A mystery snail is a wonderful addition to almost any aquarium. This is partly because they do a great job of helping to clean the tank, and also because they are easy to care for and don’t require a lot of difficult or regular maintenance.
These snails are very popular, but understanding how to take care of them, what type of environment they need, and how to keep them happy and healthy is very important before adding a mystery snail to your aquarium.
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Different Types of Mystery Snails – Brown, Black, Ivory, Gold
One of the coolest features of mystery snails is that they come in a wide variety of colors and appearances, which means that aquarium owners can easily choose a snail that will add a touch of color to their freshwater tank.
The shells are available in brown, black, ivory, and even gold variants. These are attractive neutral colors that won’t cause the snails to really stick out in the water, but do add a touch of interest to the tank.
Keeping Mystery Snails in Tanks
Understanding how to take care of a mystery snail is important before adding them to a tank so that there isn’t any problem with them dying or not thriving in the conditions.
They spend most of their time on the bottom of the tank grazing on food, and their only fear is a predator that could break through their shell. Knowing this, tank owners can easily set up their tanks to be a habitable place for these snails.
These snails love a lot of vegetation in the tank so that they have plenty of food to eat. If there isn’t enough food in the tank, then they will actually leave the water, which is why providing a lot of food is important, as is keeping a tight lid on the tank.
While having a lot of vegetation on the bottom of the tank is important so that the snails can eat, they still need sand, pebbles, or gravel on the bottom so that they can easily move around. The type of substrate used in a tank doesn’t matter as long as the snail will be able to move easily.
Tank Size Requirements
They don’t get much bigger than around 2” in diameter, which makes them great for including in larger and in smaller tanks. Even as adults, they only have around four whorls, and they are all relatively small, which makes them great tank mates in most conditions.
Ideal Water Conditions
Even though these snails are very hardy, they don’t like many or rapid changes in their water. This means that changing the water needs to be done carefully and correctly so that the snails aren’t accidentally shocked. They prefer to live in highly oxygenated waters that have a lot of movement.
The water conditions for these snails are relatively easy for most people to maintain. They need a high enough pH so that their shells won’t start to dissolve, which is why they need a pH in the range of 7.6 to 8.4.
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They are fairly temperature hardy and can easily handle living in a range of 68°F to 84°F, as long as there aren’t regular temperature swings in this range, which can harm them. Additionally, they prefer a water type of kH 12-18.
These snails have to have hard shells to be protected from predators and to be healthy, which is why adding calcium supplements to the water is such a good idea.
How Many Mystery Snails Can You Keep per Gallon?
To prevent them from running out of room to move or food to eat, only put one to two snails per every five gallons in the tank.
Breeding Mystery Snails
Male and female mystery snails will mate without any help as long as the tank conditions are correct. When the female is going to lay her eggs, then she will place them at the surface of the water in a small cocoon. The eggs will hatch in about a month.
Removing the cocoon is the easiest way to prevent more snails from being born if the tank isn’t large enough to support babies.
To encourage breeding, make sure that there is headspace above the water level so that the mother can put her eggs there. Also, make sure to provide plenty of food, as the snails won’t mate when there isn’t enough food to feed their babies.
What Do Mystery Snails Eat?
Mystery snails love eating on rotting or dead plants and they will even graze on any algae that is growing along the bottom or on the sides of the tank.
Since they graze so easily, and eat such a wide variety of foods, they are generally easy to care for as long as enough vegetation is provided in the tank for them to eat.
Having a lot of vegetation in the tank is a great way to feed them naturally, as the snails will eat any rotting or dead parts of the plant, which also helps keep the tank clean and looking great. Aquarium owners who haven’t established a lot of plants in their tank will need to add food for their snails.
Washing and blanching vegetables or leafy greens and adding them to the tank is a great way to feed these snails. It is important to remove uneaten food after a while, however, so that it doesn’t lower water quality.
Choosing Compatible Tank Mates
Putting peaceful fish in a tank with mystery snails is important to prevent the snails from being eaten. Gentle fish, such as killifish, tetras, and guppies are all great choices, as they tend to ignore the snails and will leave them alone.
For a little more diversity in the tank, consider adding ghost, cherry, or amano shrimp. These invertebrates are incredibly peaceful and won’t harm the mystery snails.
Adding a mystery snail to an aquarium is a great way to enjoy natural cleanup in the tank and to have another fun creature to watch.
Since they are so easy to take care of and will mate naturally without any help, they are a fun and stress free addition to any thriving aquarium.
Understanding the water conditions that they need and the food they require to thrive will help aquarium owners take care of their new snails.