Mystery Snail and Betta: Are They Compatible?

Mystery snails are compatible with betta fish. You can acclimate mystery snails to the water parameters of the bettas and they will all be happy. However, you should understand your betta’s temperament before introducing a mystery snail into your fish tank. Secondly, choose to keep larger-sized mystery snails with your bettas instead of small mystery snails. 

Mystery snails are compatible with bettas as the snail has a hard shell and an operculum to recede and protect itself from aggressive tankmates. Not all bettas are peaceful as males can be aggressive towards mystery snails. Increase your tank size by 5 gallons of aquarium water per fish to avoid it.

I will give you some tips I used to overcome the slightest aggression between my mystery snails and bettas. You will learn how to keep them healthy and happy. Also, I will give you 7 other snails that can live with your betta without a problem. But first, let’s get some details on their compatibility.

Mystery Snail and Betta Fish

Can betta fish live with mystery snails?

Yes. Betta fish can live with mystery snails. However, the snails can be more peaceful with female bettas than male bettas.

Here are more reasons why betta fish can live with mystery snails: 

1. Mystery snail’s larger diameter

Mystery snails grow to about 1 to 2 inches in diameter. On the other hand, bettas reach about 2 inches in length. 

In other words, a fully grown betta cannot attack or eat a mature mystery snail. Bettas and kuhli loaches eat small snails.

For that reason, aquarium hobbyists recommend keeping bettas alongside giant mystery snails instead of smaller ones. In that case, the fish will not bother the snail.

2. Mystery snails and bettas have similar water parameters

Betta fish and mystery snails are compatible because their preferred water conditions are nearly identical. For instance, mystery snails thrive at an aquarium temperature between 68° to 84°F. On the other hand, bettas prefer 78° to 80°F.

Since mystery snails are not affected by slight temperature reductions, they can acclimate to the betta’s preferred temperature. However, mystery snails have a lower nitrate tolerance of 20ppm, and bettas can survive nitrate concentrations of up to 40ppm.

Therefore, keeping them together means constant aquarium water quality monitoring. Most importantly, you should change 20% to 30% of the water twice a week.

3. Hard snail shell

Mystery snails have a hard shell of 5% protein and 95% calcium carbonate. The exterior is hard enough that the bettas cannot break to eat the fleshy organs of the snail whether it’s a male or female snail.

The shell plays an essential role in their compatibility. To ensure the toughness of the shell, give your mystery snails calcium-rich foods. 

You can also dissolve eggshell powder or cuttlebone in the aquarium, and it will gradually give your mystery snails a solid shell to hide from aggressive male bettas.

4. Mystery snails have a protective operculum

The operculum is also made of calcium. It is located on the upper surface of a mystery snail’s foot. 

Mystery snails use an operculum to shut the rest of their fleshy body inside the shell so tightly when confronted by aggressive tankmates.

Without the operculum, hungry betta fish would not hesitate to eat the mystery snail. 

5. Mystery snails eat leftover betta food

Mystery snails do not need high-quality food. They feed primarily on algae and biofilm. For this reason, mystery snails are popular aquarium cleaners. 

The snails will eat algae and any food leftovers from the bettas. In other words, mystery snails and betta fish are compatible because of their feeding relationship. 

Although the snails do not require high-quality food, they can thrive on fish food, leftovers, and algae. 

But, if you don’t feed your bettas a balanced diet, they will go for the mystery snails.

Do betta fish eat mystery snails?

Betta fish can eat mystery snails if the conditions allow it. For instance, avoid keeping young mystery snails with your bettas. The fish will most definitely eat the snails. 

Similarly, do not starve your bettas. Whereas the snails will go about grazing on the algae and thin aquarium biofilm, the hungry bettas can target them for food.

Most importantly, I would recommend keeping female betta fish with mystery snails instead of keeping the snails with male bettas. Male betta fish tend to have an aggressive temperament towards their peaceful tankmates.

Betta fish can also eat other snails such as nerite and assassin snails. I will tell you more about these snails later. You might wonder if the mystery snails also pose a significant danger to bettas. Let us talk about that one first.

Do mystery snails harm betta fish?

