Are wild snails safe to put into my aquarium?

Asked August 26, 2014, 4:41 PM EDT

We found some really cool snails in the local river, but we are not sure what they are (best guess is trumpet snails from somebody else's aquarium). We are trying to avoid paying the high prices at the pet shops for snails to eat algae. How do we make sure they are safe to put into my aquarium?

Salt Lake County Utah

1 Response

I've asked a fish veterinarian for a response to your question.

"Dr. Schmidt, in reply to your query, the snails commonly called "trumpet snails" (Melanoides tuberculata) are the intermediate host for a variety of trematode parasites which may seriously infect fish, birds or even humans. There is no way to determine in advance if the snails are infected. The parasites can be continuously shed into the water over a period of months, and there is no treatment to rid the snails of the parasite. So, it would definitely jeopardize the health of an aquarium to place these wild snails into a tank.

In addition, these snails are invasive and illegal to collect, transport and possess. Our DWR conservation officers have been alerted to the problems presented by aquatic invasive species, and anyone caught violating the law could be subject to a substantial fine."

I hope this helps you in your decision.