From being toothless and lacking any bones in the body it’s amazing how the mystery snails need calcium to survive! Not only that but the mystery snails need a good amount of calcium supply in order to grow and maintain their outer shells and regulate reproduction as well.
Sadly, many aquarists fail to provide the necessary calcium levels either in water or in the diet of their mystery snails. As a result, the development of shells turns out to be very poor in quality.
So, when keeping the mystery snails as our pets, we need to keep their calcium requirement well within our minds to ensure they don’t get physically unwell. And at the first sign of any deficiency symptom, we need to find a way to solve this problem as soon as possible.
The good news is, this article is filled with tips to help you with everything that I’ve experienced from my snail keeping hobby starting from how to make food for them from scratch and how to prevent any future calcium deficiencies.
So, without making any delay let’s jump right in–
How To Fix The Mystery Snail’s Calcium Deficiency
Why Do The Mystery Snails Need Calcium
The reason why calcium is so important for the mystery snails is because over 90% of their outer shells are made of calcium carbonate which is needed to build shells in their body. As they naturally have a very soft body and their shells work as a shield for them to prevent the attacks of many dangerous predators.
Moreover, mystery snails do not totally replace their shells one after another, rather they start as a soft outer shell and later develop into a stronger exoskeleton as they grow up.
On the other hand, the need for calcium tends to increase as the snail grows up as it expands with the snail’s body size.
So, without proper levels of calcium, their shells will become very weak and malformed and also might start to crack as they become brittle. Besides, in calcium deficit conditions the mystery snails become highly susceptible to physical damage as well.
Besides that, studies have found that calcium is also equally important for the mystery snail’s muscle function for its proper movement. More importantly, it also has been known that calcium helps in the reproduction and nervous system function of snails.
This is why it’s so crucial to check the calcium level with a good calcium testing kit to monitor the mystery snail’s shell development and reproduction.
What Are The Signs of Calcium Deficiency
Here’s how you can tell if your mystery snail is calcium deficient—
- Cracking of shells
- Sudden shedding and thinning of the shells
- Holes in the shells
- Sometimes the shells change color
- Loss of shell color into white albino
- Sluggish behavior
Whenever you see any of these symptoms, immediately get calcium supplementation but be sure to not go overboard with it while doing so. Otherwise, an overdose of calcium might be harmful for them.
Calcium Requirements For The Mystery Snails
Mystery snails require a calcium hardness of 70-90 mg/L to help their overall functioning of the body. If the tank is overcrowded with snails and other shell forming tank inhabitants then the range might go a little higher. But still, this should be enough to prevent any deficiency symptoms.
Besides, for better results, change around 25% of the tank water every two weeks to maintain and balance the other water parameters like nitrite and ammonia levels.
How Can I Provide Calcium To Mystery Snails
You can provide them with calcium in three ways
- By food
- By water
- By artificial supplement
Food: The primary source of calcium for them is the food they intake. So, you can provide them calcium naturally by including calcium rich food in their diet like leafy greens, zucchini, soybeans, lettuce, green beans, cucumber cabbage, kale, and spinach, etc. There’s a detailed guide on how to process the food for them at the end of the article.
Water: They also absorb calcium from water so make sure to use a water conditioner in your tank to keep it free from chlorine. Later, add some water mineralizer by following the label directions so your mystery snails can get their required calcium carbonate from the tank water as well.
Artificial supplements: However, if you are busy and you don’t wanna go through the trouble of picking out specific food for them, you can try artificial calcium supplements. It’s actually a stress-free way of providing your snails some daily dose of calcium and other vitamins and minerals at the same time.
It also contains a balanced amount of other essential minerals along with calcium which is amazing for the growth and development of your mystery snail’s shells.
These artificial calcium supplements are available in powdered form, tablets, or as concentrated liquid. Pick the best one for your mystery snails. However, for any store bought supplements make sure you read the instructions very carefully before starting to use it in your tank.
Tips To Make Homemade Calcium Supplements
The good thing is, that you can make a suitable calcium supplement all by yourself just by grinding eggshells or dried cuttlefish bones.
1. How To Get The Eggshells To Supply Calcium For My Mystery Snails?
Eggshells can be one of the cheapest ways of adding calcium to your mystery snails. Because eggshells are always available in our homes and they provide high amounts of calcium too.
But the catch is, that you have to process them before adding them to the fish tank so that they turn into readily available forms very quickly. The process is explained below in detail–
- First, collect about 6-7 eggshells and wash them thoroughly with warm water and a few drops of mild dish soap.
- Scrub the shells clean and get rid of the membrane lines from the shell.
- After that rinse them under running water to completely remove the presence of any dish soap.
