Mystery Snail – A Complete Guide (Care, Diet, Facts)

Mystery snails are beautiful. A special animal to add to your aquarium. They display different, vibrant colors within your very own habitat creation. It’s always a nice touch to any living space that adds a certain quality that most will enjoy looking at.

The Mystery Snail is also known as a type of Apple Snail. The largest breed of Apple Snail to be exact! They exist in a handful of attractive colors. This little creature will not only assist with your aquarium cleaning, but it will add more beauty to the tank.

They are available in the aquatic consumer business. One can buy these snails in colors of brown, black, blue, purple, gold and white. Take your pick!


What are good Mystery Snail tank mates?

There are many, but proceed with caution. Not all aquatic life will be friendly to your new snails. Mystery Snails are a completely docile creature by nature. So, the other friends they make in the aquarium must also be tame and non-aggressive.

Tetras, guppies and killifish are great options to live with your Mystery Snails. Other species of aquatic life can also live with Mystery Snails. Ghost shrimp, amano shrimp and cherry shrimp are other choices. They also live well with the Mystery Snail.

But some options that you should steer clear of are cichlids, crayfish and Oscars. The issue with these breeds of fish is that they will eat your snails! They can become aggressive with them because they see them as food and want to eat them. These aggressors begin by attacking and attempting to break the snail shell.

What is the proper Mystery Snail diet?

As mentioned earlier, these snails help to clean your tank for you. They do this by eating the algae and other organic deposits around the tank. You will see what almost looks like tire tread marks across your aquarium glass. If your snails are doing their job you will see these marks. This also means they are living a healthy life.

That’s not to say that you shouldn’t also place plant life within the tank. These plants are for the purposes of being snail food. The best aquariums for snails have lots of plant life for them to feed from. It will give them plenty of things to keep them occupied as well. These snails also love veggies. So, place some leafy greens like lettuce in the tank. Or vegetables like zucchini will give them something tasty to munch on.

Help to enrich their mineral intake with foods like pellets. Or flakes or even bottom-feeder tablets are a great idea. These foods help to keep your snails’ diet balanced so they live long and healthy.

A fun fact to keep in mind is that snails have what a “radula”. This part of their anatomy is what they use for scraping nutrients from the glass and other surfaces. This will also leave the trail across the glass. So, you can rest assured they’re continuing to help keep the balance when you see those snail trails.

The Proper Habitat for your Mystery Snails

It is a great rule of thumb when debating buying one or more Mystery Snails to provide 5 gallons of space per snail. This will allow everyone to have enough room to live together. This will provide enough food to go around, and keeps all the animals within the aquarium healthy. The more snails you have, the larger the tank you’ll need.

The conditions of the water are straightforward when setting up your tank. It will be a similar accommodation for the other life that lives with your snails.

Water Conditions

  • Water type: kH 12-18
  • pH range: 7.6-8.4
  • Temperature: 68°F-84°F

It is very important to note the pH range. Without the proper level, a snail’s shell can become damaged. This leads to broken shells, pitted shells, cracked or thin shells. This results from the pH level being too low. So, always use test strips to make sure that the level is within the proper range.

Setting up your tank with lots of plant life is going to be the best way to set up your snails’ aquarium. It keeps the environment looking nice and pretty. While also giving the snails proper plant life for their diet. Some great options for setting up your tank are Hornwort, Java Fern and Java Moss. These plants have lots nutrients for your snail and keep the aquarium looking great.

How to breed your Mystery Snails

Snail reproduction is a cinch if that’s something you would like for your aquarium. It is as simple has adding one female and one male snail to the habitat. And that’s it! The snails will take it upon themselves to mate if the conditions are proper for doing so.

One main factor for snails laying eggs is the proper stock of a food source. They want to ensure that their offspring will have enough to eat and grow before they decide to lay the eggs. This instinct is to make sure that they are going to have healthy babies upon hatching.

Gonochoristic is the scientific term describing the mating habits of the Mystery Snail. A male and female snail must be present for them to reproduce together. This is actually somewhat uncommon among gastropods. A lot are self-fertilizing and do not need a mate. This is because they are hermaphroditic and have both reproductive organs.

These snails also have a reproductive behavior of laying their eggs at the surface of the water. Or also immediately below the surface. It’s best to bring the water level down an inch or two to provide space that is great for the snails to lay their eggs.

If for some reason you are not looking to have snail babies in your tank, it’s easy to spot their eggs. They live in a cocoon of sorts on or near the water’s surface. Remove them and dispose of them if you would like. No harm, no foul.

How do I properly care for my Mystery Snails?

Snail care can be pretty easy for anyone with a vibrant aquarium. As long as the conditions are proper, the snails should flourish within their home and live a full life. Most Mystery Snails have a lifespan of one year, which doesn’t seem like a long time. But many gastropods have a similar lifespan and a full year is a full life for them.

