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Will Fish Eat Mystery Snail Eggs?

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Mystery snails can become a nuisance, especially when they lay eggs and proliferate rapidly. When I first had to deal with this issue, I wondered if I could use these eggs to feed my fish. And frankly, I’m glad that I’ve asked.

Being opportunistic feeders, aquarium fish will eat whatever fits in their mouths, including mystery snail eggs. As they are highly nutritious, some aquarists go the extra mile and raise those eggs for the single purpose of feeding their fish.

As we move forward, I will cover all the different aspects of mystery snail eggs and their role in fish’s diet. Then, I will discuss whether other creatures can eat those eggs, including the adult snails themselves.

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

Will Fish Eat Mystery Snail Eggs?

Snails have a complex relationship with fish. If you’ve never reared the two species in the same aquarium, you should keep a few things in mind.

First, fish are a direct threat to mystery snail eggs, but you can’t blame their temperament.

Some people think they can protect their eggs by introducing friendly fish species. Unfortunately, those friendly fish are just as dangerous to mystery snail eggs as any other variety of fish. 

Fish are opportunistic feeders that eat whatever fits in their mouths, and mystery snail eggs can fit in a fish’s mouth. 

Therefore, you can trust the fish in your aquarium to eat whatever eggs it encounters. 

Mystery snails lay their clutches above the waterline because the embryos would drown if you submerged the eggs. But a cluster’s presence above the waterline doesn’t protect the eggs from the fish.

Keep in mind that mystery snails have to make do with the three or four inches between the waterline and the lid. The distance between the water and a clutch of eggs is not quite as significant as some people think.

An author from Michigan State University (Kellogg Biological Station and Department of Zoology) explored the behavior of snails in response to predators.[1]

The study found that snails in water bodies with predators sought out covered locations to escape the attention of aggressive fish. 

Unfortunately, mystery snails in home aquariums don’t have that luxury because they have to lay their eggs above the waterline. While the female snails can take cover behind plants and decorations, the eggs are usually exposed.

Can Some Eggs Hatch With Predatory Fish?

The presence of predators can negatively influence a mystery snail’s egg-laying behavior.

Additionally, some studies have revealed that the hatching success of submerged snail eggs falls by 99 percent once you add predators to the equation. Without predators, hatching success will only reduce by 75 percent.[2]

Keep in mind that mystery snail eggs cannot survive underwater. You can save the embryos if you quickly retrieve a submerged clutch of eggs, but only if you reach the eggs before the fish consume the cluster. 

Mystery snail eggs are more vulnerable to fish than their nerite counterparts. Mystery snail eggs have one primary disadvantage. They are stuck together in a cluster, which makes them an easy target for predators.

Nerite snail eggs are the opposite. They are scattered all over the tank. The fish would have to search the substrate, driftwood, plants, and decorations to find them all. 

The conditions in the tank matter. For instance, each fish species requires a specific pH, temperature, and hardness to thrive.

The wrong conditions will agitate the creatures, and agitated fish are more likely to eat your snail eggs.

On the other hand, happy fish in a well-maintained tank will mind their business. Naturally, this is not a guarantee. However, happy fish are more likely to behave.

Food is another important consideration. If fish are hungry, they will eat whatever they can find, including plants, other aquatic creatures, and snail eggs. You can’t blame them for this behavior. They will do whatever it takes to survive.

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

Will Mystery Snails Eat Their Own Eggs?

Fish are not your only concern, as cannibalism is not a new occurrence among snails. In other words, snails can eat their own eggs.

A study from Texas Tech University (Department of Natural Resources Management) determined that Melanoides tuberculate was capable of preying on the eggs of other snails.[3]

Although, the study also concluded that the creature was more likely to ingest the eggs of other snails by accident.

Don’t be so quick to blame the loss of your mystery snail eggs on the fish. Snails are just as dangerous to mystery snail eggs as fish.

However, among the different snail species, mystery snails are less known for cannibalism. But you cannot rule out this option entirely.

How Can I Prevent The Eggs From Being Eaten?

The best way to protect mystery snail eggs is to place them in a separate hatchery. Get a container and place a damp towel at the bottom. Place the snail eggs on the towel and close the lid.

The only thing mystery snail eggs require to hatch successfully is a warm and moist environment. 

Some people will float the container on the surface of the community aquarium, but this isn’t necessary.

Nevertheless, if you’re growing the eggs in a container, make sure to use a lid. That will prevent evaporation and maintain a damp environment.

Once a day, open the lid to allow airflow. That is essential as mystery snail eggs need oxygen to survive. You can punch a few holes in it, but then the eggs might dry out more quickly.

If you wish to keep the eggs in the main tank, make sure to lower the water level. Keep the eggs 3 to 4 inches from the waterline.

Some fish can jump out of the water to catch the eggs. However, it becomes less likely if the eggs are far away from the surface.

An excellent video showing how to grow mystery snail eggs in an incubator.

How To Feed Fish With Mystery Snail Eggs

Some people want the fish to eat their mystery snail eggs. Either they don’t want mystery snails, or they have too many snails, and they can’t afford to introduce more. 

You need 2 ½ gallons of water for every snail.[4]  Overcrowding won’t make the creatures happy. After all, they are pretty messy. 

Eventually, a rapidly expanding mystery snail population will overwhelm your aquarium’s filtration and aeration systems.

For that reason, some aquarists will feed the snail eggs to their fish. Many fish species appreciate protein-rich foods, and snail eggs are an easy meal to procure.

You need both genders to generate viable eggs. But even in the absence of a male fish, the female can lay eggs. She can add hundreds of eggs to your tank’s aquatic environment each year.

Admittedly, those eggs are unfertilized and cannot hatch, and usually, you would throw them away. But if you have hungry fish, don’t hesitate to enrich their diet with mystery snail eggs.

Some people want to use fish to control their mystery snail population. But you can’t add new fish to the tank for the express purpose of eliminating the mystery snail eggs.

This step will burden you with more creatures that require your care. If you have unwanted mystery snail eggs, throw them away.

On the other hand, if you want to add new fish to a new aquarium, prioritize species that are more likely to eat the snail eggs.

They include Yoyo loaches, Gourami, Bala sharks, Cory catfish, Goldfish, and the like. Look for species that can tolerate the conditions you already have in the tank.

Avoid fish that need challenging parameters, complex diets, and unique maintenance routines.

Pro tip: There are many ways to get rid of mystery snail eggs, and some can be very beneficial for your fish. You can read all about it here.

Can Mystery Snails Eat Fish Eggs?

Most newcomers categorize fish as a threat to snails and their eggs. They pay little attention to the danger snails pose to fish for a good reason. 

Mystery snails are not a direct threat to young or adult fish, regardless of their size. However, mystery snails will eat fish eggs, and in doing so, they can debilitate your fish’s attempts to multiply.[5]

That usually happens in tanks with a large population of mystery snails, typically a few dozen. You can find them eating the eggs of species like Angelfish, Bettas, Plecos, Goldfish, Oscars, Gouramis, etc.

A dedicated angelfish, guarding its eggs.

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If you wish to get rid of your mystery snail eggs, aquarium fish are an excellent solution. Being opportunistic eaters, they won’t hesitate to eat those eggs. They just need to fit in their mouths.

Therefore, if you want to raise those eggs, it is best to move them into a separate hatchery. All you need is a plastic box and a damp paper towel.

Mystery snail eggs can also be eaten by the snails themselves. However, mystery snails are less known for cannibalism compared to other types of snails.