Do Mystery Snails Eat Black Beard Algae

Do Mystery Snails Eat Black Beard Algae?

Black beard algae, medically referred to as audouinella, is a type of nuisance macro-algae that can take over an aquarium if its growth is most tangential. It thrives in warm aquatic environments and especially on glass surfaces, where it can be difficult to eradicate. Fortunately, aquarium hobbyists have access to numerous resources to help control this type of algae, including the ever-popular mystery snail.

Mystery snails are a type of freshwater snail that are native to tropical areas such as Indonesia and the Philippines. They have become popular in aquariums for their colorful shells, humble personalities, and appetite for algae. While this species does graze on plants as well as multi-vitamins, it is generally considered to be an overall beneficial presence in tanks.

The natural diet of mystery snails includes black beard algae and other filamentous species, making them an interesting choice to help curb the spread of this nuisance vegetation. It is important to note, however, that mystery snails consume algae at a very slow rate and do not provide a guaranteed solution to an algae problem. Nevertheless, they can help maintain their population over longer periods of time, and by doing so, keep the presence of nuisance vegetation in check.

Keeping mystery snails in an aquarium is relatively easy. They require food in the form of fish pellets, algae wafers, or even blanched spinach, as well as calcium-rich substrates to keep their shells in optimal condition. In relation to their health and wellbeing, this species can tolerate temperature ranges from 52-86 degrees Fahrenheit, but aquarium owners must always monitor the pH levels and dissolved oxygen in the tank for the snails to thrive.

When choosing mystery snails for an aquarium, it is best to look for specimens with intact shells, a lack of visible signs of parasites, and bulbous eyes. These snails come in a variety of colors, but the most popular choices tend to be gold and black.

Overall, the addition of any type of algae-eating snail to an aquarium is a worthwhile investment. Although some species such as nerite snails can be more efficient at removing black beard algae, mystery snails offer a more budget-friendly option with a personality that is just as endearing.

Do Mystery Snails Reproduce Quickly?

Mystery snails are egg-layers and usually mate during the night. The female snail will produce a clutch of up to 1,200 eggs within two weeks of mating, which she adheres to hard surfaces, glass, or plants near the water’s surface. After about two weeks, the eggs will hatch and the larvae will sink to the bottom of the tank, where they will begin to mature.

Typically, the life expectancy of a single mystery snail can be measured in years, however, if left unchecked, populations of mystery snails can grow exponentially and become an issue. Generally, these snails can be controlled by manually removing any excess snails or by introducing species that enjoy munching on their eggs.

In most cases, a low population of mystery snails is believed to be beneficial for an aquarium. It is worth noting, however, that although a single clutch of eggs can seem insignificant, it can quickly become overwhelming if too many are allowed to reproduce.

Can Mystery Snails Clean up Algae Without Damaging Plant Life?

Yes, mystery snails have often been known to help clean up excessive algae growth in an aquarium without damaging healthy plant life. This species feeds mainly on decaying plant matter and the silt that settles at the bottom of the tank. They also enjoy grazing on other types of algae indirectly, by eating away elements that these organisms need to survive, such as iron and phosphate.

It is worth noting that mystery snails do possess the capability to nibble on certain types of soft aquatic and terrestrial plants, though. Most notably, they can sometimes clip away at broad-leaved and fine stemmed plants. To prevent any accidental damages, it is advisable to keep the snails occupied with other food sources, such as live vegetable matter or tiny treats.

By introducing hardy plants and plenty of algae-eating snails, aquarium hobbyists can both control and support a healthy ecosystem in their tank. After some time, once a balance between the two species is established, the snails can even help improve the water quality and prevent excessive algae growth.

What Are Some Alternatives To Mystery Snails?

There are a few other species of snails that can help reduce black beard algae, such as nerite snails and trumpets. These options are often more efficient at removing any type of algae, including black beard type. However, they are also more expensive and can be more demanding since their natural diet often requires supplementals.

Furthermore, certain fish species, such as corydoras catfish, can be excellent tankmates for invertebrates as they do not directly consume them and they share similar water parameters requirements. These fish are peaceful, exciting to watch, and mostly considered beneficial.

In addition to snails and fish, there are many other sources of algae eating organisms available in the market. This includes shrimp, such as the cherry shrimp and ghost shrimp, which are survivors that love to feed on algae and bacteria. There are several varieties of crabs, such as the Vampire crab, which can help keep certain types of algae at bay.

How Can People Keep Black Beard Algae at Bay in Aquariums?

Although mystery snails are considered a great option to deal with nuisance vegetation, they are not a fix-all solution. Therefore, aquarium hobbyists should consider additional tactics to keep black beard algae at bay and prevent it from taking over their tank.

Regular maintenance is key in this respect, as it helps to keep water conditions stable and prevent any excess nutrients that can foster the growth of algae. Moreover, water changes are essential to maintain the ideal pH levels, as these organisms thrive in acidic conditions. It is for this reason that aquarium hobbyists should introduce plenty of fast-growing plants that can help absorb a magnanimous amount of waste and leftover food.

This type of algae also requires generous amounts of light and warm temperatures, so it’s important to only turn the lights on for 8-10 hours a day and place the tank away from any sources of heat. Additionally, excessive feeding and overstocking should be avoided at all costs as this will just create the perfect environment for this type of nuisance foliage.

Do Mystery Snail Make Great Pets?

As previously mentioned, these snails do possess a certain level of sentience that makes them an entertaining addition to most aquariums. For this reason, they are considered to be one of the friendliest species of snails and, depending on the individual, can even be trained to perform certain actions.

In addition to this, they are outstanding escape artists. Thanks to their drawn-out shells, they can easily crawl over substrates and even up walls. This also makes them great climbers and jumpers, which can make them especially difficult to keep in small aquariums. For this reason, it is advisable to secure their tank with a tight lid to prevent any unwanted escapes.

Whether or not somebody finds the enigmatic personalities of these snails charming or dull depends on personal taste, though. Nevertheless, mystery snails are often favored by many for their overall usefulness in the aquarium and their willingness to explore and scavenge for food.

Can Mystery Snails Help Control Blooms?

Blooms are regular outbreaks of excessive algae growth in an aquarium, usually caused by an imbalanced nutrient cycle or an overabundance of organic waste. To fight off this type of nuisance vegetation, aquarium hobbyists can employ the help of certain species, such as mystery snails, shrimp, and crabs.

Since these animals are small, they require very little additional care and help keep populations of algae under control by consuming debris, excrement, and any other fertilizers that help foster rapid growth. In contrast to other species, mystery snails also prefer to graze on other types of growth, meaning they will keep blooms from taking over.

However, it’s worth noting that these animals can only help with consuming the algae and not necessarily keep it at bay in the long run. After all, it is the environment that the organism lives in, and the aquarium’s contribution to it, that will ultimately keep nuisance vegetation away.


Mystery snails are a worthwhile addition to any aquarium that does not just have an aesthetic value, but can also help reduce the presence of nuisance vegetation. Nevertheless, they require certain conditions to thrive and populations of these animals should always be kept in check. Furthermore, mystery snails can only do so much to keep blooms at bay, as they are not a guaranteed solution to an algae problem.

Theresa Norton is an award-winning author and blog writer who specializes in the art and science of manly beards. Her articles cover topics such as styling, shaping, maintaining, and even growing beards. With her extensive knowledge on facial hair, Theresa has helped countless guys to look their best and feel confident in their daily lives. She loves researching the history of beards, exploring new trends, sharing insightful tips, and writing about her own experiences.

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