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FAQs on Snails in Freshwater Aquarium Nerite/Neritid Snails, Clithon, Neritina... spp.

Related Articles: Snails and Freshwater Aquariums by Bob Fenner,  Invertebrates for Freshwater Aquariums by Neale Monks, Assassin Snails and Sulawesi Elephant Snails. Keeping Clea and Tylomelania in the Aquarium by Neale Monks,  Fresh and Brackish Water Nerites by Neale Monks, 

Related FAQs:  Freshwater Snails 1, Freshwater Snails 2, & FAQs on: Freshwater Snail Identification, Freshwater Snail Behavior, Freshwater Snail Compatibility, Freshwater Snail Selection, Freshwater Snail Systems, Freshwater Snail Feeding, Freshwater Snail Disease, Freshwater Snail Reproduction, Snails by Species: Mystery Snails, Malaysian/Trumpet Snails, Ramshorn Snails,

Zebra Nerite Snail Anatomy - 03/06/19
Dear WWM Crew,
I have scoured WWM (and the internet) trying to find an answer to my question which is:
What is the function of the white apex (i.e. tip) found on Zebra Nerite Snails? (i.e. what purpose does it serve?).
<The function/purpose? As with the stripes, it's likely just part of its camouflage. There are lots of insects and animals which have a prominent central spot, or pair of spots, as part of their coloring. Theories as to the purpose these spots serve are largely speculative. Depending on the animal, they could either serve to confuse predators or perhaps attract mates - or maybe both.>
Can you help?
Thanks in advance.
John P Coates
Sara L.>
Re: Zebra Nerite Snail Anatomy        3/6/19

Hi Sara,
Many thanks for your speedy reply, which is very much appreciated. I posed the question for two reasons. Firstly, because I am simply curious to find out about these things. Secondly, because someone suggested that it was caused by erosion.
<Well, of course, without a photo or specific species identification, I can't say for sure, but from what you are describing, I doubt it. There is some natural subtle variation among individuals, the apex of some will be just a bit flatter or whiter than others.>
I don’t think it is the result of erosion as it is too perfectly formed. It is a complete white circle that is indented at its centre. Erosion would likely take on an irregular shape.
<Typically, yes, erosion is less symmetrical.>
John P Coates
Sara L.>

Nerite snails in isolation tank; resisting parasite transfer        1/27/19
is there a way to medicate snails in an isolation tank to make sure they are disease and parasite free?
<Not really. Isolating snails for 4-6 weeks is a good way to ensure they're not carrying waterborne parasites (such as Whitespot) that might affect fish rather than the snails themselves. Since those parasites will complete their life cycle within such a time period, in the absence of a fish host, such snails should be "free" of the waterborne stages that might be stuck to their shells. But if you're talking about parasites that live within the snails, parasitising them, and then potentially infecting fish, there aren't any available medications to help here. Those snail-borne parasites of economic concern (such as Bilharzia) are preventing by exterminating snails rather than treating them. Hope this helps, Neale.>
Re: Nerite snails in isolation tank       2/14/19

