While fish may be the first pets that come to mind when you think of starting an aquarium, there are plenty of other species you could also include. Blue mystery snails are one of the many interesting creatures you can add to your tank. This species is colorful, interesting to observe, and gets along well in a peaceful community tank.
In this article, we’ll tell you what you need to know about keeping blue mystery snails, including proper tank setup and how to choose safe tank mates.
Quick Facts About Blue Mystery Snails
|Species Name:||Pomacea bridgesii|
|Temperature:||68-84 degrees Fahrenheit|
|Minimum Tank Size:||5 gallons|
|Tank Set-Up:||Plenty of vegetation, moderate flow, high oxygen, high pH|
|Compatibility:||Suitable for community tanks|
Blue Mystery Snail Overview
Blue mystery snails are peaceful, active, and beautiful species that also make themselves useful in keeping your aquarium clean. In the wild, these snails are native to tropical waters of South America, where they feed on dead water vegetation.
Mystery snails are sometimes called apple snails. However, this can get confusing because there are also several Asian species of apple snail from different families. These species are considered invasive in many locations.
Blue mystery snails are just one of several color variations of the species, all of whom are popular and easy to care for. The snails are compatible with many different tank mates and make good pets for inexperienced aquarium keepers.
Although blue mystery snails thrive in a variety of different tank setups, they do require certain water parameters to maintain their health. They also need specific nutrients to keep their shells strong and vibrant.
If you want to try your hand at breeding blue mystery snails, you’ll need a breeding pair and enough space in your tank. The snails reproduce easily and can provide an extra income source for a resourceful tank keeper.
How Much Do Blue Mystery Snails Cost?
Blue mystery snails are widely available at pet stores or from online retailers. A single snail typically costs $3.50-$4.50. However, they are often offered for sale in multi-packs, making them even more affordable. If you’re purchasing your new pets in person, take some time to observe the available options and pick active snails with strong, healthy shells. Avoid ones with thin or cracked shells.
Typical Behavior & Temperament
Blue mystery snails are completely non-aggressive. When confronted with danger, they simply close themselves up snugly in their shells and wait for it to pass. They are active creatures, spending their time moving around the tank in search of food. Given the chance, they will even escape your tank, so make sure the lid is secure! The snails are usually most active in the evening and night, providing enjoyable opportunities to observe their behaviors.
Appearance & Varieties
Blue mystery snails are similar to common garden snails in body and shell-type, but much larger. They grow to about 2-3 inches in diameter. Their shells contain about 4 small whorls or spirals.
Their heads contain two antennae, which they use to find food and navigate their environment. Behind the antenna are two eyes on eyestalks, which sense motion and light. These can regenerate if they are ever cut or bitten off by an aggressive tank mate.
The body of the snail is dark, often with orange spots. Mystery snails are also available in colors such as gold, ivory, brown, and black. Their shells often display beautiful patterns and color shading.
How to Take Care of Blue Mystery Snail
Habitat, Tank Conditions & Setup
The minimum tank size for a blue mystery snail is 5 gallons, which can safely house 1-2 pets. However, if your tank has additional inhabitants, you’ll need to account for their minimum tank needs as well.
Generally, each fish or snail needs about 5 gallons, depending on their size and temperament. Overcrowding can lead to poor water quality and sick snails, so don’t try to squeeze more into your tank than is recommended.
Water Quality & Conditions
Blue mystery snails are tough and adaptable, although they won’t tolerate rapid changes in water quality. They are tropical, freshwater animals by nature, who do best at water temperatures between 68-84 degrees Fahrenheit.
The water pH should be kept slightly higher for these snails, between 7.6-and 8.4. More acidic water can negatively impact their shells, making them thinner and weaker. They also need harder water, with ideal kH 12-18.
Blue mystery snails prefer highly oxygenated water, just one reason why their ideal tank is full of aquatic vegetation. They prefer moderate flow but can tolerate higher or lower currents as well.
Blue mystery snails aren’t very picky about their substrate. They may have an easier time moving around on pebbles or rock, but it’s not a necessity. Avoid any substrate with sharp edges that could harm the snails.
Your choice of substrate will likely depend more on what’s required by your other tank inhabitants rather than the blue mystery snails.
In the wild, blue mystery snails inhabit water sources chock full of aquatic plants. They prefer the same for their captive tank environments as well. Choose plants that will thrive in the same water and light conditions as your snails.
