Nerite Snails – Detailed Guide: Care, Diet and Breeding

Nerite snail zebra

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, let me introduce you one of the best algae eater – The beautiful and exceptional spot-algae warrior, Nerite snail! Applause, please.

Nerite snails are a great addition to any planted aquarium and they will be really good friends the dwarf shrimp. Unlike some other common aquarium snails, they do not reproduce in freshwater aquaria. Thus, they will never overpopulate your tank.

I suppose I should start off by saying that I wanted to write this article a long time ago. I have read lots of official reports and studies, Internet articles, guides and forums about Nerite snails. A lot of things contradict each other. It took me some time (frankly saying, a lot!) to process and systemizes all information.

I believe that this is the first article (of that size) on the Internet based on different studies. The point is that it supposed to be a simple topic; in reality, it is not simple at all. I think that you have already guessed that I am referring to the problem of breeding Nerite snails.

Anyway, without further ado let’s start.

Nerite snails – check out the price on Amazon

Types of Nerite Snails

There are many species of Nerite Snails. Thus, there is a great amount of variability between their color patterning and shell shapes. However, one thing stays the same about all of them, they all look gorgeous and they are awesome algae eaters.

Now, I am not going to list all types of Nerite snails, there are simply too many of them (way too many!). However, the most popular ones in this hobby:

  1. Zebra nerite snails (Neritina natalensis Zebra)
  2. Tiger nerite snails (Neritina turrita)
  3. Olive nerite snails (Neritina reclivata)
  4. Horned nerite snails (Neritina Clithon corona)
  5. Black (Red, Gold) Racer nerite snails (Neritina pulligera, Vittina waigiensis)
  6. Red Spotted nerite snails (Neritina natalensis sp)

Have you noticed that in articles authors usually use common and scientific names when they talk about shrimp or fish? What about Nerite snails?

In most cases, you will not see their scientific names in the articles and guides. Do you know why? Because everything is just too confusing and nobody knows for sure who is who. For example, let’s take a Tiger nerite snail. We have Neritina turrita (Chemnitz, 1786) and Neritina turrita (Gmelin, 1791). Are they the same Species? 

According to one of the studies, “Nerites identification is still in the very complicated problem to solve. Some of the problems such as shell polymorphism, synonyms or multiple names that are used by the author, then it has not been published and identified”.

It took me some time to find the scientific name of Black Racer nerite snail and, actually, I am not 100% sure that it is right. Maybe it also belongs to Vittina waigiensis species. Nonetheless, despite all this mess, adult Nerite snails (on average) share approximately the same parameters and water requirements.

Quick Notes about Nerite Snails

Name Nerite Snails
Tank size (optimal) 1 per 5 gallons (~20 liters)
Keeping Easy
Breeding Difficult – Impossible
Size 1.5 – 2.5 cm (0.5 – 1 inch)
Temperature 20 to 30 C  (~65°F – 85°F)
Optimal PH 7 – 8
Optimal GH 7 – 15
Optimal KH 8  (5-12)
TDS (optimal) 150-250 (100-400)
Nitrate Less than 20 ppm
Diet Algae eater/omnivore
Temperament Peaceful and solitary
Life span 1-3 years
Color Form Species-Dependent (huge variety of colors and patterns)

About Nerite snails

Nerite snails are widespread around the world. In nature, they live mainly on hard substrates such as rocks and driftwood. Rivers, streams, creeks, mangrove swamps, lakes, lagoons, ponds, and mouth areas of rivers are all their habitats. Nerite snails are used to changing water levels, so they can live without any problems in freshwater and brackish water aquariums.  

Description and Appearance of some Nerite Snails

Zebra nerite snailZebra nerite snail. The basic colors range between an intense golden-yellow and light brown, and from greenish-yellow to yellowish-brown. The strips are uneven. There can be big light ridges at the base of the shell. Variety of dark bands give the zebra snail its characteristic appearance.  An average length is about 2.5 to 3 cm, which makes it one of the most impressive snails. Mistakenly, it is often referred to as Vittina coromandeliana, or as Neritina coromandeliana. However, studies have shown that they have different stripes variations.

Olive nerite snail

Olive nerite snail. In some places, aquarists also call it “Black marble snail”. They have a rounded, smooth shell of olive to brownish-green coloration giving them their common name. The largest specimens of this species are less than an inch across.

Horned nerite snails

Horned nerite snails. The alternative names are Sunny snail or Bumblebee snail. The main feature is the small spikes protruding from the front of the shell. These spikes often break, but it does not affect the well-being of the snail. The snail will grow up to 1/2 – 2/3 inch (1,2-2 cm). Their antennae are very short which is a good bonus; if you want to keep them with fish, (they will not attract fish to nip at them).

Read more about these snails in my guide here.

Red racer nerite snail Red racer nerite snail has an interesting gleaming ebony color with slight grooves on its shell, running parallel to the aperture all the way back. The shells can have areas of dark gold, dark grey, or even black. An average length is about 2.5 to 3 cm (about 1 inch). Interesting fact: they are the fastest crawlers compared to all other types of Nerite Snails.

Tiger nerite snail Tiger nerite snail has a dark amber color with small black markings (the patterns resemble tiger stripes) that form encircling stripes. Their maximum size is about 1 inch.

