Mystery snails are interesting critters that have thousands of microscopic teeth that they use to scrape up the food they find. They also have an organ called a radula that is hard and similar to a tongue which aids the teeth in scraping food from tough surfaces.
They need these special features to eat because they are scavengers and like to eat just about anything they can find. So what exactly do they like to eat naturally, and what can you feed them? Read on to find out all about their voracious appetites.
What Are Mystery Snails?
Some say that mystery snails are named as such because scientists couldn’t figure out what they were when they discovered them. Others say they’re called mystery snails because their babies seem to come from nowhere. Regardless of why they are called what they are, mystery snails are no longer such a mystery. In fact, today mystery snails are one of the most popular freshwater snails in the aquarium hobby.
Mystery snails are one of the largest freshwater snails available for purchase and can grow up to two inches in diameter. They typically live to about one year old, but some have been known to live longer.
To learn more about how big mystery snails get, read our full article here.
They are fun, colorful creatures to watch in your tank coming in multiple colors like white, yellow and brown. They love to attach themselves to anything they can get their foot on and will crawl all over the tank.
Better yet, not only are they fun to watch, but they are helpful in keeping your tank clean! Mystery snails will eat just about anything.
What Tank Conditions Do They Need?
Before you add any new animal to your aquarium, you want to make sure that your tank is established. This means that it has cycled for at least a couple of weeks. You should also test the water to make sure that there isn’t any dangerous ammonia, nitrites, or nitrates in the water that may kill your pet.
To learn about the nitrogen cycle and find out how to cycle your new tank, take a look at this great guide.
The awesome thing about mystery snails is that they do not need a lot of space, so they can be kept in nano aquariums. Still, you don’t want to overcrowd them or they will build up too much waste and will have to compete for food. Generally, you will want to have at least five gallons of water for each snail you want to keep.
Another thing to keep in mind is that mystery snails like to escape. They breed outside of water, so they are frequently looking for ways to crawl out of their tank. If you don’t want to worry about your snails getting out of the tank and dying, it is best to equip your aquarium with a lid.
What Do Mystery Snails Eat?
One of the greatest things about mystery snails is that they will eat just about anything. People love adding snails to their tanks because they help keep the aquarium clean and keep the algae at bay. So what do mystery snails eat?
When it comes down to it, these snails love food. Mystery snails are herbivores, so they feed mostly on plant matter. However, they are opportunistic scavengers and will feed on just about anything. Because they must search for their food, they do not do well in tanks that are “too” clean.
Planted aquariums are the best habitats for mystery snails because they will always have something to feed on. Plant matter sheds to the bottom of the tank naturally and provides an unlimited source of food for your snails.
Some snails like to feed right on the plants themselves because there is nothing quite like eating fresh, crisp greens. Many hobbyists dislike this because it detracts from the overall look of the tank. If you find that your snails like to tear up your live plants, try to deter them by purchasing hardier plants.
Anubias barteri is a great hard-leafed plant that can usually withstand the “attacks” of your mystery snails. Avoid purchasing more delicate plants like Micranthemum micranthemoides unless you want to provide them with a snack.
Fortunately, most mystery snails will not harm your live plants as long as they are provided with plenty of other tasty options.
The reason most aquarists love mystery snails is because they will eat algae off the sides of the glass tank, the ornaments and the plants. They also like to eat detritus, such as uneaten fish food, that is laying around the tank.
Unless you have many snails in your aquarium, you will likely need to remove some algae yourself because they won’t be able to keep up. Still, they help cut down on the amount of cleaning you need to do.
What To Feed Mystery Snails?
Even though mystery snails will eat just about whatever is available to them, it is still important to feed them on a regular basis. Because mystery snails like eating so many things, you might be wondering just what can you feed mystery snails?
Feeding mystery snails is simple. To ensure that your snails are receiving a healthy, balanced diet, they should receive algae wafers or bottom feeder tablets on a regular basis. Providing the snails with these supplemental foods will also prevent them from starving if your tank is too clean.
What makes feeding even more simple is the fact that mystery snails have a really good sense of smell. They know exactly when you’ve added new food to the tank, and they will go right for it.
Make sure to check any labels on fish food before you feed it to your snails because copper is toxic to them. Many commercial fish foods contain copper sulfate and should be avoided.
If you want to be extra generous, you can give your mystery snails some vegetables to boost their diet.
What Vegetables Can Mystery Snails Eat?
Mystery snails love greens, particularly lettuce and zucchini. To start, try giving your snails a little piece of the selected vegetable and see how they respond to it. Just like people, they have their own tastes and might not take to certain veggies.
Dark leafy greens are also a great option to feed to your snails because they are rich in calcium. Calcium is essential for the long term health of your snails because they need it to maintain the hardness of their shells. Greens like kale, spinach and turnips are wonderful, healthy options high in calcium content.
Make sure that you always wash off the veggies before you add them to your tank to get rid of any harmful pesticides.
Only give your snails a small piece of vegetable every few days. You don’t want to give them too much because they won’t be able to eat it all, and it will dirty your tank. We recommend removing any uneaten greens after a couple hours of giving it to them.
How Much Food Do Mystery Snails Need?
Because mystery snails are so small, they usually don’t need to be fed very much. Particularly if your tank is established and has live plants, the amount of food you will need to give them is further decreased. You don’t want to give them too much food because it will go uneaten and raise the ammonia levels in your tank.
Despite mystery snails not needing a lot of food, they love to eat, and they will gorge themselves. Besides dirtying your tank, you don’t want to give your snails too much food because they will eat too much. It is even possible for snails to eat so much that they will be forced out of their shells.
Your best bet is to simply feed your snails in moderation. If you feel that they aren’t getting enough, you can always give them more, but it is better to give too little than too much.
What Do Blue Mystery Snails Eat?
Blue mystery snails eat the same things that regular mystery snails eat: veggies, algae and fish food. They have their own preferences, though, which include some of these:
- Algae wafers
- Bottom feeder tablets
- Blanched vegetables
Besides eating common algae, they are also useful in eating hair algae. Hair algae is a nuisance to many aquarists because it is unseemly and quickly takes over the tank. For hobbyists that have this problem, blue mystery snails are a great addition.
What Do Chinese Mystery Snails Eat?
Chinese mystery snails are not as common among hobbyists, but they are one of the most popular snails. This is because they are docile and do not eat plant matter or fish eggs.
These snails are invasive and come from China and Japan. They are also known as trapdoor snails and are commonly used in ponds.
Unlike other kinds of mystery snails, Chinese mystery snails are omnivores. They love eating plant matter and algae, but they also enjoy eating diatoms and zooplankton. They can easily do this in the wild, but you can supplement them with zooplankton bought from the store.
Mystery snails are colorful and fun animals to include in your aquarium. They like to crawl over any surface they can reach, eating all the way. They are loved by aquarists because they are harmless and can be kept with many species of fish. Best yet, they act as your own personal clean-up crew!
If you have trouble with pesky algae and detritus clogging up your tank, or you simply want a little extra help, mystery snails are a great option. As soon as you purchase one of these little guys, it will no longer be a “mystery” why they make such great pets.
Know exactly what black mystery snails eat, do mystery snails hibernate, how mystery snails mate or check out our full article on how big mystery snails can get. You can also read more about snails here.As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.