The Black Mystery Snail is a popular aquarium inhabitant and will do well even in small aquariums with a capacity of no more than 10 gallons. When you find these snails in aquarium stores, they will typically have a size of 3/4" to 1-1/4". As your snail grows older, it can reach a size of 2".
This type of snail is not an aggressive species and it is therefore suitable for community aquariums with docile fish species. You should naturally not house it with fish species that eat snails in the wild, unless the fish is very much smaller than the Black Mystery snail. This snail belongs to Apple Snail family. In the Apple Snail family you can find roughly 120 snail species and many of them are popular in aquariums. Just like all the other snail species from this family, this snail has a siphon that is use to breath oxygen from the air. The Black Mystery snail will stay submerged near the waters surface in the aquarium and stretch up the siphon into the air.
It is very important that the Black Mystery snail is not denied access to the surface in the aquarium, since this will cause it to suffocate. Leave a gap of at least 2 inches between the water and any lid. In its native waters of Brazil, the Black Mystery snail will spend the day resting and become active at dark. It will spend most of its time submerged, but it can actually walk on land in search of food. When it is kept in an aquarium, you can see it scavenging for food in the substrate or sliding up the glass to breath at the surface.
As the name implies, the coloration of this snail is mainly black, but you can find specimens that are decorated with golden and ivory colors too. The pattern varies between each individual snail. They can adapt to most pH values as long as your avoid the extremes, but ideally to keep the pH from 6.5 to 8.0 and avoid rapid changes. The preferred dH range is 12-18 and the recommended water temperature 68-85 degrees F.
The Black mystery snail is an omnivore species that will happily eat left over fish food and help you keep the aquarium clean. You can for instance feed it flakes and frozen food. It will also eat algae and dead and decaying plant matter. If the aquarium is without any plants, you should regularly feed your snail vegetables and algae based food.
Sexing Black mystery snails is difficult, but when two snails of similar age have been kept on a similar diet in the same environment, the biggest of them will typically be the female one. A Black Mystery snail is never hermaphroditic. During the breeding period, the female will deposit her eggs in clutches over the waterline.
Allen Jesson writes for several sites including http://www.seapets.co.uk, the UK's leading retailer of aquariums and fish tanks and http://www.saltwaterfreshwateraquarium.com, an excellent information resource for any owner of a salt water or fresh water aquarium.