Every snail has a unique shell pattern variation and it makes them even more interesting to watch. 

Related articles:

The Diet of Nerite Snails. Algae

All nerite snails are detritivores and herbivores and are widely known as one of, if not the most, efficient algae eaters out of all aquarium snails. They really like soft algae, green spot algae, green dust algae, hair algae, brown algae, and even black beard algae if no other sources of food are available.

Nerite snails will make the slices, roots, plant leaves, and decoration items spotlessly clean. They move slow but leave nothing behind.

If there are not enough algae present in the aquarium, the diet can be supplemented with algae wafers or blanched vegetables such as zucchini or carrots (read my article how to blanch vegetables). Otherwise, they will eat all the algae and then starve.

Note: Unfortunately, supplementary food is not their favorite choice and it takes time for them to get used to. Yes, they are a little bit fussy in that sense but all in all Nerite snails are a very popular choice for keeping uneaten food and algae in check. 

Fortunately, unlike some aquatic snails, Nerite snails do not seem to eat plant leaves even when they are very hungry.

These snails move fast and work over the entire tank daily. The best cleanup crew in the hobby for planted tanks. They just keep working as fast as snails can do.

Note: Nerite snails eat a lot and poop quite a bit. All snails add too much to the bioload of the aquarium. However, your shrimp will love that! Snail poop has bacteria that are good for the digestive system of the shrimp. You can also read my article how shails benefit shrimp tank right here.

How many Nerite Snails do you need?

If you are buying them for algae control, the general rule is 1 snail per 5-10 gallons (~20-40 liters). Of course, it depends on the conditions of your tank and how much algae you have.

If the situation is totally out of control (as if you do not see the opposite side of your tank), aquarists recommend keeping 1 Nerite snail per 1-3 gallons (~10 liters). Personally, it seems a bit too much. There is no rush. Eventually, Nerite snails will deal with this problem and if you have lots of them, it will become problematic to feed them later.

The Behavior of Nerite Snails

Nerite snails are very peaceful and undemanding creatures. Once they have adjusted to new conditions in the aquarium, they become extremely robust and hardy enough.

They will not bother anybody in the aquarium. In addition, they usually do not sit in groups. Nerite snails absolutely do not care about the company of any other Nerite snail in the tank as well. So, do not think that they will feel lonely.

Nerite snails are not pure water snails and from time to time can climb outside of the aquarium. That is why, when keeping any type of these snails, it is a good idea to make sure the water line in your aquarium is not too high. These snails are well-known escape artists. Unfortunately, they often fall to the ground after that and have a hard time flipping over. Nerites left upside down can die that way.

Complex aquascapes can be dangerous for them because they can easily get stuck and lost.

Note: It is advisable to cover the tank because these snails can escape from open top tanks.
Interesting fact: snails can be awake for 30+ hours with clusters of around seven bouts of sleeping over a 13-15 hour period.

Gender difference of Nerite Snails

Nerite snail gender differenceUnlike some other snails, Nerites are not hermaphrodite. They have distinct sexes individually. The problem is that there are no external features that could distinguish between males and females. Therefore, nobody knows how to do it with the naked eye.

If you decide to breed them, you will need a group of 5-6 to improve the odds of getting both genders. Of course, you can be lucky with just two of the same species.

Note: Actually, there is a hypothesis that the sex of Nerite Snails can be determined if there are numerous individuals of the same age, kept in the same environment, and fed the same foods. In this case, the females are a little bit bigger than the males. Frankly saying, I do not think that anybody can prove or disprove this hypothesis. It is just too hard to breed them even without these conditions.

Life Span of Nerite Snails

If you meet their needs, they can live for several years (at least 1-3 years). Some aquarists say that their Nerite snails lived up to 5 years. I believe that it really depends on the conditions you are keeping them, how well you feed them, and the size they are when you get them.  

Keeping Nerite Snails

Although they have different appearances, their care requirements are essentially the same.

What is really good about these snails is that they can take a wide range of water parameters. Nerite snails will accept the water temperature range from 65 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. In fact, they can take even warmer temperatures (not extreme of course). Under low temperatures, their metabolism slows down, and they eat and move less.

The optimal pH range is between 7 and 8 and they definitely prefer harder water. Keeping suitable pH is absolutely crucial for snails. If it gets lower than the prescribed number, it will affect the snails harmfully because acidic conditions dissolve the shells of snails made of calcium carbonate. Therefore, harder water is generally better for the integrity of their shell.

They do not do quite as well in the low flow low oxygen setup.

Note: With time, when they get old, the shells of Nerite snails, show considerable deterioration while their inhabitants are still alive and reproductively active, giving them the appearance of dead or empty shells. Although the worn-out appearance of these shells may be an inevitable outcome of their tendency to dissolve in calcium-poor water.

Tip:  They are all sensitive to nitrates and need hard water. Pieces of limestone or crushed coral are also good in a tank with Nerite snails. Wondershells will buffer your water and increase calcium quickly. While crushed coral or cuttlebone will erode more slowly over time to help keep it stable.

I highly recommend reading my article “How to Supplement Shrimp and Snails with Calcium”.

