It is joyful to see your pets moving around the tank, happy and feeding. I especially love to watch mystery snails crawl on the glass sides because they add so much color to the aquarium. Unfortunately, sometimes they become inactive and retreat to their shells.

A mystery snail not moving does not mean it’s dead, but you must examine them to overrule death. The snail might be sleeping, hiding away from hostile tank mates, feeling cold, or evading unsuitable water conditions in the tank.

I also noticed that mystery snails try to escape the tank when conditions aren’t friendly. As you know, the chances of mystery snails surviving out of the water are low. In this case, you can easily find your snail dead or unconscious due to drying out.

Why mystery snail is not moving

Mystery snail is a vibrant species, and it can be concerning if it suddenly stops moving. Below are several reasons why mystery snails may stop moving.

1. Sleeping

All animals, including humans, get tired and sleep to relax. Mystery snails also love to sleep after exploring and feeding. A mystery snail will feed and move around the tank for up to thirty hours and sleep for thirteen hours afterwards.

So, if your mystery snail is not moving and not won’t come out of its shell, then it might be taking a nap.

2. Feeling cold

Mystery snails are sensitive to temperature and do not thrive in cold environments. When it gets very cold, a mystery snail will pull back to its shell and close the trap door awaiting the temperatures to rise again.

Ensure the tank maintains a water temperature between 20 to 28°C.

3. Hibernating

Animals hibernate to conserve energy and survive during drought and winter. Aquarium snails hardly hibernate in ideal tank conditions.

However, when left without food, they will often hibernate or go into low-activity phases to save energy for survival. This behaviour is also seen in bamboo shrimps which play dead when molting or hibernating.

4. Contaminated water

Bad water conditions will make mystery snails retreat into their shells. Some chemicals are toxic to mystery snails, and it is vital to check the presence of any chemicals, such as copper and ammonium nitrate. The pH levels should also be maintained between 6.5 and 7.5.

5. Feeling threatened

Mystery snails are peaceful creatures that never hurt other snails or tank mates. However, they are vulnerable because they lack a proper defense mechanism. The only way to ensure their safety is to hide in their shells.

6. Your pet is sick

When sick, most animals will sleep until they regain their health. Snails are not different and will slip back into their shells and shut the trap door to recuperate from an ailment. It is important to monitor a snail not mowing for any signs of illness and take action if necessary.

Look for signs of illness, such as discoloration, floating upside down, excessive slime production, and unusual spots on the snail’s body. These are some of the symptoms of fungal or parasitic infections in snails.

Maintaining proper water quality, providing a balanced diet, and avoiding overcrowding the snails can help keep your snails healthy and prevent illness.

7. New environment

New snails can also stop moving and hideaway for two to three days or until they adapt to the new environment. With patience and a little effort, your new snails will eventually come out of hiding and become active.

How do I know if my mystery snail is dead?

Mystery snails can appear dead even when not. But it is essential to be sure before you decide to discard it. The first step is to remove it from the aquarium because if it is dead, it is a hazard and could spread diseases to other tank mates.

Here are ways you can determine if the snail is dead or not.

Look at the trap door

A trap door of a live mystery snail will remain shut. Mystical snails use this method to ensure nothing can hurt them while inside. For a dead mystery snail, the trap door will likely be open. If the trap door is shut, you can try to open it. If it resists, the mystery snail is alive.

Smell the shell through the trap door

Any dead animal will have an awful smell after decomposition starts. Freshwater snails are known to decompose very quickly and will produce an ammonia smell. The mystery snail is not dead if you don’t smell the ammonia.

Gently tap the shell

Gently tap the mystery snail’s shell and see if it will respond in any way. You can also turn it upside down to see if it will roll back to its original position.

Softly touch its belly

A snail can die outside the shell or might fall off the shell after succumbing. However, the snail could just be floating. To confirm if it is dead or not, touch its belly softly. A live mystery snail will move or retreat to its shell. If it does not move, it could be dead.

How long can a mystery snail go without moving?

There are several reasons why a mystery snail would stop moving. If it is sick, it can stay until it gets better or only comes out to eat. Unfortunately, if its health drastically deteriorates, it might not move until it dies.

If its reason for not moving is hibernating or because it is being bullied, it might take a longer time to come out or until the conditions are improved.

A mystery snail can go for up to two weeks without moving or feeding. But if it takes an after-meal nap, waking up might take up to thirteen hours.

What to do when your snail is not moving

The first step will be to check if it is still alive. If you confirm it is alive, establish its reason for not moving. Did you see it move a couple of hours before? If yes, the mystery snail could be sleeping. If not, that’s a reason to worry.

Switch off the aquarium lights to see if it will respond. Some mystery snails love to feed in the dark.

Look if there is food in the tank. Have you fed it for the last few days, or are algae or biofilm in the tank? If not, drop lettuce leaf or one algae wafer. Mystery snails have a powerful sense of smell. It will surely come out to feed.

You should also check the water parameter. Mystery snails dislike cold environments and hide away in their shells. Use a test kit to test for ammonia, nitrate, or copper. Also, hostile tank mates should be moved to a separate tank.

Finally, give your mystery snails a chance to adapt if they are new or the tank is new. Ensure the tank conditions are similar to the former tank conditions. It might take the mystery snail two to three days to adjust.

Further, ensure you have the right number of mystery snails per gallon to avoid congestion in the tank.

What to do if the snail is dead

The death of a mystery snail will be devastating, but you will have to move quickly to ensure the rest are not affected.

  1. Remove the dead mystery snail from the tank and dispose of it.
  2. Move the other pets to a different tank or container.
  3. Identify the cause of death.
  4. Drain all the water from the tank and replace it with fresh water, which is ideal for an aquarium.
  5. Move the rest of the pets back to their home.

Take away

It is common for mystery snails to go days without moving. However, you should try to establish the reason behind it. To raise happy and healthy mystery snails, ensure they are well-fed and the tank conditions are favorable.


  1. Inactivity / Snail Problems

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