4 Ways To Fix Mystery Snail Shell Problems (& What’s Causing Them)

Last Updated on 2023-11-28

Mystery snails have a protective shell that defends them from predators and harsh conditions. However, aquarium snails may suffer from shell issues, leading to their separation. It’s crucial to address the problem immediately to avoid further damage.

We’ll talk about what causes a mystery snail’s shell to break down and how to fix it. You will also learn how to keep snail shells healthy.

Table of Contents

Key Takeaways:

  • Mystery snails’ shells can face issues like deterioration, peeling, chipping, thinning, and discoloration.
  • Common causes include acidic water, low calcium, injuries, optical illusions, lack of food, and low temperatures.
  • Addressing shell problemsis crucial for the overall health of mystery snails.
  • Remedies include improving tank conditions, providing calcium-rich food, choosing appropriate tankmates, and maintaining proper water parameters.
  • Reasons for a snail hanging out of its shell include illness, predator attacks, mantle damage, and optical illusions.

Why Is My Mystery Snails Shell Deteriorating?

Your mystery snail may be suffering from mystery snail shell deterioration if you find any abnormalities on its shell. Snail distress is indicated by a deteriorating shell. Multiple factors might cause a mystery snail’s shell to break or turn white. Let’s look at the common causes.

Acidic WaterSlow dissolution of the snail’s shell due to acidic water, affecting shell strength and reproductive capacity.
Low CalciumLack of calcium leading to shell degradation and cracking.
Injuries or EventsAccidents, escapes, or injuries causing broken shells.
Optical IllusionsIllusions making the shell appear cracked due to factors like water clarity or lighting.
Lack of Food and Low TemperaturesInsufficient food and dropping temperatures compromising shell development.

Water That Is Acidic

It may take some time before the effects of acidic water, which dissolves the snail’s shell at a slow rate before it becomes noticeable. The consequences of weakened shells for the mystery snails are a cause for concern.

The snails’ shells deteriorating indicates that they may be in an acidic environment, which could affect their capacity to reproduce and fight off disease.

Low in Calcium

Diets high in calcium are essential for young mystery snails. Due to a lack of calcium, the shells of the mystery snails degrade and eventually crack. Snails that get too much calcium may have cracked shells due to the uneven growth of their shells, according to some aquarists.

Events Occurring That Caused Harm Or Injury

It is most likely that aquarium snails will escape if their enclosure is left open. As a result, they are more likely to experience accidents that result in broken shells. Then they start drying out and may even die from a fall

Sometimes, It’s Only an Optical Illusion

The deterioration could just be an illusion. Some snails, for instance, have lines on their shells that can appear to be cracking from certain perspectives. It’s possible that factors like water clarity or lighting could make it seem like the shell’s color has changed.

The light might be deceiving you. Take the snail out of the aquarium and examine it under natural light or LED light to see if there are lines or fading on the shell.

Lack of Food and Lower Temperatures

When temperatures drop and food supplies are inadequate, the development line of the shell can become compromised.

mystery snail shell

How To Fix Mystery Snails’ Shell Deterioration

The mystery snail’s shell is extremely important to its overall health, therefore, any signs of damage need to be addressed immediately. Here are a few options:

Work on Improving the Tank’s Condition

Ideally, the pH of the water in your tank for freshwater snails should be between 7.5 and 8.5. The same settings are ideal for shell development, too. The ideal range of temperatures is between 20 and 28 degrees Celsius (68 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit). A teaspoon of baking soda added to the water will increase the water’s pH. Get a pH measuring kit and a thermometer, too.

Give Your Snails Some Calcium

When it comes to maintaining strong shells, calcium is a must for snails. To determine the calcium content of snails, you will need a calcium test kit. The most frequent method of boosting calcium levels in the aquarium is by adding cuttlebone. The cuttlebone, used as a calcium supplement, may be purchased at most pet stores that specialize in fish.

Choose the Best Tankmates

Mystery snails, despite being docile and calm, shouldn’t share a tank with large fish due to the risk of accidental injury to the snails. Shrimp, guppies, and corydoras are the best tank mates for snails.