Do not forget to acclimate any Nerite snail (the same way as shrimp) before putting them in the tank. Read it here

Tank Equipment (links to check the price on Amazon)

The Mating Process of Nerite Snails

During mating, the male stays over the right side of the female, inserting his male organ below her mantle edge. After that, the female uses her foot to transfer the egg capsules to the surface to fix them there.

Breeding Nerite Snails

Breeding these snails is a pain in the as… back. Everybody knows that Nerite snails can thrive in both freshwater and salt waters but require saltwater to reproduce. But how? Why even the most experienced aquarists and invertebrate keepers and breeders have not been able to successfully raise Nerite snails and why do we see fail after fail after all these years?

Why do we fail breeding Nerite Snails?

In my opinion, there are three main reasons why aquarists have a hard time doing it.  

  1. There are hundreds(!) of Nerite species, they live in different environments and can have different types of development. People have a different experiences with different species, which look very similar. I have already mentioned that even biologists have difficulties with this. As a result, we do not have a systematic experience for specific species. So, when we start discussing this matter, the results do not match. Things start heating up, people call each other names and nobody knows for sure anything. This is not very productive.
  2. It is very hard to raise/feed them after hatching. We do not really know their diet and cannot fully replicate their environment.
  3. All “traditional” approaches are erroneous and based on false information. In the past, more than once aquarists have seen similar examples. Just think about it. How do Nerite snails end up in freshwater if they can breed only in brackish water? In some cases, it will take dozens of years for the snail to cross this distance.

For example, in the study “Freshwater neritids (Mollusca: Gastropoda) of tropical islands, amphidromy as a life cycle, a review” biologists said and I quote “After a few weeks spent at sea metamorphosed juveniles recruit at river mouths and then migrate (often over 10 km) upstream where they spend the rest of their life… Juvenile forms have been observed to move together in long lines and/or dense aggregations. Such migrations of freshwater neritids were reported for example in Hawaii, Costa Rica, French Polynesia, and Puerto Rico… until finding adult habitats. During the upstream migration, juveniles (6 mm) of Neritina granosa grow to about 9 mm over several months; growth then continues at a rate of 1-3 mm per year, slowing until they reach a mean maximum adult length of 29 mm. Ford (1979) suggested a 10-year lifespan”. Who has Nerite snails, which are 8-10 years old? I have never heard about it.

Study of Breeding Neritina zebra snail

Anyway, I do not want to start another Internet “holy war” here. That is why I will refer to the study of Neritina zebra snail. The biologists researched the spawning and development of Neritina zebra under laboratory conditions and I would like to share their results with you. If you disagree, you can throw stones at them. 😀

Based on the larval ecology of benthic invertebrates, there are three main types of development:
1. Planktotrophic: when the development involves planktonic larvae feeding on external food particles;
2. Lecithotrophic: when non-feeding larvae will metamorphose after a period of a few hours or days in the plankton;
3. Intracapsular metamorphosis which occurs before hatching.

According to the study, Neritina zebra has a mixed development (Come on!). As are other snails of the same genus, which inhabit environments with a strong freshwater influence. Biologists observed that Neritina zebra has intracapsular and planktonic larval stages. Therefore, the whole process looks like this.

The egg capsules (intracapsular development) of Nerite Snails

After mating, the females deposit egg capsules on any available substratum such as driftwood, leaves, including shells of other snails.

At first, the egg capsules have a yellowish color when deposited. Then they become darker as development progresses.

Neritina snail egg capsuleThe egg capsules have an oval shape and are extremely small (1-1.5mm long and about 1mm wide). The capsules also have a thin membrane surrounding the eggs. Each capsule has, on average, 68 eggs (ranging from 32-106). Surprise!

Note: Almost all guides about Nerite snails (even at the top of Google search) say that they lay eggs. Well, this is not correct! What you see and think are nerite eggs are actually capsules with dozens of little eggs in them!

Larval development (planktotrophic development) of Nerite Snails

After hatching, we have a release of veliger in the water. A veliger is the planktonic larvae of the snails. They are very tiny at this stage. (Of course, they are! Almost 70 planktonic larvae can fit into 1,5 mm!).

Planktonic larvae (veliger) of Nerite snails

  • At a salinity of 5 ppt the capsules released veligers, after 21 days.
  • At a salinity of 15 ppt, development was slower than at 5, and after 25 days, despite having well-formed veligers, they did not hatch at all.

To induce the hatching of these larvae, biologists decreased salinity from 15 to 10. The capsules opened 24 or 48 h after this salinity change releasing the veligers.

There were differences in the duration of embryonic and larval stages between the two salinities.

The differences in reproduction between Neritina species

Here comes yet another problem with Nerite snails. Although all species of the family Neritidae deposit their eggs in characteristic capsules, there are differences in reproductive strategies between species.

Three types of reproductive behavior have been described in the scientific literature:

1. Freshwater species, for example, such as

They hatch as miniature adults, a crawling snail (intracapsular metamorphosis).

2. Estuarine species (estuaries form a transition zone between river environments and maritime environments), for example, such as

  • Neritina granosa,
  • Neritina listeria,
  • Clithon retropictus,
  • Neritina afra,
  • Neritina latissima
  • Clithon spinosus,
  • Neritina canalis.

They hatch as planktotrophic veligers larvae, and they can show amphidromic behavior.