<Most welcome. Neale.>

Question on Nerite snails and KH/GH       10/25/27
Good day to you! I have a 10 gallon Half Moon aquarium, established since February 2017. It houses 4 golden white clouds, one clown Pleco, 12 years of age, one black Kuhlii loach, 12 years of age, one black neon, 3 years of age, one baby banded Kuhlii loach, one female Betta, approximately 1 year old, 3 tiger blood Nerite snails and 1 zebra Nerite snail. I know it's a bit overstocked, but it has two filters running, media is changed at least every two weeks, and it gets a weekly partial water change and vacuum around 25% each time.
<Understood; but yes, it is a bit busy.>
Maybe a bit less on occasion. Parameters are pH - 6.8, KH - 0 (I use tap and this is the tap reading as well, in fact the readings match the tap except for the nitrates), GH - 75 ppm, ammonia and nitrite are both 0 of course, and nitrates stay around 20. Oh, and this is a live planted tank as well with natural gravel, natural rock décor from local streams in Virginia, and driftwood.
So now you know the set up, my question is what is the best way to raise the KH (and GH if you feel it needs raising) so my snails will thrive without harming plants and the soft water fish species?
<If you have an aquarium that works, and it's a bit overstocked, diddling about with water chemistry probably isn't the best idea. But in this instance, here's the Rift Valley salt mix, per 5 gallons (20 litres):
1 teaspoon baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) -- raises KH
1 tablespoon Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) -- raises GH
Now, I would not use the full dose here! For each subsequent water change, I'd start with just a quarter these amounts, and go no higher than half. I'd then use your water chemistry test kits to see what you get. Reduce or raise whatever necessary to get what you want, which is a medium level of general hardness and a carbonate hardness around 5 degrees KH. The pH will probably go up to about 7.5. Either way, you're going to get water with enough hardness to keep snails happy. But I stress, if the tank works, and the snails aren't showing evidence of 'pitting' in their shells, as things are might well be fine. Chuck in a bit of cuttlebone instead, and see if they chomp on that.>
One other thing I forgot to mention - I read all over the internet that Nerite snails will not breed in freshwater, but that appears to be wrong as I do have about 4-6 baby Nerites roaming my tank.
<Very unusual, but probably not unique. Here's the deal: most of the Nerites sold are Asian and African species with a marine (or at least planktonic) stage to their life cycle. These will be difficult if not impossible to breed. Either the salinity will be wrong for the larvae, or the filter will crunch up the larvae, or both. But a few species may well breed in freshwater tanks, rather like the well-known European species Theodoxus fluviatilis. That species at least will lay little egg cases just like those of our tropical Nerites, out of which hatch perfect miniatures of the adults rather than planktonic larvae. The range of Nerite species offered to aquarists is huge, with numerous species primarily from the genera Neritina (the standard Nerites) and Clithon (the spiny Nerites, Batman Snails, and so on). I would encourage you to use the tools at your disposal to identify the species you have, and then write up your experiences!>
They are one week old. I do not want to add anything to this tank that may harm them or the parents, which I assume are the tiger bloods.
<These are probably Neritina natalensis, as are common Zebra Nerites, but without seeing your specimens, hard to say. In any event, Neritina natalensis is said to breed only in brackish water. It is extremely variable, hence all the different common names. Quite a typical thing with Nerites in general.>
Also, I bought Flourish as my plants are looking a bit unhappy with brown splotches on the leaves but am afraid to add it as well even though SeaChem says it is safe for inverts. The plants, by the way, are also at least 12 years old. I do not supplement CO2 as these are java fern, Anubias, etc., low light plants and have always done well till now. I do have a plant light, however, with the requisite 6500K. I am an intermediate hobbyist who has kept a lot of tanks over the years, including marine, but planted bio topes are typically my favorite (I realize this one isn't exactly a bio tope, it just sort of happened if you will).
Hope you can help, thank you for taking the time to read my inquiry! There is a lot of info about raising the KH, etc., which is all good, but I am worried about harming the snails, loaches and plants.
<Good luck! Neale.>

Nerite snail white protrusion and planted      4/2/17
Hi All, Amazing site and a thank you for the time dedicated. I would be slightly embarrassed to admit to the hours I have spent reading the site.
Three weeks into setting up a 55g planted for my classroom and a 75g planted at home. Both are similarly planted but the one at home has much greater lighting (4 x t5ho with various spectrum). The chain sword in the lower lit tank has already began to propagate at an amazing rate. Oddly enough, the plant in the brighter tank has yet to develop a single adventurous root. Curious if I am overlooking something concerning the plant?
<Nope. Three weeks isn't long, and if the plants are others healthy, I'd not be worried.>
Planted with iron rich Fluorite and topped with EcoComplete. (55 was topped with blasting sand). Would the substrate grain size make that much difference?
<Doesn't normally, within reason.>
Probably over lighting right now bit still attempting to get a good balance in the tank. Ludwigia is a nice red color (and creating new roots) so I feel lighting is high enough. All other plans are performing nicely so far.
(With exception of melted crypts. They are resprouting.) They banana plant, which I have never had before, is being problematic. Leaves are starting to turn red. Having an off the chart kH I know I am taking a chance on a few
varieties. Looking at possibly a shrimp only tank. Ghost and or rcs. If so, recommendations on number?
<Shrimps work best as breeding colonies, so a decent number of each species is wise, half a dozen or more at least. Some varieties are colour morphs of the same species (numerous blue, green and other coloured versions of the
Red Cherry Shrimp species, for example). So I'd not mix these or you'd end up with bland hybrids.>
If I end up with shrimp-fairly-friendly fish (neon tetras, platy, mollies) I am looking at no more than 10 of a single variety. Thoughts or additions?
<I would not keep anything bigger than the smallest fish species (such as Ricefish or Dwarf Mosquitofish) if you want your shrimps to breed. Even Neons will happily eat the juveniles, and the whole point of a shrimp tank is that the shrimp population persists longer than the few months to a year lifespan of an individual shrimp.>
My main reason for the email (main concern) is my Nerite snail in a separate tank. I have had him/her for 4 years. This evening I noticed a white trail. Can you identify and let me know if I should be worried?
(Disclaimer. Water is not that green color! Looks like a combination from the photo angle, glass, lighting, and flash!)Thank you all for all you do,-d
<Not totally sure, to be honest. Could be a parasite, but might be dead tissue from an injury, or might be an entirely normal reproductive organ on view for some reason! Since Nerites aren't 'treatable' in any way, best to just let things be an observe. Remove sick or dying snails though. Good luck, Neale.>

