Mystery snail eating algae in a non conventional way

KarenSoCal

Well-Known Member
Tortoise Club
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jul 8, 2017
Messages
5,236
Location (City and/or State)
Low desert 50 mi SE of Palm Springs CA
A mystery snail eating algae off the back of our mud turtle
I LOVE mystery snails! I find them to be fascinating creatures.

A few years ago one of mine laid a large clutch of eggs, so I thought "Why not incubate and hatch them?" So I removed the clutch from my 20g tank, since I didn't know how this venture would work out. And I figured I may actually get a few to hatch, and didn't want fish to eat them.

I researched how to incubate the eggs, and they began hatching...and hatching....and hatching...I think I had about 300 microscopic mystery snails! 🙂

Then they grew. They went from a 2g tank to a 10g tank, and finally to a huge plastic bin. I had half inch snails by the handsful for about 5 months.

I took them to my LFS, and she sold them. I never did it again.

20161005_083029crop_PerfectlyClear.jpg
20161020_182215.jpg
20161102_161919.jpg
 

Skip K

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 4, 2020
Messages
406
Location (City and/or State)
Virginia
I LOVE mystery snails! I find them to be fascinating creatures.

A few years ago one of mine laid a large clutch of eggs, so I thought "Why not incubate and hatch them?" So I removed the clutch from my 20g tank, since I didn't know how this venture would work out. And I figured I may actually get a few to hatch, and didn't want fish to eat them.

I researched how to incubate the eggs, and they began hatching...and hatching....and hatching...I think I had about 300 microscopic mystery snails! 🙂

Then they grew. They went from a 2g tank to a 10g tank, and finally to a huge plastic bin. I had half inch snails by the handsful for about 5 months.

I took them to my LFS, and she sold them. I never did it again.

View attachment 333126
View attachment 333127
View attachment 333128
Very good points, Karen. I read the same thing. I’ve talked with other people about and researched this. One keeper said his mud turtle ate the baby snails as fast as his muddy could find them but I’m tad bit leery about our mud turtle eating so many shelled organisms at his small size…and even if it’s not a problem…if he eats so many…any time he wants…will he ignore other foods I feed him. Ive thought about removing the egg masses or as another keeper mentioned getting some assassin snails to keep the mystery snails in check…but this seems too overly complicated and questionable. I am starting a secondary tank with the hope of raising ghost shrimp ( which our muddy loves) and raising snails in that tank as well by removing the mystery snails from the turtle tank before they get to reproductive size…but is all this hassle worth the benefit of their tank cleaning abilities. The mud turtle is extremely messy. Trying to find a balance between keeping the turtle tank clean with less effort and less cost for filter cartridge replacement with the bonus of live food ( which will actually be nutrient gut loaded snails because they eat left over turtle food) vs an infestation is what I’m trying to figure out. I appreciate your input very much…especially the photos! I not sure if it will be possible to have my cake and eat it too with any arrangement.
P.S…Karen what size were your MS when they began breeding?
 
Last edited:

Maro2Bear

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
May 29, 2014
Messages
12,562
Location (City and/or State)
Glenn Dale, Maryland, USA
I LOVE mystery snails! I find them to be fascinating creatures.

A few years ago one of mine laid a large clutch of eggs, so I thought "Why not incubate and hatch them?" So I removed the clutch from my 20g tank, since I didn't know how this venture would work out. And I figured I may actually get a few to hatch, and didn't want fish to eat them.

I researched how to incubate the eggs, and they began hatching...and hatching....and hatching...I think I had about 300 microscopic mystery snails! 🙂

Then they grew. They went from a 2g tank to a 10g tank, and finally to a huge plastic bin. I had half inch snails by the handsful for about 5 months.

I took them to my LFS, and she sold them. I never did it again.

View attachment 333126
View attachment 333127
View attachment 333128

Very cool. I found a few wild mystery snail egg deposits a few years back while kayaking in Florida. They were laid on the posts of a few docks.