3. Marine species, for example, such as

  • Nerita atramentosa,
  • Nerita plicata,
  • Smaragdia viridis,
  • Nerita albicilla,
  • Nerita funiculata.

They hatch as long-lived planktotrophic veligers larvae.

Feeding larvae Nerite snail larvae (veligers)

Like Amano shrimp larvae, Nerite veligers are also attracted to light. Therefore, lure them to a spot with a flashlight or adjustable lamp in the corner of the aquarium. Once they are in the right place, it is easier to feed the majority of them all at once. You can use this trick to feed them more efficiently.  

Note: Unfortunately, nobody has conducted any research on how often Nerite snail veligers need to eat. There are scarce pieces of information that 2-3 times a day might be good enough.

Examples of the diet of Nerite snail veligers

Yet again, this is an attempt to replicate of what they can possibly get in the wild.

1. Algae.
2. Golden Pearls (5-50 Microns) (link to see the price on Amazon).
3. Spirulina Powder (mixed with water) (link to see the price).
4. Phytoplankton (Tetraselmis) (link to see the price).

How often do Nerite snails lay egg capsules?

Well, this is another mystery. Some snails will lay eggs for a while and then stop completely. Others seem to lay in cycles while still others never lay eggs at all.

I have read in one of the guides that Nerite snails start breeding rapidly to get an optimal number of species in the population. However, if you increase the number of snails simultaneously living in a tank, they will stop laying eggs.

Honestly, I have not seen anything like that anywhere. I have a hard time believing it.

Preparing Larvae Rearing Tank for Nerite Snails

You do not need a big one, 1-5 gallons tank is enough. Leave the lights on for 24 h (you need algae for the larvae to support them).

Prepare brackish water – 5-10 ppt. Increased temperature of 80 – 85F (26 – 30C) will help to speed up the metabolism and growth of Nerite snail veligers. Filtration – little to no mechanical filtration. It can suck them up. Covering inputs with a net (or anything similar) will not prevent it. They are simply too small. An air bubble line should be set very low at 1 – 2 bubbles every 1 – 2 seconds.

When the tank is ready, move the item with egg capsules to the rearing tank.
Note: do not even try to move the egg-capsules by scrapping them. You will damage them.  

Water changes in Larvae Rearing Tank for Nerite Snails

This is another uncharted territory. Larvae should not produce a lot of bioload. Therefore, if your water parameters are good enough then there is no reason to do it. If you have nitrates, keep using the trick with the light to move any larvae over to one side, siphon from the other side, it might help to reduce losses. 

Tank mates for Nerite Snails (Shrimp and fish)

Nerite snail and shrimpNerite snail is a peaceful snail. It will not bother tank inhabitants. However, do not keep them with:

  1. Aggressive fish that may try to eat it such as Loaches, Pufferfish, Cichlids, Botia macracantha. (The same rules as with shrimp).
  2. Macrobrachium Lanchesteri shrimp. They are quite aggressive.
  3. Assassin snail (check out my guide here).

If you have other snails (for example, you can read my article about Malaysian Trumpet Snail), they will compete with them for food. So, keep it in mind. The same is with Amano shrimp, actually. They are also voracious algae eaters. 


Many shrimp breeders treat Planaria, Vorticella, Scutariella Japonica, Hydra (you can read my articles about all these parasites), and other parasites and diseases with Fenbendazole (Panacur, Canine Dewormer ), No-planaria, Benibachi – Planaria Zero. These medicines are very dangerous for all snails. 


All nerite snails are excellent algae eaters that care mainly for algae coverings. They will be great neighbors in any shrimp tank. Unfortunately for some and fortunately for others, Nerite snails are extremely difficult to breed.  

Pros Cons
Nerite snails are great algae eaters so they make a great addition to your cleanup crew.  They will make your aquarium spotless in no time. They kept laying eggs all over the aquarium.
Nerite snail will not reproduce and overpopulate your tank. If you do not want that. Nerite snail will not reproduce and overpopulate. It is close to impossible to breed them at home. When you want that.
They will not hurt your live plants (even when they are hungry) making them great for a planted aquarium.  
They are beautiful.   

Some frequently asked questions about Nerite Snails.

Which Nerite Snail Species is the most Hardy?

Frankly saying, there is no difference in hardiness. More or less, they are the same.

 Is it dead? Snail does not come out of the Shell.

  1. It is sleeping or resting. Sometimes they can be still for hours and even days.
  2. The snail is reacting to the stress, which can be due to water quality issues or other irritation (somebody is bullying it).
  3. It is dead. When they are dead, they start smelling really bad.

What is the White Spot on the Shell of My Nerite snail?

Most likely, it indicates that Nerite snail has been kept in water that is too soft and acid. The shell is dissolving.

Do Nerite Snails Require Calcium Supplements?

If you have soft water, it will be a good idea but in moderate or hard water, it is not necessary. Note: You can use crushed coral, and silica. They do not have an effect on the water.

Do Nerite Snails lay a lot of Eggs?

Yes, they do! However, these are not eggs but capsules. Each capsule contains about 70 micro eggs.

 Why is Nerite Snail Crawling out Of Water?

  1. Check your water parameters. Maybe it does not like something and it is trying to escape.
  2. If your water parameters are fine, well, this is what they do from time to time. Do not worry; they can live for a long period of time out of the water.

