Mystery Snail Care, Diet, Food, Tank Size and Setup

By Sofia Hall

Are you intrigued by the allure of aquatic life? Look no further than the captivating mystery snail. Known for its enigmatic nature and intriguing appearance, the mystery snail (Pomacea bridgesii) has become a sought-after species among aquarists and nature enthusiasts.

With its distinctive spiral shell, vibrant color variations, and interesting behavior, the mystery snail offers a unique and engaging addition to any aquatic environment.

These snails are native to South America, particularly in countries like Brazil, Paraguay, and Bolivia. They are commonly found in slow-moving rivers, ponds, and wetlands. Mystery snails are part of the apple snail family, known for their round, globular shells in gold, blue, and ivory colors.

One remarkable feature of mystery snails is their ability to breathe both underwater and at the water’s surface. They possess a specialized lung-like structure called a “pallial lung,” allowing them to extract oxygen from the air. This adaptation enables them to survive in environments with low oxygen levels.

Mystery snails also exhibit interesting behaviors, like laying eggs above the waterline in clusters resembling small, pinkish capsules. They are peaceful creatures and can coexist with a variety of fish and invertebrates in a community tank.

To keep mystery snails healthy, provide a well-filtered aquarium with a stable water temperature between 70°F and 80°F (21°C and 27°C). They are generally omnivorous, feeding on algae, detritus, and leftover fish food. Supplement their diet with calcium sources for healthy shell growth.

Discover the allure of the mystery snail and bring a touch of captivating beauty to your aquatic world.


Mystery Snail Tank Size and Setup


Mystery snails boast a striking appearance that captures the attention of aquarium enthusiasts and nature lovers alike. These fascinating creatures showcase a unique combination of features that make them truly captivating.

One of the most prominent characteristics of mystery snails is their distinctive spiral-shaped shell. The shells come in a variety of vibrant colors and patterns, ranging from gold and blue to ivory. This color diversity adds an element of visual intrigue to any aquatic environment they inhabit.

Beyond their shells, mystery snails have a round and slightly elongated body, which is typically a shade of light gray or brown. Their bodies are adorned with small, delicate tentacles that extend from their heads, providing them with a keen sense of touch and an added element of elegance.

Additionally, mystery snails possess a specialized breathing apparatus known as a “pallial lung.” This unique respiratory adaptation allows them to extract oxygen from both the water they reside in and the surrounding air. Their ability to breathe both underwater and at the water’s surface is truly remarkable and contributes to their adaptability in various environments.

When it comes to size, mystery snails typically range from one to two inches in diameter, with some individuals growing slightly larger. However, it’s important to note that their size can vary depending on factors such as diet, genetics, and overall health.





The life of mystery snails can vary depending on various factors, but on average, they typically live for about 1 to 2 years. However, with proper care and a suitable environment, some mystery snails have been known to live up to 3 years or even slightly longer.

It’s important to note that the lifespan of a mystery snail can be influenced by factors such as water quality, diet, genetics, and overall care. Providing a well-maintained aquarium with clean water, a balanced diet, and suitable tank mates can contribute to a longer and healthier lifespan for your mystery snail.

Remember, each snail is unique, and individual lifespans can vary. By providing optimal conditions and attentive care, you can help maximize the lifespan of your mystery snail and enjoy its captivating presence in your aquatic environment.




Mystery snail size can vary depending on factors such as age, genetics, and environmental conditions. On average, adult mystery snails typically reach a size of about 1.5 to 2 inches (3.8 to 5 centimeters) in shell diameter. However, it’s important to note that some individuals may grow slightly larger or smaller than this range.

During their early stages of development, mystery snails are much smaller and may measure around 0.2 to 0.4 inches (0.5 to 1 centimeter) in shell diameter. As they mature and continue to grow, their shells gradually increase in size, reaching their adult dimensions within several months.

It’s worth mentioning that individual snails within the same species can exhibit slight variations in size. Additionally, providing a healthy and well-maintained environment with proper nutrition and suitable water conditions can contribute to the optimal growth and size of mystery snails.

Remember to consider the needs of your specific mystery snail species, as different species may have varying size ranges and growth rates.



Mystery Snail Care

Mystery Snail Care

When it comes to caring for mystery snails, there are a few key factors to consider to ensure their well-being. Let’s delve into the tank size and setup recommendations for these fascinating creatures:


Tank Size

Mystery snails require a suitable aquarium with ample space for their movement and growth. A tank size of at least 5 gallons is recommended for a single snail. However, if you plan to keep multiple snails or have other inhabitants in the tank, a larger aquarium is advisable. Providing sufficient space will promote a healthy environment for your mystery snails.


Water Parameters

Maintaining proper water conditions is crucial for the well-being of mystery snails. They prefer a stable water temperature ranging from 70°F to 80°F (21°C to 27°C). Keep in mind that sudden temperature fluctuations can be stressful for them, so using a reliable aquarium heater is recommended. Additionally, maintain good water quality by regularly performing partial water changes to remove accumulated waste and debris.