Mystery snails are docile and peaceful and, even when they might appear like they’re eating each other at times, they’re rarely violent. They can live happily with many kinds of aquatic animals. However, they pose a significant danger to betta fish when they die and decompose in the aquarium. 

The decomposition contributes to the accumulation of ammonia and nitrates in the aquarium, which can suffocate and kill all your aquarium livestock.

Here are some tips for keeping mystery snails and betta:

  • Keep one snail per 5 gallons of fish tank or larger.
  • Feed your bettas a balanced diet.
  • Keep only large-sized mystery snails with bettas.
  • Separate the snail from the aggressor.
  • Perform 20-30% aquarium water changes twice a week.

With these tips, you won’t have a problem between the betta fish and assassin snails.

What snails can live with betta fish?

Here are some snails that can live with your betta fish:

Snails to keep with bettasSnails NOT to keep with bettas
Assassin snailsAmazonian apple snails
Japanese trapdoor snailGiant apple snail
Nerite snailPond snail
Rabbit snailPest snails
Ramshorn snail
Red-rimmed Melania
Turret snail
Mystery snail

1. Assassin snail (Clea helena)

You can keep assassin snails with your betta fish. Their brown and yellow spiral bands will enhance the beauty of any freshwater aquarium. The best tank size for keeping assassin snails and bettas is 10 gallons or bigger.

2. Japanese Trapdoor snail (Viviparis malleatus)

Japanese trapdoor snails also have an operculum to hide from predators. The snail can live well with bettas in the temperature range of 68-88°F. However, you should use the betta fish’s temperature and pH to determine their aquarium.

3. Nerite snail (Neritina natalensis)

Like the mystery snails, nerite snails will live with bettas and clean the aquarium. Nerite snails are good at cleaning aquarium substrates and algae plants. If you keep them with your bettas, your aquarium components will maintain their correct color.

4. Rabbit snail (Tylomelania)

Rabbit snails grow to about 2 inches long, but there are also smaller ones. Rabbit snails are beautiful, peaceful, and curious aquarium inhabitants. Their gentle disposition and easy care make them great tank mates for betta fish.

5. Ramshorn snail (Planorbarius corneus)

The snail derives its name from its shell, which looks like the curved horns of a ram. It is a unique freshwater snail for adding color and diversity to your betta fish tank. They are attractive and will also clean your tank and maintain the correct color of everything in it.

6. Red-rimmed Melania (Melanoides tuberculata)

Red-rimmed Melania measures between 40 and 80mm in length. The snails exist in shades of white, light brown, and dark brown. Like the mystery snails, red-rimmed Melania also has an operculum, allowing them to live with betta fish despite the fish’s temperament. 

7. Turret snail (Maoricolpus roseus)

Turret snails have purple dots on their conical shells. They are primarily active at night and burrow in the aquarium sand during the day. 

On the other hand, bettas spend much of the night sleeping. Therefore, turret snails and bettas are very compatible tank mates. They do not disturb or bully each other.

What snails can’t live with betta fish?

Although there are many snails you can keep with your betta fish, some will cause more damage than others.

Here are some snails to avoid keeping with your betta fish:

1. Amazonian apple snails (Pomacea maculata)

Amazonian apple snails will eat all your aquarium plants. They are aggressive foragers who will not spare even the plant roots. They eat a lot and can grow up to 4 inches across. Therefore, your bettas will be stressed if you keep them with Amazonian apple snails. 

2. Giant apple snail

As its name suggests, the giant apple snail is enormous. It can reach about 6 inches in diameter. However, that is not the problem. Giant apple snails are incompatible with bettas because the snails release a lot of waste, which bettas are pretty sensitive to. 

3. Pond snail (Lymnaea stagnalis)

Pond snails are the worst tankmate for your betta fish because they host deadly parasites. As their population grows, pond snails alter the aquarium chemistry, causing spikes in nitrates, nitrites, and ammonia. These can infect your fish and cause many aquarium deaths.

References

Adelphi University. (2022). Betta Fish Care.

United States Geological Survey. (2022). Japanese mystery snail. Nonindigenous Aquatic Species.

University of Illinois. Bettas Need More Than Bowls.

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