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Beginners Guide

The Bladder Snail Guide: Everything You Need to Know

by Catherine Tran 06 Jun 2023 0 Comments

The Bladder Snail Guide: Everything You Need to Know

The bladder snail (Physa acuta) is an abundant mollusc commonly found in freshwater tanks. They are considered an invasive species and often a pest by the general fish farming community! These creatures can hitchhike in trees and spread eggs a lot, resulting in a rapid population spike that can quickly overwhelm an entire tank!

A bladder snail in a freshwater aquarium

They act as a vital part of the aquarium cleaning team and will spend most of their time gnawing on waste and various algae.

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. 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.

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Under the right living conditions, the average lifespan of bladder snails is usually no more than two years. Their environmental condition has a significant impact on the 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

These are small molluscs that do not take up much space. The largest sizes are 15 mm (0.6 inches) long and 7 mm (0.3 inches) wide, but in general, they barely reach 1 cm (0.4 inches). With luck, some subsamples can reach 0.6 inches in length.

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!

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Tank size

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

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

Water parameters

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

These snails generally prefer to live in warm waters with little or no currents.

  • Water temperature: 64°F to 84°F
  • pH: 7.0 to 8.0
  • Water hardness: 12 to 18 dGH

When they are born, 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 suffers from growth retardation and limited reproduction rates. You can use that fact to your advantage if you are trying to manage a group of snails out of control.

This species is somewhat unique from most other commercial snails. For one, they are the air-breathing lungs for the aquarium. Again, they are not picky eaters.

Their unique respiratory system allows them to float, sway, and swim in water. They can remove the air in their respiratory system to sink to the bottom or use it to shake off parasites and bugs. You will not see them digging in the sand like other snails. They can hide in decorations and cover themselves with a soft substrate, but they do not penetrate the bottom of the tank.

Common diseases

They can fight all diseases just like 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.

Check water parameters regularly and make any necessary changes to avoid noticeable fluctuations.

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Food & Diet

They will consume pretty much anything they can get with their small mouths.

Tank mates

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

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 breed. This usually happens when the snail's life is in danger.

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 within a month, so the population won't take long to explode!

We hope you found this guide helpful and are ready to add them to your aquarium. If you have any questions, feel free to send your tex!

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