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Gold Inca Snail ‘Pomacea Bridgesii’: A Complete Care Guide

Gold Inca Snail ‘Pomacea Bridgesii’: A Complete Care Guide

Adding snails to your aquarium is exciting, but choosing which ones are best for your aquarium can be challenging. The Gold Inca snail is a great addition to many aquariums.

The Gold Inca snail, also known as the mystery snail, is a member of the Apple snail family. These freshwater snails are relatively easy to care for and make great tank cleaners — they’ll rid your aquarium of algae. However, they do require specific water parameters and tank requirements.

The rest of this article will provide you with a detailed care guide on Gold Inca snails.

Gold Inca Snail Overview & Origin

The Gold Inca snail is a wonderful addition to your aquarium for many reasons, which I’ll cover throughout this article. For now, here’s a look at the basic overview of the snail species:

  • Common name: Gold Inca snail, Mystery snail, Apple snail
  • Scientific name: Pomacea bridgesii
  • Family: Ampullariidae
  • Care level: Easy
  • Size: Up to 2 inches in diameter (5.08 cm)
  • Life Span: 1 – 2 years
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Diet: Herbivore
  • Minimum tank size: 5-gallon
  • Water temperature: 68°F – 82°F (20°C – 27.7°C)
  • Water pH: 7.2 – 7.5
  • Water hardness: 12 – 18 dGH

Gold Inca Snail Appearance & Size

The Gold Inca snail has an interesting appearance. Its body is typically a deep yellow and creamy white color. However, the snail can come in various other colors, including gold, brown, and black.

Additionally, the Gold Inca snail has gold dots around its head and mouth, which is unique. This type of snail can reach up to two inches (5.08 cm) long.

Gold Inca Snail Personality & Behavior

Like many snails, the Gold Inca snail is peaceful by nature — they won’t attack any tankmates. However, putting them with other peaceful or non-aggressive aquatic life is best because they can easily become prey to the other creatures in the tank.

Gold Inca snails are active at night and when the tank lights are off. So, don’t always expect to see them super active during the day.

Gold Inca Snail Average Life Span

Gold Inca snails live for about one to two years on average. However, if you keep the tank conditions ideal and provide the snails with adequate resources, you could extend their life slightly. 

Gold Inca Snail Care & Tank Setup

As with all aquatic life, understanding what your specific creatures need is essential to giving them the best quality of life. These needs include the tank setup and water parameters.

Additionally, when you set up the tank for Gold Inca snails, leaving a few inches of open-air space at the top of the tank is essential, as Gold Incas need this to breathe.

Tanks Size

A Gold Inca snail requires at least 5-gallon aquariums, but 10 gallons is ideal. Because these snails are so small, smaller-sized tanks don’t bother them too much. They’re just as comfortable in a smaller tank as they would be in a larger one.

However, if you plan on having various tankmates with the Gold Inca snail, ensure you have a large enough tank to support them.

How Many Gold Inca Snails Are Suitable For a 10-Gallon Tank?

Six to eight Gold Inca snails are suitable for a 10-gallon tank. However, tanks can quickly become overrun with snails, so if you start with six to eight in one tank, they’ll likely reproduce within a month or so.

Gold Inca snails are small creatures, so you can easily have several in one 10-gallon tank.

Water Parameters

  • Water temperature: 68°F – 82°F (20°C – 27.7°C)
  • Water pH: 7.2 – 7.5
  • Water hardness: 12 – 18 dGH

Water parameters are among the most important things to consider when housing any type of aquatic life. With many creatures, insufficient water temperatures of pH levels can cause severe harm or even death.

Let’s review some basic water parameters you must consider before housing a Gold Inca snail.

Water Temperature

Gold Inca snails prefer a water temperature between 68°F – 82°F (20°C – 27.7°C). 

However, these snails aren’t overly sensitive to water temperature, so they should do just fine as long as the water isn’t too hot or cold. The pH and water hardness levels are where they’re a little more picky.

pH Levels

For Gold Inca snails, it’s essential to keep a pH level between 7.2 and 7.5. A higher pH level is vital for snails, as the higher the pH level is, the more minerals there are in the water, including the essential mineral that snails need — calcium. 

