I was checking on the Borelli about half an hour ago, and the male seemed to be eying up a tiny snail crawling down the glass. What I mean by that is, he turned to one side and literally fixed one eye on this snail. I've only seen him do this with food (he'll even lean slightly to one side to get a better view of his meal on the gravel), so I watched him. Sure enough, as soon as the snail hit the gravel, he lunged for it and ate it! Shell an' all If I hadn't watched him spit the shell out, I wouldn't have believed it.
So . . . my female thinks she's a barb, my male thinks he's a loach, Ramses is a wimpy, snobby Ram that will only have fresh food and not frozen and my male barb can't decide what he is . . . Yep - it could only happen to me
lol, yeah youll find that, generally snails arent a big issue in cichlid aquaria. I havent seen a snail for about 4 years. Though now having an oxydorus im never likely to see one ever again. Might have to buy them in tinned.
On a more serious note, they do seem to wait until the food/prey hits the gravel. Is this a confidence/security thing that they'll get over like Ramses did? (he still won't take floating foods, but he will come to meet my hand as soon as the lights come on and the feeding hatch opens, lol). Once the Apistos are in the 44gal (not for 2 weeks yet), if they keep this up, they're not likely to get enough to eat except snails - unless they trust me enough to let me purposefully put food on the gravel for them.
Probably is just a confidance issue, but also a food recognition issue. Theres a chance they might not be captive bred or at least are very few generations away from being wild.
Mind you, shellfish is often quite popular with cichlids,and its a nutritious and worthy addition to the diet. Most of mine take ground mussell occassionally, and if you run out of snails and dont like watching them ripped apart or dont want the worm transmission issues, like ive probably said before, you can get em tinned.
Though this will horrify FGF no doubt, you can buy frozen apple snails at asian markets and stores too. Mind you , they sell gourami paste in a jar too, theres one in cheltenham that has synodontids, pangies and plecs in the freezer too. Much cheaper than p&h lol.