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How To Tell If A Snail Is Pregnant? 12 Must Know Facts

There are thousands of aquatic snail species found in nature. Many snail species can breed in aquarium conditions. Mainly they have two types of reproduction traits. Some snail species are livebearers and some are egg-bearers. By reading this article you can gather knowledge on how to identify if a snail is pregnant in your aquarium.

How to tell if a snail is pregnant? Snails show different signs when they get pregnant. Pregnancy signs vary according to the species. You can know whether your snail is pregnant or not by observing her genital tube. When a female snail is pregnant its’ genital tube gets filled with hundreds of eggs. You can take a snail in your hand by shell and look at the left side of the body carefully to observe the genital tube.

how to tell if a snail is pregnant Must Know facts

How to identify a snail is pregnant

Some snails are egg bearers and some are livebearers. By observing snails’ physical appearance and living behavior, you can recognize whether the snail is in pregnancy period or not. Live-bearing snails’ eggs are visible in the female snail’s shell and those hatch in the shell. Egg-bearing snails have eggs in their genital tube during the pregnancy period

Bellow answer will help you to find more details on pregnant snails or snail eggs.

Live bearing snails

Live-bearing snails’ eggs are visible in the female snail’s shell and those hatch in the shell. Baby snails spend the early stage of their life within the mother shell.

Most of the mother snails that belong to the Viviparus family bury in the tank substrate until babies are ready to emerge from their shells. Therefore, if your snails try to bury in the gravel or any other substrate, that is a sign of pregnancy.

Egg-bearing snails

Egg-bearing snails have eggs in their genital tube during the pregnancy period. You can hold female snails by their’ shell and inspect them underneath their smooth bodies carefully. Sometimes snail takes a few minutes to come out from the shell. Eggs are tiny and transparent in appearance and stick together.

How long are snails pregnant?

Generally, freshwater snails’ pregnancy period is about 14 days and females lay eggs after this period.

Can snails get themselves pregnant?

Yes, most freshwater snails get themselves pregnant. Those snails are called hermaphrodites and they can produce both sperm and eggs without the support of another snail.

But some species such as apple snails require both male snails and female snails for fertilization. Females can store male sperm in their bodies for several months. Thus, female snails can fertilize their eggs after months from the date of mating with a male snail. People misunderstand it as snails getting pregnant by themselves.

How many eggs do water snails lay?

The number of eggs laid by a snail varies with the species. Generally, one snail can lay hundreds of eggs. According to the egg hatching rate, the number of baby snail counts will be changed. 

How to identify snail eggs

Snail eggs are tiny and round. The size of snail eggs is around 2-3mm. It has a jelly-like structure. Hundreds of eggs attach to each other and most of them are transparent. The snail species, deposit their eggs in different places. You can see attached snail eggs in aquarium plants or any other substrates. Some eggs can float on top of the water.

snail eggs
snail eggs
snail eggs on microscope
snail eggs on microscope

How does my snail have a baby?

Snails get sexually matured after one year period. Most freshwater snails have both male and female reproductive organs in the same animal. Thus, they can do reproduction without having support from the opposite sex. But some species require both male and female animals to reproduce and the male snail releases sperm into the female snail’s body. The female snail can store those sperm and fertilize eggs.

With one mate, the female can fertilize their eggs several times. Egg bearers release their eggs after fertilization and they get attached to tank substrates such as plants. Live bears give birth to live young ones. This snails place their babies underneath their shells at early stages. Livebearers reproduce quicker than egg-bearers.

How to tell if a mystery snail is pregnant

Mystery snails or spike-topped apple snails inhabited freshwater. In this species, both male and female snails are needed to be participated in reproducing new babies. They are egg bearers and you can simply check their eggs by observing beneath the side of the body. Genital tubes of mystery snails are located on the left side of the body. Eggs deposit within the genital tube. 

After taking a snail into your hand you should wait till the snail comes out from the shell. You can observe those eggs with the naked eye. If the genital tube is filled with eggs, you can prepare for the welcome of snail babies.

How to tell if a sea snail is pregnant

Most marine snails have separate sexes. They show the same physical signs as freshwater species. Thus, If you can see eggs filled in the genital tube of a sea snail, it is pregnant.

Are all snails both male and female?

Generally, most freshwater snails are hermaphrodites. It means those species have both male and female reproductive organs to reproduce sperms and eggs. Because of that specific feature, one snail can produce babies without having the support of an opposite-gender animal. But some species can only produce eggs or sperm. For those species, both male and female animals are needed to reproduce babies.

Do baby snails need their mothers?

Mostly father of the babies shows parental care rather than the mother. In the embryo stages, baby snails have smooth shells and because of that, the mother snail needs lots of calcium. Thus, they tend to eat egg remains and eggs that are not hatched at that time. 

In livebearers, female snails carry the early stages of babies underneath their bodies until babies are ready to emerge into the tank water.

How long does it take to hatch snail eggs?

The snail egg-hatching period depends on the species. But generally eggs hatch within a period of two weeks to one month. 

Why are my snail eggs not hatching?

There are special conditions that should be accomplished to hatch snail eggs. According to the variety, environmental condition, water condition, egg fertility, and sperm fertility, egg hatching rate can be changed.

