Ivory Snails: A Comprehensive Guide

Fact Checked by
Sheldon Myers, MS / Aquarist


Ivory snails, known scientifically as Pomacea bridgesii, are a popular choice among aquarium hobbyists for their beauty, easy care, and algae-eating capabilities. In this article, we will cover everything you need to know about ivory snails, including their appearance, habitat, diet, breeding, tank mates, health issues, benefits, and challenges.



The ivory snail’s shell is its most distinctive feature. It has a rounded, spiral shape, with each whorl increasing in size as it spirals outward from the apex.


As the name suggests, ivory snails have a creamy white coloration that may sometimes have a hint of yellow or golden brown.


Ivory snails can grow up to 2-3 inches in diameter, making them one of the larger freshwater snails available in the aquarium trade.


ivory snail
ivory snail

Natural Habitat

Ivory snails are native to South America, specifically Brazil, Bolivia, and Paraguay. They thrive in slow-moving freshwater rivers and ponds.

Aquarium Requirements

A suitable aquarium for ivory snails should have a stable water temperature of 68-82°F, pH levels between 7.0 and 8.0, and low to moderate water hardness. They also require hiding spots, such as rocks or driftwood, and a secure lid to prevent escape.


Food Preferences

Ivory snails are omnivorous and will eat a variety of food sources, including algae, decaying plant matter, and detritus. They may also feed on leftover fish food and other invertebrates.

Feeding in Captivity

In a home aquarium, it is essential to provide a balanced diet for your ivory snails. Offer them a mix of blanched vegetables, high-quality algae wafers, and sinking pellets. They may also appreciate calcium-rich supplements for healthy shell growth.

Feeding Frequency

Feed your ivory snails every 1-2 days, ensuring they have enough food to graze on throughout the day.


ivory snail
ivory snail

Breeding Process

Ivory snails are relatively easy to breed in captivity. They are not hermaphroditic, meaning you will need both a male and female snail for breeding to occur. Mating typically takes place when the water temperature is slightly warmer than usual.

Eggs and Hatching

After mating, the female snail will lay clusters of pinkish-white eggs above the waterline. The eggs will hatch in about 2-4 weeks, depending on temperature and humidity conditions. Keep the eggs moist by maintaining a high humidity level in the aquarium.

Baby Snail Care

Once the eggs hatch, the baby snails will drop into the water and immediately begin searching for food. Provide them with the same diet as adult ivory snails but in smaller portions. As they grow, make sure to monitor their numbers, as overpopulation can become an issue in smaller aquariums.

Tank Mates

Suitable Tank Mates

Ivory snails can coexist peacefully with a variety of fish and other invertebrates. Some suitable tank mates include small, peaceful fish like tetras, rasboras, guppies, and corydoras catfish, as well as other snails and shrimp species.

Tank Mates to Avoid

Avoid keeping ivory snails with aggressive or larger fish that might see them as a food source, such as cichlids, loaches, and pufferfish.

Health Issues

Common Health Problems

Ivory snails are generally hardy creatures, but they can still encounter health issues. Shell rot, a condition in which the shell becomes eroded or pitted, can occur due to poor water quality or lack of calcium in their diet. Parasites, bacterial infections, and injuries from other tank inhabitants are other potential health concerns.

Preventive Measures

To keep your ivory snails healthy, maintain high water quality through regular water changes, provide a balanced diet with calcium supplementation, and ensure they are housed with compatible tank mates.


Algae Control

Ivory snails are efficient algae eaters and can help keep your aquarium clean by consuming algae growth on surfaces.

Aesthetic Appeal

With their attractive appearance and peaceful demeanor, ivory snails can add visual interest and a sense of tranquility to your aquarium.


Escaping the Aquarium

Ivory snails are known to be escape artists, and they may climb out of the aquarium if given the chance. Make sure to have a tight-fitting lid to prevent this behavior.


As mentioned earlier, ivory snails can breed rapidly in ideal conditions. Keep an eye on their numbers and consider separating them or giving some away to fellow hobbyists if overpopulation becomes an issue.

Legal Considerations

Trade and Ownership Laws

Before acquiring ivory snails, it is crucial to research your local laws regarding their trade and ownership, as they are considered invasive species in some regions and may be prohibited.

Responsible Ownership

Ensure that you do not release ivory snails into the wild, as they can cause significant harm to native ecosystems.


Ivory snails are a unique and attractive addition to any freshwater aquarium. By understanding their requirements and providing proper care, you can enjoy these fascinating creatures while benefiting from their algae-eating abilities.


How long do ivory snails live?

Ivory snails can live for 1-3 years, depending on their care and environment.

Can ivory snails change their shell color?

No, ivory snails cannot change their shell color. Their coloration remains consistent throughout their lives.

Do ivory snails need a heater in their aquarium?

While a heater is not strictly necessary, maintaining a stable water temperature within their preferred range (68-82°F) is crucial for their well-being.

Do I need to add calcium to my aquarium for my ivory snails?

Adding calcium supplements or offering calcium-rich foods can help promote healthy shell growth and prevent shell-related issues.

Can I keep multiple ivory snails together?

Yes, you can keep multiple ivory snails together. They are peaceful creatures and can coexist harmoniously with other snails, as well as a variety of compatible fish and invertebrates. Just keep an eye on their population, as they can breed quickly under ideal conditions.

Elliot Galindo
Elliot Galindohttp://ShrimpPro.com
Elliot Galindo is a highly educated expert on freshwater shrimp and their care as pets. He received his Bachelor's degree in marine biology from the University of Oregon and has used that knowledge to become an authority on shrimp care.



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