Can You Leave Mystery Snail Eggs In Your Tank?

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If you came to this article, you probably found mystery snail eggs in your tank. When this happened to me, my first question was whether I could simply leave them in the tank and raise them there.

You can leave mystery snail eggs in your tank. However, you risk them falling into the water or getting eaten by adult snails. A better practice would be moving them to a different container after 48 hours.

As we move forward, I will elaborate on the different angles you can take with mystery snail eggs and explain where it is best to raise them. I will also share some valuable tips on how to raise them outside the tank if you choose to do so.

Still curious? Feel free to check my complete guide on mystery snail eggs. There, I discussed how to care for the eggs, what their stages are, how to tell if they are fertilized, and much more

Can You Leave Mystery Snail Eggs In Your Tank?

The answer to this question mainly depends on the objective you have in mind. If you aim to raise a sizable number of mystery snails for recreational purposes, you can leave the creatures alone.

Try to keep the following in mind:

  • Mystery snails lay their eggs above the waterline.

You will find the clusters on the walls, inside the filters, under the tank hood, and basically any hard surface above the water that can support the clutch.

You can aid the breeding process by leaving three or four inches of space above the waterline.[1] Don’t fill the aquarium all the way to the top.

  • Snail eggs require a warm and humid environment. 

Low humidity is a threat to the clutch because the eggs are more likely to dry out. You should maintain a temperature of 65 to 82 degrees F.[2]

  • Don’t submerge the eggs under water. 

There’s a difference between moist and wet conditions. Female snails lay the clusters above the waterline because the creatures get their oxygen from the air. 

Even though mystery snails have lungs and gills, the embryos will drown if you allow the eggs to fall in the water. This is why it is so important to leave sufficient room above the waterline. 

  • Pay attention to the lighting. 

Lights are dangerous because they generate heat. In fact, it is common practice to switch the lights off during hot seasons to prevent the temperature in the tank from spiking.

You want the snail to lay the cluster above the waterline while keeping the eggs away from the lights. They can’t get too close. Otherwise, the heat from the artificial lighting will dry the eggs.[3]

The same thing will happen if you expose the aquarium to direct sunlight. Although, experienced aquarists are too smart to keep their tanks near a window. They know that algae will bloom at an unprecedented rate in direct sunlight.

  • You can spray eggs in tanks with low humidity to keep them moist. 

You can also retrieve submerged eggs before the embryos drown. Although, once a clutch becomes unstuck, you can’t stick it back on the hard surface.

In warm, moist conditions with high humidity, you don’t have to participate in the hatching process. If you leave the clutch alone, healthy babies will emerge within the next three weeks. 

Mystery snail eggs are soft and pink at the start. A fertilized cluster will darken over the days and weeks, taking on a brown color. Once the eggs develop what seems like a fuzzy mold, you know that hatching is just around the corner. 

A clutch of mystery snail eggs on the aquarium’s wall.

Is It A Good Idea To Leave The Eggs In The Tank?

People rear snails because they are easy to maintain. If you leave mystery snail eggs in a trashcan, baby snails will appear after a few weeks. 

You couldn’t ask for a more stress-free aquatic creature to breed. But this assumes that you want to raise mystery snails for recreational purposes. 

What if you intend to earn a small profit by selling the creatures? In that case, you can’t leave the mystery snail eggs in the tank.

Aquariums are fraught with danger. First of all, you can’t trust the other inhabitants of the aquarium to behave, especially the fish. 

Fish will eat anything that fits in their mouths, regardless of their temperaments, and eggs can easily fit in a fish’s mouth.

Additionally, snails practice cannibalism. One study stumbled across stories of aquarists whose snails (Pomacea canaliculate) ingested their egg masses.[4]

Another study (Journal of Molluscan Studies) noticed similar cases of egg cannibalism among pulmonated land snails.[5] In this case, the snails benefited from the practice because their wet weight grew significantly. 

A HAL paper cemented the threat snails pose to their offspring even further by highlighting the benefits cannibalistic snails enjoyed after eating unhatched eggs.[6]

Therefore, don’t assume that your eggs are safe simply because you decided to breed the mystery snails in a snail-only tank.

But even if you don’t expect your fish or snails to eat the eggs, the chances of a clutch falling into the water are far too high. 

If you don’t knock the eggs off their perch, the mother will probably dislodge them while trying to make room for more snails. 

Simply put, you can’t maximize the hatch rate by leaving the mystery snails in the tank.

You must hatch the eggs yourself by moving them to a separate container. However, again, you have to keep certain factors in mind.

What Should I Do If The Eggs Fell Into The Water?

If you decide to grow the eggs inside your tank, there is a high chance you’ll find them underwater someday. It is pretty common.

In case you want to raise the embryos, pull them out of the water gently. You can use a disposable spoon for that. Just make sure to throw it afterward.

If the eggs were submerged for less than 24 hours, there is a high chance that the baby snails are still alive. Place them in a container and follow them for the next couple of days, as I will explain later on.

However, if the eggs were underwater for an extended period, or if you’re not sure that you want to raise the eggs, you can leave them underwater. Your fish will happily eat them. 

Yet, bear in mind that some fish will ignore the eggs or simply won’t find them. In that case, you should remove the eggs before they rot and contaminate your tank. Here is a great article where I explained how to do that.

How Do I Grow Mystery Snail Eggs Outside The Tank?

  • You cannot move newly laid eggs, as they are too soft and delicate. 

Any attempt to move the clutch will harm the eggs. Give the eggs 48 hours to harden. But even after 48 hours, you can still destroy the mystery snail offspring if you mishandle the clutch.

Rather than using your full strength to pull the eggs off the hard surface, wiggle them gently. The goal is to loosen the cluster’s grip until you can remove it away without harming the eggs.

Although, you may lose a few eggs. But that shouldn’t concern you, as mystery snails produce plenty of eggs. They can lay up to 500 eggs in a single batch.

If you wish to move the eggs to a different tank, please take a look at this article. In there, I shared some excellent pictures that will help you identify the eggs’ different growth stages.

  • Don’t underestimate the dangers eggs pose. 

Snails carry parasites and bacteria, some of which can harm humans. One example is the rat lungworm found in apple snails. 

The snails acquire the worm by eating rate feces with eggs and parasites. They pass those parasites on when they lay eggs.[7]

A paper in the National Library of Medicine blamed snails for infecting humans with schistosome parasites.[8]

Therefore, you should wear gloves where possible instead of touching mystery snail eggs with your bare hands. Better yet, wrap the eggs in cloth.

  • Adjust the container for mystery snail eggs. 

Put the eggs in a container and place a damp towel at the bottom. Then, put the eggs on the towel. That will prevent the eggs from drying out. You can also position the clutch on Styrofoam partially submerged in water.

Don’t forget to cover the container with a lid. Some people punch small holes through the top. However, the eggs can still hatch without the holes. But you should open the container once a day. This allows fresh air to enter.

An excellent Youtube video showing how to grow the eggs in a container.

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You don’t have to move mystery snail eggs into a different container. As a rule of thumb, if the environment is comfortable enough for the snail to lay eggs, it is good enough for the eggs to hatch.

However, you do face the risk of the eggs falling into the water. There are also some cases in which the parents themselves consume the eggs, a phenomenon known as cannibalism.

From my experience, it is best to move the eggs to a separate container after 48 hours. At this time, the eggs have already hardened a little and are less likely to break.

Place a damp cloth or a paper towel at the bottom of the incubator and make sure to close it with a lid. You can punch some small holes or open the container once a day. It is mainly up to you.