The Hairy Snail is endemic to freshwater and brackish habitats on the island of Bohol in the Philippines. These unusual-looking gastropods, with delicate, rear-facing, needle-like protrusions on the shell, are found in shallow river waters (typically 1-3m) and estuaries that undergo tidal influence. These are fairly active, but largely nocturnal snails that will roam quite widely in their search for food. When at rest, they usually bury themselves into a soft substrate, so a layer of fine aquatic sand on the bottom of the aquarium is preferable to gravel, as it will protect the fragile periostracum spikes. These snails are great for planted community aquaria, where no predatory fish are present (i.e. loaches, pufferfish, large cichlids etc) and are fairly efficient algae grazers. Robust, fast-growing plants are normally perfectly safe (well-fed snails by and large only browsing on dead or decaying plant matter) and they usually only turn to eating healthy aquatic plants if other food sources are scarce. The water should be moderately hard and alkaline to allow for healthy shell development. In softer water, where the calcium concentration will be lower, the snails will be very prone deterioration of the shell. It is best to maintain a water line slightly lower than is usual (about the same gap as the height of the largest snail will be sufficient) to allow them to move in and out of the water if they choose. However, do ensure that the coverslides are kept tightly shut and any small gaps plugged, as these snails are excellent escape artists. Tankmates should be peaceful and enjoy the same water conditions e.g small tetras, rainbowfish, honey gouramis, guppies/Endler's livebearers, Caridina
shrimps etc. Ensure that the tank is well filtered and that regular partial water changes are carried out, at the same time vacuuming the substrate to ensure that the mulm that can accumulate from the snail’s waste products is removed. In the wild, Hairy Snails inhabit waters with a moderate flow, so do ensure that there are areas of good water movement within their aquarium. The only downside with these beautiful snails is that they are unable to breed in freshwater conditions - although this may actually be a blessing to some as they will not over-populate the tank in the same way some 'pest' snail species can. Be very careful when handling these snails as the long, thin spines can pierce the skin. Never use treatments containing copper when snails are present. May also be seen on sale as Porcupine Snails or Hairy Tower Lid Snails.
These snails are omnivorous. Offer a variety of foodstuffs, including spirulina-based foods, algae wafers, sinking pellets and slices of vegetables, plus occasional offerings of small meaty items. Some aquarists like to culture algae on rocks and cobbles in a separate aquarium (often on a windowsill) so that they can switch these rocks on a rotational basis with rocks from the tank that has been cleaned of algae by the snails. This provides an ongoing source of natural greenfoods.
This species has not been bred in the home aquarium. The reproductive process is rather involved as the free-floating larvae are thought to require full marine conditions to develop through their complex stages.