A Mystery Snail is a freshwater aquarium snail often available in pet stores. A Mystery Snail shell is generally brown in color, although other Mystery Snail shells can be creamy white. Mystery Snail shells can be a solid color, have a color gradient, or have accents of light brown, dark brown, black stripes and other markings. Mystery Snail shell color variations and patterns are virtually limitless. A Mystery Snail head and body are generally dark grey or black, with its foot being a lighter gray. Mystery Snail body colors can also range from yellow, gold, blue, green, brown and purple.
A Mystery Snail body is spotted with orange dots sprinkled across its head and body, providing an intriguing accent color. Orange accents also appear across the top portion of its mouth, as well as on its tentacles and siphon. On the tentacles and siphon, the orange accents appear more like lateral dashes as opposed to round spots. Black dashes also appear on its siphon. A Mystery Snail has orange rings appearing around its eyes, where their eyes rest on the tip of their eye stalks. A Mystery Snail also has an operculum that serves as a “trap door” used to seal itself in its shell.
A Mystery Snail is non-aggressive and docile by nature, liking a calm aquatic environment and peaceful tank mates. Mystery Snails have no means to attack other tank inhabitants and has only its operculum and shell for protection from aggressors. A Mystery Snail can be very active during times when the tanks lights are on, steadily travelling throughout the aquarium on the hunt for food, interesting places to explore, or a quiet place to take a break. A Mystery Snail can also be very active when the tank lights are off, feeding at night in complete darkness. Sometimes soon after the tank lights go off, a Mystery Snail will extend its siphon and move to the surface to get some air. And for as active as a Mystery Snail can be, it is not uncommon for it to be still and appear dormant for long periods of time.
It is often thought that Mystery Snails are slow moving creatures. For the most part this is true. But there are times when Mystery Snails can be seen moving very quickly across aquarium glass. Mystery Snails are also known to climb to the tops of tanks near the water surface and then all of a sudden let go of the surface and rapidly free fall to the tank bottom. On some occasions when this free fall occurs they simultaneously release a couple of large air bubbles out from under their shells on the way down. On other occasions, they do not totally release their foot from the glass. Instead it just loosens its foot a bit, sliding down the glass quickly while maintaining a bit of control on the way down.
Mystery Snail care is pretty easy and straight forward, making this species a good choice for beginners. That said, there are a few care issues to keep in mind:
Mystery Snails are expert “escape artists”. They are very good at finding ways out of the tank. Its important for hobbyists to do a periodic snail count to make sure all snails are accounted for. Escaped Mystery Snails can die from drying out, or get injured when falling from the tank. So its very important to keep a tank covered to the extent possible. If there is even the smallest gap in coverage, the chances are a Mystery Snail will find it.
Another Mystery Snail care issue concerns tank limitations. A tank’s limitations are primarily determined by aquarium dimensions, water volume and surface area. It’s common for a new hobbyist to add a bunch of Mystery Snails to an aquarium as an “aquarium cleaning crew”. While Mystery Snails can do a good job helping keep the tank clean, they also add to the bio-load of the tank like other living organisms. In that way, a Mystery Snail is just like any other tank inhabitant. They feed from the tank and they produce waste into it.
A Mystery Snail needs to be in an established tank with sufficient size and water volume to support its needs. So avoid overstocking and keep the general rules of fish count in mind. Like most other snails, a Mystery Snail can thrive in a small established tank like a 5 or 10 gallon aquarium. They can also do well in larger established tanks as well.
Water Conditions: Mystery Snails can do well in a wide range of aquarium water conditions. Avoid sudden shifts in temperature and water parameters because instability can be stressful to snails. The tank should be stable, cycled and established before putting snails in. The tropical community fish tank range is a safe choice. Mystery Snails seem to also like moderately moving, clear, oxygen rich water. A Mystery Snail also seems to adapt to environments with slower moving, murky water. But for aesthetic purposes, many hobbyists like keeping Mystery Snails in tanks with clear water.
Aquarium pH: 7.0 – 7.5
Water Temperature: 68 – 82 Degrees Fahrenheit.
Hardness & Minerals: On the hard side.
Lighting: Normal community tank tank lighting.
Ammonia and Nitrite levels should be at 0 ppm. Nitrate levels need to be kept from building up with regular partial water changes. Plant fertilizers, tank medications and treatments can be problematic as Mystery Snails can be sensitive to their ingredients. This is especially true for additives containing copper. Copper can be fatal.
A Mystery Snail prefers to be kept in aquarium water on the hard side with calcium levels sufficient to maintain healthy shells and adequate growth. Cracked, thin or excessively pitted shells can be signs of Calcium deficiency. When keeping Mystery Snails it may be a good idea to buy a Calcium test kit as well as a kH test kit. Depending on the results of those tests, periodic Calcium supplements may be necessary. But be careful with pH shifts.