How to Care for Mystery Snails
Mystery snails (or pomacea diffusa) are common freshwater snails to breed and/or keep as pets. If cared for correctly, mystery snails live an average of 2-3 years. By setting up your tank with care, adding the snails to the tank properly, and providing general care, you can maintain healthy, happy mystery snails.
Setting Up the Tank
Choose a tank.Select a sturdy tank with a cover for your snails (as they are known to escape). Keep in mind how many snails you will be keeping (and whether or not you will be breeding your snails). This will help you determine what size tank you need.Here are some guidelines:
- 1-2 snails require a minimum tank size of 5L (1.8 Gallons)
- 3-5 snails require a minimum tank size of 10L (2.2 Gallons)
- 6-9 snails require a minimum tank size of 20L (4.4 Gallons)
- 10-19 snails require a minimum tank size of 37L (8.1 Gallons)
- 20-50 snails require a minimum tank size of 100L (22 Gallons)
- If you plan on breeding, consider buying a tank of 150L (40 Gallons) or more.
Fill your tank with water.Begin filling your tank with clean, fresh water. You'll want the water be approximately 24-30 degrees Celsius (75-86 Fahrenheit). The quality of your water will determine what additive you might need (such as bio-starters, beneficial bacteria, chlorine/heavy metal removers). Alternatively, you can purchase tank water from many pet stores.
- If you don't know the quality of your water at home, you can use an ammonia/nitrate kit and/or liquid pH kit to determine levels. The ideal pH level for snails is 7.0 to 7.5.
- When the tank is half full add your substrate, decorations, and plants.
Choose a substrate.Snails generally prefer pebbles and gravel, rather than sand. Select a gravel substrate that is nice and smooth, with no sharp edges. Cover the bottom of your tank with this material, no more 5-8 cm (1.9-3.14 inches) thick.
- Stay clear of painted stones. Often these are coated in harmful paints that will start to flake after only a few months.
- Avoid choosing red or orange natural stones, as they may contain copper, which is toxic to snails.
- Always rinse new gravel/pebbles before adding them to the tank.
Add decorations and plants.Select some aquarium decorations for your snails' tank, as well as some aquatic plants. Plants oxygenate the water and make use of snail waste, while decorations give your snails places to hide.
- Use only decorations that are intended for aquarium use.
- Always rinse your new decorations in water before adding them to the aquarium.
- Keep in mind that your snails like to hide. Make sure they can't get stuck inside decorations.
- There is nothing wrong with your snails eating your aquatic plants. It is natural and it makes them happy.
Turn on your filter.You will need to select and purchase a filter for your tank. After the water is in the tank, affix the filter you have chosen and turn it on. Various types of filters will have different directions. Simply follow the instructions included with your fish tank filter.Some options for filters include:
- Internal filters.
- Hang-on filter.
- Canister filters.
- Under-gravel filters (which also requires an air pump and air stones).
Wait two weeks.Once your tank is set up and your filter is running, you must wait and let the water cycle. It is important to let the tank cycle for about 2 weeks before adding your snails. Keep this in mind before purchasing snails.
Adding Snails to the Tank
Check your water conditions.In order to keep your snails healthy, your tank must have a certain pH range and ammonia/nitrite level. Your tank must also stay between certain temperatures. Test the water before adding your snails, and continue to test it each week.
- To test pH, use a liquid pH test kit. (test strips are not as reliable.) Follow the instructions included with the kit to test the water. Snails like Alkaline water between 7-8. You can alter the pH of your tank by adding certain plants, or using a pH regulator.
- To test ammonia/nitrate levels use a ammonia/nitrate test kit. You want ammonia/nitrate levels of 0, or as close as possible. You can bring down this level by adding clean water. Replace 25% of the water in your tank every week.
- Keep your water temperature between 24-30 degrees C (75-86 F). If you keep your home between these temperatures, your fish tank should be OK. Just be sure to monitor the temp.
Put your snails in their new home.After you have allowed the water to cycle for two weeks, and once you have verified a safe pH level, ammonia/nitrite level, and temperature, you can introduce your snails to their new home. Gently add them to the tank by picking them up out of the bag (from the pet store) and placing them right side up in the aquarium.
Don’t feed them right away.After you've introduced your snails to the tank, wait around eight hours before feeding them. This allows them a chance to get used to their new environment.
