Guppies and Apple Snails – Can They Live Together?

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Guppies are friendly fish that will get along with mostly any other aquatic creatures, so long as they’re compatible. The problem is that guppies aren’t compatible with all of them. Some fish, for instance, are more aggressive and bigger than guppies and can bully or hurt them as a result.

But can guppies get along with other tank creatures than fish?

Today, we will discuss whether guppies can get along with apple snails, one of the most popular snail varieties for aquarium keepers.

In short, yes, guppies can get along with apple snails, so long as you accommodate both species. We’re talking primarily about the tank size. Guppies require around 2 gallons of water per fish, while apple snails need more than that.

An apple snail can grow up to 4-6 inches, which is more than 3 times the size of a guppy male. A single apple snail requires at least 2.5 gallons of water volume, which can require more significant investments.

A larger tank is necessary to accommodate both species and make sure they don’t step on each other’s toes.

How Many Apple Snails Should You Get?

To figure out how many apple snails you can pair with your guppies, consider the following aspect – apple snails are very messy creatures. Snails eat pretty much around the clock, poop, and then eat some more. This cycle can indirectly affect guppies, especially if you don’t clean the tank and regularly change the water.

If you want to have guppies and apple snails in the same tank, I suggest ensuring at least 3 gallons of tank water per snail and 2 gallons of water per guppy. Do the math, find the adequate tank, and make sure both species are comfortable and have plenty of room.

This will minimize interactions between them, although guppies and apple snails are never hostile towards each other.

What do Apple Snails and Guppies Eat?

Guppies are omnivorous, meaning that they eat a mixed diet consisting of live food and plants. Some of their preferred foods include:

  • Daphnia
  • Vinegar eels
  • Brine shrimp
  • Whitefish meat
  • Spirulina
  • Algae
  • Homemade veggies (cucumber, zucchini, spinach, kale, carrots, etc.)

You can even mix these foods to create a homemade paste or various recipes that you can freeze and use for several days. If necessary, you should also complement your guppies’ diet with flakes and other fish products, especially if you lack time to prepare the food yourself.

Apple snails, on the other hand, are pretty much scavengers. They complement guppies perfectly since they mostly consume fish food residues, preventing the food from decaying and poisoning the tank.

However, apple snails also need a varied diet and can thrive on fish, food, and plants. You can feed them pretty much everything you feed your guppies, except animal-based foods. These include:

  • Algae tablets
  • Green beans
  • Flakes
  • Peas
  • Spinach
  • Cucumber
  • Zucchini, etc.

Unlike guppies, snails also require a lot of calcium in their diets to help them maintain a hardened shell. You can get calcium antacid tablets and crush them into their food to make a nutritious paste for long-term use.

What is the Best Tank Size for Guppies and Apple Snails?

The answer pretty much depends on how many specimens you wish to hold from each species. Since many people are confused about this aspect, here’s how guppy-per-gallon ratio works. The recommendation to have 1 guppy per 2 gallons of water means that no other aquatic creature can share those 2 gallons.

So, a 20-gallon tank will hold 10 guppies at most. If you want to add apple snails to that 20-gallon tank, you can’t have 10 guppies. You can, at most, have 7 guppies and 2 apple snails since each snail requires around 3 gallons of water. Or you can use any similar variations, ensuring that you provide each creature with its necessary water volume.

There’s also another aspect that will influence your decision regarding the tank’s size. Both guppies and apple snails are extremely prolific aquatic creatures. Guppies don’t have a specific mating period, which means that they will reproduce every month. The gestation period typically lasts 20-35 days, depending on their diet, environmental conditions, the female’s age, etc.

The guppy female can deliver between 2 to 200 fry, which can boost the guppy population tremendously very fast.

The apple snail follows a similar pattern. Unlike other snail species, the apple snail is not hermaphrodite. This means that you still need a male and a female to kickstart the reproductive process.

The apple snail female can produce hundreds of eggs every week for several weeks in a row. The eggs will hatch after a gestation period of around 3-4 weeks, resulting in hundreds of baby snails.

As you can see, overcrowding can become a problem if you don’t control the fish and snail populations carefully.

Do Apple Snails Eat Baby Guppies?

No, they don’t. It’s not like they can’t eat guppy fry, but the chances are extremely low. Apple snails are peaceful creatures that don’t attack any other creature sharing their environment. And guppy fry are too energetic and twitchy for snails to catch them even if they wanted to.

So, you shouldn’t worry about your apple snails attacking the fry.

Do Apple Snails Produce a Lot of Waste?

How much waste an apple snail will produce generally depends on the species. There are several species of apple snails, each with their own appetite and pooping behavior. Generally speaking, apple snails will create a lot of waste, typically more than a guppy.

I should rather say more than several guppies, considering that the apple snail is 3 times the size of an average guppy female.

So, if you have apple snails sharing space with your guppies, you might need to consider more regular water changes. Apple snails will clean the substrate of any food leftovers from your guppies, but they will also produce their fair share of waste.

I suggest changing 10 to 20% of your guppies’ water every 4-5 days, especially if you have more than one apple snail in the tank.

Benefits of Apple Snails in Your Guppy Tank

Apple snails are tank scavengers renowned for their sanitary role. They will consume food residues that would otherwise decay on the substrate and boost ammonia levels in the water. Ammonia is deadly for all fish species and tank inhabitants, making apple snails quite a valuable asset for your guppy tank.

They will also consume algae, keeping guppies’ habitat cleaner for longer.

One of the most noticeable downsides is that apple snails can also be quite messy, requiring more thorough aquarium cleaning. Apple snails are also quite fond of tank plants; combine this with their voracious appetite, and you’ll have a calamity on your hands soon.

After all, apple snails are considered pests in nature, capable of invading and decimating a variety of environments. This is both thanks to their impressive appetite, high reproduction rate, and the fact that snails have both gills and lungs, enabling the creature to switch between different habitats seamlessly.

Conclusion

Apple snails are friendly and can grow to impressive proportions, making them a noteworthy addition to your guppy tank. They won’t disturb guppies since snails tend to mind their own business, looking for food and chilling on the substrate.

Just make sure you control the snail population and only keep 1-3 adult specimens, especially in medium-sized tanks. This will minimize the stress on the tank’s bioload.

And always monitor the interaction between your snails and the tank plants. They’re rarely friendly.

Updated: December 9, 2021

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