Give the Snail the Right Food

Snails need calcium in their food just as much as they need it in their water. Use kales and cucumbers as a diet for your snails. The calcium-rich tank algae is another source of nutrition for them. The more of the mineral you provide them with, the faster their shells will heal.

Why Is My Mystery Snail Hanging Out Of Shell?

The shell is essential to the survival of a mystery snail. In addition, a mystery snail would never risk leaving its shell. Possible reasons for your snail’s unexpected emergence from its shell include:

Your Snail Is Sick and Dying

A snail may abandon its shell when it is about to die. When a snail dies, it decays. The creature’s size reduces to the point that it can no longer fit inside the shell and it falls out.

Predators Attacked the Snail

They can be dragged out of their shell or have it smashed if attacked by a larger creature.

Mantle Damage

There have been reports of snails wandering around in aquariums with their shells dragging behind them. This is possible if the mantle and the shell are no longer together. If the mantle is damaged, it can rip or even collapse. An infection or sickness could also weaken the ligaments connecting the mantle to the shell.

Others will insist that you double-check the snail’s condition before writing it off as dead. But if the snail has shed its shell, it is irrelevant whether it is living or dead. Even if the creature is still alive, it will eventually die.

Why Is My Mystery Snail Shell Peeling?

A mystery snail’s shell can reveal a lot about the animal’s health and the conditions in which it has been living. An even and sturdy shell is a sign of a healthy mystery snail, while damage, peeling, or holes indicate illness. 

The following are some potential reasons for mystery snail shell peeling or cracking:

Acidic Water

Acidic water is not good for freshwater snails because it eats away at their shells, making them weak and easy prey. Mystery snails prefer water with a hardness of between 150 and 300 ppm and a pH of 6.5 to 7.5 in their aquariums.

Calcium Deficiency

Calcium is essential for human bone and tooth health, and the same is true for the mystery snail’s shell. The shell of a Mystery snail is composed of 95% calcium carbonate and 5% protein. Inadequate calcium levels cause the shell to be fragile and peel off.

Tank Mates Attack

Predators and other dangerous creatures can easily kill a mystery snail because of its lack of aggression. If its shell starts to crack, it may be the victim of aggressive tank mates. It is important that you pay attention and remove the hostile tank mates to a new tank.


Mystery snails are notorious for trying to escape their tanks by scaling the glass and other smooth surfaces. Even if their exploration requires them to do this, it’s extremely risky because a fall could shatter their shells.

Why Is My Mystery Snail’s Shell Rotting?

Mystery snails are relatively small, freshwater snails that live in cool, shallow bodies of water such as ponds and lakes. They get their name from the fact that they have a “mysterious” shell: one side is hard and shiny like a mirror, while the other is pale or off-white – but not without character.

However, mystery snail shells are susceptible to rotting or decay. A few reasons why this may occur include:

  • Poor water quality: If the water in your aquarium is not properly filtered and maintained, harmful bacteria can build up and affect the health of both your mystery snails and other tank inhabitants.
  • Overcrowding: Mystery snails are social creatures who enjoy company, but if you have too many in your aquarium, they may crowd each other out, resulting in competition for resources such as food and hiding places. This can lead to stress-related issues like shell rot.
  • Improper food: Mystery snails are herbivores, so they should be fed plant-based foods like algae wafers and spinach. Keep in mind that overfeeding your mystery snail is a common cause of rotting shells – if you feed them too much, their waste can release ammonia which will foul the water quality and damage your shell.
  • Poor water circulation: Water flow is crucial to keep your aquarium healthy – it’s what circulates oxygen, nutrients, and food throughout the tank. Not only will bad circulation lead to poor water quality, but it can also prevent mystery snails from getting enough oxygen through their fleshy siphons.

There are a few factors that can lead to rotting mystery snail shells. If your snail’s shell is rotting, make sure you’re feeding them properly and maintaining good water quality. You may also need to reduce the number of mystery snails in your tank or move them to an aquarium with better flow circulation. By following these tips, you can ensure that your mystery snails stay happy and healthy, inside and out.

