Nerite Snail: Ultimate Guide (Care, Guide, Diet, Breeding, & More)

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Written By Matt Stevens

Hi, I'm Matt! I've been obsessed with fishkeeping for over 15 years now and created this site to share my knowledge with others.

When it comes to choosing snails for your freshwater tank, Nerite Snails are among the top options. Not only do they look wonderful and easy to care for, but they also do a stellar job of keeping your tank squeaky clean.

Apart from freshwater tanks, they are also known to thrive in saltwater environments. They are also known to be active algae eaters, which is why you will often see them move around the aquarium.

These species of snails are also suitable for beginners and aquatic enthusiasts because they are hardy and can survive a few rookie mistakes. Generally, Nerite Snails are easy to take care of and don’t have any particular requirements.

Having said that, you should know what you have to do in order to look after them so that you maintain consistency in everything you do.

For this purpose, we have prepared this special care guide that would familiarize you with everything you need to know about caring for Nerite Snails, including their habitat, water parameters, diet, breeding, tank mates, and various factors. Let’s get right to it without further ado.

Species Summary

Nerite Snails belong to the Neritidae family and have the scientific name Neritina natalensis. Their family also contains 200 other species, and they are also usually found in seashore waters, rivers, and streams.

This is why some of them prefer freshwater conditions, while others thrive in saltwater environments.

Life Span1-2 years
Color FormDepending on the species
Care levelEasy
CompatibilityPeaceful creatures
SizeUp to 1 inch
Tank SetupFreshwater with rocks and driftwood
Minimum Tank Size5 Gallons

Most of the snails that you find in aquariums come from the slightly salty waters of Eastern Africa, where they find a combination of freshwater and salty seawater. Most of the saltwater species are native to the coast of the Pacific Ocean or the Caribbean.

Nerite Snails were identified after a long time by scientists in most areas because they look quite similar to other species of fish. Some of the other freshwater snails are native to the Indian Ocean coast of Africa. Therefore, scientists had a lot of confusion.

These snails are quite peaceful and spend most of their time searching for algae in the wild, as well as in captivity. This trait makes them highly popular among the aquarium community.


The average lifespan for Nerite Snail is between 1 and 2 years, and it is highly unlikely for them to live any longer than this. Regardless of how well you care for them, you won’t guarantee that it will increase their lifespan.

However, if you subject them to poor water conditions, it would shorten their lifespan. Whether they live for only one month or two years, and regardless of how much money you have spent on them, you should treat them with care and do everything in your power to make sure that they live comfortably and happily.


Nerite Snails have a similar appearance to regular aquatic snails, and there isn’t anything unique or distinct about their look that would make them stand out from the rest.

Still, they have really amazing combinations of color and patterns on their bodies. Since there are several different types of Nerite Snails, each of them varies in appearance. This is why we will have a look at their types in the subsequent section.

Types of Nerite Snails

As mentioned above, there are different types of Nerite Snails and each of them have different patterns and colors. If you get various types in the same aquarium, you would love to see them moving around in your tank.

Let’s have a look at some of the popular types in greater detail, along with their appearances.

Black Racer Nerite Snail

Black Racer Nerite Snails have a subtle dark pattern that makes them look beautiful. They look like a piece of dark-colored wood with a grainy pattern on their body that stretches along with their shell.

Horned Nerite Snail

These are amongst the most popular types of Nerite Snails, and they have rows of yellow and black patterns on their shell, along with small horns protruding along with one color. This gives them a unique and vibrant look.

Olive Nerite Snail

Olive Nerite Snails have an olive-colored and beautiful coloration, and since they are quite small, they look just like an olive too. The coil of their shell features a couple of swirling lines as well.

Red Racer Nerite Snail

Red Racer Nerite Snails are known to be very colorful and vibrant. They are bright yellow or red and have a thick patterned stripe that extends down the middle of their shell. The stripe generally represents a series of arrows, which is why they are named the Red Racer.

Tiger Nerite Snail

Tiger Nerite Snails have a mesmerizing pattern on their shells, which is a combination of yellow and orange. Upon closer look, this would look like a polished wooden knob, and it also has a set of small black stripes that repeat all over their shell.

Zebra Nerite Snail

Zebra Nerite Snails are highly popular in the aquarium community, and they get their name due to the unique black stripes that they have all over their shell. Some of the specimens also have different colored patterns on their shells.


Nerite Snails have a size of only 1 inch in diameter. Although they can’t grow any bigger than this, their growth might be affected if they are subjected to poor water and tank conditions. If you want them to grow to their full potential, take good care of them.

Nerite Snail Care

Nerite Snails are really easy to take care of, and they are quite low-maintenance as well. However, this doesn’t mean that you can slack off on their care. You should have a thorough understanding of their care guidelines, which you will find out about in the following sections.

Tank Size

The minimum tank size for a Nerite Snail is 10 gallons, but this is only for one snail. If you want to add more, just increase 5 gallons for every extra critter that you want to add.

Most aquarists would tell you that a 10-gallon tank is sufficient for a couple of snails, but we believe even they need some room to move around and grow comfortably.

However, a group of Nerite Snails can produce a significant amount of bio-load, even though they are algae eaters and do a lot of good in the tank. If the amount of bio-load increases significantly, you might have a problem on your hands.

Water Parameters

In order to keep Nerite Snails healthy, you should maintain consistent water parameters as well. Since they help you in keeping the tank clean by eating algae, you should also facilitate their growth.

As compared to other aquatic creatures, the water parameters for these snails are a little stringent. They aren’t as hardy and resilient as other snails, which is why you should maintain proper conditions.

