The Nerite Snail Resource

Nerite Snail
Nerite Snail
There are countless variations of Nerite Snails. So to give Keepers an idea of what they look like, common shell appearances include: black, brown, dark green, and dark red – usually with some sort of spot, or stripe, pattern.

Keeping Nerite Snails

On average, Nerite Snails live for 1-2 years when held in captivity. But, before a Keeper begins keeping these snails, there are a few things they should understand…


When adopting these snails, Keepers should understand that usually they aren’t sold as “Nerite Snails”. Because there are countless variations of these snails, most of the time, sellers will advertise their snails with the name of their respective variation, such as: Black Racer Nerite, Tiger Nerite, Sun Thorn Nerite, Zebra Nerite, Marble Nerite, and Ruby Nerite.

As always, we recommend Keepers only purchase these snails from reputable sources, as doing otherwise can bring harmful contaminants into their aquariums. Usually, most fish stores are a safe option for this, but if a Keeper would like to have the snails shipped to their door, we recommend they purchase their snails from Aquatic Arts because:

  1. They package their snails very well – inside a water pack, that’s inside a cup, that’s inside eco-friendly insulation, that’s inside a box.
  2. They are very good at communicating with their customers.
  3. They ship the snails very quickly.

Order Tiger Nerite Snails

Order Tiger Nerite Snails from Aquatic Arts


Order Zebra Nerite Snails

Order Zebra Nerite Snails from Aquatic Arts

Tank Size & Aquarium Population

When in comes to the tank size Nerite Snails require and the population of Nerite Snails that can be kept in that aquarium, there is something that Keepers should understand: Nerite Snails feed on algae – which naturally blooms in aquariums.

Because of this, Keepers should avoid two things:

  1. Keeping their Nerite Snails in aquariums that are too small.
  2. Stocking their aquariums too densely.

If either of these two things happens, their Nerite Snails will consume algae faster than it is being produced. Therefore, their Nerite Snails will eventually eliminate their food source and die. However, if Keepers do either of these two things, Keepers can compensate for the loss their Nerite Snails’ food source by adding Algae Wafers to their aquariums.

• What causes algae growth? (Opens a new tab)

Water Parameters

Snails are very sensitive to the water that they live in. If the water in their aquarium doesn’t reflect that of their natural habitat, they can become stressed – weakening their immune systems, causing them to be more prone to diseases. In regards to Nerite Snails, there are few aspects of their water that Keepers need to keep in check, they are:

  • Ammonia, Nitrite, & Nitrate Concentration
  • pH
  • Temperature

Let’s go into each one with more detail…

→ Ammonia, Nitrite, & Nitrate Concentration

Nerite Snails can only survive in water that has the following three aspects:

  • An Ammonia concentration of less than 0.2 mg/L
  • A Nitrite concentration of less than 0.2 mg/L
  • A Nitrate concentration of less than 20 mg/L.

• How do I perform a water change? (Opens a new tab)

→ pH

The value of pH refers to how acidic or basic a solution is. The pH scale ranges from 0 to 14. A pH of 7 is neutral. A pH less than 7 is acidic. A pH greater than 7 is basic.

When it comes to Nerite Snails, they can only survive in water that has a pH of 8.1-8.4.

→ Temperature

Nerite Snails can only survive in water that has a temperature of 72-78°F (22-26°C).

• How do I determine the volume of my aquarium? (Opens a new tab)


Snails require a filter on their aquarium for two reasons:

  1. To remove debris from their aquarium.
  2. To assist in breaking down Ammonia and Nitrites (refer to the Water Parameters section)

As a result, Keepers should equip their aquariums with a filter that pumps 5-10 times the amount of gallons in the aquarium, every hour. For example, a 20 gallon aquarium should be equipped with a filter that pumps 100-200 GPH (gallons per hour).

Also, Keepers should equip their filters with sufficient filter cartridges (refer to the user’s manual of the filter). Inside the filter cartridges is where a large portion of the bacteria that breaks down Ammonia and Nitrites will form (refer to the Water Parameters section).

Decor & Substrate

Snails thrive if their aquariums mimic the appearance of their natural habitat.

In regards to decor, the habitat of Nerite Snails consists mainly of rocks, so Keepers should add plenty of them when keeping these snails. In addition, Keepers can also add decorative pieces such as driftwood and plants to the aquarium. When arranging these things though, Keepers should do two things:

  1. Place the decor so that it creates plenty of caves and hiding places for the snails.
  2. Place the decor in a fashion that allows viewers to see all the snails (Don’t create a barrier for the snails to hide behind).

As far as substrate goes, Nerite Snails require a calcium substrate to ensure a healthy shell. So, ideally, their aquariums will feature lots of it. With that being said though, Keepers should ensure two things when adding substrate to their aquariums:

  1. That the substrate is cleaned beforehand so that the residue that is on it – that makes aquariums cloudy – is removed.
  2. That they fill their aquariums with at least 2 inches of substrate.


Snails thrive if their aquariums mimic the appearance of their natural habitat.

In regards to lighting, naturally the water of Nerite Snails is lit up by sunlight, so Keepers should add lights to their aquarium to replicate this.

The amount of time that Keepers need to leave the lights on varies, depending on the location of the aquarium. If the aquarium is in a well-lit room that gets natural sunlight, then 2-3 hours per day is all that is necessary. However, if the aquarium is in a room where no sunlight reaches, then the Keeper should turn the lights on during sunlight hours.


Nerite Snails have a reputation for being compulsive eaters. Oftentimes, they’ll eat relentlessly for long period of time, then will go days without even moving.

