Can Mystery Snails Overeat? How Often to Feed Them

Recently, I noted that my mystery snails finished all the vegetables few hours after putting them in the tank. At first, I thought I was feeding them less and kept increasing the portion. However, I later realized they were getting really fat and taking longer to get out of their shell. This brought me to the question, can mystery snails overeat?

Mystery snails have a very strong sense of smell and will rush towards food as soon as it is put in the tank. The mystery snails’ scavenging trait can make them overeat and get oversize. When much food is available, especially food that has calcium, they tend to consume a lot.

Too much feeding will result in the mystery snail becoming very fat too fast to fit into its shell. It will take a while for the mystery snail to grow enough shell to fit in properly. They will also release a lot of bioload, and you will be required to clean the tank more often.

What Do Mystery Snails Eat?

Before taking the big step of getting a new pet, you must enquire about the type of food the pet consumes. Similarly, before adding mystery snails to your aquarium, you should know what to feed them. Mystery snails are omnivores (they can feed on both plants and meat) in nature and use the radula (tongue-like organ) to eat.

The radula has a thousand microscopic teeth to scrape up plant matters. Naturally, mystery snails love to feed on algae, dead plants, and biofilm. They also feed on vegetables like zucchini, carrots, lettuce, cucumber, and spinach. Additionally, they also feed on algae wafers, fish flakes, and pellets. Mystery snails require calcium to keep their shell strong.

Point to Note

Although mystery snails are scavengers, feeding them on just any type of food can harm them. For example onion family plants like garlic, onion, shallot, leeks, and chives can kill mystery snails.

You should also avoid feeding your mystery snails processed food like pasta, rice, bread, and millet. Also, salt and sugar products should be avoided. Finally, avoid food and medication that contain copper because copper is toxic to invertebrates. Always check the ingredients before purchasing.

How Do You Know the Mystery Snail is Overeating?

Just like a baby, you need to observe the feeding behavior of your mystery snail. Different mystery snails have different feeding behaviors, and the amount they ingest also varies. For one mystery snail, you can drop one lettuce leaf or one tablespoon of fish food and observe how much is gone after a day. If it finishes early, you can add a portion.

Bigger mystery snails will eat more than small ones. So, you should check not to underfeed them. You will also put more food in a new tank compared with a tank with algae, plants, and biofilm.

You can also tell that your mystery snails are overeating by observing their size. Usually, snails that overeat tends to get fat faster and even becomes difficult to fit in their shell. You should be concerned if your mystery snail is not moving at all.

How Often Should Mystery Snails be Fed?

Mystery snails eat a variety of food, including algae and dead plants. So, how often mystery snails are to be fed is determined by the following factors.

  1. The size of the mystery snail: A bigger mystery snail will obviously eat more than the small ones.
  2. The number of mystery snails in the tank: The higher the number of mystery snails in the aquarium, means you will put more food.
  3. The tank: As stated earlier, if your tank has algae, plants, and biofilm, you will put less food because the mystery snails will also feed on them.

It is advisable to feed your mystery snails daily and not put all the food at once; instead, add them after they have finished. This way, you will be able to observe their feeding habits and prevent them from overeating.

How Long Can Mystery Snails go without food?

Some snail species are known to survive for long without food. Take the examples of the giant African land snail and a milk snail. The African land snail can survive for over five months without food. The milk snail also can live up to two weeks without food. Snails are also known to go without food during the hibernation period.

The mystery snail species can also survive without food for some time. Under an uncomfortable environment, the mystery snail will stay in its shell without moving or eating for two to three days. A typical mystery snail will also sleep for thirteen hours and then start moving and eating for the next thirty hours.

Basically, a mystery snail can go for a week without food. If your aquarium has fish and plants, it will feed on algae, dead fish, and dead plants. In the absence of above mentioned, it will eat live plants. However, if your tank does not have anything it can feed on; it will starve to death in about two weeks.

Although mystery snails can survive for a week or two without food, that does not mean they are not hungry, and you should not wait for a week or a few days before feeding them. A mystery snail is like any other pet and should be cared for and fed regularly.

Conclusion

Pets are like babies, and sometimes we must pay close attention to how much and what we feed them. When too much food is available, they overeat, get a bloated stomach, and add unnecessary weight. Underfeeding on the other hand will also cause them to grow slowly due to insufficient nutrients.

Mystery snails are not different, and they can also overeat. A snail should eat food that is about ten percent of its weight. It would help if you also fed your mystery snail with calcium-rich food to enable them to grow their shell.

References

  1. Petsnails.co.uk, Feeding and Watering
  2. Molluscs.at, What do Snails Eat
  3. WikiHow, How to Feed a Snail

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