Snail Picture ID dictionary

  • #1
All photos are from me or sourced by forum members with their permission!

So I see a lot of threads asking for Snail ID. I love snails and have many types of freshwater snails. I figured I would make a thread on them for all to see.

Category 1 - Pest class snails (They can be useful given the right circumstances)

Bladder aka common pond snail

-They reproduce via egg sack and quickly. The egg sacks are clear and have small dots in them. Finding them can be hard and thus can cause them to overpopulate quickly. The main benefits are eating algae and being used as live food.

20151209_231410.jpgPicture credit - Cheesepuff

20151209_231613.jpgPicture credit - Cheesepuff


- They are hermaphroditic and only take any two to reproduce. They can be colorful and interesting looking so some people keep them. They eat algae and can also be used as live food. They lay eggs.

SANY0078_1.jpgPicture credit - Cheesepuff

20151212_204504.jpgPicture credit - Cheesepuff

Malaysian Trumpet Snails

- Of all the pest class snails this tends to be the favorite, especially for those who have sand as their substrate. They will burrow under the sand and release gasses that get trapt beneath the surface. They give live birth under the sand, so one day you make wake up to dozens in your tank seemingly out of nowhere. They grow to be about 1 inch in length.

183492d1450896195-snail-picture-id-dictionary-snail-mts.jpgPicture credit - Shadowfish

Mystery snails

The Mystery snail can describe a few sub classes of snail, some of which get mixed up with the Apple Snail (a true apple snail can grow HUGE and can be illegal to transport across certain state lines)

182861d1450056642-snail-picture-id-dictionary-1450056642998.jpgPicture credit - Bijou88

Mystery snails come in several common colors


20151209_232005.jpgPicture credit - Cheesepuff


183036d1450229452-snail-picture-id-dictionary-snial-ivory.jpgPicture credit - Shadowfish


182987d1450169764-snail-picture-id-dictionary-1450169766761.jpgPicture credit - Bijou88

-Jade (green)

green.jpgPicture credit - Cheesepuff


182962d1450147754-snail-picture-id-dictionary-pic-snail1.jpgPicture credit - Shadowfish

-Chestnut (brown)

182982d1450169657-snail-picture-id-dictionary-1450169660460.jpgPicture credit - Bijou88

It's worth noting that colors can have slight variations to them, and don't have to be solid. Many have stripes.

They get about 2-3 inches in diameter and love to eat algae off your glass and ornaments, but their diet should also be supplemented with high calcium foods to aid in shell growth. They reproduce via eggs even in fresh water, however the eggs must not be submerged in water and must remain moist in order to come to fruition.

20151015_214104.jpgPicture credit - Cheesepuff

Nerite snail

These guys are popular for their diverse colors and patterns and will not reproduce outside of brackish water. Their size depends on the type, and well as shape features.

Common types are


182953d1450145329-snail-picture-id-dictionary-1450145332298.jpgPicture credit - Bigou88


e51967c7-cb4c-4dc3-b8a1-bd583ea2c64e.jpgPicture credit - Cheesepuff


20151209_231848.jpgPicture credit - Cheesepuff


20151210_180623_4.jpgPicture credit - Cheesepuff

-Black Racer

20160219_205233.jpgPicture credit - Cheesepuff


snial.jpgPicture credit - MongooseALaMode

as well as a few that are not so common.

Some, like the Tiger and Zebra can grow up to about 1.5 inches in diameter, while others like the Horned only get about a half inch in diameter.

Because of the large variety of snails that fall under this class, pictures are best googled on a per snail basis.
  • Thread Starter
  • #2
Large Cone type

Unlike the Malaysian trumpet snail that is cone shaped and reproduced quickly, there are a number of large cone shaped snails that do not reproduce quickly.

Rabbit aka Elephant Snail (Sulawesi)

These guys come in several skin colors and shell colors. They grow to about 3 inches in length and will dig trenches in your sand which will help release harmful gasses that get trapt under the surface. They will eat left overs from fish so long as its bottom feeder type food, but also eat some algae and will munch on plants. They reproduce slowly, and lay very few eggs at a time.

20150805_234738.jpgPicture credit - Cheesepuff

20151210_024643_2.jpgPicture credit - Cheesepuff

Black Devil Spike and Lava (Faunus Ater and Faunus Magma)

20160202_183615.jpgPicture credit - Cheesepuff

20160202_183727.jpgPicture credit - Cheesepuff

20160202_192549.jpgPicture credit - Cheesepuff

Considered the big cousin to the Malaysian trumpet snail, although no direct relation, the BDS has a shell size similar to that of the Rabbit snail, but has a distinct spike shape. The Lava snails are part of the same family, but have a red huge to them. These guys like to munch on plants. They are also known to be more active than Rabbit snails.

Other types

Japanese Trapdoor snail

They can come in slight color variations and some have been known to grow to the size of an Apple Snail.