We have 9 in our current tank and they really are growing nicely. A mix of Ivory & Yellow ones. No eggs yet.
 
Last edited:

Skip K

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 4, 2020
Messages
406
Location (City and/or State)
Virginia
Very cool. I found a few wild mystery snail egg deposits a few years back while kayaking in Florida. They were laid on the posts of a few docks.

We have 9 in our current tank and they really are growing nicely. A mix of Ivory & Yellow ones. No eggs yet.
I thought about those too. But in my research I found that there are some wild snails that contain parasites…including a lung fluke that maybe could affect water turtles or fish. One of the reasons I don’t put wild crayfish in the tank is I’ve seen flukes on them. They are extremely hard to see…the light has to be just right and you have to be real close to the aquarium glass to notice them.
 

TammyJ

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Jun 21, 2016
Messages
3,156
Location (City and/or State)
Jamaica
When I saw the title of this thread, I wondered why the snail was such a "mystery". Now I know that a Mystery Snail is a type of snail - well then. OK.
 

KarenSoCal

Well-Known Member
Tortoise Club
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jul 8, 2017
Messages
5,236
Location (City and/or State)
Low desert 50 mi SE of Palm Springs CA
Very cool. I found a few wild mystery snail egg deposits a few years back while kayaking in Florida. They were laid on the posts of a few docks.

We have 9 in our current tank and they really are growing nicely. A mix of Ivory & Yellow ones. No eggs yet.
Be sure to carefully check for eggs under the lip of the aquarium, and on the lid. A young female usually lays a much smaller clutch than the one in my photo. It can be difficult to see.

Also remember that you have to leave space at the top of the tank so she can climb completely out of the water. At least an inch, and a little more is better.
 

KarenSoCal

Well-Known Member
Tortoise Club
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jul 8, 2017
Messages
5,236
Location (City and/or State)
Low desert 50 mi SE of Palm Springs CA
Very good points, Karen. I read the same thing. I’ve talked with other people about and researched this. One keeper said his mud turtle ate the baby snails as fast as his muddy could find them but I’m tad bit leery about our mud turtle eating so many shelled organisms at his small size…and even if it’s not a problem…if he eats so many…any time he wants…will he ignore other foods I feed him. Ive thought about removing the egg masses or as another keeper mentioned getting some assassin snails to keep the mystery snails in check…but this seems too overly complicated and questionable. I am starting a secondary tank with the hope of raising ghost shrimp ( which our muddy loves) and raising snails in that tank as well by removing the mystery snails from the turtle tank before they get to reproductive size…but is all this hassle worth the benefit of their tank cleaning abilities. The mud turtle is extremely messy. Trying to find a balance between keeping the turtle tank clean with less effort and less cost for filter cartridge replacement with the bonus of live food ( which will actually be nutrient gut loaded snails because they eat left over turtle food) vs an infestation is what I’m trying to figure out. I appreciate your input very much…especially the photos! I not sure if it will be possible to have my cake and eat it too with any arrangement.
P.S…Karen what size were your MS when they began breeding?
I think putting ghosties and MS together in a tank would work fine. But instead of removing the older snails that are with the muddy, leave them with him. Just watch for clutches each day, and when you find one, put it in an incubator (see video link below). I followed this video and it worked well. And don't try to remove the clutch until it dries for a couple days, or it is a mushy mass in your fingers.

After hatching, put them in a 10g tank. Anything smaller and you'll have to upgrade the accommodations as they grow. But they grow slowly. You need to cover the filter intake or they get sucked in or crawl in. The best cover is a piece of pantyhose wrapped around and held with a rubber band. What I did was use a couple sponge filters instead of HOB filters. They solved that problem.

For the ghosties, I took mama out of the tank right before she delivered and put her in a plastic container until the babies were born. As soon as she was done, she went back "home". The babies went into a different tank. As I remember, ghosties will eat their babies, and fish surely will.

