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Hatching Out Apple Snail Clutches

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Hatching Out Apple Snail Clutches

They laid eggs! Now what do I do!?!?

~or~

Hatching Out Apple Snail Clutches

A Research Project by Michelle, AKA Lady_Dodecagon

Ok, to start out I want to say that this guide is for Pomacea Bridgesii (Brigs) clutches only. They are the most common type of Apple Snail sold in the pet trade and seem to be the easiest to hatch out. I am sure that aspects of this guide could be applied to other species, but I have not worked with anything other than Brigs, so I am not really sure.

What is this thing in the top of my tank?

If you have more than one apple snail you have pretty good chances of getting them to lay eggs if you want them to or not. If your snails are of breeding size (normally the size of a quarter) and you have been keeping their tank ideal then you will have eggs appear. Brigs lay their eggs in clutches above the water level. Brig clutches in tanks normally appear on the glass or in the tank hood. Any spot where there is warm, humid air is a good choice for a Brig momma wanting to give her babies the best possible start in the world. Brig clutches will look like this:

Ok, I have eggs. But what if I don't want to hatch them out?

If you do not wish to hatch out your Brig eggs, that is fine. I have always taken a piece of tissue paper and taken the clutch from the tank. I wrap it up and toss the clutch in the trash can. Once the eggs are removed from the ideal environment they will not hatch.

Ok, I have eggs. How exciting! How do I get babies now?

If you want to hatch the eggs there are two choices you can make:

leave them where they are remove them from the tank and place them in a hatchery

Leaving them where they are might be the best alternative since mom thought it was a great place for her babies. She had to have a reason for that huge decision! If you have a snail-only tank I would advise this. If you have fish in the tank, you need to remove the eggs to hatch them out because fish will eat the newborn babies. Leaving them alone requires less attention from you, but you will have to be careful when doing your gravel vacuuming and water changes if they hatch before you can catch them and put them into a baby tank.

I want to leave mine in the tank. What do I need to do?

I would suggest lifting the hood daily to check on the eggs. If they look dry you can take a small spray bottle and mist them lightly with tank water. It normally takes from one to three weeks for the babies to develop and hatch out.

I want to use a nursery, but where do I get one?

Well, simply put, you can't. You will have to make one yourself. You will need a container (preferably a clear deli cup), a piece of Styrofoam, and some sort of lid. Poke some air holes in the lid and put just enough tank water in the container to cover the bottom and make the Styrofoam float. Gently remove the egg clutch from the tank and place it on the Styrofoam. Put the lid on the 'nursery' and place in a warm location where condensation will form on the lid. This 'terrarium' effect will recreate the warm, humid environment that the developing babies need. Open the nursery about twice a day to ensure that plenty of fresh air gets in and while the nursery is open mist the clutch lightly with a spray bottle of tank water. *Change the water in the bottom of the nursery daily! It will stagnate fast. Use tank water every time.* Lift the Styrofoam and let the water drain from it after each misting before replacing the lid and placing the nursery back in its warm spot.

Got it! Now, what am I looking for?

As the clutch ages the color may change. Clutches from dark bodied snails such as Blues or Jades will turn a darker color as the babies develop. Below is a picture of a clutch undergoing this change.

As they hatch the clutch will begin to look very, very dry and rugged. It may even collapse upon itself! No worries, this is just the babies eating their way out of the eggs and into the world. Below is a picture of a clutch hatching.

The clutch will dissolve and the babies will fall into the water. At this time they will need to be captured (you can use a large turkey baster for this if you need to) and placed into a cycled, bare bottom grow out tank. You will have to place fine netting like pantyhose or filter sponge on the intake of any HOB filters running in the grow out tank because the babies can (and will) get sucked up into the filter. Keep them in this tank until they are at least pea size, then they can be put into regular tank. Warning! Fish will try and successfully eat baby snails. If you plan on putting your snails into a tank where fish will live, then you need to wait until the snails are bigger. They should not be able to fit into the fish's mouth at all.

What do my new snail babies eat?

You can feed your babies the same food you feed your adults, but crush it very finely. Babies should have easy access to food at all times because they wear themselves out crawling far to search for food. They need a diet high in calcium and proteins for nice, strong shell growth.

Credits and links:

My first Brigs, Gary and Blue for giving me the clutch I started with.

Myself (of course) for actually getting to experience all this firsthand.

www.applesnail.net (for pictures)

www.rainbowsnails.com (Search around here for some really good snail biscuits that are the perfect staple diet.)

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OMGoodness!! Thanks so much for posting my little article!! I wrote this thing it seems like ages ago and almost forgot about it. I am very proud to see it up and it makes me feel good to know that I have made a contribution to the site. :heart *does a happy dance*

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