Small drill hole in my Nerite snail        6/15/16
One of my big Zebra Nerite snails (taken from another tank) had become sluggish for about a week then laid on the gravel for several days barely moving and then died. The remainder seem healthy and active and all have been in there about a month. I looked him over initially and could find nothing obvious. After he died, as I was looking over his shell, I found a small (0.5 - 0.7 mm lead pencil size) hole in his shell. It looked like I had taken a drill to it, perfect round hole. I live in Florida with a canal behind my house and it's full of tropical "aquarium" plants which I stocked my tank with. I dipped the plants in two different recipes I found on line:
A peroxide dip and then a formalin (? I think, can't remember?) soak/dip for snails, parasites, algae etc. Could I have introduced some parasites (horror of horrors! )? I did find two dragonfly nymphs in just the past few days. Thankfully no fish stocked yet. So much for the dips. It is stocked with Nerites and Amano shrimp for algae control. All I can find online pertains to saltwater snail parasites. If I did introduce something, what are my options other than toss everything and start over? I assume the others are in danger and/or infected if a parasite? Are my shrimp in danger? It has been running for about two months now. I'm sorry this is so long, just trying to make sure you have all the details; you may edit at will.
Thank you very much!
<Hello John. The range of animals that are able to drill holes in snail shells is relatively short, primarily other molluscs including various whelks and some of the cephalopods. It's not something your normally see in aquaria. To the best of my knowledge, insects lack the hard parts needed for the job, and algae-eating shrimps certainly aren't a threat. So this is likely to be "one of those things" and not something you have to worry about. I am, of course, assuming that we're not talking about pitting, which is quite common when snails are kept in soft water. Drilling is usually quite distinctive and not easily confused with anything else. One point worth mentioning here is that all the drilling organisms I'm aware of
live in saltwater or strongly brackish environments, rather than freshwater habitats, so you're unlikely to see them in freshwater aquaria. Going forwards, I'd review the snails just to make sure there isn't a predatory whelk among them, but otherwise I think getting on with stocking the tank can be done without any great worries or delays.
Cheers, Neale.>
re: Small drill hole in my Nerite snail       6/15/16

It is definitely a drill hole. I saw it quite frequently on empty shells while diving South Pacific Reefs.
<Quite so. As a palaeontologist, I've come across trace fossils that reveal that "boring" predators were quite common. There's a good literature on them you might find interesting.>
I about crapped when I saw it! When I used the term parasite I was think of "critters"; bad choice of word on my part.
I killed another dragonfly nymph today. Our dragonflies are huge so I imagine these nymphs will get huge too.
<Can do, and make interesting pets in their own right. Can sometimes be reared on frozen bloodworms if you're happy to wiggle them about, or live bloodworms and the like otherwise.>
However, every time I walk by, I thoroughly scour the tank. I'll get them all before adding any fish.
<Or perhaps keep them instead of fish, or alongside taxa that can't be harmed by them, such as larger Plecs.>
You guys are awesome! Thank you for your assistance.
<Welcome. Neale.>

Horned Nerite and Ramshorn not doing well       4/30/15
I bought 4 horned Nerite snails and 3 Ramshorn.
<Do bear in mind the Horned Nerite, Clithon corona, is somewhat sensitive... it's arguably happier in slightly brackish conditions, certainly doesn't like soft water, and prefers water that is slightly cool (22-25 C) and well oxygenated. When stressed it often tries to leave the tank.>
They were active when i bought them from the shop. After putting them in my shrimp tank for only a day. They all looked sick and dormant.
<Is there sufficient oxygen? Snails will "shut up shop" if conditions aren't right, clamping down to the glass or else trying to leave the tank.
Most dislike acidic conditions, so review water chemistry too. Finally, and potentially most seriously, is copper. Widely used to treat Whitespot and other external parasitic infections. Copper is acutely toxic to most molluscs, and can explain many "random" deaths.>
The first few hours they were all happily eating the algae on my glass.
After a few more days all the Nerites were dead. Picked them and smelled them. The Ramshorn i moved to a bottle where i had apple snails. Only one survived. A few days later i put the Ramshorn back in and same thing happened. Ate some algae then dormant/dying. Took it out again. A week later i bought 4 more horned Nerites. And they happily ate my algae off the
glass. I just took them out again as they just started staying still. The moment i take them out they start moving as per normal again. My tank only has cherry shrimps. Some moss, Riccia, ferns and duck weed. Bottom is gravel. I live in Singapore. Tank temp is 28deg. I only put stress coat and water ferts. Both of which i tested into the other container which the snails were in and they were fine. The container water is taken from my tank too so it can't be my water.. What could be causing this? Could it be the gravel? I really really hope you can help me. I want to have snails in my tank and i don't want any more of them dying.
<Most welcome, Neale.>