I don't know how big MS need to be to breed. My mama had come from the store and was carrying sperm. She can hold it for up to a year until she decides it's safe to use it. I took my babies to the store when they were about a half inch, so I don't think they were mature enough to breed yet.

Link to hatchery video...


I've added a few pix since you enjoy them.

Hitching a ride...
20160825_160646.jpg
20161217_161631.jpg
1483394576280.jpg


The pile of white on the right is a ball of snails all trying to eat the same piece of veggie. I have seen epic tug of war matches.

20161122_115013.jpg
20161109_131742.jpg

Mama and Baby meet...
20161209_173946~2.jpg
 

Skip K

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 4, 2020
Messages
406
Location (City and/or State)
Virginia
I think putting ghosties and MS together in a tank would work fine. But instead of removing the older snails that are with the muddy, leave them with him. Just watch for clutches each day, and when you find one, put it in an incubator (see video link below). I followed this video and it worked well. And don't try to remove the clutch until it dries for a couple days, or it is a mushy mass in your fingers.

After hatching, put them in a 10g tank. Anything smaller and you'll have to upgrade the accommodations as they grow. But they grow slowly. You need to cover the filter intake or they get sucked in or crawl in. The best cover is a piece of pantyhose wrapped around and held with a rubber band. What I did was use a couple sponge filters instead of HOB filters. They solved that problem.

For the ghosties, I took mama out of the tank right before she delivered and put her in a plastic container until the babies were born. As soon as she was done, she went back "home". The babies went into a different tank. As I remember, ghosties will eat their babies, and fish surely will.

I don't know how big MS need to be to breed. My mama had come from the store and was carrying sperm. She can hold it for up to a year until she decides it's safe to use it. I took my babies to the store when they were about a half inch, so I don't think they were mature enough to breed yet.

Link to hatchery video...


I've added a few pix since you enjoy them.

Hitching a ride...
View attachment 333184
View attachment 333188
View attachment 333189


The pile of white on the right is a ball of snails all trying to eat the same piece of veggie. I have seen epic tug of war matches.

View attachment 333186
View attachment 333185

Mama and Baby meet...
View attachment 333187
Great advice and pics, Karen! Thank you!
 

Skip K

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 4, 2020
Messages
406
Location (City and/or State)
Virginia
@Maro2Bear @KarenSoCal
One more question for the experts!
Setting up a separate tank for Ghost Shrimp and Mystery Snails. As decorations/hides and to raise calcium I want to use weathered whelk shells. These whelk shells have been weathering for decades in a garden…and have been thoroughly cleaned with a brush and water. I’ve read conflicting info on using ocean shells for what I mentioned above. Some say ocean shells are good for adding calcium to the water and creating harder water and PH…while other articles say the release of calcium from ocean shells is detrimental as it releases too much calcium, makes the water too hard and raises PH too high. Seems softer shells like old clam shells would dissolve quickly but whelk shells are much harder. Opinions?
 
Last edited:

Maro2Bear

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
May 29, 2014
Messages
12,562
Location (City and/or State)
Glenn Dale, Maryland, USA
@Maro2Bear @KarenSoCal
One more question for the experts!
Setting up a separate tank for Ghost Shrimp and Mystery Snails. As decorations/hides and to raise calcium I want to use weathered whelk shells. These whelk shells have been weathering for decades in a garden…and have been thoroughly cleaned with a brush and water. I’ve read conflicting info on using ocean shells for what I mentioned above. Some say ocean shells are good for adding calcium to the water and creating harder water and PH…while other articles say the release of calcium from ocean shells is detrimental as it releases too much calcium, makes the water too hard and raises PH too high. Seems softer shells like old clam shells would dissolve quickly but whelk shells are much harder. Opinions?

I’m not sure. I have a few large conch shells in my aquarium that plays home to our Mystery Snails, a few Corys & two large friendly fancy goldfish. The MS are plenty active.
 

