How to Breed Trapdoor Snails

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Trapdoor snails, Viviparus malleatus, are quite useful in a pond or freshwater aquarium. They keep algae under control without, usually, devastating your plants and they are relatively hardy. They also eat leftover fish food. Trapdoor snails don’t breed quite as readily as other aquatic snails. One reason is because they aren’t hermaphrodites; a trapdoor snail is either male or female, not both. Also, they give birth to live young, rather than laying eggs, which means each female only produces a small number of offspring. Breeding them is hardly a complex task however; you simply need a suitable tank and at least one male and one female snail.

Things You'll Need

  • 10 gallon or larger tank with light and filter
  • Gravel
  • Bucket
  • Aquatic plants
  • Fish food
  • Gravel cleaner

Set up a basic freshwater tank with gravel and aquatic plants. Fill with dechlorinated water. You can dechlorinate tap water by leaving it in a bucket for 24 hours. Alternatively, use a dechlorinator from an aquarium supply store.

Introduce several trapdoor snails. To ensure you have at least one male and one female, buy five or more snails.

Feed the snails on a high quality fish food intended for omnivorous fish. Goldfish flakes are suitable. After a while, algae will become established in the tank but the snails still need supplemental food.

Feed the juvenile snails on the same diet as the adults.

Conduct partial water changes once a week. Remove about one-tenth to one-fifth of the water with gravel cleaner and bucket and replace with fresh dechlorinated water.

Tips & Warnings

  • Trapdoor snails do best in hard water. If the water in your region is soft, add crushed coral from an aquarium supply store as per the instructions.

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