Snails are either loved or hated by aquarium enthusiasts. Deciding if they are right for you will usually depend on what you already
are already keeping in your aquariums and the water conditions you can offer.
A fresh water aquarium snail can perform valuable services for it's keeper. Uneaten fish food scraps can become snail food instead of polluting the fish tank water. Unsightly algae can also be consumed leaving your aquarium glass clean.
Snails can cause frustrations however. Aquatic plants can be decimated by a hungry snail with a taste for greenery. So too can an unprotected batch of fish eggs. Aquarium snails from wild sources can even harbor diseases that can infect fish and people.
Although aquatic snail species are abundant, the choices available for the aquarium are quite limited. Most are too small or plain to gain any attention from fish tank owners.
It is disappointing at best to find you have purchased a dead snail. The pungent odor of a rotting snail is truly offensive. When choosing an aquarium snail always select one that is out of it's shell and moving. Check it is in good health by watching out for a healthy appetite.
Examine the outer shell for acid damage. All fresh water aquarium snails need a
pH above 7. Anything lower will cause the acid to dissolve the snail's shell. Slight shell decay will cause no problems for your snail, but heavier damage can expose the soft body underneath. Without the protective shell in tact a snail can be prayed upon by fish or suffer exposure to it's soft tissues.
The prolific breeding habits of most fresh water snails generally keeps the purchase price reasonable. Expect to only pay a few dollars for yours. Pet stores often grade the snails into different sizes and charge different prices accordingly. Due to the rapid growth of a well cared for snail it is seldom worth the extra expense to choose the largest snails. Since they have already achieved maturity these snails will live a shorter period than a younger snail.
There are a wide range of aquatic snails but not all are suited to aquarium life. Choosing the wrong variety can upset plants or lead to over population by the snail.