Skip K

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 4, 2020
Messages
406
Location (City and/or State)
Virginia
I’m not sure. I have a few large conch shells in my aquarium that plays home to our Mystery Snails, a few Corys & two large friendly fancy goldfish. The MS are plenty active.
Thanks…if I had conch shells I’d try those. They are beautiful. Years ago before our youngest was born…we were down in the Keys on vaca. Standing on a little jetty…looking down…wife saw a conch shell and into what looked like 3 feet of water I jumped to get it for her. It was a little deeper than I thought plus I sunk up to my knees in the soft bottom. It was hell getting unstuck…plus no conch shell as it was inhabited. Figures
 

KarenSoCal

Well-Known Member
Tortoise Club
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jul 8, 2017
Messages
5,236
Location (City and/or State)
Low desert 50 mi SE of Palm Springs CA
Seems softer shells like old clam shells would dissolve quickly but whelk shells are much harder. Opinions?
Since I have water so hard you can walk on it, even in summer ;) , I have no idea how that would work.

The first thought that came to me is that the pH would be difficult to keep in a specific range. Many keepers, including me, think it's best to not mess with pH. We say stick with fish that like your native range.

With that said, how acidic is your tap water? Shrimp and snails don't need perfection, and will adapt to the water they are in. You can also feed them fresh veggies high in calcium. Snails love zucchini, and would probably love opuntia. Try any of the dark greens you feed your tort.

I guess maybe I'm super cautious, but every time you do a partial water change you would have to try to adjust for the new water. Do you have a house water softener? If so, be sure to use water that does not go through it. That may help you raise pH.

I've rambled here...I hope I've said something that helps.
 

Skip K

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 4, 2020
Messages
406
Location (City and/or State)
Virginia
Since I have water so hard you can walk on it, even in summer ;) , I have no idea how that would work.

The first thought that came to me is that the pH would be difficult to keep in a specific range. Many keepers, including me, think it's best to not mess with pH. We say stick with fish that like your native range.

With that said, how acidic is your tap water? Shrimp and snails don't need perfection, and will adapt to the water they are in. You can also feed them fresh veggies high in calcium. Snails love zucchini, and would probably love opuntia. Try any of the dark greens you feed your tort.

I guess maybe I'm super cautious, but every time you do a partial water change you would have to try to adjust for the new water. Do you have a house water softener? If so, be sure to use water that does not go through it. That may help you raise pH.

I've rambled here...I hope I've said something that helps.
Thanks for the reply. I have zero idea about our water hardness or ph. I gonna check the water authority website…but it doesn’t take into account conditions occurring in the tank. The only thing I’m sure of…is our water tastes like chemicals….fluoride and chlorine. I use a water conditioner for our tap water and I modify filter cartridges by opening them up and adding a blend of activated carbon/zeolite crystals to enhance the sparsely carbon crystal filled manufacturers cartridges.

Addendum…water hardness…moderately hard to hard…ph 7.2-7.4
 
Last edited:

KarenSoCal

Well-Known Member
Tortoise Club
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jul 8, 2017
Messages
5,236
Location (City and/or State)
Low desert 50 mi SE of Palm Springs CA
Addendum…water hardness…moderately hard to hard…ph 7.2-7.4
Then you're all set! That's hard enough to keep shells hard. Mine comes out of the tap at 8-8.2.

You use a dechlorinator when you change or add water, so that takes care of the chlorine.

You should pick up a API Freshwater Test Kit. Petco or Petsmart will have one, or order online for a slightly lower price. They're around $35...at least when I last bought one several years ago. Resist the urge to get something less expensive, since this is the only one that is truly accurate, and you can do something like 200 tests with it. Also, if you buy it in a store, make sure it is still in date. Once they expire, they really die.

With it you can measure pH, ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates in your tanks any time you want. Follow the instructions carefully. The nitrate test says shake the tube...it needs shaken for at least 3 full minutes.