Mystery snails thrive in well-filtered tanks. A gentle filter that doesn’t produce strong currents is ideal, as excessive water flow can hinder their movement. The filter should provide mechanical and biological filtration, effectively removing impurities and maintaining a healthy ecosystem.



Choosing the right substrate is essential for your mystery snail’s comfort and natural behavior. Opt for a soft substrate, such as sand or smooth gravel, to prevent any damage to their delicate bodies and shells. Avoid using sharp or abrasive materials that may harm the snails.



Adding appropriate decorations to the tank can enhance the aesthetic appeal and create a stimulating environment for your mystery snails. Provide hiding spots, such as caves or plants, where they can retreat when they feel the need for privacy or protection. Live plants, such as java moss or hornwort, not only provide cover but also contribute to the overall water quality by absorbing excess nutrients.


Mystery snails do not have any specific lighting requirements, but providing a natural day-night cycle is beneficial. A light source with a timer that replicates a consistent lighting schedule will help maintain their natural rhythm and promote a healthier habitat.



Mystery snails are generally peaceful and can coexist with a variety of fish and invertebrates in a community tank. However, it’s important to research and consider the temperament and compatibility of potential tank mates. Avoid housing them with aggressive or fin-nipping species that may harm the snails or damage their shells.



Mystery snails are omnivorous and have a varied diet. They primarily feed on algae, detritus, and leftover fish food. However, it’s important to supplement their diet with additional calcium sources to support healthy shell growth. Provide cuttlefish bone or specialized snail foods rich in calcium to ensure their nutritional needs are met.



Purple Albino Mystery Snails


Breeding mystery snails can be an exciting and rewarding experience. Here’s a simple explanation of the process:

Mystery snails are known as live-bearers, meaning the females lay eggs that the males fertilize. To encourage breeding, make sure you have both male and female snails in your aquarium. They will typically breed on their own when conditions are favorable.

Provide a stable and clean environment with suitable water parameters, including a temperature between 70°F and 80°F (21°C and 27°C). Ensure the water quality is good, with proper filtration and regular water changes.

Mystery snails lay their eggs above the waterline. Females usually attach clusters of eggs to surfaces such as aquarium glass, plants, or decorations. These egg clusters resemble small, pinkish capsules.

Once the eggs are laid, it’s important to keep them moist. You can use plastic wrap or a breathable mesh to cover the eggs, ensuring they don’t dry out. Maintain proper humidity levels by misting the eggs with water regularly.

After a couple of weeks, the eggs will hatch, and tiny snails will emerge. At this stage, you can either leave them in the same tank or move them to a separate rearing tank if desired.

Provide the baby snails with a suitable diet, including algae, biofilm, and finely crushed fish food. Ensure they have access to calcium sources, like cuttlefish bone, to support healthy shell growth.

With patience and proper care, you can successfully breed mystery snails and witness the fascinating life cycle of these unique creatures.


Tank Mates

When choosing tank mates for mystery snails, it’s important to consider their peaceful nature and their vulnerability to aggressive or fin-nipping species. Here are some suitable tank mates for mystery snails:



Killifish are generally compatible with mystery snails. Just make sure to choose peaceful species, as some killifish can be more aggressive.


Tetras (such as neon, green, and ember)

Tetras are peaceful schooling fish that can coexist harmoniously with mystery snails. They add vibrant colors and lively activity to the tank.


Cory Catfish

Cory catfish are bottom-dwelling fish that make excellent tank mates for mystery snails. They help keep the tank clean and have a peaceful temperament.


Nerite Snails

Nerite snails are another species of snail that can happily coexist with mystery snails. They share similar dietary preferences and are known for their efficient algae-cleaning abilities.



Otocinclus catfish, also known as “otos” or “dwarf suckers,” are great companions for mystery snails. They are small, peaceful algae eaters that can thrive alongside snails.


Ghost Shrimp

Ghost shrimp are peaceful invertebrates that can live peacefully with mystery snails. They help maintain the tank’s cleanliness by consuming leftover food and algae.


Amano Shrimp

Amano shrimp are known for their algae-eating habits and peaceful nature. They can be compatible with mystery snails and contribute to the overall balance of the tank.


Red Cherry Shrimp

Red cherry shrimp are small, colorful, and peaceful. They can cohabitate successfully with mystery snails, creating a visually appealing and diverse aquarium.


Betta Fish

Betta fish can be kept with mystery snails, but it’s essential to monitor their compatibility. Some bettas may exhibit aggression towards snails, so it’s crucial to introduce them carefully and keep an eye on their interactions.


Behavior & Temperament

The behavior and temperament of mystery snails can be summed up in one word: peaceful. These snails are incredibly calm and prefer to mind their own business without bothering anyone else in the tank.

When faced with a potential threat, their instinct is to retreat into their shell until the coast is clear. Although we recommend compatible tank mates to avoid any real danger, it’s possible for them to get startled on occasion.

