Everything You Need To Know Before Keeping A Mystery Snail

Overview Of Mystery Snails

The common name of mystery snails is apple snails though most Biologists refer to them by their scientific name: pomacea bridgesii.

Mystery Snails are gastropods and their native origin is in South America. In addition, these freshwater snails have complex eyes, which can easily regenerate in case of amputation. These snails normally lay their eggs on the surface of the water and are perfect for eliminating algae.

Different Types of Mystery Snails

There are various types of mystery snails with different gorgeous colors like black, blue, golden, hazelnut, purple, ivory, and magenta, thereby making them a favorite for many aquarists and snail lovers.

With their white bodies and brown shells with brown stripes, the albino mystery snails are the most popular and arguably the most stunning to look at.

Because of the variety of colors they come in, it is not a surprise that mystery snails look great in any aquarium hobby.

Some of their shells may be brown with attractive stripes while others are just creamy white. Their bodies may also range from blue, ivory, gold, yellow, brown, and purple colors.

If you are planning to keep these mysterious snails, here’s a complete guide that focuses on effective care.

Basics And Characteristics Of Mystery Snails

There are various types of popular mystery snails including dark chestnut snails, gold snails, striped olive snails, striped gold snails, and more.

These snails can add color to your fish tank, and are thereby ideal for decoration purposes.

Rare And Unusual Types Of Mystery Snail

The rarest type of mystery snail is the purple-colored one, which can survive in different water quality. This snail features a purple shell with a black body.

In addition, a purple mystery snail is captive-bred thereby making it simple to breed, without numerous necessities.

Care And Maintenance Of Mystery Snail

Mystery snails are one of the easiest animals to care for as long as you follow appropriate instructions.

Moreover, they are very peaceful and can be amiable toward other pets in their tank like freshwater shrimps or other types of snails including trumpet snails, nerite snails, and more.

Aside from that, mystery snails do not have a particular diet and will feed on whatever comes their way, which can include algae that build up in the fish tank.

This makes them ideal for keeping your fish tank always clean.

Setting Up A Home For Your Mystery Snail

Typically, setting up a home for your favorite animal will require you to provide ideal conditions. Here’s what you need to consider when taking care of your mystery snail:

  • Tank requirements

Each mystery snail can fit in a five gallons tank, so if you need to keep extra snails then you will have to provide a fitting tank. Moreover, you can try to include foods that are rich in calcium for healthy living.

  • Water and temperature

Mystery snails do well in fresh waters so, ideally, you want to fill their tank with hard water. In addition, the temperature of the water should be around 20-28 degrees Celsius with a PH of 6.5-7.5.

  • Filtration and lighting

For clean and survivable water conditions, it is recommended to use a fish tank filter. Failure to do this could lead to high levels of ammonia and low levels of oxygen.

When it comes to lighting, mystery snails find comfort in dark places and are therefore active at night. In this case, you should try to maintain dark living conditions.

Feeding And Nutrition For Mystery Snails

Recommended Diet

Unlike most animals, mystery snails are not picky and will consume whatever you offer.

But as your pet, it is important to give them beneficial foods including supplement foods like flakes, vegetables like kale, spinach, turnip, algae, bloodworms, and fish pellets.

Foods to Avoid

However, it is recommended not to give these snails any food that is rich in acid or sugar.

How Much to Feed

It is recommended to feed your mystery snail at least 5-6 times per week then allow them to go without food for one day.

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In case you do not know how much to feed your snail, you can begin by feeding small quantities of food like fish pellets, then increase the amount gradually.

To avoid overfeeding, you should always try to eliminate any leftovers in the tank.

Health And Wellness

It is common for snail owners to face challenges when distinguishing a dead or undead mystery snail.

Signs of Illness

Here are some signs that show your snail is about to die:

  • Laying at the bottom with minimal movements.
  • The snail may begin to float in the water
  • Repugnant scent or lightweight snail.

Common Health Problems

  1. Swollen foot

This problem does not necessarily suggest that your snail is dying. It is simply an unavoidable condition that affects snails as they near their lifespan.