You’ll also want to pick plants that are easy to grow and sturdy enough to withstand munching by any other hungry species you may have in your tank. Mystery snails feed on dead and decaying plants and won’t harm the live ones.
Blue mystery snails do not require any particular lighting. Follow the recommendations for your aquatic plant species or other tank mates and your snails should do fine as well.
Blue mystery snails produce a decent amount of waste for their size so you should equip their tank with a filter. Sponge, canister, or hang-on back (HOB) filters are all possible options. Make sure your filter is the appropriate size for your tank and its inhabitants.
Are Blue Mystery Snail Good Tank Mates?
Blue mystery snails are a fantastic addition to peaceful community tanks. Multiple blue mystery snails can co-exist happily as long as they have enough space. However, males and females living together will likely result in eggs eventually (more on that later.)
Mystery snails can also live with other species of snails and non-aggressive invertebrates like shrimp. These snails have no interest in interacting with fish, but should only be kept with peaceful species for their safety.
Avoid pairing blue mystery snails with aggressive fish species like oscars and cichlids. Besides the obvious risk of them becoming dinner, stressed-out snails will spend much of their time hiding rather than roaming for food, limiting their usefulness as tank cleaners.
To ensure your tank community remains happy and healthy, buy a tank large enough for everyone to have space to spread out.
What to Feed Your Blue Mystery Snail
To keep their shells strong and healthy, blue mystery snails need to consume a diet high in calcium. As we mentioned, they will happily graze on any algae and decaying plant matter in the tank. You can also supplement their diet with commercial flakes or pellets, ideally a food with added calcium.
Blue mystery snails can also snack on calcium-rich vegetables such as leafy greens. To feed these foods, make sure they are washed and blanched gently.
Monitor the amount of food the snails are eating carefully to avoid overfeeding. Remove any uneaten food daily to prevent cleanliness and water quality issues.
Keeping Your Blue Mystery Snail Healthy
The primary health concern for blue mystery snails centers around their shell. We already discussed the pH and calcium needs of these creatures earlier in the article. When nutrition or water quality is lacking, blue mystery snails may develop weakened shells, vulnerable to cracks or holes.
Poor tank conditions can cause problems not only for snails but the other inhabitants as well. Make sure filtration is adequate and you perform water changes as required.
Most blue mystery snails sold in stores are captive-bred, but wild-caught snails sometimes play host to parasites that can infect the other fish in your tank. Avoid this issue by purchasing only tank-bred snails.
A male and female blue mystery snail are needed for breeding. However, determining the sex of the snails can be hard, especially when they’re small. Males have a visible sheath, but you’ll need to be patient and wait for them to emerge from their shells before making the observation.
If you do have male and female snails, they will breed on their own with no need for special interventions. Females lay their eggs near or above the surface of the water. They usually produce 20-40 eggs per clutch but may lay several clutches throughout the tank.
The eggs are easy to remove and dispose of if you don’t want to hatch them. Otherwise, the eggs will hatch on their own so long as the tank conditions are moist. Baby snails will sink into the water and begin to eat and grow alongside their parents.
You can make egg-laying easier for your snails by ensuring there are a few inches of space between the waterline and the tank lid. The eggs can be moved to a separate tank for hatching to avoid overcrowding or for their safety from other hungry tankmates.
Are Blue Mystery Snails Suitable For Your Aquarium?
If you have a peaceful tropical tank community, blue mystery snails should fit right in. They are suitable for an aquarium with plenty of aquatic plants so long as the water pH can be kept slightly higher. The snails can also be kept in a tank on their own, especially if you want to breed them.
Blue mystery snails should not live in an aquarium with aggressive fish. They also won’t be safe in a rimless aquarium because they can climb up the walls and escape without a lid to contain them. If these precautions are in place, blue mystery snails are well-suited for a variety of tank mates and aquarium setups.
Inexpensive and easy to care for, blue mystery snails make a unique addition to your aquarium, no matter your level of expertise. They can also make your life easier by pitching in to keep your tank algae-free. Keep your blue mystery snails healthy with proper nutrition and water conditions and safe by choosing only peaceful tank mates. The task of building a community tank can be a rewarding and educational experience for beginners and expert aquarium keepers alike.
Featured Image Credit: Common applesnail (Image Credit: Public Domain Pictures CC0 Public Domain)