Why Is My Mystery Snail Not Coming Out Of His Shell?

Retreating into their shells is a common behavior for Mystery Snails. Even rarer is the occurrence in which they remain in the building and refuse to leave for whatever reason(s) they may have. Reasons your Mystery snail might be hiding in its shell and refusing to come out are listed below.

The Snail Is a New Addition to the Tank and Will Require Some Time to Acclimate

In most cases, this is why a mystery snail won’t emerge from its shell. As a result of their heightened sensitivity, snails may require additional adjustment time when introduced to a new environment. A period of adaptation is necessary for snails to thrive in their new surroundings.

The Snail Is Trying to Stay Safe

Snails may retreat behind their shells if they sense an aggressive fish in the tank, though this is less common. In this case, waiting isn’t going to help much. You’ll need to create a strategy like building a safe haven for the snail to go to when it feels threatened.

The Snail Doesn’t Feel Good in Its Environment

If the temperature of the water in your snail’s tank is too high or too low, or if there are sharp edges that could cut the snail’s foot, all of these things could make your snail uncomfortable. Snails are more likely to stay dormant for longer periods of time when the water around them is cooler.

The Snail Is Either Hurt or Sick

A snail may hide inside its shell if it is ill or injured. While snails have a reputation for being hardy, even they can suffer injuries. In fact, broken shells, smashed feet, and torn tentacles are the most prevalent types of injuries.

A Snail Is Sleeping

It’s important to remember that snails, like all animals, require sleep. A snail may be dozing off occasionally. This can happen if they are stuck to the glass in one place and don’t move for a long time. It can also happen if they are just lying on the substrate closed up.

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Why Is My Mystery Snail’s Shell Changing Color?

If your mystery snail suddenly changes color, you should be worried about its health or the state of its tank. The following are the most likely causes of your mystery snail’s sudden whiteness or other unwelcome color change:

The Mystery Snail is Sick

A mystery snail in good health is one that is lively, feeds well, and has a thick shell with an even coloration. However, when a snail is sick, its shell loses strength, begins to peel, sometimes cracks, and sometimes even turns white.

Insufficiency of Calcium

The importance of calcium in the growth and maintenance of mystery snail shells should be common knowledge among aquarists. In addition, calcium aids in the regeneration of broken or damaged shells. Adult snails lose calcium through their shells, becoming thinner and whiter, and infant snails might perish as a result.

Low PH in water

Mystery snails prefer hard water, hence the presence of more acid in soft water is hazardous. The shell will become weakened by the acid and turn white. Embryonic deformities can also be brought on by exposure to acidic water.

CO2 and Potassium Levels Are High

The combination of high concentrations of potassium and carbon dioxide will dissolve the shell and cause it to become white. Their high amounts will also prevent calcium from being absorbed.

Exposure to Copper

Considering that copper is deadly to invertebrates, it is safe to assume that any snails exposed to it will perish. If your mystery snail stops moving and its shell starts to change colors, you should be worried. Snails that drink water containing even a small amount of copper will become ill, their shells will turn white, and eventually, they will die.

Putting Mystery Snails in the Sun

Getting them out in the sun may damage their shells, which will become white as a result. But darkness will have an effect on them as well. You should provide them with an appropriate amount of safe lighting.

Algae Growing on Your Mystery Snail’s Shell

Most snails can move around with algae growing on their shells, so it’s not a problem. Young snails will even climb on the backs of older snails to feed on the algae. White and red coralline algae can grow on a snail’s back. Before stressing out about a white snail, examine if it’s algae or the shell.

Check out this video by Lav’s snails on how to fix a broken mystery snail shell.

Why Is My Mystery Snail Growing a New Shell?

The mystery snail grows a new shell when it is ready to molt or shed its outer covering. Molting usually happens every few months, but the time in between molts can vary. You won’t notice any changes with your snail while it is in the process of forming a new shell and preparing to molt, which can take up to two weeks.

The new shell will start out very small and fragile, so the snail stays hidden in its cave-like shell while it is growing. At this time, you may notice your mystery snail has a white spot on its head or tail. This is normal and part of the molting process–it’s simply an extension of the skin, which will eventually fall off.

