The Black Mystery Snail can reach a size of 2 inches and do not need an aquarium bigger than 10 gallons. If you have a small community aquarium with peaceful fish species, a Black Mystery Snail can be a great addition. Fish species that feed on snails in the wild must of course be avoided, unless they are much smaller than the Black Mystery Snail. When you buy a Black Mystery Snail from a pet shop, it is usually no larger than one inch, often even smaller. Black Mystery Snails can also be an alternative to fish keeping.
The Black Mystery Snail belongs to the family Ampullariidae, which means that it is an Apple snail. The family Ampullariidae is divided into several different genera, and the Black Mystery Snail is found in Pomacea. If you read old aquarium books about Apple snails, their family might be called Pilidae instead of Ampullariidae, since Pilidae was their old name.
The Black Mystery Snail must be able to reach the surface in the aquarium, since it directly breathes oxygen from the air. Unlike fish, it has no gills. The Black Mystery Snail is instead equipped with a siphon that it will stretch up over the water’s edge to catch some oxygen. When you keep Black Mystery Snail you should always leave a gap of 2 inches or more between the water and any aquarium lid to make sure that the Black Mystery Snail has access to enough oxygen. Don’t forget that a Black Mystery Snail can walk shorter distances on land and easily escapes from an open aquarium.
Wild Black Mystery Snails live in Brazil in the northern parts of the South American continent where they spend most of days resting. As the sun sets, the Black Mystery Snail will wake up and start foraging for food. As mentioned above, it can actually climb out of the water in its search for food. The Black Mystery Snails east pretty much anything and will therefore help you keep the water quality up in your aquarium. It will for instance scavenge the aquarium for left over fish food that would otherwise decompose and pollute the water. In addition to this, it is fond of algae and it will also nibble away dead or decaying parts of plants, but leave healthy plants alone. If there are no live plants in your aquarium, you must feed your Black Mystery Snail vegetable food, e.g. blanched lettuce and boiled zucchini.
Black Mystery Snails are often kept by beginner aquarists that do not know a lot about pH-values, since the Black Mystery Snail can adapt to most conditions as long as you avoid the extremes. A pH-value between 6.5 and 8.0 is ideal. The recommended dH range is 12-18 and the water temperature can be anywhere from 68 to 85 degrees F, as long as you avoid rapid fluctuations.
The Black Mystery Snail is of course black, but not entirely. It is for instance possible to get specimens that are ornamented with golden and ivory patterns. The exact pattern will never be the same on two individuals and you can therefore tell your Black Mystery Snails apart by looking at their markings.
Sexing Black Mystery Snails is hard even for experts, but if you keep two young snails together and they receive similar amounts of food, a female snail will usually grow bigger than a male snail. If you want to breed Black Mystery Snail you must obtain snails of both sexes since Black Mystery Snails aren’t hermaphrodites. (Hermaphroditic snails can not fertilize themselves, but since each snail contains both eggs and sperms they can always fertilize each other.) Black Mystery Snails deposit clutches of eggs right above the waters edge.