My Mystery Snail Laid Eggs: What Do I Do?

If this is your first time finding a cluster of Mystery or Apple snail eggs in your lid or above your waterline and you have many unanswered questions, don’t worry! Here, I will go through all the questions I initially had that you might be wondering.

How Long Do Mystery Snail Eggs Take To Hatch?

This was my first question, and the answer is, depending on the temperature and humidity, anything up to 4 weeks. It will most likely be around the 2-week mark if you have perfect conditions.

I also wanted to know exactly how many snail babies will hatch from one cluster, and from one cluster, you can expect about 20 to 40 snail babies. Usually, if you are lucky, you will have an 80% survival rate of the ones that have hatched.

Mystery Apple Snails Fertilized An Unfertilized Egg Cluster

How Can I Tell If The Mystery Snail Eggs Are Fertile?

When your female snail lays her eggs, she will do so either in the lid of your tank or above the waterline of the tank. If they are freshly laid, you will see how soft they are. The eggs will start to harden after a day or two, and within a few days, you will be able to see some of them change color.

If the eggs become chalky white, they are infertile. Your entire cluster could be infertile, or you would have an egg here or there around the cluster that is chalky. Healthy fertilized eggs will remain a velvety-looking pink-cream color.

Only closer to hatching time will these beautiful pink/cream pearls turn a moldy grey color as the baby snails start eating their way through.

Can Mystery Snails Lay Eggs Without Mating?

If you recently bought a snail or two and suddenly have an egg cluster without seeing any mating in your tank, this could be the reason.

The female Mystery or Apple snail can store fertile sperm and lay egg clusters weekly (usually 7 to 10 days apart) for about 4,5 months. This would explain why it seems that some female snails can lay eggs without a male present, but these snails require a male to fertilize the eggs.

Just know that female snails can also lay unfertilized eggs, so technically, they can lay eggs without mating; they just won’t be fertilized.

Apple Mystery Snail Color Change Of Egg Cluster Snail Laying Eggs

What Should I Do With My Mystery Snail Eggs?

Option 1 Leave the egg cluster where it is
This might be an option for you if you have a lid on your tank and there is naturally more humidity, lights, and warmer temperatures present.
I don’t have a lid on my tank, but I used some of the tank water to lightly mist the eggs daily and kept them in the position they were laid.
Option 2 Remove the egg cluster and make a DIY incubator
If you want to give this your best shot and hatch as many snail babies as possible, you can make a DIY incubator for the egg cluster. I will review everything you need, and the process should you choose this option.
Option 3Remove the egg cluster and dispose of it
If you don’t want any more snails and are not prepared or looking forward to all the extras trying to incubate and raise babies, you can remove the cluster after it is hard enough, freeze, crush it, and discard it in your bin. If you don’t want your snails to have more snail egg clusters, you can increase your waterline and not let it drop too low in the future.
Option 4Remove the egg cluster and use it for food (nutrients)
I personally prefer this option as you don’t waste anything. Once you have removed the egg cluster, you freeze it, and once frozen, you can crush it up and feed it to your snails. You can also add the crushed goodness to your “snello” for the extra calcium.
Four Options: What Should I Do With My Mystery Snail Eggs

How To Hatch Mystery Snail Eggs

As mentioned in option 1, if you have a lid on your tank, you can leave the cluster of eggs where they are and ensure they don’t get wet or submerged in water.

If you want to build a DIY Mystery Snail Egg incubator, you will need the following items:

  • Tupperware container with a lid that snaps on or seals well (you will need to make holes in the lid)
  • Paper towel sheets (about four sheets)

The first step is to make tiny holes in the Tupperware container lid right along the edge of the lid. Next, you will need two paper towel sheets that you will wet with the tank water. The sheets have to be wet but not dripping wet.

The wet paper towel sheets will provide the necessary humidity in the container. You can fold the two wet sheets to fit into your container’s bottom. Now, you take your two dry paper towel sheets and fold them to fit your container.

