How To Care For Mystery Snails

How To Care For Mystery Snails

Mystery snails, known for their vibrant colors and unique patterns, are often a popular addition to freshwater aquariums. These snails, also known as apple snails, can be fascinating creatures to watch and care for. However, like any living organism, they require specific care to thrive in their environment. In this article, we will explore the essential guidelines for caring for mystery snails, ensuring their health and longevity.

Mystery snails are a species of freshwater snails originating from Southeast Asia. They are peaceful creatures that spend most of their time exploring the tank and grazing on algae and uneaten food. With proper care, mystery snails can live for several years, becoming beloved members of your aquarium community.

Tank Setup

When setting up a tank for mystery snails, there are a few crucial factors to consider. First, choose a tank size appropriate for the number of snails you plan to keep. A 10 to 20-gallon tank is generally suitable for a small group of snails.

Next, provide ample hiding spots and surfaces for them to explore. Adding driftwood, rocks, and live plants will create a stimulating environment and help maintain their well-being. Be cautious when choosing plants, as mystery snails may devour certain species. Opt for sturdy plants like java ferns or anubias.

Water Parameters

Maintaining suitable water parameters is essential for the health and happiness of your mystery snails. The ideal temperature range for these snails is between 72°F and 82°F (22°C and 28°C). Ensure that the tank’s pH level remains in the range of 7.0 to 8.0, as acidic or alkaline water can negatively impact their well-being.

Ammonia and nitrite levels should remain at zero, while nitrates should be kept below 20 parts per million (ppm). Regular water testing and partial water changes are instrumental in maintaining optimal water quality.

Feeding Mystery Snails

Mystery snails are herbivores and will primarily feed on algae and decaying plant matter found in the tank. However, it is essential to supplement their diet with high-quality snail-friendly food. Algae wafers, blanched vegetables (such as zucchini or cucumber), and sinking pellets designed for freshwater snails are excellent choices.

Feed your mystery snails once or twice a day, ensuring they consume all the food within a few hours. Avoid overfeeding, as excess food can rot and pollute the tank’s water.

Maintaining Water Quality

Regular maintenance and upkeep of the tank’s water quality are paramount for the health of your mystery snails. Perform regular water changes of 10-15% every week to remove any accumulated toxins and debris. By vacuuming the substrate during water changes, you can eliminate excess waste and prevent the build-up of harmful substances.

Additionally, keep an eye on the levels of ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates. High levels of these substances can lead to stress and illness in your snails. If you detect any irregularities, take immediate action to rectify the situation, such as adjusting water parameters or increasing water changes.

Handling Mystery Snails

Mystery snails are generally docile and do not require frequent handling. However, if you need to handle them for maintenance purposes, follow a few guidelines to ensure their safety. Before touching a snail, wet your hands with clean, chlorine-free water. This prevents damaging their delicate protective shell.

When lifting a snail, support its body and carefully lift it, avoiding any sudden or forceful movements. Never yank or pull on the snail, as this may cause it harm or distress.

Breeding Mystery Snails

Creating optimal conditions for mystery snail breeding can be an exciting endeavor for aquarium enthusiasts. To encourage breeding, maintain a stable water temperature and provide plenty of hiding spots in the tank. Mystery snails lay their eggs above the waterline, so ensure that a suitable platform, such as a plastic lid or mesh screen, is available for them to lay their eggs.

Once the eggs hatch, you may need to separate the snails to prevent overcrowding. It is crucial to have a plan in place to find suitable homes for the new snails or to prevent unwanted population growth.

Common Issues and Remedies

Despite their resilience, mystery snails can face a range of issues that may affect their health. Some common problems include shell damage, fungal or bacterial infections, and issues with reproductive health. If you notice any signs of illness or abnormal behavior, such as lethargy or loss of appetite, take immediate action.

For shell issues, provide a calcium source in the tank, such as pieces of cuttlebone or crushed coral. These minerals are essential for shell growth and repair. If you suspect a bacterial or fungal infection, promptly remove the affected snail from the tank and quarantine it for treatment.

Frequently Asked Questions

How often should I feed my mystery snails?

Mystery snails should be fed once or twice a day, ensuring they consume the food within a few hours.

Can mystery snails live with other fish in the same tank?

Yes, mystery snails are generally peaceful and can coexist with many species of fish. Ensure that the fish species you choose are compatible with the snails and that the tank size is appropriate for both.

How long do mystery snails typically live?

With proper care, mystery snails can live for up to 2-3 years.

Can mystery snails survive in brackish water?

Mystery snails are primarily freshwater snails and do not do well in brackish water. It is best to keep them in a freshwater environment with stable water parameters.

Do mystery snails reproduce asexually?

No, mystery snails require both a male and female for reproduction. They are not capable of reproducing asexually.


Caring for mystery snails can be a rewarding experience for aquarium enthusiasts. By providing a suitable tank environment, maintaining water quality, and ensuring a balanced diet, you can help these unique creatures thrive. Keep an eye out for any signs of health issues and take prompt action if needed. With proper care and attention, mystery snails can bring beauty and intrigue to your aquatic ecosystem for years to come.