Do Mystery Snail Eggs Need To Be In Water?

Disclosure: When you purchase something through my affiliate links, I earn a small commission. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

I remember how nervous I got when I found my mystery snail eggs underwater. At this point, I wasn’t sure if that was a natural thing or if the eggs would die. Fortunately, over the years, I gained a lot of experience on this topic.

Mystery snail eggs shouldn’t be underwater; otherwise, the embryos will suffocate. Even though their adult counterparts have gills and lungs, they cannot extract oxygen from the water. Therefore, the eggs will likely drown within 24 hours.

As we move forward, I will discuss whether the eggs can survive underwater and what steps you should take if you find them at the bottom of your tank.

Fertilized mystery snail eggs on their 2nd week.

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

Do Mystery Snail Eggs Need To Be In Water?

Mystery snails are called freshwater snails. However, they don’t lay eggs in the water. They attach the clutch to a hard surface above the waterline for a good reason.

Several factors can influence the outcome of a mystery snail’s breeding endeavors, including the following:

  • Instinct

You don’t have to create a humid space for snails to breed. They know their eggs must remain moist during gestation, and you can trust them to identify a sufficiently damp location to lay the eggs.

  • Lights

Snails are smart enough to lay their eggs above the waterline. However, they need damp conditions, and the lights can cause the clutch to dry out. You should turn the lights off if you notice signs of drying.

  • Lid

A lid is a beneficial tool because it causes condensation, which, in turn, creates warm and moist conditions above the waterline. You couldn’t ask for a more conducive environment for mystery snail eggs.

  • Misting

Even though mystery snails are smart enough to lay eggs in moist locations, you can increase their chances of surviving and hatching by misting the clutch every so often.

That is especially true if you have bright artificial lights and high ambient temperatures. You can also add an air stone under the eggs. 

As you can see, the goal in each case is to keep the eggs moist or damp, but not wet. Mystery snail eggs cannot survive complete immersion. 

Mystery snails have gills (as well as lungs), but they don’t extract oxygen from the water.[1] Their embryos are no different. If a clutch becomes submerged, the embryos will drown.

Why Do Mystery Snail Eggs Fall Into The Water?

No one would blame you for panicking. If you submerge mystery snail eggs in water, they will suffocate. You can’t expect the developing embryos to survive when they don’t have access to sufficient oxygen. 

Mystery snail eggs can fall into the water for any number of reasons, including:

1. The Waterline Is Too High

How much room do you have between the waterline and the top of the tank? You need at least an inch and a half of space.[2] Otherwise, don’t be surprised if the clutch falls into the water. 

2. The Clutch Is Heavy

Mystery snails lay eggs in clusters in which the eggs are stuck together. This makes immersion a strong possibility because moisture makes the clutch heavy. 

Gravity is more likely to pull the eggs down within the first 24 hours before they harden properly.[3]

This mystery snail eggs clutch fell into the water two days after the picture was taken.

3. The Parents Are To Blame

The female snail may knock the eggs off their surface by accident shortly after laying them. This doesn’t happen all the time, but it is a distinct possibility. Some mothers will knock one cluster down to make room for another. 

4. You Accidently Knocked The Eggs Down

You may knock the clutch down while reaching into the aquarium. Aquariums require a lot of attention. 

You may dislodge the cluster as you change the water, siphon the substrate, inspect the heater, and more. However, you shouldn’t be hard on yourself.

One study looking at Pomacea canaliculata found that hatching rates fell to 5.8 percent in response to water spraying and submersion.[4]

These results were encouraging because this particular species is invasive, and the study was looking for ways of controlling egg hatching. 

Another study that investigated the effects of immersion on hatching rates in golden apple snails found that hatching success fell by a whopping 75 percent because of water immersion.[5]

This sounds like bad news for people whose eggs have fallen in the water. However, those studies clearly state that hatching success reduces drastically when snail eggs are immersed in water. 

They don’t rule out hatching altogether among submerged mystery snail eggs. It’s just that their chances of hatching successfully have reduced. 

The key is to act quickly. If you leave the eggs under water for too long, the embryos will suffocate.

What To Do If My Mystery Snail Eggs Fell Into The Water?

If you have fish in the tank, they may also eat the eggs. Depending on how long you wait, the cluster may fall apart, with the eggs separating from the clutch.

But if you reach the eggs before the worst comes to pass, you can save most, if not all, the eggs. Naturally, you can’t re-attach the clutch. That is no longer an option.

Start by wrapping the cluster in a paper towel. You don’t have to dry them. Yes, the clutch should be damp, not wet. But any attempt you make to dry the eggs will harm them.

Leave them alone and prepare their new home. Any clean container will do. Place a damp paper towel at the bottom. Again, the towel should be damp, not wet.

Place the eggs on the towel and close the lid. Some people will place a second (slightly damp) towel on the eggs to prevent drying.

Under normal circumstances, the eggs should hatch without incident. You don’t have to follow this exact procedure. Ultimately, if you leave the eggs alone in a moist environment, they will hatch.

Some people use sponges like the ones you find in filters. They place the sponge in a dish and add water until half the sponge is submerged. 

Then they position the clutch on the sponge before floating the dish in the aquarium. Basically, you are free to experiment with any procedure that fits your situation. 

It has become commonplace for aquarists to incubate mystery snail eggs in separate containers because they expect the clusters to fall in the water. 

Their paranoia makes sense. Aquariums are moist places. You cannot expect a clutch to maintain its hold on the tank walls every single time. 

The water will eventually erode the sticky slime, allowing gravity to pull the clutch down. You can avoid this outcome by moving the eggs to a hatchery ahead of time. 

But you cannot move the eggs within the first 24 hours. They are too soft and delicate, and attempting to tamper with the eggs will probably harm them.

Give the clutch 48 hours for the eggs to harden, and then you can move it without killing the snail’s offspring. 

Once the eggs arrive at their final destination, you don’t have to do much to increase their chances of hatching beyond keeping them moist. 

How Long Can Mystery Snail Eggs Be Underwater?

Unfortunately, there is not much data on this topic. But we can derive conclusions from what we know about grown-up aquarium snails. As many sources argue, aquarium snails typically drown in less than 24 hours.[6] 

Considering that their offspring don’t have fully developed organs, it will be logical to assume that they will die faster than that.

Either way, if you wish to hatch the eggs, follow the steps above. At this point, you have nothing to lose.

How Can I Keep The Eggs From Falling Again?

As I previously discussed, mystery snails can lay eggs every couple of weeks during a spawning season, typically lasting for 4 to 5 months.

Therefore, if you just had a clutch that fell into the water, it is very likely that you’ll have another one that goes through the same thing.

Also, as I mentioned earlier, you should wait 48 hours before moving the eggs, as they are too soft and delicate for a transfer during the first two days.

Mystery snail eggs have four different growth stages, but for now, know that after two days, the shell is hard enough for the clutch to be moved to an incubator.

That still leaves you with 48 hours in which the eggs can fall into the water. I suggest installing a net between the clutch and the water line to prevent it.

Then, even if the eggs fall at night, they won’t get submerged. After two days, you can use that net to create a cradle, as in this video:

If you found this article helpful, these may also interest you:


As mystery snails live underwater, it is natural to think that their eggs should be submerged. Unfortunately, the eggs cannot survive underwater; if you found them there, the embryos might have suffocated.

Mystery snails cannot extract oxygen from the water, and the same goes for their offspring. That is why the parents lay the eggs above the waterline.

If you found the eggs submerged, take them out and put them in an incubator. The key is to keep a moist environment. If the babies haven’t drowned, they will probably hatch within a few weeks.