How to Treat Mystery Snail Shell Rot? [With Extra Care!]

It’s been a few days and your mystery snail doesn’t look normal. You can see streaks of crack-like patterns on the snail. It seems like the snail shell has rotting issues. 

Now, why do you see mystery snail shell rot?

You see mystery snail shell rot when the water becomes acidic. Temperature below 68℉, calcium deficiency, copper exposure, fish attacks, and genetic disorder can also be the reasons. To heal the snail’s shell, you need to maintain the correct environment and feed calcium-enriched food. 

You can learn about these reasons and solutions more in detail in this article. But first, let’s clarify how severe mystery snail shell rotting is.  

Is Shell Rotting Dangerous for Mystery Snails? 

Is Shell Rotting Dangerous for Mystery Snails

Yes, shell rotting is dangerous for mystery snails. If it doesn’t heal with time, the snail will become vulnerable to attacks and infections. It also deteriorates the health of the snail. 

Usually, shell rotting leads to bacterial infections known as shell erosion. It discolors the shell of the mystery snails. In the worst case, a shell rotting can make your snail lose eyesight as well.   

5 Reasons Behind Mystery Snail Shell Rot Issue

5 Reasons Behind Mystery Snail Shell Rot Issue

Now, there can be 7 potential reasons why your mystery snail’s shell is deteriorating. Check out these reasons below in detail. It will help you to figure out the solution. 

Water Acidity

The most common reason behind mystery snail shells rotting is acidic water. When the water pH level goes below 6, the water starts becoming acidic. Mystery snails require a water pH balance between 6.5 and 7.5 to maintain their health.

The acidic state of the water slowly deteriorates the health of the snail shell. So, it becomes brittle with time. That’s when bacterial infection starts invading and causes rotting issues.   

Insufficient Calcium Intake

Another prominent reason is having low levels of calcium in the snail’s diet. A mystery snail’s shell is naturally built 90-95% with hard calcium carbonate. So, a lack of calcium in the diet stops the growth of the shell.

Now, you can rule out this cause if the water pH level is high. Alkaline water conditions help in growing calcium content in algae. Mystery snails can meet their calcium demand by eating the algae in the tank.  

Predator Attacks and Accidents

Sometimes other fishes in the tank can attack your mystery snail and injure the shell. The snail shell can also rot by accidentally falling into the ground.

Accidents mostly occur when you leave the tank lid open. Mystery snails can climb to the top of the tank and fall outside. It sometimes leaves the shell cracking. Even if it doesn’t climb up, the open tank can dry the shell of the snail.  

Exposure to Copper

Now, do you have decorative stones in your fish tank? Be aware – if those stones contain copper, they can deteriorate the health of your snail’s shell. The same goes for fish medications containing copper. 

When mystery snails come in contact with copper, they started to feel sick. Copper interacts with the calcium carbonate of their shell. As a result, the shell can weaken. So, if your mystery snail shell is rotting, check whether the water contains any copper in it.  

Low Temperature

Low temperatures can act as a barrier to shell growth also. A water temperature of around 68-82 degrees Fahrenheit is the best temperature for a mystery snail. 

Any temperature under 68 degrees starts impacting the shell growth. Moreover, if the snail doesn’t get enough food and nutrition, the shell starts getting thin. So, the rotting issue thrives.

Genetical Defect

Apart from the adverse environment and low nutrition levels, the genetics of the snail can also cause shell rotting. Sometimes the snails can have genetically weak shells. So, it gets rotten or cracked very easily. 

Now, you can detect such snails by looking at their growth. You might notice the snail is growing large very quickly within a span of a week. This means it’s not getting enough time to grow strong shells. 

As you learned about the causes of mystery snail shell rotting, it’s not always the case. Read the next segment carefully to learn what I’m talking about. 

Warning: Your Mystery Snail Might Fool You!

Now, remember you should always check any signs of rotting before attempting any treatment. Sometimes mystery snails change their shell colors and patterns that seem like rot. But in reality, the shells are completely fine. 

So, don’t let the shell patterns fool you. Take necessary actions only when you are sure your snail shell is in danger. 

But you know mystery snail shells grow as with the snail growth. So, does this mean it has healing capabilities as well? Head to the next section to find out.  

Can Mystery Snails Repair Their Shells?

Yes, mystery snails can repair their shells but only when it’s lightly damaged. For example, if the snail shell has tiny holes in it, the snails can fill that gap. They use calcium carbonate and protein from other parts of their body. 

They also produce a special healing fluid that comes from the snail’s digestive glands. It can heal the shell area within 24 hours.  

But if the shell is severely damaged like large cracks, you’ll need to help the little buddy heal.  

How Can You Stop Mystery Snail Shell From Rotting?

There are 3 ways you can help your mystery snail to heal. Here’s how you can stop a mystery snail shell from rotting. 

Change the Water pH Level 

First, you need to test the pH level of the water the snail is living in. If the water has turned acidic, you’ll get a pH level of less than 7. So, in this case, you need to make the water more alkaline.

To do this, you just have to add one teaspoon of baking soda to ten gallons of water. The ratio will remain the same for different water levels. 

Crushed coral, liquid additives, limestones, or seashells (high in calcium carbonates) can help you in this case. You can also reduce the carbon dioxide injection to balance the pH level of the water. 

Add Calcium to the Diet

If your snail is suffering from calcium deficiency, you should change its diet. Feed your pet mystery snail food containing a high amount of calcium. This could be cuttlebone or chicken egg shells.

You’ll find cuttlebone in a regular fish pet store. They are considered calcium supplements for fish. But if you don’t want to spend too much, you can powder up boiled egg shells and feed them to your snail. This will also heal snail shell rotting. 

Separate Mystery Snail from Predator Fishes

Another way to protect your mystery snail from further damage is to separate it from other fishes. Buy a new tank and keep the snail separate. You can also keep fishes that don’t attack snails. 

But make sure to keep the alkaline level and temperature appropriate for the mystery snail. Feed your snail correctly with a calcium-based diet. Your snail will recover its shell in no time!

How to Identify Your Mystery Snail is Healing?

So, you took great care of your mystery snail. But how would you understand the snail shell is healing? Here are the signs you can look for.

  • The snail shell has become stronger and harder than before.
  • The wound on the shell will appear in a clean look.
  • The operculum or the small lid on the shell opening is intact.
  • The cracks or small holes have disappeared from the snail shell.

If you notice these characteristics in your snail, this means you’ve done a great job. Your mystery snail is healing. 


Do Snail Shells Decay?

Yes, snail shells decay after death. It takes around 7.5 years to fully biodegrade a snail shell naturally. But during their lifetime, a snail shell is permanently attached to its body.

How Do You Know If Mystery Snails Are Unhealthy?

By checking the shells, you can know if mystery snails are unhealthy. These snails have thinner snails than usual. If you see cracks or pits on the shell, it means your mystery snail is sick.

Should You Clean Your Mystery Snail’s Shell?

You shouldn’t clean your mystery snail’s shell unless it’s necessary. Usually, mystery snails clean themselves using the radula. However, if you need to clean, use a soft-bristled brush and gently scrape the dirt only.


Hopefully, now you know the causes of why there is a mystery snail shell rot. You should be careful about taking care of your snails having rotting problems. Now, before leaving, I’d suggest letting your snail heal naturally if the damage isn’t severe. Don’t force-feed your snail more than it requires. 

That’s it! Stay tuned for more mystery snail tips and updates. 

Howard Parker

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