Responsibility as a Hobbyist

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AC Members
Original poster
Feb 11, 2007
Real Name
Rachel O'Leary
I want to take a minute to talk about personal responsibility in the aquarium snail trade. Many of you have probably read of my recent troubles HERE. This was a direct result of an irresponsible hobbyist/breeder selling the wrong species. Many think it’s just the seller who has the responsibility to know what they are selling. In this case, it was sold as a bridgesii. One of the reasons that these species are banned is because it can be very, very difficult to differentiate species in juvenile snails. Often they need to hit maturity to really see the differences. Many banned species are attractive to hobbyists for many reasons. Before you get one, PLEASE take a moment to examine WHY they are banned. WHY there are restrictions and that by getting them illegally you are furthering their role in the hobby and ensuring that they will ALWAYS be restricted/banned. Research their reproduction, have a plan for any offspring. It’s as much the hobbyist who purchases responsibility as the seller to know what they are getting. The USDA/Aphis is recently trying to track down more aquabid and hobbyist sellers. If you know of someone selling illegally, report them to your local official, I will be. The reason that responsible hobbyists are unable to get permits for snails like Asolene spixis is because of irresponsible sellers AND irresponsible buyers.
Some important information about keeping restricted snails responsibly:
1. If you plan on keeping a banned species or a plant eating species, have the following safety precautions please. ALWAYS have a lid on these tanks. These snails can and do often lay their eggs quite high out of the water. This means they will leave their tank to do so. They can travel quite a distance and can survive out of water for WEEKS.
2. If you have egg clutches laid, do NOT just discard them in the trash. It is imperative that you crush/freeze any unwanted clutches to prevent them from hatching into the wild. These species are very resilient. Remember one clutch can produce HUNDREDS of babies; all who are voracious plant eaters and will reproduce themselves in a relatively short amount of time.
3. If you hatch baby snails, have a plan for them. Do NOT release them, Do NOT place them in a pond (even a container pond), and do NOT flush them. They must be crushed or frozen in order to destroy them humanely and safely.
4. Educate those you share with. These snails can be shared within state lines. Be responsible about who you rehome them with. Take a minute to share the risks of keeping them. Explain the life cycle, how to manage the eggs, and what to do if they no longer want their snail. Misinformation and ignorance is the number one reason these snails are banned.
5. If you keep multiple species, be sure you can identify what you are selling/trading/sharing before you do so. I prefer to keep my species separate to erase ANY chance of sending out something which could be detrimental to another hobbyist or our ecosystem.
Before purchasing a new invertebrate species, take a minute to get opinions. Find out their life cycle, longevity, legality, and care. Be a responsible buyer. If you want to share your hobby with others, find out the legal and safe way to do so. If you want to ship your critters, find out how to do so safely for the snail, and legally. Do not buy from people who are selling illegally. Ask for references please. Be a responsible buyer because we obviously cannot trust all the sellers out there.
Pomacea bridgesii “mystery snail”- these snails are not plant eaters but REQUIRE permits to sell across state lines. Make sure your seller has these permits PLEASE! It is ONLY legal to sell the snails, it is ALWAYS illegal to sell the eggs. Edit: No longer illegal to ship without permits.
Malaysian Trumpet Snails- no restrictions
Common ramshorns- no legal restrictions
Common pond/tadpole snails- no legal restrictions
Anatome Helena “assassin snails”- no current restrictions
Nerites- no current restrictions, although there are some state by state broad-based import laws
Japanese Trapdoors- not restricted
Asolene spixi “zebra apple”- these are banned from transport. These snails lay their eggs in clutches UNDER the water line, can interbreed with Columbian ramshorns and often eat plants as juveniles, even when not a mixed species.
Marisa Cornuarietis “Columbian ramshorn”- Banned from transport.
Pomacea canaliculata “channeled apple snail”- banned from transport
Pomacea haustrum “triton apple snail”- banned from transport
Pomacea paludosa “Florida apple snail, flapple”- banned from transport
These are just the most commonly seen; there are hundreds of apple snail species. If you choose to house any of these species, make sure to take proper precautions. Educate hobbyists if you decide to share them. DO NOT release them, DO NOT flush them, dispose of any unwanted snails responsibly. If anyone breeds their pomacea bridgesii and plans to sell them, please get permits. If you are having a hard time with the permit process, I would be happy to help. I will be doing a “how-to” write up soon.
In conclusion, it IS the hobbyist/buyers responsibility to do research on a species before getting them. If you house species, know what you have, how to identify it, and what to do with offspring. The restrictions that are in place are there for a reason. Your choices directly impact the hobby, make them wisely.
Please add any species which I have missed that are restricted/banned or that are legal to ship. Thanks for your time. Irresponsible sellers RUIN the hobby for people.
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...and over the edge.
Staff member
Dec 30, 2005
Real Name
Mr. Normal
Good info jinkz..thanks!


CP addict
Mar 18, 2008
Good info!
bad thing is that most of the apple snails look so similar.


AC Members
Original poster
Feb 11, 2007
Real Name
Rachel O'Leary
Alot of the apple snails do, especially as juveniles, which is why its SO important to know what you are getting and trust the source. Its also why the legislature and restrictions are in place the way that they are.


Is someone behind me???
Jun 22, 2008
North Carolina, USA
Real Name
Thank you for the info. I will be looking forward to your write up.


Aug 28, 2005
As msjinkzd stated part of this problem is caused by people fraudulently shipping their "live" shipments through USPS. If your going to ship "live animals" through the USPS please read follow the instructions listed under "Mailing Live Animals" on the following site.

It's your responsibility as a hobbyist to ensure what you are shipping is legal and safe.


Mar 31, 2008
Real Name
The Silver Slanket
Sad really, that some hobbyists don't seem to know or care enough to follow the rules. Sometimes it seems these irresponsible hobbyists won't be happy until these species are completely banned.