Bladder Snail – The Ultimate Care Guide

Have you ever returned home with a few new plants or a brand new fish to the water tank and later, you saw some unwanted guests after a couple of days? The party-goers are likely bladder snails and could be considered to be pests as well as helpful.

We’ve gathered all the details you require regarding this species, whether you’re welcoming them to the tank as well as trying to eliminate them. We’ll go over things such as snails as non-fish tank mates, the benefits and drawbacks of keeping these creatures around and what they eat as well as how they reproduce and more.

Bladder Snail Facts & Overview

Care Level:Easy
Color:Greyish with yellow spots
Lifespan:Up to 2 years
Size:About 1/2 inch
Minimum Size of Tank:Any size
Tank Set-Up:pH 7-8 hard waters, Freshwater
Compatibility:Keep away from aggressive fish

You may be amazed when you discover the bladder snail, also known as Physa acuta inside the tank of your freshwater tank, especially since you didn’t buy one! This creature ride on plants and other features that you buy to decorate your tank.

It is referred to by its name as an invasive creature because of its capability to reproduce quickly, in addition, because aquarium aficionados don’t usually buy the creatures. But, the fact that they are on your tank on the way home doesn’t mean they’re pests. We’ll go over the benefits and disadvantages of keeping freshwater snails in your tank a bit later.

The bladder snail belongs to the Gastropoda class and is part of the Physidae family. They are small gastropod mollusks that are only about 1/2 inch in size. Even though they are marine they breathe air.

Bladders can be described as a serene creature that has a raging appetite. As one of the Physella acuta species, the bladder snail is a sinistral shell, which means that if you are holding the aperture towards you and with its spire pointing up, the aperture will be located on the left side.

The origins of these snails aren’t completely understood and there are many theories regarding the origins of the snail from Central America and in Eastern Europe. Today bladder snails are prevalent throughout Europe, including the European nations that include Belgium, Croatia, Italy as well as in the Czech Republic, and others.

They can also be found in abundance throughout Africa as well as the Mediterranean and also throughout The United States, in Maryland, New Jersey, Tennessee in New Jersey, Maryland, Tennessee, and Virginia. The only area where we do not see this species is Antarctica.

Bladder snails last as long as 2 years and prefer still waters that are in the range of 64 and 84 degrees. They’re hermaphrodites which means they have male as well as female sex organs. (More about that later in the section on Breeding.)

Typical Behavior

This snail can be described as pulmonary (or air-breathing creatures. They can be found swimming upside down at the surface of the ocean to breathe air. If the snail is afraid, however, it will drain the air out of their respiratory system so they can escape to the safest base in the tank.

Another method they can use to guard themselves is to flick their shells between them quickly.

Contrary to some aquarium biome aids, bladder snails wiggle through the water instead of digging. They can move quite fast and also!


There are people who struggle to discern the difference between a bladder snail and a normal pond snail. Some of the obvious differences between them include the color of the shell as well as the shell shape and tentacles. Bladders are famous for their bright yellow spots as well as their transparent shells, whereas they are pond snails, which are brown.

Additionally, bladder snails, as we’ve mentioned earlier are sinistral which means that the shells are spiraling to their left. Pond snails, in contrast, are dextral which means that they spiral towards the right. In addition, you’ll notice the species has short thin tentacles and the pond snail is triangular in shape. tentacles that are large. In the middle of the thin tentacles, there are the eyes of the bladder snail.

The shell of the bladder snail is made of egg-like material with a tip being pointed. It doesn’t have the operculum, also known as a trap door that permits other snails to defend them from prey. The average bladder snail has 4 to 5 whorls on the typical bladder snail shell. The slim shell appears translucent.

Mantles of this creature can be seen as vibrant and feature spots of yellow-orange.


Bladder snails are fervent eaters and will eat anything they can get their hands on. They aren’t selective eaters too. They are omnivores and will consume the parts of diatoms, plants (algae) as well as meat, insects, and even vegetables that are dying and decaying. They will also consume leftover shrimp and fish food and any other waste and debris within your tank.

With such a nutritious and varied appetite, these snails appear to be ideal for your aquarium’s biome. They are, however, when they are excessively hungry you could be at risk of having a bladder snail infestation. (More about that in the future.)

Bladder snails don’t care about the health of your aquarium plants. They consume anything that decays on your plant. They are like tiny landscaping tools in your tank.

