Mystery Snail (Pomacea bridgesii): Ultimate Care Guide


Mystery Snail (Pomacea bridgesii) are one of the most popular freshwater snails among aquarium hobbyists. They originate from South America, with the most abundant populations existing in Peru, Paraguay, Brazil, and Bolivia. Due to their hardy and prolific nature, Mystery Snails are an invasive species in some parts of the world.

The Mystery Snail is a scavenger in the wild and spends much of its life at the bottom of its habitat eating plant matter, which makes them well-equipped for cleaning tanks. They are found in various bodies of water such as rivers, swamps, and ponds. The Mystery Snail is defined as a mollusk, having a soft body with an exterior shell while living in an aquatic habitat.

With a common shell design, the Mystery Snail is often confused with other general species of snails but their variation in coloration help to differentiate this loved aquatic snail. They typically have a primary-colored shell that can include patterns and stripes made up of different, darker shades of color. The Mystery Snail body also comes in a variety of color combinations, with many possessing markings that stand out to help identify the different types of this species. They have complex eyes that sit on an eyestalk that protrudes from the body and can regrow if severed due to the lack of sensory organs present. One of the most interesting aspects of the Mystery Snail anatomy is the uncommon way they breathe, using a siphon near their head to move water through their gills.

Mystery Snail
Mystery Snail (Pomacea bridgesii)

Mystery Snail Colors and Types

Mystery Snails come with a variety of colorful shells and act as vibrant decorations for most aquarium tanks. Mystery Snails have smooth and round topped shells, relying on their coloration to tell each apart. Each different Mystery Snail shell helps to identify it against other species of snail, because their range of colors is unique and almost endless.

Blue Mystery Snail

The Blue Mystery Snail has a light blue colored shell and a dark blue body with iridescent markings. This type of Mystery Snail catches light beautifully in an aquarium and is often compared to the colors of the sky.

Golden Mystery Snail

The Golden Mystery Snail has a shell that is a golden yellow, making them bold and bright in appearance. This type of Mystery Snail has a pearly white body and typically exist with orange dots sprinkled over their head.

Purple Mystery Snail

The Purple Mystery Snail has a striped shell that ranges in color from a medium purple to a dark indigo shade. This type of Mystery Snail has a very dark colored body, appearing nearly black with eye-catching markings that stand out in contrast.

Ivory Mystery Snail

The Ivory Mystery Snail has a creamy colored shell reminiscent of a pearl. Their bodies are light in color with hints of peach and light pink shades. The coloration of the Ivory Mystery Snail looks great against the hues of green in an aquarium setting with plenty of plants.

Magenta Mystery Snail

The Magenta Mystery Snail has a striped shell with hues of deep red and purple that work in unison to create a visually stunning color. Their bodies are cream-like in tone, and they have pink markings on that work together with the shell to create an overall pink appearance when placed under the right lighting.

Jade Mystery Snail

The Jade Mystery Snail has a shell that is golden yellow, with hints of jade green that help to identify it against the Golden Mystery Snail. Their bodies are very dark with markings that refract light and draw the eye. This mystery snail is sometimes referred to as an Olive Snail because of the combination of yellow and green on their shell, creating an olive like hue.

Black Mystery Snail

The Black Mystery Snail has a dark shell with deep purple hues that give the appearance of the color black. Their shells may be black with tan striping or purple with gray striping, with black being the much more common variant. The Black Mystery Snail can also occasionally appear with a black shell and purple striping, but this is rare.

Albino Mystery Snail

The Albino Mystery Snail is much paler in color when compared to the other variations of their species. They often appear in shades of brown and subtle yellow, making them harder to identify against other snail families.

Mystery Snail Care

The Mystery Snail makes a wonderful addition to a beginner aquarium because of their calm temperament and easy-care requirements. They are a well-liked species, with a peaceful demeanor and hardiness that allows them to live compatibly in many different tank setups. Although the care of a Mystery Snail is simple, it is still a hands-on experience, and this species has needs that must be met for their overall health.

Mystery Snail Temperature

Water quality is one of the areas in care that the Mystery Snail relies on the most to ensure the best environment for them and they prefer water temperatures that range from 68 to 84 degrees Fahrenheit. The water temperate in the Mystery Snail tank should be measured regularly to ensure its consistency and quality. Additionally, it is important to monitor the type of water that is being used to fill a Mystery Snail tank, as they can have adverse or deadly reactions to the copper that usually exists in tap water.

