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Helisoma nigricans

by George J. Reclos

One of the commonest snails in freshwater tanks. For more information on snails you can read the relevant article. In this page you will see details of the mouth of this snail and its egg clusters. In contrast to what is generally thought, this snail will live and even prosper in bare bottom tanks as long as there is adequate food in them. I have plenty of them in my fry raising tanks and sine they reproduce quickly, I harvest them every week to feed my Paretroplus species which really love them. Their eggs are deposited anywhere (most often on the side glasses of the tank) and are "encapsulated" in a transparent, hard "gelatin" like envelope. When the snails are big enough they just rupture their surrounding membranes and enter the tank. Its mouth is a sucker type one, much like the one found in most catfishes (of the genus Hypostomus for example) and work in almost the same way although they lack the "spoon" - like teeth of the catfishes.

The snail used its mouth in the same way the catfish do. The lack of the spoon like teeth reduces its ability to "scratch" algae from the windows of your tank but allows it to consume almost everything easily detachable. In this aspect, it is much more a friend than a foe. Click on the images to see the high resolution pictures.

 

Two photos of an egg cluster of H. nigricans. In the first photo, the snail has just laid them and the embryos are visible although they still occupy a very small portion of the space available. When they grow to the right size, they just rupture the walls of their egg and break free through the hard envelope. You can see this in the right photo.

Click on the images to see the high resolution pictures. Photos by G.J.Reclos /MCH

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