Gold inca snail stats infographicThe Gold Inca Snail has become one of the most popular snails for aquarium hobbyists to raise as a pet. This shy gastropod may seem simple to care for, but there are a lot of things you need to know if you want to introduce this small creature to your aquascape.

Check this article, as it will enhance your knowledge all about the Gold Inca Snail’s origins, its living requirements, ideal diet, as well as some tips for breeding this species successfully.

What Is a Gold Inca Snail?

The Gold Inca Snail is a freshwater gastropod that is known for its golden yellow shell and milky white body. Originated from the shallow water pools scattered across Brazil and many areas of South America. It has caught the attention of many aquarists with its burrowing behavior and low-maintenance nature.

Gold Inca Snail Stats

Now that you are familiar with the Gold Inca Snail’s background, you should also learn about some of the common facts and figures regarding this species.

Common Name Gold Inca Snail
Scientific Name Pomacea Bridgesii
Care Level Easy to Moderate
Average Lifespan 1 to 3 years
Maximum Size 2 to 3 inches in diameter
Diet Herbivorous
Breeding Type Egg-layer
Minimum Tank Size 10 gallons

Next, take a look at the Gold Inca Snail’s taxonomic details. These details will help you get a better grasp of the type of aquatic creature you are planning to introduce to your aquarium.

Order: Architaenioglossa
Suborder NA
Family Ampullariidae
Genera Pomacea
Species Pomacea Bridgesii

This golden snail is known as the Pomacea Bridgesii in the scientific community; however, aquarists have also called it Inca Snail, Gold Mystery Snail, Apple Snail, and Spiky Apple Snail. A single Gold Inca Snail can cost around $3 to $5 depending on its age, size, and general health condition.

Gold Inca Snail Care

The Gold Inca Snail is not difficult to care for when you have a good grasp of its needs and how to support its health properly. In this section, you will learn the different aspects of caring for a Gold Inca Snail including how to provide it with a balanced diet, set up a tank that it will thrive in, and treat any health conditions that it might experience during its life as a member of your aquascape.

Gold inca snail the sand buried mystery gastropod of freshwater tanksThe Golden Inca Snail prefers to live in swamps that have a lot of surfaces it can graze on and detritus it can eat. However, the Gold Inca Snail has also been found to inhabit slow-moving rivers that have a considerable layer of vegetation in which they can seek safe harbor and use as a reliable source of food.

Due to its resilience and fast reproduction capabilities, the Gold Inca Snail has unfortunately been tagged as an invasive species in several regions of North America.

– Diet

Feeding the golden snails is easy since they are herbivorous scavengers by nature. They prefer grazing on the different surfaces of your aquarium for algal growths and any detritus that might be available.

Furthermore, your Gold Inca Snail contributes to a healthy and clean tank environment, especially one that is algae-free and full of filtered water. You can feed your Gold Inca Snail with a few leaves of lettuce, small slices of zucchini, and cucumber, as well as the occasional treat of crushed squash.

Additionally, you may also offer your Gold Inca Snail with fish food, particularly crushed flakes and pellets that were designed to supplement the diet of bottom feeders and slow-moving aquarium creatures. Offer your Gold Inca Snail left vegetables or pellets once a day while it is getting accustomed to its new tank. After, you can adjust the frequency of feeding your Gold Inca Snail as you learn more about its habits and preferences.

– Water Parameters

Aside from preparing healthy food sources for your Gold Inca Snail, you should pay attention to the water parameters you maintain in your aquarium. As with any freshwater creature, the Gold Inca Snail may be adversely affected by fluctuating or irregular water parameters. Here is an overview of the key water parameters you need to maintain when you care for your yellow aquarium snail.

Temperature 68 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit
pH Level 7.2 to 7.5
Water Hardness 12 to 18 kH
Light Level Low to Moderate
Substrate Hard sand, medium-sized pebbles, or gravel

– Tank Setup

When it comes to setting up a tank for your Gold Inca Snail, one of the main things you should remember is that this type of snail will try to explore and get out of its enclosure. Having this into consideration, you should ensure that your tank has a fitted lid so that your Gold Inca Snail doesn’t escape. Falling from a high place or drying out because it cannot return to the aquarium can be fatal for your Mystery Snail.

