Gold Inca Snail: Ultimate Guide (Care, Diet, Breeding, & More)

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Written By Matt Stevens

Hi, I'm Matt! I've been obsessed with fishkeeping for over 15 years now and created this site to share my knowledge with others.

 Gold Inca Snails are an exquisite species of freshwater aquarium snails that are also widely popular in the aquarium community. They exist in a multitude of species and belong to the Apple Snail family.

Plus, they are also easy to care for, so you won’t have any trouble in that department as well. If you are looking to add some variety to your tank, these are some of the best species for that purpose.

Also, they also like to graze on algae and organic matter, which means that they will keep your tank spick and span all the time. If you think they are the right kind of aquarium creatures for you, we advise you to go for them.

Although they are resilient and easygoing creatures, we do suggest that you brush up on their care guidelines so that you can provide them with a comfortable and quality environment.

For that purpose, we have compiled this helpful and beneficial care guide to help you learn everything you need to know about Gold Inca Snail, including their habitat, water parameters, breeding, diet, tank mates, and much more.

Let’s dive deeper and check out all that this magnificent snail has to offer.

Species Summary

Gold Inca Snails are known by many names, including Inca Snail, Gold Snail, Mystery Snail, Apple Snail, Golden Mystery Snail, Mystery Apple Snail, and also the Spike-Topped Apple Snail. Their scientific name is Pomaceaaustralis, but they are often referred to as the Pomaceabridgesii.

They also belong to the Ampullariidae family, which consists of more than 120 species. Moreover, they belong to the Gastropoda class, and they are also known as Gastropods. 

Life Span1 year
Color FormYellow
Care levelEasy
CompatibilityCommunity tanks
Size3 inches
Tank SetupModerate vegetation
Minimum Tank Size5 gallon

Gold Inca snails belong to South America, and they are mostly found in countries like Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay, and Peru. They are known as scavenging snails that look for algae and organic matter in the aquarium.

They are also found in slow-moving bodies of water, such as ponds, rivers, and swamps. They are mostly found close to the base of the water body because that is where all the organic matter is found.


The lifespan of Gold Inca Snail is one year on average, and no amount of top-quality care and water conditions can prolong this range. However, the converse is true.

If you subject your snails to subpar tank conditions, it will cause them to fall ill and die much earlier than their life expectancy.


Gold Inca Snails are found in a variety of colors, such as black, brown, gold, ivory, and several others. They usually have banded or solid-colored shells. On the other hand, their head and feet are a shade of ivory white.

Their shell makes a spiral whorl that extends to one side of their opening. The adults have around four whorls, which have a smooth texture and appearance. Just like other snails, they also have an operculum that helps them hide inside their shell when they are threatened.

The operculum also tells you if the snails are sick or dead. They also have two long tentacles extending from their heads, and they use them to scavenge for food in the natural habitat, as well as in captivity. Their eyes are quite fascinating and can even regenerate if they are amputated or injured.

Gold Inca Snails also have an extra set of tentacles beneath the first one. This pair is closer to the mouth and is used for eating. The snails also make use of the siphon located on the left side of their head to draw water through their gills.


Generally, Gold Inca Snails have a bigger size compared to other popular species of freshwater snails. Once they reach full maturity, they can grow up to three inches in size, and when you buy them, they might be around one inch.

Just like their lifespan, the quality of their diet and living conditions can also have an impact on their growth.

Gold Inca Snail Care

Caring for Gold Inca Snail is pretty simple and straightforward. Therefore, even beginners can keep them in the aquarium without worrying about anything.

If you have more than one of them in the tank, make sure to count them every day to make sure that all of them are healthy and alive. This is also important, as these species are known to escape the tank from time to time.

Moreover, you have to be careful regarding how you add the snail to the aquarium. If they land upside-down at the bottom, they might not be able to flip over easily. When they reach the substrate, their operculum will open up, and their feet will extend outwards.

If they can’t find the substrate with their feet, they find it challenging to turn over and stay straight. Plus, if they can’t do it for a long time, they might die eventually.

Let’s have a look at the specific care aspects for Gold Inca Snails.

Tank Size

When you are adding a Gold Inca Snail to the tank, you should consider the tank size. Although they are experts in ridding the tank of waste and bioload, aquarists often place several of them in a standard tank, but they will also add to the overall bioload.

Ideally, you should have a minimum tank size of 10 gallons, as it would give them enough space to be comfortable and healthy. If you overstock your aquarium with too many of them, it would greatly increase the ammonia and nitrate levels.

Water Parameters

Gold Inca Snails mostly get their food from algae and organic matter in the tank, which is why you need to maintain the water quality and conditions in it. Also, having a smaller tank with poor water conditions can also increase the levels of substances that can be lethal for their health.