Armed with this knowledge, you will know the pH of your tap water, and how much nitrate is in your tap water. My tap water read 20, so I never could keep my nitrates below that. Remember, snails have large bioloads, so nitrates are important.

Another tip...if you are using a HOB filter, or one that is not a canister, instead of buying cartridge filters that are so expensive, you can use polyfill. Go to Walmart in the crafts section and get a bag of polyfill. It's the stuff that people stuff pillows with when they make them. Just stuff some of that into the space where the cartridge goes. It works great, and you can still add some carbon.
 
Last edited:

Skip K

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 4, 2020
Messages
406
Location (City and/or State)
Virginia
Then you're all set! That's hard enough to keep shells hard. Mine comes out of the tap at 8-8.2.

You use a dechlorinator when you change or add water, so that takes care of the chlorine.

You should pick up a API Freshwater Test Kit. Petco or Petsmart will have one, or order online for a slightly lower price. They're around $35...at least when I last bought one several years ago. Resist the urge to get something less expensive, since this is the only one that is truly accurate, and you can do something like 200 tests with it. Also, if you buy it in a store, make sure it is still in date. Once they expire, they really die.

With it you can measure pH, ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates in your tanks any time you want. Follow the instructions carefully. The nitrate test says shake the tube...it needs shaken for at least 3 full minutes.

Armed with this knowledge, you will know the pH of your tap water, and how much nitrate is in your tap water. My tap water read 20, so I never could keep my nitrates below that. Remember, snails have large bioloads, so nitrates are important.

Another tip...if you are using a HOB filter, or one that is not a canister, instead of buying cartridge filters that are so expensive, you can use polyfill. Go to Walmart in the crafts section and get a bag of polyfill. It's the stuff that people stuff pillows with when they make them. Just stuff some of that into the space where the cartridge goes. It works great, and you can still add some carbon.
Thanks for the tips! I will look into what you mentioned!
 

Skip K

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 4, 2020
Messages
406
Location (City and/or State)
Virginia
@KarenSoCal @Maro2Bear
Annnddd another snail question. Recently noticed these two, barely visible black dots in the new aquarium with the mystery snails and ghost shrimp. Finally they positioned themselves on the glass and I could see they were some kinda baby snail. Did some research and believe they were hitchhikers on the new plants called “bladder snails or pond snails”. Do either of you have any experience with these snails?
 

KarenSoCal

Well-Known Member
Tortoise Club
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jul 8, 2017
Messages
5,236
Location (City and/or State)
Low desert 50 mi SE of Palm Springs CA
Did some research and believe they were hitchhikers on the new plants called “bladder snails or pond snails”. Do either of you have any experience with these snails?
Yes. The best thing you can do is crush them. I know that sounds harsh, but pond snails will take over your aquarium. You may only have 2 or 3 now, but let them grow up and guaranteed, you'll have dozens of them. And they are very difficult to get rid of.

Take them out, crush them, and feed them to your fish.
 

Maro2Bear

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
May 29, 2014
Messages
12,562
Location (City and/or State)
Glenn Dale, Maryland, USA
Yes. The best thing you can do is crush them. I know that sounds harsh, but pond snails will take over your aquarium. You may only have 2 or 3 now, but let them grow up and guaranteed, you'll have dozens of them. And they are very difficult to get rid of.

Take them out, crush them, and feed them to your fish.
Haha, we had a few hitch hikers on some of the large Rams Horn snails we bought a few years ago from a garden center/koi fish dealer. They were great & we enjoyed watching them as much as the fish.

As far as feeding, every few days I blanche a nice romaine lettuce leaf & drop in our tanks. The snails, corys, goldfish & pleco all love it.

The problem I did have with our first group of MS was the water temperature. I think it was a tad to cold & I had one of those thermometers that is “preset” and not adjustable. My new, larger tank has an adjustable thermometer. The MS seem to like it.
 
TortoiseSupply.com

New Posts

Top