Do nerites clean algae better than apple snails or other snails do?

The short answer is yes.

How can I stop Nerite Snails to leave Eggs everywhere?

There are three options.

  1. Wait while they are mating and separate all males and females to different tanks. Note: According to one of the studies, the female snails can store the male sperm capsules for continuous spawning.
  2. Keep only one Nerite snail per tank.
  3. Keep one of each species.

Do Nerite Snails Crossbreed?

There is no scientific study of Nerite crossbreeding. However, according to practice, they do not crossbreed.
In general, I am not talking about Nerite snails, some snail can crossbreed.

Will Red Cherry Shrimp or Amano shrimp eat the Nerite snail’s eggs?

No, they will not. However, they can damage some of the egg-capsules but it should not worry you at all because it is almost impossible to breed Nerite snails anyway.

Related articles:

Nerite snails – check out the price on Amazon


72 thoughts on “Nerite Snails – Detailed Guide: Care, Diet and Breeding

  1. Hi I have one zebra snail and it has reproduced and at last count I have 11 baby snails. How is this possible from what I’ve read??!!!

    1. Hi, Lucy!

      Nerite snails do not reproduce in freshwater. This is absolutely not possible.
      Therefore, either these snail babies are not nerites (and you are confusing them with pond, bladder snail, etc, while they are young and tiny) or you have a slightly brackish tank and extremely lucky!
      Check your water parameters, record what you are doing.

      Best regards,

      1. I have only 1 nerite snail in my 3 gallon tank and have many egg capsules being deposited on a regular basis on my artificial drift wood. How can this be?

        1. Hi Melody,
          As I have mentioned, Nerite snails can store semen from the previous mating.
          Best regards,

        2. Your snail needs a male partner to fertilize the eggs (the small seed-like specs). This meaning she’s a girl. Otherwise this is her/his poop 💩
          These eggs will not hatch due to infertility.
          To be totally honest with you – if they did have babies, the survival rate is very low; they need brackish water in order to survive. Thus meaning freshwater is no good for them, saltwater is needed. Keep in mind the beautiful nerite snail is an overpopulated species:)

      2. My freshwater tank is now overrun by nerite snails! I bought 4 to counteract an algae bloom and now they have reproduced all over my tank. I have removed at least 50 babies to date and they just keep coming! They are for sure nerite as the older larger ones now show stripes on their shells. I use well water in my tank so there shouldn’t be any salt in it. People keep saying it’s impossible but it’s really a problem at this point they have taken over!

        1. Hi Ryan Russell,
          I keep getting these messages periodically, unfortunately, with all due respect, none of them were true … I mean people confused Nerites with other snail species.
          In case you are right, I can only envy you and would like to know more about your setup!
          Seriously, a lot of people would like to know that.
          Best regards,

        2. Thank you Michael, many knowledge i got from this article, but maybe someone have knowledge, how long is needed for nerite larvae to be snails which can continue their life fully in freshwater?

      3. I have crawling merited snails,successfully,no salinity,but I have eco flora plant substrate for freshwater plants,I have anacharis growing like crazy.i have shrimp,corys,neons,ember tetras,I used tap to start and now I use Crystal Geyser bottled water…I don’t understand it either. It has to be the foods I put in there raising the salinity,it’s not brackish at all. The internet says this is impossible! They need new studies,I’ve owned so many different type tanks,so I understand water parameters…I’m stunned.

    2. I have the same situation. Zebra nerite laying eggs – I can see the eggs being released under the snail through the glass. Several babies so far. Freshwater planted shrimp tank. Normal water parameters for Neocardinia. Need a bigger tank now.

  2. Hello,

    You said: “move the item with egg capsules to the rearing tank.” What item are you referring to? Wouldn’t make sense to move 5-6 nerites to the 1 gallon tank and just care for them until they lay eggs and after that move the adults back to the main tank(s)?

    1. Hi Ady,
      It can be absolutely anything that you can safely move (a leaf of the plant, a stone, a piece of decoration, etc).
      I would not move 5-6 nerite snails in a 1-gallon tank. First of all, you will overcrowd them. Second, their bioload will affect water parameters very fast (for such a small volume of water). Third, it can take weeks before they start laying eggs and all this time you will have to keep them in 1-gallon tank(?!) It will stress snails a lot.
      Best regards,

  3. I set up a new 55g planted tank 1 month ago, I put 3 Nerites in it to control the algae while it cycles and now I have egg capsules everywhere and a dozen nanoNerites, they are growing fast , 1 is almost a quarter inch already.
    I’m getting the idea that it may not be the salt content that triggers them to successfully breed but the Calcium content, my city gets water from a wellfield and it is very hard. This may be worth investigating further since most Nerites are collected from the wild, finding a way to breed them would be a boon to the hobby.

    1. Hi Michael Clark,

      That would be really cool and revolutionary in the biology of Nerite snails.
      However, I wonder … in this case, where do Nerite snails get that much calcium in the wild?!

      Best regards,

  4. Your style is really unique compared to other people I’ve read stuff from.
    Many thanks for posting when you have the opportunity,
    Guess I will just bookmark this site.

