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Golden Rabbit Snail Care And Diet

Golden Rabbit Snail (Tylomelania gemmifera)

The golden rabbit snail is aptly named; it looks like a tiny, wrinkled, bunny with its droopy antennae.
  • Lifespan: Unknown
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Size: 2 1/2 - 3 inches
  • Natural Habitat: Lake Matano Sulawesi, Indonesia
  • Hangs Out: Mostly at the bottom of the tank, but will climb the glass every so often.
  • Diet: Omnivore
Water Conditions
  • Temperature:76-82 degrees (at the bottom of their temperature range, they will not be as active).
  • ph 7.2-8.6
  • KH 5-10
Tank Layout
The golden rabbit snail prefers dim lighting and a well planted tank with plenty of wood and rock for hiding. As is typical of most inverts, rabbit snails cannot tolerate ammonia or nitrites, so be patient and let your tank cycle before purchasing one. There are conflicting theories on whether or not they eat plants; ours haven't, but the rabbit snail's love of Java fern keeps cropping up on numerous blogs. There is some anecdotal evidence that certain species of rabbit snails are more prone to eating plants than others. The safest bet would be not to put them in a tank with your prize plants until you figure out if they're munchers. Although not necessary, a dirt or sand substrate is preferred since they like to burrow.

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Our snails are extremely shy and did not come out when we had them in with fish. We noticed the same behavior at the pet store. In fact, we initially thought they were shells thrown into the tank for decoration, not realizing that the shells contained living animals. When ours didn't come out of their shells for over 24 hours, we moved them into one of the shrimp tanks. This seemed to do the trick and they were out and about in under a half an hour. If you would like to house them with fish, just be careful not to put them in with anything aggressive or nippy--the snail's antennae may prove too much of a temptation for some fish.

They don't seem to be too picky, but from what we've observed, they'd rather eat things already in the tank (bio film, algae, detritus, etc.), as opposed to supplemental feedings. They will occasionally eat algae wafers, shrimp food and fresh spinach, but they don't actively seek them out. Other people have said the exact opposite--that their snails love the extra goodies. I can only report what I've observed in our tanks. Rabbit snails need extra calcium which can be given in the form of snail Jello, a piece of cuttlebone (found in the bird section of your pet store), and/or quality shrimp food. You want to make sure that there is plenty of food for your snail since they're easily out competed--even shrimp can be viewed as competition.

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For the most part, rabbit snails are nocturnal, but if the lighting is dim in your tank, you will occasionally see them out during the day. They give a brand new meaning to the phrase, snail's pace--they are sloooowwww! Moving about the tank at the speed of drool, they are plodding and methodical in their movement.

Since rabbit snails typically lay only 1 egg at a time, every 4-6 weeks, you don't have to worry about a population explosion. The egg is incubated within the female, then deposited onto the substrate in a small, white, egg sac. The sac quickly dissolves leaving a fully formed, baby rabbit snail in its place. The little ones can safely be left with the adults.

We've noticed that after a "big feed," rabbit snails just sort of retract and roll over; the equivalent of a snail siesta!

Leeches! Yeah, most wild caught rabbit snails have them. The leeches are snail specific and don't do any harm unless there are a lot of them. You might not even notice that your snail has them, since the leeches tend to burrow down deep into the snail's shell. If you see a brown "tentacle" poking out to the side of your snail's head, then it has leeches. Ewwww! Treatment involves salt and water. Mix 1/2 teaspoon salt with one cup of tank water, then submerge your snail for approximately 10 minutes. The salt acts as an irritant, forcing the leech to leave its host. If your snail has multiple leeches that are lodged further down in its shell, then the process may need to be repeated (when/if you notice tentacles again).

Copper + Snails = Death. Don't use copper based meds, ferts, etc., in a tank that contains inverts. Read the label before dosing.

Update: 12 September 2013 For the most part, the snails have left all the greenery alone, with one exception......they have a fondness for downoi and it has disappeared from the tank.

Update: 9 October 2013 We have a baby rabbit snail!

Update: 11 December 2013 About a month ago we started a dedicated rabbit snail tank. We have been experimenting with plants to see what they will and will not eat. We previously reported that the snails in another tank ate downoi. We have replanted that tank with more downoi and they have left it alone. In the new rabbit snail tank, they have been doing a number on the java fern, but have not eaten any of the other plants.

Update: 11 September 2013 We have found these to be a fairly carefree invert to care for. Of note, is that once we let the algae become established on three sides of the tank, the snails pretty much left the plants alone.

Sorry to have to do this, but because of the plethora of spammers, it has been decided to disallow comments on any of the fish articles, product reviews, etc. Should you have a question or comment about anything posted on Aquarium Speed, please go to the forums section and ask your question or make your comment there. Thanks!