Mystery snails are indeed a mystery to a lot of us because it’s not very easy to understand them by just looking at them. This is why the owner needs to be very mindful of all of their activities.
One of the most concerning issues is when their antenna starts to get curled. Because this can be an indication of many other problems which can lead these cute snails to their untimely death.
My years of experience with them have been a delight and luckily I’ve come to know a thing or two about them. Sadly the curled antennas don’t uncurl very easily so it’s better to prevent this from happening in the first place.
In this article, we are about to embark on a journey where we figure out why the antennas of your mystery snail are getting curled and how you can take care of them so that this doesn’t happen in the future.
Why Are The Mystery Snail Antennas Getting Curled?
1. They Are Stressed
Mystery snails can curl up their antennas if they feel very stressed. There are many things that can stress them out. What I observed mostly is that when the water quality is poor my mystery snails started acting out and curling up their antennas.
You see, the mystery snails are very sensitive to high levels of ammonia, nitrite, and nitrates. Also, they can get stressed if the tank is overcrowded with other fish especially if they are aggressive. Usually, in an aquarium that has too many fish it can be hard for the snails to move freely.
Besides, it creates high competition for resources as well and eventually, the snails lose due to their slow moving behavior. As a result, they lack nutrition at some point. Moreover, if the species are aggressive then they can attack and hurt the snails damaging the antennas which leads to stressful situations for them again.
Another important thing is when the pH level of the tank gets too low and the water becomes acidic the shells start to dissolve and this also triggers curling in their antenna.
2. Calcium Levels Are Low
You see, mystery snails need a certain level of calcium in the water to develop and maintain their shells and antennas properly. These shells are actually made of calcium carbonate which they get from their food source and surrounding water.
Moreover, calcium helps to make the shells strong and rigid which is very important for the mystery snails to protect themselves from physical damage. As time goes by, the shells get worn out but if they are supplied with enough calcium they can repair the shells readily.
Besides, when they are calcium deficient, it can cause deformities in their shells and make them susceptible to heavy injuries from other predators.
3. They Are Sick
Unfortunately, there are many internal and external parasites that cause sickness in the mystery snails which can cause antenna curling and other abnormal behaviors like loss of appetite, lethargy, erratic movement, etc.
Sometimes we can end up exposing the tank to some harmful chemicals or toxins without having even the slightest idea about it. Sadly if these are poisonous to the mystery snails it can cause neurological issues in them as well as physical abnormalities.
Lastly, nutritional deficiency from an unbalanced diet can also cause health issues and turn them sick including antenna curling.
4. Too Much Disturbance In The Tank
You see, snails are very slow moving, and naturally, their body is very soft. This is why they are more susceptible to physical injury than their other tank mates. So, if the tank is frequently moved or disturbed it can cause shell and antenna damage to a great extent.
Besides, it also makes them feel insecure and afraid to explore the tank environment properly. So, even if they are not physically damaged, frequent handling and loud noises as well can cause the antennas to curl due to too much stress.
In addition, shifting them suddenly to a different environmental condition where the temperature, light conditions, etc are not in their preferred range can greatly impact your mystery snails’ health. This is why before doing any shifting you have to acclimate to the new environment gradually.
Moreover, when we handle them they see us as a potential threat. As a result, they start producing excess mucus as their defense mechanism indicating they are stressed. This is why we have to keep handling them at the minimum.
5. Sometimes It’s Natural
Some snails can naturally curl their antennas as a part of their behavior. Basically, snails use their antennae as a sensory organs to detect food sources or potential dangers in the water. Sometimes curling the antenna in a certain way can help them gather information from their choice of location.
More importantly, when the mystery snails are exposed to direct sunlight they curl up their antennas to reduce water loss from their body. They can also retract the antennas as their defense mechanism from predators.
Besides, when they are resting they can retract the antenna either totally or partially which may look curled to us. Moreover, they can use the curled antenna as a part of interaction and communication with other snails.
