Mystery Snails vs Nerite Snails The Ultimate Showdown

Mystery Snails vs Nerite Snails: The Ultimate Showdown

Mystery and Nerite snails are smaller snail types. But mystery snails can grow bigger than nerites. However, this is not a rule of thumb; some Nerite Snail species can grow bigger than Mystery Snail. Both snail types differ in color, size, age, taxonomy, and even health issues. Thus, “Mystery Snails vs. Nerite Snails” has always been debated.

People get perplexed whenever they think about buying one of both snail types. They often purchase both snails but don’t know how to keep them safely and comfortably in the same tank. That’s why I decided to curate all the differences between both snail types on this topic. I have also explained how to care for them when they are placed in the same tank.

So, the query, “What is the best snail for my aquarium?” has not remained a mystery anymore. Just follow the footprints of this topic before buying Mystery and Nerite snails.

Can nerite snails and mystery snails live together?

Yes! I was thinking of disclosing this mystery at the end, but I think it’s good to share it right at the beginning. Okay, so… Nerite snails and mystery snails can live together. They can live peacefully, happily, and friendly. Both snails are good friends and don’t mind sharing their territories with tank fellows.

You know Nerite snails are known to be best at cleaning the tank. These snail species also love to share their food (like algae, biofilm, fruits, etc.) with their friends, like mystery snails. On the other hand, mystery snails are good enough at checking all of the hidden places in the aquarium.

These snails love playing hide and seek in the tank. So, are nerite snails friendly enough to live with mystery snails? Apart from the many differences between Nerite and mystery snails, I can say confidently that both snails can have a fun time together!

Can mystery snails and nerite snails mate?

According to the answer of one of my fellows on the “nerite snail vs. mystery snail Reddit” topic, Mystery snails and Nerite snails cannot mate. They cannot breed together because both are different species of snails. To reproduce, they need to be of the same species of snail. Otherwise, they cannot crossbreed.

According to various reviews, most snail keepers say that their mystery snails and Nerite snails were mating in the same tank. As a result, the female laid eggs. However, it is impossible because the females would have been bred with their own male species in the past. Therefore, they produce eggs.

Mystery snails vs. nerite snails: Key Differences

Before delving deeper into the detailed overview of Mystery snails vs. Nerite snails, take a look at the following table:

Key DifferencesMystery SnailsNerite Snails
Roots:Mystery snails are specific species of snails.Nerite snails are a family of snails. There are further species of Nerite snails.
Size:The length of Mystery snails is approximately 1 to 1.5 inches.The length of Nerite snails is approximately 0.5 to 1 inch.
Colors:Mystery snails have darker shades of black, blue, and brown.Different species of Nerite snails come in distinct colors. The colors of nerite snails include dark green, olive green, dark brown, nearly black, and reddish-brown.
Diet:Mystery snails are omnivores.Nerite snails are herbivores or detritivores.
Max. Age/Lifespan:Mystery snails typically live longer than Nerite snails. The lifespan of these creatures is 1 to 3 years.Nerite snails’ lifespan is 1 to 2 years.

Detailed Overview of Nerite Snails vs. Mystery Snails:

The critical differences between Mystery snails and Nerite snails are given below:

  1. Taxonomy Differences:

Taxonomy is the main difference between Nerites and mysteries. “Nerite” is derived from the family of species “Neritidae” which consists of small to medium snails. These snail species live in freshwater and saltwater. Nerite snail species include:

  • Black racer nerite snails
  • Tiger nerite snails
  • Zebra nerite snails
  • Olive nerite snails
  • Horned nerite snails
  • Red racer nerite snails
  • Midnight black nerite snails
  • Gold racer nerite snails

On the other hand, Mystery snails are the specific species of the family Ampullariidae (apple snails). This is a family of freshwater snails. Moreover, these snails are relatively larger snail species.

  1. Distinct Sizes:

As I have mentioned before, Nerite snails are smaller and medium-sized snail types, and mystery snails are bigger species. However, their sizes also depend on the species of the family, “Nerite.” Let’s take the example of olive nerite snails and zebra nerite snails.

Olives are as small as 0.5 inches, and zebra nerite snails are double the size of olive nerite snails. The tiniest nerite snails, “horned nerite snails,” measure only 0.25 inches. However, the largest mystery snail grows up to 1.5 inches.

  1. Colors & Shell Difference:

As I have mentioned before in the quick-review table, Nerite snails and mystery snails are different in color. You can easily recognize a Nerite from a mystery snail from their distinct colors. Here is another difference between these snails. In simple words, nerites are known as highly polymorphic.

