• Notopala waterhousei - Waterhouse Snail

    Photo thanks to Dave Wilson, Aquagreen

    Waterhouse Snail

    Notopala waterhousei

    General information: A Mollusc in the family Viviparidae, Australia's largest freshwater snail. The Mollusc Scientist at the NT Museum, Dr Richard Willan, suggested this species as a possible nice display animal for Aquaria. In March 2005 I obtained some of these snails from a permanent waterhole in central Australia. They have been trialled with aquarium plants and to date have not eaten any living plant tissue. It is a live bearing species and in the photos you can see a very young pale cream coloured specimen sitting on a ruler.

    Husbandry notes: The water quality for these snails does not appear critical but they do appear to fare better if the water is a little hard. They also do not tolerate low dissolved oxygen levels, this is never a problem in a well run planted aquarium. In some of my very soft water ponds they have difficulty producung shell. I asked Dr Willan what to feed these unique snails and was told they eat Periphyton in the real world. A quick look in Wikipedia found, "Periphyton is a complex matrix of algae, cyanobacteria, heterotrophic microbes, and detritus that is attached to submerged substrata in almost all aquatic ecosystems." Bacteria slime and algae grow in my aquariums and the snails do very well in an aquarium with plenty of detritus.

    Distribution: Central NT and Western Queensland.

    Reference: Personal communication with Dr Willan at the NT Museum of Arts and Sciences.

    Photo thanks to Dave Wilson, Aquagreen

    Photo thanks to Dave Wilson, Aquagreen

    Photo thanks to Dave Wilson, Aquagreen

    Article thanks to & with permission of Dave Wilson, Aquagreen
    Comments 1 Comment
    1. mr_c265's Avatar
      mr_c265 -
      Something worth noting is that in my experience they do not cope well with excessive CO2 levels. I believe that this is due to their shell eroding due to the increased concentration of Carbon Dioxide in the water disassociating the calcium carbonate shells, as well as preventing these much larger than normal, snails from breathing properly. They also do not cope well in soft acidic water. They do cope substantially better with higher CO2 when the water has a higher KH and GH.

      In sub-optimal conditions, the shells will become very brittle and often see through in some places. The juveniles in my experience will not survive in acidic soft water.
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