The dry paper towels will be the barrier on which you will place your snail egg clusters so they can remain dry at all times. Now, you can remove the egg clusters from your tank lid or glass by using your fingers and gently wiggling the sides of it to encourage them to release.

You might squash an egg or two, but it definitely did less damage than when I tried to use a scraper to lift it from the glass. Ensure you wait at least a day before attempting to remove the egg cluster, as it needs to be hardened by the time you remove it.

You must open the container lid daily to release extra humidity. If condensation is on the lid inside, you must remove it to ensure it doesn’t land on the eggs. Many people like leaving their container floating in the tank water, while others prefer keeping their incubator next to the tank with a light on it.

If you have multiple clusters, you can try both ways and see what works best for you. In a few days (or weeks), you will see the color of the egg cluster change to a moldy grey color, which means your Mystery Snail babies will start hatching soon. Yay!

Isolation Breeding Box Nursery Tank

Mystery Snail Breeding Box (Nursery Tank)

You can start getting your breeder box ready for when the snail babies hatch. Once they have hatched, you can move them over to a separate “box” or tank. The reason for separating your babies from the rest of your tank would be to ensure they get all the nutrients they need and keep them away from any possible fish eating them.

To ensure your snails have the best chance of surviving, you will need a heater and an airstone for this nursery tank. The water temperature should be around 75 degrees Fahrenheit or roughly 24 degrees Celcius, and if you have a water tester kit, aim for a PH of around 7 or higher.

If you don’t have an extra heater or airstone, you can always get an isolation box that can be added to your existing tank, so you won’t need any additional equipment for your baby snails.

The water temperature will help with their growth, but it shouldn’t be any warmer than the recommended temperature, as it could cause your babies to grow too quickly and end up with a very thin shell. The babies will grow at different speeds and can be moved to the community tank once they are the size of a nickel or big enough not to fit in the mouth of your fish.

Depending on the food quality, nutrients, water temperature, and overall water quality, your snail babies will most likely be in your nursery tank/breeder box for roughly a month. Weekly cleaning and removal of waste is very important and can easily be done with the help of a turkey baster to suck up the gunky stuff.

Remember to check the “gunk” removed from the breeder box, as some babies might end up in between it. It is also very important to remove any baby snails that are no longer living as soon as you see them.

What Do I Feed My Mystery Snail Babies?

When your babies have hatched and are transferred to their nursery tank, they should get food immediately. Many people like feeding their snail babies a higher protein food as their first meal and would do so with boiled egg yolk.

If you see that some babies are still trying to hatch from the cluster, you can gently help the little snails by rubbing the cluster between your fingers. At this point, you can use the water from your nursery tank to help break up the cluster.

Breaking the cluster into the nursery tank of the baby snails is a great way to ensure they get some calcium for their future growth.

Here are some healthy food options for your baby Mystery/Apple snails:

  • Crab Cuisine (Hikari) – You can crush these pellets and add them to the nursery.
  • Snello (Homemade)
  • Algae/Spirulina wafers
  • Steamed Green Vegetables (Kale, Spinach, etc)
  • Crushed Sinking Fish Pellets
  • Crushed Fish Flakes
  • Bloodworms (for extra protein)
  • Calcium Chips can be added as an extra supplement

What Do I Do With All My Mystery Snail Babies?

If you have noticed that you have too many snails and won’t be able to take care of all of them, you can always post on local aquatic/fish groups; maybe someone would like to trade colors or something else that you might need. This would help you find homes for the babies quickly.

The cool thing about Mystery snails and their color is that you can have a golden snail and a purple snail mate, and their babies will come out a different color. I think that it is so exciting to see how the babies look like with these color matches.

Another option is to talk to your local fish store and find out if they wouldn’t like to buy snails from you. You can either ask for store credit or get some cash; either way, it will help you buy your next food supply for your aquarium at home.

When talking to your local fish shop, you can also make sure of the size they would like to take some babies from you; most stores prefer the size of a pea (roughly).

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