Mystery Snail - Care Guide

Mystery Snails are one of, if not THE most popular freshwater snails in the aquarium hobby, and for good reason! They are highly unique in appearance with their large and colorful shells, their iridescently marked bodies, and their swaying tentacles. These snails, which come in several different colors, are particularly excellent for adding decoration to any aquarium, but they also make themselves extremely useful by vigorously cleaning up waste and excess food!




Mystery snails are extremely popular for their stunning colors as well as their practical benefits. They work hard to clean algae off of glass, plants, and decorations, they eat hair algae, and they keep your substrate clean and the correct color. Mystery snails are completely peaceful, and therefore safe to keep with any fish, shrimp, or plants. What differentiates these snails from other types of snails is their unique breathing and breeding techniques. They can breathe both through their gills and through a tube that extends out of the front of their bodies. They extend this tube up above the water line and then move back and forth to take the air in.


If you search on the Internet for mystery snails, many results will state that these are the same species as Apple snails. Our Mystery snails are NOT Apple snails, though they do resemble them in shape and general appearance. Apple snails are considered an invasive species and are illegal to own in the United States. Our Mystery snails do not grow to the tremendous size that Apple snails do (often as big as an apple!).  


These are freshwater snails and their adaptable nature makes them suitable for just about any freshwater aquarium. They are very popular for planted tanks and community tanks, and many people use them in large aquariums for waste management and algae control.  


We sell Mystery snails in 5 different colors: Golden, Blue, Black, Purple, Ivory White, and Albino (which features a white body with a striped brown shell).



Pomacea bridgesii



Mystery snails are among the largest freshwater snails in the hobby, growing to a maximum diameter of 2 inches or more. Some specimens may stay around 1 to 1 ¼ inches in diameter. Most of the Mystery snails we ship out are very young and range from ½ to 1 inch in diameter.


Recommended Tank Parameters

  • pH level range: 7.6 to 8.4
  • Temperature range: 68° to 84° F
  • Water type: kH 12-18; gH 8-18 (Mystery snails do best in hard water)
  • Notes from the owner: Snails are very sensitive to copper, so watch out for copper if you use tap water in your tank. They also need a decent amount of calcium in their water to maintain their shell health, which can be helped by feeding the snails foods rich in calcium (such as kale, spinach, and other greens), by floating a cuttle bone in the water, or by using additives.



Mystery snails are extremely active eaters, which makes them so excellent at ridding aquariums of waste. They are completely safe to keep with live plants as long as enough food is available for them; however, they have been known to munch on plants if they get hungry enough. Giving them fish food is a great way to deter them from eating your live plants. Other than algae and biofilm, they also eat fish/invertebrate pellets, algae wafers, and blanched vegetables such as zucchini, kale, spinach, or cucumber. Mystery snails have a very keen sense of smell and will rush toward food as soon as it is dropped in the water.



Mystery snails breed with the traditional male and female pairing, and they are fairly adept at figuring out how to breed on their own. If you want to encourage your mystery snails to breed, we suggest lowering the water level in your aquarium 3 or 4 inches, as the female will crawl out of the water to lay her eggs an inch or so above the water line. The eggs are light pink in color and are laid in a sort of cocoon, which looks like large, frothy clump. This cocoon sticks to the side of the aquarium and consists of an average of 100 or so eggs. If there is enough humidity where the eggs are located, they should hatch in 2 to 4 weeks, whereupon the baby snails will fall into the water and begin the journey of life.


If you do NOT want your mystery snails to breed or are worried about them overpopulating your aquarium, it is easy to remove their eggs before they hatch. As mentioned above, Mystery snail eggs take 2 to 4 weeks to hatch after they are laid, which gives you plenty of time to spot the cluster of eggs and remove it from your tank. 



What to Expect from Us

As stated above, we generally ship very young Mystery snails that are not yet fully grown, though the sizes of the snails you receive may vary from snail to snail.  


All Aquatic Arts brand plants and animals come with a 100% live arrival guarantee, plus free email support directly from the owners! All that we require is that you send us a clear, digital picture of the unopened bag of DOAs, and we will replace them free of charge.



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