7 Reasons Your Mystery Snail Is Floating (& What To Do)

Last Updated on 2023-10-18

Mysterious snails are a type of aquatic snail that is often kept as a pet. They are known for their scavenging habits and their ability to help keep tanks clean. However, mystery snails are also known for their occasional floating habits. While this behavior is not harmful to the snail, it can be a bit of a mystery to tank owners.

In this article, we are going to go over a few possible reasons why your mystery snail is floating. We’ll also provide some tips on how to keep your mystery snail from floating in the future. So, read on!

Key Takeaways:

  • Floating behavior in mystery snails is usually normal and a result of their buoyancy, which is regulated by a ventilation system.
  • If a mystery snail doesn’t sink after floating for an extended period, it may indicate an issue with water quality or aeration in the tank.
  • There are several reasons why a mystery snail might float, including poor water conditions, trapped air in their lungs, hunting for protein film, copper poisoning, high-pressure filters, self-defense, and old age.
  • To address floating mystery snails, one can improve water conditions, remove trapped air, use a low-power filter, prevent copper poisoning, diversify their diet, introduce more snail companions, and add a small amount of salt to the water.
  • If a mystery snail continues to float despite intervention, it could be a sign of illness or water quality problems, and seeking expert advice is recommended.

Is It Normal For My Mystery Snail To Float?

Mystery snails are unique creatures that can make excellent pets. They are easy to care for and are very interesting to watch. One thing that mystery snail owners may notice is that their snails sometimes float to the surface of the tank. This behavior is perfectly normal and is simply a result of the snail’s buoyancy. 

Mystery snails have a ventilation system that allows them to regulate their buoyancy, and they will often float to the top of the tank when they need more air. However, if a mystery snail floats to the surface and doesn’t sink back down after a few minutes, it may be a sign that something is wrong.

In this case, it’s best to check the water quality and make sure that the tank is well-aerated. With proper care, mystery snails can thrive and provide their owners with years of happiness.

Why Is My Mystery Snail Floating At The Top Of The Tank?

If you woke up and saw your mystery snail on its back at the top of the aquarium, don’t worry. Different things can cause these mollusks to float, but they can be fixed pretty easily. Here are 7 reasons why your mystery snail is floating at the top of your tank.

1. Water Conditions Are Not Good Enough

Some new fish keepers might not know about Mystery snail water parameters, which can cause problems. Poor water quality can be caused by things like not changing the water often enough or having a water filter that doesn’t work well. And, if the water isn’t clean enough, mystery snails will float at the top of the tank.

2. Air Stuck in Lungs

Mystery snails are born with lungs and gills, which is a cool fact. This means that these tiny gastropods don’t have a hard time breathing underwater. If your mystery snail has air stuck in its lungs, this can make it float by making its lungs work like a float.

3. Protein Film Hunting

If you look closely at your aquarium, you might see a milky film on the water’s surface. This film is made when plant proteins and tiny food particles stick together, which can happen when the surface is not stirred up enough or when harmless bacteria are present. Mystery snails love to eat the protein film that swims around the tank, and they can even learn to float at the top of the tank to get to it.

4. Poisoned by Copper

Copper has been used for a long time to get rid of algae and parasites in both saltwater and freshwater systems. Copper is pretty useful, but it can also kill Mystery snails quickly. And one of the most common signs that a Mystery snail has been poisoned by copper is that it floats or hangs out of its shell without trying to stick to anything.

5. Filter With High Pressure

Mystery snails don’t need too much oxygen and don’t like too much water movement or high pressure. If your fish tank has a strong filter, it could be making your Mystery snail lose its balance and start floating. Also, the filter can make the pressure in the aquarium too high, which can make your mystery snail sick.

6. Self-Defense

When it’s tired and can’t climb or move like it usually does, a mystery snail can often float at the top of the tank. Some fishes usually go after the mystery snail’s long antennas, which look like worms and bite them off. This could make the mystery snail close its shell and float to protect itself from more attacks.

7. Old Age

A Mystery snail can live for about a year in an aquarium that is well taken care of. And it’s not uncommon for an old snail to float to the top of the water. It’s the easiest way for the old snail to get food without having to spend a lot of energy climbing up the tank wall.