Nerite Snail; beh.      1/13/15
<C and K>
We have 4 healthy Nerite snails in a community 30 gallon tank, and recently added a new 10-gallon tank. We got a male Betta and a Tiger Blood Nerite snail. From the first day the snail was added, we noticed gray strands of “mushy” material coming from one side of the shell. The snail is moving about the tank fine and otherwise appears ok, but continues to produce this odd substance that our other Nerites never have. Can you offer an explanation, and if it is an ailment, any advice?
<The mushy material may simply be waste... could be tissue from a tear... If the latter, likely will self-heal as you state the snail appears fine otherwise>
Thank you!!
Christine and Kate
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Nerite Snail; beh. /Neale       1/14/15

We have 4 healthy Nerite snails in a community 30 gallon tank, and recently added a new 10-gallon tank. We got a male Betta and a Tiger Blood Nerite snail. From the first day the snail was added, we noticed gray strands of “mushy” material coming from one side of the shell. The snail is moving about the tank fine and otherwise appears ok, but continues to produce this odd substance that our other Nerites never have. Can you offer an explanation, and if it is an ailment, any advice?
Thank you!!
Christine and Kate
<Probably not a problem. All snails produce mucous, and if the tank isn't spotlessly clean, the mucous can sometimes trap silt particles. They may also produce extra mucous if irritated, e.g., by copper or ammonia in the water. Check water quality, make sure you're using water conditioner, and act accordingly. Nerites vary in hardiness, and some species react poorly to changes (like being moved to another tank) and either die quickly or take a while to settle down. Give it time, watch over the snail, and be ready to remove it if it dies. Cheers, Neale.>

Jumbo angelfish and Nerite snails, comp. and use respectively     9/20/13
I have a 75 gallon with 6 half grown angelfish in it. They are about 3 inches top fin to bottom fin at this point. I got them through a breeder and they eat like crazy. There is a store here that regularly gets in "jumbo angels" that are way bigger than any average angel. Would one of these be dangerous around the six that are there now?
<Can't tell w/o trying. Pterophyllum are highly unpredictable. Some individuals are the epitome of mellow-ness; and a few are absolute terrors... in particular, ones raised solitarily can prove to be trouble.
Best to isolate (use a separator) the new, larger individual for a few days in the same tank...>
 I am thinking it may be if it is aggressive. I have no idea where this store is getting them from.
<Most likely "old/er" breeders>
 They told me a place in New Jersey. I also have about 6-8 Nerite snails in the tank, two of them are really small. The back of the tank is really full of algae and they do not seem to bother with it, so I had to cleaned it myself. Is that a really low number of Nerite snails for such a tank?
<Mmm, not too low to be of use, interest>
Thank you
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Jumbo angelfish and Nerite snails     9/20/13

I have a 75 gallon with 6 half grown angelfish in it. They are about 3 inches top fin to bottom fin at this point. I got them through a breeder and they eat like crazy.
<As is their wont.>
There is a store here that regularly gets in "jumbo angels" that are way bigger than any average angel.
<Presumably sexually mature adults, which can be up to 15 cm/6 inches in length.>
Would one of these be dangerous around the six that are there now?
<Assuming you have six subadults as well, it will surely become dominant, and their may be some tussling at first, but a group of 7 specimens should be safe, stable. A good idea is to remove all specimens and introduce them together into a the tank, in the dark, with all rocks and plants moved about as far as possible. If that's not practical or desirable, then do at least switch the tank lights off for a day, maybe even draping a towel over the tank to reduce light to a minimum. This throws all the fish into a "sleep mode" and when they wake up the next day, they're more likely to accept one another as part of the scenery.>
I am thinking it may be if it is aggressive. I have no idea where this store is getting them from. They told me a place in New Jersey. I also have about 6-8 Nerite snails in the tank, two of them are really small. The back of the tank is really full of algae and they do not seem to bother with it, so I had to cleaned it myself. Is that a really low number of Nerite snails for such a tank?
<I find 2-4 Nerites per 10 US gallons is about right.>
Thank you
<Cheers, Neale.>
re: Jumbo angelfish     9/20/13

