I’ve bred and raised mystery snails for years. And if you’re looking for an expert guide on hatching mystery snails, you’re in business.
There are many methods, several of which I’m sure work quite well. Today I’m going to share my own personal method. It’s what works for me, and I’ve tried several different ways, so this is what I feel comfortable advocating.
After all, I want you to have success hatching your mystery snail babies! Okay, let’s get into it.
Hatching Baby Mystery Snails From Eggs
Obviously, your snails will need to have bred, and the female should have laid her clutch before you can follow this tutorial. This is what the process looks like:
The 5 Steps to Hatching Mystery Snail Eggs
Here are my secret 5 key steps to hatching mystery snail eggs. Again, it’s not the only good way, but it is one that is reliable for me.
1. Ensure There Is Enough Humidity
You must keep the humidity up. If you don’t, the clutch will dry out and won’t hatch. For this, I use either an aquarium heater (my preference for tanks with colder water) or a mister.
What is the sign of humidity? Condensation! When there is condensation, that means there is humidity. If you use a heater to make condensation, the tank needs to be warmer than room temperature.
This can work, but in tanks with goldfish, especially in the summer, I don’t always want to crank the heat up to like 78 degrees. So that’s why I really like using an aquarium mister because you can achieve lots of humidity without altering temperature.
I put it about 2inches under the water, suctioning it to the side of the tank. You can control the amount of mist by raising or lowering it in the water. (Bonus: it is great for growing emersed plants!)
Whichever one you choose, the key is (in most cases) that you have to have a lid. A lid is what traps in that humidity and makes a safe chamber for your eggs to ripen.
2. Remove the Eggs
Wait at least 48 hours before attempting to move the clutch. At that point, it becomes quite hard. Its appearance changes as well, it gets darker and somewhat clearer, whereas before, it was very pale pink.
You don’t want to wait too long because it starts to become fragile as the eggs are near hatching. If you keep goldfish (or other fish that would eat baby snails), you need to move the clutch.
Otherwise, if you let it hatch into the tank directly, all the little babies would just become a snack! We don’t want to go to all this work for that. So, in most cases, you will need to move the clutch.
How do you move it? The way that does the least damage is usually gently, I mean GENTLY, by twisting it side to side with your fingers until it snaps off.
You can also use a razor blade, but it can mess up the eggs on the bottom layer. Not that that’s a huge deal or anything because an egg sack can have around 50–100 eggs in it.
3. Transfer to Hatching Spot
What is the hatching spot? It’s where your eggs are going to spend the next interval of time until they come out into the world. How long do mystery snail eggs take to hatch?
Depending on the temperature of your aquarium, it can take anywhere between 9 days to 5 weeks. So it’s a waiting game.
You can leave the eggs where they are, but there are risks of the babies being eaten if they hatch into the tank. There’s also the risk of the clutch falling into the water from so much humidity.
If you’re like me, you realize you’re going to need a breeding box sooner or later and just put the eggs on top of the slotted lid. I’ve used several kinds of breeding boxes, including some DIY, but this design is my all-time pick.
The slotted lid is PERFECT because the eggs won’t fall in, but humidity can get to them nicely. What’s amazing to me is the slots in it are big enough to let water in…but not the teeny tiny little babies out.
And the breeding box can be attached to the side of the tank to keep it from floating under the filter. Remember, Your eggs will drown if they are left in the water at this stage!
4. Ready to Hatch
When the babies hatch, they can drop into the breeding box on their own, if they can fit into the crevasses. They are drawn to the water. Interestingly, they are about the size of a sesame seed when first born.
Otherwise, when the clutch looks really gray and moldy, and you can see babies emerging, it is ready, and you can gently rub it underwater in the breeding box to release the babies and enjoy your valuable role as being a snail midwife. (Make sure you leave the shell pieces in with them – it is nutritious food!)
Or, you can let them drop in on their own without interfering if all looks like it is going well.
5. Grow & Release
Now that your babies are hatched, they will eat the shell fragments for a while. After they’re gone, it will be time for their first meal.
Enter, Snello! Snello is a great first food for baby snails. Be sure to break it into little pieces so everyone can get some. Runts can develop if siblings can hog all the food.
You can release the baby mystery snails from the breeder box once they are big enough not to get eaten by any fish in the main tank. Or, you can transfer to a larger grow-out tank.
Now, for the hardest part. Generally, once the snails are the size of a pea, they will be ready for new homes! Unless you want to use them as food for your fish, your final task will be to find folks who would like to buy your lovingly raised babies.
It is rewarding to see them go to new loving homes but also a bit sad as you become emotionally invested in them. Maybe I’m just a sap.
Related Read: Mystery Snails CAN Live with Goldfish!
Hatching baby mystery snails can be a fun and rewarding process. It’s really easy too! So, what about you? Have you ever hatched mystery snail eggs? Have some tips to share? Leave me a note below!
Featured Image Credit: Piqsels