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Mystery Snails and Goldfish: Can They Live Together?

Nicole Cosgrove

July 14, 2021

Yes, they can!

Mystery snails are one of the best tankmates for goldfish but only if a few precautions are taken. Goldfish and mystery snails have similar water requirements which means that the conditions can be mutually established to keep both happy and healthy. Goldfish tanks are also typically large enough to house a few mystery snails to avoid any issues regarding space inside of the tank.

Goldfish can often get along well with mystery snails and few problems should arise from the two being kept together. The main issue with keeping these two aquatic creatures together all depends on their overall size. Small snails that are paired with large goldfish may be eaten by the opportunistic goldfish. Goldfish may also choke on the mystery snail if it is too large for them to spit out or comfortably chew. All these health risks can be avoided, and many aquarists have great success keeping goldfish and mystery snails together.

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Types of Goldfish That Can Be Kept with Mystery Snails

Telescope Goldfish_Walter_Navarro, Pixabay
Image Credit: Walter_Navarro, Pixabay

Generally, when you want to house your mystery snail’s goldfish, you must first establish if you have single-tailed or fancy goldfish in the tank. Single-tailed goldfish like the common, comet, or shubunkin grow to exceptionally large sizes and will be able to fit a young mystery snail inside of their mouth. Single-tailed goldfish also outgrow mystery snails and if you house a mystery snail with a large goldfish, the goldfish will be able to prey on the unsuspecting snail easily.

These are some of the best goldfish to keep with juvenile or adult mystery snails:

  • Fantails
  • Telescope
  • Black Moors
  • Ryukins
  • Ranchu
  • Pearlscale
  • Orandas

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How to Make the Tank Suitable

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Image Credit: hedgehog94, Shutterstock

The tank should be large enough to accommodate both the goldfish and mystery snail. Since goldfish grow to great lengths, a minimum of 20 gallons should be established for a few baby fancy goldfish and juvenile or adult mystery snails.

  • Choose a large rectangular tank with a hood or canopy. Some ideal size guidelines are 20 gallons for every four goldfish and mystery snails and an additional 5 gallons for every goldfish or mystery snail you add. This will not only save you money in the long run by not having to upgrade, but it will also help keep the water parameters under control. Bowls, bio-orbs, and vases and not ideal housing for these creatures and will only cause stress from the lack of space and unstable water conditions.
  • Place a good quality filter and aeration system inside of the tank. This will help aid the water conditions and keep the amount of waste and debris under control.
  • Set up a pre-set heater. This will help to keep the water temperature constant and avoid stressful fluctuations. Mystery snails do better with water on the warmer side, and fancy goldfish can mutually thrive in the same temperature range. 22°C to 25°C can be maintained to keep both creatures happy in their environment.
  • Frequent water changes should be conducted to lower the amount of ammonia inside the tank. Both mystery snails are sensitive to ammonia, nitrites, and nitrate so they should be kept at ideal levels. There should be 0ppm ammonia and nitrate present in the water and below 30ppm nitrates.
  • Add a moderate amount of decoration and substrate. Fine gravel is recommended for both goldfish and mystery snails. The gravel should be small enough that a goldfish can spit it out without it getting stuck in the mouth. The fine layer of gravel also promoted your mystery snail to dig and burrow.

Related Read: How to Hatch Mystery Snail Eggs: Step-by-Step Guide 2021

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Feeding Mystery Snails and Goldfish Successfully

buble eye goldfish_Salamatdoh_Shutterstock
Image Credit: Salamatdoh, Shutterstock

Goldfish are known piggies when it comes to feeding time and will eat the mystery snail’s food before they even get the chance to nibble on a morsel. This can pose a problem with feeding your mystery snails. Mystery snails should be fed a few times a week with sinking pellets, algae wafer, or vegetables from the kitchen. Although goldfish can eat these foods, it does not benefit the mystery snail at all.

Try to stick to a strict feeding schedule by feeding your goldfish in the morning and evening. Once nightfall hits and the tank are in complete darkness, you should drop in the mystery snail’s food. Goldfish have poor eyesight in the dark and will be resting and not worried about stealing the mystery snail’s food. Mystery snails are active throughout the night and will take the opportunity to eat their portion of food.

Mystery snails will not be able to survive on leftover foods from your goldfish. Aside from goldfish ensuring that they eat every morsel of food they are presented with, their food offers little nutritional value to a mystery snail.

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Aggression between Mystery Snails and Goldfish

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Image Credit: hineck_Pixabay

Both goldfish and mystery snails are peaceful and social creatures, which means little aggression should occur between the two. Mystery snails do have the risk of being nipped at and tossed around by a curious goldfish, and this can be stressful for the mystery snail. It is not problematic if it occurs when the two are first introduced, as this is merely a way for the goldfish to introduce itself to its new tank mate and is normal if it occurs very frequently as goldfish will be merely curious from time to time.

If you notice your goldfish are constantly harassing your mystery snails, you should separate the two as they most likely will not get along and constant stress will only breed disease in both creatures.

Related Read: Ramshorn Snails Online Shopping Guide: Blue, Brown, Pink & More

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Final Thoughts

If kept well, mystery snails and goldfish can get along great, with minimal interactions occurring between the two. Goldfish will typically ignore the mystery snails crawling around the tank and your mystery snails will not mind sharing a spacious home with your goldfish. This can spark a mutual relationship between the two and add character and personality into your tank.

Since goldfish are poor tank mates for other fish, a mystery snail will be right for them. We hope this article has helped inform you on the best way to get your goldfish and mystery snails to co-habit peacefully.


Featured Image Credit: Madhourse, Shutterstock

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.