The next thing you have to pay attention to is the water filter of your aquarium. Gold Inca Snails can stand moderate to strong water filters, but the problem is that they may be tempted to look for food nearby or in the filters themselves.

This could cause your Mystery Snail to become injured or trapped. An easy solution to this problem is to use a sponge filter as a cover for your original water filter to deter any of your snails from climbing in or out.

– Minerals and Sand

Additionally, you should also consider adding calcium supplements to your aquarium on a regular basis. Your Gold Inca Snail needs extra calcium to maintain its wonderful shell, and a lack of this critical mineral can make your snail more prone to sickness and injury.

Find a high-quality calcium supplement from your trusted local fish store, and then leave a small amount of this supplement in a shallow dish that you can place inside your aquarium. Refill this dish every two to three weeks.

Furthermore, do your best to provide your Gold Inca Snail with fine to medium-grained sand as the substrate of your tank. These Snails bury themselves under the substrate during the daytime and then come out again at night to forage.

Having fine or medium-grained sand will be soft enough for them to burrow through but hard enough that they can move on top of it with ease. You can work with pebbles or gravel if you cannot find sand that will suit your aquascape.

– Lifespan

The Gold Inca Snail lifespan averages around one to three years only. In fact, a lot of aquarists have reported their Gold Inca Snails dying within the same year that they were added to the aquarium. These gastropods are not the hardiest creatures and are quite sensitive to major water changes as well as harassment from fish and other tank mates.

Still, you can lengthen your Mystery Snail’s lifespan by providing it with the best care possible. Aside from offering high-quality food and keeping a clean tank, you can also maximize your Mystery’s Snail’s life by including live plants in its enclosure.

Durable plants such as the Amazon Sword and the Anubias, and even a more delicate plant such as the floating Salvinia, will serve as an additional oxygenator and filter for your Gold Inca Snails. These plants may also become a resting place or shelter for your Mystery Snails should they decide to explore the tank during the late afternoon or early morning.

– Common Diseases

Gold Inca Snails are not prone to many bacterial or parasitic infections, but they are susceptible to physical problems. These health problems include cracks on their shells and body-related problems such as slow or malignant tissue growth, among others. In this section, you will learn about the common health problems of Mystery Snails and how to treat them.

– Shell Damage or Deterioration

If you spot one of your Gold Inca Snails with holes or cracks in their shells, it may be a sign that your water parameters are askew. Check the water’s pH and hardness levels before you do anything else. Perform minor water changes to realign the water parameters to your Snail’s preferences. Once you have ensured that these water parameters are back on track, observe your Mystery Snail for signs of pain or discomfort.

If it seems to be active despite its shell damage, not in the presence of other aquarium creatures, you may opt to leave your snail alone and allow the shell to repair itself after some time.

On the other hand, if the snail appears to be less active or unable to move around because of the shell damage, and shares its tank with fish and other aquatic creatures, it would be best to manually repair the broken shell. Fish, snails, and other curious tank mates might pick on your Gold Inca Snail’s exposed tissues, resulting in your snail getting sick or dying from pain and stress.

Use medical-grade superglue to attach pieces of eggshells or broken seashells to the open areas of your Gold Inca Snail’s shell. Otherwise, you may use household superglue with extreme caution, not letting the glue touch the snail’s tissues. After repairing the shell, be sure to continue supplementing its diet with extra calcium and observe it for any other signs of injury or pain.

– Missing or Short Tentacles

If you notice that your Gold Inca Snail has a missing tentacle or tentacles that are shorter than the others, do not panic since it is normal for Gold Inca Snails that live with fish that have a reputation of biting and nipping. A Mystery Snail’s tentacles often appear and move like something that a fish would snack on, so it may be that some of the fish in your aquarium has taken a bite out of your snail’s body.