The reproductive rate is moderate. They give live birth, so there are no eggs involved.

20151209_231817.jpgPicture credit - Cheesepuff

Assassin Snail

This type of snail gets its name for doing exactly what it says - assassinations. They are heavily carnivorous and will eat snails of just about any other kind in the freshwater category. It has been known that if the victI'm snail is large (like a Mystery) multiple assassins will gang up and take on the victI'm together. They have a great sense of smell which helps them hunt down their victims. They will force the victI'm into its own shell and eat them alive from within. They do lay eggs, but require a male and a female. Their reproductive rate is slow compared to most and they do not lay a single clutch when they do. Instead, the eggs are spread out one by one over the tank. It will take weeks to months for baby assassins to hatch, at which point they burrow under the substrate until they are just barley large enough to see with the naked eye.

20151114_163545.jpgPicture credit - Cheesepuff

SANY0055_1.jpgPicture credit - Cheesepuff
  • #3
Thanks for taking the time to write this up! The only thing I would add/change is how bladder/ramshorn/mystery lay eggs, as in mysteries lay them above water in little pink clutches that look like long raspberries, bladder under water usually on leaves or glass and theirs look like thick blobs of clear jelly, ramshorn lay eggs under water on plant leaves and glass and they look more like flat blobs of a think gel, they're flatter and less jelly/almost more silicone like than bladder snail eggs.

Also, mystery snails aren't really algae eaters, they need fresh veggies and fish food

Also, if you'd like I'd be happy to take pictures of my mystery, nerite, bladder and ramshorn for this so there are tangible photos instead of links, just let me know!

  • Thread Starter
  • #4
that would be great for photo help!

there was pictures, but they were taken down due to possible copy write violation. I was hoping by citing my sources that it wouldn't be a problem, but I was wrong :-\
  • #5
Great post!

Also make sure to capitalize genus names. So it should be Faunus ater and Faunus magma.
  • #6
Great post! Worthy of being a sticky after Bijou88's and TexasDomer's stamp of approval.
  • #7
Nerite snail
Some, like the Tiger and Zebra can grow up to about 1,5 inches in diameter, while others like the Horned only get a few centimeters in diameter.

You might want to edit your measurements for horned nerites. A "few centimetres" could well be bigger than 1.5 inches, given that there are ~2.5cm/inch

  • Thread Starter
  • #8
You might want to edit your measurements for horned nerites. A "few centimetres" could well be bigger than 1.5 inches, given that there are ~2.5cm/inch

Should have said millimeters. That's what I get for making this at 5 in the morning. Lol

  • #9
Or just say 1/2" since that's pretty close and slightly less vague, lol

  • Thread Starter
  • #10
Sounds great. =)

A message to the mods -

any new pictures in the original text will now be exclusively owned by forum members and myself to avoid copy-write issues.

is this thread sticky worthy? I've been trying my best to get pictures for everything.
  • #11
A message to the mods -

any new pictures in the original text will now be exclusively owned by forum members and myself to avoid copy-write issues.

Just checking....all the above pictures were taken by you of your snails?
  • Thread Starter
  • #12
yup. I've taking pics of my snails (of which I have many) and any I don't have I've traveled to my LPS and got permission to take a picture of their snails.

So far I have yet to have anyone send me pics to use, so its just been my pictures thus far.
  • #13
Thanks for all of the information. Great reference source!

After a while, I'll clean the thread and delete the chat.

  • #14

Big bladder snail:

Herds of red ramshorns:



A mountain of MTS:
  • Thread Starter
  • #15
Nice pics!

I think we should stick to the kind of format I set up though.

I could use a good photo of an mts and a black racer. Also, more colors for mystery snails would be good.

  • #16
Mts if you want it or did you mean with a black racer

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  • #17
Mystery snails. ...



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  • #18
Ramshorn, mystery and bladder



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  • #19
Oh, oops, you want portraits of individual snails.

Hang on, don't have many of those...


Oh wait, that second picture is of a mass of snail eggs
  • #20
Tiger/tire track nerite.



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  • #21

pic snail1.jpg
pic snail 2.jpg
pic snail 3.jpg

here are some pics of my purple mystery snail,I hope you can use them
  • Thread Starter
  • #22
Very nice pictures! I'll update the thread soon

Cool. Got the photo's needed in the OP.

Looking for the pics of the rest of the colors of the mystery snails

as well as a black racer and a black devil spike,
  • #23
Fwiw, my "gold" snail is actually ivory, lol, feel free to use him as gold though since that's what he looks like in the photo. I did give you a photo of a red one as well. ..

Ok, I'm going to do back to back posts so bear with me (the app won't let me label them individually)

Ivory and red

Dark plum and blue and Black


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  • Thread Starter
  • #24
Oh. Looks so yellow in that one pic. But the new ones are fantastic!

