Originally Posted by Russell
True mystery snails are not hermaphroditic and need a lowered water level to reproduce. They lay their eggs in bunches above the water line that can be easily removed or knocked in for fish to eat. However they are related to apple snails and many other snails that are outwardly indistinguishable. Some of these other species are hermaphroditic wil reproduce with themselves and lay eggs hidden underwater. Snails need an excess of nutrition to reproduce, the same as fattening up fish to encourage spawning. Also, they can reproduce nearly from hatching so that a large piece of fish food found by a small snail my be enough excess to encourage spawning. The best method of population control is to only purchase adult snails and don't let the process start. It takes alot of food for a large snail to have enough excess to reproduce and specimens with a footprint of one inch or more typically do not reproduce when kept as part of the clean-up crew. In the aquarium trade the gold and blue varieties seem to usually be true mystery snails while my own mistaken identity experience and snail nightmare stories I've heard tend to be about the black "mystery snails". Possibly the other similar species don't have as many color variants. I do not know for sure, the color correlation is strictly observation.
Thank you Russell. Maybe you could re-post this in the snail thread as well? Good information for people considering snails. I now have 1 Blue, 1 Gold, 3 Ivory, 2 black striped supposed Mystery Snails. I also have a few hitchhiker snails that came on my plants or fish poop or something. They showed up in my filter as well. The fell into the tank when I was startled by them (yup, I am afraid of snails) I have not seen them again so I am thinking maybe my Gourami or my Rainbow shark got to them, they were very small. I am getting over my "fear of snails" by watching them in fascination. They are not as gross as I thought. At least not the mystery snails. I guess part of my fear came from my mother picking slugs in the garden and my childhood fish tank being over run by snails.
Will snails eat normal fish food? Mine seem to skip over the food so I didn't think they ate that. I also add algae wafers and they don't seem to eat that. I honestly don't know how they are making it because there really isn't any algae to speak of in my tank. I have even been leaving the lights on a little longer trying to get some algae growth for them and my Oto's.