Japanese Trapdoor Snail Care: Size, Breeding, Diet, Lifespan

The Japanese Trapdoor Snail is a pond snail that loves to eat algae. But, these freshwater snails are omnivores, so they eat live foods, frozen foods, and other fish food as well. Other names include the Chinese Mystery Snails or Trapdoor Snails.

The Japanese Trapdoor Snail shell color can be shades of black, dark green, or olive green. There are some instances of dark brown, reddish-brown, and light brown as well. It’s not unusual for shells to have large areas of white on the spire close to the apex. The texture is smooth with grooves that appear as the snail grows.

Photos of Japanese Trapdoor Snail


The average size of adult Trapdoor Snails is about to 2 inches in length. They are one of the largest freshwater snails in the aquarium trade.


With an abundant food source and proper care, Japanese Trapdoor Snails can live for about 1 to 5 years.


Japanese Trapdoor Snails (Viviparus malleatus) is an omnivore. It will eat soft algae, plant matter, vegetables, fish food, frozen foods, and live foods. These algae eaters spend most of their time scavenging the fish tank for food. Of course, they prefer to eat algae but will chow down on what’s readily available.


Japanese Trapdoors are non-hermaphroditic. That means that each trapdoor snail is either a male or a female. They are live-bearers and breed slower than other snails. Females give birth to 6 to 20 babies at a time.

Tank Mates

The Japanese Trapdoor snail is peaceful, so it is best to keep them with other peaceful aquarium pets.

Freshwater aquarium fish like:

Other Snails:

Some species of aquarium shrimp:

Freshwater clams like the Asian Gold Clam. Do not keep them in fish tanks with Oscars and other cichlids, Goldfish or Aquarium Crayfish.

Live Plants

It’s best to keep Japanese Trapdoor Snails in aquariums with live aquarium plants. Live plants shed edible plant matter that snails love to eat. Once your snails are well-fed they tend not to eat the plants. Also, thick and hardy plants like Anubias are less likely to be targeted by snails as snacks.

Tank Size

The Japanese Trapdoor Snail can live in tanks as small as 10 gallons. Always make sure that your aquariums are not overstocked, are well filtered, and oxygenated.

Water Conditions

  • Aquarium pH: 7.0 to 7.6
  • Temperature: 72 – 80 Degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Lighting: Regular community tank lighting.

How To Buy Healthy Trapdoor Snails

To buy healthy Japanese Trapdoor Snails, make sure that there are no cracks or holes in the shell. The snail should be stuck to hard surfaces or crawling on the tank bottom. There should be two eyes and tentacles. The operculum should be visible above their foot, near their backside

Do not buy snails that are motionless or upside down. Do not buy snails that are floating near the surface. These are signs that the snail is sick, dying, or already dead.


Video: Japanese Trapdoor Snail