Mystery Snails vs Apple Snails- Learn to Choose One for Your Aquarium

Hey, are you confused between the mystery snails and the apple snails? At first, when I started to maintain the aquarium I also faced the same problem as you. Even, my problem was more serious as I was ignored about the parameters that may help me to choose one or both of them.

Well, I managed an appointment with a veterinarian and he suggested it to me. I tried to apply his valuable instructions to my aquarium and now I can introduce myself as an expert in it.

If you are also cherishing such information, then you are at the right point. Scroll below and grab the information that you need for the snails’ differentiation.  

Characteristics of Mystery Snails and Apple Snails

Mystery Snails 

Mystery Snails

As you are searching for differences, that means you already know about mystery snails and apple snails, but getting confused about them. That’s why I want to mention their characteristics first so that you can get complete information about the snails.

Hopefully, it will help to remove the confusion between them because when you know a term clearly, you can easily differentiate them from others.

So, first, I will inform you about the mystery snails. The information that I am providing here is completely experienced from my pet mystery snails that I have been raising for a long time. 

  • Size-The snails grow almost 1 to 2 inches in diameter 
  • Shell color and pattern- Round shells which are coiled have diversified colors such as blue, purple, gold, brown, and black. 
  • Operculum- This is a protecting structure of mystery snails which is hardy and covers the opening of the shell.
  • Amphibious behavior- This character is quite different from other snails in mystery snails. They can breathe both underwater and in the water through their respiratory system.
  • Diet- They are herbivorous. They feed soft plant leaves, decaying plant matter, and commercial snail foods.
  • Reproduction system- They lay clusters of eggs and then hatch them which are called fry.
  • Lifespan- They can live almost 1-3 years.
  • Nature- They are peaceful.

Apple Snails

Apple Snails

I have already mentioned mystery snails. Now, I will provide some information about apple snails.

  • Shell size and shape- These snails also have rounded shells like mystery snails but the shell size is larger and can range in color from light brown to dark brown.
  • Size- The size of apple snails varies depending on the species, but they can reach up to 6 inches.
  • Habitat- Apple snails are found in freshwater environments, such as ponds, lakes, rivers, and marshes, with slow-moving or still waters. 
  • Behavior: Apple snails are relatively active compared to many other types of snails. They are capable of crawling on surfaces outside the water for short distances.
  • Diet- Apple snails are primarily herbivores, feeding on aquatic plants and algae. However, I want to mention them as opportunistic feeders due to their consumption of detritus, small insects, and even other snails.
  • Reproduction:- Apple snails are simultaneous hermaphrodites, which means that each individual possesses both male and female reproductive organs. During mating, they exchange sperm and each snail can then lay eggs containing both of their genetic contributions.
  • Egg laying: They lay their eggs above the waterline on solid surfaces, such as rocks, vegetation, or aquarium glass. The eggs are typically enclosed in a mass of jelly-like material, which provides protection and moisture for the developing embryos.
  • Growth rate- The growth rate of apple snails can vary depending on factors such as water temperature and food availability. In favorable conditions, they can grow relatively quickly.

How Can I Differentiate Mystery Snails From Apple Snails?- 6 Common Facts


Let me disclose the differences between mystery snails and apple snails. Mystery snails are often confused with apple snails. But the real fact is they have some subtle differences that you can use to identify them. For example, you can consider their size as a measuring purpose. 

Accordingly, apple snails are larger than mystery snails. Even apple snails are larger than many other pet snails. They have a common body size of 4-6 inches wherever mystery snails come with 1.5-2 inches of rounded body which they attain in their maturity. 

Also, the shells of the apple snails are larger and rounded like an apple shape. On the other hand, mystery snail shells are conical-shaped and their natural shell size is smaller than that of apple snails.

Thus, focusing on their body size, you can easily differentiate between mystery snails and apple snails. But this is not only the only solution. Some more common facts will help you to differentiate them from each other.

Body Color

Formerly, let’s talk about the color variation of these two types of snails. If you have a look at the apple snails, you will find a glance of creamy or white color. As their shell color sometimes varies between yellow, brown, and pink, the body color is not always noticed. 

On the different sectors, mystery snails come with a wide variation of body color. They can be brown, gold, blue, white, black, albino, and so on. You can decorate your whole aquarium with different types of mystery snails based on their color. Different stripes and dots are found on their body that are different from the bands of apple snails.

Food Habit

Our next topic is their food habits. Well, if you have an apple snail in your house, you can easily understand how voracious they are! They feed on soft plant leaves, a huge range of algae, small insects and crustaceans, decaying organic matter, and small organisms too in some respects.

On the contrary, mystery snails eat decaying plant matter, algae, soft plants, and commercial snail foods. As both of them are from the same species, their food habits match each other in some cases. But the mystery snails are not as ravenous as the apple snails. By noticing them properly, you can easily understand the difference. 


As I have already mentioned, apple snails are more aggressive than mystery snails. You have to be very selective in the case of introducing new tank mates while you are nurturing apple snails in your aquarium. Sometimes, they can create scratches in the rocks and other substrates remaining in the aquarium. 

But compared to apple snails, mystery snails are not so aggressive. They also may create scratches, but this only occurs when they face any stress or threat from the tank mates or can’t cope with their existing environment. They are considered more peaceful creatures than apple snails.


Here, I will discuss an important point in the case of their difference that will certainly assure you about the type of snail you have. In the reproductive period, you may get a view of large clutches of bright pink eggs above the waterline. This characteristic denotes the apple snails. 

Apple snails lay numerous eggs and all of the eggs are found above the waterline. Though mystery snail eggs are also found above the waterline, their egg clutches are smaller than apple snails with a more subdued appearance. Thus, you will have no confusion about these two snails after judging the clutches of their eggs. 


Finally, I want to end this list of differences with their maintenance facts. As they belong to the species, their maintenance rules are almost the same. But, mystery snails need to be cared for more than as per my advice. I am pointing to this as they are more peaceful creatures than apple snails. Hence, other creatures may cause harm to them.

But, apple snails may protect themselves from such inconvenience. On the contrary, in the case of food security apple snails need more caring than mystery snails as they need more food. Also, the clutches of eggs can be destroyed much more in the case of apple snails than mystery snails. 

Most importantly, it doesn’t matter what type of snails are in your aquarium, they need intensive care for their perfect development and complete life cycle. 


Can apple snails and mystery snails remain in the same aquarium? 

Yeah! But you have to provide enough food and environment. As apple snails are aggressive, they can harm mystery snails if enough food is not supplied. In a favorable condition, they may remain in peace.

Which are the more popular mystery snails and apple snails? 

Both of them are popular among hobbyists. But mystery snails are more popular than apple snails due to their behavior, feeding habits, and peaceful nature which is not harmful to other inhabitants of the aquarium. 

Are both of these suitable for beginners?

Sure. If you want to introduce snails in your aquarium, I will suggest both of them. You may keep any of them or both as per your choice 

Final Thoughts

Hence, let me end here as I have pointed out all the experiences here that I gained about the differences between mystery snails and apple snails. Both of these creatures are preferable to me. Their maintenance procedure and other activities resemble each other much. 

That’s why I feel comfortable maintaining them as I don’t need to take any extra hassle for them. Also, I love to see their colorful variation and nature in my small fish tank. If you want to know more about these snails, you can check on my website as I have already uploaded various information about mystery snails there.

Howard Parker

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