Mystery Snail Water pH

The Mystery Snail is very sensitive to shifts and changes in their water levels, needing a water pH that falls between 7.6 and 8.4. This species prefers a habitat with water that is alkaline in nature, with a water hardness that ranges from 12 to 18 kH.

Mystery Snail Size

The average size of a Mystery Snail at full growth is 2 inches in diameter and their tiny size makes them a perfect addition to both small and large tanks. The Mystery Snail build is more accurately identified by measuring their diameter rather than their length. If this species receives poor care, it is entirely possible for them to stop growing at around 1 inch in diameter.

Mystery Snail Tank Size

The Mystery Snail needs a minimum tank size of five gallons when living alone. If there are more than one Mystery Snail in a tank, a general rule of thumb is to add five gallons of water for each additional snail to ensure enough room for roaming and cohabitation.

Mystery Snail Food & Diet

Mystery Snails are herbivores and rely on vegetation to make up most of their diet. They will spend much of their time in a tank searching for algae or vegetation to snack on throughout the day. There should be an algae source in the Mystery Snail tank to ensure they have access to their foundational diet, including naturally occurring algae and flakes or pellets. Although algae in the tank is important, too much can negatively impact the quality of water so it should be regulated. The Mystery Snail will enjoy eating a variety of vegetables, including but not limited to kale, spinach, zucchini, and cucumber.

Mystery Snail Lifespan

A Mystery Snail will live an average lifespan of one year in captivity if properly cared for. A short lifespan is typical and expected for most aquatic snail species and their life cannot be notably extended through means of different care.

Mystery Snail Tank Setup

The Mystery Snail will thrive in a tank that is set up in a way that aids in their natural scavenger behaviors. An important part of the tank is plants because the Mystery Snail spends most of its time searching for bits of plant matter as food. Most plants will work in the Mystery Snail tank, but some of the top options are Hornwort, Java Moss, and Anubias Barteri, or any other hardy plants that can tolerate occasional nibbling. The substrate in the tank can vary but should not be overly coarse and the Mystery

Snail will appreciate a few rocks in their habitat, as they enjoy the algae that grows on the surface.

Calcium Requirement for Mystery Snails

Mystery Snails need calcium the help their shell growth and to ensure they are thriving in their aquarium habitat. Calcium can be added to the Mystery Snail’s tank water with supplements or can be fed to them through calcium-dense vegetables.

Mystery Snail Breeding

Breeding Mystery Snails in captivity is an easy process that aquarists of all experience levels can accomplish. This species will usually take care of breeding on their own, with little change in habitat or interference required.

How to Breed Mystery Snails

To breed Mystery Snails, there needs to be a female and male in the tank. The snails will generally breed on their own and the female will lay her eggs near the surface of the water, where they will sit for a few weeks before hatching. Once the Mystery Snail babies are born, they will take care of themselves in the tank with little to no assistance. 

Mystery Snail Male vs Female

One way to tell the difference between male and female Mystery Snails is based on their behavior, with the males climbing on top of the females in order to reproduce. A physical difference between male and female Mystery Snails is that the female’s shell will become translucent when it is ready to reproduce. The male Mystery Snails also have a penis sheath located next to the gills that can be used to identify their sex.

How Do Mystery Snails Mate?

Mystery Snails can mate between one to six hours at a time, where the male snail will crawl along the back of the female until they position themselves on the right shoulder. Once in the correct position, the male snail will proceed to mate with the female snail.

Mystery Snail Eggs

Mystery Snail eggs are laid by the female Mystery Snail during the breeding process. The female will lay her eggs above or at the waters surface of the tank during the night. To assist in the process, the water levels of the tank can be lowered to make more room for the egg laying.

What Do Mystery Snail Eggs Look Like?

Mystery Snail eggs are yellow, pink, or white in color and are found in long cocoons.

How Many Eggs Do Mystery Snail Lay?

A single cocoon of Mystery Snail eggs can produce 20 to 40 healthy babies, but multiple cocoons can be laid around the tank. A female Mystery Snail can lay eggs every week for up to five months. Too many Mystery Snail eggs in one tank can throw off the nitrogen balance and overload the tank, so they should only be allowed in amounts that the habitat can handle.

How Long Does It Take for Mystery Snail Eggs to Hatch?