Observe your Gold Inca Snail for any signs of abnormal movement or inactivity. If your Mystery Snail remains active despite losing a tentacle, it is highly probable that the snail is unhurt and will regrow the missing tentacle after some time.

– Water Poisoning

A Mystery Snail can be poisoned by the chemicals you use to clean your tank, treat other fish, or balance water parameters. It is crucial that you first study the chemicals you intend to mix in your aquarium water and consider how they might affect your Gold Inca Snails’ health. Some of the signs that your Mystery Snail has been poisoned include body discoloration, inactivity, confused movement, or inability to graze or eat when offered food.

If you suspect that your Gold Inca Snail is suffering from a type of poisoning, recall the last thing you mixed with your water and review its contents. Only then should you attempt to perform water changes or to treat the water with other substances to lower its toxicity.

Tank Mates

Gold Inca Snails make good neighbors for a lot of peaceful and small aquatic creatures. Here are some of the tank mates you might want to consider as well as avoid when it comes to housing them with Gold Inca Snails.

– Ideal Tank Mates

You can house your Gold Inca Snails in a community tank with other species of peaceful snails such as Ramshorn Snails and Trumpet Snails. You may also want to include a few species of shrimp. Shrimp species such as the Ghost Shrimp and Amano Shrimp make excellent tank mates for your Gold Inca Snails. As for fish, you can safely house peaceful species of catfish, Tetras, and small Guppies with your Mystery Snails.

– Tank Mates To Avoid

Avoid placing your Gold Inca Snails in an aquarium that has large and aggressive fish. Oscars, Cichlids, and Jack Dempseys will only see your Gold Inca Snails as prey to harass or hunt. They may try to harm your Gold Inca Snails by pulling off more than one tentacle or by biting its eyes off.


If you want to breed Gold Inca Snails at home, you’ll be happy to know that the process is quite simple and does not require a lot of fancy equipment.

– Pre Breeding Care

You will need a mature male and female Gold Inca Snail to start the breeding process. The best way to do this is to purchase a group of about five or six Gold Inca Snails and keep them in a tank of at least 30 gallons in capacity. You should have at least one breeding pair out of this group of young snails.

Once your snails are about six to eight months old, you can begin encouraging them to spawn. You may do this in the main tank or in a separate breeding tank if you are concerned about a potential overpopulation of Gold Inca Snails. Lower the water level of the tank until some of the rock and wood debris are exposed, as this should encourage your Gold Inca Snails to mate.

Shortly after a successful mating session, you should see at least one female Gold Inca Snail move to the water surface of your tank and lay her eggs in a cocoon-like sac.

– Post Breeding Care

Gold inca snailThe eggs should hatch after about two to three weeks. You do not need to do anything special during this stage except to ensure that the aquarium’s water parameters are consistent and the environment is kept clean. The young Gold Inca Snails will fall into the water of the aquarium and learn to graze as the adults do.

You may transfer them to another tank after three to four weeks. However, be sure to do so with caution as these snails are still fragile and may die of shock if handled incorrectly.


We certainly covered a lot of information about the humble Gold Inca Snail. To refresh your memory, here is a quick rundown of the important points we tackled in this article.

  • The Gold Inca Snail is a freshwater gastropod that is known for its solid and bright yellow shell.
  • This snail originated from the biodiversity-rich South American rivers, but it has spread throughout North America and other regions as well.
  • The Gold Inca Snail is herbivorous in nature; it will thrive on a diet of leafy greens and high-quality commercial fish pellets and flakes.
  • The Mystery Snail is a peaceful and small creature that should not be paired with aggressive or large fish.
  • It is easy to breed Gold Inca Snails at home as long as you have enough space for the hatchlings to occupy as they grow.

As you can see, there is so much more than meets the eye when it comes to the shy Gold Inca Snail. It is easy and delightful to care for as well. You should be able to raise your own Gold Inca Snails successfully as long as you remember the information from this care guide.

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