Mystery snails are often confused with apple snails. Some people say both are the same species but others believe they are different.

Though the answer cannot be that straightforward, the truth is a mystery, and apple snails are not entirely the same. So, what are the differences between apple and mystery snail?

There are so many aspects to distinguish between both species, such as size and colors. Despite the differences, they also have similarities in that mystery snails are a part of the apple snail species.

Hence, you can mention similarities between the two, including bodily features and characteristics.

For instance, both apple and mystery snails have a siphon for breathing which makes them amphibious—they can live in the water and terrestrial area.

The two are also gonochoristic, so female and male individuals are required for breeding.

Differences between Apple Snail and Mystery Snail

An apple snail is laying its eggs.
An apple snail is laying its eggs. (Image: wikimedia.org)

Now that you know similarities between aquatic creatures, now let’s jump to reveal the differences.

There are 3 main aspects to compare apple snail vs mystery snail, including species name, size, and color. Take a closer look at the comparison below.

Species Name

As mentioned, mystery snails are a particular species that belongs to the apple snail. Scientifically known as Pomacea bridgesii, that means this species belongs to genus Pomacea with a specific species name bridgesii.

Meanwhile, apple snails are not a particular species. Instead, they are an entire family that is called Ampullariidae. They belong to class Gastropoda and phylum Mollusca.

The difference in species name makes it clear that mystery snails and apple snails are not entirely similar.

When you talk about apple snails, you might be talking about Pomacea diffusa. But when you talk about mystery snails, you are unlikely to talk about other species.

Size

Another aspect that distinguishes mystery snails from other species of apple snails is the size. Some variants of apple snails tend to be a bit larger as they can reach the same size as a golf ball.

Mystery snails are known to be one of the biggest snails, though they are not as large as apple snails.

Some species of apple snails like adult Canna can grow larger than most snails. In addition to their large size, they also love to eat.

They have an excellent ability to adapt to a new habitat, allowing them to survive better than other species.

Pomacea canaliculata or Canna, however, is considered a pest. According to US laws, snail breeding can be illegal because of its destructive nature and large size.

They may cause ecological and agricultural damage, not to mention they can also pose harm to human health.

On the other hand, mystery snails are considered safe. They are not pests and they do not cause agricultural damage.

Plus, they don’t pose humans to diseases. For this reason, you can breed and keep mystery snails in your home aquarium.

Colors

Another important aspect to compare apple vs mystery snail is the color. Apple snails are typically golden yellow with slight variations of green and brown.

This is the most common combination found in apple snails, making it easy to recognize.

Mystery snail colors, on the contrary, are more colorful. There is a wide variety of colors in mystery snails, be it their shells or body.

There are some common colors like purple, ivory, gold, jade, and blue. You can also find rare colors like dark with a purple stripe, red-brown, chestnut, and even pink.

Experts say that these colors are gene mutation that appears as pigmentation.

What’s interesting, you can breed mystery snails and get new colors by mating different colors of mystery snails. On the market, color availability heavily depends on the breeder.

Another main color difference between mystery and apple snails is on their feet. Mystery snails have dark slate or pure white feet, while apple snails tend to have an olive green feet.

Can Mystery Snails Live with Apple Snails?

Mystery snail looks pretty similar to apple snail.
Mystery snail looks pretty similar to apple snail. (Image: snailemporium.com)

Now that you know the differences between apple and mystery snail, you may want to figure out if both of them can live together.

It sounds great to have different kinds of snails in a single tank but it won’t be fun if they kill each other.

The truth is, mystery snails are docile and non-aggressive by nature. They love a calm, non-moving aquatic environment with peaceful mates.

This species has no means to attach to other species, so it can be a nice addition to your community tank.

Quite similar to mystery snails, apple snails are calm and peaceful. They like to be left alone and they also love to get peaceful tank mates. They are not attracted to what’s happening in the tank as long as they don’t get disturbed.

Based on their similarities in terms of temperament and behavior, mystery snails and apple snails can be tank mates.

The two will not attack each other and they will live peacefully in their tank. Just make sure to give enough space and sufficient food.

Can Snails Live with Fish?

Mystery and apple snails are docile and they tend to be a peaceful tank mate. That becomes the question, can you add them to a community tank with other fish?

The answer is simply yes. Both kinds of snail won’t harm your fish, so it is pretty safe to have them in your tank.

Apple and mystery snails can be a great addition to your home aquarium, but there’s a catch. Some fish may bite your tiny snails and you don’t want it to happen. That’s why you have to choose the right tank mates for them.

There’s a large selection of potential tank mates for mystery and apple snails. Most non-aggressive freshwater fish can be peaceful friends and they will live happily together.

Just make sure they don’t consider snails as part of their diet.

Some recommended tank mates for apple and mystery snails are:

  • Cory catfish
  • Killifish
  • Tetras
  • Amano Shrimp
  • Ghost Shrimp
  • Red Cherry Shrimp

How about bettas? Since bettas are among aquarium favorites, this question just makes sense. Good news for all aquarists, you can mix snails and bettas in the same tank.

Despite the aggressiveness of bettas toward other species, they will be just fine with the snails.

Both of them will stay away from each other and mind their own business. The best part, apple, and mystery snails will be happy to clean the tank while bettas will enjoy the clean water. That means you can expect a longer life for bettas and snails.

After learning about the differences between apple snail vs mystery snail, you won’t use the name interchangeably.

Despite the similarities, mystery snails are not entirely the same as apple snails because there are some factors to distinguish between other species.