Photo of a small aquarium snail ampulyariya

What Does It Mean When A Black Mystery Snail Floats?

Aquarists get alarmed when they wake up and discover their black mystery snail is lying on its back at the aquarium’s top floating. These mollusks may float for a variety of reasons, but they are rather simple to cure. Here are seven explanations for why your tank’s black mystery snail is floating on top.

1. Water Conditions Are Not Good EnoughPoor water quality due to infrequent changes or a malfunctioning filter can cause floating.
2. Air Stuck in LungsAir trapped in the snail’s lungs can make it float as it affects buoyancy.
3. Protein Film HuntingSnails may float to reach protein film on the water’s surface, which they like to eat.
4. Poisoned by CopperCopper in the water, used for algae control, can be toxic to snails and cause floating.
5. Filter With High PressureHigh-pressure filters and excessive water movement can lead to snail imbalance and floating.
6. Self-DefenseWhen threatened or tired, snails may float to protect themselves from predators.
7. Old AgeAging snails may float to conserve energy and access food easily.

1. The Water Isn’t in Good Enough Condition

The black mystery snail water parameters may not be understood by some beginner fish keepers, which can lead to issues. Things like insufficient water changes or a malfunctioning water filter might contribute to poor water quality. If the water isn’t clean enough, black mystery snails will appear at the top of the tank.

2. Lungs Have Air Stuck

It’s interesting to know that black mystery snails are born with lungs and gills. As a result, these little gastropods don’t have any trouble breathing underwater. If your mysterious snail has air trapped in its lungs, this can cause its lungs to function similarly to floats, causing it to float.

3. Hunting for Protein Film

Your aquarium may have a milky coating on the water’s surface if you look closely. The formation of this coating results from the adhesion of plant proteins and microscopic food particles, which might happen when the surface is not sufficiently stirred or when harmless microorganisms are present. The protein film that swims about the tank is a favorite food of black mystery snails, who can even learn to float at the tank’s top to reach it.

4. Poisoned by Copper 

For a very long time, both freshwater and saltwater systems have used copper to get rid of parasites and algae. Although copper is quite useful, it can also swiftly kill black mystery snails. A black mystery snail that floats or hangs out of its shell without attempting to stick to anything is one of the most typical symptoms that it has been poisoned by copper.

5. High-Pressure Filter

The excessive use of oxygen, as well as excessive water velocity and high pressure, is not good for mystery snails. Your black mystery snail may get unbalanced and begin to float if your fish tank has a powerful filter. Additionally, the filter may increase the pressure in the tank, which may cause your mystery snail to become ill.

6. Self-Protection

A black mystery snail may frequently float at the top of the tank when it is too exhausted to move or climb as it normally would. The black mystery snail’s long, worm-like antennae are typically pursued by some fish, who bite them off. It can then seal its shell and float away to shield itself from further attacks.

7. Old Age

In a well-maintained aquarium, a black mystery snail can survive for roughly a year. An aged black mystery snail will frequently float to the surface of the water. The elderly snail can collect food without exerting much energy by using this method rather than climbing the tank wall.

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What Should You Do If  A Mystery Snail Is Floating?

When aquarists notice that their mysterious snail is floating on top of the water, they become anxious. In general, it is not at all concerning, but they require your attention. Here are some things you can do if a mystery snail is floating.

1. Make the Water Condition Better

Mystery snails that float can be fixed by keeping the water parameters in good shape. It needs water with a pH between 6.5 and 7.5 and a temperature between 69 and 85 F. Aside from this, you should keep the oxygen level at the right level and make sure the nitrite and ammonia levels are right.

2. Remove Trapped Air

First, take your mysterious snail out of the aquarium. Next, hold your snail in one hand while moving it up and down with the other. You can release the trapped air with the aid of this procedure and put the snail back in the aquarium and see if it stops floating.

3. Keep Filter Power Down

A lot of high pressure is not necessary for mystery snails. A low-power filter can be used in place of a powerful filter. If the snail becomes active after the trade and stops floating, your issue is resolved.

