Mystery snails don’t eat each other. They eat algae, biofilm, and invertebrate or vegetable pellets. In other words, you can find mystery snail foods on various aquarium surfaces, including the back of other snails. Perhaps your mystery snail is just grazing, which is essential to keeping your tank clean.

Your mystery snails could be grazing on algae and invertebrate pellets on the back of the other. They could be mating or just taking a ride. However, mystery snails do not fight. They are docile and peaceful creatures whose only defense is retreating into the shell and locking the operculum. 

Separating mystery snails stuck together can cause hurt and damage to their soft belly, which they use to eat and move. The result may be an injured snail that’s coming out of its shell. If your mystery snails are constantly climbing onto each other, wait for them to climb down before separating them.

Mystery Snails Eating Each Other

This article will teach you more about what happens when a mystery snail climbs the other and how to fix it.  

Are mystery snails mating or fighting?

Mystery snails are peaceful aquarium livestock without the tools to fight. They have no practical limbs to display their aggression. However, if you keep more males than females, the snails can show aggression. 

Fertile female mystery snails produce water- or air-borne pheromones that attract the males. If that’s the case, your male mystery snails will constantly be climbing on each other toward the female’s reproductive organ. Each wants to be the fastest and the first to reach the female mystery snail. 

I will tell you how to avoid these snail fights. However, note that fighting mystery snails are not harmful to each other. They don’t have strong teeth, fins, or venom to hurt or kill. 

Snail fights due to competition for a mate take a few minutes to end because the mounted snail moves to shake off the climbing snail.

The female reproductive organ of a mystery snail is located over its right shoulder. That location is much easier for the male to access by getting on top of the female. The male mystery snail crawls along the back of the female mystery snail and positions itself on the right shoulder of the female.

Mating mystery snails will stay on top for about one to six hours. Unlike their fights which are spontaneous and unpredictable, you can tell when mystery snails are mating. Look at the position they are stuck in and how fast they unmount each other.

Mystery snails on top of each other

Here are the reasons your mystery snails could be on top of each other:

Reason for Mounting OthersWhat To Do
GrazingLeave them alone
Aggression Separate carefully
Mating Leave them alone
Riding Leave them alone

1. Grazing

Mystery snails are referred to as aquarium cleaners. They play an essential role in controlling the algae in your aquarium. On the other hand, algae grow on many surfaces, including the back of other snails.

Therefore, your snail can find itself on the back of another snail and continue eating. This is harmless to both snails. The mounted mystery snail will continue its activities unbothered by the snail on its back.

However, don’t leave your mystery snails to rely solely on algae and biofilm. Mystery snails also like blanched vegetables such as kale, lettuce, and spinach. You can also feed your snails strawberries as treats or give them shrimp pellets if you have the golden mystery snail.

2. Aggression

Mystery snails will also stick to each other to show aggression and dissatisfaction. As I said earlier, male mystery snails display aggression when they want to mate. Although they are mild and harmless to one another, they will constantly race over other snails.

In other words, mystery snail aggression is an attempt to overtake and slow down other males from reaching the female. However, note that mystery snails are not aggressive to other creatures in the aquarium.

Generally, mystery snails are docile and non-aggressive. They don’t have the tools to fight, eat, or harm themselves and their tankmates. They can live peacefully with other snails, shrimp, and fish. However, Kuhli loaches eat small snails which means you need to introduce large snails in their tank.

The best tankmates for mystery snails include Amano Shrimp, nerite snails, tetras, guppies, and platies.

3. Mating

Mating is the most common reason why your mystery snails are stuck together. Female mystery snails have their reproductive orifice on their left shoulder. If you look at that position carefully, you will see a tiny hole through the snail’s shell.

When fertile, female mystery snails release pheromones that attract all the male snails on your tank. The first male to mount the female will stick to that position. The male will stay on top of the female for between one and six hours.

Avoid separating mating mystery snails. You will compromise their breeding and may also hurt their soft feet and reproductive organs. One mounting session leaves enough male sperm to keep the female mystery snail’s eggs fertilized for up to 140 days.

If you don’t want the snails to breed, keep males and females in separate tanks. Alternatively, allow your female mystery snails to lay eggs, then sieve the eggs out of your aquarium.

If they’re for breeding, make sure that the small snails are kept safe since they can be eaten by kuhli loaches and other fish.

4. Riding 

Sometimes, your mystery snails just need a free ride on top of another more enormous snail to reach the other end of the aquarium. Since snails are slow, riding on top of the other allows them to get new grazing fields without expending much energy.

The smaller mystery snails prefer climbing on top of the bigger ones. The giant snails do not mind at all. Sticking together for a ride does not pose any harm to your mystery snails either. When they reach their destination, the snails will go their separate ways.

Although climbing on each other does not cause any significant issues to your mystery snails, there are some things you need to look at. Let’s discuss them below.

Does mating pose any harm to mystery snails?

Here are some ways mating can pose harm to your mystery snails:

1. The snail can fall from a height and break its shell

Another potential harm to your mystery snails is falling from high ground to a hard surface and breaking their shell. The mystery snail on top of the other may want to crawl away when they are at the edge of the tank. 

The snail may retract into the shell, lose its grip, and land on the floor or a rigid substrate. The impact can break its cover and even kill it. I recommend an aquarium lid and ridding of the protein biofilm to discourage the mystery snails from climbing to the top of the aquarium.

2. The female mystery snail can die from excessive mating

Fertile female mystery snails produce water- or air-borne pheromones that attract several males. If that’s the case, your male mystery snails will constantly be climbing on each other toward the female’s reproductive organ. 

Each wants to be the fastest and the first to reach the female mystery snail. Therefore, avoid having more males than female mystery snails in your aquarium. Keep one or two mystery snails per five gallons. Additionally, balance the gender of the snails. 

If you are breeding them, keep more female mystery snails than males. Otherwise, more males than females will stress and potentially kill the female mystery snail.

What do I do to mystery snails when they’re stuck together?

You should not separate your mystery snails when they are stuck together. They have a tight grip, and sometimes their reproductive organs are still connected. You risk damaging their moving, feeding, and reproductive organs.

If climbing on each other frequently happens among your mystery snails, you can separate the culprits from the rest of the livestock. Divide your tank using Gransuncy Aquarium Fish Tank Divider and put the stubborn snails on the opposite side of the tank.

Here are some things to do when your mystery snails are stuck together:

  • Look at the position they are stuck in 
  • Consider how fast they unmount each other
  • Separate your snails

In most cases, however, leaving them alone is the best thing to do. Simply let them unmount each other when they’re done with their activities. However, if one snail has been on the other’s back for more than a few days, separate them but do so carefully.


Citizen Lake Monioring Network. Mystery Snails.

Citizen Lake Monsitoring Network. Aquatic Invasive Species.

University of Michigan. Pomacesa canaliculata.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *