Mystery Snail Egg/Hatchling Tracker Thread

  • #1

I've decided to create a thread to use to track my mystery snail hatchlings over time. If this isn't ok to post or it shouldn't go here, please tell me. Sorry if that's the case!

Anyhow, this is...partly because I'm a nerd and like tracking things, and partly because I haven't seen a lot like this on mystery snails--there's tons about how to hatch the eggs, but not a whole lot about what happens after the fact. (Or maybe my google skills need some work)

Some background about the current hatchlings:
The snails were bought as juveniles about the size of grapes. We bought 3 but received 6, I suppose in case any died in shipping, but all 6 survived, leaving us with 2 ivories, 2 yellows, and 2 blues. We put them through quarantine with more than enough space for eggs to be lain, but throughout the 6 week quarantine no eggs were laid, suggesting that the snails were not yet old enough to be fertile. All snails have since doubled their size. After quarantine they were separated without being sexed; 1 ivory and 1 yellow went into a 10 gallon tank with shrimp, and 1 ivory, 1 yellow, and 2 blues were put into the 20 gallon, initially alone and later with endlers livebearers and an alien betta male. Both tanks are kept around 80F.

About a month or two after being put into their new tanks, we began seeing egg sacks, starting in perhaps early October timeframe. Our 20 gallon is open-topped with 5 inches of acrylic surrounding the top of the tank and some exposed rock work. Turns out we have 2 ivory males and all other snails are female. All females in the 20 gallon preferentially selected for rock face over acrylic to lay their first eggs--selecting primarily for rock that stayed routinely dry (no waterfall), but seemed to prefer rock overhangs (with the eggs positioned on the underside, facing the water). After the ideal rock locations were filled with egg sacks they then began selecting areas of acrylic, with corners appearing to be preferred over long straight stretches (notably 5 egg sacks were clustered in one corner, and 2 in another, with another 3 or 4 sacks scattered around the perimeter and 2 additional sacks laid later in different areas of stone, one of them directly underneath the first egg sack under a stone overhang.) Some small half-size or smaller egg sacks were deposited in the 1/2'' of airspace between water and the black rim of the tank, but those did not fare well, as they are often splashed during cleanings.

Meanwhile, the 10 gallon is covered by a standard Aqueon black plastic hood; the snail chose to lay her eggs on the top of the HOB filter cover, and then secondarily in the airspace between water and rim, and then finally on the roof of the hood, which failed due to excessive moisture due to evaporation. Likewise, the egg sacks along the rim all died due to water contact. Notably, the 2 sacks on the back of the HOB filter hatched successfully.

We elected to leave the egg sacks in place and see what happened, taking no special measures to ensure high humidity or appropriate temperatures. 2 egg sacks in the 10 gallon hatched, producing 50+ babies. I'm actually not sure where the babies in the 20 hatched from, if I'm honest--the egg sacks all were mostly intact, so I suspect that 2 or more of the original sacks partially hatched, leaving most old eggs still intact. Either way I'd judge that there are around 20-ish babies in there presently. Despite the presence of 7 hungry, hungry endler females and 4 endler males, and a betta male, the baby snails appear to be left in peace to do their thing. Also despite the endlers' insistence on stealing sinking food from the snails, the babies don't appear to have any trouble growing.

Water conditions especially in the 20 gallon have been amazingly stable. I have a high rate of evaporation in that tank and top it off to the tune of a half-gallon daily; prior to the snails hatching this meant I had to watch my hardness like a hawk and do changes, but since their hatching my hardness has remained blessedly level. I think the baby snails are doing me a solid and using all the excess calcium and minerals building their shells--and I have seen prodigious growth in the snails in the 20 gallon vice the 10, despite the additional food competition the endlers provide. (I would judge that as of 12/17, just under 1 month old, the babies in the 20 gallon are noticeably larger than those in the 10 gallon. This could be due to me needing to up my calcium supplementing in the 10 gallon, or simply needing to up food rations--I'm always afraid of overfeeding, but that may be foolish right now.)