- Now spread the eggshells on a tray and let them dry under sunlight for 8-10 hours to kill off any bacteria present in the shells.
- You can also boil them instead to kill the bacteria and then you won’t have to keep it under direct sunlight but still, you must dry the shells before grinding.
- Later crush the dried shells into fine powder with the help of an electric grinder.
- And store the powder in an airtight box.
- Finally, add some of it into the tank with the help of a spoon but make sure you check the water pH while doing so to avoid any sudden increase of pH in the tank.
- You can also use crushed oyster shells or crushed corals in the same way stated above.
2. How To Use Cuttlefish To Supply Calcium To The Mystery Snail?
Cuttlefish bones are one of the best sources of calcium carbonate for mystery snails. They can also be used to provide calcium for crabs, shrimp, and hermit crabs as well. It dissolves slowly and doesn’t affect the water quality negatively.
The good thing is that cuttlefish bones are readily available at different stores. However, before buying make sure they are aquarium grade products. Since cuttlefish bones are high in calcium carbonate they tend to make the tank water slightly alkaline.
This is why you have to keep a good testing kit so that you can monitor your water parameters frequently after adding a cuttlefish bone for your mystery snails.
Here’s how to process the bones before putting them in the tank–
- Cut up the cuttlefish bones into one inch pieces and make sure they are completely dry.
- Now, store them in an airtight box.
- Whenever you need to supply calcium in the tank, place a single piece of the bone in the tank and let it dissolve on its own.
- Try not to use more than a piece of bone at once because it can make the water alkaline.
- Make sure you place the bone where the water movement is limited so that the mystery snail can absorb maximum calcium from it.
- You can also use a rock and partially bury the bone to let the bone sit properly to prevent it from being influenced by a strong water current.
- After the bone piece dissolves check the calcium level of the tank and if it still is low then add another piece.
3. How To Feed Calcium Rich Vegetables To My Mystery Snails?
The good thing is that mystery snails love veggies. Here are a few names of calcium rich veggies that contain calcium —
Leafy Greens, Zucchini, Soybeans, Lettuce, Green Beans, Cucumber, Cabbage, Kale, Spinach, Strawberries, etc.
- First, wash the vegetables to get rid of any residues of fertilizers and pesticides which are very harmful for the snails.
- Then cut the veggies into small pieces so that the snails can easily eat them.
- Now boil the veggies for 5-10 minutes to soften them up.
- After that, let the veggies cool down before feeding them to the snails.
- However, make sure you remove the leftover food from the tank after a couple of days otherwise it will increase the ammonia level in the water.
Some Useful Tips To Prevent Calcium Deficiency
- Use a pH measuring kit and try to keep the water pH of the tank between 7-8 to help improve the shell development.
- Also, try to maintain the temperature of the tank water between 65-80 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Supply them calcium rich food or other store bought calcium supplements every week.
- Avoid keeping large fish and snails together in the tank as the large fish can attack your mystery snails.
- Mystery snails prefer shrimps, or guppies as their friendly tank mates.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can I Use Antacid Tablets To Boost Calcium for Mystery Snails?
Antacid tablets contain calcium carbonate but it’s not wise to use them as a source of calcium for mystery snails as they are made for human consumption only. Besides, using antacids can also be a risky step because we don’t know what dosage is safe for your aquarium. In addition, the other chemical compounds present in the antacid can be very harmful to the tank inhabitants.
Can a Mystery Snail Heal Its Shell?
If the damage is minor then the mystery snails can heal themselves on their own but if the damage is severe, it becomes very difficult for them to repair the cracks or holes in their shells. However, the presence of enough calcium in their diet can be helpful in repairing the shells.
Can mystery snails eat fish food?
Normally mystery snails prefer to eat veggies and algae from the tank. Though they nibble on some fish food, it doesn’t fulfill their dietary requirements. This is why their food should be different from fish food, preferably calcium rich veggies like kale, spinach, etc.
How often should I feed my mystery snails calcium-rich foods?
It’s recommended to feed them calcium rich food at least once or twice a week. Feeding them calcium rich food or supplements once a week is a must though. On the other hand, feeding them twice a week results in a better reproductive rate in mystery snails.
Without enough calcium in their body the mystery snails will be unable to protect themselves from the predators and their soft body will get frequently hurt.
Now that you know how to smoothly cruise through the various problems of calcium deficiency in mystery snails, there’s no stopping you. Since your pet mystery snail cannot live without calcium, you have to find ways to keep providing it to them.
Whenever you are using homemade calcium supplements, check back on this article to make sure it’s correctly being prepared. Along with that keep the water pH and temperature well within their preferable range.
I hope this article has provided answers to all of your questions. If you have any further queries about mystery snail’s calcium deficiency please let us know in the comment section below.
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