Mystery Snail Guide [2023]

Fact Checked by
Sheldon Myers, MS / Aquarist


Mystery snails are a popular choice for aquarium hobbyists, and for good reason! They are easy to care for, add a touch of excitement to the tank, and can even help keep it clean. In this article, we’ll dive into the fascinating world of mystery snails, discussing their varieties, how to care for them, and their benefits.

What are Mystery Snails?

Mystery snails, also known as Pomacea bridgesii, are a type of freshwater gastropod native to South America. They are part of the Ampullariidae family, which also includes apple snails. Mystery snails are often mistaken for other similar-looking species, but they can be distinguished by their operculum, a plate-like structure that seals their shell when they retreat inside.

Varieties of Mystery Snails

There are several varieties of mystery snails, each with their own unique appearance:

Mystery Snails in the Aquarium

mystery snail
mystery snail

Mystery snails are a fantastic addition to a freshwater aquarium. They are peaceful creatures that get along well with other tank inhabitants, including fish and other invertebrates. They are also excellent algae eaters, helping to keep the tank clean and clear.

Setting Up the Tank

Before introducing mystery snails to your aquarium, it’s essential to ensure the tank is set up to meet their needs:

  • Tank Size: A minimum of 10 gallons is recommended for one or two mystery snails, but a larger tank will provide more room for them to explore.
  • Substrate: Fine gravel or sand is ideal, as it allows the snails to move around with ease.
  • Plants and Decorations: Live plants, driftwood, and rocks provide hiding spots and climbing surfaces for your snails.

Water Parameters

Maintaining proper water parameters is crucial for the health of your mystery snails:

  • Temperature: A temperature of 68-82°F (20-28°C) is ideal for mystery snails.
  • pH Level: A pH level between 7.0 and 8.0 is recommended.
  • Water Hardness: Mystery snails prefer moderately hard water, with a hardness of 8-12 dH.

Feeding Mystery Snails

Mystery snails are omnivorous, meaning they eat both plant and animal matter. Their diet should include algae wafers, sinking pellets, blanched vegetables (such as spinach, zucchini, and kale), and occasional protein sources like bloodworms or brine shrimp. It’s essential to provide a balanced diet to ensure the healthy growth and development of your mystery snails.

Breeding Mystery Snails

Mystery snails are relatively easy to breed in a home aquarium. They are not hermaphroditic, so you’ll need both a male and a female to reproduce. When ready to mate, the male will climb on top of the female and fertilize her eggs.

The female will then lay a cluster of eggs above the waterline, usually on the tank lid or nearby decorations. Keep the area humid to prevent the eggs from drying out, and they should hatch within 2-4 weeks. Once the baby snails emerge, they can be fed a diet of crushed algae wafers or pellets.

Common Health Issues

Mystery snails can be affected by several health issues, such as shell damage, shell rot, and parasites. To prevent these problems, maintain proper water parameters, provide a balanced diet, and add calcium supplements to the water to ensure strong shell growth.

Benefits of Mystery Snails

In addition to their captivating appearance, mystery snails offer several benefits to a home aquarium:

  1. Algae control: Mystery snails are efficient algae eaters, helping to keep the tank clean and clear.
  2. Tank maintenance: They consume leftover food and debris, reducing waste and ammonia levels in the aquarium.
  3. Peaceful tank mates: Mystery snails are non-aggressive and compatible with a variety of other fish and invertebrates.

Purchasing Mystery Snails

When purchasing mystery snails, look for healthy specimens with bright colors and an intact operculum. They should be active and responsive to their environment. Avoid snails with cracked shells, visible parasites, or signs of illness.

Introducing Mystery Snails to Your Tank

mystery snail
mystery snail

Once you have purchased your mystery snails, acclimate them to your tank’s water parameters by placing them in a separate container and slowly adding aquarium water over a period of 1-2 hours. After the acclimation process, gently release the snails into the tank, allowing them to explore their new home.


Mystery snails are a unique and captivating addition to any freshwater aquarium. With proper care and attention, these intriguing creatures can thrive and provide numerous benefits to your aquatic ecosystem. Remember to maintain proper water parameters, provide a balanced diet, and ensure a suitable tank environment for your snails to enjoy a long, healthy life.


  1. How long do mystery snails live? Mystery snails can live up to 3 years with proper care and optimal tank conditions.
  2. Can mystery snails live with betta fish? Yes, mystery snails are generally compatible with betta fish, as they are peaceful and non-aggressive. However, monitor their interactions to ensure compatibility.
  3. How can I tell if my mystery snail is male or female? It can be challenging to determine the sex of mystery snails, as their reproductive organs are hidden inside their shells. Experienced hobbyists may be able to identify males by their longer, more muscular foot.
  4. Do mystery snails reproduce quickly? Mystery snails do not reproduce as quickly as some other snail species. However, they can still produce a significant number of offspring in a short period if conditions are right.
  5. What should I do if my mystery snail’s shell is damaged? If you notice damage to your mystery snail’s shell, improve the water quality, ensure a proper diet, and add a calcium supplement to
Elliot Galindo
Elliot Galindo
Elliot Galindo is a highly educated expert on freshwater shrimp and their care as pets. He received his Bachelor's degree in marine biology from the University of Oregon and has used that knowledge to become an authority on shrimp care.



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