In terms of size:
Adult snails: 1.5'' (measured 12/17)
At birth I'd judge the babies to be perhaps 1/16th of an inch across.
As of 12/17: I would judge that the ones in the 10 gallon are around 3/16'' across, and the 20 gallon just under 4/16''

10 gallon: 1 male Ivory adult; 1 female Yellow adult
Babies are all pale, I suspect they will turn out yellow and ivory only. I'll record total numbers and percentages as they age.

20 gallon: 1 male Ivory adult, 1 female Yellow adult, 2 female Blue adults
Babies are coloring in; we clearly have some that are yellow, some ivory, and some appear to be shading darker into blue, though it is hard to tell at this point. I'll record total numbers and percentages as they age.

We will move the snail babies out of the tanks they're in as they start to get larger, but for now they're getting along fine with their tankmates and are clearly able to handle food competition. We expected to see some predation by the endlers, which are certainly large enough, but there has been no interest.

Daily: Hikari Tropical Sinking Wafers for bottom feeders (omnivore food)
Shrimp pellets (I forget the brand, sorry)
Leftovers from:
Hikari Micro Pellets
Betta Bites pellets
Fed periodically:
Blanched broccoli or other vegetables (broccoli is the favorite)

Pics from this week for posterity...I also have a few pics thrown in trying to get a size comparison between 3 week old snail and adult snail. Sorry for the blurry endlers, they get excited and have to come see me every time I come close to the tank, lol. (In the 10 gal--yes, all those little pale dots are in fact baby snails LOL.)

If anyone wants to chime in and share their experiences with these guys I'm excited to hear. We have been utterly thrilled with these guys from day one and are having such a blast with them!


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  • #2
Wow so cool! I have always wanted to breed them but i don't have the time or space right now :/. Hopefully someday!
  • #3
Aww someday I want to breed mysterys too! So cute! When they’re old enough, if you decide to ship I’ll definitely be interested!!
  • Thread Starter
  • #4
Thanks! Hopefully one day you'll be able to, too! We're pretty happy with them. I spend kind of a lot of time bouncing between aquariums to watch them, lol. It's crazy but the babies are just tinier versions of adults as much as we can tell. What was amazing is that you could see their tiny, tiny little antennae already when they first hatched--just so fine and thin you could barely even see them. It was amazing!

We're hoping to trade some to our LFS and will probably look into learning to ship once the weather starts getting a little nicer. For now though, they're good where they are.
  • Thread Starter
  • #5
Updoot to say, I just spent several minutes examining the 20 gallon more closely counting babies. A lot of them are on the glass today, which made it easier. I counted 58 today, so, uh, my last estimate was way low. I now worry that I've severely underestimated the numbers in the 10gal too, so. We'll see I guess. It feels like they're hitting some kind of growth spurt, at least in the 20gallon. I'd swear they look visibly larger today than in the last few days. I haven't measured, but there's at least one or two in there that are close to pea-sized.
  • Thread Starter
  • #6
Update: New babies hatched on Christmas in the 20 gallon O: Feeling excited, but slightly alarmed as well. All egg sacks have now hatched and everything else that gets laid is being removed. We had candled the older egg sacks and realized some babies were in them, and decided to wait for them to hatch rather than remove the mostly-developed eggs, since that seemed unfair. But again--all new ones we've been scraping off as soon as they appear in the tank.

The other babies are doing well. We have some in both tanks that are nearing pea-sized. They LOVE steamed broccoli stems and have absolutely annihilated about 4 inches of broccoli stem cut into chunks for them lol. It's kind of awesome to watch them all teleport over to the new broccoli and start chowing down.

As the babies in the 10gal develop it's becoming clear that most of those are yellow, with some ivories. In the 20 gallon there's a fairly even mix (probably due to the fact that there are 2 blue females to the 1 yellow female) between blue, yellow, and ivory. Probably fewer ivories, but it can be a little tough telling the yellows and ivories apart at this age.

Behaviorally it's been interesting that they're essentially clones of the adults, minus the mating behavior. We get treated to quite frequent climb-the-wall-slide-down shows by the babies, which can be fun when you get a few of them doing it at once.

Otherwise, the only down side is this: Poop. EVERYWHERE. I've been using a turkey baster to suck snail poop up every other day or so and RIP my nice pretty black diamond blasting sand substrate, haha.

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