Many people refuse to have snails in their fish tank as it can breed faster than expected. Not to mention most snails are considered pests and breeders just don’t want to take the risks.
But when it comes to mystery snails, breeding this species will make you a fortune.
Adding some mystery snails to your freshwater aquarium can enhance visual appeal effortlessly.
Thanks to a wide variety of colors not only in the body but also shells which makes your tank more attractive and colorful. What’s more, caring for mystery snails is quite easy and simple.
Are you interested to breed this aquatic snail? Then it is important to find more information about the little creature, such as their characteristics and how to breed.
When it comes to breeding, there are several steps to consider. Here’s everything you need to know about breeding mystery snails.
Mystery Snail at a Glance
Before diving deeper into how to breed mystery snails and everything you need to do as a breeder, there are few things to know.
Revealing facts and important info about apple snails can help you care for the pet in a better way, so you can expect to be a professional snail breeder.
Also known as pomacea brigesii, apple snails are often confused with pest snail (pomacea canaliculata).
The best and easiest way to identify a mystery snail is from the breathing siphon. Mystery snails have a breathing siphon which helps them breathe oxygen—pest snails don’t have this feature.
On top of that, mystery snails come in a wide variety of body and shell colors. These mystery snail color variations make them quite beautiful in your tank.
You can either choose snails with common colors like gold, purple, and ivory, or rare colors like pink, red brown, and chestnut.
Another unique characteristic of apple snails is their habit when laying eggs.
Mystery snails lay eggs beyond the waterline, making them the only aquatic animal which deposit their eggs above water surface and leave them. For protection, the eggs are placed in a cocoon.
Larger fish can harm your mystery snails. Most fish like to bite the tentacles but it doesn’t cause a serious damage.
Rather mystery snails heal eventually and they will learn to keep tentacles closed. When it comes to mating, this species typically doesn’t need any help or changed water conditions.
Mystery snails eat anything available in the tank but their main diets include dead fish, dead plant matter, dead shrimp, and algae.
Some snails also eat aquatic vegetation in your freshwater tank. That’s why you need to put sufficient vegetation to give them a natural food source.
When they breed, their food appetite naturally increases. Their body temperature is also warmer than usual. If you notice this change, be sure to leave a space above the waterline so that female snails can lay eggs out of water.
How to Breed Mystery Snails
Do you want to keep these tiny creatures for a long time? Breeding would be the best solution to double them in quantity.
What’s amazing, you can mix different colors of mystery snails to get a new color variation. They will look adorable in your fish tank.
That becomes the question, how to breed mystery snails the right way? Here are steps to do:
1. Choose Your Colors
Much like breeding a cat, the very first thing to do is choosing the color. Mystery snails come in a wide variety of colors, in which the colors are considered gene mutation that turns into pigmentation.
If you want to play safe, you can simply mate mystery snails of the same color.
But if you want to play with color, mating snails of different colors will be so much fun. For instance, mating blue and golden snails will give you jade one. Some pet owners have created unique and rare colors from this process.
Whether you are a mystery snail enthusiast or commercial breeder, mixing colors would be so much fun.
2. Identify the Sex
You may have heard that snails change their sexes. This is quite true but mystery snails are an exception.
Apple snails have set sexes, which means it requires a male and female to reproduce. This also means that mystery snails can’t reproduce asexually.
Identifying the sex during mystery snail breeding is quite challenging. The species has genitalia to spot but it is not easy to see.
You will need to hold the snail on its back and pull it out of the water. The snail has to extend fully from the shell so you can clearly see the genitalia.
Even professional breeders find it is hard to sex mystery snails. So, it is normal to take some time for this process because this is not a task school kids commonly can do.
3. Set the Breeding Mood
Now that you identify the sex of mystery snails, it is time to set the breeding mood. Raising water temperature is the best and easiest way to set the mood.
But you should do it carefully, otherwise your snails will be shocked. Ideally, the temperature can be raised about 1 to 2 degree every day.
The ideal temperature for breeding is about 74 degree as mystery snails don’t really like high temperatures.
But some kinds of mystery snails may tolerate higher temperature up to 79 degree. So, it is important to get to know more about temperature threshold of your snails.
In addition to setting the temperature, it is also important to provide enough food needed for breeding.
As their appetite increases when they breed, be sure to add plenty of foods into the tank. It can be food containing protein and calcium or lots of vegetables.
As you increase the amount of food, it is also necessary to monitor water quality. Regularly maintain your aquarium to make sure healthy water quality.
4. Mating Process
The process of mystery snail mating takes about 1 to 6 hours. During this process, male snail will crawl over the female and mount on her. When the male snail is on the right shoulder of the female, the deed is performed.
Some female snails go around for their daily activities while others tend to curl up. Others may also try to throw their mates.
It is important to note that male snails may over-mate their female counterparts. This, however, can kill the female eventually. Just remember to separate them if the females are breeding often.
When you try to separate them, do not pull them apart. Instead, wait until they are done and separate the female to other aquarium. This helps avoid them from being mated by other males.
5. Hatch the Eggs
After mating, a female mystery snail will lay eggs in a few days. How long does it take? It heavily depends on the temperature of the water.
Snails living in a warmer temperature may lay eggs sooner. Once the eggs are laid, wait for a few days before moving—the clutches are very sensitive so you may crush them.
When the clutches are strong enough, you can start to move them using a razor blade. You can move with your finger but it is just too risky.
So, use a tool to minimize damage on the clutch. Get the clutch into a hatching container or incubator to keep baby mystery snails safe.
Clutch that is ready to hatch will turn color. While young clutch is pinkish red, older clutch is darker. It signifies that baby snails will come out sooner. Just wait until baby mystery snails come out by themselves.
What’s great about this phase, you are about to see hundreds of baby snails coming out from a single clutch.
But it is worth noting that not every clutch is fertile, which means there’s a chance of hatch failure. Infertile clutch is commonly smaller than fertile ones.
Baby mystery snails are commonly the same size as a sesame seed. But this species can grow quickly—they double in size within few weeks.
A mystery snail can grow up to 2 inches at maximum. They have a quite short lifespan, which explains why snails lay lots of eggs at a time.
With all this information, you can get more insights into mystery snail breeding. Figuring out the characteristics of this species, how it mates, and how to handle the clutch is essential so you can prepare yourself.
Be a responsible and professional mystery snail breeder and make your own fortune.