Mystery snails have become incredibly popular because of their colors and tank-cleaning abilities. Though less well-known for their reproductive capabilities, they can lay a lot of eggs at one time. What should you do when you see a clutch of them in your tank?
If your mystery snails lay a pile of eggs, you have a few options. Leave them as they are, and they’ll hatch in 2-4 weeks if they’re fertile. If you don’t want a huge snail population in your aquarium, you can either discard the clutch or transfer it to another tank to hatch there.
If you decide to breed mystery snails, there are a few things to consider when caring for them, such as water conditions and tank size.
What You Can Do When Your Mystery Snails Lay a Clutch of Eggs
If you don’t want your mystery snail population to multiply, your best bet is to remove egg clusters whenever you see them. Fortunately, mystery snail eggs are easy to detect because they are laid above the water. When you see little clusters of pink or milky-looking eggs that resemble miniature grapes, all you have to do is scrape them away. These freshwater snails are especially likely to lay eggs on the tank’s cover or the side of the aquarium.
If you want to hatch the eggs, you can place them in a separate tank or leave them with their snail parents. Transferring them can be difficult, as the eggs are fragile and can become damaged. Placing them in another tank is not advised unless your primary aquarium has other fish in it that might eat the eggs.
Eggs need a warm, moist environment to thrive, but they don’t need a lot of water. That’s why snails lay them above the waterline. Avoid submerging the eggs, as the fledgling snails inside may drown. A tight-fitting aquarium lid helps contain moisture, so the eggs don’t dry out.
Snail eggs take 2-4 weeks to hatch. Initially, eggs are fairly soft and milky-looking. Within a few hours, the shells darken and harden. If they don’t hatch within 2-4 weeks, discarding them is a good idea. If you want your snails to breed, it probably won’t be long before they lay eggs again.
Baby snails can mostly take care of themselves. They eat the same foods as their parents — blanched vegetables (kale, zucchini, spinach) and rotting or dead plants. If you have plants growing in the aquarium already, they’ll provide plenty of nutrients for your snails to eat. Snails also eat the algae that naturally grows in the tank.
Your snails will do especially well if the water conditions are conducive to healthy development. Keep the water temperature between 68 and 84F. The pH level should be between 7.6 and 8.4. If the pH gets too low, you may notice the snails’ shells begin to corrode. Fragile or damaged shells can contribute to other health problems. You’ll also want to make sure the ammonia level in your tank stays at 0.
Snails may also experience health problems if they’re too crowded. The general rule of thumb is to have no more than one or two adult snails for every 5 gallons of water to ensure that they have plenty of food and room to move around. You might think that, because they move so slowly, they don’t need that much space. But they don’t do well in confined spaces.
Hatching the Eggs
How to Hatch Mystery Snail Eggs
If you want to breed mystery snails, you’ll need to make sure they have an aquatic environment that encourages them to do that. Lower the water level in their tank by 3-4 inches. Mystery snails reproduce by forming male-female pairs. Females like to lay their eggs about an inch or so above the water. You will know if their breeding attempt has been successful when you see the clutches of light pink eggs. Then eggs should hatch in about 2-4 weeks.
If you want to keep the eggs separate from the rest of the inhabitants of the tank, you can create an incubator for them by suspending a plastic box above the waterline (with a small amount of water in it to keep the eggs moist and give them the nutrients they need). You can also partition off the tank with a breeding net and create a separate space for the eggs. Be sure to keep conditions consistent so the eggs can thrive.
Even under the best circumstances, it’s likely that not all of the eggs will produce snails. Some eggs may go unfertilized. The bigger the egg cluster, the larger your snail yield will be. Whether you’re hatching golden mystery snail eggs, black mystery snail eggs, blue mystery snail eggs, or purple mystery snail eggs, you’ll notice that newly-hatched snails’ bodies are mostly transparent. As snails grow in size and strength, their shells harden and begin to take on more color.
While snails are known as cleaners, that’s something they have to grow into. While immature snails eat the same diet as their parents, they also produce more waste. So, while you have baby snails in the tank, you will probably need to clean it more often.
Mystery Snail Care and Breeding
How to Tell If Mystery Snail Eggs Are Fertile
If you’re wondering how to tell if mystery snail eggs are fertile, you may not always be able to determine that just by looking at them. Mystery snail eggs should hatch in a month or less. At some point during the second week, the eggs will appear darker if they’re healthy. If you don’t see any baby snails hanging out in your tank at the end of that time, it’s safe to conclude that the eggs are infertile. You can remove them from the tank and dispose of them. Your adult mystery snails will no doubt attempt to breed again within a short time.
How Can You Stop Mystery Snails from Breeding?
While you probably can’t prevent mystery snails from laying eggs, you can control the population of invertebrates in your tank. When you see a clutch of eggs, you should remove them before they hatch or within 2-4 weeks of being laid. The sooner you remove them, the better because some clutches hatch sooner than others.
How long do mystery snails take to reach their full size?
Not all snails grow at the same rate. It can take a few months or more to reach their full size — up to 2 inches in diameter. Not all snails are that big, and an improper diet can affect their rate of growth. The average size of a mystery snail is 1½ inches in diameter.
Do mystery snails die soon after laying eggs?
No. Mystery snails can live for quite a while after laying their first clutch of eggs and can go on to lay many more before they die. However, the average lifespan of an adult mystery snail isn’t very long. On average, they can live up to one year.
Do mystery snails eat anything besides algae and decaying plants?
Mystery snails are bottom feeders. They’re especially good at cleaning the sides of their aquariums. They will only eat live plants if there’s a shortage of the dead plant matter they prefer.
Do mystery snails pose hazards to other fish?
Mystery snails are among the most peaceful aquatic creatures around. They’re not aggressive and generally don’t pose hazards to other fish. They can also co-exist with other freshwater snails.
What are the best kinds of fish to put in the tank with mystery snails?
Several types of fish make good tank-mates for mystery snails. These include killifish, guppies, cory catfish, and freshwater shrimp. Fish that feet at the top or in the middle of the water are your best bet, as they won’t disturb bottom-feeding snails.
Why are mystery snails so popular?
Mystery snails are probably the most popular addition to an aquarist’s freshwater tank because the gastropods feed on algae, so you don’t have to clean the tank as often. People also like these snails because of their colors — blue, gold, black, purple, and ivory.
What to do when mystery snails lay a clutch of eggs is pretty straightforward. If you don’t want more snails, you can discard the clusters before they hatch. If you want your snails to reproduce, make sure the conditions in your tank can support them. Also, be sure that there are no fish in the vicinity that will eat them. Avoid submerging the eggs or making any drastic changes to the conditions in the tank. When the snails hatch, they won’t need much help from you. Just make sure they’re getting enough food. You can enrich their diets with bottom feeder flakes, tablets, or pellets.