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Name: Hercules snail, or Brotia herculea. The common name comes from the latin name “herculea”, probably in recognition of the large size and presence of this freshwater snail. They are in the family Pachychilidae and are relatives of the more popular/common rabbit snails (Tylomelania).
Recommended Enclosure Size: The minimum aquarium size for one or more Hercules snail should be 10 gallons, due to the adult size they attain. Aquariums 20 gallons or more would be even better, if possible. They prefer a sandy substrate and the addition of crushed coral or aragonite sand is beneficial for maintaining their shells.
Temperature: Hercules snails tend to do better and grow faster at higher temperatures. Acceptable range is 70-84 degrees fahrenheit, although closer to 80 is ideal (a reliable heater will be necessary for most aquariums).
pH/Hardness: Hercules snails tend to fare better in moderate to hard water. Water that is too acidic can damage their shells. Consequently, they require some general hardness in their water to build their shells properly. A pH of 7.5 - 8.5 is considered ideal.
Size: At the time of sale, Hercules snails will be at least 0.75” in size. Adult snails can get up to 4” in size.
Age: At time of purchase, Hercules snails will be at least two months old. These snails can live 4 years under ideal conditions.
Feeding: Although Hercules snails are generally safe with plants, the exception is if you do not feed them enough! A hungry snail may go after plants as a last-ditch effort. They are generally omnivorous, but will appreciate vegetable or algae matter in their diet. Any commercial sinking foods can be provided (such as Repashy, shrimp or catfish pellets, and wafers). The addition of cuttlebone or calcium in the diet is also helpful for shell development. Blanched veggies or homemade foods can be provided but anything leftover after a few hours should be removed to avoid polluting the water.
Sexing: There is no known sexual dimorphism between male or female Hercules snails, so theycannot be reliably sexed by color, size, or other visual indicators. The best way to ensure you have both sexes is to buy multiple animals (usually 6 or more is a safe bet). Due to their age and difficulty of sexing them, Hercules Snails sold by Josh’s Frogs are sold as unsexed animals.
Color/Pattern: Hercules snails tend to have brown spiral shaped shells with a yellowish brown body.
Social Behavior: Hercules snails are a peaceful species that are usually active and scouring the aquarium for food throughout the day. They can be kept singly or in groups and do well with some shrimp and fish, provided these tankmates do not nip at or otherwise harm the snails. A tight fitting lid should be on the aquarium at all times to avoid the snails climbing out of the water.
Breeding: Hercules snails, like other “rabbit” type snails, are livebearing. They can take a year or more to reach adult size and sexual maturity. A male and a female are necessary for reproduction to take place. They only produce a few broods per year. Not a lot is understood about this specific species as it is not commonly kept/bred in the hobby. It is likely more prolific than Tylomelania rabbit snails, having more babies per brood.
Natural Range: Brotia herculea are native to Thailand/Myanmar. They typically can be found on muddy riverbeds.
History in the Hobby: Hercules snails are not common in the hobby and are not typically captive bred. Very few people are working with them/breeding them. Though they are very similar in appearance to Tylomelania species rabbit snails, they have not reached the same popularity yet. However, they are likely more prolific than rabbit snails, making them a great long-term breeding project. Due to their larger size and relative hardiness, they make great aquarium candidates in general.
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