Mystery Snails Keep Dying? Here Are Some Reasons Why

Last Updated on January 4, 2022 by cmoarz

Why do your mystery snails keep dying? It’s a common issue we hear about from people all over the world who are trying to keep mystery snails in their aquariums. There are a few reasons why your mystery snails might be dying, so I’ll go over them here one by one.

Mystery Snails Dying? Here’s Why

They Aren’t Getting Enough Food: A lot of people are under the misconception that mystery snails are perfectly happy to just live off the algae that are growing in their aquariums.

However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Mystery snails need a variety of food in order to stay healthy and happy and they especially enjoy eating algae wafers, sinking shrimp pellets, cucumber slices, zucchini slices, and more.

The truth is, your tank isn’t growing enough algae for them to eat. Once they’ve got it all cleaned up in a couple of days, they slowly begin to starve to death.

So with that said, Supplemental feeding is a must. Just like everything else in your aquarium, you will need to feed them on some sort of schedule. Snails are ferocious eaters and will like to eat at least once a day when possible.

They Are Very Sensitive To Chemicals: Snails are very sensitive to a wide variety of medications, especially ones that contain copper (which many do).

Make sure you do research on the medications before using them, if at all possible.

Copper can also be introduced into your aquarium in several ways. If you use tap water for your tank, it can contain copper by default.

Medications may also contain copper themselves and you might not even realize it.

So always do preliminary research on the compatibility and safety of any medications you intend to use.

Bad Ph Or Bad Acclimation: Being as sensitive as they are, Mystery snails are susceptible to changes in Ph.

In many cases, if their tank’s Ph isn’t within a certain range of values, they will become stressed and stop eating or even die outright. (6.5 – 7.5 pH).

Too low of a pH will also cause their shells to be eaten away by the acidic water until there’s nothing left. This can also be deadly for the snails.

Always be sure they have enough calcium to compensate for shell erosion and general day-to-day shell damage.

Drip acclimation is always the preferred acclimation method. Acclimation is also important for the well-being of the snail.

Self acclimation is also possible. Simply put a small stand in the aquarium so it’s just touching the water and place the snail on the stand. The snail will go into the water on its own when it feels it’s acclimated enough.

You Are Getting Your Snails From A Bad Source: This is likely the most common reason why people’s Mystery snails are dying.

It shouldn’t come as a shock that local pet stores often treat their stock badly. This is no different for snails (just like any other creature).

If your mystery snails are dying, you should make a point to ask for a replacement.

If it keeps happening, it’s time to go elsewhere for your future snail purchases.

Many people have reported success in keeping their snails alive after they went to a different supplier to get them.

They Are Getting Eaten: This is a rare circumstance, but it does happen. Mystery snails will occasionally be eaten or attacked by larger fish and all you’ll find in the morning is their empty shell.

They could also be injured and you may not notice, causing them to die from the inside out.

This isn’t that common of a scenario, but you should always be aware that it could happen. Using hiding places is a great way to help reduce the risk of this happening.

Are Mystery Snails Hard to Keep Alive?

In general, mystery snails aren’t hard to keep alive. They require a pH high enough to avoid shell erosion, A temperature high enough that won’t cause them to go into hibernation (or too high that their metabolism speeds up too much), and an adequate supply of food and calcium (without vitamin D added).

To make sure they flourish, there should be a substrate of none pointy gravel or rocks (or in some cases sand), and a healthy planted tank. A cycled tank is also necessary.

What to Do if Snail Is Dying?

Check your water parameters, make sure they are getting a proper diet with adequate amounts of calcium.

Check their shell health and be sure nothing in the aquarium is injuring them.

If they’re simply old and near the end of their lifespan, be comforted in the fact that you kept them alive for a long time.


Owner of and also owner of actual Aquarium Gravel believe it or not! ;). Setting up beautiful aquarium sceneries and habitats since I was very young. Enjoy!