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RE: Trap Door Snails

Hi Bill,

As best as I recall Giant Japs are hermaphroditic. In a long forgotten book
I came across in my youth I believe that it was Axelrod that speculated that
they were fertilized once and then stored the sperm for future use.  I have
had single snails reproduce for about a year in captivity when they were
being kept alone. So I do not know if they truly store the sperm or if they
can self fertilize. The giant Japs can live in pretty soft water, but if you
miss water changes they will close up, within a week to a week and a half
they will die if the water is not changed.

I will mention that about 70+% of the snails I have kept have reproduced at
one time or another. Some are very reproductive others never have
reproduced. But I have noticed no apparent sexual dimorphism nor have I
actually looked for it.

I believe that they are one of the finest killie/pond/aquarium snails
available. The fact that they produce so few offspring and grow so slowly is
not a blessing with these snails. As much as I have worked to rid myself of
many a snail this species always leaves me wanting for more.  Where I
collect them they are only available in the summer. This time of year they
are buried in the mud beneath the deep water.

I did not get out and collect last year. Most of those I collected in 2001
went to other people  as fast as I could collect them. I have one colony
thriving in a 45 gal tank with a batch of Nothos. I believe that I am
already on the third generation. Note the young are very sensitive to water
quality. The larger they get the more durable they are.

This snail suffers from a real identity crisis. Originally it was imported
as the mystery snail. That title eventually was transferred to the white
wall variety of apple snail. The name Giant Japanese Pond Snail often causes
people to confuse these great creatures with those pesky little vermin that
sneak in with plants and infest your aquarium.  I believe that the
scientific name was V. Japonicas or something similar to that.  The giant
Japs have not been imported for many years as best as I can tell, but
luckily some were released into local waters many decades ago and they have
multiplied. Unlike most of the pests that have been set free in American
waters this is one of the only welcome imports that come to mind. I have
studied one location where they were introduced into a natural environment
30 years ago. They live in balance with every native species and have become
an integral part of the food chain.

Although I believe that they make a welcome additions to most environments I
do not recommend their release into the "wild".  Just because a creature
improves or does not harm one environment, there may be places where real
damage to an ecosystem could occur.



-----Original Message-----
From: owner-killietalk at aka_org [mailto:owner-killietalk at aka_org]On
Behalf Of William Ruyle
Sent: Wednesday, January 01, 2003 9:58 PM
To: killietalk at aka_org
Subject: Re: Trap Door Snails

Hi RJ,
Thanks for opening a "bigger window" on the subject. Got a question:
Are they sexual in reproduction? The ones I got from Lily Pond were
the Japanese trapdoor livebearing snail. One day I noted one of them
would burrow about a 1/2 inch in the sand and stay there for a few days
and then I would see 2-3 small snails on the front glass. I had a constant
 battle in Maine raising the hardness of the wellwater to keep these snails
comfortable. The pair of snails that gave forth babies: one was very dark
and the other was a much lighter grayish brown.  Thanks again, RJ, for the

forest at copper_net

----- Original Message -----
From: "Tranquility Base" <TranquilityBase at NetZero_Net>
To: <killietalk at aka_org>
Sent: Wednesday, January 01, 2003 8:24 PM
Subject: RE: Trap Door Snails

