Best Plants for Mystery Snails: Top 5 Reviewed

Best Plants for Mystery Snails

Best Plants for Mystery Snails: Top 5 Reviewed

Mystery snails have become popular as tank pets due to their relatively low-maintenance nature. Moreover, they are unique as they don’t eat live plants. Instead, they take great joy in exploring and scavenging around them. So, what are the best plants for these enigmatic little creatures?

The best plants for mystery snails include Java moss, moss fern, hornwort, Anubias, and Amazon sword. They require no specific water adjustments, making them suitable for various tank inhabitants. Avoid floating plants like duckweed that can quickly cover the entire tank top, becoming a nuisance.

The rest of this article delves into setting up a mystery snail tank, focusing on the best plants for these creatures. Continue reading for some valuable insights.

Intriguing Tidbits About Mystery Snails

Fun Fact One

The origin of the name “mystery snails” is, ironically, quite a mystery. Numerous theories attempt to decipher it. Some aquarists attribute it to the snails’ sudden and seemingly magical breeding behavior, where tiny snails mysteriously appear in tanks.

Others believe it’s linked to their perplexing habit of disappearing and reappearing. Regardless of the theory, these enigmatic creatures are fascinating to observe and care for.

Fun Fact 2

Mystery snails possess a unique and complex breathing mechanism that facilitates survival on land and in water. They are equipped with a siphon, lungs, and gills, a setup uncommon among other freshwater snails.

Most of their counterparts possess a modified gill system, limiting the duration they can stay out of water, unlike mystery snails.

Related Reading: Can Snails Breathe Underwater?

Where Do Mystery Snails Thrive?

Primarily freshwater dwellers, mystery snails depend on water for survival. While they can endure being out of water for a few days, they cannot survive indefinitely on land. At best, a mystery snail can last up to five days in a humid environment.

However, in dry and hot conditions, it would dehydrate within hours. When subjected to heat stress, the snail may retract into its shell in an attempt to hibernate. Still, this action won’t prevent dehydration. Ultimately, it will dry out and perish within its shell.

Larger and older mystery snails typically outlast their smaller, younger counterparts when out of water. This is attributed to their more developed breathing system and ability to lower their metabolism when experiencing heat stress, thus reducing water loss.

Breeding for mystery snails is also exclusively an aquatic affair. As such, these creatures are primarily aquatic tank snails and are unsuitable for terrariums, irrespective of the humidity level. Understanding their habitat requirements will be helpful as I delve into selecting the best plants for these snails in the next section.

What Are the Optimal Plants for Mystery Snails?

As mentioned earlier, mystery snails are primarily aquatic, implying that freshwater aquatic plants are ideal for them. When choosing aquatic plants, opt for hardy varieties capable of withstanding occasional nibbling and carrying the weight of mystery snails.

While these snails typically don’t consume live plants, they might snack on leaves and softer plants if hungry. Given that your snails will be actively exploring the tank, don’t be surprised to find them occasionally perched on or nibbling at a plant.

Here are some considerations when selecting plants for your mystery snail tank:     

  • Ease of Care: Opt for plants that don’t demand extra care. Choose varieties that thrive in water parameters conducive to mystery snail growth.     
  • Resilience: Plants that can withstand stress and diverse conditions are preferable. Such species won’t easily wither when environmental parameters fluctuate.     
  • Anchorage: Select submerged plants with fibrous root systems, as they anchor well in the substrate and can withstand snail activity and water flow disruptions. Floating plants might be easily disturbed by snails and could potentially obstruct light.     
  • Propagation: Go for easy-to-propagate plants. Species that propagate by cutting and replanting rhizomes are ideal.     
  • Growth Rate: Consider your tank size and capacity to accommodate plant matter. Slow-growing species generally outperform fast-growing plants, as they don’t require frequent trimming.

5 Best Plants for Mystery Snails

Java Fern (Microsorum pteropus): XPRESS ECOMMERCE’s Java Fern

Widely favored among aquarium enthusiasts, Java fern is celebrated for its easy care and slow growth rate, reducing maintenance efforts. This versatile plant thrives in various conditions, from freshwater to brackish water and even slightly acidic marine environments. Moreover, it tolerates almost any lighting condition.

Aside from its robustness, Java fern is unique in its reproductive approach, cloning itself rather than producing seeds. Its distinctive leaf structure provides an intriguing playground for mystery snails to explore.

I highly recommend XPRESS ECOMMERCE’s Java Fern. With its easy-care requirements, slow growth rate, and adaptability to low or medium lighting, it offers an engaging and comfortable environment for your snails. Additionally, its unique propagation method – cutting runners and occasionally growing baby plants on the leaves – adds a dynamic and interesting element to your tank.

Java Moss (Vesicularia dubyana): Aquatic Arts Java Moss

Java moss is an excellent choice for beginners, owing to its low maintenance needs, easy growth, and compatibility with many aquatic pets.

In addition to its attractive and unique formation, Java moss has a high tolerance for less-than-optimal conditions. It can survive for extended periods in toxic tanks without rotting. The soft texture of these plants offers a pleasing surface for mystery snails to roam. Furthermore, Java moss reproduces easily; small sections can be replanted and will sprout within days.

