Nerite snails care guide

Are you sick and tired of algae in your tank – green spots on the glass and decorations? Nerite snails will do all the dirty job for you.They eagerly feed on hard Chlorophyta and at that they don’t touch the tank plants.


Nerite snail and other kinds have rather short lifespan – about a year. Their size may vary depending on the kind, but is average size is about 2 cm. The largest are zebra and tiger snails – their size is about 2.5 cm.

It’s impossible to describe their coloring clearly since there quite a lot of species. The coloring may vary – it can be black, dark brown, dark green, olive etc. Sometimes their shells have stripes, spots, stains and the shells themselves may have kind of horns.

Nowadays there are five popular kinds:

  1. Zebra Nerite Snail
  2. Tiger Nerite Snail
  3. Red Racer Nerite Snail
  4. Horned Nerite Snail
  5. Olive Nerite Snail

But more and more different popular kinds appear, which differ mainly in appearance.

Scientific NameNeritina natalensis
Common NameNerite snail
Tank size5 gallons (20 liters)
Temperature75–81 °F (24–27 °C)
Size1 inches (2.5 cm)
Zebra Nerite Snail
Tiger Nerite Snail
Red Racer Nerite Snail
Horned Nerite Snail
Olive Nerite Snail

Care and keeping in a tank

Tank size

Any closed tank starting from 5 gallons capacity with will do for keeping a snail. If a tank doesn’t have a lid snails can easily run away. Nerite snails can live almost in any tank, just keep in mind the problem of overpopulation.

For example, in a tank of 5 gallons capacity one can keep only several young snails but not more – there is little feed, not enough space, water parameters can vary greatly. So, the same rule works here as it is for fishes – the bigger is a tank, the better. However, small number of these snails can successfully inhabit even is very small tanks.

Water parameters

The following water parameters are recommended for keeping nerite snails: pH 6.5 -7.5, 5-25 dGH, water temperature 75–81 °F (24–27 °C) (22-25 °C optimal). When keeping snails in more soft water, their shell softens. It is a freshwater snail, however it can also inhabit in a bit salty water.

Nerite snails are completely not demanding in care and it can be kept even by beginners. Don’t put snails in a new aquarium, since green algae is the only feed for them. They eat even the algae that can be removed from tank walls only with sharp metal objects and luckily, nerite is totally indifferent to any tank plants.


It’s famous feature is their appetite to algae. If there isn’t enough algae in a tank they may starve and die. They really clean tanks.

This kind of snails – is an ideal aquarium inhabitant: it feeds on algae fouling on tank walls, snags and stones (soft film algae, soft green algae, soft brown algae, and brown diatoms), however they don’t feed on tank plants.

Except algae, diet can be complemented with algae wafers. The only trouble is that they tend to run away from the tank, therefore it has to be tightly closed.


Breeding can’t be performed in a tank. It’s considered that salty water is required for successful growth of their eggs, though it’s rather doubtful since some species live in highland lakes and there are lots of miles to the sea from there.

So, nerite snails are caught in their habitats and i then imported. They usually lay eggs in plants and bottom substrate. This fact is their only drawback, but it’s rather sufficient one.

There are lots of eggs and they look like small white spots which are on glasses, plants, decorations and substrate, and therefore they spoil the look of a tank. What can be done to avoid this?

It has been noticed, that if there are some nerite snails in a tank they start breeding intensely to get an optimal number of species in population. But if you raise the number of snails simultaneously living in a tank, they will stop laying the eggs. They noticed that population number is ok and stopped breeding.

15 snails are quite enough for 40-50 gallons tank and they won’t leave these white spots anywhere. It looks like 10-15 snails is a minimum number for a small capacity tank.

So, the more snails (not necessary of the same kind), the better.