Habitat and Tank Conditions

Bladder snails have the ability to survive and fight off death even in the most difficult of conditions. Much of the discussion is about how to manage the number of bladders that are in your tank.

Bladder snails are known to prefer slow-moving warm water and do not seem to be frightened by the smell of dirty water. Remember that this species feed-in algae and decaying plants and waste from fish therefore, the water that is dirty actually serves as their food source.

Tank Conditions

Bladder snails are able to live in both soft and hard water, and at varying ranges of pH. In reality, in their natural habitat, the snails are able to endure in the sewers, so they’ll perform well within the security and comfort of your well-managed tank.

They also thrive across a broad range of temperatures and reproduce in water temperatures of 59-86 degrees F. However the bladder snail will have higher reproductive rates in cooler waters and may be less successful in higher temperatures.

Researchers found that in cooler (59 ° F) temperatures the bladder snails attained sexual maturity later (at 34 days). Again they had a high rate of reproduction of around 115.6 eggs during the time when it was examined. Again when temperatures were higher (82 degrees F) bladder snails attained sexual maturity much earlier (at 18 days) and also had a lower reproduction rate at around 24.6 eggs during the time examined.

There are other contrasts in the length of life and the dimensions of the bladder snail’s offspring. Snails who bred in a water temperature of 59 degrees F survived an average of 403 days and had an actual average length of .24 inches. The bladder snails that bred in 82 degrees F water, in contrast, were able to live on average 87 days and had an average length of .18 inches. Cooler water offspring had a longer lifespan and were larger than the hotter water offspring.

What Size Aquarium Do They Need?

Bladder snails don’t have any tank either a minimum or a maximum size They will expand and reproduce almost everywhere. The only tank size requirements are based on the species of aquarium fish that you will be keeping inside your aquarium.

However, it would be reasonable to conclude that the smaller tank that has more fish could produce waste and water conditions which would lead to an increase in bladder snails.


Calcium is required to grow the shell of the bladder snail. In some situation that your aquarium is located in a environment which has low calcium, this creature will have a limited reproductive levels and growth rate, and their life could be in danger.

If you’re hoping to utilize bladder snails to help clean your aquarium then you could add eggshells or cuttlefish bones into your tank.

Freshly hatched bladder snails possess soft shells and immediately begin searching for calcium sources to make their shells.

Insufficient bladder snails or just not enough?

We’ve seen that bladder snails can sneak through your aquarium and most likely you didn’t buy the snails to add to your tank and you weren’t aware that they existed until you discovered them.

The team head of theirs was probably one you bought to fill your tank or perhaps they had eggs that were taken in the net and which was then used to bring in your fresh fish.

We’ve mentioned before that bladder snails keep eating as long as they know there is food available. When you overfeed your fish it will result in overfeeding those bladder snails (more fish food means more waste from fish and less food, which means more food for the bladder snails, that’s why there’s an excess in bladder snails.)

If your aquarium is fed high-quality food in reasonable amounts and ensures that you keep the tank clean to minimize waste, you’ll be capable of keeping the number of bladder snails in your tank small enough to enable you to maintain the aquarium while not overcrowding it. Beware: if you have more than enough bladder snails you’re at risk of getting a clogged filter.

Too many algae mean too many snails

Alongside overfeeding bladder snails and worms, waste resulting from overfeeding fish causes algae growth that reduces the lifespan of aquarium plants. At this point, the bladder snails are likely to consume the plants that are now unhealthy.

If you’re seeing lots of bladder snails in your tank, that’s an indication that your tank requires immediate attention and action.

What should you do if have excessive bladder snails

If you’re noticing several bladder snails There are several methods of reducing the number.

Place on romaine lettuce traps: This lettuce is a favorite of bladder snails therefore placing a lettuce leaf in the middle of your tank can draw them in. You can take the leaf using snails straight from the tank.

What can you do? You could give the snails to an aquarium keeper to feed their fish on bladder snails. You can drop them off at a pet shop.

Purchase a predatory fish: Include a feed species into your tank which will view your bladder fish and offer it as a delicious snack. Check out the following article for a detailed discussion of the feeder fish.

Tank Mates

We usually talk about tank friends as roommates who are friendly. But with regard to bladder snails tank members could likely be feeders who keep the population of bladder snails under control and for which the bladder snail is a source of food.

Loaches Betta fish, pufferfish, assassin snails as well as crayfish include predatory creatures that will eat bladder snails.

