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Rabbit Snail Care: How To Care For A Rabbit Snail

Taking care of rabbit snails is relatively easy. The only thing you really have to watch out for when keeping these unique critters is the water acidification levels. Rabbit snails need to live in water where the Nitrate and Ammonia levels are at 0 ppm.

In order to keep them healthy and retain the beautiful shells and texture of their body, it’s best if you keep them in alkaline water with a pH level of around 7.3-8.5.

Rabbit snails are definitely a head-turner if you’ve ever seen one before. The unique shape and pattern of their long shells are mesmerizing to look at while their faces are a bit quirky and interesting especially if it’s you’re first time seeing one.

It’s great to have this species of snail in your aquarium because they’re relatively easy to take care of and they also help your tank stay clean and free from algae. They also a bit of color to your tank with their bodies.

If you’re thinking about adding some rabbit snails into your tank or building a tank just for rabbit snails. then this rabbit snail guide is for you. This guide will discuss basic information about the species, how to take care of a rabbit snail? what tank size is suitable for them? what tank mates can go well with rabbit snails? and even how to breed rabbit snails?

Species Summary

Rabbit snails actually refer to a larger family of freshwater snails under the scientific genus Tylomelania. They are also known as elephant snails because of the shape and texture of their face. These quirky creatures originated first in Sulawesi, Indonesia living in lakes. Since the rabbit snail is a family of species.

There are several individual species that are available, 34 to be exact. Although many more may be discovered in the future and their care requirements are generally similar. Whatever species you get as long as you provide them with good water conditions and a healthy diet these snails can grow to be beautiful additions to any tank.

That being said, these freshwater snails are relatively new to the fish-keeping community being first introduced in the market in 2007. This is why they’re still pretty rare. Nevertheless, those who are able to take care of these snails typically have nothing but positive things to say. These snails are naturally inquisitive and love to roam around the tank for hours a day.

However, if you see your rabbit snail lying on the bottom of the tank motionless just wait before you jump to the conclusion that it has passed on. Rabbit snails are known to take random rest breaks and retreat into their shell. After all, roaming the tank for hours and hours without rest is exhausting.

Despite their curious nature, they don’t bother other creatures living in the tank and are peaceful and keep to their own.


The average lifespan of rabbit snails in captivity can range between 1-3 years depending on the quality of care that you provide them with. These snails are particularly sensitive when it comes to Ammonia and Nitrate levels. It’s important to keep an eye on these levels and keep them at the optimal 0 ppm to ensure that your rabbit snail is happy and healthy.

Poorly maintained Ammonia and Nitrate levels can lead to unwanted stress on these critters and can shorten their lifespan significantly. On the other hand, if you keep your tank in optimal conditions and keep your rabbit snails well fed, then it can even live past 3 years.

Rabbit Snail Appearance
Rabbit Snail Appearance


Compared to freshwater snails. rabbit snails have a very distinct look. They are called rabbit or elephant snails because of the characteristics of their face. Their drooping antennae resemble a rabbit’s long drooping ears while their elongated face and textured wrinkled skin give an appearance of an elephant.

These features are not just for looks but serve a functional purpose as well. The rabbit snails elongated snout faces downwards, this helps them feed on organic wastes that settle at the bottom of the substrate.

Rabit snails’ shells are also an eye-catching feature of these freshwater creatures. The shape of the shell is long spiraled, and conical. Come to think of it, it resembles a unicorn horn, so I guess you can call these snails unicorn snails as well. Similar to the rabbit snail’s body, its shell can come in many colors and patterns.

Oftentimes, these colors are dark, featuring shades of brown or black. You’ll also find that the shell has grooves along its shell going all the up to the tip of the shell. This gives it an engraved type of look and is reminiscent of artistic engraving. Although, the grooves sometimes become shallower as they get closer to the tip as the snail gets older.

This is often due to corrosion and physical damage. They also have a trapdoor in their shell that’s used as a defense mechanism. This is called an operculum.

Generally, all rabbit snails have the same characteristics in terms of shell shape and head shape. The only difference between species would be their shell and body colors and patterns. The different species are usually named after these differences in coloration and patterns. This gives you multiple choices when looking for your rabbit snails.

