Hepper is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

Mystery Snails for Sale: Ivory, Blue, Gold, Magenta & More

Lindsey Stanton Profile Picture

By Lindsey Stanton

Mystery snail

Mystery snails make an anazing addition to your aquarium. They’re full of personality, algae-eating, super cute, peaceful, harmless to plants – the list is endless!

But where is the best place to buy mystery snails online? Keep reading to find out!

Where to Buy Live Mystery Snails for Sale?

Unless you know a breeder locally or have had success at your local fish store, you’re probably going to want to get your snails online. I’ll talk about the benefits of this more later.

Basically, you probably need to know what colors you want, as some can be trickier to find than others. I’ve gotten several orders of snails off eBay with good results. You can usually find the following colors:

Things to Know Before You Buy Mystery Snails Online

Buyer Tips: 

  • Do not order in extreme temperatures. This means below 32F or above 95F. At these extremes it becomes difficult if not impossible to make sure your snails don’t get frozen or cooked (yikes!)
  • Make sure the snail will have a heat pack if ordering in cold temperatures.
  • Make sure the snail is being shipped Priority Mail 2-3 day shipping, 2-day shipping or 1-day express shipping. Longer than that in transit and the snails have a much higher chance of perishing before they get to you.
  • Shipping can be hard on very small (under pea size) or very old snails.
  • Don’t leave your box to sit for long on the porch or in the mailbox – be sure you are there to pick them up right away.
  • Ensure your seller has a good policy for DOA so your purchase is protected. Note that many sellers will not refund shipping costs.
  • A good seller will ensure the box is insulated to help protect from temperature swings.

Acclimating Your New Snails

When you get your new snails, they may need to be acclimated to the new water if they were not dry-shipped.

Dry-shipped snails (snails that arrive rolled up in a wet paper towel) can be acclimated by placing them in a shallow dish of water with a little piece of food on one side. The smell of food helps encourage them to come out to the other side.

Wet-shipped snails (snails mailed in a bag of water) tend to do well when drip-acclimated. This involves adding a very small amount of water incrementally (typically 1 tablespoon every 10 minutes) to the water they came in for about an hour, then transferring them to the aquarium.

How to tell if your snail is dead?

  • It will smell really bad (#1 reliable method)
  • Its body may turn discolored
  • Its body may float out of shell
  • It may float to the top of the water
  • Its body may become covered in “fluff”
  • It has been more than 3 days and it has not come out of its shell

But don’t give up too soon! Sometimes newly shipped snails take a while before they start crawling around. If it’s been under 24 hours and the signs above are missing, please give it some time. You might be surprised.

Why I Don’t Like Getting Snails from the Pet Stores

Don’t get me wrong, there are some advantages getting your snails locally at a pet store. You don’t have to add any extra shipping costs into the price. And you get to take home your pet the same day. Which is all well and good, but to me, what I don’t like about buying mystery snails at the pet store is how bad of shape the shells usually are in and the thought of a snail that has lived in those tanks where none of the fish were quarantined.

Who knows what parasites it could bring home? And that’s beside the extremely limited selection. Big box pet stores often have very limited selection when it comes to finding mystery snails for sale. If they do carry them, it’s usually only gold or wild colored available.

Not only that, but for some reason, every mystery snail I ever bought from the pet store died in a week’s time. Every. Single. One.

Why? I don’t know for sure, it’s possible the snails were just too stressed.

Now, some people have had good experiences buying snails from there. So I’m not saying never do that, just sharing what it’s been like for me. Ever since I switched to buying all my mystery snails online, I haven’t looked back. My snails have had much higher survival rates, and I can get beautiful snails in all colors of the rainbow! I’ve found the key is to find a good seller who provides good customer service.

Tip: sometimes you can even purchase clutches of eggs for sale online directly from breeders. This can be fun if you want to try your hand at raising your own babies.

mystery snail in aquarium
Image Credit: Adam_Nau37, Shutterstock

How Many Snails Should You Get?

This is a great question. Some people use 2.5 gallons of water per mystery rule. Not me. I go by the water quality.

What if you want to breed your snails and get them to have babies? You will need to get at least one male and one female.

As discussed in my post on breeding mystery snails, mystery snails are not asexual – and if you only get 3 snails and all of them are males or all of them are females, you won’t have any babies. Unless, of course, the female has bred with a male before you got her. And that’s unlikely if they are smaller than a quarter. So I recommend getting at least 6 mystery snails to ensure there is at least one male and female together in that batch. That way, you can breed them yourself, which can be especially useful if you want to keep a continual supply of snails around. Then you don’t have to buy more when they die off.

Get this: you can even use the extras as a source of fish or reptile food if you find yourself with too many to house. Mystery snails don’t have a very long lifespan. They typically hang around for a year or two (max), shorter the warmer the temperature is, so it’s easy to find yourself with no more snails after so long a time.


I hope you found today’s post helpful. So, now I want to hear from you.

Where do you get your mystery snails for sale?

Leave me a comment below!

Featured image credit: MHawkinson, Shutterstock

Related Articles

Further Reading

Vet Articles

Latest Vet Answers

The latest veterinarians' answers to questions from our database