Rabbit snails are a great addition to any home aquarium if you have the space for them. They are peaceful snails and great algae cleaners but do require at least 20 gallons and plenty of vegetation in their tanks.
Keep reading to learn everything you need to know to ensure your rabbit snails thrive in their new fish tank!
Rabbit Snail Care Guide
|Scientific Name||Tylomelania Gemmifera|
|Common Name||Rabbit Snail, Elephant Snail, Sulawesi Snail, Paso Snails|
|Size||Between 3- 5 inches|
|Minimum Tank Size||20-gallon|
Rabbit snails are peaceful freshwater snails that grow between 3-5 inches. This is larger than other common freshwater snails. They need at least 20 gallons to roam and explore as well. They are algae feeders and need plenty of vegetation. They also come in colors ranging from black to yellow.
Different Types of Rabbit Snails: Appearance & Lifespan
There are numerous types of rabbit snails, approximately 50, and are generally named after the colors of their shells or body.
The different types of rabbit snails have a similar appearance, the main difference between them is the different colors.
The following are a few examples of the different kinds of rabbit snails:
- Black Rabbit Snails: This rabbit snail has a sleek black body and shell to match, this is also one of the rare varieties of rabbit snails.
- Chocolate Rabbit Snails: Named after its chocolate brown body this rabbit snail also has a lighter brown, taupe, shell.
- Orange Rabbit Snail: This snail has a brighter orange body and a dark shell, typically brown or black.
- Golden Spotted Snail: This rabbit snail has a vivid golden yellow body and a dark brown or black shell.
- Yellow Antenna Rabbit Snails: Similar in appearance to the golden rabbit snail, except this rabbit snail has larger yellow spots and yellow antennas to match.
Most snails typically have smooth skin, whereas rabbit snails have wrinkled bodies and faces. Rabbit snails also have downturned mouths which are where they get the nickname elephant snails.
Rabbit snails also have a long spiral shell, much like the shape of a unicorn horn. The shells come in a variety of colors and are much longer compared to other snail species. The snail itself can be up to 3- 5 inches once fully grown.
Unlike most snails that are slow moving and for the most part stay in one area; that is not the case with the rabbit snail as they are very active and love to wander.
They are very peaceful and calm and do well with others, like fish in a community tank. They will spend their days cleaning up algae and detritus in the tank.
When you first purchase a rabbit snail it will be about 2 inches already, once fully grown it will reach anywhere from three to five inches.
Surprisingly the rabbit snail has a pretty fast growth rate in captivity compared to other species.
Just like any other aquarium pet, the better care given the longer they will live. Typically in captivity, the rabbit snail lives about 1 to 3 years, but it can be longer if given a spacious and fulfilling living environment.
Rabbit snails do need to have certain water parameters to thrive as they are sensitive to high ammonia and nitrate levels. Maintenance and consistent water conditions are key.
It is also important to note that the rabbit snail is known to go into resting periods. During this time, you will notice minimal movement from the snail. This does not mean the snail has died and is totally normal.
Diet & Feeding
As previously stated the rabbit snail will spend their days cleaning up your tank from algae and detritus. Even though they are one of the best aquarium algae eaters their diet should not only consist of eating algae.
Adding in snacks like algae wafers, as well as sinking pellets for bottom feeders is recommended. They are herbivores that feed off algae and other vegetables.
They are one of the top algae eaters for a freshwater tank.
They can also have blanched vegetables such as spinach and broccoli. They should be fed foods that are right in calcium as this strengthens their shells. This is key to keeping them healthy.
Rabbit Snail Tank Mates
As previously mentioned, rabbit snails are very peaceful and do well with plenty of fish or other not fish tank mates. They will do well placed in a peaceful community tank.
Some examples of excellent tank mates for the rabbit snails are:
- Rummy Nose Tetras
- Honey Gourami
- Amano Shrimp
- Celestial Pearl Danio
- Ramshorn Snails
- Sparkling Gourami
That is just to name a few excellent tank mates for rabbit snails. They are compatible with a wide range of other species. However, there are some tank mates that should be avoided.
Some fish that are aggressive, or species that do not see the snails as food or capable of hurting them. The following are some examples of poor tank mates for the rabbit snail:
- Most Cichlids
- Some types of goldfish
These tank mates should be avoided in a community tank with rabbit snails as they can hurt or eat the rabbit snails. It is safer to have tank mates that are relatively small and not aggressive.
Tank Size and Ideal Tank Conditions
For rabbit snails it is recommended to have a minimum tank size of a 30-gallon tank, as mentioned before they do move around the tank a lot and need the extra room.
Rabbit snails do best when kept in a group of 3 or more of their own kind.
