Mystery snails are a very popular addition to fish tanks and aquariums due to having such a unique, colorful look while also consuming a large amount of algae relative to their size making them one of the better algae eater options out there.
One thing many beginners to keeping mystery snails are starting to find out is that the large amount of algae that they eat also results in a large amount of poop for such a small animal.
This is why we have noticed more and more questions being asked each month relating to controlling the build up of mystery snail poop in an aquarium.
Although the sheer amount of poop that mystery snails produce may seem overwhelming at first, it tends to be much easier to control once you have a few simple systems in place to help you maintain your tank and cleaning mystery snail poop is still usually much easier than trying to clean the algae out of the tank that they eat.
Two things that we want to cover before we go any further in the article is that some people think that they can switch their mystery snail for a nirite snail to control their algae but a nirite snail produces just as much poop as a mystery snail.
The second thing is that there are a number of people who recommend people add cherry shrimp to their aquarium to eat the mystery snail poop but cherry shrimp can be a good alternative algae eater that produce less poop than most snails.
Do Mystery Snails Produce A Lot Of Waste?
Mystery snails do produce a large amount of waste relative to their small size due to eating such a large amount of algae from your fish tank.
This does tend to be considered a fair trade off though as it is much easier to clean your mystery snail poop out of your tank than it is to clean the algae that the snail eats making your tank maintenance easier in the long run.
The majority of people who keep mystery snails tend to agree that you are usually able to easily clean their poop from your tank using a decent gravel vaccum during your normal tank maintenance.
Most aquarium keepers will have to go through this process on at least a semi-regular basis anyway to clean any fish poop, disgarded food, and dead plant life from their tank anyway.
On the flipside of that, if you choose not to have a mystery snail then removing the algae build up from your tank will usually take considerably more time and effort from you to maintain your tank.
Just like many things with aquarium keeping, there is a trade off between the good and the bad sides of things but with mystery snails, the large amount of waste produced tends to be the better option than leaving the algae to build up constantly.
Do You Need To Clean Mystery Snail Poop?
You will need to clean the mystery snail poop out of your aquarium on a regular basis but the majority of aquarium keepers will use a gravel vacuum on a regular basis anyway with the mystery snail poop being removed during that cleaning process.
Even though mystery snails do produce a large amount of poop, normal gravel vacuum cleaning once per week is usually enough to prevent a built up in your tank.
Although some people do modify the filters in their aquariums to try and remove the poop from their fish and mystery snails, we would not recommend this as you can damage the filter resulting in a number of other problems.
There are some filters available that are marketed as being able to reduce poop build out right out of the box but this tends to just be a marketing technique with performance being poor.
In our opinion, the quickest, easiest, and cheapest way to remove mystery snail poop from your fish tank is to just use a decent gravel vaccum once per week as a part of your normal tank maintenance.
It will get rid of the mystery snail poop with ease while also making it very simply to clean the other waste in your tank too.
What Does Mystery Snail Poop Look Like?
Mystery snail poop looks like a small thread of matter with it usually being brown or green in color depending on what the snails are eating in your aquarium.
Once you are used to what mystery snail poop looks like, it does tend to be easy to recognise and identify allowing you to decide when you should clean your tank and remove the poop more easily but it does have a fairly obvious look to it.
Although the majority of mystery snail poop is brown or green due to most mystery snails eating algae or discarded fish food, it can sometimes be black or white but this is very rare.
The black color is usually due to the mystery snail eating a large amount of discarded fish food with white mystery snail poop usually indicating a potential health problem with the snail.
If your mystery snail is just a baby then its poop can be difficult to identify due to it being so small but as your mystery snail grows, its poop will become easier to see.
Another common problem with identifying mystery snail poop is that it can easily blend in to a soil substraite making it hard to see and difficult to know when to clean your fish tank.
Do Mystery Snails Eat Their Own Poop?
Mystery snails do not eat their own poop and although there are a large number of people on social media who claim that they do, they do not. This is why it is so important that you actively clean the mystery snail poop build out out of your tank on a regular basis.
As we touched on earlier in the article, cherry shrimp do not eat mystery snail poop either even though there are a large number of people on social media claiming this to be true too.
Some people do use cheery shrimp as an alternative algae eater or as an addition to their mystery snails algae eating capabilities though as they can produce less poop while still eating a large amount of algae still.
Some people do try to use aquatic plants that are able to draw nutrients from fish and snail poop in their aquariums but this tends to be a waste of time.
It is rare that the plants will be able to put a dent into the amount of poop produced so manually cleaning the tank with a gravel vacuum is usually the best route to take.
Mystery Snail Poop Or Eggs?
Mystery snail poop can build up on the back of the snail as well as its shell and begin to calcify quickly.
This can cause some confusion and it does tend to be a relatively rare occurrence but some beginners to keeping mystery snails can mistake the poop build up for mystery snail eggs.
Mystery snails tend to lay their eggs on the side of your aquarium slightly above the waterline with their being a large clump of eggs depositited all at once. If the build up is actually attached to your mystery snail or its shell then it is likely to be a build up of poop.
You can usually wipe it off your snail without causing any major problems to the snail to help keep it clean. Once the build up starts then it can quickly grow in size if not removed quickly so it is usually a good idea to clean the build up off your mystery snail as quickly as possible.
That brings our article going over mystery snail poop to an end. We hope that you have found it helpful and that we have been able to help you better understand how fast mystery snail poop can build up in your tank as well as why it is important to manually clean your tank once per week with a gravel cleaner. If you have a large tank and a small number of mystery snails then manually cleaning your tank once every two weeks can be enough to keep the poop build up to a minimum.