The rabbit snail, sometimes called the elephant snail, is a peaceful invertebrate to keep in an aquarium. Rabbit snails have a unique appearance characterized by a long shell and face.
There are about 50 described species of this snail, which primarily vary in color. They are a recent entrant to the aquatic community, and there is, therefore, scarce information on how to take care of them. Read on to discover more about rabbit snails
Rabbit Snail Appearance
The rabbit snail is quite gigantic when compared to other freshwater snails. The snails can reach 5 inches in length, and you need to account for this size when buying a tank. They are fast growers, and it will take a short time for them to attain their maximum length.
Their name is an ode to their rabbit-like features. Two dropping antennae jut out from the snail’s head looking like rabbit ears. They have a downturned mouth that is adapted to feeding detritus in the substrate. The snail’s skin is wrinkled, which is why it is called the elephant snail.
Rabbit snails come in various patterns and colors, such as dark chocolate, blue, green, and spotted. Some common rabbit snails include the White Spotted Rabbit Snails, Orange Rabbit Snail, Yellow Poso Rabbit Snails, Gold Rabbit Snails, and Golden Spotted Rabbit Snails.
The snail has a long, cone-shaped, and spiral shell that ends at a fine point. When viewed from above, you can see individual grooves spiraling across the entire shell. The snail also has a small operculum.
Rabbit Snail Tank Requirements
Before buying a rabbit snails, there are few things to consider such as the minimum tank size, needed substrate, plants compatible with rabbit snails and what decorations you can use. You can read about all these below:
– Tank Size
Rabbit snails take up more space when compared to more popular freshwater snails. A 30-gallon tank will give the snail adequate room to grow, and you can keep several of them. The aquarium should be well covered as the rabbit snail has been known to escape.
Rabbit snails can easily be injured by coarse gravel and sharp rocks. The creatures also like to burrow in the substrate and roam around the tank’s bottom. A sandy substrate will provide the most comfortable environment for the snails.
– Plants and decoration
If rabbit snails are well-fed, they are not particularly interested in eating plants. Stem plants such as waterhyssop (bacopa) will get eaten by these snails.
You can keep a variety of planted and floating plants, and choose sturdy types like anubias, java fern or java moss. Use caves and driftwood to create hiding spaces.
– Lighting and Filtration
Rabbit snails do not like bright lighting, and they will hide among plants and decorations if there are strong aquarium lights. The lighting should be subdued, and you can use floating plants to diffuse the glow.
A rabbit snail tank needs a reliable and robust filtration system. Care must be taken, however, as they often get trapped in the slots of canister or power filter intakes.
You can cover the intakes using coarse sponge pre-filters so that the snail does not get injured or killed.
Rabbit Snail Water Conditions
Rabbit snails are a tropical species, and they will need warm temperatures between 75 to 85 °F. Lower temperatures will slow down their metabolism and prevent breeding.
Keep them in an alkaline environment, with a PH of 7.3-8.5. Their shells will corrode if this PH is not maintained, and you should also add calcium supplements to the water. They will thrive in a water hardness of 2-15 dKH.
Be careful when buying medications and fertilizers as the snail is sensitive to copper.
Rabbit Snail Diet and Feeding
The rabbit snail is a skilled scavenger, and they will chop down on any soft algae in the aquarium. You can buy the snail to keep up with your tank’s algal growth. The snails will also eat any decaying plant matter that falls to the tank’s bottom.
You can diversify their diet with algae wafers, flakes, earthworm pellets, and sinking pellets. Supplement the commercial feeds with spinach, lettuce, green beans, broccoli, peas, and kale.
Remove the food after the second day to prevent it from going bad. Wash the veggies thoroughly to get rid of pesticides and herbicides.
You want calcium-rich meals that will promote the shell’s health. Some aquarists will make their snail jello that is fortified with calcium. You can also add cuttlebone, which breaks down and releases calcium into the water.
Rabbit Snail Tank Mates
Rabbit snails are quite active, and they are often observed wandering around the tank. They graze on algae and eat any leftover fish food.
Some aquarists are alarmed when they see the snail lying motionless on the substrate. They will curl their body into the shell, and pull the operculum into the aperture. This behavior is normal, as the snail needs to rest.
Rabbit snails will be compatible with peaceful fish and invertebrates. If you want to couple them with other snails, you can add ivory snails, gold Inca snails, ramshorn snails, mystery snails, Malaysian trumpet snails, nerite snails, and Japanese trapdoor snails.
Avoid assassin snails as they can target larger snails if they are starving.
Rabbit snails are often coupled with freshwater shrimp like Malawa shrimp, red cherry shrimp, vampire shrimp, bamboo shrimp, blue tiger shrimp, amano shrimp, and ghost shrimp.
Some shrimp keepers like to keep the rabbit snail with dwarf shrimp. The snails produce a lot of waste that contains beneficial bacteria for the shrimp’s digestive system.
You can pair the rabbit snail with endlers, tetras, honey gourami, pearl gourami, guppies, celestial pearl gourami, and otocinclus catfish. Avoid aggressive tankmates like goldfish, crayfish, and cichlids.
Rabbit Snail Breeding
Rabbit snails breed fairly slowly when compared to other freshwater snails. The snails reach sexual maturity when they are about 1.5 inches.
The male and females are identical, and you should keep several of them to raise the likelihood of having both sexes.
Well-fed rabbit snails will breed readily in the aquarium. The snail produces one offspring at a time, and the female has a sack to carry the fertilized egg.
The female releases a gelatinous egg that resembles a pearl, and it hatches to reveal a young snail.
The juvenile snail has a small but fully-formed shell. The babies are born super-hungry, and they will begin foraging for food immediately.
There are about 50 rabbit snail species in the aquarium trade, which vary in patterns and colors.
Although they are rare in pet stores, rabbit snails are peaceful scavengers for community aquariums. Provide a tropical environment for them and encourage algal growth in your aquarium.