Rabbit snails also need ideal water parameters to grow healthy and stay healthy, the following are the water parameters that you should keep your tank at.
- Temperature: It is recommended to keep rabbit snails at a temperature range of 68°F – 86°F, however, 74 to 76 degrees is ideal for them as they prefer the water to be on the warmer side. With that being said, they can adapt to cooler temperatures but this will affect breeding.
- pH Level: As previously mentioned rabbit snails are sensitive to water conditions, they do best with a pH level between 7.3 to 8.5. They need more alkaline water to prevent erosion of their shells.
- Water Hardness: A water hardness between 2- 15 dKH is suitable for the rabbit snail.
As with most aquarium pets, it is best to replicate their natural habitat as much as possible.
Even though they are not particularly difficult when it comes to their surroundings, it is best to keep their natural habitat in mind.
Starting off with a very fine sand substrate on the bottom of your tank is very important as rabbit snails love to burrow into the substrate.
Don’t be surprised if you notice their entire bodies burrowed in the sand and may just have their heads popping out.
The fine sand makes burrowing easier, as well as safer than gravel which can cause injury.
Add Live Plants
It is recommended to add live plants for rabbit snails. A wide variety is best, including floating plants as the snails will feed on them.
Even though the rabbit snail may not reach floating plants or leaves they will feed off of the bits that fall off.
However, it is also recommended to avoid using Java Fern for rabbit snails because they can ruin the plant.
With that being said, if you add plenty of vegetables, such as lettuce, to the tank they will stay away from the java fern.
Other plants that can be added to the tank include the anubias, ludwigia, hydrocotyle, and bacopa.
It is very important to put a filter system in place that is very efficient in cycling the water to remove ammonia and nitrates. As mentioned before, rabbit snails are sensitive to high levels of ammonia and nitrates.
An inlet tube would be best in the filtration systems as rabbit snails are known for getting stuck on powerful tubes. Also placing a sponge pre-filter over the tube can help reduce suction power.
Another important step in setting up your tank with rabbit snails is to make sure you have a secure lid.
Having a secure lid is important in keeping your snails inside the tank, as they can very easily climb the walls of the tank and get out if the lid isn’t secure.
Rabbit Snail Breeding
Although most snails are known to quickly overpopulate a tank, rabbit snails spawn more slowly and tend to only have a couple of babies at one time.
They are fairly easy to breed because they do not require special conditions. Most snails will lay a ton of eggs at a time, rabbit snails will lay a jelly-like egg that appears like a small pearl.
As mentioned earlier, lower water temperatures will affect breeding. Rabbit snails tend to breed in warmer waters, if breeding is what you are trying to accomplish you’ll want to raise the temperatures to the above-stated parameters.
Rabbit snails will start breeding after they reach about 1.5 inches in size. This is about 1 year or more with proper care. Male and female rabbit snails are identical as they are dioecious, as in they have both male and female reproductive organs.
You will want to have at least 3 to have a good chance at breeding.
When the rabbit snail breeds the male will actually give a ball of sperm, also called a spermatophore, to the female snail. However, if the female is not ready to lay her eggs she will hand on to this sperm ball in her sack.
Once ready to lay her eggs the female uses the sperm to fertilize her egg and after about 4 to 6 weeks the female will lay her eggs.
A baby rabbit snail will emerge from the sack within a few hours. As previously mentioned one single baby will be produced most of the time, sometimes there may be twins.
The baby snail will only be about 0.125 to 0.25 inches in size. Despite their small size, they are born very hungry and will start eating off anything green they see.
They will also start roaming and exploring the tank right away. The baby rabbit snail will be born with a small fully formed shell, basically a miniature version of the parent snails.
Origin & Distribution
Rabbit snails are a larger freshwater snail that comes from Indonesia. They are also a newer invertebrate in the fish-keeping community.
Only being introduced to the aquarium market around 2007, and because of this, they are actually still quite rare to obtain.
With that being said, there is not a large distribution of these snails which again could make it difficult to even find one.
However, they can be found at local pet stores, but again, there is no guarantee. There are also a multitude of online fish retailers that you could order your snails from.
Rabbit Snails & Assassin Snails – A good combination?
Assassin snails are known for attacking and eating most of the other snail species. With that being said, it is recommended to not mix them with other breeds of snails to ensure safety.
However, due to the large size of the rabbit snail they are able to protect themselves more easily as opposed to other snail breeds.
This means it is less likely for an assassin snail to harm or eat the rabbit snail, but it is still possible. As assassin snails do prefer smaller prey to attack and eat.
However, if you do intend to breed your rabbit snails, avoiding assassin snails would be best as the rabbit snail babies are so small they will get attacked or even eaten by the assassin snails.