    1. Thank you for the kind words!
      I am trying my best.

  5. Who has ever successfully bred nerite snails? Are there pictures of small nerite snails to prove it?

    So far all I have seen are how-tos and a lot of things “hatching from nerite eggs” that definitely aren’t nerite babies…

    1. Hi Andreas,

      Unfortunately, I have to agree with you here. People often confuse snail species especially when they are babies.

      Best regards,

    2. Always enjoy your articles. One interesting fact for you, certain Neritids such as Clithon sp. are known to consume eggs from competing confamilial snail species. A link to one of the studies on the topic is posted below.

  6. I’ve waited to comment again to be positive, they were definitely Nerites but there are only 2, so it was either a fluke or they were included in the previous Nerite order.
    I apologize for the confusion, I was a bit overexcited.

  7. Can I simply say what a relief to discover a person that actually understands what they are talking about on the web. You definitely understand how to bring a problem to light and make it important. More and more people ought to read this and understand this side of the story. It’s surprising you aren’t more popular given that you surely possess the gift.|

  8. Nice post. I was checking constantly this blog and I am impressed! Very useful information specifically the last part 🙂 I care for such information a lot. I was seeking this particular info for a very long time. Thank you and good luck.

    1. Hi Cedric Beresford,
      Thank you so much for the lovely feedback. I am glad I was able to help!
      Best regards,

  9. Awesome blog article.Really looking forward to read more. Cool.

  10. hello
    thanks for you
    How the nerite snail egg capsule hatches and how time it takes

    1. Hi mehran,
      It takes about 3-4 weeks for them to hatch.
      Best regards,

  11. I’ve started out with a brackish 10 gallon tank crushed coral and 5 Nerites and had the best breed success with Tums you can use for heart burn yes I know sounds ridiculous but it works and as substrate crushed coral they get a kick start with calcium and lots of available algae and food I’ve been breeding them the last 3 years and have lots of success.. the trick is no breeder likes to give their secrets cause it brings in alot of money with the right breeding conditions.. and very easy when you know what you are doing.

  12. Hi!
    A very good article indeed:). Thank you very much!

    I have a 10 gallon heavily planted nano tank with around 20 shrimps and 10 ember tetras and one happy zebra nerite snail (for more than tree years now), that’s doing the cleaning job very well.
    About a year ago a small plant emerged on its shell and it keeps growing and is about the same size as the snail now. Do you think it can be harmful? I would attach a photo if I could.

    Thanks and kind regards,

    1. Hi Andreja,
      I have sent you the message, so you can contact me.
      Best regards,

  13. Nice article. I have a Zebra nerite he or she is the last one left. I started with three of them roughly six years ago now. One completely disappeared and I never found, another climbed out and sadly died before I found him dried up; and now I have one left, I’m amazed to hear they usually only last between 1 and 3 years when mind is at least six years old now. I’m terrible at keeping fish so I’ve decided to wait for all the creatures in my tank to die naturally and then I’m not keeping aquatic animals anymore as I feel so sad when they die. I currently just have my one snail and one neon tetra left. I found this forum wondering how long my snail.would have left to live … seems like it may be soon considering he’s six … it will be sad when he eventually dies.

    1. Hi Angela,
      There are always exceptions, and as I said in the article – some aquarists say that their Nerite snails lived up to 5 years.
      Well, it looks like the snail does enjoy the conditions you are keeping it.
      Best regards,

  14. Hi! I have record of them laying tons of eggs, im now caring and maintaining brackish water parameters.
    I got them a month ago, and eggs started showing 2-3 weeks ago. I am anxious to see what happends!!

    1. Hi,
      That is really interesting!
      I’d like to know the results of your experiment with breeding Nerite snails.
      Please, keep me posted.
      Best regards,

  15. Hi Michael,

    Thanks for your words – it has been helpful.

    We have recently obtained a new Zebra snail for our small tank.

    When it arrived it had a white spot on its shell, which you say is because its shell is dissolving.

    We now have very small white deposits on one of our ornaments. After reading your page it does not seem likely these are egg capsules and they do not wash off even with warm water and a scourer.

    Any ideas what it could be?

    1. Hi Martin David Coult,
      Do you have a picture?
      I have sent you a message, check your email, please.
      Best regards,

  16. Hi! I wonder if you have any info on what the lowest amount of saline is required for the eggs to hatch? According to the article they hatch between 5-10 ppt, is 5 ppt really the lowest? I have 1 ppt (1000 ppm) now.

    1. Hi Ronny Rydström,
      I’d really like to know the answer myself.
      Best regards,

  17. Hi Michael,
    I have been breeding my nerite snails for years and they will hatch in freshwater. I have found mine won’t grow beyond the stage where you just begin to see antennae unless I move them to saltwater. However, I have read through the years from many fish keepers that they have had nerites hatch and grow to adulthood in their freshwater tanks. I have come to the conclusion, it must be about water quality and PH levels whether the nerites grow to adulthood or not.
    I wrote a short blog about it which i copied and pasted below. Thanks for all the info.

