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. You can learn how to keep these beautiful critters happy at home.
What are Nerite Snails?
Nerite snails belong to the Neritidae family. It derives its name after a Greek sea goddess called 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 types of nerite slugs do you have? The shells of different species can be solid, stripes, dots or zigzags depending on their species. There are many varieties that are popular, including zebra, red racers, tiger and black racers. Our favorite is the olive nerite snail because in our experience, it is one of the hardiest and easiest types to keep.
Nerite snails come in a variety of colors, patterns, and shapes.
Are nerite snails capable of flipping themselves over? Unless other animals pick on them,
Why does my nerite shell keep dying? If the nerite shrimps don’t have enough food and minerals, then people often have problems with them. They can also be sensitive to poor water quality. If your snail is hanging out of its shell or has an unpleasant smell, remove it from the tank so that the body won’t cause a toxic spike in ammonia or nitrite.
Nerite snails require enough food, minerals, and clean water to live a healthy life.
How to Set Up an Aquarium for Nerite Snails
Because of its small size, the nerite slug can be kept in nano tanks as small as 2 to 3 gallons. They are able to tolerate a wide range tropical temperatures. Many of their species are bred from brackish water, so they prefer freshwater with a higher pH than 7.0 and plenty of minerals. To prevent your snails from getting damaged, increase the amount of minerals in the water and food they drink. We like to use crushed coral in our substrate and filter media to buffer up the pH. Seachem Equilibrium and Wonder Shells can be added as mineral supplements. They provide calcium, magnesia, and other trace element.
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.
Do you think you can have only one nerite? Not really. They gather together for breeding in the best places and to feed each other.
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 are Nerite Snails able to 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. You can feed them alga wafers, zucchini slices blanched, and canned green beans. Zoo Med Nano Banquet Food Blocks, which provide calcium, plankton, spirulina and other nutrients, are our favorite snail food.
Nerite Snails are one of few animals that will eat Green Spot Alga (GSA), a hardy plant that is difficult to remove.
How to Breed Nerite Snails
The breeding of these snails can be difficult because the microscopic larvae require salt or brackish water. A few hobbyists shared their experiences. Neriites snails can’t change their sexes like other aquatic snails. It is difficult to see them sex so aim to have at least one male and one woman. Some people slowly introduce the adult snails in brackish water to allow them to breed in a brackish environment. Others let the adult snails lay eggs on driftwood in a freshwater or brackish water setup and then move the driftwood to a fully saltwater breeding tank. Interestingly, the hard, white “sesame seeds” laid by the nerite snails are actually egg capsules that each contain dozens of eggs inside.
The time it takes for the larvae to hatch depends on how warm the water is. 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. Enjoy nature every day and best of luck to these adorable cleanup crew members.