Under natural conditions, these snails live in clean and shallow water bodies and rivers, in sandy areas in Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia.
The snail Helena prefers running water, but feels quite comfortable in ponds and lakes. Perhaps that is why it adapts to the conditions of the aquarium pretty quickly.
In nature, the predatory snail Helena eats live snails, as well as carrion, and it is this feature that made it popular among aquarists around the world.
Externally, the snail Helena looks pretty impressive - wide chocolate strips evenly spaced on amber-yellow background. Such color reminds once again that it is carnivorous, because only predators are allowed to attract attention to themselves.
The adult snail grows in length up to 17 mm, although often larger specimens (up to 20 mm) are also found. The sink with a ribbed surface has the shape of a cone. Characteristic features of this mollusk are the elongated shape and the breathing tube, which the snail pulls forward while moving. The mouth of the mouth is adapted to open the shells of other mollusks, and represents a tiny proboscis with a number of rather sharp teeth. The snail is protected from danger by a small cap that, if necessary, closes the shell.
It should be noted that helen snail is completely unpretentious. Keeping it in compliance with certain rules does not create problems. Five liters of water are enough for one snail, but it’s better if it has more free space - up to twenty liters. Take care that the water is hard. In soft water, the snail is bad, since minerals are necessary for its shell.
The most comfortable water temperature is 21-23 ° С above zero. When it goes below + 19 ° C, Helena may stop eating.
Any plants can be planted in an aquarium, since the snails are completely indifferent to them. And the quality of the soil is of great importance. Unlike other types of snails, Helens do not bury themselves completely in it, but they are looking for food there, therefore sand or small gravel is most suitable for this purpose.
Helena snails - what to feed?
For a comfortable existence this snail needs to be hunted. She can move much faster than her potential victims. This is clearly visible when Helena is hungry. Then it is very dangerous for all mollusks, equal to it in size. This applies to coils, akrolux, physical, melaniy. True, according to the observations of aquarists, it can be said that she eats melania last of all and is somehow very reluctant.
Helena does not always catch up with her victims. Sometimes she lies in wait for them. With the help of her proboscis, she sucks them out of the sink. This method of hunting explains why the snail Helena never hunts smaller mollusks. The fact is that her proboscis will be more victims, and Helena simply can not get to her body. After full saturation, it digs into the ground and digests food.
For adult fish and shrimp, it poses no danger, but eats fry. It may even declare war on fish, but only if it is sick and weak.
If Helena lacks mollusks to feed, she will not give up on falling. You can feed it with bloodworms, as well as catfish feeds or those that contain a lot of protein. You can treat her to krill or frozen shrimp.
Helena can significantly reduce, and sometimes completely destroy the population of other snails in the aquarium. Therefore, the owner needs to adjust the amount of helen so that the balance of all types of snails is maintained.
In no case do not leave Helena in spawners - the caviar and fry will be eaten immediately. In addition, small, just bought snails do not have to be planted in a common aquarium, they will not be able to find enough food and will die. It is better to wait until the helens grow to the required size (about 1 cm).
Helena snail: breeding
This is a mollusk of different sexes. True, it is impossible to determine its gender. Therefore, those who want to breed these snails in their aquarium should first have at least 4-6 individuals. Thus, you insure, and among the acquired snails will be individuals of both sexes.
When a pair is formed, it will not be difficult to determine it. They will eat and swim together for a long time (several weeks). This pair is transplanted into a separate aquarium, since they multiply only in a relaxed atmosphere. If active shrimps or fish live in your tank, the female snail cannot lay an egg.
The egg resembles a tiny transparent cushion. In its middle you can see a yellow ball. A snail develops depending on the temperature regime, and this process lasts up to thirty days.
In the new aquarium conditions of detention must fully comply with those to which the snail is used to. The couple should have a lot of feed, but it is important in this matter not to overdo it. Surplus food also does not benefit.
Mating snails sometimes lasts for hours. Then the female lays a single egg, attaching it to a hard surface. This can be a stone or an element of the decor of the aquarium.
Helena poses a threat only to small snails. She gets along with the fish quite normally, and if she attacks, then only a very sick and weakened individual. Prompt shrimps are also not included in the list of Helen victims, but, as in the case of fish, weak representatives who have suffered badly after molting can be targeted. Rare types of shrimp are best kept separately.
Like many snails, Helena eats fish eggs, but it does not touch the fry: they are usually very brisk, and the snail simply will not catch up with them.
Good news for fans of aquarium plants! Many food snails begin to attack the algae with a lack of food, causing them serious harm. Helena snails to plants completely indifferent.
Helena snails are opposite-sex, therefore their reproduction requires the presence of two individuals. As in the case of ampouleries, it is impossible to distinguish a female from a male, therefore it is better to acquire several pieces at once, so that among them there are likely to be opposite-sex. In good conditions, they breed rather actively: during the year one female can lay about 200 eggs.
