Over the last few years, mystery snails have managed to overtake nerite snails as the most commonly kept type of snail within the fish keeping hobby.
With the number of people adding mystery snails to their aquariums constantly increasing, the number of people asking questions about the various problems they are having with their mystery snails also continues to rise.
We have noticed a number of commonly asked questions but after publishing our article going over what to do if your nerite snail has a cracked shell, we noticed a number of people reaching out about mystery snail shell erosion.
Unfortunately, shell erosion in mystery snails and other aquatic snails is surprisingly common due to a lack of calcium in the diet of the snails as well as a couple of other common issues.
Due to so many people having problems with their mystery snails shell eroding, we decided to publish this article going over the topic to try and help as many of our readers as possible.
Is It Normal For A Mystery Snail Shell To Erode Over Time?
It is not considered normal for a mystery snail’s shell to badly erode over time but an old mystery snail will usually have the visible signs of erosion on its shell.
If your mystery snails are developing problems with their shells eroding then it is usually a sign of a potential problem with your aquarium.
In some cases, the erosion may be due to poor breeding lines for your mystery snails as some breeders just constantly breed their snails without regard for strong offspring.
In addition to this, the rarer mystery snail color morphs can be more prone to having issues with their shells eroding too due to having been inbred over and over again to promote the shell colors.
Most of the people that we see having problems with their mystery snail’s shell eroding just have regular, ivory mystery snails though and the issue is commonly something in their tank.
Why Is My Mystery Snails Shell Eroding?
The most common reason for mystery snail shell erosion is a lack of calcium within the diet of the snail.
Aquatic snails, including mystery snails, need calcium to maintain a strong and healthy shell.
If your mystery snail does not have enough calcium in its diet, it will not be able to provide its shell with the required calcium to promote healthy growth and the shell will start to erode quickly.
This is largely due to many people who add mystery snails to their tank just wanting them to eat algae, detritus, and leftover fish food and presuming that this will provide everything the snail requires.
This is not correct and in most cases, your snail will need to have its diet supplemented with calcium to prevent erosion but more on this later.
Some tank mates that are commonly kept with mystery snails can also try to eat the snails with plecos being a common culprit.
Over time, this friction from a fish trying to eat your mystery snails can cause damage to the shell of the snail and increase the chances of it having problems with erosion.
How Do You Fix Eroded Mystery Snail Shells?
Unfortunately, if you have noticed that the shell of your mystery snail is starting to erode, there is usually nothing you can do to return the shell to its former state but you can usually prevent the issue getting worse.
As we mentioned earlier in the article, the most common problem that we see time and time again that ends up causing problems for mystery snails having issues with their shells is a lack of calcium.
Thankfully, in this day and age, there are a number of different ways that you are able to help top up the calcium in your mystery snails diet to prevent the erosion on your snail’s shell from getting any worse.
We have a dedicated article going over increasing the calcium intake for your mystery snail that may be helpful for you as it covers a number of different methods.
One of the better methods is definitely to use cuttlebone as it’s cheap and very easy to use while providing an excellent source of calcium for your mystery snails.
Our dedicated article going over using cuttlebone for snails should be able to help you but you essentially just put small parts of the cuttlebone into your tank for your mystery snails to eat.
There are a number of alternatives that you are able to use to top up the calcium in your mystery snails diet to prevent erosion but cuttlebone is usually the better option.
Tank Mate Aggression
If you think that the erosion on your mystery snail’s shell is due to issues with tank mates trying to eat the snail then the only option may be to move your mystery snail or the offending tank mate to another aquarium.
Most people will usually move the mystery snail as it’s rare that mystery snails will be the main focus of your tank.
That said though, many beginners will only have one tank available and in this situation, there is usually nothing that you are able to do to try and protect your mystery snail.
Can A Mystery Snail Survive A Cracked Shell?
Although a mystery snail can survive with a cracked shell, its quality of life will usually be lower than it would be if the snail had a healthy shell.
A cracked shell on an aquatic snail can cause a number of potential problems for the snail too with water and bacteria being able to get into the back of the shell to the exposed area of the snail’s body.
This will usually increase the chances of the snail having problems with various types of infection as well as making it much easier for tank mates in the aquarium to eat your mystery snail or cause lethal damage to the snail.
We have seen some people use the egg membrane trick to try and form a seal over the crack or erosion on a mystery snail but this rarely works and is usually too much effort for what it’s worth.
Basically though, you boil an egg, gently peel the shell off the egg and take the membrane that sits between the egg and the egg white and then try to place that over the crack or area of erosion on the snail.
In some situations, this may be able to help strengthen the weakened area but in most cases, it will do little to nothing.