Freshwater Mystery Snails: A Comprehensive Guide

Freshwater Mystery Snails: A Comprehensive Guide

Mystery snails are very active and can be seen roaming around the tank looking for something to graze on.


Are you fascinated by aquatic life and interested in adding freshwater snails to your aquarium? Then you should consider freshwater mystery snails. These beautiful and mysterious creatures are fascinating to observe and can be a great addition to your tank. This article will delve into the world of freshwater mystery snails, including their habitat, behavior, care, and much more.


What are Freshwater Mystery Snails?

Freshwater mystery snails, scientifically known as Pomacea bridgesii, are a species of freshwater snails native to South America. They are commonly found in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay rivers, lakes, and ponds. These snails have a distinctive round shape, with a spiraled shell that ranges in color from light brown to dark purple. Most all Mystery Snails are sustainably bred by fish farmers in Florida.

Mystery snails are commonly grown in outdoor ponds where they thrive in conditions similar to where they are native to. 


The Appearance of Mystery Snails

Mystery Snails are one of the largest freshwater snail species in the hobby. Their size can range from one to two inches, sometimes even more. Most of Aquatic Arts’ Mystery Snails that are shipped to customers are young and range from half to one inch.

Aquatic Arts’s selection of Mystery Snails available includes Purple Mystery SnailIvory Mystery SnailBlack Mystery SnailBlue Mystery SnailGolden Mystery SnailChestnut AKA Albino Mystery Snail, and Olive Jade Mystery Snail.


Top Row : Olive Jade, Black, Golden, Ivory White 
Bottom Row: Blue, Purple, Chestnut Albino, Magenta


Habitat and Tank Requirements

Freshwater mystery snails are not particularly demanding when it comes to their habitat, but they do require certain conditions to thrive in a tank. They prefer clean and well-oxygenated water with a slightly basic pH of 7.2 or higher. The tank should also have plenty of plants (Hornwort, Marimo Balls, and Anubias sp.) and hiding places, such as rocks, Cholla Wood, driftwood, or even Coconut Cave Huts as these snails like to climb and explore. A tank size of at least 10 gallons is recommended for one or two snails.  We recommend using a lid as they can easily climb out of the tank. 

Safety in numbers: Mystery snails, like many invertebrates on the low end of the food chain, will gather in larger numbers to increase their odds of not being the individual predated upon. 


Behavior and Diet

Freshwater mystery snails are active and entertaining creatures to watch. They are omnivores and will eat a variety of foods, including algae, biofilm, fish food, and vegetables such as zucchini, peas, broccoli florets, and spinach. They also have a unique feeding behavior, using their radula (a tongue-like structure with rows of teeth) to scrape off algae and other food from surfaces.

Algae wafers and sinking pellets, particularly, are good sources of food for Mystery Snails, as they will sink to the bottom of the tank, giving the snails a chance to reach it before other tank mates. Aquatic Arts offers a varied diet via our Starter Snail Food Pack

Mystery Snails also need calcium in their water to maintain a healthy shell. Calcium-rich foods like kale and spinach, floating a cuttlebone in the tank, or using additives can help snails' well-being.


Providing fresh or frozen vegetables is a great way to supplement nutrition in your snail's diet. Best to remove food that goes uneaten after 2 hours to prevent the water from fowling.  


Breeding and Reproduction

Mystery Snails breed traditionally and are quick to reproduce. The female’s light pink eggs are laid in a cocoon known as a clutch above the water line. The clutch adheres to the aquarium's glass and, on average, houses 50-200 eggs. The eggs will begin to hatch after two to four weeks. These baby snails will need to be separated from adult snails to prevent overcrowding.

Hobbyists not interested in breeding snails or worried about overpopulation have plenty of time to move the eggs from their tank to another location before they hatch.

Various Mystery Snail Breeder Combo Packs and Deluxe Combo Packs are also available. 

Mystery Snails will always lay their egg clutches above the water line. The eggs can not be fully submersed or they will drown.  


