Solving The Myth: Do Aquarium Snails Lay Eggs?

Last Updated on January 21, 2022 by Fabiola L.

Do aquarium snails lay eggs? Almost all aquarium snails continue their legacy by laying eggs. Although, some species give birth to live baby snails.

Did you know that there are more than 600 species of freshwater snails in ponds, lakes, and rivers in the United States? Unbelievable, isn’t it? Snails are an important part of freshwater ecosystems. They’re also fascinating inhabitants in the aquarium.

But let’s get to the point, how many times have you encountered the question “Do aquarium snails lay eggs so far”? Well, it’s time to finally solve that riddle. Let’s go!

Basic Characteristics:

Freshwater aquarium snails are aquatic creatures that are best known for their ability to clean aquarium debris. This means they digest most of the waste elements. These are mostly rotten plant matter, fish food scraps, and fish waste that hasn’t been filtered. Given that they feed on aquatic debris like fish waste and algae, they are rightly called “algae eaters”.

In addition to cleaning, they also increase the number of good bacteria in tanks and aquariums. Their presence gives a touch of beauty, color, and diversity to their surroundings.

However, keep in mind that there are good and bad types of aquarium snails. Good types of snails perform all these amazing functions. In contrast, bad types can damage both the tank and other animals as well.

Aquarium Snails Reproduction

Many snails are hermaphrodites. In other words, they carry both sperm and eggs and can reproduce without the help of another snail. Also, keep in mind that each species is different from the other. Snails reach sexual maturity around 1 year of age.

Determining Sex

Females of freshwater snails are usually larger and heavier than males. Although, this is not the case that can always be applied to every species. When it comes to physiognomy, some males have a special sexual organ that protrudes from the area in front of the gills. On the other hand, most snails have an operculum. It’s hatch-like covering over the opening in their shell. Its absence indicates possession of both male and female sexual organs.

So, are you ready to find out the answer to the question do snails lay eggs or give birth? Let’s go!

Reproductive Form

Snails reproduce in one of two possible ways. They either lay eggs or carry their eggs internally.


Snails reproduce by copulation, whether they had an operculum or not. The fertilization process takes place by the male crawling on the female’s shell and holding her shell with his foot. The duration of the act itself varies from one hour to one full day.

Interestingly, snails that possess both male and female sexual organs exchange sperm. Accordingly, they don’t self-fertilize with their sperm.

Laying Eggs

Females of freshwater snails lay eggs in clutches. If you pay attention, you will be able to find the clutches above the water line or on the underside of the leaves. Under normal conditions, aquarium snails can lay eggs once or twice a month. However, this can vary. For example, if they don’t have enough food, they won’t lay eggs that often. As for the conditions, they also determine the frequency of egg-laying. Snails breed best at temperatures of 60 ° F to 77 ° F and require high humidity of 75% to 95%.

On the other hand, in terms of quantity, depending on the type of snail, they can lay from 50 to 2000 eggs. However, the average is around 50 to 200 eggs. Interestingly, some species can lay thousands of eggs at once. This isn’t a common case because people don’t usually keep this type of snails in their tanks.

Females of freshwater snails lay eggs in clutches

Learn more about: How To Reduce pH In An Aquarium

Live Birth

As mentioned earlier, some snails give birth to live baby snails. The female snail usually incubates 10 to 12 eggs inside its womb.

After fertilization, the female snail keeps the eggs inside a special cavity in her body where they are protected. It’s a fascinating fact that snail cubs hatch in the mother’s womb. They stay there until they deplete their mother’s nutrients and reach a length of about 1/4 inch.

Snails that lay eggs inside are livebearers. Some of them are Malaysian trumpet snails and Japanese snails at the openings. On the other hand, there is a type of aquarium snail that lays eggs on plants, rocks, or even aquarium glass. Well-known are: Mystery Snails, Apple Snails, Ramshorn Snails, Assassin Snails, and Nerite Snails.

What Do Aquarium Snail Eggs Look Like

While you may think otherwise, it’s not easy to spot aquarium snail eggs. They are very small, only 1/75 inch (.034 cm).

The clutches that contain the eggs are also clear, and their size is about 1/4 inch (.64 cm). This makes them very easy to miss, especially if you don’t pay enough attention.

Snail eggs initially look like a small pink ball, and their color changes as it get older. Did you know that you can distinguish (un) fertilized eggs almost immediately?

Fertilized eggs usually change color and dark spots begin to appear in a short period of time. It’s a sign that the yolks are developing. In contrast, unfertilized eggs don’t change color, but soon begin to change their odor. This means that after 3-4 weeks you will be able to smell something like rotten eggs.

A little tip, when the eggs look moldy, the snails are ready to hatch. You will usually find such eggs above the surface of the water, next to the side of the aquarium.

Read more about 10 Most Interesting Aquarium Pets Other Than Fish

Where Do Snails Lay Their Eggs?

Snails like to lay their eggs in hard-to-see and hard-to-reach places. You will be able to find them in places such as leaves, aquarium decorations, stones, and flooded wood. Therefore, be sure to thoroughly examine your aquarium.

Things To Remember…

Aquarium snails do lay eggs just like all other snails. They usually lay between 50 to 200 eggs per clutch every month.

Freshwater snail eggs are likely to appear in your tank whether you want them or not. They enter the aquarium in one of two ways: either they are bought and brought in on purpose, or they sneak into living plants, rocks, debris, ornaments, or pebbles. However, if you watch regularly, it’s easy to spot snail eggs in your aquarium.

Leave a comment below about your experiences with snail eggs. Don’t hesitate!

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