Why Is My Snail’s Shell Chipping?

Snail’s shells are naturally made of a hard material, and they can withstand the elements of both water and dryness. However, over time, some of these shells may start to chip due to different reasons. These reasons include:

Improper Handling

If your snail is handled without proper care and technique, it can lead to shell chipping. When you try to pick up a snail, you should always handle it gently, taking special precautions not to touch its spiral part or shell opening. Doing so can cause damage to the snail’s shell and body easily if you aren’t careful.

Poor Environment

If your pet isn’t getting enough water, its shell will become brittle and begin to break down. You can easily remedy this issue by making sure that your snail has access to fresh water at all times, and ensuring that their water is changed completely every week.

Nutritional Deficiencies

Another reason why your snail’s shell may be chipping is due to nutritional deficiencies. Your snails need a balance of nutrients in order to grow healthy bodies and shells, so if one or more of their necessary minerals isn’t being absorbed properly, this can lead to a weaker shell that is more prone to chipping.

Too Much Calcium in the Snail’s Diet

Snails need tons of calcium to build and maintain a hard shell, but if they are getting too much at once, it can result in problems with their shell.

Why Is My Mystery Snail’s Shell Thinning?

One of the first things you might have noticed with a Mystery Snail is that its shell is thinning. You might wonder if it needs to be taken out for replacement or if there’s something causing this sudden change. To help you determine what may be causing the thinning, here are some reasons why it could be happening:


This can occur if there is not enough moisture in the tank or pond environment or if water evaporates from around the snail too quickly due to heat from lamps or other sources of heat. Dehydration can also occur if a snail is exposed to salt, as salt can cause an animal to lose water.


Mystery snails are grazers; they eat algae and other bits of plant material from their environment. If there is not enough food available in their tank or pond, they may not be able to get the nutrients they need to grow. They might also eat too quickly and then not have enough time to digest the food properly, resulting in malnutrition.


If it feels threatened or is subjected to environmental conditions such as high temperature, low oxygen levels, or sudden movement in its environment, it may not be able to grow at a normal rate. As with malnourishment, a stressed snail may not have sufficient time to digest its food properly, which can also lead to shell thinning.

Too Much Calcium in the Tank Environment

If there is too much calcium in the water or other surrounding area, it can interfere with the snail’s ability to deposit enough of it in its shell to give it proper thickness. 

How To Improve Mystery Snail Shell Growth

Mystery snails are a popular freshwater aquarium snail. They are known for their attractive shells and interesting behavior. If you want your mystery snail to grow a healthy, beautiful shell, there are several things you can do to help promote shell growth.

Almost all of a snail’s shell is made of calcium carbonate. Because of this, calcium must be present in the diet of every snail to keep the shell healthy.Here are a couple of the simplest ways to ensure the snails get enough calcium:

From the Food

Foods high in calcium, like kale, soybeans, leaf lettuce, and zucchini, are great for this purpose since they strengthen the shell. You can keep vegetables fresh for up to 48 hours if you blanch them first.

In the Water

Making sure there’s adequate calcium in the water can be a challenge. However, it remains one of the greatest sources of calcium and minerals for captive mystery snails. To keep the water’s pH stable and calcium content high, water mineralization is the best option. It can be done by adding shells and bones to the tank.

  • Chicken Eggshells. The calcium carbonate content of chicken eggshells is nearly perfect for the mineralization procedure. The only preparation required is boiling the eggshells.
  • Cuttlebones. Adding cuttlebones to the water is a great idea because it provides a good amount of calcium. They can be bought pre-made and thrown directly into a water tank. There are two kinds of cuttlefish bones, so make sure you get the one with calcium carbonate.

Why Is My Mystery Snail’s Shell Empty?

The empty shell of a mystery snail can be a puzzling and alarming sight. While it may seem like your mystery snail has died, there are actually several possible explanations for this phenomenon.