Providing Ongoing Care
Provide home-cooked veggies.In order to feed your snails, prepare a mix of blanched vegetables. Blanching involves placing vegetables into boiling water and quickly removing it. Snails especially enjoy shelled peas, carrot, cucumber, broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini and iceberg lettuce (shredded or cut into tiny pieces). Allow vegetables to cool completely, then add them to your tank.
- Start by adding a small amount of blanched veggies each morning, and gauge how quickly your snails can finish them. Add a bit more or less until you can see that all food is being consumed within 12 hours.
- Remove whatever isn't eaten from the tank within 12 hours.
- The snails do not need any other source of food.
Add calcium to your water.Mystery snails need some additional calcium added their water. Add rinsed sea shells, cuttlebone, and/or shell grit to your snails' tank in order to increase the calcium content.
- Try to add a calcium source one per week.
- These items can purchased at most pet stores or online.
- Irregular shell growth or shell spots could be a sign that your snails need more calcium.
Keep an eye on the shells.Most health problems in snails present themselves in the health of the snail’s shell. If your snails’ shells are changing colors or growing in irregular patterns, you may want to consult a vet.You should also:
- Check your water quality
- Ensure that your snails are getting enough calcium
- Look for white spots on the snail’s skin
Avoid adding certain fish to the tank.Some fish can coexist peacefully with snails, while others will eat them. Never add clown loaches, yo-yo loaches, dwarf checkered loaches, skunk botia fish, or catfish to the tank with your snails.
- If you unsure about a certain fish, inquire at the pet store.
- Mystery snails are great tank cleaners and co-exist well with many aquatic species.
QuestionMy snail is floating on top. Is he dead?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerApple snails (aka mystery snails) enjoy climbing up to the top of their tank and allowing themselves to float there for a while or sink back down to the bottom. If your snail is dead, it will smell strongly and will not move for days, even after being poked.Thanks!
QuestionDo I have to have more than one?Top AnswererThanks!
QuestionCan I use mud as substrate?Top AnswererNo, not for aquatic snails.Thanks!
QuestionShould my snails repeatedly be climbing up the wall of the tank and floating down for no apparent reason?Top AnswererApple snails (aka mystery snails) enjoy climbing up to the top of their tank and allowing themselves to float there for a while or sink back down to the bottom.Thanks!
QuestionCan I keep them with platys, and if so, how many in a 24L tank?Top AnswererYes, depending on how many platys you have, I recommend keeping fish feeder blocks or shrimp and snail food to feed them every other day because platys are cleaner fish.Thanks!
QuestionDo I have to use a filter in a 2 gallon tank with two snails? I plan on only having these two snails, no fish or anything.wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIt would be recommended for your snails to have better water quality, so I would say yes. You don't have to, but you have to change the water more frequently without one, so a cheap filter is worth it in the end.Thanks!
QuestionI have parasites on my mystery snails, do I treat them or let my goldfish eat them?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerTreat them! You have no idea what will happen if you let your goldfish eat parasites, better to be safe than sorry.Thanks!
QuestionWhat does it mean when the snail does not move (I just got it)?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerSnails are very slow. They don't move much, so it may not mean anything. You can tell if it is dead if you move it, and it doesn't stick.Thanks!
QuestionWill the snails not go to the bottom if there are multi-colored pebbles there?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerSnails don't really care about the color of the pebbles, they care more about the weight of the pebbles. If they are too heavy, the snail will likely give up and stay at the top. If your goal is to get them to the bottom, use lighter pebbles.Thanks!
QuestionWill a betta fish eat my snail?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThanks!
- Check the water quality once a week to avoid snail loss.
- Most fish will want to eat your snails, so make sure they get fed in an area where they can eat without being pecked at.
- Be sure that your snails' diets are mostly meat. Mystery snails enjoy sinking wafers, shrimp pellets or frozen crustaceans.
Video: Mystery Snail Basic Care
Supersets in Strength Training
Prince Harry Opens Up About Princess Diana and Marriage
London Fashion Week: What’s On For AW16
Teen Wolf Outfits-10 Best Outfits Worn in Teen Wolf Seasons
Many Americans Dont Receive Preventive Dental Care
Michelle Obama says George W
Research Shows Pomegranates Could Slow Down Alzheimers and Parkinsons
How to Cut a Hard Part
Making soups for your babies
Psoriasis May Increase Risk for Other Serious Conditions