For starters, the water temperature should range between 72°F to 78°F, while the pH should be maintained between 7 to 8.5. Last but not least, the water hardness should be between 6 to 12 dH.

In order to ensure consistent conditions, it is very important to perform regular water tests and water changes. For this purpose, you will also need to invest in a water testing kit.

If you have a lot of Nerite Snails in the tank, changing the water can keep the ammonia and nitrate levels at bay, which is caused by a high amount of bio-load.

What to Put in Their Tank?

When it comes to setting up the tank for Nerite Snails, you should replicate their natural environment as closely as possible. Since they are found on the coast, they are used to rocks and hiding places. Therefore, you will have to add hiding spots, rocks, and driftwood for them in the tank.

This way, these snails will have ample space to hide and find shelter when they need to. Rocks also provide a buildup of algae, so your snails will have enough of it to feed on regularly.

Since they have soft skin, you should opt for a sandy substrate, so that it doesn’t scratch their delicate skin. This would enable them to move around easily, without hurting themselves.

Common Diseases

Generally, Nerite Snails are quite tough, but they are susceptible to a couple of diseases. The most common disease that affects them is called Oedema, and it causes extreme swelling, mainly due to fluid imbalance in their bodies.

Oedema is easy to identify, but it’s cause is hard to know about. You can only wait it out to see if things improve. This is mostly common in older snails, so if you have gotten younger ones, you won’t have any problems.

Most diseases affect their shells, which is why you can use them as an indicator. If you notice any white spots on them, take it as a sign of an infection or illness, particularly a parasitic infection.

If you notice any of these signs, make sure to increase the salinity to a gravity of 1.003 and quarantine the snails if nothing happens in a few days.

What Do Nerite Snails Like to Eat?

As you may have gauged already, Nerite Snails like to eat algae in the wild, as well as in captivity. This is why you should add rocks and caves that can facilitate algae growth. If you find them latched on a rock or on the glass walls, this means that they are eating algae.

Live rocks are the best choice in this regard because they would serve both as a hiding place and a food source. If you think there aren’t enough algae in the tank, then you can feed them on algae wafers. Make sure that you don’t overfeed them, as this can lead to serious health issues for them.

Apart from algae wafers, you can also add green vegetables into the tank for your Nerite Snails, provided that they are cut into small pieces. Some of the best choices include lettuce and spinach, and you can also try out homemade recipes for fish food to supplement their diet.

Also keep in mind that Nerite Snails are herbivores, and you should keep this in mind while preparing or feeding them with anything. Normally, the algae that grow in the water are sufficient for them, and they don’t need additional nutrition.

However, you should keep an eye on their feeding activities, so that you don’t overfeed them, as it could cause several health problems.

Behavior & Temperament

Nerite Snails are known to be mellow and peaceful creatures. Mostly, they are seen moving around the tank, searching for algae. They never trouble or engage with other species in the aquarium, so this is a relief for you.

A unique trait of their behavior is that they often retreat and rest for a couple of days, which makes owners believe that they have a problem. Even though they are resting, make sure to observe them keenly, so that any disease or problem can be identified right away.

Nerite Snail Tank Mates

Ideally, the best tank mates for Nerite Snails are those who won’t try to eat them. Since they are peaceful species, they wouldn’t get along with any creatures that will pick on them. These include Cichlids, Crayfish, Goldfish, and other snail-eating fish.

This is why Nerite Snails get along well with their own kind, as well as different species of shrimp, including Amano Shrimp, Cherry Shrimp, and Ghost Shrimp. Other than this, you can also place them with Mellow fish.

Some of the suitable tank mates for Nerite Snails include:

Generally, creatures that are larger and more aggressive aren’t good tank mates for the Nerite Snails, and they get along well with species that don’t provoke them.


When it comes to breeding Nerite Snails, there is a lot of confusion and varying viewpoints among aquatic experts and enthusiasts. Even though everything else is so easy and comprehensive about these snails, breeding them can become quite difficult.

The main reason for the confusion regarding their breeding is because experts suggest that their eggs can only be laid and bred in a freshwater aquarium, while their larvae thrive in saltwater only.

Therefore, this causes a lot of confusion and varying information in the aquarium community when it comes to Nerite Snails.

The best way to facilitate the breeding of Nerite Snails is to transfer them to a tank that has brackish water, i.e. a combination of freshwater and saltwater. It would greatly foster the conditions for their mating and also make it easier for the larvae to thrive.

Apart from this, you can’t do much to get them to breed with each other. It can take quite a lot of time, which often frustrates aquarium owners and leads them to abandon the process in between. You have to be patient if you want them to breed and replicate.

Unlike other species of snails, the female Nerite Snails lay eggs that are fertilized by the males. Nothing more has to be done after this, and when 12-15 hours have passed, the larvae has completely formed and are ready to move around.

Final Thoughts

This concludes our guide on how to care for Nerite Snails and take great care of their habitat, water conditions, diet, breeding, and much more. They are a delight to watch and keep in the tank, and they don’t require any extra care or effort.

Moreover, it is really fun to observe them move around and even climb the glass walls in order to munch on algae. If you want a snail in your tank, we heartily suggest that you get the Nerite Snails, that too from a reputed and reliable pet store.

Not only are they fun to watch, but they also come in various vibrant color combinations. This helps you in getting quite a lot of variety, even from the same species.

Plus, you can easily care for them if you adhere to the care guidelines that we have mentioned in this comprehensive guide. This way, you will be able to ensure that they live up to their lifespan and grow to their full size.