Mystery Snails
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What Do Mystery Snails Eat: Best Food & Feeding Tips

Mystery snails are popular additions to home aquariums. They’re beautifully colored, low maintenance, and help control algae growth. Unfortunately, mystery snail nutrition is often overlooked.

Do you know what to feed mystery snails? How much and how often should they be fed? Will mystery snails eat your live plants? How do you feed mystery snails when they’re kept in a mixed aquarium?

We’ll answer all these questions regarding mystery snail feeding so that your snail will never go hungry in its new home.

What Do Mystery Snails Eat?

In their natural habitat, mystery snails are found in rivers, ponds, and swamps. These opportunistic scavengers search for algae and dead matter to feed on. They also feed on biofilm, which are microorganisms that grow on wet surfaces.

For these snails to thrive, it’s important to duplicate their natural diet in captivity. Doing this requires feeding your mystery snail a balanced diet. A good mystery snail diet consists of the following:

  • Vegetables
  • Algae
  • Fish flakes
  • Fish pellets
  • Bloodworms

Will Mystery Snails Eat Your Live Plants?

As mentioned earlier, mystery snails are scavengers, so their natural diet is decaying plant matter. For this reason, it’s not normal for them to eat live plants. If you catch your mystery snail eating live plants, it may mean:

  • Your mystery snail isn’t being fed enough, so it has resorted to this unnatural behavior.
  • Some aquatic plant species are exceptionally tender, which may have tempted your snail to eat them. An example of such a plant species is Salvinia minima, a type of aquatic fern.
  • The plant in your tank has already started to decay.
  • Your snail is not a mystery snail but an apple snail. Apple snails will consume live plants.

🐠 Feeding your mystery snail nutritious foods and keeping its tank clean will help ensure it lives a full life. Learn more about mystery snails’ average lifespan and how to prolong it.

Nutritional Needs of Mystery Snails

Mystery snails need a calcium-rich diet as their shells are made of calcium carbonate. Calcium is also needed to regulate the pH levels of their bodies. When mystery snails aren’t getting enough calcium, their shells won’t develop properly, becoming thin or deformed. Calcium can be provided by feeding calcium-rich vegetables, like turnip greens, kale, and mustard greens.

Besides having a calcium-rich diet, mystery snails also need protein for proper growth and egg production, which is found in flake food, fish pellets, and bloodworms.

The Best Foods for Mystery Snails

The following are the best mystery snail foods, which are a good source of calcium and protein.


Feed your mystery snail blanched vegetables, which are placed in boiling water for 3-5 minutes only. Remove the vegetables and place them in ice water to end the cooking process so they don’t overcook. The following are some of the best vegetables to feed your mystery snail:

  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Lettuce
  • Collard greens
  • Mustard
  • Turnips
  • Iceberg lettuce
  • Zucchini squash
  • Carrot
  • Cucumber


Algae is an important part of the mystery snail’s natural diet. In fact, many aquarists keep mystery snails to help reduce algae growth; however, your aquarium may not provide them with the amount of algae they need. You can replicate this by feeding them algae wafers.

When feeding algae wafers, break them into small pieces so they can be eaten more easily. Doing this will also prevent a build-up from the wafer, which can pollute the water.

Java Moss

Java moss is a freshwater moss that’s frequently used in aquariums. It provides a good food source for your mystery snail, as well as provides shelter for them.

Fish Pellets

Fish pellets will give your mystery snail the needed nutrients for a balanced diet. Good quality fish pellets will have essential proteins along with vitamins and minerals.


Frozen bloodworms are a good source of protein and are particularly good for mysterious snail hatchlings.


When mystery snails aren’t receiving enough calcium, they may undergo molting— a sign that their shell is degrading. The more calcium your snail gets, the better the quality of its shell will be.

You can buy calcium supplements for snails that come in different forms, including wafers, blends, and tablets.

Jello for a Snail?

You can also make your own mystery snail food. Some breeders use this jello recipe:


  • A slice of apple
  • A slice of pear
  • A slice of banana
  • One frozen strawberry
  • 3-4 green beans
  • Half a carrot
  • A small slice of zucchini
  • A small amount of broccoli
  • A small slice of sweet potato.
  • 4-5 cubes of frozen blood worms
  • 1 tablespoon of calcium carbonate powder
  • 1 tablespoon of organic spirulina power.
  • 1 packet of gelatine powder.
  • Small pot
  • Baking pan
  • Plastic wrap
  • A small container
  • Wax paper

Note: Any fruits or vegetables, which are safe for mystery snails, can be used in this recipe.