The pH level should, at the very least, be 7.0, but slightly higher is ideal.

Water Hardness

Snails require harder water levels than many other aquatic life because hard water contains the essential mineral calcium, which, as previously mentioned, encourages proper shell growth.

Therefore, it’s ideal to have a water hardness level between 12 and 18 dGH.

Importance of Calcium

Calcium is the most important mineral you can provide to your snail, no matter the species. Calcium not only encourages proper shell growth that snails need but also helps heal and strengthen damaged shells while promoting healthy egg formation.

While the pH levels in your tank can give you an idea about how much calcium you’re providing your snails, you can also get a testing kit for calcium alone. This is an excellent idea if you only keep snails in your tank.

What Gold Inca Snails Need In The Tank

Gold Inca snails are very easy to care for, so you don’t have to do too much to your tank to ensure they thrive in their environment. They’re not picky eaters (more on that later) and can live happily in various substrates.

However, there are certain things you can add to a tank to provide the best possible life for your Gold Inca snails.


As mentioned, Gold Inca snails can survive in various substrates, including sand, pebbles, and gravel. 

However, the best substrate you can provide your snails with is sand, as they enjoy burying themselves into it.

If you put pebbles or gravel in your tank instead, I recommend smaller or thinner varieties that your snails can still comfortably dig into.


If you’re going to house snails in your tank, it’s a good idea to keep the tank decorated with various vegetation and live plants. Snails love to hide in the vegetation in the tank, but Gold Inca snails will also feed off the plants.

Gold Inca snails aren’t particular about other decorations in the tank — as long as there’s adequate vegetation, they’ll be perfectly fine.

Ideal Plants

Gold Inca snails will enjoy a wide variety of plants. Some of the most ideal plants you can provide them with include:


Gold Inca snails don’t require a heater as long as the ideal temperature of the tank is met — 68°F – 82°F (20°C – 27.7°C)

Unlike some snail species, these snails can adapt to various temperatures in the tank, so even if the temperature is slightly off from the ideal, the snails should be okay.


Filtration is important in any aquarium setup, including those with Gold Inca snails. However, with smaller snails like the Gold Incas, you must observe them around the filter.

While the snails require the water to be filtered, they also often get stuck inside the filtration system, leading to death.

Gold Inca Snail Tank Mates

Because Gold Inca snails are peaceful creatures, you must house them with other peaceful creatures. These snails are small, so they can easily fall prey to aggressive, predatory tank mates.

The ideal tank mates for a Gold Inca snail include freshwater shrimp, such as Amano shrimp, Bamboo shrimp, and Red Cherry shrimp. Gold Incas are also compatible with many other freshwater snails.

Gold Inca Snail Food & Diet

One of the best perks about Gold Inca snails is their diet. Gold Incas feed on the algae around your tank, which leaves you with a cleaner, nicer-looking aquarium. They’ll also tend to eat decomposing plant matter around the tank.

However, you can’t allow your Gold Inca snails to only eat algae, as they need other nutrients in their diet to survive.

Therefore, you should provide your Gold Inca snails with fish food pellets often.

How Often Should You Feed Gold Inca Snails?

You should feed Gold Inca snails pellets at least once daily, especially if they’re still getting used to their environment. It’s best to provide your snails with special pellets designed to support bottom feeders.

Breeding Gold Inca Snails

Gold Inca snails aren’t hermaphrodites like many snails, meaning they don’t have both male and female reproductive parts. Instead, Gold Inca snails are gonochoristic — both male and female are needed for reproduction.

Additionally, these snails have the ability to change their gender when needed! If the snails have mated, you’ll see the female snail lay her eggs at the water’s surface.

After about a month, the eggs should hatch.

Gold Inca Snail Common Health Issues, Treatment & Prevention

Despite being hardy creatures, Gold Inca snails have some health issues they can encounter in your tank. One of the most common ailments that affect snails is damaged shells due to the lack of calcium in the tank. 

