Care Guide for Nerite Snails – Favorite Nano Algae Eater
Nerite snails are beloved for their ability to eat algae in fish tanks without breeding out of control. We currently care for approximately 1000 of them in our retail store, warehouse, and personal aquariums. How to keep these sweet critters happy in your own backyard.
What are Nerite Snails and how do they work?
Nerite snails are part of the Neritidae Family, which takes its name from the Greek sea god Nerites. Many of them are found in coastal areas around Africa and the Indo-Pacific region. The species sold in the aquarium industry range from 0.5-1.5 inches (1.3-3.8 cm) and live about 1-2 years.
What are the different kinds of nerite snails? Depending on the species, their shells may have solid colors, stripes, dots, zigzags, and even little spikes. The most popular varieties are the zebra and red racers, as well as the tiger and horned. Our favorite is the olive nerite snail because in our experience, it is one of the hardiest and easiest types to keep.
Nerite snails are available in many colors, patterns, shapes.
Are nerite snails capable of flipping themselves over? Unless other animals pick on them,
Why do my nerite snails keep dying? People usually have problems with them if the nerite snails aren’t getting enough food or minerals. They also can be sensitive to bad water quality. Your snail should be removed from the tank immediately if it’s hanging out of the shell or emits an unpleasant smell.
Nerite snails require enough food, minerals, and clean water to live a healthy life.
How to Set Up an Aquarium for Nerite Snails
A nerite snail is small enough to live in a nano tank that holds 2-3 gallons of water. It can also be kept at a wide temperature range. They prefer freshwater environments with high pH levels above 7.0. If you have soft tap water and notice your snails are getting cracked or eroded shells, increase the minerals in their water and food to keep the damage from progressing. We like to use crushed coral in our substrate and filter media to buffer up the pH. Seachem Equilibrium or Wonder Shells are added to the substrate as mineral supplements. These minerals provide calcium, magnesium and other trace elements.
These snails like to move up to the waterline to eat the white bands of mineral deposits left by evaporation and therefore may crawl out of the aquarium if you’re not careful. To prevent escape, make sure you have a tight-fitting lid and cover any snail-sized holes.
Can one nerite slug be your only? They are not social animals, and will most likely group together to breed and feed in the best areas.
Larger nerite snail next to some red cherry shrimp
What fish can live with nerite snails? Keep them with peaceful tank mates that won’t eat them, like small tetras, rasboras, and corydoras. They can be kept with small invertebrates of similar size, such as dwarf shrimp and ramshorn snails. We do not recommend keeping them with pufferfish, snail-eating loaches, or fish that are likely to nibble on their antennae or head tentacles.
What do Nerite Snails Eat?
As scavengers, they dine on anything they can find, including algae, leftover fish food, and decaying leaves. (They are completely safe for aquarium plants and only eat unhealthy or dead vegetation.) However, nerite snails can starve to death if there is not enough algae in the tank or other fish are outcompeting them for food. For them to eat, you can offer them algae wafers and blanched zucchini slices. Zoo Med Nano Banquet Food Blocks is our favourite snail food. These blocks not only provide calcium, plankton and spirulina, but also slowly dissolve to add calcium to the water.
Nerite snails can eat green spot alga (GSA), which can be difficult to remove from plants or hardscape.
How to Breed Nerite Snails
It is difficult to breed these snails because they are almost microscopic and can only be fed with brackish water or salt water. A few hobbyists recorded their experiences. They recommended that you make a saltwater or brackish tank with algae and a low flow air stone and using marine salt. Unlike many aquatic snails, nerite snails are not hermaphroditic and cannot change sexes. Since it is a bit difficult to visually sex them, aim for a group of six or more to ensure you have at least one male and one female. You can slowly adjust the adult snails into brackish water, and then let them lay eggs in a brackish-water breeding tank. Others allow the adult snails to lay eggs on driftwood in either a freshwater or brackish setup, and then transfer the driftwood to an entirely saltwater breeding system. The “sesame seed” that the nerite snails lay on driftwood are actually egg capsules with dozens of eggs inside.
The water temperature will determine how quickly the larvae hatch. You can feed them infusoria and green water. Once the larvae have developed into tiny snails with visible shells, you can start slowly acclimating them to fresh water by removing small amounts of salt water and replacing it with mineral-rich, fresh water over the course of 1-2 months.
While Aquarium Co-Op does not ship live animals, you can check out our preferred online retailers to browse their selection of nerite snails. We wish you all the best with your adorable cleanup crew and may you enjoy daily nature.