  • One possibility is that your mystery snail has molted in order to grow larger or shed its old shell. Molting is a normal process that many types of aquatic snails and other animals go through as they develop. During the molting process, your mystery snail’s soft body will gradually expand, pushing its old shell outward until it cracks and breaks away.
  • Another possible explanation is that your mystery snail was eaten by another animal in your tank. If there are enough predators present in your aquarium, they may have discovered your snail’s soft body and eaten it, leaving just the empty shell behind.

Why Is My Mystery Snail’s Shell Turning White?

There are numerous causes for the whitened shell of a snail. At once, we turn to a check of the water’s quality and, more particularly, its pH level, to make sure it isn’t excessively acidic. The range of possible outcomes is wide. Here are 8 reasons why:

A Decline in Health

Snails in bad health will have shells that reflect that. The shell will deteriorate or turn white if your snail isn’t getting enough food or if the water quality is poor.

Getting Older

In old age, many snails acquire a white coloration. It’s possible that the shell is wearing away or shrinking. Depending on the species and the tank conditions, the average lifespan is one year, although some can survive up to three years.

There Isn’t Enough Lighting

Direct sunlight can have negative effects on the ecology, algae blooms, and the health of our aquatic life, so we aim to keep our tanks shaded as much as possible. However, shaded aquariums reduce vitamin D3 absorption, which in turn causes your snail’s shell to fade.

Insufficiency in Calcium

Lack of calcium is the most widely accepted explanation for why snail shells turn white. The shell’s color, strength, and health all originate from calcium’s role in its development and upkeep. As their shells are still developing, baby snails rely more heavily on calcium to prevent erosion and whiten.

The pH Level Is Too Low

A shell’s protective coating can be eaten away or discolored by soft water. The best way to avoid this from happening is to keep the pH level where it should be, between 7.0 and 8.0.

Exceptionally High Concentrations of Carbon Dioxide and Potassium

Your snail won’t be able to benefit from the calcium in the water if the potassium and carbon dioxide levels are too high. Even if you try harder to get more calcium through your diet, you might not see any results in terms of stronger shells.

Coralline Algae

A white crust of coralline algae may form on your snail’s shell. Maybe the snail hasn’t turned a different shade yet. On the contrary, it’s possible that the crusty algae growth on the shell is what you’re seeing.

Copper Contamination

Copper is found in many common sources, including plumbing, medicine, and even rocks. It can cause the snail’s shell to lighten in color. If you think copper may be in your water pipes, you should filter the tap water before you change the water.

Why Is My Mystery Snail’s Shell Turning Brown?

If you notice that your mystery snail’s shell is turning brown, it is important to take action right away. 


Mystery snails are very sensitive to changes in water quality and temperature, so even small fluctuations can cause them stress. If your snail’s shell is browning, check the water parameters in your tank and make sure they are within the ideal range.

Calcium Deficiency

Browning of the shell can also be a sign of a nutritional deficiency, so make sure your mystery snail is getting enough calcium in its diet.

Why Is My Mystery Snail’s Shell Turning Black?

Black mystery snails are just one of many possible shell hues. If your snails were once a different color but have recently become black, one of the following may be to blame:

Your Snail Just Reached Adulthood

Snails frequently undergo a metamorphic shift in appearance as they mature. When they initially emerge from their eggs, they are mostly colorless. You might detect certain shadings during the next few days. You can’t tell for sure what color a snail will be until it reaches adulthood.

Black Beard Algae

The black beard algae in your aquarium will stick to any smooth surface. Everything from the walls and filters to the rocks and pots to the pots and even the snail shells. Once it begins to cover the creature’s shell, however, it may give the impression that the organism has suddenly turned black.

Bruises and Stains

Snail shells, like the rest of the tank’s hard surfaces, are susceptible to discoloration and injury. A snail’s shell could turn darker after being bruised by a harsh instrument.

Not Enough Water Quality

A shell’s color can fade if tank conditions aren’t ideal. However, the reaction of a snail to subpar tank conditions is not always predictable. Tank discoloration is a common sign of neglect.

Why Is My Mystery Snail’s Shell Turning Green?

