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Mystery Snails Vs. Sulawesi Rabbit Snails


Have you considered adding one of these gentle giants to your nano aquarium?

Read on to discover how they are similar, and where they differ!


Sulawesi Rabbit snails (Tylomelania gemmifera) and Mystery snails (Pomacea bridgesii) are both popular aquarium snails that are often kept by hobbyists due to their attractive appearance and relatively easy care requirements.

Let's explore some key differences between these two species:


Size and appearance:

Rabbit snails are larger than Mystery snails, with an adult size of around 10 cm long (5").

They have a distinctive, elongated, dark brown shell that is covered in small, raised bumps. As nearly all Sulawesi Rabbit snails are collected in the wild, very few will have perfect shells (especially the tips).

Rabbit snails have a unique little 'snout' that gives them their other trade name 'Elephant snail'

Mystery snails are slightly smaller and rounder. As adults they can get to be about 8 cm (4" wide). Their shells are much smoother than Rabbit snails, and they come in a wide range of colors, including shades of Jade, black, yellow, and purple, Ivory, and browns.

Both snails types are much more active and curious than most other snails, including Nerites. Keep a tight lid on your tank, as they'll go wandering!


Habitat and native range:

Rabbit snails are native to Indonesia (specifically the area of Sulawesi), while Mystery snails are native to South America

While this geographic difference is massive, they both still prefer slightly alkaline, hard water with plenty of dissolved minerals. This keeps their shells healthy! 

Here are some general Water Parameters that satisfy both snail types:

  • Hardness: 2-15 dKH
  • PH: 7.2-8.5
  • Temperature:70 - 84F


Ensure your tank stays healthy and balanced with live plants! This most closely mimics both snail species' natural habitat too!



Both rabbit snails and mystery snails are omnivorous and will eat a variety of foods, including algae, blanched vegetables, and commercial snail pellets. 

They are both excellent waste and debris recyclers!


Compatibility with other tankmates:

Both rabbit snails and mystery snails are fully peaceful, and really just mind their own business. So peaceful in fact, there's a real possibility of being outcompeted for food. Keep an eye on that!

They can be kept with a variety of peaceful fish species-- especially classic community tank inhabitants such as guppies, tetras, danios, corydoras, etc... 

It important to avoid keeping them with aggressive or large fish that may harm them. These include Pufferfish, Loaches, Crayfish, Assassin Snails, Goldfish and Crabs.

Other perfectly ideal tankmates for both Mysterys and Rabbits are other snails such as Nerites, Malaysian Trumpets, and Ramshorns. They also will cohabitate great with Inverts such as Red Cherry shrimp.



There are some specific differences in the rate of breeding with Mystery snails and Rabbit snails

Rabbit snails breed fairly slowly, something like one or two babies every 4 to 6 weeks.

They breed sexually (unlike most snails), and must have both a male and female around to facilitate breeding. They only reach sexual maturity when at least a year old. 

Similarly, Mystery snails also need both a male and a female to breed. They are much quicker to reach sexual maturity, however; something like a few months.

Mystery snails will not breed underwater like most 'pest' snails.

They instead lay a glossy pink/beige egg sack right above the water line. To control breeding, just scrape off that egg sack while it's incubating. 

If you'd like to encourage Mystery breeding, just lower your water line to an inch or three below your tank lid. Be sure your tank has more than one snail (several would be better, as they are hard to sex), and leave the egg case undisturbed. If kept humid, they'll hatch on their own!


Overall, both Rabbit snails and Mystery snails can make interesting and attractive additions to a freshwater aquarium.

However, it is always important to research the specific care requirements of each species and provide them with the appropriate environment and diet to ensure their health and well-being.

Smooth Snailin'!

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