Nerite Snail Guide

Nerite Snail
Animal Characteristics
Latin Name Neritina
Family Neritidae
Animal Type snail
Care easy
Water Temperatures 64 - 84 °F
18 - 29 °C
Size 0.20 - 0.98 in
0.5 - 2.5 cm
Endangered no

General Information

The Nerite Snail (Neritina) is a freshwater snail that thrives in tropical water and originates in different parts of the world depending on the specific species. Many of the most popular nerite snails originate in Asia or Africa, such as the Zebra Nerite Snails (South Africa) or the Tiger Nerite Snail (Indo-Pacific).

Nerite snail is the generic term for a wide variety of aquatic snail species that can be found worldwide and live in marine, brackish or sometimes freshwater. In this article we will focus on the types that live in freshwater, such as the Zebra Nerite Snail or Horned Nerite Snail.

Nerite Snail Lifespan

The lifespan for a Nerite Snail is around 1 - 2 years if cared for accordingly.

When getting a nerite snail from an aquarium shop, it is difficult to determine their exact age. Therefore, the lifespan of a nerite snail in your aquarium may vary based on how old they were when you got them.

Please keep in mind that caring for an animal for such a long time is a big commitment and consider if you really want and can do that.


Nerite Snail Size

Nerite Snails are small aquatic snails that generally grow between 0.5 inches (1.5 cm) to 2.5 inch in size (6.5 cm), which makes them suitable for all tank sizes.

The final size of an adult Nerite Snail also depends on the genetic and the type and amount of available food sources. The more food is available, the more the animal will max out on its potential growth.

Make sure to provide adequate food for your Nerite Snail, but don't over- or underfeed as this brings its own problems. You can find more information on feeding below.

Nerite Snail Colors

Nerite Snail come in many different colors such as yellow, orange, brown, reddish, olive green, golden, black, as well as spotted, striped, horned, and variations thereof.


A Nerite Snail has a number of distinct features, some of them depending on the specific breed:

Nerite Snail shell

Nerite snails have a relatively large shell that covers their bodies almost completely. When looking from above you probably won't see anything except the eyes and feelers outside of the shell.

Nerite Snail eyes

The nerite snail eyes are located at the top of the antennae / tentacles (aka eye stalks). However, the snails do not rely on their eye sight, as the vision is underdeveloped and they cannot really see very much. In order to find their way towards food or mates they use their other senses like smell and touch.

Nerite Snail antenna

The nerite snail antennae are also called tentacles or eye stalks. The nerite snail has one pair of tentacles on their head, which it can retract whenever needed. The nerite snail eyes are at the top of the tentacles and each tentacle can be moved individually (even in opposite directions). The tentacle also helps the nerite snail to smell and touch.

Nerite Snail mouth

The nerite snail mouth is located on its underside. When you see the nerite snail sludge along the aquarium glass you can see its mouth opening and closing towards its foot. It looks a little bit like the mouth is pulling it forward.

Water and Tank Requirements

Nerite Snail Water Temperature

Nerite Snail are tropical water snail, which means they thrive in temperatures between 64 °F (18 °C) and 84 °F (29 °C).

You may need to install a heater in your tank depending on what your usual room temperature is. Tanks without a heater will most likely have a similar water temperature as the surrounding air.

It's best to install a thermometer in your tank to check the temperature regularly.

Nerite Snail Water Parameters

The water quality should be maintained with a pH range of at least 6.5.

Nerite Snail Tank Size

Every Nerite Snail should have at least 5 gal (20 l) of water to themselves. So, if you want to keep 5 small Nerite Snail, there should be at least 26 gal (100 l) in your tank.

Please keep in mind that your aquarium hardscape also takes away from the overall water volume in your aquarium and that if you plan to add other fish to the tank you need even more water!

The calculated water amounts shouldn't be shared between species but always added up.

Nerite Snail Tank Requirements

Very bright lights could dry out your nerite snails, so make sure to keep the light on a low or moderate level. The substrate in your tank shouldn't be too hard or scratchy in order not to damage their bodies.

Behavior and Tank Mates

Nerite Snail are friendly towards their own and other species. This means they can be housed with other types of fish that are also generally friendly and have similar water and tank requirements.

Please note that even the most peaceful species can get aggressive when they feel threatened, e.g., when there is too little space in the tank or they have to fight with others for a limited food supply. Please always make sure to meet the requirements of your animals as closely as possible to avoid such issues.

They should be kept in groups of at least 6 animals. If kept in a smaller group they might get anxious and lethargic.

Nerite snails are very friendly and peaceful animals. They will leave their tank mates alone.

Nerite snails are mostly preoccupied with feeding, which makes them move through the tank rather slowly. They will go through the whole tank and search for algae on all surfaces.

Although this is a common misconception, Nerite Snails are not nocturnal. It might simply seem so because they prefer to avoid the light and are therefore more often seen during darker hours.

Snails also generally have a different sleep cycle than humans. Their days have 45 hours, of which the snail is active for 15 hours and sleeps the other 30 hours. Due to this difference, it may appear that snail may only be active at night, but personal experience also shows that they are equally active during the day.


Nerite snails are herbivores and are very popular aquarium pets because they love to feast on algae, decaying leaves and excess fish food and will therefore help to keep your tank clean. They will not feast on any life plants. If you have very little algae, you can supplement their diet by putting blanched vegetables like spinach, carrots, cucumber, zucchini or kale in the tank.


Nerite Snail need enough clean water and nutrition to reproduce. The advantage of keeping Nerite snails in your tank over other types of freshwater snails is that they need brackish water to reproduce. Therefore, it's impossible for them to breed in a freshwater aquarium and so there's zero chance of overpopulation.

Common Problems

  • bullying: Nerite snails are very docile and slow, which makes them susceptible to damage by other aquarium animals. We never had problems when keeping them together with small to medium sized fish, though.
  • climbing out of the tank: Nerite snails are great climbers and even though they move rather slowly, they often climb out of the water more quickly than you know it. Make sure to keep a lid on the tank so that the snails can't escape and potentially dry out outside of the tank.
  • damaged shells: To avoid a damaged shell you should make sure that the aquarium water has enough calcium.

Fun Facts

  • Hardiness: Nerite snails are very hardy. When setting up a new tank, snails are the first thing to add, because they are more tolerant to changing water parameters then fish or shrimp. That doesn't mean that they are indestructible, though. Regular water changes to keep ammonia and Nitrogen Cycle around 0 ppm is a must.