Rabbit Snail Size
Rabbit Snail Size

Average Size

When you first purchase your rabbit snail, it will be around 2 inches in length. When fully grown, rabbit snails usually grow to about 3-5 inches long. Don’t worry about waiting long for these snails to reach their maximum size because they have a fast growth rate, even in captivity. Their big size when fully grown makes them a good addition to a tank because they are sure to be noticed paired with their interesting shell, quirky face, and colorful body.

Rabbit Snail Care

If you’re a beginner in the fish-keeping hobby then rabbit snails shouldn’t pose that much of a challenge for you. You just need to keep the water in specific conditions for these snails to thrive. Pair this with good nutrition and your rabbit snail will be healthy and happy. Neglecting the pH level, Ammonia level, and Nitrate level will result in stress. disease, and shell damage.

Rabbit snails thrive in alkaline water at a pH of 7.3-8.5. They also enjoy being in warmer water at around 20-36 degrees celsius. Although rabbit snails can adapt to cooler environments, there’s a chance that they’ll be less active and might not reproduce. The hardness of the water is also something that you should consider if you want to give your rabbit snails the best quality of life.

The recommended hardness of water for these snails should be at a range of 2 to 15 dKH. It’s best to test the waters frequently at the start when you have newly introduced the snails to your tank to keep the levels in check. Then once the tank has become more stable you can reduce the frequency of these tests but don’t eliminate the tests completely.

Tank Size

Since this species of snail are larger than more mainstream freshwater snails. they’re going to need a bigger tank for them to roam around freely and to give them plenty of space to grow. Although most aquarists might recommend a minimum 20-gallon tank. It’s safe to start with a 30-gallon tank instead so that you have some headroom.

Using a larger tank will also make it easier to manage Ammonia and Nitrate levels, and will give you some allowance for adding more critters to your tank. Just be careful not to overpopulate your tank because these will increase your Ammonia and Nitrate levels if you overpopulate the tank.

If you have no space for a large tank like this. then unfortunately this snail is not for you because they thrive and grow in a large environment where they have plenty of room to roam.

Setting up the Inside

Rabbit snails are found in parts of Indonesia where the aquascape is very lush. Often times the substrate in their natural habitat is littered with rotting vegetation. So if you’re able to replicate that in your tank it’s going to help your snails enjoy the environment it’s placed in more and reduce their stress.

Even though rabbit snails aren’t very picky with their habitats and tend to stay healthy in different types of surroundings. Yet, they do still prefer living in a more natural habitat that closely resembles their home in the wild.

Rabbit snails love to burrow. Often, they’ll burrow until their bodies are covered in the sand and leave their heads popping out. This is why you should select fine sand and substrate to use for the bottom of the tank.

The finer the sand and substrate that you use, the safer it is for rabbit snails because it would be less harsh on their soft bodies. Although these snails like chomping down on organic material on the floor of the tank, you don’t have to worry about them eating any of the living plants that are in there.

In fact, it’s a good idea to fill the tank with a wide variety of plants. This will mimic their natural environment and provide them with some food to chomp down on if any dead leaves fall on top of the substrate. Feel free to include floating plants as well.

The one plant that you’d want to avoid would be Java Fern. There are a lot of people that have experienced their rabbit snails chomping down on live Java Fern. Although, this is only if you don’t keep your rabbit snails well fed. Generally, as long as you take care of your rabbit snail’s nutrition it won’t consider eating any live plants.

Since rabbit snails are inquisitive in nature. It’s only natural for them to want to explore life outside of the tank. This is why it’s very important to invest in a durable lid to keep them within the bounds of the tank. There are also a few things you have to consider when buying a filtration system. Rabbit snails have been known to get stuck on powerful tubes at times.

Look for a filtration system that can filter Ammonia and Nitrates very well while keeping suction at a low flow. An alternative solution is to cover the tube with a sponge prefilter to reduce the suction power without affecting the cleaning power of the filter.

Common Possible Diseases

Although rabbit snails can’t get common fish diseases, this doesn’t mean that these snails are immune to disease. The most common health condition that you’ll find on rabbit snails is leeches. Usually, you find leeches on newly purchased snails that are imported and captured in the wild.