The angelfish that show up on a regular basis at this store are the size of Altum Angelfish, but they are usually marbles. I have never in my life seen non-Altums this big.
<Big or tall? Altum Angels aren't especially big (body length, i.e., from nose to caudal peduncle is rarely over 15 cm/6 inches) but they have a more oval rather than circular body shape and their fins are much longer than those of farmed ("Scalare") Angels, so overall, they need more space and look more impressive. Farmed Angels infrequently exceed 10 cm/4 inches in standard length, with specimens that are 15 cm/6 inches long being comparatively rare.>
They usually have huge veil fins. Maybe they are bred with Altums. I do not know.
<Farmed Angels are hybrids that likely to have some Altum genes in them, as well as other Pterophyllum species, though they are mostly derived from Pterophyllum scalare and its close relatives (subspecies, regional races, etc.).>
Someone would need a 150 gallon to keep six of these.
<That's a good size aquarium for Altum Angels for sure, but Altum Angels are unmistakable and there's no way you'd confuse them with farmed Angels, even farmed Angels with "wild type" colouration (e.g., Altum Angels have brown vertical bands vs. black vertical bands on "wild type" Scalare Angels). Farmed Angels are not nearly so demanding for space, though out course the more the better. But at minimum, 75 gallons is ample for a school of 6 farmed Angels. That said, farmed Angels . Cheers, Neale.>
re: Jumbo angelfish   9/21/13

They are about 6 inches and the fins are about another 4 or 6 six inches, so nearly a foot from top to bottom. Some are about a half inch thick, so quite the volume. Others have shorter fins. Maybe this big size is normal and I am used to seeing smaller ones. They are hugely expensive
<They sound big, and are perhaps similar to the "Peru" Angelfish sometimes
sold here in England. These have a body shape more similar to Pterophyllum altum than Pterophyllum scalare, but unlike Pterophyllum altum they have black, not brown, vertical bands. True Pterophyllum altum are, of course, immediately recognisable due to their brown vertical bands, but both Pterophyllum altum and "Peru" Angelfish have a somewhat upturned snout a little different to the common farmed Angel. True wild Pterophyllum scalare are more circular in body shape than the upright oval shape of Pterophyllum altum and the "Peru" Angelfish, and while they can get to 15 cm/6 inches in standard length, that's uncommon among farmed examples. Do use the search engine of your choice to compare Pterophyllum altum, Pterophyllum scalare and Pterophyllum sp. "Peru" (sometimes called Peru sp. "Rio Nanay").
Cheers, Neale.>

Nerite snails and gravel    9/18/13
I have one Betta in a heated 10 gallon. I found some real gravel from the LFS the other day, not that other stuff that comes in freaky colors and doesn't seem like natural gravel at all. Anyway the gravel does not have round edges and is small particles. It was light grey in the store and now looks really white in the tank.
<Will age, darken in time.>
I know that algae will soon be an issue so I was wondering if a couple of Nerite snails would deal with the algae on gravel or do they only like large smooth surfaces?
<Can cope with all sorts of substrates, and will spend 90% of their time on the glass anyway.>
I had some glass stones in the tank, but they are reflective and I do not know if that bothers fish or not.
<Ah, yes, reflected light can cause fish some distress, and may cause them to fade their colours in a misguided attempt to blend in. One or two glass pebbles isn't a problem, but a whole substrate of glass pebbles or glass gravel is certainly less than ideal.>
Thank you
<Most welcome, Neale.>

Nerite behaviour    11/8/12
Hello crew!
long time no mail :)
I have a question that I think one of you experts can answer. my Nerite has a strange habit of doing this (see pic) He/She/It scrunches up its mouth and doesn't move until I pluck him off the glass and plop him elsewhere.
he seems to also like doing this at this particular spot in the tank :(
Any ideas why he acts like this?
Thanks again in advance for your time!
<Wouldn't worry about it unduly. So long as your Nerite is active and not spending a lot of time at the surface, it's probably happy. Cheers, Neale.>

CW Nerite-egg eater?   6/10/12
Hello Neale,
I have a 12 gallon non-heated freshwater tank with several Nerite snails.  The eggs are becoming unsightly and wanted to know if you were aware of any FW room-temperature fish that will eat the eggs.
<Nope. If you find one, let me know! I scrape them off, using an algae scraper. The ones which hold razor blades work well.>
I've read online that some options may be a MTS, Betta fish, Rosy Barb, Cherry Barb, Dwarf Gourami, Dwarf Loach, or Scarlet Badis.
<None sounds likely. The egg cases do fall off eventually, but they are quite hard, so it seems improbable any fish would be able to dislodge them short of something like a Panaque.>
MTS can overpopulate, so I'm ruling that out.
I've read that the Dwarf Gourami & Dwarf Loach don't like room temperature tanks during the Winter if they're as cold as the high sixties, so I'm thinking of ruling them out…
I think the Scarlet Badis look really nice, but read online that they require live food only (I'd rather feed packaged fish-food), so I'm unfortunately crossing that off of my list.
<Can't imagine them eating egg cases! They're fussy feeders, yes.>
I know that the Paradise Fish is room temp -- not sure if they will eat Nerite snail eggs ... do you know?
<Doubt it.>
Do you know of any other room temp fish that will eat Nerite Snail eggs?
Thank you,
<Sorry can't offer more help. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: CW Nerite-egg eater?   6/10/12