4. Prevent Copper Poisoning

In order to nourish their live plants, aquarists buy fertilizer. Fertilizers carry a small amount of copper, which mixes with the water in the tank. The snail will recover from floating if you move it as quickly as you can from its present tank to another one if you believe it has copper poisoning.

5. Feed Various Foods

Various foods are consumed by mystery snails. Your snail will float to the surface and eat biofilm if it doesn’t have enough food to eat. If you want to prevent your snail from floating, add to the daily supply of veggies at the tank base other food sources.

6. Add More Snails

It has been seen that snails often become lonely and depressed when they don’t have snail buddies to hang out with. So, you could try adding more snails to the tank to see if that helps your mystery snail stop floating.

7. Give a Little Salt

A small amount of salt added to the water can help a mystery snail that is floating. The salt makes it easier for the snail to breathe and can help with any infections. All you need to do is add a teaspoon of salt for every gallon of water in the tank.

Check our this video on why your snail is floating:

How To Make Mystery Snail Stop Floating

For snails, floating for a while poses little threat. They do it naturally. You are not required to act immediately out of panic. However, there is cause for concern if the snails float for an extended period of time. How to make the mystery snail stop floating includes the following:

Verify the Parameters and Water Quality

Snails will float out of stress if you have contaminated water in your tank. By performing routine water changes, you must maintain appropriate levels of ammonia, nitrate, and nitrite to make the mystery snail stop floating.

Feeding the Mystery Snails a Healthy Diet

The mystery snails will likely float upside down on the surface of the tank in an effort to eat the film that has formed if they are starving and can’t find any food. Mystery snails cannot be harmed by the film. However, it is also not nourishing. You can either add an air stone or more filter power to your tank to remove the film.

Transfer Them 

If the mystery snails are still floating, carefully transfer them to the glass tank walls or another surface so they can attach their strong foot. They can then release any trapped air because of this.

Help Mystery Snail Escape From Air Bubble

If an air bubble has been found within your mystery snail, you should carefully pick it up and hold it upside down in the water. To assist the air bubble in escaping, you can then slowly rotate your snail in a circular manner. Make certain that the air bubble escapes the snail’s shell and see if this made the mystery snail stop floating.

Add More Mystery Snails 

If your mystery snail is still floating and you believe it might be lonely, one way to make the mystery snail stop floating is by adding more snails to your tank. Socializing could help your mystery snail feel better and less likely to float.

Try a Little Bit of Salt

If you’re looking for how to make a mystery snail stop floating, you might want to try adding a little bit of aquarium salt to your tank. This will help the snail to breathe more easily and might also help with any infections. You should add about a teaspoon of salt for each gallon of water in your tank.

Remove Copper From the Tank

Copper is poisonous to mystery snails, and even a trace amount can mix with the water in the tank and make them sick. If you think your mystery snail is floating because of copper poisoning, quickly move it to another tank.


Do Mystery Snails Float When Dead?

According to Pets on Mom, floating doesn’t usually mean that your snail is dead, but it could mean that he doesn’t like the water. Some snails float because air gets stuck in their lungs, while others eat away at the film that forms on the top of the water.

Do Mystery Snails Float When They Sleep?

Most of the time, mystery snails don’t float when they sleep. Instead, they sleep by sticking to the glass surface or decorations of the fish tank.

What Does It Mean If Your Mystery Snail Is Floating For A Week?

Doing something if your mystery snail is floating for a week. This could mean that your snail is sick or that something is wrong with the water in the tank.

Why Is My Snail Floating After Laying Eggs?

Mystery snails float on their own after laying eggs. They will do this for a short time to rest. This lets the female stay close to the water’s surface so she can easily get air.


If the snail in your aquarium is floating, it’s probably not sleeping. Snails can float in water for a number of reasons, including copper poisoning, high water pressure, bad water conditions, trapped air in the lungs, and the protein film in the fish tank. If your mystery snail is floating, there are a few things you can do to make it stop as we mentioned above.  If your snail is still floating after trying these things, it might be sick or something might be wrong with the water in your tank. In this case, you should take your snail to a vet or contact an experienced aquarium owner for help.


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