Cipangopaludina leucythoides (Cleaner Snail)

The Cleaner Snail, Green Torpedo Snail, scientific name Cipangopaludina leucythoides, is a medium to large freshwater snail with gills and an operculum, an aquatic gastropod mollusk in the family Viviparidae. Our snails originate from Vietnam. When the soft parts of the snail are fully retracted, the operculum seals the aperture of the shell, providing some protection against drying out and predation.

Species of the genus Cipangopaludina can be identified by their relatively large globose shells and concentrically marked opercula. The shell is conical and thin but solid, with a sharp apex and relatively higher spire and distant body whorl. This species has a small and round umbilicus and the spire is produced at an angle of 65–80°. Cipangopaludina leucythoides exhibits light coloration as a juvenile and olive green or greenish brown as an adult. The inner coloration is orange. The surface of the shell is smooth with clear growth lines. The shell has 5.0 – 6.0 whorls. Cipangopaludina leucythoides is a large gastropod species generally 40 mm in shell height and 30 mm in shell width. The shell height can reach up to 60 mm. Cipangopaludina leucythoides has a width to height ratio of 0.74–0.82. The aperture is ovoid with a simple outer lip and inner lip.

This species prefers freshwater lakes with soft, muddy or silty bottoms, reservoirs, slow-moving freshwater rivers, streams, paddy fields, and ponds with aquatic grass, creeping at the bottom of the water or on aquatic grasses. It can tolerate conditions in stagnant waters near septic tanks. This species has been found in waters with pH 6.5 – 8.5, calcium concentration of 5 – 100 ppm, magnesium concentration of 13 – 31 ppm, oxygen concentration of 7 – 11 ppm, depths of 0.2 – 7 m, conductivity of 63 – 400 μmhos/cm, and sodium concentration of 2 – 49 ppm. The optimal water temperature for it to grow and develop is between 20 and 28 °C. It will hibernate while water temperature is lower than 15 – 17 °C or higher than 30 °C.

Cipangopaludina leucythoides feeds non-selectively on organic and inorganic bottom material as well as benthic and epiphytic algae, mostly by scraping, but diatoms are probably the most nutritious food it ingests. This species is primarily an algae eater in an aquarium context. These snails are popular in freshwater aquariums because they do not eat fish eggs or plants, they do not overpopulate the aquarium, and they close up if there is a water problem, giving people an indication that something is wrong a few weeks before the fish die.

Reproduction is initiated sexually. This species is ovoviviparous. Females live up to 5 years, while males live up to 3, occasionally 4 years. Female fecundity is usually greater than 170 young in a lifetime, and may reach up to 100 for any given brood.

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