  • #25
Eh, just use him for gold, it works. I included it partly because you could see his breathing the well and people always ask about that, lol.

Great! Hopefully those will fill out your colors a bit more! It seemed easiest just to scoop them and take pictures in my hand rather than in the tank, less confusing that way I think since I have so many.
  • Thread Starter
  • #26
huh...I have to think for a minute.

Your red looks like a Chestnut (brown)

and your dark plum looks like a black

and your blue looks like an Emerald (green)

and your black does indeed look like a black.

edit -

also, does the choice for purple

Grape would have been a great poster snail =(

does mysteries come in pink?

I must be going crazy here. lol.

I changed some of the pictures around based on how they are looking on my monitor. Does it look right to you?

I swapped your ivory back to my gold for contrast.
  • #27
The purple one looks purple, and it is, shadowfish got it from me.... I can take a couple pictures of purples tomorrow if you want different ones but I think this one is just fine. There are ones they sell as pink but they're usually just ivory with a pinkish hue, my older ivorys have gotten this.

The red is probably what they call chestnut, I don't know anywhere that refers to them as "brown" though, so maybe do red/chestnut instead of brown?

The only real difference color wise between the plum and black is the black is highlighted with brown and the plum with purple, giving them the plum color, they both have dark feet too.

The blue is blue, lol, there aren't technically green mystery snails tmk, they've just got a bit of algae growing on them usually, the blue ones come in a number of different shades from blue/gray, blue/green, kind of muted gold, and almost solid gray, all with dark feet, everyone's blues are slightly different I've noticed (much like the purple/magenta ones).

The one you put under black isn't black, she's plum.... trust me, they're completely different colors.

Awwww, put Gustav back up please! He needs to be immortalized in a sticky!


  • Thread Starter
  • #28
my monitors must not be that great.

I remember my purple (grape) was a very dark purple. It took me by surprised that the shell was such a pretty pinkish color.

I can always use Gustav as a main picture

Changed pictures around again.

also, I've seen emerald for sale before. Very hard to find.

here a pic from a google search. Someone on ebay sells them too.

  • #29
I'm pretty sure that's not a mystery snail though, the eye stalks and antennae are wrong. Also, it appears to be on dry land so I'd guess it's not even really aquatic....

Yay! Gustav thanks you! (He's one of my two remaining old guys)

The color on his purple is slightly lighter than mine that are still here, it may be his lighting and the snail may just have changed color a little as its grown. I'll take some of my teenagers tomorrow and you can decide what you want to go with. I would include the plum one though if you're going for all the colors, they're not super common but they're out there.

Did a Google search on green mystery snails, the ones that are in fact mysteries look to be dyed imo, that doesn't look like a natural color....

  • Thread Starter
  • #30
good point on the picture.

I know I saw an ebay listing and it had emerald in it. Its the off season so I can't find it, but I'm almost positive they exist, just very rare.


its not emerald, its Jade.
  • #31
I can't see either of those because they both say the listing has ended. ..

I'd still guess the green ones are either dyed or a slightly greener version of a blue mystery. One of my blues is like a slate gray color, including his foot, there's a lot of variety in them.

  • #32
I can see it!

should I try for underwater pics of my ivory and my red/gold?
my blue is kinda crummy for some reason right now...

I think the problem with Bijou88 's pics is that they are not underwater and have almost no lighting
  • #33
Yep. I assume the green one is the far right? To me that looks more brown than green.... I'd still say it's just a variation of blue personally, lol. Either way, it doesn't necessarily need included in this since you never see them out there, it's not likely needed for reference as much as the others imo.

  • Thread Starter
  • #34
Brown? Huh.

This is only semI off-topic technically, but does anyone remember that picture of the dress that people couldn't decide on which color it actually was?

  • #35
They actually are underwater and have lighting, they just don't have as much lighting as they would on the bottom, lol, they're just near the surface of the water.

  • #36
This is one of my purple mysteries as a youngster:


I don't know if it's normal but the purple seems to have become less intense with age.
  • #37
Brown? Huh.

This is only semI off-topic technically, but does anyone remember that picture of the dress that people couldn't decide on which color it actually was?

lol I remember the dress...

I think the snail your talking about is a jade,but the lighting is bad.

browngold snail.jpg
snail golbrown.jpg
snial ivory.jpg

zebra nerite.jpg
snial ivory.jpg

here are some more,I know you have a zebra nerite but I added that in case you want it.

if you want to use your pics that's fine,but I think that you should get close ups (in the water,since its better to see details) of the mts and the bladder/pond snail since they are kinda hard to see...just my :


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  • #38
If you want one showing how they funnel at the top for food



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  • #39

snail mts.jpg
snail bladder.jpg
snail bladder1.jpg

heres a mts,there are a few kinds/colors of mts just so you know,and the next two is a pond or bladder snail (bladder I think)
  • #40
Mts in my son's tank the snails actually sticking out

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