In other circumstances, a swollen foot can be due to changes in water parameters.

Prevention and Treatment

It is recommended to change the quality of the water and ensure that there are no additional chemicals like copper.

  1. Floating

A mystery snail that keeps floating may not mean that it is unwell since in most cases it might just be weak or unable to climb.

In other cases, a mystery snail may float due to installing a powerful filter, which results in loss of balance.

Prevention and Treatment

Try to change the filter to prevent air from getting trapped in the lungs.

  1. Cracked shell

Another common problem your mystery snail encounters is having a cracked shell, which is normally due to a low intake of calcium.

Prevention and Treatment

To prevent this from happening, you will need to add calcium to your snail’s diet.

  1. Mantle collapse

If your snail suffers from a mantle collapse, its shell would begin detaching from its mantle, thereby exposing delicate organs like the gills and lungs.

Prevention and Treatment

Unfortunately, if your snail is already suffering from mantle collapse, then the condition cannot be fixed.

But you can still prevent this condition from happening by maintaining a clean environment to avoid infections.

  1. Lack of appetite

Mystery snails are known for their huge appetites and if your snail is not munching regularly on the food you provide, it may mean that the animal is sick or about to die.

Prevention and Treatment

Even though mystery snails are not picky, you can still try to figure out your snail’s favorite foods, then feed the food occasionally until it regains its appetite.

You can also try to consult advice from a specialist to understand what your snail is suffering from.

Breeding And Reproduction Of Mystery Snail

One mysterious characteristic about these snails is that they sometimes don’t require a mate to reproduce. In addition, mystery snails tend to lay their eggs on the water’s surface.

For successful breeding at home, take a look below for the conditions you are required to provide.

Condition For Breeding

Firstly, provide your snails with foods that are rich in proteins and calcium like algae, spinach, bloodworms, calcium supplements, and more.

Tank Requirements

It is important to prepare beforehand since after breeding mystery snails tend to increase in size. With that said, you should find a tank size that is more than 5 gallons, for fitting all the snails.

Water Quality And Temperature

When it comes to water temperature, mystery snails require at least 73-78 degrees Fahrenheit to breed effectively.

In addition, since these snails like laying their eggs above water surfaces, it is recommended to lower water levels up to 4 inches tall.

An important point to note is that you should always monitor the females since the male snails are known for overbreeding, thereby killing the females.

Steps For Breeding Mystery Snail

1. Mating And Laying Eggs

First, you need to find a male to mate the female. Mating takes around 3+ hours or even weeks. If mating takes a long time then you can separate the male from the female since male mystery snails are known for overbreeding.

Moreover, females love laying their eggs above the water surface, so do not try to sink them below, since you may damage the clutch.

2. Hatching And Caring For Babies

By providing appropriate conditions, the eggs of your mystery snail will hatch around 2-4 weeks. After they hatch, remember not to move the clutch for a few days since this may kill the fragile clutch and damage the eggs.

After waiting for a couple of days, you can then go ahead and remove the clutch using your fingers or razor blade.

You now have two options here. You can either keep the eggs in an incubator or simply leave them inside the tank.

Once the babies come out of the eggs, it may result in increased numbers of snails so it is advised to plan and maximize space.

You can also raise the babies in a breeder box hatchery to separate them from other animals.

Tips For Successful Breeding Of Mystery Snail

When it comes to breeding mystery snails, it’s not that complicated and anyone can do it at home.

As stated before, mystery snails will breed successfully when you provide them with appropriate breeding conditions.

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With that said, check out the following tips on how you can breed these amazing creatures successfully.

  1. Condition of parents

Typically, you first need to find a fit male to breed with the female. Simply ensure that both genders are healthy enough, without any other underlying issues.

You can also decide which colors you want to breed. It has been noticed that certain coloured mystery snails will provide you with different colors like a blue and golden mystery snail equals a jade mystery snail.

  1. Ideal water conditions

Ideal breeding conditions include at least 73-78 degrees Fahrenheit.

However, try not to use high temperatures immediately since this could put your mystery snail into shock. Instead, raise the temperature by at least one degree after every 2-day period.

