Ultimate Gold Inca Snail Care: Eggs, Feeding, Size, Lifespan

Gold Inca snails are also known as the Gold Mystery Snail, Golden Mystery Snail, Golden Inca Snail, Golden Snail, Yellow Snail, or Inca Snail. These freshwater aquarium snails have yellow-gold shells and an off-white body. Near the mouth, there are usually orange spots. There are also orange rings around the eyes and stripes near the siphon.

Care Level:Beginner
Lifespan:One Year
Size:3 Inches
Minimum Tank Size:5 Gallon
Tank Set-Up:Moderate Vegetation, Adaptable
Compatibility:Community Tanks
Species Overview

Gold Inca Snail Pictures


These yellow freshwater snails come in a wide variety of colors. For example, gold, black, brown, and ivory. Inca snails have banded, graduated, or solid-colored shells. The snail’s foot and head are usually ivory-white.

Inca snail’s shell forms a spiral whorl with the apex to the side of their opening or aperture. Adult Golden Mystery snails have around four whorls. The shell whorl should be smooth-ish in texture from the apex to above the mantel.

Like most snails, they have an operculum. When they sense danger, they hide in their shells and close the operculum. In healthy snails, the operculum closes completely. When the snail dies, the operculum falls off. In sick snails, the operculum hangs open.

These snails have two long tentacles on their head. They use these tentacles to search for food and find their way around. Their eyes are behind the tentacles. Apple snails have structurally complex eyes and can regenerate the eye completely after amputation.

They have a second set of tentacles underneath the first pair. The second pair is near the mouth and the Inca snail uses these to eat. On the left side of the snail’s head is a siphon that the snail uses to draw water through its gills.


Golden Inca Snails are peaceful creatures. Most of the time they are grazing algae that grow in the tank. When they feel threatened they hide in their shell.


Adult Golden Mystery Snails are bigger than most other aquarium snails. They can grow up to 3 inches in size. In the store, they are usually 1 inch in size.


The average lifespan of a Gold Inca Snail is about one year. Under proper water conditions and a healthy diet, the snail can live for a bit longer.


Inca Snails are scavengers and will eat most edible materials found in the aquarium. They eat soft algae but won’t eat hard algae like Green Spot Algae.

They eat fish food, algae wafers, and decaying plant matter. A mixture of naturally occurring food and fish food is best for their diet.

Gold Mystery Snails can also eat blanched vegetables like cucumbers, broccoli, and lettuce. If feeding with vegetables, don’t leave uneaten vegetables in the fish tank for more than a day.

Tank Mates

Freshwater aquarium fish like:

Other Snails:

Some species of aquarium shrimp:

Avoid Goldfish and cichlids like the Jack Dempsey as these fish can attack or nip at the snail. They can also eat the snail.

Tank Size

Gold Inca Snail thrive in established tanks, large in size, and water volume to support their size. As far as the actual aquarium size, Gold Inca Snails can live in small tanks between 5-10 gallons or in larger tanks. Of course, the more fish, plants, snails, etc. in the tank, the larger it needs to be.

Water Conditions

A Gold Inca Snail does well in a wide range of aquarium water conditions. Try to aim for moderately moving, clear, oxygen-rich water (if only for aesthetics):

  • Aquarium pH: 7.2 – 7.5.
  • Water Temperature: 68 – 82 Degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Hardness & Minerals: Hard, supplement with calcium.
  • Lighting: Normal aquarium lighting.

Keep Inca snails in aquarium water on the hard side, with enough calcium levels to maintain healthy shell growth. The shell should not be thin or have excessive cracks or pits. Thin, cracked, or pitted shells can mean a calcium deficiency. In this case, periodic calcium supplements may be necessary.

Things To Consider

How To Buy Healthy Gold Inca Snails

When buying Gold Inca Snails be sure that there aren’t any cracks in the shell. There should not be any signs of wear and tear on the shell. Do not buy snails that are in tanks with other dead snails or dead fish.

The snail should be stuck to a hard surface or crawling on a hard surface. Do not buy a Gold Inca Snail that is motionless at the bottom of a tank or one that is floating upside down. Check the snail to make sure that it has its eyes and tentacles.

Live Plants

With live aquarium plants, it’s a hit or miss. There are instances where Gold Inca Snails eat live plants, but most live aquarium plants are safe so long as the snail is well fed.

If you are concerned about Inca snails eating your aquarium plants, choose plants with strong leaves. For example, Anubias Barteri or Amazon Sword.

Sometimes, the snail may prefer to eat live plants, and in this case, there’s nothing you can do about it unless you choose to remove the snail from the tank.


There needs to be a male and female Gold Inca snail to mate. Once the female is ready to lay eggs, she moves to the top of the tank to lay her eggs above or near the surface of the water. They lay their eggs in a cocoon-like structure that’s visible and easy to get rid of if you do not want baby snails.

Golden Inca snail laying eggs.
Golden Inca snail eggs.

Frequently Asked Questions

What do Gold Inca snails eat?

Gold Inca Snails eat naturally grown edible matter. However, snails may not survive on naturally grown algae in an aquarium so supplement their diet with supplements like fish food, bottom feeder pellets, and algae wafers.

How big do gold mystery snails get?

Gold Inca snails are quite large as adults, growing up to 3 inches in diameter.

Do gold Inca snails breed?

Breeding and reproduction: Unlike some snail that can reproduce asexually, Gold Inca snails need one snail of each sex to reproduce.