Care and Maintenance

Freshwater mystery snails are relatively easy to care for and require minimal maintenance. They do not require any special lighting or filtration, but a heater may be necessary to maintain a consistent water temperature. Monitoring the water quality and performing regular water changes is important to keep the tank clean and healthy. It is very important to keep the pH at a proper level. If the pH becomes to acidic it will eat away at their thin shells which can lead to disease and illness.

Temperature between 68-84 degrees Fahrenheit

    • pH between 7.2-8.4
    • dGH between 8-18
    • dKH between 2-15 


Benefits of Keeping Freshwater Mystery Snails

Aside from being beautiful and interesting to watch, freshwater mystery snails also provide some benefits to your tank ecosystem. They help to clean the tank by eating algae, debris, and excess foods from fish feedings. By breeding them you can also provide a great natural food source for snail eating fish and turtles.


Tank Mates for Mystery Snails

Mystery Snails get along with almost any aquatic creature, even bottom-dwelling fish, as long as the tank is large enough to provide food for both species. They especially get along with upper and middle-water column fish since they seldom eat food that has fallen to the substrate.

Some of the best tank mates for Mystery Snails include Guppies and EndlersRasborasTetras, RicefishAmano ShrimpVampire Shrimp, Dwarf Cherry Shrimp (Neocaridina davidi), and other snail species. Some of the worst are Oscars, Cichlids, Puffers, Bichirs, Kinfefish, Goldfish, Loaches, and Crayfish.


Mystery Snail shells are a great surface for biofilm to grow on which will help to feed other tank mates like Painted Fire Red Shrimp.


Common Issues and Diseases

Like any other aquatic creature, freshwater mystery snails are susceptible to certain diseases and health issues. One common issue is overfeeding, which can lead to poor water quality and even death. Another issue is shell erosion, which can be caused by poor water quality or a lack of calcium in the snail's diet. Adding some cuttlebone to the water column and adding a high calcium food source such as KatsAquatics Calcium+ is a great way to ensure the mystery snails have healthy shells. 



Freshwater mystery snails are fascinating creatures that can make a great addition to your aquarium. With proper care and maintenance, these snails can thrive in a tank and provide numerous benefits to your tank ecosystem. We hope this guide has provided you with valuable information on freshwater mystery snails and has encouraged you to consider adding them to your aquarium.



1) Can freshwater mystery snails live in a tank with fish?

  • Yes, freshwater mystery snails can live in a tank with fish, as long as the fish are not aggressive and do not pose a threat to the snail.

2) How big can freshwater mystery snails grow?

  • Freshwater mystery snails can grow up to 2 inches in diameter.

3) How do I know if my freshwater mystery snail is healthy?

  • A healthy freshwater mystery snail should have a smooth, intact shell, be active and responsive, and have a healthy appetite.

4) Can I keep multiple freshwater mystery snails in the same tank?

  • Yes, freshwater mystery snails can be kept in groups, as long as there is enough space and food resources for all of them.

5) What should I do if my freshwater mystery snail is not moving or appears to be dead?

  • If your freshwater mystery snail is not moving or appears to be dead, gently touch its foot to see if it responds. If it does not respond, remove it from the tank and inspect it for any signs of illness or injury.

6) Can freshwater mystery snails reproduce in a home aquarium?

  • Yes, freshwater mystery snails can reproduce in a home aquarium, but they require a male and female to do so. The female will lay eggs above the waterline, which will hatch into tiny snails.

7) How often should I clean my freshwater mystery snail's tank?

  • It is recommended to clean your freshwater mystery snail's tank once a week, or as needed based on the size of the tank and the number of inhabitants.

8) Can freshwater mystery snails survive in cold water?

  • No, freshwater mystery snails require warm water temperatures between 68-84 degrees Fahrenheit to thrive.

9) What kind of substrate is best for freshwater mystery snails?

  • Freshwater mystery snails prefer soft, sandy substrate that they can bury themselves in. Avoid using sharp gravel or rough surfaces that can damage their delicate bodies.

10) Can I add medication to my freshwater mystery snail's tank?

  • Before adding any medication to your freshwater mystery snail's tank, make sure to research the specific medication and its potential impact on snails. Some medications can harm or even kill snails, so it is important to be cautious and consult with a veterinarian or experienced aquarist if necessary.

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