You should also drain some water from the tank until it reaches about 2 inches tall.

  1. Feeding

Feeding is another important step in breeding mystery snails. Foods that are rich in calcium and proteins are especially perfect for feeding mystery snails during breeding.

  1. Hatching the eggs

The clutch of mystery snails is very sensitive so you should always handle it with a lot of care. But at times, the clutch may appear dud when the female lacks a mate.

Some signs of a faulty clutch include the appearance of red or pink stains, tiny than average eggs, bad odor, and eggs that refuse to hatch.

An additional point to note is that the eggs will hatch rapidly under warmer water temperatures.

Mystery Snail In The Aquarium Hobby

Mystery snails are one of the most peaceful snails to keep in your aquarium. In addition, they are perfect for functional and decorative purposes.

These snails also do perfectly in the aquarium and are sold every day at pet stores.

The first time mystery snails were introduced to the aquarium hobby, no one understood what they were and why they disappeared frequently, and thus the name ‘mystery snail’.

Benefits Of Keeping A Mystery Snail

Mystery snails are one of the most eye-catching pets to have in your aquarium. Here are some of the benefits they possess:

  1. Natural cleansing crew

They can get rid of algae and waste food found in fish tanks thereby creating a natural cleansing crew.

  1. Adds beauty to the tank

They come in different colors, which are perfect for decorating and adding character to various spaces.

  1. Low maintenance

They are easy to care for and maintain, unlike other pets. For instance, they can eat anything you offer them since they are not picky.

Choosing The Right Mystery Snail For Your Tank

The following are some factors you need to consider when choosing the right mystery snail for your tank:

  1. Compatibility with other tank mates

Picking tank mates is a simple task since mystery snails can interact with any pet peacefully. In most cases, some of their tank mates would rarely notice their existence.

In addition, mystery snails are freshwater aquatic creatures which makes them compatible with numerous varieties of invertebrates and fish.

In return, these snails can clean up your fish tank by feeding on dead fish, algae, and other leftovers from the fish.

However, do not forget that you need to provide appropriate environmental conditions for both the mystery snails and their tank mates.

  1. Size of snail and tank

When it comes to choosing the right mystery snail for your tank, it is essential to also consider factors like the size of the snail and tank.

In this case, the minimum size of your tank should be five gallons, which is ideal for keeping one mystery snail. You can then increase the size gradually whenever you add another snail and other tank mates.

Community Tank With Mystery Snail

Ideal tank mates

It is very easy to form a community in your aquarium when mystery snails are concerned. These types of snails can survive perfectly with other creatures like:

  • Killifish
  • Betta fish
  • Nerite snails
  • Tetras
  • Cory catfish
  • Otocinclus
  • Shrimps e.g. Amano shrimp, and red cherry shrimp

However, it is advised to avoid using some loach or catfish species, since these creatures are known for killing mystery snails.

Feeding and interactions with other fish

Now that you know which tank mates are suitable for mystery snails, you must be wondering how you can feed them whilst maintaining a nutritious diet.

Fortunately, mystery snails can feed on fish pellets or any other fish foods. They can therefore consume all the leftovers that your fish leave behind.

Where To Buy Mystery Snail

Nowadays, many pet stores sell various mystery snails in different colors. This allows you to pick colors of your preferences.

However, depending on how many snails you want to keep, you will have to prepare beforehand by ensuring you have an appropriate tank size, water parameters, and more.

The following are various places where you can buy mystery snails.

1. Online retailers

Nowadays most people use online shops to purchase and receive products easily. Luckily, different online retailers sell different kinds of mystery snails as well as foods rich in calcium and proteins.

You can check them out on:

  • Amazon: Amazon is the most famous shopping brand and their most popular mystery snail is the gold one. They also sell other mystery snails tank mates like nerite snails.
  • eBay: eBay is known for offering deals, so this could be a perfect stop for multiple choices of mystery snails.
  • Petco: This is another online retailer that specializes in freshwater invertebrates.
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2. Local pet store

If you need to purchase a mystery snail but want to be able to check it out in person first, then a local pet store might be the best option.

