Infertile Mystery Snail Eggs: How Do They Look?

Jaime Douglas
Jaime Douglas

Writer at The Aquarium Keeper

Mystery snail or apple snail (Pomacea bridgesii) is one of the most common snail species in the aquarium hobby. They are relatively bigger compared to other snails and are distinctive in their activeness and ability to fall off every little plant or decoration in the aquarium.

Mystery snails often lay eggs in aquariums, but that does not automatically mean that they will hatch. Sometimes eggs can be infertile, so it is important that you know the difference between good and bad eggs. Keep reading to find out more.

Table of Contents

How Do Mystery Snail Eggs Look?

Mystery snails lay their eggs multiple times a year, and it takes them to hatch only 1-2 weeks. Unlike other snail species, mystery snails need both males and females to reproduce, so if you have only females in your aquarium, the eggs will not hatch.

Fertile Mystery Snail Eggs Appearance

Mystery snail eggs are always laid just below the surface of the aquarium water. Mystery snails also need the right amount of moisture and humidity to hatch. It is important to understand when the eggs are fertile and when not, so you would know what other steps are necessary to take.

fertile mystery snail eggs

When mystery snail eggs are first laid, they will look like a big pink clump. After 48 hours they begin to darken. This is a good sign, it means that eggs are healthy and developing. After two weeks, some eggs may appear bigger and some smaller, this is also a good development sign. Also, if the eggs are healthy and fertile, they will not have a bad smell, unlike infertile eggs.

Infertile Mystery Snail Eggs Appearance

Infertile mystery snail eggs commonly occur when there are no male mystery snails in the aquarium. It is very hard to sex mystery snails, especially when they are smaller, so this is a common problem for some people.

As we mentioned above, mystery snails only start changing color after 48 hours, and some places in the clump become bigger by 2 weeks. If your mystery snail eggs did not change during the first 48 hours, there is a chance they are infertile. Here are some common ways to tell if your eggs are infertile:

  • Smell your mystery snail eggs. If your eggs are okay and alive, they will have no bad smell, but if they are infertile, a distinctive rot smell will be present. Do this method after 2 weeks.
  • Appearance. If your eggs have not changed from the beginning and are the same by the 2-week point, they are probably infertile.
  • Place the eggs on a towel. Infertile mystery snail eggs when placed on a towel will leave a stain, while good eggs do not leave any marks. This method is also the most accurate after 2 weeks.
mystery snail eggs at the top of aquarium

What to Do With Infertile Mystery Snail Eggs?

The best solution in this situation is disposal. If your mystery snail eggs are infertile, there is a good chance they already started to rot and there are a lot of harmful bacteria in them. Do not use them as food for other fish. 

What to Do With Fertile Mystery Snail Eggs?

Some people do not want to have a lot of snails in their aquarium. Most snails tend to breed a lot, which causes a population explosion. There are a few things you can do with your fertile mystery snail eggs:

  • Let them hatch. More snails equal more fun. Just be sure not to have too many snails if you have a smaller aquarium.
  • Dispose of the eggs. Even though your mystery snail eggs are fertile, it is okay to dispose of them if you do not want more snails. Snail population explosion can sometimes be a hassle to deal with.

We would not recommend using mystery snail eggs as food, since if by any chance those eggs turn out to be infertile, it can cause some serious problems to your fish and the aquarium itself.

Can You Drop Mystery Snail Eggs in the Water?

Mystery snail eggs need the right amount of humidity and moisture to hatch. There is a good reason why adult mystery snails climb out of the water to lay their eggs. Putting mystery snail eggs in the water will definitely kill them. If you want more mystery snails, let them hatch just below the surface. If the eggs fall down accidentally, remove them immediately.

Writer's Thoughts

Personally, I believe that it is very important to tell the difference between fertile and infertile mystery snail eggs if you are keeping them. Infertile snail eggs can cause a lot of harm if kept untreated.

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