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What Do Mystery Snails Eat?

Mystery snails were already becoming increasingly popular in aquariums but the spike in the popularity of purple mystery snails really has resulted in the exponential growth in the popularity of mystery snails in recent months.

With so many aquarium keepers deciding to add mystery snails to their tanks, we have also noticed a spike in the number of people reaching out and asking various questions about keeping mystery snails.

One of the most commonly asked questions that we have countless people asking about each month is what do mystery snails eat?

Thankfully, mystery snails can eat a wide range of things with most of the favourite foods being based around either algae or discarded fish food helping to keep your tank as clean as possible.

If you have a number of mystery snails in your tank then they are able to eat a surprisingly high amount of algae for their size too but keep in mind, as we covered in our mystery snail poop article, they really do poop lots due to how much they eat.

It is generally considered that the trade-off is worth it as it is much easier to clean mystery snail poop with a gravel vacuum than it is to get algae out of your tanks.

What Do Mystery Snails Eat?

Mystery snails will eat a large amount of algae and biofilm from your aquarium but they will also eat the discarded fish pellets that fall to the bottom of your aquarium too.

On top of that, mystery snails will also eat algae wafers, various vegetables, some fruits, and will sometimes eat pests in aquariums such as hydras.

The bulk of your mystery snails diet will be based around algae and biofilm though with a decent chunk being made up of the fish pellets that fall to the bottom of your tank.

You can add additional food options if you want but there usually is no need, especially in larger tanks as there is plenty of food available for most mystery snails.

An argument can be made for adding certain vegetables to your aquarium as a supplementary food source to try and keep your mystery snails diet as nutritionally complete as possible.

This is common practice for tanks with a large number of mystery snails or tanks that keep both mystery snails and shrimp as they will quickly eat the vegetables.

“Mystery snail” by Wiley Wiggins is licensed with CC BY-NC-SA 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit

Do Mystery Snails Eat Algae?

Mystery snails will happily eat algae and mystery snails will actually eat a surprising amount of algae relative to their small size.

Depending on the available food sources, between half and three-quarters of your mystery snails diet can be made up of various types of algae and biofilm.

Unlike some other common algae eater snail options, mystery snails will eat most types of algae ranging from brown algae, black beard algae, various types of hair algae, green spot algae, black algae, green algae, and algae wafers.

Different mystery snails will usually develop a taste for different algae over others and eat different amounts of each type.

Still, if your tank is having problems with algae then mystery snails can be an excellent option for your algae eater of choice.

Due to mystery snails coming in Golden, Blue, Black, purple, Ivory White, and Albino you are usually able to find the right colored mystery snail to meet your needs to keep the overall look of your tank.

Do Mystery Snails Eat Shrimp?

Although very rare, some mystery snails will eat shrimp in your aquarium and they can develop a taste for shrimp and may actively hunt them.

This is so rare that it is usually not worth worrying about and most people will keep mystery snails and shimp in the same aquarium without issue.

Due to mystery snails eating shrimp being such a rare occurrence, there are not many reports available to collect information to try and piece together what may be happening.

From the reports that we have seen of mystery snails eating shrimp is that they tend to prefer ghost shrimp and will often leave cherry shrimp or other types of shrimp alone and not eat them.

Mystery snails have an excellent sense of smell and this is why they are able to quickly move towards any fresh vegetables that you drop into your tank.

Their sense of smell maybe something to do with why the mystery snails who do eat shrimp will only go after ghost shrimp, perhaps there is something about their scent that attracts the mystery snail.

Do Mystery Snails Eat Plants?

Is is very rare that your mystery snails will eat the healthy live plants that you have in your aquarium. They may appear to be eating your live plants when eating the algae and biofilm off them but this actually helps your plants.

Mystery snails will happily eat decaying parts of your plants but this can help maintain your water parameters anyway.

If food is running short in your aquarium then your mystery snails will eventually turn to eating your live plants but this is usually an absolute last resort.

Due to the rapid growth rate of algae and biofilm in most aquariums, it is rare that a mystery snail will have to resort to eating your live plants though.

On top of this, in a heavily stocked tank, there will usually be plenty of discarded food pellets that work their way to the bottom of your tank too.

This will help to supplement the food sources for your mystery snails and keep them full preventing them from eating your live plants.

Do Mystery Snails Eat Fish Poop?

Mystery snails do not eat fish poop. It is a very common misconception amongst beginner fish keepers but it is incorrect and you will have to manually remove the poop from your tank with a gravel vacuum.

Some mystery snails may crawl over fish poop or bite it to try it leading people to think that they will eat the fish poop in their tank but they don’t. If you do see your mystery snail biting on poop, it will spit it out when it realises it’s not food and go about its business.

