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South America


Apple / Mystery snails
Apple / Mystery snails

Pomacea Bridgessii



    When one hears about snails in an aquarium you think pest, but the apple snail can be one of the most colorful and satisfying additions.

Quick stats:

    Listed tank sizes are the minimum
    Size: The size of the shell varies from 40-50 mm wide and 45-65 mm high
    Tank: 2.5 gallons per snail
    Strata: Bottom, middle, top
    PH: 7.6 to 8.4 Optimum Ph 7.8
    Hardness: dH range: 7 to 9 Optimum dGH 8
    Temperature: 70°F to 86°F (21-30°C) Optimum 76°F (24°C)


    Order: Caenogastropoda
    Class: Gastropoda (snails)
    Family: Ampullariidae
    Genera: Pomacea
    Species: Bridgessii

Apple / Mystery snails

Apple / Mystery snails

Common name:

    Apple / Mystery snails , Brigs

Image gallery:
    Additional species photographs


    Badmans' Forum


    South America: Amazon River basin, from Peru, Ecuador and Colombia to the mouth of Amazon River.


    Size: The size of the shell varies from 40-50 mm wide and 45-65 mm high

    Operculum: The operculum is moderately thick and corneous. The structure is concentric with the nucleus near the center of the shell. The color of the operculum varies from light to dark brown. The operculum can be retracted in the aperture (shell opening).

    Shell: The shell of this apple snails species has about 5 to 6 whorls. The most obvious characteristic of the shell are the square shoulders (flat at the top of the whorls) and almost 90°; sutures. The shell opening (aperture) is large and oval, the umbilicus is large and deep.

    Bridgesii generally mature at approximately 2 ½ inches in diameter and are characterized by a breathing siphon, 2 sets of tentacles (1 located by the mouth and one near the eyes) and an operculum (trapdoor). They have both a lung and a gill. When the oxygen level in the water drops, you will see them go up to the water surface to inhale fresh air through their siphon.

    Colors: some colors include---wild brown, gold, pink, albino, red, chestnut, blue, jade and even shades of purple and burgundy with or without stripes.
    Links to help ID the color the color of your snail: Colors in Pomacea bridgesii

    Apple / Mystery snails
    Apple / Mystery snails


    Sexing the Apple Snail: This is how to sex your Apple snail

    Clutches(Eggs): Pale pink to reddish eggs are deposited above the waterline and are closely attached to each other. Their size varies from 2.20 to 3.5 mm (0.5 to 0.9 inch) diameter. An average egg-clutch contains 200 to 600 eggs.
    Link and downloads that predicts possible offspring colors given the color of two parent snails and any known recessive traits the parents carry.
    Apple Snail Downloads

    NOTE: You can control the snail population by removing the eggs since they will be in clutches above the water line.

    Average life span: 2-3yrs.

    Optimum water parameters: -Ph 7.8, Temp. 76F, dGH 8
    They can live in a wide variety of water parameters, such as:
    PH: 7.6-8.4
    dGH: 7-9
    Temperature: 70-86

    Minimum tank size: The general rule of thumb for tank size is 2.5 gallons per snail

    Tank Set-up: There aren’t any special requirements for the Apple snail as to whether they need plants or gravel etc., but it is always fun to watch the snails climb, hang and glide through the plant foliage or float upon the air bubbles created by air stones.

    Warning!! It is important NOT to include any ornament or gravel that might cut or scratch them!
    Tanks must also be completely covered as these snails can and will climb out of them and eventually die if not found in time. It is a common practice to use duck tape or aluminum foil to cover any holes in the hood.

    Tank Mates: Any non-aggressive, non-snail eating fish that have the same water requirements as the Brigs should be compatible. I would not mix snails with: Angel Fish, Gold Fish, Swordtails, Puffers and most loaches. Even some Betta’s do not take kindly to snails.

    Food: Fish flake and tablets to feed bottom feeders are eaten by the Apple Snail. Vegetables and fruits high in calcium promotes a healthy shell.
    Here is a link with a list of calcium enriched vegetables that can be used as a guideline
    Care of Pomacea bridgesii Apple Snails
    Snail biscuits are sold on, or make your own!!

    Water Additives to promote a Healthy Shell: Kent Marine Concentrated Iodine, Kent Marine Concentrated Calcium, Repti-Cal Calcium Powder for reptiles (¼ teaspoon per 10 gallons), Crushed Egg Shells, Cuttlebone (crushed or whole), Crushed Coral, Aragamax sand, Carabsea Bahama Reef Sand........these are just a few items that aid in a healthy shell for our Apple Snails.