Mystery snails stay focused on their primary task of finding algae and organic plant matter to munch on. Surprisingly, they are quite speedy and can move around the aquarium faster than you might expect.

We find their unwavering dedication and simplicity admirable. They remain undeterred by distractions and carry on with their work. Perhaps there’s something we can learn from these little critters.


Mystery Snail Diet


Food & Diet

When it comes to the food and diet of mystery snails, I’m happy to provide some insights. Mystery snails are generally considered to be omnivorous, meaning they eat a combination of plant matter and small organisms. Their diet primarily consists of algae, detritus (organic waste), and leftover fish food.

In an aquarium setting, mystery snails will happily graze on the algae that naturally grows on surfaces such as rocks, plants, and even the glass of the tank. This makes them great natural cleaners for your aquarium, as they help to control algae growth.

In addition to algae, mystery snails can also be offered specialized snail food that is commercially available. These foods are formulated to provide the necessary nutrients for their overall health and shell growth. You can find snail-specific food at pet stores or online retailers. It’s a good idea to supplement their diet with these foods to ensure they receive a well-rounded nutritional intake.

Another important aspect of their diet is the availability of calcium. Calcium is crucial for the proper growth and maintenance of their shells. You can provide calcium sources by adding cuttlefish bone to the tank. The snails will rasp on the bone, extracting the necessary calcium.

It’s essential to remember that overfeeding can lead to water quality issues, so it’s best to offer small amounts of food at a time and observe how quickly the snails consume it. If there is uneaten food after a few hours, it’s a good indication that you may be offering too much.

Remember to monitor the water parameters in your aquarium and ensure they are within the suitable range for both the snails and any other inhabitants of the tank.


Mystery snails, like any living organisms, are susceptible to certain diseases. It’s important to be aware of these potential health issues and take preventive measures to ensure the well-being of your snails. Here are some common diseases that can affect mystery snails and how to prevent them:

Shell Erosion: Shell erosion can occur due to poor water quality, calcium deficiency, or bacterial infection. Maintain good water quality, offer a calcium-rich diet, and provide supplemental calcium sources to prevent shell erosion.

Fungal Infections: Fungal infections can be a result of poor water conditions, stress, or injuries. Maintain clean water conditions, remove decaying organic matter, and use antifungal medications if necessary.

Bacterial Infections: Bacterial infections can manifest as reddish or black spots on the snail’s body, shell, or antennas. Maintain clean water conditions, provide a balanced diet, and consider using antibiotics if an infection occurs.

Parasites: External parasites like leeches or flukes can affect mystery snails. Avoid introducing contaminated plants or animals, quarantine new additions, and use appropriate medications if a parasite infestation occurs.

Ammonia Poisoning: High ammonia levels in the water can be toxic to snails. Maintain a well-established aquarium with proper filtration and regular water changes to prevent ammonia build-up.

Regular observation, proper care, and a clean environment are key to preventing diseases in mystery snails. Provide suitable living conditions, a nutritious diet, and promptly address any signs of illness to ensure the long-term health of your snails.

In addition, it’s important to be cautious of species-specific diseases such as Rat Lungworm. To avoid this parasite, always buy certified disease-free snails and be careful when handling snails or consuming raw snails. Furthermore, avoid using antibiotics unless specifically approved for snails, as most antibiotics can harm them. If necessary, remove the snails from the tank before treating other creatures with antibiotics.

Keep a close eye on your snails, maintain a balanced diet, and provide them with a safe and healthy environment to help prevent diseases and ensure their well-being.



The captivating mystery snail adds a touch of beauty and intrigue to any aquatic world. With its striking appearance, unique behaviors, and fascinating adaptations, it continues to enchant aquarists and nature enthusiasts worldwide. By creating the ideal environment, providing a suitable diet, and practicing attentive care, you can fully appreciate the allure of mystery snails in your own aquarium.



1. Can mystery snails live with other snail species?

Yes, mystery snails can coexist with other snail species, such as nerite snails. However, it’s essential to ensure that the tank size and water parameters are suitable for all the snails in the aquarium.

2. How often should I feed my mystery snail?

Mystery snails can be fed once or twice a day. It’s important to offer small amounts of food at a time and observe how quickly the snail consumes it. Remove any uneaten food after a few hours to prevent water quality issues.

3. Can mystery snails survive in cold water?

Mystery snails prefer water temperatures between 70°F and 80°F (21°C to 27°C). They are not well-suited to cold water environments and may experience stress or health issues if exposed to temperatures outside their preferred range.

4. Do mystery snails require a specific type of lighting?

Mystery snails do not have specific lighting requirements. However, providing a natural day-night cycle with a consistent lighting schedule is beneficial for their overall well-being.

5. How can I tell if my mystery snail is healthy?

A healthy mystery snail will have a vibrant shell color, be active, and display normal feeding behaviors. It’s important to monitor their activity level, appetite, and overall appearance. Any significant changes in behavior or signs of illness should be promptly addressed to ensure their well-being.





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