    I would like to settle a misconception that is repeated over and over again about nerite snails. It is the mistaken belief that nerite eggs will not hatch in freshwater. I know differently, because I have seen it with my own eyes. However, I have not witnessed the nerite babies grow beyond a minuscule size in freshwater. I have read posts from other people who have had them hatch and grow to adulthood in their tanks.
    I have a 10-gallon nerite only snail tank. At one point it had 5 nerites but slowly over the years, the population has dwindled down to two. I am not going to get anymore nerites and when the babies are big enough, I will give them to my LFS. I am sure I will be sad to see them go but my 125-gallon freshwater tank keeps me plenty busy but I thought it was important to settle this erroneous belief once and for all.
    My experience has been that nerite snails will hatch in freshwater and they will grow to be about the size of a large nerite egg. The baby snails are at the point where you can just begin to see their antennae but unless you transfer them to saltwater, they will not live beyond that point, at least in my tank. I have seen it with my own eyes plus I have a saltwater tank with approximately 100 baby nerite snails that I have transferred out of my freshwater tank.
    I have had every freshwater aquatic snail out there minus the rabbit. I have seen the eggs, watched them hatch, seen the babies (what they look like, etc.), and watched them grow up. These are nerites not something else and they will hatch and grow to a certain point in freshwater; they just won’t grow to a mature snail unless as soon as you find them you transfer them to a brine or saltwater tank.
    However, like I mentioned above, I have read posts from other snail enthusiasts who have witness nerites lay eggs, hatch, and the babies grow to adulthood in a freshwater aquarium. I have come to the conclusion this might have something to do with the water parameters maybe the PH? If you have any ideas, please post and let me know what is your experience with raising nerites or if you know why the eggs would hatch is some tanks and not others.

    1. Hi Shawn,
      This is very interesting information!
      Thank you!
      Unfortunately, in my case, Nerite eggs never hatched. Therefore, it would be really great if other people also decided to test your theory (regarding PH) in practice.
      Best regards,

    2. Shawn, what pH and other water parameters do you keep you tank at that allows for the snails to hatch and the saltwater parameters that you transfer them to? I’m intrigued and been wanting to breed my red racers for awhile now. Thank you in advance for any information you are willing to provide!

    3. Any idea what it is about salt water that baby nerites need to grow? From a veterinary standpoint, I’m wondering if it is a kidney physiology issue. If it were just a calcium issue you should be able to achieve that with freshwater? Does this mean that the ion in question is sodium?

      Assumptions I’m making: the food available to nerite larva is equivalent in both fresh and salt water. (growing algae or supplemented) The pH and other minerals can be mimicked in both fresh and salt water.

  18. Thank you Michael, many knowledge i got from this article, but maybe someone have knowledge, how long is needed for nerite larvae to be snails which can continue their life fully in freshwater?

  19. In an established tank, I had to use copper based meds about three months ago (oranda goldfish- all healthy again). I’ve since changed the water out at least 50% weekly but have never scraped the silicon algae or other ‘stuff’ off the back walls.

    Would it be safe this far down the path to add nerites to the tank? (salinity is low – 3ppm, no other meds in the tank since May)

    1. Hi Cheryl,
      It should be safe.
      I do not think that you have copper in the tank anymore, basically, you completely changed your water several times. I would even say that this is overkill.
      Best regards,

  20. So I have two in my 10gal and have had them for close to 2yrs. Just in the last two weeks Iv had babies! They are in fresh water w/fish in it too. We have like atleast 6 babies lol. Didn’t think they could breed/have live babies in this type of water? I’m new to them so I’m lost lol.

    1. Hi Brittany,
      The absolute majority of aquarists cannot breed nerite snails.
      If you do have baby nerites (not pest snails) I envy you 🙂
      What are your water parameters?
      Best regards,

  21. How long do I need to leave nerite snails in the brine after hatching before moving them to freshwater

    1. Hi Steve,
      Unfortunately, breeding protocol is not available yet.
      So, it is not possible to answer your question.
      Best regards,

  22. I only ever purchased nerite snails once, and I forget if I bought 4 or 5 of them. I checked my Google account for references to when I owned them, and the earliest I can find is a correspondence in chats from nearly 6 years ago. One of these snails was still alive last I saw it (a week ago- it’s a heavily planted tank), so I can state with some certainty that they can live to 5 years, and maybe 6. Check with me in mid-December. 🙂

    1. Hi Aaron,
      Thanks for the feedback!
      It looks like all conditions are met and they are happy in your tank.
      What is your tank setup? How and what do you feed them?
      Waiting for December, fingers crossed 🙂
      Best regards,

  23. I have a freshwater 15 gallon planted tank. It is not brackish or my Ludwigia repens plant would be dead, not thriving. I do not add anything to my tank but local Tap Water. And I have Nerites coming out my Ears! I can not get these things to stop breeding I removed the female as soon as I found out I had gotten a female when I purchased my second snail. And there on, I have had snails non stop! So impossible my hind end! They are making a mess in my tank!

    Yes They are Nerites I know the difference between a Bladder Snail and a Nerite. I also know what a Trumpet, Assassin, Ramshorn, Apple, and Mystery are I’ve owned them all, do I need to keep going. I’ve had fish for 25 years.

    So we are thinking about switching the male to the tank where the adult female is and just see what happens in another tank. Let’s just see if it is the tank or the snail! So that is next in this chapter. Because so far these have no issues breeding in Freshwater.
    Also, It is a Zebra Nerite Snail no mistaking the Stripes :-).