You know, nerite snails have dark round dots, beautiful stripes, and black ridges. Their shells are beautifully patterned. Contrarily, the shells of Mystery snails are not patterned. But mystery snails have distinct feet. Their feet are white and sometimes dark slate.

  1. Distinct Diet:

Nerite snails love to eat algae because they are herbivores and detritivores. Mostly, they eat the following:

  • Green dust algae
  • Green spot algae
  • Brown algae
  • Hair algae
  • Algae wafers
  • Vegetables like zucchini and carrots

On the other hand, are mystery snails good algae eaters? They are good algae eaters, but not crazy about algae like the Nerites. Mystery snails love to eat calcium-rich sources.

  1. Health Issues & Lifespan Difference:

We already know that Mystery snails live longer than Nerite snails. However, both snail types face a lot of similar health problems in the tank. They can quickly get sick if the conditions of their tank are not suitable for them.

Choosing the Right Snail for Your Aquarium

Nerite snails vs. Mystery snails is one of the most discussed comparisons every aquarist tries to make for their tank. It is often difficult to choose one snail for the tank. You can consider the following to make a decision:

  • Diet is one of the main factors that need to be considered first if we are choosing a suitable snail for our aquarium. Nerite snails eat algae, and mystery snails eat algae, decorations, algae last, decor plants, and so on. Both are tank cleaners. Thus, you can keep both snail types in one tank according to their similar diet patterns.
  • Behavior is the second most crucial factor that plays a vital role in keeping two different types of creatures in one tank. Nerite snails and mystery snails do not differ in their behavior. Both are harmless to each other. Also, both are peaceful snails. So, both of these snails can live together.

So, Nerite snails vs. Mystery snails is a decisive factor. It plays a vital role in keeping these aquatic creatures in the tank for a more extended time period. Lastly, don’t forget to read “Do mystery snails eat plants?“.

Tank Conditions and Care While Keeping Mystery Snails and Nerite Snails

If you want to keep the mystery and Nerite snails in the same tank, you don’t need to mess up regarding the tank’s condition and care. It’s absolutely the same for both snail types. For example, the water temperature required to keep Nerite snails in the tank must be 71 to 79 °F.

On the other hand, mystery snails require 68 to 84 °F water temperature. I can say that the water temperature needed to keep both snails in the same tank is similar. Also, it is easy to care for both snail types, as their caring pattern are pretty much the same. Both snail species require low maintenance and care.

However, it would be best to keep the tank neat and clean every week. You can also buy an aquarium kit for the maintenance and care of the aquarium and your Nerite and Mystery snails.

Reproduction Management

Female nerite snails produce a lot of eggs on their own without the need for any male Nerite snail. Their eggs are just like glue that could attach to anything in the tank. However, most eggs do not hatch because they are unfertilized. Additionally, scraping them off of the surfaces inside the tank is a difficult task.

Contrarily, female mystery snails also produce a lot of eggs, but not as much as the Nerite snails have. Moreover, the eggs of mystery snails are bigger. It is easy for the aquarist to get rid of these eggs from the surfaces of the tank. The color of the eggs of mystery snails is pink, and it’s easy for you to wipe them off from the water tank.


1.Which snail is best to keep in the tank for beginners?

The beginners can keep Nerite snails in their tanks. There are many platforms and sellers that are offering Nerite snails for sale to beginners with reasonable discounts. You can also get mystery snails if you do not get Nerite snails.

2.How do I know if my snail is a mystery snail?

You can check them out by examining their color, size, and feet. Moreover, mystery snails come out of the water again and again to lay eggs. Their shells do not have bands and have 6-7 whorls around their shells. They must be 1.5 inches long, from the tip of their whirl to the lip of the shell.

3.Which Nerite snail is the best algae eater?

Olive nerite snails are the best algae eaters than any other Nerite species.

4.How many Nerite snails per gallon?

1 Nerite per 5-gallon is the best option. You can also add ONE mystery snail in a similar tank. You can read one of my extensive guides about how many Nerite snails per gallon here.


So, Nerite Snails vs. Mystery Snails has given us much more productive information. Hmmm…Well, we can conclude that both snail types are great. Their appearance is elegant and beautiful. The trend of keeping aquariums in homes and various other places has gained so much popularity. The credit goes to Nerite snails and mystery snails. These cleanup crews are the best algae eaters. So, remember to have a lot of algae in your tank.