Calcium is very important for mystery snails because it enables them to grow and maintain their shell. The shell protects its soft body from getting injured and without it, the snail is vulnerable to injury by tank decorations or other aquarium pets.
When a mystery snail is attacked, it retreats back to its shell and closes the trap door. The mystery snail shell is made of 95% calcium carbonate hence the need for calcium. Mystery snails get calcium from the food they eat and the water they live in.
A lack of calcium will make their shell erode and lose color as commonly seen in albino snails.
Do Mystery Snails Need Calcium
Mystery snails need calcium to grow and maintain their shell. The shell is a paramount part of the mystery, and it can only survive for a short time without it. Mystery snails have very soft bodies and depend on the shell to protect them. When attacked, they can only retreat back to their shell because they cannot fight back. Lack of calcium will make the shell erode making them vulnerable to attacks.
Calcium is also very important to young mystery snails. When they are hatched, they have a very small shell and it will grow as the snail grows. Without calcium, the young snails’ shells cannot grow. Also, calcium is important for their healing ability to repair the shell when damaged.
Calcium Deficiency in Snail
Just like humans require calcium for their bones and teeth, snails need calcium to grow and maintain their shells. In the same way, your life will be affected if you lack calcium by your bones and teeth becoming weak, the snail will also suffer.
In the wild, snails live in water rich in calcium and eat food rich in calcium, therefore it is important to ensure they get the same in captivity. Failure to give your snails enough calcium they will experience the following problems;
- Cracked shell
- Holes on the shell
- Thin shell
- Shell turning white.
When you notice the above signs of calcium deficiency, you should use a test kit to measure the calcium level and then sort the problem immediately.
Note: Insufficient calcium will affect your snails’ health. However, calcium overdose will cause alkalinity imbalance. You should purchase a calcium kit to check calcium levels. The levels should be between 400 and 450 ppm.
How do I Provide Snails with Calcium?
Although snails require calcium very much, they have a limited ability to store it. Therefore snails should consume calcium daily. To ensure they meet their daily calcium requirements, ensure they feed on calcium-rich food and live in water rich in calcium.
1. Calcium-rich food
It is common knowledge that eating healthy will provide the necessary minerals the body needs. Below is the food you can feed your snails to provide them owith calcium.
Snails love vegetables, which are also readily available and easy to prepare. Some vegetables can be fed to snails raw, while others require to be blanched to make them soft.
Wash the vegetables to remove any fertilizer and pesticide residue as it can affect the snails. Also, cut the vegetables into small pieces to make it easy for the mystery snails to eat them.
Calcium-rich vegetables include kale, spinach, cabbage, green beans, broccoli, lettuce, carrots, zucchini, basil, and cucumber.
Note that the color of veggies and food may affect the color of the snail’s poop.
How to blanch vegetables for snails
Snails are little creatures with small mouths, and some veggies are too hard for them. Here is how you can soften the vegetables for them by blanching.
- Clean the vegetables with clean running water.
- Cut the vegetables into small pieces.
- Put the vegetables in boiling water and boil for 5 – 10 minutes. Some vegetables will require to be boiled longer than others.
- Remove the vegetables from boiling water and allow them to cool before feeding the snail.
3. Mini veggie sticks with calcium
The mini veggie stick is made with mixed plants and vegetables. If you do not have vegetables in your house or do not have time to prepare them, then the mini veggie stick will sort you. It has 20% calcium and 35% protein. It will sink to the bottom of the tank and break down within a short time, making it ideal for snails.
4. Mineral junkie pearls
The mineral junkie pearl is a fantastic supplement to help curb mineral deficiency in snails and other invertebrates. Each pearl is made of natural minerals to prevent mineral deficiency, slow growth, and high mortality rate. It is recommended to give one pearl daily to 2 – 5 snails.
Snails will also get calcium from the water in the aquarium. However, the calcium level in the tank is insufficient to satisfy the snail calcium daily requirement and, therefore, should be increased through water mineralization.
Water mineralization is enriching water with minerals for the aquarium pets to use. Below are ways of water mineralization.
6. Chicken eggshell powder
The chicken eggshell contains 98% calcium carbonate and 2% other important minerals. Preparing it is quite easy because you only need to boil it for 5 – 10 minutes to kill the harmful bacteria. You can also roast it in the oven for the same time or sun dry for a day before adding it to the tank.
7. Cuttlefish bone
The cuttlefish bone is the most popular way of water mineralization. It is rich in calcium, very porous, and is available in all pet stores. The cuttlefish bone dissolves very slowly and therefore it will not affect the water parameters. The best cuttlefish bone for snails is the calcium carbonate.
Tums are antacid tablets that are rich in calcium. However, they dissolve very fast and can affect the water parameters. Also, be keen on instructions not to overdose.
9. Wonder shell
Wonder shells are also a great way to add calcium to a snail tank. The shell takes longer to dissolve, and therefore it will not affect the water parameters. It also helps in clarifying the water.
10. Calcium block
Calcium blocks are rich in calcium and magnesium. But just like tums, they will affect the water parameters.
Mystery snails need calcium to grow and maintain their shell. Lack of calcium will cause the shell to crack, get holes, get thin or turn color to white. You can give your snails calcium by giving them a calcium-rich diet and water mineralization.