta Fish
  • Pea Puffer

The Best Tank Mates for Mystery Snails & Nerite Snails (More Than 15++)


You should have no problem catching spawning snails. They do so naturally without any interference. These snails breed very quickly and can easily overwhelm the tank.

Bladder snails are hermaphrodites, which means they have both male and female reproductive organs. As a result, these snails can reproduce in one of two ways.

If there are no mates around, they can propagate and self-pollinate inside. This usually happens when the snail's survival is in danger. However, that is not ideal because the cubs are not as strong as traditional breeding methods.

The snails will lay small egg sacs containing 10 to 40 eggs. They tend to apply them under leaves and on inconspicuous surfaces. It only takes about a week for the eggs to hatch.

Bladder snails mature in as little as a month, so it shouldn't take long for the population to explode!

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Whether you are interested in the care or removal of bubble snails, understanding this species is essential if you are an aquarist.

We hope you found this guide helpful and get ready to treat these creatures in your freshwater tank. If you have any questions, feel free to post them here.

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