Yoyo Loach Fish

Yoyo loaches, which get their name due to their yo-yo markings on their back. They are friendly fish that can be found well with the other fish of the aquarium (except times when they’re part of groups). They are friendly and friendly and like eating bladder snails.

Loaches grow pretty large and require an additional aquarium in order for the fish to flourish.

Betta Fish

Betta fish are known for being aggressive, which is a stark contrast with their appearance. Betta fish are carnivores and can eat bladder fish but because the betta is smaller in size it is able to eat embryo bladder snails and eggs.

Green Spotted Pufferfish

The Green Spotted Pufferfish is another aggressive fish that isn’t social. They’ll devour any fish that is smaller than.

Pufferfish love the squishy skin of the bladder snail and chewing on it is beneficial for their jaw.

Incorporate several pufferfish but be cautious. They are so tense that pufferfish could devour their own mates when you add several.

Assassin Snails and Crayfish

Although they’re not the same species, both are in tanks, and both feed on bladder snails.

The Assassin snails, as their name implies, will devour their own. They’ll certainly eliminate your tank of bladder snail infestation, however, only when you’re perseverant. They are slow to work.

Crayfish prefer smaller, softer bladder snails. If the shell is hard and the snail is too big the fish will not be attracted.

Note that Assassin snails and crayfish are frequently pursued by different aquarium species, which means they could disappear before they get the chance to get rid of the bladder snail issue.


Bladder snails, as with other asexual invertebrates, often choose to act as one sex or the other. Because they are hermaphrodites that can change to behaving like the other sex or play both roles.

In their role as hermaphroditic freshwater snails, bladder snails possess the sperm storage organ; the existence of both the female and male reproductive organs allows them to reproduce via internal self-fertilization as well as through cross-fertilization (mating).

When a bladder snail is unable to find a partner to mate with, the snail will self-fertilize internally especially in cases where they feel threatened and wish to reproduce before being killed. Self-fertilization isn’t a good idea since the resultant offspring are more likely to die. rate. Although they may not feel that they are in danger, bladder snails may resort to self-fertilization after eight weeks of not finding an appropriate partner.

Many bladder snails prefer the more traditional way of breeding. In reality, a bladder snail couple usually mats after entering an aquarium. One bladder snail climbs on the shell of the other and crawls over to the female reproductive organs, which can take up to up to a half-hour.

Between 28 and 42 days of life, the bladder snail is at female maturity; male maturity is reached before. The bladder snails measure about 1/4 inch long at the time they attain sexual maturity.

Interesting fact: The gender preference in bladder snails can change even during the breeding session.

Bladder snails lay capsules of eggs; each capsule contains 10-40 eggs and the eggs hatch 6-7 days after being laid. The eggs are transparent; they are also translucent. 70-90% hatch into baby bladder snails which measure about 1 mm long.

Are Bladder Snails suitable to be used in your Aquarium?

The final option is yours as to whether you’d like to have the help from a bladder snail keeping your aquarium tidy or if the additional job of ensuring they don’t overrun your tank removes this option from the table.

Bladder snails are scavengers with a good nature that can keep your aquarium in top condition, provided that you are able to maintain the tank clean and provide food to your fish in the right quantities. But, as they’re adept breeding species (see above) You may need to exert some effort to ensure that the population of bladder snails within your tank does not spiral out of control.

A predatory fish that devours bladder snails in the same way that whales consume krill could be an effective solution to the problem of overflowing bladder snails. However, it can be difficult to choose the right species, as anything that’s prey for bladder snails may even see the other fish as a meal.

Due to their ability to withstand extreme conditions They are found in almost every freshwater aquarium. They have the capacity to be prolific breeders and their eggs are of a brief gestation time, which means they can swiftly and easily increase the population of your tank even if you’re not watching.

They’re also beneficial for the aquarium biome as well as eating algae as well as decaying plants, waste from fish, as well as extra foods for fish, it’s a good idea to keep a few in the aquarium.

Do you think that bladder snails pose a danger or an asset in your aquarium? Tell us your reasons by leaving a comment down below…


Dibyajyoti Bordoloi is the creator and author of, a third-generation experienced fish keeper and owner of a successful pet breeding farm. He is also a member of the Center for Wildlife Rehabilitation And Conservation (Assam), the Marine Aquarium Societies of North East India, and the Kaziranga Nature Conservancy of Assam.

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