I recommend Aquatic Arts Java Moss, a fantastic choice for your aquarium. This generous bunch is sufficient to create a 5 by 5 inch or larger mat, offering a visually pleasing backdrop along driftwood, rocks, and even the rear glass. Suited to all freshwater tanks, it thrives without special or high-intensity lighting.

Hornwort (Anthocerotophyta sp): XPRESS ECOMMERCE’s Hornwort Coontail Bunch

Known for its resilience, hornwort thrives in various environments, from heated tanks to cold ones and even outdoor ponds. Ideally, hornwort grows as a floating plant, easily accessing light and oxygen. However, it can also be rooted in the tank substrate.

Given its rapid growth, regular pruning is essential to prevent it from covering your tank and blocking light, which could impact your aquatic pets. This hardy plant offers a captivating landscape for your snails to traverse. Propagation is a breeze: simply cut off a side shoot and plant it, and you’ll have new growth in no time.

I highly recommend XPRESS ECOMMERCE’s Hornwort Coontail Bunch. While the plants may arrive wilted, brown, or damaged due to transit, they are known for their robustness and will typically bounce back within a few days. With stems ranging from 3-7 inches, this bunch is an excellent choice to create an engaging and dynamic environment for your mystery snails.

Anubias (Anubias Barteri): Fluval Stemped Anubias

Anubias is a sturdy and favored choice for freshwater aquariums due to its resilience, strong structure, and vibrant green leaves. It’s perfect for enhancing your aquarium’s aesthetic with a lush green touch.

Conveniently, the water parameters suitable for mystery snails are also ideal for Anubias. This plant thrives under various lighting conditions and can be planted in the substrate, attached to rocks, or even driftwood.

Thanks to its sturdy root system, Anubias holds firmly onto the substrate and can withstand relatively strong currents without being uprooted. Propagation is straightforward; just cut a rhizome and replant it to enjoy a new sprouting growth.

I highly recommend Fluval’s Stemped Anubias. With its natural-looking colors that won’t fade and long-lasting, maintenance-free characteristics, it offers a captivating decorative touch. At 7 inches on a root, it can contribute significantly to the visually pleasing environment you aim to create for your mystery snails.

Amazon Sword (Echinodorus amazonicus): Greenpro Red Diamond Amazon Sword

The Amazon sword plant is an excellent option for beginners, given its easy maintenance and propagation. This fast-growing plant boasts large leaves and is especially suited to larger tanks.

Emerging from a relatively small stem, the numerous large but thin leaves and a widespread root network ensure proper anchorage on the substrate. Conveniently, this plant flourishes under the same conditions ideal for mystery snails, requiring no special care.

It is perfect for the mid-ground and background of your freshwater tank. The sturdy leaves provide an ideal landscape for your mystery snails to explore. 

I highly recommend the Greenpro Red Diamond Amazon Sword. This potted live aquarium plant boasts a sturdy root system, facilitating nutrient absorption from your substrate. It serves as an excellent background starter for your tank. Greenpro ensures the highest quality by inspecting and packing the plants professionally.

Consider These Additional Plants for Your Mystery Snails

Najas Grass (Najas guadalupensis): Shore Aquatic Najas Guppy Grass

Najas grass, commonly referred to as guppy grass, is a floating plant species suitable for mystery snail tanks. Its moderate growth rate reduces the risk of overrunning the entire tank. Regular trimming can effectively manage its growth. 

I highly recommend the Shore Aquatic Najas Guppy Grass for your aquarium. As an organic, freshwater floating plant, it thrives in full sunlight and will add a vibrant touch of green to your indoor aquatic environment.

Eelgrass (Vallisneria): Vallisneria Americana Eelgrass

Eelgrass is a submerged species that can thrive in tropical and subtropical tanks. It is visually appealing and forms tall underwater meadows, providing an enjoyable exploration space for snails. However, it requires specific care and can grow excessively large for small to mid-sized tanks. 

I strongly suggest considering the 10 Pack – Vallisneria Americana Eelgrass for your aquarium. It thrives in sandy soil under partial shade. With its easy-to-maintain requirement for moderate watering, it will surely be a vibrant and attractive addition to your aquatic setting.

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Plants to Avoid in Mystery Snail Tanks

  1. Avoid Duckweed (Lemna minor) as this floating species will rapidly overgrow and cover your tank, and mystery snails are prone to consuming it.
  2. Also, the Amazon frogbit (Limnobium laevigatum), another floating species, can easily become a nuisance in your tank and poorly tolerates snail activity on its underside.

Closing Remarks

Mystery snails are popular aquarium pets known for their relative ease of maintenance and the variety of attractive colors they come in. They particularly thrive in planted tanks as the plants provide ample exploration opportunities.

Ideally, plants that grow on the tank substrate make the best choices for mystery snail tanks, offering excellent surfaces for climbing. Floating plant species, while interesting, can become a nuisance if they cover the top and block light access for your mystery snails.



  • Paul Odoteh

    Paul Odoteh is an established writer and editor with nearly 10 years of experience in writing and editing. He holds a bachelor's degree in IT and has written for numerous publications and individuals. Currently, Odoteh is dedicated to expanding his blog,, which was inspired by his passion for owning an aquarium.

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