As any aquarium enthusiast knows, mystery snails are a popular choice for freshwater tanks. Thanks to their striking shells and easy care requirements, these snails are a favorite among fishkeepers of all levels of experience. However, some mystery snail owners may notice that their snail’s shell is starting to turn green. While this change in color can be alarming, it is actually quite common and is nothing to be concerned about. Here are few reasons why:

Algae Growth

In most cases, the green tint is caused by algae growth and can be easily removed with a soft toothbrush. If the green tint persists, it may be caused by a change in diet or water quality. However, as long as the snail appears healthy and active, there is no cause for concern. So, if you notice your mystery snail’s shell turning green, don’t panic! In all likelihood, it is just a harmless case of algae growth.

Copper Exposure

Copper is commonly found in tap water and can be toxic to snails. If you think your snail’s shell is turning green because of copper exposure, you can try changing the water or adding a water filter.

Why Is Mystery Snail Shell Discoloring?

Lack of Calcium in Their Diet

Calcium is important for maintaining a healthy shell and without enough of it, the shell can become thin and weak or even start to dissolve. If you suspect that your mystery snail’s diet is lacking in calcium, consider supplementing their food with a calcium-rich product or giving them access to a calcium-rich environment, such as a snail-safe plant or piece of coral.

Infection or Disease

If your mystery snail’s shell is discolored and they are also displaying other signs of illness, such as lethargy, loss of appetite, or abnormal feces, then it’s important to take them to a vet for a check-up and possible treatment.


If your mystery snail is living in an environment that is too hot or too cold, has poor water quality, or is otherwise stressful, this can cause their shell to change color. If you think stress may be the cause of your mystery snail’s shell discoloration, try to create a more ideal environment for them and see if their shell color improves.

Lack of Clean Water

If you notice that your snail’s shell is starting to change color, check the water in your tank to see if it looks cloudy or dirty. Dirty water can be caused by a buildup of waste and may not have enough oxygen in it for your snails. It is important that you clean out your tank regularly and perform regular water changes so that this doesn’t become the cause of your snail’s problems.

Tank Temperature Is Too Hot or Too Cold

This can cause the shells to become pale and discolored, which can be dangerous if it becomes worse over time as this could impact their health. The ideal temperature for your Mystery Snail’s tank is around 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit, so if you notice that the temperature has changed drastically, it may be impacting their shell growth and causing this discoloration to occur.

Shell discoloration is usually not a serious problem, but it can be a sign of an underlying health issue. If you notice that your mystery snail’s shell is discoloring, be sure to observe them closely for other signs of illness and consider taking them to a vet if necessary.

Can A Mystery Snail Heal Its Shell?

The extent of the shell damage is a factor. If the damage was very minor. If the crack or hole is particularly large, the snail may attempt to heal it using a piece of its shell. 

It does this by calcifying its skin, which significantly increases its resistance to environmental factors. On the other hand, severe damage is fatal and won’t heal, so the snail will die.

How Do You Repair A Mystery Snail’s Shell?

Eventually, if the crack or hole in a mystery snail’s shell is small enough, the snail will be able to fix it. To speed up the process and increase the hardness, you can add oyster shells, crushed coral pebbles, and cuttlebones. However, if an infection has already spread, a severe wound may not recover.

So if the conditions are right and the snail doesn’t get hurt anymore, the cracks will heal. However, you should be aware that while shells can recover from damage, this doesn’t always mean they’ll look the same again.

As a result of past injuries, the shells of some mystery snails will always appear fractured. Once their internal structure is sealed, though, your concern should subside. Still, you can fix those cracks if you want to.


Do Snails Survive with Broken Shell?

So long as the damage isn’t too severe, snails can make it. Why? It’s all thanks to their incredible capacity for self-repair. Snails are characterized by their unique ability to regenerate a shell to replace a damaged one.


The shell of the mystery snail is important for protection and for staying moist. There’s no way for the snail to make it without it. Deterioration of the mystery snail’s shell could have a number of causes. Water quality, temperature, and pH levels are major contributors to this problem.

However, shell decay can also be brought on by other factors, such as bacterial or fungal infections. If you suspect environmental factors are causing your mystery snail’s shell to deteriorate, you take prompt action because the snails’ survival is dependent on their shell.




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