    1. Hi Kristal,
      Thanks for sharing your experience!
      I’m really fascinated by how the vast majority of aquarium hobbyists struggle to do so while some people seem to have no trouble at all and the snails multiply like rabbits, even though they are supposed to require saltwater according to scientific understanding.
      It’s quite strange, and it suggests that we still have a lot to learn about these snails and their true nature. It’s possible that we are still far from fully understanding them.
      Best regards,

    2. Hi Kristal , would you be able to send me some pictures of your baby snails please.
      I have set up a tank with horned nerite snails and want to add marine salt to try to breed them.
      Slim chance I know but your post gives me hope.
      Only so many people claim that they have managed to breed Nerites but I have so far not seen pictures posted of baby snails yet. Have you?
      Best wishes from the Isle of Man

  24. Hi Michael! Thanks for all the info. I strictly have nerites in my planted tank, no snails, tissue culture plants only. I have found a second baby red racer!! I have picture and video. Please email me if you’re interested in more info about the set up. Clearly not “production scale,” but maybe it will unlock some secrets?

    1. Hi Jen,
      This is amazing! How big is it right now? Of course, I would like to know more about your tank (setup, water parameters, how old, feeding, etc.)
      Best regards,

  25. Hi Michael, I learned a lot from you and your followers. One suggestion, use a refractometer in place of a hydrometer! It will be a lot more accurate…. and does not cost but a tad more then the hydro.

    1. Hi Robert “Sherlock” Holmes,
      Thank you!
      Best regards,

  26. Hi, I just would like clarification. When you say that nerite snails will not cross breed, do you mean between say red racer and horned nerite snails? Or do you mean with a different type of snail all together? I’m researching before I start experimenting with breeding at home, so I am curious if the different varieties can cross breed. I’m currently looking at batik nerite, red racer nerite, and lightning bolt nerite varieties. If in the same tank, will they mix if I can successfully breed them?

    1. Hi Nick S,
      These are my observations.
      Nerite snails reproduce (lay eggs) only with their own kind; they do not reproduce with Nerite snails of other species.
      Best regards,

  27. I have a planted shrimp tank with java fern, moss, and floating hornwort and water sprite. I added two horned nerite snails and three spotted nerites. I expected to see nerite egg capsules, but I did not expect to see baby nerites in my freshwater setup. I know the babies are nerites since some of them have grown and the shell is similar to the parent spotted nerites. I wish I knew what I did to enable this. I’m sure no one will believe me. I didn’t believe it myself when I first saw little critters crawling along the glass… but a closeup view with magnifying glass confirmed it. Not just one or two, but at least a dozen or so baby nerites are crawling around in my tank. This makes me happy 🙂

    1. Hi J.C.
      I’ve received such messages not for the first time when people manage to breed nerite snails in aquariums, which contradicts what science says.
      Could you please tell me about your water parameters? I would kindly ask you to write later about how they have grown.
      Best regards,

      1. I initially used regular tap water for the shrimp tank, so TDS was hovering around 400 PPM, Ph was around 8, and since my tap water is fairly hard, the KH and GH was on the high end, like maximum color on the API test strips. Under these conditions is when I first noticed the baby nerites. In the past month, I’ve started doing water changes (approx 20%) weekly using RO water, which has helped to reduce the TDS to around 200 PPM now, Ph is stable at 7.5, and both KH and GH have gone down a bit too. But even in these new water conditions, I’ve noticed new baby nerites in the tank, at least a half dozen more in the past two weeks. Happy to share pictures if you wish.
        I have never added salt to the tank.

        1. Hi J.C.,
          What is the size of your baby snails right now? Have their identifying colors started to form? It would be interesting to see! I’ve also sent you an email; please take a look. You can forward photos there. Thanks!
          Best regard,

          1. Thank you so much for taking the time to respond and setting me straight. I’m glad I reached out to you. Great lesson learned and good motivation to keep learning more about this hobby. People like you make it so much more enjoyable. Thanks again!

          2. Hi J.C.,
            You are welcome 🙂
            Best regards,

  28. Hey, I read your comments and many reported that they were able to propagate Nerite snails. Are you sure they were Nerite snails and not Theodoxus dalmaticus? Because they look very similar and can breed in freshwater.

    1. Hi Ekat,
      Well, this question should not be addressed to me, but I completely agree with you; this is a very good point. Theodoxus snails are cousins of Neritins. The main difference between them is that Neritins are usually slightly larger in size and, according to scientific data, can only reproduce in brackish water.
      Best regards,

  29. Thank you for sharing all your research!
    In research you mentioned, they say the juveniles migrate upstream and never return to the brackish waters – does this mean the eggs arrive there if laid on something that gets carried downstream by the current?

    Do unfertilized female nerites lay non-viable egg capsules, or would egg capsules only appear in a tank in the female nerite has been fertilized? I have a zebra nerite who has deposited lots of white oblong-shaped dots, around 1mm in length on hardscaping and aquarium glass…

    1. Hi Linda,
      You’re asking great questions, but even at this point, there isn’t a precise description or consensus in science regarding this issue. Logically speaking, the only way for the eggs to reach brackish waters, would be if the eggs were deposited, for example, on leaves or driftwood and then carried by the flow.
      As for the egg capsules, unfertilized females may still produce egg-like structures, but, of course, these are non-viable. 
      Best regards,

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