1. Blanch the vegetables by boiling them for 2-5 minutes. Don’t boil them, as this may reduce the vegetables’ nutritional value.

2. Drain the vegetables and then place them in ice-cold water to stop the cooking process.

3. Add the vegetables, fruit, and bloodworms to a blender. Blend the contents until they form a paste.

4. Pour the contents of the blender into a pot, add the gelatine powder, and place the pot on a stovetop under medium heat, stirring until everything dissolves.

5. Line the pan with the plastic wrap and pour the contents of the pot into the pan, making sure to spread it evenly. Tap the tray a few times to release any air bubbles.

6. Allow the tray’s contents to cool down. Once cooled, place the pan in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 hours. This will form jello.

7. When the jello is set, cut it into small cubes and place them in the container, using wax paper between the cube layers to prevent them from sticking together.

8. Place the container in the freezer. It will retain its quality for about a month.

Do Mystery Snails Eat Leftover Fish Food?

Mystery snails will eat leftover fish food. Fish flakes and pellets are good sources of protein, minerals, and vitamins that mystery snails need. Make sure that any fish food you use doesn’t contain copper, however, as it’s toxic to invertebrates.

How Often Should You Feed Mystery Snails?

There’s no set rule for how often you should feed mystery snails. The best way to determine this is to observe how much your snail can consume in one day. Try dropping one algae wafer in the tank and see how long it takes for your mystery snail to eat it.

Changes to Your Snail’s Appetite

When breeding mystery snails, increasing the amount of food you give them is important. Doing so will induce breeding. While providing them with more food is important, it’s just as important not to let uneaten food remain in the tank.

Sometimes, mystery snails may stop eating for a few days. This can happen if your mystery snail has recently feasted on a high-protein meal. Also, mystery snails may temporarily stop eating when stressed,. which can be caused by making changes to their enclosure.

Also, mystery snails may stop eating their regular diet if they have discovered a secondary food source to feast on.

🐠 Are you looking to increase your fish tank’s snail population? Here’s how to calculate the right number of snails per gallon you should keep.

How to Avoid Overfeeding Your Mystery Snails

It’s easy to overfeed mystery snails. Overfeeding your snail can lead to poor water quality from leftover food, killing your snail and any other aquarium inhabitants. Observe your mystery snail to see how long it takes to eat its meal.

As stated earlier, try dropping a single algae wafer and see how long it takes for your snail to consume it. You can then adjust as needed. Food should not remain in the tank for more than 24 hours.

Also, if you have a secondary food source, feeding your mystery snail may not be necessary every day. If algae grow in the tank, that would be a secondary food source. If your mystery snail shares its tank with fish, then leftover fish food would also be a secondary source. In such cases, you may only have to feed your mystery snail every other day.

Also, mystery snails are most active at night, so try feeding them then and see what food is left over in the morning to better understand their feeding pattern.

Foods You Should Avoid

There are certain foods you should avoid feeding your mystery snail as they may be toxic to them. These foods include the following:

  • Dairy products
  • Foods containing salt or sugar.
  • Any vegetables that belong to the garlic or onion family, Amaryllidaceae.
  • Processed starches, such as bread, pasta, or wheat.
  • Any fruits that contain citric acid.
  • Any vegetable high in oxalates, such as spinach, parsley, or rhubarb.
  • Any foods that contain copper sulfate, which can be found in certain fish foods.

Tank Setup for Mystery Snail Feeding

When kept in a mixed tank, feeding mystery snails can get tricky as your snail may have to compete for its food. To ensure that your mystery snail is getting its share of food, feed it individually.

Place the food in front of them and watch them to ensure they eat it. Mystery snails have a good sense of smell, so they should move toward the food when they detect it.

Mystery snail feeding usually occurs at night, as mystery snails are nocturnal. This is the best time to feed them. Besides, your fish will be more likely to be less active during this time, which means less food competition.

The Mystery of Snail Feeding, Decoded

Mystery snails are a great addition to the aquarium as they’re low maintenance, keep algae in control, and scavenge for leftover food. They still need to meet their nutritional needs, so provide them with a wide range of foods to ensure they live a healthy life. If you enjoyed this article, be sure to share it and leave us a comment below.

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