Hi Neale,
I appreciate your response.  It seems like I'm destined to scrape off those little eggs by hand, at least for the time being.  Perhaps I'll wait until my Nerites live out their life in my tank and then only keep Amano Shrimp & Otos in the future as my algae eaters.....
<Hi Christine. The sad thing is that Nerites are infinitely better algae eaters than either shrimps or catfish. You may want to shop around on the Nerite front. Since Nerites need to mate before laying eggs, if you keep one each per species, you shouldn't get eggs! Make sense? Cheers, Neale.>
Re: CW Nerite-egg eater?   6/11/12
Thanks Neale - yes, I've heard the same thing that you mentioned below (that Amano shrimp & Otos, while good at eating algae, pale in comparison to Nerites....)
<Sadly so.>
Since I have a pair of olives, a pair of zebra, & only 1 corona, I'll take your suggestion & ask my LFS to take back one olive & one zebra, so that should take care of the egg situation.
<That's the theory, at least! They may be hold onto sperm for a few weeks or months after mating -- many animals can -- but eventually they should "run out".>
I had originally bought pairs thinking that a snail may want a "buddy" of the same species ... but I've noticed that there's not a lot of interaction between snails of the same species (other than mating)…
<Among Nerites, yes, you're right. But I have kept other snails that seem to spend a lot of time together. Possibly mating or something related to pre-mating behaviours. Can be quite bizarre watching heaps of big Tylomelania snails stuck together on the glass!>
they don't seem to have similar behavior fish wanting to shoal together (or be in close proximity)....so I think the lone Nerite species won't feel lonely if I have only 1 of each…
<For sure. I don't imagine they're terribly smart animals.>
Thanks again!!
<Welcome. Neale.>
Re: CW Nerite-egg eater?   6/12/12

Hi Neale,
Thanks for the info.
That's interesting about the Sulawesi snails .. if I ever have any in the future, then I'll make sure that I at least have a pair so that they're happy....
<Definitely fun animals. Look out for them! They're slow breeding livebearers (sort of), so you don't normally see their eggs.>
<Cheers, Neale.> 

calcium source for Nerite snails    2/28/12
Hi Neal,
I have two Nerite snails in my 12 gallon unheated tank (room temp high sixties).  I put in three oyster shells....is that enough of a calcium source for the snails?  I could add more if necessary....
<Should be ample, Christine. Small bits of cuttlebone (as sold for parrots and turtles) may be easier to cut up into small blocks can work well too, and may be easier for them to consume. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: calcium source for Nerite snails

Thanks Neal.  Thank you for your reply.
I wasn't sure if the calcium from the shells just leached into the water ...
<Will do this to a degree, and the harder the water, the more slowly (if at all) the shells become "pitted".>
or if the snails climb on them & suck out the calcium ??
<Snails can, will scrape at calcareous materials to eat calcium.>
If it's the latter, then do I have to cut up the shells to make it easier for the snails?
Or should I keep them whole (not cut up) ?
<As you prefer.>
If they climb on the shells in order to suck out the calcium, then is it important to put orient the shells so that the underbelly is sitting down on the gravel substrate?  Or upside down instead?
<Doesn't matter.>
Thanks for your advice!
<Best, Neale.>