We would never recommend that you add mystery snails to your tank just to try and get them to eat poop as it is a waste of time and money.

That said though, mystery snails do offer a number of other benefits such as being great algae eaters, eating decaying plant matter, and eating fish pellets that fall to the bottom of your tank.

How Long Can Mystery Snails Go Without Food?

Mystery snails can usually go for between one and two weeks without any food at all but it is very rare that this will ever happen.

Unlike some fish species that require you to take steps to ensure they are fed if you go on vacation, mystery snails will happily eat the algae and biofilm in your tank while you are away.

Due to the growth rate of some types of algae, it can often be enough to sustain your mystery snail for a number of weeks without any other food sources.

Just keep in mind that your mystery snail will usually be nutritionally deficient after your vacation though so adding a number of the suitable fruits and vegetables covered later in our article may be a good idea.

If you do set up an automatic fish feeder to feed your pet fish while you are away then there will be a number of pellets that fall to the bottom of your tank anyway.

This will help to top up the food sources for your pet mystery snail and ensure that it has plenty of food available to it while you are away.

What Fruit And Vegetables Can Mystery Snails Eat?

Mystery snails can eat a number of fruits and vegetables that they would not normally have access to in the wild without issue.

Small portions of these foods can make a great treat food option for your mystery snail while also helping to top up the essential vitamins and minerals in your mystery snails diet.

Can Mystery Snails Eat Apples?

Mystery snails usually love slices of apple as a treat food but you should try to minimise the amount of time the apple slice is in your aquarium water.

Once your mystery snails and its tank mates have ate their fill, the apple slice should be removed due to the acids being able to tweak your water parameters as well as apples bio-degrating quicker than most other fruits and vegetables in an aquarium.

Can Mystery Snails Eat Carrots?

Most mystery snails will eat carrots but some of them won’t and there seems to be very little middle ground between the two.

Mystery snails will either absolutely love carrots and head directly to a carrot slice in their tank to eat it or they couldn’t care less and they will totally ignore it.

If you do have shrimp as one of your mystery snail tank mates then they tend to love carrot too so it can be a great food to try in your tank.

Can Mystery Snails Eat Cucumber?

A small number of mystery snails will eat cucumber but it is a very small number and the majority of mystery snails will not touch it.

This is very common for cucumber and does not mean that there is anything wrong with your mystery snail or that you have repaired the cucumber incorrectly, mystery snails just tend not to like it.

Can Mystery Snails Eat Broccoli?

Most mystery snails will happily eat broccoli and they are able to eat a surprising amount of broccoli in a short amount of time.

Just keep in mind though, if your mystery snails are full of broccoli then they are not eating algae and biofilm so we usually only recommend that you give your mystery snails broccoli for a treat now and then.

Can Mystery Snails Eat Celery?

Some mystery snails will eat celery but most of them tend to just ignore it and look for other food sources.

Due to so few mystery snails actually eating any celery that you put in their tanks you will usually find that it is better to add different fruit or vegetable as your treat food option.

Can Mystery Snails Eat Grapes?

Mystery snails do usually love grapes but you do have to cut the open to break the external skin of the grape to make it easy for your mystery snail to eat.

If you do not break the external skin of the grape for your mystery snails then they may get bored before they are able to break through themselves and not end up eating them.

Can Mystery Snails Eat Tomatoes?

Most mystery snails tend to avoid eating tomatoes due to their high acidity and the acid in the tomato can also end up causing problems with your water parameters too.

Due to this, we usually recommend that you just avoid trying to feed your mystery snails tomatoes altogether if possible.

Can Mystery Snails Eat Peas?

Most peas will actually float in your aquarium water unless you break them up to help them sink.

Breaking the skins of the peas also makes it easier for your mystery snails to eat them too but some peas do tend to be hit and miss with mystery snails with some snails eating them where as others will avoid them.

Can Mystery Snails Eat Cabbage?

Mystery snails do tend to eat cabbage but you usually have to weigh it down in the aquarium to allow them to eat it as cabbage can float for so long before it will sink.

Putting an aquarium rock onto the cabbage leaf is usually enough to get the job done and let your mystery snails eat the cabbage while it is at the bottom of your aquarium.


That brings our article going over what mystery snails eat to an end. We hope that we have been able to help you better understand the types of food that you should be feeding your pet mystery snails as well as how much food they actually need. Mystery snails really are great algae eaters though and they are generally happy with the bulk of their diet being based around algae, biofilm, and fish pellets that fall to the bottom of your aquarium without needing any other special foods.