However, look out for any unnatural behavior especially at night as they are nocturnal. They can seem motionless during the day but if they seem motionless during the night too it might be something wrong with them.
Mystery Snail Complete Care Guide
Since mystery snails are very fragile little things, I can tell from my years of experience that they need very specific care. Here’s the total care guide for the mystery snails –
- The mystery snails need their own separate diet. They actually shouldn’t be living off of fish food. This is because they are omnivorous so they need their fair share of proteins as well.
- Besides, they have a good sense of smell so they can easily find the food in the water.
- You can try mystery snail food commercially available with added calcium.
- Besides, make sure whatever food you choose, it should include krill, silkworm pupae, shrimp, etc in the pallet.
- You need to feed them the protein containing pallets every other day to satisfy their protein requirement.
- You also have to feed them blanched veggies and algae wafers every week.
- Veggies such as cucumber, tomatoes, lettuce, carrot, kale okra etc contain nutrients and they are also easy to digest.
- You can also include fruits such as apples, and strawberries in their diet too.
- Since the mystery snails have a large requirement of calcium, make sure to provide them calcium rich foods like broccoli, soybeans, spinach, kale, okra etc.
- However, if you can’t manage to get ahold of these calcium rich veggies, you can try giving them aquarium calcium supplements too by following the label directions properly.
- The water parameters are very important for their survival and good health. The ammonia and nitrite levels need to be zero otherwise there is a massive health hazard for them.
- The pH also needs to be at a constant which is around 7-8. I prefer to add driftwood or peat moss to keep the pH close to neutral.
- You need to provide enough hiding places for them by adding aquatic plants and other decorations.
- Make sure to sterilize any aquatic plants before putting them in the tank because these plants tend to have some chemicals like bleach or hydrogen peroxide in them which can be fatal to the mystery snails and can kill their eggs.
- Keep the tank temperature between 75-85 degrees F and keep it always constant.
- If you suspect any illness, quarantine the mystery snail from the rest of its tank mates and treat it properly until it gets better.
Stocking With Other Fish
- The minimum size required for one mystery snail is 3 gallons.
- You can have up to 3 snails in a 5 gallon tank and 5-8 mystery snails in a 10 gallon tank.
- But if you want to mix it up with fish then make sure the fish is nonaggressive such as female betta fish. Male bettas are aggressive though.
- However, the number of betta fish shouldn’t be more than one or two in all cases.
- Keep the tank clean regularly and keep it free from extra uneaten foods sinking at the bottom. Because these decompose and increase the ammonia and nitrite level in the tank
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Why Is My Mystery Snail Body Turning White?
Lack of calcium in their diet coupled with very poor water quality is the main reason why the mystery snail’s body turns white. In this case, they need an immediate supply of calcium otherwise their shells and antenna can be easily damaged.
How Do I Know If My Snail Needs Calcium?
The signs of calcium deficiency make the shells thin and later cause cracked shells or holes in the shells followed by shedding. Besides, the shell color also starts to disappear and turn whitish.
Is Rice Good For Snails?
Snails usually eat a variety of things but rice isn’t one of them. Carbohydrate based processed food like pasta, bread, and rice are not suitable for them. Moreover, sugars in their diet are also harmful to them.
As mystery snail owners, we all have to be careful about their appearance and behavior to ensure that they are free from stress and diseases. There are so many things that can trigger the curling of their antenna and cause them to be vulnerable to pathogenic infections.
I hope my experience with the mystery snails has come in handy with you as you unravel the mystery of these mystery snails. On top of that, don’t forget that you need to provide them with the best aquarium environment along with balanced and nutritious food.
I hope the complete care guide I’ve included at the end of the article will be guiding you and enable you to raise mystery snails without a sweat. If you have anything more to add to your snail keeping experience hit the comment section.
Lastly, don’t forget to share this article with your friends and mention what other tankmates you would like to hear about in my next article.