    Brigs are well suited for the planted aquariums. They will clean up dead plant foliage, but won’t eat your healthy plants, unless there is no other food offered. They’ll also clean up left over fish food that the fish haven’t eaten. As young hatchlings, they do eat algae, but as they grow older, they prefer solid food, occasionally eating algae. They are great in fry tanks as they naturally produce Infusoria for the baby fishes first food..........

    Special Note Most Fish Stores sell Apple/Mystery Snails. This does not mean that they are of the P.Bridgessii species. Pomacea canaliculata (Cana's) are also sold as Apple/Mystery Snails.
    One of the most important differences between the Cana and Brigs is that Brigs are suitable for planted aquariums, Cana's are not! Brigs will grow to golf ball size, Cana's will grow to tennis ball size......

Apple / Mystery snails

Your comments:


Please remember that the following comments are personal experiences and may or may not apply to your setup. Use them as guide to help better understand your fish, like us all individuals will behave differently under different circumstances.


From: Shawna
These guys are a lot of fun to watch. I have 2, and they like to get "rides" from each other. A word of caution: I had a Apple snail in a planted tank which got infested with pond snails. I borrowed a clown loach to get rid of some of the pond ones, which he did happily. To my horror, though, he also managed to bite his way through the shell of my almost 3" apple snail (he was only 1.5" himself) and killed him. DO NOT keep with clown loaches!
From: Taryn K
I have 7 snails (1 lg. dark brown, 1 lg golden, 1 md white, 2 sm blue, and 2 sm fancy) in my 20 gal tank and I love watching them. They all have their own personalities and characteristics. When I had them in with a gourami, loaches, gold fish, or tetras they stayed in their shells and rarely moved much. Since I've moved them in with my Bala Sharks, Ghost Shrimp, Crayfish, and Guppies they've really (excuse the line) come out of their shells. The 2 large ones and medium one are almost always fully out of their shells and speedily moving around the aquarium; up and down the heater, the filter, the glass, the driftwood, across the gravel, or climbing the lotus stalks to clean the undersides of the leaves at the surface. I haven't had a problem yet with them killing my live plants, in fact, the plants are doing better when regularly cleaned of algae. In the 6 months I've kept snails I have yet to run across eggs or snails I didn't purchase. If anything mine tend to die often and aren't very hardy.
From: Chetan
I had been regularly keeping Golden Apple Snails in my tank for years, basically with the intention that they will help to clean up the tank. They definitely lived up to the purpose, and soon exceeded in it more than desired. One great thing about these snails is that they relish fish poo! I have 4 veiltail goldfish which produce a visible amount of dump. These snails do a great job of clearing the unsightly & toxic poo. Now they of course produce their own poo which is much finer. However the snail poo is significantly less toxic and can be more easily broken down to neutral elements by the plants, which also use it as fertilizer. This brings to my final point about these snails. Apple snails have a voracious appetite and they very soon can set their eyes on the aquarium plants. For a long time I thought my goldfish were to blame for all the plants being wiped clean. However it turned out the snails to be the real culprit. So think twice before putting these snails in a tank with some exotic plants. I remember buying some beautiful & pricey plants - nuphar japonica, red lilies - which my snails almost wiped clean in two days. The only plants they didn't touch were Amazon Swords and the cheaper less-exotic plants. Furthermore, these snails are not as peaceful as supposed. I always thought it was amazing the way these snails jump down to the ground from the top of the tank. That is till I read this experience of a fishkeeper: "I had one black ghost before which did not last long. Actually the Apple Snails I had in my tank ate him..... NOTE: Apple Snails are carnivorous, they take in air to float to the top of the tank and then drop back down to catch what ever is in their path. This fish being almost blind did not stand a chance, neither did more than half of the other fish I had in my tank. I have never bought another Apple Snail since. I bought two snails because of their size and figured they would help with the algae problem since my tank was in a room with windows on three sides and the sun hit it almost all day. Out of the 46 tropical fish I had in my tank, 32 of them were consumed by the snails. I was not sure what was happening to the fish..I blamed it on the beta and/or tiger barbs but no carcass was left behind, no jumping out of the tank was going on so I set up a camera to watch the tank. Just like paratroopers these guys obliterated almost my whole tank. By surfacing and falling."
From: A. Cacciola
I have a 33 gal. tank with 4 Mystery Snails and not only do they keep everything clean and leave my heavily planted tank alone, they are compatible with all my fish! I have a Red Tailed Shark, Upside Down Catfish, Betta(F), 3 Cory catfish, Demasoni Cichlid, Albino Peacock Cichlid, Red Zebra Cichlid, Venustus Cichlid, 2 balloon Mollys, 5 bloodfin Tetra's, Head and tail Tetra, 3 neon Danios, 4 guppys, Sailfin Pleco, and an African dwarf frog! And yes I know my fish tank is beyond full but all my fish are 1" or less except my 3" shark and pleco, and I'm in the process of moving the smaller fish into a 55 gal. and am ordering a 200 gal. for the A. Cichlids
