Snails are a beautiful addition to the tank. And mystery snails are the first choice of hobbyists for their attractive color. They live peacefully with other tank mates and do not attack any pets. Also, they are very helpful to keep the tank clean from algae.
Though mystery snails are very attractive for their color, sometimes they change their color for some reason and make the tank owner concerned. Because it gives a sign of its health or tank condition. Sometimes it turns white or black from its original color.
In this article, I will cover the main reason for the mystery snail changing color and give you some tips to avoid color changing.
Let’s start to learn the color-changing reason and solution.
Why Do Mystery Snails Change Color?
Mystery snails can not change their color on purpose. They change the original color for some reason.
The following reasons are mainly responsible for color changing;
Mystery snails change color with their growth. Before their adulthood, mystery snails change their color.
It is impossible to tell in advance the color of a young snail shell will be exposed. If your young snail color almost turns black then it finally reaches its true color.
However, the mystery snail’s growth rate affects the color and thickness.
Mystery snails that live in tanks have light color whilst wild snails have a dark color.
Aquarium snails’ shell growth is faster which makes the shell thinner and light color. And the wild snail shell grows slowly which makes it thicker and darker.
2. Calcium Deficiency
Calcium plays an important role to develop and maintain the mystery snail’s shell. Also, calcium helps snails to repair their shells if it is damaged or broken.
Snails shell can break down for calcium deficiency. And baby snails can die from insufficient calcium.
Also, it is another reason for mystery snail discoloration. Snails become thin and turn white as they do not get enough calcium.
3. Health Condition
Mystery snail’s discoloration give a sign of their health condition.
Some factors are behind the snails’ poor health. Including irregular feeding, crowded tanks, dusty water, unbalanced parameters, etc.
Unhealthy snail’s shell color does not stabilize whilst healthy snails do not face this type of problem.
When mystery snails face stress, bullies, and drastic temperature changes, they lose their health and discoloration is one of them.
4. Insufficient Sunlight Issue
Mystery snails do not love too much light. They love to feed in the dark. Also in the darkness, they become very active, and female snails lay their eggs.
Though mystery snails do not love sunlight, insufficient sunlight affects them. Because Vitamin D3 soak-up rate is increased by the sun.
As direct sunlight hurt the shell and turns the color white, you need to ensure sufficient sunlight. On the other hand, discoloration is also can happen for sunlight lavishness.
5. Algae Growing on the Shell
Algae can grow in the mystery snail’s shell. Though it is very normal and they can carry it. But it affects the snail’s original color.
Coralline algae are one of them which can grow on the mystery snails’ backs. Normally, it is red algae and has many different colors including white.
If suddenly the temperature swings or light shocks the coralline algae can turn white.
Before going to panic, first, check that the snail changed its color. For instance, the mystery snail shell is fine, and only coralline algae turn its color white.
6. Shallow Water pH
Hard water is ideal for mystery snails instead of soft water. Because soft water contains acidity. And acidic water erodes the snail’s shell which makes them weak and sensitive.
Aquarists need to monitor the pH level, it should not fall below 7.0. Mystery snail shells can erode by low pH and turn white from their original color.
7. Excessive CO2 and Potassium Level
When the CO2 level is high mystery snails’ shells turn white which is a sign of shell eroding. Also, the same thing happens if the potassium level is too much.
8. Existence of Copper
Mystery snails do not like copper. It is toxic for them. It can be added by tap water, decorative stones, bacterial treatment, etc. Copper gathered on the snail’s shell makes it whiten.
9. Poor Water Condition
Most aquatic creatures face problems with poor water conditions. When water has the wrong parameter, the snail becomes very sensitive.
Poor water conditions have an effect on the snail’s shell. It is responsible for changing the mystery snail’s original color.
How To Stop Mystery Snails from Turning White?
If you realize that your mystery snail is changing its original color, you should take steps to stop the discoloration. Because it can be dangerous for your snail.
Yet, it is impossible for genetically complicated snails and aging snails. As well as if the snails are looking young and healthy but turning white you can stop them.
Here are some tips to follow to stop mystery snails from turning white:
Change Water Regularly
Water replacement can be the first step to stopping snail discoloration. It will create subsidiary conditions in the tank to cheer up the snails’ recovery from their present situation.
But keep in mind that regular water changes are the best practice for your aquarium animals and plants. You can change the water 10-25% every two to four weeks.
Improve the Water Hardness
Snails need hard water to stay healthy. They can lose their color for soft water, so ensure that your tank water is hard and you can add some crushed coral and limestone to make the water harder.
Some aquarists prefer to use baking soda in the tank water. But crushed coral and limestone are ok and they add calcium to the tank.
Maintain Copper Level
It is already mentioned above that copper is toxic for mystery snails. It may add at the time of water replacement. So monitor your pipe if it has copper, it will add to the water by tap water.
The copper safe level is 0.10mg per litter. So keep a test kit to measure the copper of your tank water. And ensure that copper concentration does not cross the safe level.
If your tank has crossed the safe level, change the water and use a different water source.
Use Water Conditioner
Using a conditioner is a good idea to remove copper, chlorine, chloramine, and ammonia. It helps to maintain water hardness and keep pH levels stable. Also, it creates a balanced environment for tank fish and plants.
Improve Calcium Level
Calcium is very important for mystery snails. Snails’ shells erode and change color for insufficient calcium. Also, a component that works behind to turn snails white.
So you need to add sufficient calcium to stay them healthy and strong. It can provide through a calcium-rich diet. Some calcium sources are cuttlebone, limestone, powdered oyster shells, etc. Maintain all other nutrition to keep the mystery snail’s shell healthy and strong.
Improve Tank Condition
Tank parameters should be suitable to keep mystery snails. Water temperature should be between 72 degrees and 82 degrees F, with suitable pH, and for every 20 snails more than one gallon of water. Though tank size varies depending on the snail’s type and size, aquarists advise not less than 5 gallons of water to prevent overcrowding.
Tank conditions affect coralline algae health. It can turn white if it does not maintain a stable parameter.
How to Stop the Mystery Snail from Turning Black?
Mystery snails have many different colors. If the snails change their original color and turn black you should take some steps to stop it.
Your first step should be water parameter testing. If your water condition is poor it will work to change the snails color or increase the factors which turn the snails black.
Therefore, you should ensure the temperature between 68 to 84 degree F, pH 7.6 to 8.4, and water hardness is 12KH to 18KH. And not less than 5 gallons of water for mystery snails. Also maintain the ammonia, nitrate, and nitrites level in your tank water.
Keep the water stable in the absence of fluctuations. Also maintain the water hardness and give enough space to your snails without crowding.
If the mystery snails change their original color, the first step should be identification of the problem. Besides algae you should check the pH and water parameters such as temperature, CO2, nitrate, ammonia, potassium and the presence of copper.
Maintain a healthy diet for your snails like calcium to keep the snails shell healthy. As well as, perform water replacement regularly to create a healthy and germ free environment for your mystery snails.