Tylomelania gemmifera- “yellow antenna” a.k.a- Braving the leeches!
I picked up a few hundred Tylomelani gemmifera, a.k.a. Yellow antenna rabbit snails, yesterday. Many of you know, I have tried importing Tylo snails many times in the past. While they are beautiful, interesting, breedable critters they also almost always come in with leeches. I don’t do leeches. The worst part is, it is almost impossible to treat for the leeches, as to do so severely stresses the snails. Often, one would not even notice these leeches, as they most often are deep within the shell, though occasionally they are found on the snails head/neck area. They are a common, and unavoidable occurrence, and rarely cause issues until they become quite numerous. They are a snail specific leech, but regardless still give me the jeebies.
I decided to give it one more try, these snails are just too cool to avoid forever. Many came in carrying babies, and I already have many young climbing around the tank. The snails are sex specific, females having a grooved channel down one side of the their shell and along their foot in order to deliver singular young, which are covered in a protein sac that dissolves at birth. They generally give birth to a singular baby about every 4-6 weeks.
Tylos are from the Sulawesi, which means that in an ideal world, they would have pretty specialized tank set-up. Depending on if they are collected from the lakes, or streams, determines if they like water in the high 70s or mid 80s. There is no real way to know without collection data, which is rarely to never provided with these snails. The ones that I have are in temperature of 77 and are pretty active making me think they were collected from streams. Their source water has a very low hardness, but a very high pH. They generally acclimate well to moderately hard water, but can become inactive and stressed if the parameters are too hard. Gut inspection upon necropsy of field specimens are reported to contain silt, sand, and diatoms. In the tank, they readily eat pelleted foods, but really prefer a “dirt” substrate or a fine sand in which to dig about. I also supplement them with plastic cubes that have added repashy powders.
They are often light-sensitive, so no super bright tanks please. This particular species does not seem to have a taste for plants, though many of the other species are known plant eaters. They do ok with shrimp, but the shrimp can overwhelm them if too numerous, causing them to feed poorly. Combining with fish should be done with great care, as despite their size, these are shy snails and have vulnerable antenna.
Keep your fingers crossed these are leech free!