First and foremost, you should keep the water temperature between 68°F and 82°F, but make sure that there isn’t any fluctuation in the water. Otherwise, it can be quite stressful for your snails.

Moreover, the water should have a pH level that lies between 7.2 and 7.5 since they are used to fairly neutral waters.

Lastly, the water in their aquarium should be hard, and it should also be abundant in calcium. Calcium helps in facilitating their shell growth.

Moreover, these snails are quite adaptable and have flexibility in the water parameters, but consistency is the key to their health and growth.

What to Put in Their Tank?

Gold Inca Snails are used to moderate vegetation in their natural environment, and you should provide them with the same when they are in captivity. The presence of live plants won’t only make the tank more beautiful, but it would also allow them to feed off the plant matter that falls from it.

The best part is that they don’t eat live plants as long as they get enough algae and organic matter to eat. Therefore, you won’t have to worry about adding new plants.

Apart from this, you should also add rocks and other accessories with smooth surfaces inside the tank, as this would facilitate the production of algae for the snails to eat.

You can also add driftwood if you have enough space, as they would latch themselves to it and clean up any algae or organic matter they can find.

Common Diseases

Gold Inca Snails are quite hardy and adaptable species, which means that there aren’t any particular diseases that they are more vulnerable to. Even so, you shouldn’t be lenient or slack off on their care. The slightest fluctuation in the living conditions can make them susceptible to disease.

Moreover, the presence of copper in the water can be quite lethal for your Gold Inca Snails, and it is the main ingredient for many of the medications made for fish and other aquatic creatures.

So, if you are administering medicines to another creature in the tank, make sure to remove any snails you may have.

Make sure to identify your snails for any signs of illness and see if they are acting strangely or being sluggish. It would help you in keeping them healthy and happy.

What Do Gold Inca Snails Eat?

Gold Inca Snails are known as great tank cleaners because they don’t leave any algae or plant matter in the aquarium. They are also known as scavengers and quite ferocious eaters, actively scouting the entire tank for food to eat.

You might even notice them sliding onto the glass walls to eat different types of algae that grow in the tank.

This is why you should place several kinds of decorations and live plants in the tank so that they have enough food to sustain themselves. However, they don’t like to eat green spot algae, as it can be hard for them to ingest.

However, this organic matter might not be enough. This is why you should also supplement their diet with fish food pellets and flakes, as well as bottom feeder pellets and algae wafers.

Apart from this, you can also feed them blanched vegetables, including zucchini, squash, leaf lettuce, iceberg lettuce, and several others.

Make sure to experiment with each type of food by putting it in the tank, but take it out if the snail doesn’t eat it within one day.

Also, if you are giving them fish food and pellets, remove any food that they don’t eat for a day since the leftover food can start to rot and contaminate the water pretty quickly.

Moreover, rotten leftover food can deteriorate the water quality significantly, and it would take a major toll on the snails’ health.

Behavior & Temperament

Generally, Gold Inca Snails are very peaceful and friendly species, and they are used to keeping by themselves in the tank, even if you place them with several species of fish, snail, and other invertebrates.

The best thing to do is to place them with peaceful and non-aggressive creatures, as they don’t like engaging with anyone. Although snails are perceived to be slow-moving creatures, the Gold Inca Snails are quite active, even when the tank lights are off.

They are known to actively scout the tank in search of food, and you would be delighted to see them in action.

Gold Inca Snail Tank Mates

As mentioned in the previous section, the ideal tank mates for Gold Inca Snails are freshwater aquatic creatures that are non-aggressive and peaceful. Some of the suitable tank mates that you can consider include the following:

Make sure to avoid larger and aggressive fish such as the Goldfish, cichlids, Jack Dempsey, Oscar Fish, Crayfish, and other species that wouldn’t think twice before devouring the Gold Inca Snails.


There are a couple of snail species that can reproduce on their own, but Gold Inca Snails aren’t one of them. You need a male and female species in order for them to reproduce, but sexing them can be quite difficult. Therefore, you can buy them in pairs so that you can be sure.

The best thing about breeding them is that you don’t need a separate tank in order to do so, and you don’t even have to change any of the tank or water conditions. However, you can reduce the water level by an inch.

The female Gold Inca will lay her eggs in a cocoon, and they would float on the surface of the water. After a month, the eggs will start to hatch, and the baby snails will drop down to the substrate. The babies will also start feeding on algae and organic matter.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, Gold Inca Snails are marvelous snail species that are a delight to watch and also easy to keep and maintain in the tank. Not only do they keep your tank clean, but they also allow you to have the community tank that you want.

As long as you adhere to the care guidelines that we have outlined, you should have no trouble.