If you own a freshwater aquarium, you’re more than likely already familiar with the all-too-common pond snail.
But there’s a similar species that’s a lot larger with flappy ears worth taking a look at known as the Great Pond Snails.
Also known as Lymnaea stagnalis, these aquarium snails are very low-maintenance and worth considering if want something that sets your tank apart.
If this has your attention then you should know there are several requirements that must be met in order to ensure their well-being and longevity.
In this guide, you’ll find all the information you need to make sure your giant pond snails are healthy and happy in their nature-inspired habitat.
|Common Name||Great Pond Snail|
|Scientific Name||Lymnaea stagnalis|
|Use||Cleaning, Aerating Soil, Pets|
|Adult Size||Up to 3 inches|
|Breeding Type||Egg Layer|
|Minimum Tank Size||10 Gallons|
|Hardness||Soft - Medium|
What Are Great Pond Snails?
Great Pond snails are large freshwater mollusks that belong to the Gastropoda taxonomic class, which also includes land snails and sea snails.
Great Pond snails are common in ponds and other placid waters, and they feed on a number of submerged particles, AND they do not damage aquatic plants.
Their family name, Lymnaeidae, also originates from the Latin language and pertains to a type of freshwater snail.
What Do Great Pond Snails Look Like?
Great pond snails typically have a round and flat shell with an assortment of striped patterns.
The size will also range depending on the type, but the average is usually between 2 and 3 inches.
Their average size can often be estimated by measuring the width of their conical-shaped shell.
These snails typically have five to six whorls with the outermost whorl usually expanding outward and making them sometimes appear rectangular in shape.
Dorsally, these pond snails are usually gray, brown, or black with small and delicate markings to contrast their hue.
Ventrally, they boast an array of lighter and darker shades, striations, and speckles along the surface of their shells.
This can create an impressive pattern along the surface. The look is even more striking when the snail is in motion.
They will also have small but visible eyes on the left and right sides of the body. They use these to navigate and detect light and dark in their environment.
Benefits Of Using Great Pond Snails
Lymnaea stagnalis can be a great addition to aquatic vivariums as they can help to keep the environment clean and healthy.
Their presence helps to regulate algae growth, as they eat the algae that would otherwise take over your tank and make it a livable environment for other fish and invertebrates.
These floppy-eared gastropods also help keep the tank bottom clean by stirring up debris and debris particles that may settle on the bottom.
They also provide an extra food source for your other tank-mates, such as shrimp, crabs, and fish.
Great Pond Snail Facts
Great pond snails are freshwater mollusks that typically feed on algae and decaying organic matter, excavate small food chambers in the sediment, and can live for many years.
They are peaceful and undemanding inhabitants of their natural habitats and breed successfully when the correct conditions are met.
Lymnaea stagnalis is native to most parts of the United States, as well as across Europe, Africa, and Asia.
Great pond snails prefer still or slow-moving waters and thrive in oxygen-rich environments.
Great pond snails require a diet rich in decomposing vegetation and algae, as well as protein-rich foods like insect larvae and other microorganisms.
In their natural environment, Lymnaea stagnalis will scavenge for food and uproot aquatic vegetation, like plants and small pieces of debris.
They also feed on decaying animals like insects that fall to the substrate and any other unfortunate aquatic animals.
Great pond snails are generally not aggressive and rarely show signs of aggression when handled.
They can often be observed grazing on the aquarium glass and walls, as well as other stationary decorations.
When Lymnaea stagnalis comes into contact with another creature, such as a hand or another member of their species, it will often display signs of caution by quickly retracting itself into its shell or quickly drifting away.
It is important to note that these snails are largely solitary creatures and do not prefer large groups.
In their natural environment, great pond snails are not typically found living in large groups.
As such, when introducing any new species of L. stagnalis to an enclosure, it is important to provide them with ample room and a large number of hiding spaces, as overcrowding can cause the snails to become stressed and unhappy.
When kept in a densely packed aquarium, great pond snails can become overly territorial and display signs of aggression, such as shell-ramming and chasing, in order to protect their space.
This behavior, while normal in the wild, should be avoided if possible as it can potentially harm other living species in the tank.
Great pond snails typically have a lifespan of 1-2 years, although they can live longer under optimal conditions.
Before they reach reproductive age, juvenile snails grow slowly and usually reach sexual maturity between 6 and 8 months.
The female snail lays eggs which can take several weeks to hatch, after which the cycle begins again.
Generally, snails produce between 50 and 100 eggs each time. During the snail’s life cycle, it goes through four stages.
The first is the egg stage where the snail is encased in a jelly-like gestation period until the egg hatches and the snail is born.
The second is the juvenile stage where the snail begins to grow and develop.
The third is the maturity stage, where the snail reaches sexual maturity and is ready to reproduce.
Finally, the last stage is the senior stage, where the body deteriorates and the snail’s lifespan becomes shorter.
Great pond snails reproduce quickly, with a single pond snail capable of producing dozens of eggs at a time.
