Caring for Your New Mystery Snail
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Mystery Snail Factoids

Origin

South America

Albino Origin

Reared in captivity

Sexing

Monoecious

Temperature

Immaterial  

Attitude

Eats day and night

Security

Carries it on back

Foods

Any food on bottom

Water

Needs hard water

Incubation

2 to 3 weeks

Brood Size

About 100 eggs

Breeding

Eggs laid above water

LA
We're surprised no one thought of painting mystery snail shells, yet.

Appeal.  Mystery snails add an element of intrigue to your aquaria.  Their waving tentacles and ever-chewing radula (scraping tongue) look rather interesting.  They also clean up excess food – a service that keeps tanks healthy.  Cleaning up excess food puts them in the "must keep" category.

LA
Mystery snails travel on their specialized "foot."

LA
Purple mystery snails dining on formerly frozen foods.

LA
Snails do eat algae, but they will not clean your glass for you.  They leave trails.

 

Food.  In the wild, mystery snails eat algae, plant leaves, and anything else they find on the bottom.  In captivity, mystery snails eat the same thing (if they have to) but prefer fish food – a much more nutritious menu.  Oddly enough, they do best in planted aquaria.  They chew on plant leaves a little bit but much prefer fish food.

LA
Mystery snails learn to eat off the surface.

Good Competers.  Mystery snails can smell food in the water.  They quickly learn to climb to the top and skim food off the surface.  They form a food gathering funnel with their foot and pull food into it.

LA
Some fishes bug them but don't kill them.  This big guy died of old age, not white clouditis.

LA
Apple snails get much larger -- baseball size

LA
Apple snails come in fewer colors than the mystery snails

Good Mixers.  Mystery snails get along with anything except fish eggs.  (They will finish off a spawn of angel eggs overnight.)  On the other side of the coin, nippy fish torture them unmercifully by chewing on their tentacles and eyestalks.  Keep them away from snail eaters such as clown loaches, cichlids, and puffers.

Apple Snails:  Pomacea canaliculata looks just like a mystery snail but grows much larger – as big as a standard baseball.  Apple snails are unbelievably prodigious plant eaters.  Apple snails eat plants AND sponge filters.

Trapdoor Snails.  The trapdoor snails (livebearing snails kept in fish ponds) also look much like mystery snails.  Trapdoor snails, unlike the Ampullariae, breathe underwater thru their gills.  They are also destructive plant eaters in your aquaria.  Trapdoor snails do fine in plant-free aquaria.  Pond keepers use them to control algae.  I don't consider them much of an algae eater.

LA
Mystery snails are intriguing-looking critters -- even with pitted shells.

Water.  Mystery snails thrive in hard, alkaline water (like comes out of our Des Moines faucets -- carbonates 220 ppm).  Soft, acid water tends to dissolve their shells (make pits in them or turn them white).  Add NovAqua to remove the chlorine and any heavy metals.  Salt and copper both will stress and/or kill mystery snails. 

Snail Killers.  The commercial snail poisons (and some medications) kill mystery snails because they contain copper.  We find these only partially effective.  And when they work, you have a layer of dead snails on your aquarium floor.  Most people want to kill the little fast-reproducing pond snails as opposed to the more desirable mystery snails.

Snorkelers.  Since they breathe air, mystery snails can live in low oxygen waters.  Still, they prefer clean water.  They take in oxygen at the water’s surface thru an extendible air tube.

LA
Your mystery snails can figure out how to breed on their own.

LA
Lower your water level, so your mystery snails can lay eggs.

LA
Not a real secret -- lower your water level if you want mystery snail eggs.

LA
Two ivory mystery snails just getting acquainted.

Breeding.  Two mystery snails kept together will usually figure out how to breed on their own.  The secret?  Lower your water level three to five inches.  They crawl out of the water and lay their eggs above the water line.  The egg mass looks like pink froth nearly as large as your little finger.  Keep them humid and they hatch in two to three weeks.  The babies fall into the water and rock and roll from day one.  They grow best when kept in tanks separate from the adults.  Little ones crawl inside the shells of adult mysteries and irritate them.  Typical kids.

 

LA
Apple snail eggs look very similar except they are a dark pink/red color.

LA
Mystery snail eggs are a lighter color.  They're actually the same size.

LA
Head 'em up.  Move 'em out.

LA
Mystery snails now come in several colors of shells and bodies.

LA
These "corals" really show up over black gravel.

LA
Mystery snails grow to a nice size -- especially the original "blacks."

LA
Compare their size to these barbs and platies. 

LA
Gold mystery snails are probably the most popular.

Other Comments.  On average, tanks with snails in them stay cleaner and healthier than snail-less tanks.  Mystery snails will clean up amazing amounts of overfed fish food that would otherwise pollute your water.  LA.

Adam, October 22, 2010
My girlfriend and I are both fans of your website and consult it every time one of us decide to get new fish for our aquariums. I had a mystery snail lay eggs the other day and was doing it while I was feeding my fish. I grabbed my camera and took some photos of it making its egg cocoon thing. Out of the pictures I took, the one attached to this email is probably the best I took. I thought this might be a good addition to your website if you all want it!

A

A:  Nice pic.  It shows where the eggs come from and where they go.  I'm adding it to my mystery snail page.  Thanks.  LA

 

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