To be on the safe side, there are two things Keepers should do when it comes to feeding Nerite Snails, they are:

  • Feed them the correct amount of food.
  • Feed them the correct foods.

Let’s go into each one with more detail…

→ Feed Them The Correct Amount Of Food

On one hand, if snails are fed too small of servings, they can get nutritional deficiencies. If this happens, the immune system of the snails weakens – putting them at risk to harmful diseases.

On the other hand, if snails are fed too large of servings, two things can happen:

  1. The snails will eat too much food. If this happens, the stomach of the snails can become infected, or the snails will produce more waste – producing more ammonia. Either way, the immune system of the snails weakens – putting them at risk to harmful diseases.
  2. The snails will not eat all of the food given to them. This food will then decompose in the aquarium, producing ammonia. If this happens, the Keeper will have to clean the aquarium or the immune system of the snails weakens – putting them at risk to harmful diseases.

The serving size that we recommend for Nerite Snails varies, depending on the density of their population (refer to the Tank Size & Aquarium Population section).

→ Feed Them The Correct Foods

Nerite Snails are herbivores. They primarily feed on algae, but they have been known to eat some small plants and leaves as well. In general, if their aquarium is stocked properly, algae should bloom fast enough for Nerite Snails to survive off it. If it isn’t blooming fast enough, however, Keepers should add Algae Wafers to their aquariums for the Nerite Snails to feed on. Also, Keepers can feed their Nerite Snails the following vegetables as well:

  • Zucchini
  • Spinach
  • Blanched Lettuce

Tank Mates

Nerite Snails can live among other Nerite Snails without any issues whatsoever. However, when it comes to living with other species, they can only survive with invertebrates and peaceful community fish. Frankly, the only type of aquatic life they shouldn’t live amongst is large, aggressive fish, like cichlids.

Health Issues

Some of the most common shell-related health issues for Nerite Snails include the following:

  • Stunted Shell Growth can occur if Nerite Snails are exposed to low water temperatures, or if they aren’t eating enough food. To avoid any issues, Keepers should refer to the Temperature section of this resource.
  • Shell Discoloration can occur if Nerite Snails are eating too much food. This happens because their shell will grow at a faster rate if they are over-eating. This explains why wild Nerite Snails are often darker. In the wild, food is often scarce, so their shells grow slow and dark. To avoid any issues, Keepers should refer to the Feeding section of this resource.
  • Shell Deterioration can occur if Nerite Snails are lacking calcium. As a result, their shells will become fragile, create cracks, and holes may even appear. To avoid any issues, Keepers should refer to the Decor/Substrate section of this resource.

Some of the most common body/tissue-related health issues for Nerite Snails include the following:

  • Loss Of Tentacles can occur if Nerite Snails are kept in an aquarium that holds incompatible tank mates as the tank mates will pick on, and bite, the snails. To avoid any issues, Keepers should refer to the Tank Mates section of this resource.
  • Mantle Collapse occurs when the Mantle – the thin, sac-like layer between the body of the snail and their shell – detaches. Unfortunately, the Mantle is responsible for holding together all the organs of the snail. So, once it collapses, not much can be done to save the snail’s life. Sometimes they will recover, but more often than not, they die within a few days.
  • Oedema is a disease that usually occurs in the latter part of the life of Nerite Snails. If a Nerite Snail gets this disease, their body fills up with fluid – making the snail very swollen and slow(er) moving.
  • Parasites can be either internal or external. However, it is only the external parasites that Keepers can actually see – they look like white spots on the snail. Depending on the parasite, they can take the life of Nerite Snails.


Breeding Nerite Snails

All Breeders really have to do to breed Nerite Snails is place at least one male and one female in a suitable aquarium environment and their natural behaviors should do the rest. But, here is some information that Breeders may find useful…

Reproduction Process

Unlike most kinds of snails, Nerite Snails do not reproduce a-sexually. Instead, they require a partner of the opposite sex to reproduce. As you can expect, males have a penis and females have a sperm-holding organ.

Once the eggs are fertilized by the male, the female lays the eggs all over the place – on plants, driftwood, rocks, etc. These eggs look like small white capsules. Generally speaking, they start to develop into larvae after about 2-3 days.

Our Recommended Breeding Techinque

There are several techniques to breeding Nerite Snails, but this technique is what we have found to be most effective…

Keep several male and female Nerite Snails in an appropriate aquarium setting, but alter it to feature these characteristics:

  • Water type: Brackish
  • Water temperature: 79°F (26°C)
  • Serving size: Double

After Nerite Snails have been in an aquarium like this for a week or so, eggs begin to appear throughout the aquarium. When the eggs develop into snails, Breeders can transfer them to freshwater, saltwater, or brackish water, as long as they acclimate them to the new aquarium.


More Information


Nerite Snails are indigenous in the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea – near the inner tidal areas. Up until now, it is their reputation for being the best algae-cleaning snail for aquariums, and their intriguing appearance, that has made these snails the most popular snail for Keepers.


Nerite Snails are known for two reasons:

  1. Being the best algae-cleaning snails for aquariums.
  2. Breeding like rabbits.

Conservation Status

The Conservation Status of Nerite Snails was most recently published in 2010 as Near Threatened, according to the IUCN.

Taxonomic Status

The Taxonomic Status of Nerite Snails was most recently pubilished in 1855 by Reeve as the following:

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Mollusca
Class: Gastropoda
Order: Cycloneritimorpha
Family: Neritidae


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