Mystery Snail eggs will hatch between 15 to 24 days after being laid by a female.

How to Tell if Mystery Snail Eggs Are Fertile?

Fertile Mystery Snail eggs will appear to have a tiny black spot in the middle of the egg. These fertile eggs will look larger and more irregular in shape than their unfertilized counterparts. Once the baby Mystery Snail starts to hatch, it will eat its way out of the shell and create thinning in the egg sack.

What to Do with Mystery Snail Eggs to Make Sure They Hatch

Mystery Snail eggs are typically successful at hatching on their own, but the process can be assisted by making sure the air temperature directly above the water’s surface is as close to 73 degrees Fahrenheit as possible. Ensuring that there is enough room between the water’s surface and any lid on the tank is also important in creating space for the Mystery Snail eggs to hatch.

What to Do with Mystery Snail Eggs if You Do Not Wish to Breed Them

Mystery Snail eggs can be removed from the surface of the water and disposed of if the snails are not wished to be bred.

How to Raise Mystery Snail Babies

Mystery Snail babies are very hardy and begin their lives immediately after hatching, falling to the bottom of their tank, and eating the same food as their parents. Some aquarists move the new hatched Mystery Snail babies to a different tank to combat the large increase in population and to avoid the chances of them getting eaten by tankmates.

Mystery Snail Tankmates

The Mystery Snail is very peaceful in nature with a strong sense of independence, making them a great addition to most tanks with mates.

Examples of Compatible Tankmates

The Mystery Snail can live compatibly with many different freshwater fish species, as long as they are not aggressive or predatory in nature. This species if very nonintrusive and will mind its business in a tank with other mates. Examples of compatible tankmates to include in a Mystery Snail habitat are Tetras, Cory Catfish, Ghost Shrimp, Killifish, and Bettas because of their peaceful demeanor.

Examples of Incompatible Tankmates

Although the Mystery Snail is calm in demeanor, they can experience stress if they feel threatened or scared by their tankmates. It is important to not include tankmates with Mystery Snails that are likely to eat them. Examples of incompatible tankmates for the Mystery Snail are Oscars, Cichlids, and Crayfish due to their aggressive nature. 

Mystery Snail Disease

The Mystery Snail does not suffer from any particular disease or illness unique to their species. Because they are sensitive to water quality, any adverse changes can lead to shock, difficult to treat parasitic infection, or even death among Mystery Snails.

What to Do if a Mystery Snail Has a Cracked Shell?

If a Mystery Snail has a cracked, thin, or pitted shell, it can mean that they are experiencing acidic water pH properties or a deficiency in calcium. It is important to repair damaged Mystery Snail shells as they can lead to deadly disease and infection among this species. A cracked Mystery Snail shell can be patched with fish safe epoxy, but it is risky, and the snail must be removed from the tank for this procedure.

Why is My Mystery Snail Floating?

It is normal for Mystery Snails to float in their aquarium water and this phenomenon is caused by a few different reasons. One cause for a Mystery Snail floating in water is trapped air in its lung, which when released will allow the snail to sink back to the bottom of the tank. If a film of plant protein and harmless bacteria forms at the top of the tank, a Mystery Snail might find a way to float itself to the top in order to snack on this substance. A Mystery Snail might also float to the top of their tank if the water quality is poor and they are choosing to protest.

Why Is My Mystery Snail Not Moving?

If a Mystery Snail is not moving, there might be something wrong with their health. As active creatures, Mystery Snails are not usually slowed down unless they are suffering from some type of health issue that should be identified and treated immediately.

Why Did My Mystery Snail Die?

A common cause of death among Mystery Snails is poor water conditions leading to high levels of ammonia, nitrates, and nitrites. Mystery Snails are sensitive to their water quality and need high levels of calcium to live full and healthy lives.

Where Can I Find Mystery Snail for Sale?

As a favorite aquarium addition, Mystery Snails are very popular and commonly sold at many freshwater fish stores. They can be purchased online or at brand name pet provider stores such as PetSmart and Petco.

Mystery Snail Price

Mystery Snails are common and low in price, costing around 3 dollars for one snail at most store.

Fish Laboratory

With decades of collective fishkeeping experience, we are happy to share the fish care tips that we've picked up along the way. Our goal at Fish Laboratory is to keep publishing accurate content to help fishkeepers keep their fish and aquarium healthy.

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