Is My Mystery Snail Male Or Female?
Perhaps you keep mystery snails in your tank, or you plan to add some, and you are wondering how to tell whether your mystery snail is male or female. This is an extremely complicated matter due to one reason: mystery snails are capable of changing their sex when needed. This happens due to their surroundings, partners inside a tank, and other factors. In this post, we will help you tell the difference between male and female mystery snails.
Differences Between Male And Female Mystery Snails
There are several ways to tell the difference between male and female mystery snails. You can observe some behavioral differences and physical differences, as well as one additional way to differentiate between the sexes. Below you will find the main ways.
This is the simplest method to determine whether your mystery snail is male or female. The main behavior that can help you tell the difference is that a male snail will climb onto the female snail to impregnate her. Now you know the gender of your snails. Easy, right?
The only issue here is the fact you need to wait until the snails are ready for reproduction, which doesn’t happen every day. Luckily, there are other ways and methods you can use to tell the difference. They will be covered as well.
When a female snail is ready to reproduce, you will be able to see that her shell becomes translucent. This is the first and the most obvious sign. However, this only happens during the breeding time and only in female snails. But, there is one trick that experts have been using for a long period of time.
You can lift the snail and look at the penis sheath (located next to the gills). If you see it, you will know that your snail is male. If there is no penis sheath, you have a female mystery snail. In this scenario, you must pay close attention to the sheath that is present on these snails.
Another Way To Tell The Difference Between Male And Female Mystery Snails
One additional way you can use to determine whether your mystery snail is male or female is to look at the shell’s color. Male snails often have a brighter color. However, this isn’t 100% accurate and isn’t used by experts, but it may help you. In addition, more and more aquarists claim this method works, and it is accurate, so you may want to test it yourself.
Mystery Snail Reproduction and Breeding
Breeding mystery snails is extremely simple, and you don’t need to perform any additional steps or worry about anything. They will breed all by themselves. Keep in mind that these animals are gonochoristic (you need a male and a female snail), but they can also change sex when needed, so this isn’t a big issue. They can breed in any tank, and they are very ‘’successful’’ in doing that.
Once a female snail is ready to lay the eggs, she will create a cocoon above the water surface. This is difficult to observe due to the fact it happens only at night. The reason for that is to protect the eggs from fish and other threats. In nature, it is a very successful method.
Eggs need a temperature of 73.4 degrees Fahrenheit, and they will need between 15 to 24 days to hatch. Don’t forget that they are above the water, so we are referring to air temperature and not water temperature. If you increase the temperature, they will hatch sooner. One cluster may need up to 20 hours to hatch successfully.
We must add that if you cannot see babies inside the eggs (they will look like dark spots), you can remove the eggs from the tank wall.
Once they hatch, babies will be 2.4mm in length. They look almost identical to adults, and they eat the same food as adults. They will develop fast, and they can gain 1.7% body weight per day, which is an interesting fact.
Mystery snails come in various colors, but ivory, gold, brown and black are the most common. They have a solid, gradient, and white head. On the other side, we can see that the colors’ differences and variations are impressive, and they cannot be generalized. You can see countless variations, and you can even keep a mystery snail that is almost completely original.
Another characteristic of mystery snails are the two tentacles that are located on the head. They are used to look for food in a tank or in their natural habitat.
Ideal Tank Conditions For Mystery Snails
In nature, mystery snails are commonly found in waters in Brazil, Paraguay, and several other countries. However, they are known for massive spreading worldwide, and there are various issues with mystery snails located in China.
Mystery snails live in ponds and small lakes in the aforementioned countries. The primary food source is dead plants. Yes, they will eat live plants, but only if there are no dead plants present. Keeping them in a tank is super-easy, but you need to worry about fish that can eat them.
If you want to keep them in the tank, make sure that there is plenty of vegetation. This will make your tank look amazing and special, but it will also make mystery snails believe they are in their natural habitat. The best plants to keep in your tank are Java Moss, Java Fern, and also Hornwort. The most important thing to consider is that the snails like to go above the water. To allow them to do that, you should make sure you have a loose lid.
When it comes to water specifications, you will need water inside a tank that is rich in oxygen and moderate in movement. Adding plenty of vegetation to a tank can help increase the level of oxygen.
You probably know the answer to the question, “is my mystery snail male or female?” by now. But there is one more thing you need to know. The water conditions are important, and they apply to both genders. In a nutshell, the pH level of water should be between 7.6 and 8.4, while water temperature should be between 68 and 84 degrees Fahrenheit.
The size of a tank isn’t crucial. You can keep mystery snails in almost any tank, but the best options are 5 and 10-gallon tanks. Yes, you can keep them in larger tanks as well, and for some hobbyists, this is a better option. Don’t forget that you can keep between 1 and 2 snails in a tank of 5-gallon capacity. If you want more mystery snails, you will need a larger tank.
Ideal Tank Mates For Mystery Snails
One of the great things when it comes to mystery snails is that they can be kept with most other aquatic creatures, and there won’t be any issues. They are easy to keep, and all beginners can keep them as well. They are calm when it comes to temperament, and they are relatively small. Their maximum size is about 2 inches.
If you want to keep them in your tank, make sure that other animals are peaceful as well. This especially refers to fish that can eat mystery snails. If the other animals in your tank have a peaceful temperament, you won’t have any problems.
The best tank mates in this case scenario are tetras, guppies, and killifish. They won’t affect the activity or daily life of your mystery snails. Other tank mates you can keep are cherry shrimp, amano shrimp, and ghost shrimp. These are usually the most popular and ideal combinations that can be seen in many tanks worldwide, and many experts recommend it.
There is another part of the story here, as you would expect. Aggressive fish such as crayfish, oscars, and also cichlids are not recommended. They will eat your small snails, and you will probably have additional issues and problems to worry about.
The last but not least important thing to consider is that there must be a suitable amount of animals inside the tank. Overcrowding will have a serious and negative effect on the snails’ shells and can damage them completely. This will also affect the food levels inside a tank that can have even more catastrophic effects.
Conclusion – Is My Mystery Snail Male Or Female?
Is your mystery snail male or female? Now you know how to find out. All you need to know is that these snails can change their gender in response to their surroundings and other factors present in a tank. The easiest way to tell the difference is when they mate or lay eggs. You can also look at the penis sheath of a snail to tell the difference, which is the ideal method for most experts. Mystery snails are excellent to keep in any tank, they don’t have complicated requirements, and look awesome!