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Lakes Online Aquariums



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An Ivory Snail is an interesting freshwater aquarium snail to keep. Ivory Snails are becoming more popular, and are often readily available in pet stores these days. An Ivory Snail shell color is off-white, creamy and smooth in texture. Its body and foot color are also off-white, with orange spots accenting the top of its head and mouth. This interesting creamy white and orange color combination can really stand out against lush green plants, black substrate or a black background.

Ivory Snail Disposition & Behavior

An Ivory Snail is calm, peaceful and non-aggressive by nature. It has no means to attack its tank mates and has only its shell and operculum to defend itself from predators. An Ivory Snail can be very active during lighted times, effortlessly moving throughout the tank in search of food or a safe place to rest. An Ivory Snail can also very active at night. There have been many times when I spotted an Ivory Snail energetically exploring the tank in darkness. An Ivory Snail’s nighttime behavior is pretty interesting to watch.

Ivory Snail Care: Snail Size & Tank Size

Fortunately, Ivory Snail care is relatively easy. Because Ivory Snail Care is straightforward, it's good snail for beginners. Ivory Snails can be an escape artist, so keep the tank properly covered to help ensure that the snail will not get out of the aquarium. Ivory Snails that have escaped from the tank can get injured quickly, dry out and die. So be sure to conduct a periodic head count to make sure all snails are present and accounted for.

A snail care issue that is sometimes overlooked is how the snail is added to a tank. Gently place the snail in a tank right side up. If Ivory Snails are simply poured from a plastic bag into the tank and lands upside down, it may have trouble righting itself and could die.

Ivory Snail Size

Healthy Ivory Snails can be about 1 – 2 inches in diameter when purchased from the store, with most being about the size of a quarter around. With the right tank conditions and a little bit of luck, an Ivory Snail can grow larger over time. Growth will be slow but steady as long as water conditions are right and Calcium-rich foods are readily available.

Tank Size & Water Considerations

As with other snails, good Ivory Snail care starts with tank size and water conditions. Often, a beginning hobbyist may decide to “add a few snails” thinking that because they are small everything will be alright. Or they may think that because snails are thought of as “aquarium cleaners” they won't really add to the mess. Or they may think that because snails are not fish, they won’t tax the bio-load of the tank. Keep in mind that an Ivory Snail is just like any other tank inhabitant. They feed from their habitat and they produce waste into it. So an Ivory Snail needs to be in a tank with sufficient size and water volume to support their life.

That said, an Ivory Snail can do well in small established tanks like a10 10-gallon tank or in larger established tanks as well. Either way, make sure the rules against overstocking are followed. Keep Ammonia and Nitrite levels at 0 ppm, and make sure Nitrate levels are kept in check with regular partial water changes. Be very careful with tank medications and treatments, and avoid copper as this can be harmful or fatal.

Calcium Is Important

Ivory Snails must be kept in aquarium water with sufficient Calcium to maintain healthy shell growth. A healthy shell whorl should be smooth in texture from just above the mantle to the apex. A healthy shell will not be thin or excessively cracked or pitted. A thin, cracked or pitted shell can indicate a calcium deficiency, so periodic calcium supplements may be necessary.

An Ivory Snail can do well in a wide range of aquarium water conditions, but it is a good idea to stay within the tropical community fish tank range with clear, moderately moving, oxygen-rich water. Others suggest that Ivory Snails can do well in less clear, less moving, murky tank water. That may be true, but my personal preference is clear tank water for aesthetic purposes.

Aquarium pH: 7.2 – 7.5, with some suggesting lower pH acceptable.
Water Temperature: 68 – 82 Degrees Fahrenheit.
Hardness & Minerals: On the hard side, with calcium supplements.
Lighting: Normal community fish tank lighting.

Ivory Snail Diet: Food & Feeding

An Ivory Snail is a proficient eater when in feeding mode. Ivory Snails make good scavengers and tank cleaners, seeking uneaten food and dead plant matter. An Ivory Snail also seems to enjoy eating soft algae growing on aquarium glass, decorations, rocks, power filter intakes and other hard surfaces. Ivory Snails can also enjoy feeding on edible matter that accumulates on slow-growing plant leaves like Anubias Barteri, Amazon Sword, or Banana Plant tubers.

Some hobbyists say that Ivory Snails are dangerous to vegetation and are ferocious live plant eaters, but this has not been my experience. I suspect whether an Ivory Snail devours live aquarium plants has a lot to do with the type of plants kept, how well-fed the snail is, and the tendencies of the particular snail itself. Nevertheless, the issue is worth a mention.

Many Ivory Snails like supplements of fish food, bottom feeder pellets and algae wafers. Ivory Snails may also like supplements of washed soft blanched vegetables like green zucchini squash or green leaf lettuce. It is fun to try different vegetables to see if the snail is interested. I usually give the snail one day through a lighted and unlighted time cycle. If the snail is not interested in the vegetable after one day I take it out. It is not good to leave uneaten food in the tank for too long. It is not good for the water.

Ivory Snail Habitat

Given the heads-up regarding live plants being eaten, my Ivory Snails seem to be very happy and healthy in a planted aquarium. I suspect the reason is that an aquarium with live plants is never really “too clean” as there is always a plentiful source of edible vegetation shedding from the live plants themselves. And if my Ivory Snail takes an occasional nip or two at a live aquarium plant, its fine as it can help keep plant growth in check.


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