Freshwater Nerite Snail... Hlth./Env.   10/18/11
Hey there-
I was researching an issue I have with my Freshwater Nerite Snail, and came across your snail FAQ section. After reading over most of the posts, and not having found anything concrete there or on the rest of the web, I thought you might be able to help.
My roommate and I keep one snail in a one gallon bowl with a single decoration, and we clean the tank about once every two weeks, and treat the water and place in it a small cuttlebone cube. He doesn't try to escape the bowl, so I assume the water is fine (we use bottled spring water). We also feed him when he starts to really move around his bowl, since I noticed he does this when there isn't enough algae for him to survive off of. (when we bought him, this was pretty much what the lady told us to do.)
This weekend I was going to clean the tank, when we noticed that our snail was just laying on the backside of it's shell with his foot in the air.
He's a little more out of his shell than usual, but he's not dead, because when I poke him, he folds up inside his shell. We tried putting a collard green leaf inside his tank thinking he was hungry, and he ate a little and then flipped over again sometime in the night. He doesn't act sick or any more sluggish than usual, but I'm worried.
It has been a little colder in our apartment than usual, since it's been colder outside and we don't have the heat on yet. He does not have a heat lamp either.
Any help would be much appreciated.
<Hi Cassandra. This snail is slowly but surely dying. The Nerite snails sold in tropical fish shops and pet stores come from the tropics, so need to be maintained at between 22-26 degrees C/72-82 degrees F. Specifically, they come from fast-flowing streams with lots of oxygen. They can't be kept in bowls for long. While a 5-gallon aquarium with a heater and a biological filter would be adequate, what you're doing won't be. The fact he's on his back is a very bad omen, and my guess is that he's so cold now that his metabolic system is running too low to keep things like nerves and muscles working. I'm worried you mention a "heat lamp" as this has nothing whatsoever to do with maintain tropical aquaria! You need a heater that goes in the water. Heat lamps are for animals that come out of the water to bask, such as turtles and terrapins. Even if you'd collected a temperate zone Nerite snail (there are a very few, not sold in pet shops, but if you're marine biologists you might encounter them) then even these need a filtered aquarium with lots of oxygen. But I stress, the ones sold as pets are tropical animals. Apart from my usual scolding directed at people who buy animals without researching their needs first, there's not much I can do here to help. This chap is very likely doomed without a quick improvement in his living conditions. Cheers, Neale.>

Little critters, FW...  02/05/11
Good morning crew
Hope you are all well.
When feeding my fish and a general checking I noticed that the bog wood in my tank were covered with little white dots. Please pics attached.
At first I thought they might be Neon Tetra eggs but then noticed that they were moving.
This is a planted tank that is a 10 month mature with 7 Neon Tetras, 1 Panda Platy and 2 male Sunset Gouramis Colisa labiosa.
I think they might be baby snails can you assist?
Many thanks in advance
<These look like Nerite snail eggs to me. They may hatch, but the snail larvae don't usually develop in freshwater conditions. In the wild the larvae drift down to the sea, so develop in either brackish or marine
conditions. Cheers, Neale.> 


Help with Zebra Nerite   10/17/10
Finally an excuse to write. Things have been going smooth with the only aggression being Pearl Gouramis constantly bickering/mating whatever.
I don't know how they determine who is bigger but the biggest chases the medium and the medium chases the small. They can't get enough of each other though and constantly come back for more pecking, chasing, feeling etc.
It's interesting how they rear back almost like a horse on hind legs. They seem to rather be bitten/kissed/bumped in the chest plate areas and the large mail will go to this position if he feels I'm coming after him.
<Does sound rather cute. All the gouramis are more or less territorial, but unlike cichlids this behaviour rarely becomes damaging. So provided everyone eats normally, and no-one shows signs of damaged fins or whatever, I'd just let them get on with it.>
Fish are weird but snails are weirder.
<Quite possibly, but in slow motion...>
I have a Zebra Nerite that has been found on its back, mouth up but today is more on the side. There is a strange black mass. I am not sure if this is some food it has caught (there were algae wafer put in last night) or if this is flesh. I've seen some sort of molt before where they eject some gooey mass into the substrate and cover it with sand then move on.
<Unusual. I've never seen a healthy Nerite roll onto its back. If this happens repeatedly, I'd be concerned the snail is unhealthy or stressed, in particular do confirm you have a freshwater rather than brackish species.
I have also seen a snail greedily grab an algae wafer and not let go of it no matter what. Other fish would be pecking at the disc and I was worried that it would become injured. I intervened then but haven't so far on this one (I have three different fish species that will go after the algae wafers).
<Algae wafers do seem very popular with a wide range of fish, shrimps and snails.>
Also, the Corys aren't bothering it yet but I have seen them go wild over a dead hitchhiker snail (shaking it back and forth) and I don't know what signals catfish look for before deciding something is fair game to eat.
<Corydoras pose no threat to healthy Nerite snails.>
I'm also hating the hitchhiker snails and would like to add an assassin snail but that doesn't sound like a good idea to me as long as the Nerite is exposing flesh.
<Funnily enough, I've kept Assassin Snails and fairly large Nerite snails (about 3/4ths of an inch across, Neritina semiconica) together in my 15-gallon tank for about two years. No signs of damage at all. So I'd
consider the combination worth a gamble.>
Can you tell me what this mass is, and what I should do about it if anything?
<I don't know what it is; never seen anything like it. Faecal masses are usually very small things, so don't think they're that.>
I've shrunk and cropped the photos but I think they still show good detail.
On two of them I show the snail scourge. I don't know how much of this is due to overfeeding.
<Possibly, but the very small Ramshorn snails seem to come and go in most tanks. They do little harm and perhaps some good as algae-eaters and bioturbators, so I tend to ignore them.>
Also, it has been a tad more than 5 months since I installed the EHEIM Ecco Easy 60 Pro (2234) and I haven't done a thing to maintain it. The water is still mirror clean and the outflow is strong enough to make a fake tree sway and fish get thrown into another orbit if they swim directly under. Should I look at rinsing the media and changing the regular filter by now?
<Two schools of thought here. One is that filters should be left alone for as long as possible, a year even, because that allows the best conditions for aerobic and anaerobic bacteria. The alternative is that aerobic
bacteria are favoured by rinsing the media every 4-8 weeks. Me? I'm lazy, and tend to clean canister filters every three or four months, sooner if I find water flow rate has dropped.>
And do you think the assassin is a bad idea as long as I have a Nerite that is having trouble righting itself?
<Should be fine with healthy Nerites, but as stated, not completely sure your specimen is completely chipper.>
Thank you.
<Cheers, Neale.>