  • Petsmart: This website allows you to find various pet stores near you. It is therefore a perfect choice for buying mystery snails locally.
  • Independent pet stores: If online shopping does not suit you, then you can find an independent pet store that sells mystery snails around your local area.

Tips For Buying A Mystery Snail

Before purchasing any product, whether online or locally, it is vital to check out for various factors. Here’s what you need to consider before purchasing a mystery snail:

  1. Checking the health of the snail

Although it is uncommon for mystery snails to fall sick, it is still important to check if the snail is healthy before purchasing.

You can even investigate if the snail is moving. If there are no movements, then don’t buy it since the snail is already dead.

In addition, look out for other illnesses that are highlighted in the above article.

  1. Importance of quarantine

Most people forget this part but once you buy the snail, you should try to quarantine it for a few days. Do not be in a rush to mix the new snail with others.

The quarantine can prevent the snail from infecting other healthy mystery snails in case it has a disease.

Furthermore, it can allow the snail to adjust to the new environment, since it may die from the stress of traveling from the store.

Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

What is a mystery snail?

A mystery snail is a type of freshwater snail, commonly referred to as an apple snail.

It is called a mystery snail since it can frequently disappear without leaving any trace and then reappear after a few days. Moreover, the females tend to lay eggs often even without mating for many months.

How big do mystery snails get?

Mystery snails are one of the biggest freshwater snails in a certain hobby. Some can grow up to inches while others grow to 1-1¼ inches.

Care And Maintenance Questions

How to set up a home for mystery snail

Setting up a home for your favorite snails will include selecting a fitting and sturdy tank. For instance, 1-2 mystery snails can fit comfortably in a 3 gallons tank.

You can then fill up the tank with clean water whilst ensuring that the temperature ranges from 24-30 degrees Celsius. You can also add a substrate in the tank like painted stones or pebbles.

Lastly, don’t forget to add a filter since it allows the snails to live in a clean and healthy environment.

How to feed a mystery snail

You can begin by feeding your mystery snail about 1-2 tablespoons of fish food to understand the amount it needs every day. Moreover, if there are any leftovers, ensure you clean them out to prevent overeating and oversize mystery snail.

Moreover, provide the snail with a nutritious diet to ensure they receive appropriate calcium and protein intakes.

Breeding And Reproduction Questions

How to breed mystery snail

Mystery snails require appropriate environmental conditions to breed perfectly.

Once the breeding environment has been set up, the next thing is to find a male to mate with the female, which takes around 4-6 hours.

However, mating can happen many times per week so ensure you monitor the breeding process since males can end up overbreeding the females.

What conditions are needed for breeding

Again, you need to lower the water level up to around 2 inches tall and raise the temperature gradually. The most appropriate temperature ranges between 73-78 degrees Fahrenheit.

Furthermore, make sure to feed the snails nutritious foods like vegetables, calcium supplements, daphnia, and more.

Aquarium Hobby Questions

Can mystery snails live with other fish?

Mystery snails are not complicated and can live peacefully with other animals. For this reason, you can keep them together with shrimp, plants, and fish.

However, avoid keeping them with bigger or more aggressive fish as they can end up killing your mystery snail.

What are the benefits of keeping mystery snails in a tank?

Mystery snails are the best animals for eliminating those bothersome waste foods or algae in your fish tanks.

They are also perfect for enhancing the interior décor of any room all thanks to the multiple choices of different attractive colors.

Unlike other picky, more aggressive, or annoying pets, mystery snails make an ideal addition to an aquarium hobby, all thanks to their low maintenance quality.


Mystery snails can interact well with other pets like otocinclus and catfish, which are also algae and bottom feeders.

They are also very simple to care for, which makes them an ideal choice for anyone, even beginners.

In case you have any questions regarding mystery snails, don’t hesitate to ask in the comments section below! You can also share your experience or tips for caring for mystery snails.


Passionate fishkeeper. Nature lover. Creative thinker. Music junkie. Adventurer.

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