Preparing for mating, snails for some time become inseparable: they crawl together, feed, roll on each other. Having found the established couple of Helen, it is better to deposit them in a separate aquarium. Neighborhood with active fish depressing effect on the female, and she can not postpone the eggs.
Mating is a rather long process, it can take several hours. After that, the female lays an egg on a hard surface: stones, snags or other decorations of the aquarium. It is a transparent cushion with a yellow egg hidden inside it. Caviar ripens in 2-4 weeks.
When the little snail hatch, it immediately finds itself at the bottom, after which it hides in the ground. There it remains several months until it reaches the size of 5-8 millimeters.
Helena is the perfect helper in an aquarium who can slow down the stormy color of mollusks eating everything around. Its content is absolutely not troublesome, and numerous reviews prove that a small predator will not only benefit, but also become a wonderful element of the decor of the aquarium.
Conditions of detention
As is known, the homeland of this species of mollusks is East Asia - Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand. There snails live in natural conditions in freshwater bodies with clean running water. Therefore, they are well adapted to life in aquariums.
Water. For the normal existence of one snail 3-5 liters of water are enough, but still it is better if it has a lot of free space - up to 20 liters. Care must be taken to ensure that the water is hard. In too soft water, the snail will feel bad, because for the shell it definitely needs mineral substances.
Perfect temperature water for keeping Helena — 21–23 ° C. If it falls below 19 ° C, the snail may stop feeding.
Priming. Helena likes to dig into the ground after dinner, and small snails practically live in it for the first few months after birth, so the soil in the aquarium should be soft. It is better to use sand or small gravel fractions of 1-2 mm.
To effectively destroy unwanted snails, it is recommended to start Helen in large groups of 6-8 pieces. In such a team, they quickly multiply and eat all the pests. Alone, these mollusks are not so useful, because Helena alone will not be able to eat a huge array of quickly breeding snails.
For the normal existence of a snail, you must hunt. She is able to move much faster than their victims. This is especially noticeable when the snail is hungry. Then it becomes the main enemy for mollusks, which are the same with it in size. These are coils, acroluxes, fizy, melania, although it is noticed that she eats the latter only in extreme cases and with reluctance.
Helena catches up, and sometimes lurks her victims and with the help of a special proboscis sucks them out of the shell. This way of feeding explains the fact why Helena does not hunt mollusks that are smaller than her own. In this case, the size of the proboscis will be larger than the size of the victim, and the snail simply cannot reach its body. After lunch, the snail buries itself in the ground and waits for food to digest.
Helena does not pose a danger to fish and shrimp. It will hunt fish only if the latter is very ill and cannot move independently. In addition, helena can be dangerous for eggs and newborn larvae of short-tailed fish.
If there is not enough shellfish to eat, it can eat carrion. You can feed it yourself with bloodworms, catfish food or other high protein foods.
Helena refers to the same-sex mollusks. However, it is impossible to determine gender by appearance. Therefore, if you want to breed these snails in your aquarium, you must initially have at least 4-6 individuals. The more mollusks purchased initially, the greater the likelihood that among them there are both male and female individuals.
The established pair is very easy to determine. They can swim for several weeks and even eat together. Such mollusks should be deposited in a separate aquarium, because they need a calm environment for reproduction. If active fish or shrimps live in an aquarium, the female will not be able to lay an egg.
The conditions of detention in the new aquarium should be those to which the snails are used. They need to be provided with a sufficient amount of feed, but do not overdo it. Its surplus will not be useful.
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The pairing of snails can last for hours, after which the female lays one egg and attaches it to some kind of hard surface (stone, decorative elements).
Depending on the temperature, babies appear after 2-5 weeks. Immediately after that, they burrow into the ground for about 5-6 months and do not crawl to the surface. During this time, the kids grow up to 4-7 mm and only then begin to hunt.
Content in an aquarium
Helens are very hardy and easy to maintain. Like most other snails, heleans will feel bad in too soft water, as they need minerals for the sink. Although the parameters of water are not too important, it is better to contain medium hard or hard water with a pH of 7-8.
These snails are freshwater and do not need salted water. But they are well tolerated and slightly salted.
The snail Helena is a species that buries itself in the ground, and it requires soft soils, sand or very fine gravel (1-2 mm), for example. This soil should create conditions that are as close to real as possible, since after eating, the helens dig in the soil completely or partially. They will also be more willing to get divorced in an aquarium with soft ground, because after the birth of the young helen fry immediately digs in and then spends most of the time in the ground.
Behavior in the aquarium:
In nature, the diet of helen is carrion, as well as live food - insects and snails. In the aquarium, they eat a large number of snails, for example - nat, coils, melania. However, melania eat the worst. Large snails, such as adult neretins, ampoules, marises, or large types of tilomelia, do not threaten anything. Helena is just not able to cope with them. Helens hunt by thrusting a special tube (at the end of which is an oral opening) into the snail shell and literally sucking it out. And with large snails she can not repeat this trick. Similarly, fish and shrimp, they are too fast for her, and this snail is not suitable for shrimp hunting.