> Hi Folks:
> The name trap door snail is actually very confusing and most likely should
> be avoided. Currently I have seen at least 3 very different types of snail
> masquerading under this name. The term trap door refers to the operculum
> which they use to seal off their soft bodies from their surroundings.
> are several species of very different snails that have operculum all of
> which could be called trap door snails. These families include HYDROBIIDAE
> The first group is the PILIDAE. This variety has two distinct
> The first is the apple snail type (Pomacea). It has a compact short spiral
> configuration and of course it has a "trap door".  These snails come in
> almost as many varieties as gold fish. There are gold ones, albinos albino
> snails with black shells, black snails with white shells, some with spiral
> patterns on their shells and at least one that I believe has had its shell
> bleached. There is at least one variety that gets incredibly large for a
> fresh water snail. Actually about the size of a tennis ball. They have
> relatively thick shells. These are very active snails, they consume huge
> quantities of vegetation.  I watched a medium specimen wipe out a 2.5 gal
> tank full of java moss in one day. It started sucking down one strand and
> did not stop until it had consumed everything. It was like watching a
> cartoon character eat spaghetti.  Another small golden apple snail I had
> over 1 cu inch of riccia per day. These snails actually prefer plant
> material to algae.  They require very good water quality, actually better
> than many killifish and will die quickly if water changes are missed.  I
> tend to recall these snails also eating dead fish so I would hazard the
> guess that they would make short work of killifish eggs.  Due to the water
> quality concerns and their voracious appetites they are best kept in
> tanks. I would avoid putting them in with any valuable plants.
> The second group of Pilidae snail is the so called giant ramshorns,
> Marissa). These snails are not related to their smaller counterparts they
> are actually more closely related to an apple snail. They will also eat
> plants and eggs but are much less destructive than the round apple snails.
> They will eat algae and plants, but they seem to have a preference to
> whereas the other apple snails almost prefer plants.
> The snails I have mentioned are usually tropical and as such may be
> interstate without difficulty in most of the United States. They are egg
> layers that deposit an mass of eggs ABOVE the water line.
> The next trap door snail is the "large pond snail" group (the true Mystery
> Snails), family Vivipardidae. This includes the Giant Japanese (that I
> occasionally collect in the summer), a Chinese variety one with a heart
> shaped foot that is supposedly indigenous to the northern US east coast
> a few more similar species that are native to the southern United States.
> The Giant Jap gets about 1.5 inches in diameter and of course they have
> doors. These snails can be differentiated from the apple snails in that
> are usually more elongated than the apples. They are livebearers that
> produce one to two pea size offspring at a time. The Giant Japs do not eat
> most aquatic plants. They eat primarily algae. They do not hunt fish eggs.
> They have no patterns on their shells but do have tinges of red or orange
> their bodies. They also have one set of shorter antennae and lack the
> barbels common to apple snails. These are vastly superior to most other
> snails used with killies. They never over populate, both good and bad for
> those who want more. Supposedly the Giant Japs were the original mystery
> snail.  Some of these snails like the Giant Japs are NOT TROPICAL. If
> released they can populate an outdoor back yard pond and/or local body of
> water. For that reason they are not usually commercially available often.
> might add that when these snails close up you need a water change! Within
> week after the snails refuse to open your fish will start dying. They can
> also tolerate a reasonable amount of salt in the water.
> The final group that I have encountered is a medium black snail with a
> swirl pattern in its shell, Possibly Viviparus Georgianus. It is a very
> round snail. I have seen them only twice, once in a LFS where all were
> or dying and the other was in a Chinese restaurant where they were
> exceptionally tasty.  I have never kept one so I can not comment further
> them.  Next time I stop by the Chinese restaurant I might just have a talk
> with the cook.
> My research and experience indicates that there are several snails sold
> under the heading "trap door snail" that are actually very different
> animals. Some are great killifish tank snails others should be avoided. If
> your goal is to eliminate plants use the apple snails. But keep in mind
> are voracious and you will have to keep feeding them after the plants are
> gone. For Killie applications, use the "large pond snail" type what they
> lack in color they make up for in personality.
> Peace,
> ~RJ~
> -----Original Message-----
> From: owner-killietalk at aka_org [mailto:owner-killietalk at aka_org]On
> Behalf Of William Ruyle
> Sent: Wednesday, January 01, 2003 3:04 PM
> To: killietalk at aka_org
> Subject: Re: Trap Door Snails
> Frank,
> The ones I kept in Maine were the dark brown or black variety. Going to be
> looking for the gold ones Gary mentioned. They can grow to roughly the
> of a golf ball and the shell is a fat and short spiral and underneath
> is a circular trapdoor that will be absolutely shut tight in their dormant
> period, but slightly ajar as I mentioned before, if they are dead. The
> color (when they are out in "full sail" cruising the glass) is dark gray
> brown for the variety I kept. If you have hard water (which I didn't in
> Maine) they should be easy to keep. I'm going to be trying Gary's idea of
> the cucumber slices.
> HTH,
> Bill
> forest at copper_net
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: <YoHoHo at aol_com>
> To: <KillieTalk at aka_org>
> Sent: Wednesday, January 01, 2003 1:32 PM
> Subject: Re: Trap Door Snails
> > How do I know if the snails ARE trap door snails?  Will they be marked
> > such?  What do they look like that distinguishes them from other
> >                  o
> >             *
> >              o
> >            *
> > ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
> > ~~~~~~~~~~<**)))><\~~~~~~~~~~~
> > ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
> > Frank Carriglitto
> > ChiKA, WAKO, AKA #08234
> >
> > > Subject: Re: Trap Door Snails
> > >
> > > Sandy --  Most of the Walmarts in St. Louis area have the black and
> > > golden trap door snails.  About $1.00 each.  If you buy any -- make
> > > the clerk gets the ones that are up on the glass.  Usually the ones
> lying
> > > on the bottom are dead.  Walmart starves them.
> > >
> > > Feed the snails very thin cucumber slices as soon as you get them home
> > > and I suggest you quarantine them for a while.   I personnally don't
> > > think ramshorn are as good for infusoria . Good luck !
> > >
> >
> >
> >
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