From: PhillyMom
I recently added apple snails to all two of my three community aquariums, and have had great results. Other than them absolutely destroying my plant life, they are a lot of fun to have in the tank. As for their rapid rate of reproducing, all you have to do is remove the egg clutch as soon as it is laid. I moved all my plants to the third aquarium, and the snails are happy with just algae wafers and the occasional vegetable. They have big personalities for such little snails, and are a lot of fun to watch. Great additions if you want to add them to a community tank.
From: Terra
I have found that the snails get along reasonably well with betas, if given enough space. My first beta didn't bother my snail in the least and they seemed to get along well. My most resent beta does try to nip at the snail from time to time, but hasn't caused any damage that I have observed. I love my apple snail.
From: Amanda
I have an apple snail that is about 2 inches in diameter. I hand feed him carrots, lettuce, algae disks and a lot of other things he loves to eat. He eats my live plants out of my tank. Ever since I got him all 6 of my tanks have all exploded with little baby apple snails! I get rid of some and leave a few and something in one of my tanks is eating them!
From: Abi
I have two of these snails in my 20 gallon, and they are really great. One of them is a little smaller than a golf ball, and it still eats algae. I had a huge amount of brown algae in my tank, mostly on some rocks, and after about a week of having that first snail I got in there, the rock looks cleaner than it did when I first put it in the tank. It also cleans the glass very thoroughly. Great things to have in a tank, especially if you don't have an algae eating fish in there to take care of any algae you have. And, contrary to what I hear often, these snails are definitely not boring. It's very interesting to watch how they move, and I was surprised when I brought it home at how much its face reminded me of an elephant. They seem to have very distinct personalities, it's fascinating how my yellow snail stays on the flowerpot in my tank most of the time, while my blue one seems to prefer the gravel and the glass most of the time. Also it is important that if you do in fact get Pomacea Bridgessii, you don't have to worry about them breeding, as long as you have very little space above the water in your tank, meaning the water level shouldn't be too low: they lay their eggs in moist, but not underwater areas, and apparently need about 4 inches of space above the water at least to lay their eggs. I only have about one inch exposed, and they haven't multiplied yet, though they could just be the same sex, but I highly doubt that that is why. Even if they did breed, you could just remove the eggs easily, as they aren't even in the water.
From: Doug
when I first got my 150 gallon tank, I had large fish in there along with a huge, fully grown gold apple snail. These fish are great at eating extra food, but are a pest to keep in check. Snails, no matter what kind, reproduce too quickly and can take over your tank. But, if you ARE willing to scan your tank every couple days for new snails, then the apple snail is a great addition to any aquarium. My apple snail (which just died) use to close itself in its shell and float to the surface of the tank for a day or two, then just float back down and start looking for food. My fish always seemed interested in this behavior (I don't know why it did this, but I don't think it was anything health related, for it did that ever since I got the snail). so again, if you have a larger tank (since these snails can get big) and if you have time to keep the population of snails in your tank under control, then this snail is a great addiction to your aquarium.
From: Amber
"If you have a snail that doesn't move for a day, watch its position closely, if it hasn't moved the next morning, take it out as its dead. " Not necessarily. If the door is open, it's dead. If the door is shut, it's hibernating. The door is held shut by a muscle and when the snail dies, the muscle relaxes and the door opens. At least this is what I understand from what I have read.
From: Trevor
I have had Apple Snails for years now, every six months I "cull the herd" and remove all but one of the snails from each of my tanks, I then go out and trade the culls for one new apple snail for each tank and the rest I get $1 a snail as they sell locally for $3 each. They are awesome! They eat those pesky little snails that seem to just materialize, eat left over food and leave the plants alone. Beware of barbs for some reason barbs like to nip chunks off of the snail and it dies. I don't want to argue with the authors of this site but my adult snails do indeed eat algae as well as other foods. If you have a fish die, these snails seem to have a homing beacon and in minutes they swamp the dead fish to consume it entirely. They tolerate any water temperature and act as awesome early warning signals to high ammonia and low oxygen as they go to the water line to breath. If you have a snail that doesn't move for a day, watch its position closely, if it hasn't moved the next morning, take it out as its dead. They foul a tank rapidly when they die and they don't eat their own. Trevor...edmonton,Alberta,Canada
From: Carol
I have a Golden and he is extremely active and fun to watch! (Not just stuck in one spot on the glass for hours like some snails.) He is growing fast and is almost the size of a ping pong ball now. He was not bothered by my cory or gourami when I had him in my community tank and he eats almost anything!






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