However, Gold Inca snails are also prone to parasitic infections.

Parasitic Infection

Worms are something to look out for when it comes to your snails. With a bad infection, it can quickly lead to death. For Gold Inca snails, the common worm infections are by rat lungworm and grub worms.

Parasitic Infection Symptoms

If your Gold Inca snail has a parasitic infection, you’ll likely notice less activity than usual. However, because Gold Inca snails are nocturnal, it can be challenging to detect this initially.

Therefore, you should also look out for signs of poor appetite or a change in the coloring of your snail.

Parasitic Infection Treatment

You can give your Gold Inca snails infected with parasites various treatments. These treatments can be either in the form of food or something you add to the tank water. 

However, it’s essential to research the tank mates and determine if they can be exposed to these treatments, as you might need to isolate the snails.

It’s best to contact an exotic vet if you have any questions about the treatments.

Parasitic Infection Prevention

The best way to prevent parasitic infections in your Gold Inca snails is to be careful when introducing new aquatic life to the tank, as some creatures you put in the tank might be carrying the parasite.

Additionally, ensure you change the water regularly, and at first signs that a snail is infected, remove it from the tank to prevent new infections.

Are Gold Inca Snails Right For Your Tank?

Gold Inca snails are right for your tank if you want a freshwater snail to eat the algae around the tank. However, it’s also important to consider the tank mates in the aquarium, as Gold Inca snails should be housed with other peaceful, non-aggressive creatures.

Having Gold Inca snails in your aquarium has many pros and cons. However, due to how easy they are to care for, they’re a popular choice when it comes to snails.

Gold Inca Snail FAQs

What is the Difference Between Gold Inca and Gold Mystery Snail?

There is no difference between Gold Inca and Gold Mystery snails — they are the same snail. This snail is part of the Apple snail family and has various names it goes by, including Gold Inca, Mystery, Golden Inca, and Apple snail.

Are Gold Inca Snails Land Snails?

Gold Inca snails are not land snails. These snails are freshwater aquarium snails that must be in the water. Otherwise, their body will dry out, and they’ll die. However, these snails are air breathers, so having open air at the top of the tank is essential to survival.

Do Gold Inca Snails Breathe Air?

Gold Inca snails do breathe air. Your aquarium must have a couple of inches of air above the water line to allow your Gold Inca snails to breathe. You’ll commonly see your Gold Inca snail swimming upside down at the top of the tank, which is a sign it’s breathing.

Do Assassin Snails Eat Gold Inca Snails?

Assassin snails do eat Gold Inca snails if they’re small enough. Assassin snails typically prey on pest snails that are much smaller than them, so if they’re larger than the Gold Inca snail, they might try to eat them. It’s very important to be selective when choosing tank mates for assassin snails.

Can Gold Inca Snails Change Gender?

Gold Inca snails can change their gender, which isn’t an ability that many snails possess. Additionally, unlike many snails, Gold Inca snails aren’t hermaphrodites — they’re gonochoristic. This means male and female parts must be present to reproduce.

Can a Gold Inca Snail Live With a Betta?

A Gold Inca snail can live with a betta. However, it’s essential to understand your betta’s personality before introducing a Gold Inca snail to the tank. Additionally, your tank should be large enough to give both creatures room to roam, and the snail should have plenty of vegetation to hide in.

Wrapping Up

Gold Inca snails can make an excellent addition to your aquarium, especially for those new to owning snails. Gold Incas are some of the easiest snails to care for, as they’re lenient with water temperature and very adaptable.

Additionally, Gold Inca snails eat the algae around the tank, so you can expect your aquarium to look cleaner by adding these small snails.

However, it’s best to only house other peaceful, non-aggressive aquatic life with Gold Incas, as they can quickly become prey.

I’m Elle, the founder of FishHQ. I created this website to share knowledge, tips, and inspiration for beginner hobbyists to help them create a healthy, happy, and vibrant environment for their fish to thrive. Read more...