  • Aquarium Cover: It is important to provide an aquarium with a cover for your snails. The reason being that your snails can climb up the glass and fall out. This is the easiest way for a snail to crack its shell, resulting in potential health issues. So, always keep the tank covered to protect the little creatures.
  • Calcium Intake: It is also important to make sure that your snail has enough calcium. A calcium supplement such as Cuttlebone will provide a great source. The nutrient keeps your snails’ shells healthy and solid. Without the proper calcium intake, a snail’s shell will become soft. This can cause damage, which can result in an unhealthy, injury-prone animal.
  • Copper: Always make sure to prevent any copper from getting in your snails’ food or water. Not only is it harmful to them, but if your tank is home to shrimp life then it will be toxic to them as well. Copper is a killer when it comes to these animals. So, take special care to ensure there is none existing in their water or nutrients.
  • Tank Medications: Any time any sort of medication is being added to the tank, remove the snails. It’s hard to tell what effects this may have on your snails. The best thing to do is remove them during any sort of medicine application.
  • Nutrients: There are many different types of nutrients and ways to supplement your snails’ diet. Always be certain to provide lots of foods for your new animals. This will allow them to stay productive. And also keep helping to balance out your aquarium.

Mystery Snails also have an added benefit for the life of your aquarium. They have a high number of different microorganisms within their intestinal tract. These snails will produce them and provide for other microorganisms. These organisms are comparable to plankton, but are a fresh water version. The name for these microorganism cultures is Infusoria.

Small fish that are still young have the name “fry”. They benefit a growing amount of Infusoria within the tank. A fry is a fish that has absorbed its yolk sac, the source of food for one that has hatched. Once the sac absorbs, the fish is on its own to swim and find food. Mystery Snails provide Infusoria.

There are even consumer available products on the market. Liquifry helps new fish fry to get the food they need. This seems like it would be a food for the fish themselves. It is actually a food source for the Infusoria, which then grows to feed the young fish in the aquarium.

Unique Facts About the Mystery Snail

The Mystery Snail is a very beautiful, unique creature. It has some attributes and facts that can be very interesting. Especially when it comes to deciding if they are the right fit for your aquarium. It’s always best to get the facts before deciding whether to buy them or not, and how many will find a home in your aquarium.

Mystery Snails, as mentioned, are a type of Apple Snail. And Apple Snails are the largest freshwater snails that exist. One of the defining characteristics of an Apple Snail are the “breathing siphon”. This attribute is actually visible on an Apple Snail. When it stems from the front of their shell to the water surface it is visible.

Another characteristic of the Mystery Snail is that they lay eggs at the water’s surface. All Apple Snails actually do this. Some of them do lay their eggs below the surface. You will come across Mystery Snails that lay their eggs at the water’s surface. Or above in a terrestrial environment when available.

Did you know that snails are right-handed or left-handed? Like humans, most snails will tend to be right-handed. The term for this being dextral. And if you have a left-handed snail the term is sinistral, a derivative of the word “sinister”. But how does one tell if their snail is right or left-handed?

To pique your curiosity and determine if your snail is right or left-handed, you first must pick up the snail. We hope you aren’t squeamish when handling a slimy animal! Then, turn the snail over in your hand so the opening (also known as the aperture) is facing towards you. Make sure the point of the snail is aiming upward and then take a look at the shell opening. If it is facing to the right, you have a right-handed snail and vice versa.

Tentacles are also a beautiful body part of the Mystery Snail, or any snail for that matter! It adds to their majestic look. It also provides an indicator of the snail’s well-being within the environment. If the tentacles are out and flourishing, your snails are pretty happy. For instance, we go back to proper tank-mates for your snails.

Improper aquatic life to live with your Mystery Snails can damage their tentacles. The reason being that certain fish like to pick and bite at their tentacles. Over time the tentacles can become damaged or even removed. These snails have the unique ability to regrow the appendages if lost. But they never quite grow back to the size they were.

The Mystery Snail possesses gills as part of its anatomy. But it is still indeed an air-breathing creature. So, it is imperative that there is some surface space at the top of the water to allow for breathing. That is where the breathing siphon comes in. The extra space at the surface will also allow for adequate egg-laying conditions.

Is the Mystery Snail right for your aquarium?

The Mystery Snail is a great, low-maintenance animal to add to a fresh water tank. And that is also an important point to remember. These animals cannot thrive in salt water. Always make sure that the environment is fresh water. This is a must if you are thinking about adding them to your aquarium.

It can also be a great option to start your aquarium with the Mystery Snail. And then build your habitat around the fact that they live there. This provides the perfect opportunity to place the right vegetation in the tank. This is for their diet while also providing the aesthetic you prefer in your tank. That way you can pick the perfect friends for your snails that won’t be aggressive toward them.

Mystery Snails are one of the most common choices when it comes to aquarium snails. Next time you’re at your local pet store that sells aquatic life, take a look around. It is almost guaranteed that you will find a tank or two with Mystery Snails for sale. It is not surprising that they are so common.

If you are looking for a new, exciting addition to your aquatic life or Mystery Snails are an amazing choice. Even if you are setting up your first tank, they are a perfect addition. They are beautiful to look at while being easy to maintain. And they are friendly to other creatures within your aquarium. But the added benefit of their help in cleaning your tank makes this gastropod a no-brainer.

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