Some snail sperms do not have enough fertile capacity, thus eggs cannot be hatched by those sperms. Sometimes female eggs are not developed well. Because of that, those cannot fertile by sperms. Brackish water snails need a moderate salinity level to fertilize their eggs.

Furthermore, you should provide the correct salinity level to fertilize the eggs. Freshwater species require the correct temperature and water quality for egg hatching. Sometimes eggs can be affected by fungus and those eggs cannot be hatched.

How do you know if a snail egg is alive?

Mostly live eggs are transparent or pinkish. Thus, you can assume that the eggs are alive or dead by observing their physical appearance and color.

Some eggs turn a white color when they are dead. Some fungus gets attached to the snail eggs and those eggs can be easily identified by observing their physical appearance. 

What do snail eggs need to hatch?

Male sperm are needed to hatch female eggs. Other than that there are some other environmental factors. Warmer water conditions encourage snail egg growth. But these temperature preferences change with the species.

Most species prefer 18 °C-27°C (64.4°F -80.6°F) to hatch. Other than temperature, alkaline water increase the growth of freshwater snails’ eggs. The pH level should be around 7 to 7.5 and water hardness should be around 5-15 dKH.

Further, snails prefer aquariums that have some live plants and substrates such as driftwood, and rocks. Because it facilitates places to attach snail clutches.

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What size of tank that snails need to breed?

Snails do not have any specific tank size to breed or rear. They can grow up in small tanks and also in large tanks.

Do eggs require external nutrients?

No, snail eggs do not require outside nutrients to maintain their functions. But according to the feed supply to the tank, snail eggs can be varied. When you add more feed to the aquarium, snails eat more food particles. Because of that snails can lay more eggs.

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How to control the snail population in the tank?

There are several pathways through that snails come into your aquarium. You should quarantine any foreign substrate or aquatic plant for 14 days. It will prevent the entry of snail eggs into your tank. You can also dip the aquatic plant in chemical solutions such as bleaching, and hydrogen peroxide to kill foreign materials.

Other than the above methods you can maintain good water quality and tank cleanliness. Thus snails will not have enough food to eat and it will help to control the snails’ population. You can remove eggs manually to control the snail population of your tank. You can remove plant leaves that contain attached snails’ eggs. You can also add snail predatory fish to control snails.

If you need to control or minimize the snail amount in the tank, you should eliminate overfeeding your fish. Because excess food particles will be eaten by snails and then they will produce more eggs. 

Diet requirements of snails?

It will depend on the species. Certain snails prefer to eat live vegetation and algae. Several species prefer decaying plant matter and others prefer carnivores’ diets. Some snails show a combination of the above-mentioned diet patterns.

What are the benefits of snail eggs and snails?

1. As a fish food: Some species such as gourami, goldfish, catfish, and loaches eat snails’ eggs. Some fish eat both snails’ eggs and tiny snails.

2. Tank cleaners: Snails remove plant debris, and remaining food particles, and also tank algae. They fed on those materials and remove unwanted debris from the tank. But make sure that your tank has an adequate number of snails. If more snails are there in your tank, it can break the equilibrium of your water condition, because they produce more waste.

3. Aeration of sand or gravel: Most snails prefer to inhabit on sand or gravel of your aquarium. They burrow in your substrate and remove debris and improve the sand structure by aerating. It helps to build up the phosphate in tank water.

Are snail eggs friendly for your tank?

It will depend on the tank condition and the existing snails’ population. If your tank has enough snails, you can remove extra eggs and dispose of them to control the snail population. But if you need to increase snails’ population to decorate your tank or to clean your tank more efficiently, you can let them grow and breed in the tank.

Do snails need minerals in water?

Yesthey require a certain amount of minerals such as calcium. Thus, you should maintain water hardness properly. You can easily purchase hardness buffers from an aquarium shop.

What are the best snail types for your aquarium?

1. Apple snail

They can be seen in several colors including gold, pink, blue, and ivory.

2. Rabbit snail

They lay a single egg at a time. Thus, their population will not increase rapidly in your tank. They have a slightly large body with a long cone-shaped shell.

3. Devil spike snail

These snails have the same appearance as rabbit snails. But their shell is smooth and the apex is much sharper than rabbit snails. Do not fear because of their name. They are harmless species unless you are a plant.

4. Japanese trapdoor snail

They are rear species and can tolerate cold temperatures. Their operculum is robust and because of that, they got this name.

5. Nerite Snail

These are colorful and eye-catching snails that have strips or broken strips on their body. Most of the Nerite snails inhabit saltwater and they do not reproduce in saltwater. But they can live in both freshwater and brackish water aquariums.

6. Ramshorn snails

They have a beautiful blue, white or red color shell and are relatively small species. Their body color is slightly red. They are easy to rear as a beginner.

7. Assassin snail

They have a wonderful shell that contains black and yellow swirls. These are predatory snails and can eat other snails. Thus, these snails can be used to control the unwanted snail population in your tank.

Credit to Down the Worm Hole


Snails can be a wonderful addition to your tank. if you follow all the above steps you will not have a problem keeping a snail

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About Dr.Chamika

Hello, I'm Dr. Chamika. I am a Researcher in Water quality, Aquatic organisms, and Environmental chemistry. I am a passionate fish keeper, with10 years of experience. My mission is to help other aquarists experience the joy of fish keeping.