Reproduction typically occurs during the springtime and is ideal when the water temperature is between 60-75 degrees Fahrenheit with a pH of 7.0-7.5.
To encourage mating, giant snail owners should provide plenty of food sources and good water quality.
It is also important to take note that while great pond snails are hermaphrodites, they still require a partner to reproduce and therefore, it is suggested that at least two snails of similar sizes be kept together in an aquarium.
The sperm and eggs are released into the open water, with the eggs typically being encased in a gelatin-like substance called the jelly coat.
This is to not only protect the eggs from the environment but also to reduce the presence of predators.
Fertilized eggs typically take at least 4 weeks to hatch and typically take 4-5 weeks to reach their full size.
Once a pond snail reaches maturity, it will begin to reproduce.
It is important to note, however, that if there are too many pond snails in the same tank, reproduction will slow down or come to a complete halt.
Where To Find Great Pond Snails
Lymnaea stagnalis are widely available from pet stores and online vendors, but it’s also possible to find them in the wild.
Usually, pond snails can often be seen along the edge of ponds and lakes, typically where foliage overhanging the water provides them with shade.
When collecting them from their natural habitat, it’s important to make sure the water is uncontaminated and free of pollutants.
Pond snails can also be found in rivers and streams, but they’re less abundant there.
Regarding purchasing them, pet stores and online vendors usually carry healthy snails that have been well-fed and are free of disease.
When purchasing them, it’s important to ensure they’re not carrying any diseases or parasites that could harm other tank inhabitants.
You should also make sure to inspect the snails closely, as they can often carry small parasites such as planaria and hydra.
Buying a few extra snails is also a good idea, as some may not survive the transition from wild to aquarium life.
Great Pond Snail Care
To care for great pond snails, select healthy specimens and make sure their habitat contains the necessary parameters.
Clean the habitat periodically, prevent and treat illnesses, and make sure the tank is self-cleaning to ensure the snails remain healthy.
It’s important to create a tank environment that best mimics the natural habitats of Pond Snails.
An ideal habitat for Lymnaea stagnalis would be a sponge, low-flow, planted aquarium with a large enough surface area.
To ensure the health of the mollusks, the water pH should be between 6.0 and 7.5 and the water hardness should be between 5 and 15 degrees dH.
The temperature should be in the range of 50 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
Lastly, the lighting should be chosen based on the plants that you have in the tank.
Plants do not require any additional light, but they will benefit from any amount of light that they get.
What Do Great Pond Snails Eat?
Feeding great pond snails is simple! In their natural environment, snails eat mostly decomposing plant matter such as algae, aquatic plants, dead fish, detritus, and most other organics found in freshwater tanks.
For pet owners, there are plenty of other safe foods that can be provided in their aquariums. Here is a list of things you can include as a part of their diet:
- Blanched, crushed vegetables such as lettuce
- Protein-rich foods like cooked egg yolks, cooked beef, and cooked shrimp
- Store-bought sinking pellets
- Commercial foods like fish flakes
- Frozen fry, mosquito larvae, and baby brine shrimp
- Nourishment tabs made specifically for aquarium snails
Feed your snails small amounts scattered around the tank 1-2 times per day to help prevent overfeeding and filter leeching.
Don’t be surprised if you don’t see your snails eat every day as they usually take their meals from the substrate when they feel safe and secure.
If you’re more of an avid hobbyist like myself, be sure to check out my ultimate DIY aquatic snail food guide. I give a more in-depth explanation of the best foods and my favorite recipe.
Best Tankmates For Great Pond Snails
Great pond snails should be kept with tankmates that are not overly active and do not require a lot of space.
Good tankmates for great pond snails include particular species of shrimp and fish, such as Nerites, Amano shrimp, and Otocinclus catfish.
Nerite snails are small and peaceful, as they feed on algae and other detritus.
Aside from that, they don’t pose a threat to any other inhabitants in the tank.
Amano shrimp is a type of freshwater shrimp that also feeds on uneaten food, algae, and detritus.
They are small-sized, peaceful, and non-aggressive, so they are good additions to a tank with pond snails.
Therefore, these inhabitants can create a balanced community and help maintain a peaceful environment for the pond snails.
For their uniquely large size and delicate appearance, these pet snails can make a huge impact in the aquarium, whether for decoration or for eating all the leftovers.
If given the right environment, food, and oxygen, as well as a tank free of predators, great pond snails can be long-term tenants in your aquarium.
Lastly, it is important to check them regularly and to take preventive measures to avoid health risks. Lymnaea stagnalis as well as your entire aquarium environment, will benefit from proper care!
Frequently Asked Questions
Great pond snails (Lymnaea stagnalis) live in slow–moving or still freshwaters such as ponds, marshes, and lakes.
They are found worldwide in warmer climates, but are most abundant in the Northern Hemisphere.
Yes, great pond snails (Lymnaea stagnalis) feed primarily on green algae. They also consume decaying organic material and soft water plants.
Lymnaea stagnalis, also called great pond snails feed on plants. Their main diet consists of green algae, although they will also eat other types of algae and decaying organic material.