The solution here is to put the infected snail in salty water for about 15 minutes and then if there are still some leeches attached to it touching the leeches with an alcohol-soaked cotton pad should do the trick and kill them off.

On an important note, if ever your fish that live in the same tank as your snails get sick. You’re going to want to quarantine your rabbit snails even if they can’t catch common fish diseases. This is because most fish medications contain copper which is extremely toxic to rabbit snails.

Food and Diet

Oftentimes, the big mistake first-time snail owners make is that they think that the algae and organic wastes in the tank are enough for their snails to feed on and they don’t have to provide additional nutrition for their snails.

Especially for rabbit snails who are one of the best aquarium algae eaters and even roam around the tank eating organic waste that has fallen on the bottom of the tank. Not providing snails with the proper nutrition is wrong. Although there are some snails that might last longer without proper feeding.

Rabbit snails won’t stay healthy by just relying on the algae in the tank. Treat your rabbit snails to some tasty snacks such as algae wafers and sinking pellets. You can even try some blanched vegetables. In addition to this, feeding your snail food that is rich in calcium will strengthen their shells and keep them in good shape.

Behavior and Temperament

Rabbit snails get along well with different types of critters in a tank because they tend to keep to themselves and are a peace-loving type of snail. But don’t mistake these snails for being shy. They love being active and roaming around the tank and stay in open areas. For sure you’ll be able to see these snails every time you visit your tank.

Rabbit Snail Tank Mates
Rabbit Snail Tank Mates

Tank Mates

Generally, you won’t have any problems pairing these snails with fish because of their peaceful nature. As long as you select fish that are non-aggressive or don’t eat snails as their natural food source then rabbit snails can get along with them.

Some examples of fish to Avoid are as follows:

  • Cichlids
  • Crayfish
  • Goldfish

The best type of tank mates for rabbit snails would be other snails or gentle shrimp. Here are some fish, shrimp, and snail species that you should consider pairing with rabbit snails:

  • Many types of tetras
  • Honey Gourami
  • Ghost Shrimp
  • Pearl Gourami
  • Guppies
  • Celestial Pearl Danio
  • Sparkling Gourami
  • Otocinclus
  • Ramshorn Snail
  • Dwarf Gourami
  • Amano Shrimp

These are just the best species to pair with them, but you can generally pair them with any fish as long as they’re not aggressive and they don’t see snails as food.

Rabbit Snail Breeding

Most snail species are notorious for fast reproduction. However, the rabbit snail as we’ve learned this far into the guide is not like other snails. The rabbit snail reproduces quite slowly. This makes it a lot easier to manage their population because they only have a couple of babies at once compared to most snails that lay plenty of eggs at once.

If you want your rabbit snail to breed, then you should keep the waters warm. When the time and conditions are right. the male will give a ball of sperm to the female. She will then hold on to it until she is ready to have babies. When the time comes, it’s definitely something you have to see. The female will lay a gelatinous egg that looks like a small pearl.

Shortly, after a single snail baby snail will emerge. Often, only a single snail will pop out. The baby will then start looking for food immediately. The baby looks like a mini version of the adults and already has a fully formed shell.

Rabbit Snail in Aquarium
Rabbit Snail in Aquarium


We’ve learned that rabbit snails are not like other more common snails, both in looks and in behavior. They love to roam around the tank but at the same time may randomly take prolonged breaks. They enjoy warmer waters and thrive in certain water conditions. When caring for them you need to keep a watch out for Ammonia and Nitrate levels in the water.

Aside from monitoring the quality of the water, rabbit snails are really easy to keep. They enjoy a large tank that is designed to look like their natural habitat with a lot of plants. They love to burrow so you’re going to want to use fine sand and substrate when scaping your tank. Rabbit snails keep to themselves and are peaceful.

So you can pair them with any fish as long as they don’t see snails as a source of food and are non-aggressive. When it comes to nutrition, don’t rely on the algae and organic material in the tank. Make sure that you give your rabbit snail snacks from time to time and food that is rich in calcium for their shell.

If you plan on breeding them. make sure that the water is warm enough to encourage reproduction. The breeding process is very interesting and is entertaining to watch if you get the chance.

About Rencel Leyran