This is what came through. Please feel free to re-send your inquiry.
Cheers, Neale

Re: Help with Zebra Nerite   10/17/10
Thanks for the advice. Most if not all of what we saw that is black appears to be flesh. I isolated it to a container inside the tank. It was reacting to stimuli and closing up. The stimuli mostly being catfish tails when swimming by.
<I see.>
Left alone on the side the black parts tended to unfold like a flower. It was on its side for a couple of hours then righted itself. The black part became footing. A check this afternoon shows some footing but most of it is drawn back inside. The main problem I see at this point is the mouth isn't aligned with this mass.
<Be careful on this because of torsion, snails don't have a symmetrical alignment of mouth, body and anus. It's easy to confuse their normal anatomy with what looks like deformity.>
It has some locomotion and has been upright for more than 12 hours at this point. But there's no way it can eat directly.
I cannot find much on husbandry on these creatures as far as advanced care or end of life protocols. Right now I'm thinking of leaving it alone for a couple of days in isolation as long as there is a sign of life.
<An option, certainly, and I'd likely do this myself.>
I don't see anything about euthanasia protocols on Zebras.
<As with most small snails, a large mallet will do the trick.>
As far as water type, my understanding is they are fine in FW but can only breed in brackish.
<Does depend on the species. Do check my list of species on that last article.>
There are three siblings that are fine and this one looks OK shell wise. They have been happily munching for more than 5 months and have done an excellent job at keeping the green algae under control.
If I was sure of it being a foreign object I would consider trying to tweezer it out but right now I think it's flesh. Any tips on protocol at this point would be appreciated. I have also never seen an article on them ejecting flesh before. It was kind of a tar bar that it would roll off itself. If this isn't typical behavior
<Is not.>
then perhaps it was this same specimen and had problems earlier than now. If it is typical behavior and you can point me to a resource that mentions that kind of thing maybe I can dig deeper. I'm just not finding much about low level care of these creatures.
<There's almost none. In fact remarkably little is known about Molluscan healthcare generally, be that mariculture or as pet animals. For the most part they're either in perfect health or else at death's door. Sorry I can't offer anything more helpful.>
<Cheers, Neale.> 

Neritidae snails, FW, sel.   7/13/10
Hi, I have been looking for freshwater Neritidae snails. Can you please tell me if you handle them or where to get them? Also, in the information that I have been able to find about them, some say that they will not multiply and others that they will. Which is right?
<Greetings. Where to buy them depends on where you are. Here in England they're quite widely sold in the bigger aquarium shops, such as the Maidenhead Aquatics chain. Asking your local tropical fish shop to get them in shouldn't be hard, but note that some retailers haven't a clue what these snails are properly called, so it may take some effort to connect the common names on his wholesaler's list with the Latin names of the species you want to buy. As for reproduction, most do not breed in aquaria. They certainly will lay eggs, but the larvae are planktonic and in many cases float into the sea to develop, and only return to freshwater later on.
Consequently these snails aren't easy to breed in captivity. There are a very few exceptions, like the European species Theodoxus fluviatilis, that can complete their life cycle in freshwater. But the ones you see in pet shops, such as the African zebra Nerite Neritina natalensis and the Indo-Pacific zebra Nerite Vittina coromandeliana will not breed under aquarium conditions. Cheers, Neale.> 

Images for the Nerites article 3/15/10
Hi Bob,
Thought these would be worth adding to the Nerites article, here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebindex/fwbrnerites.htm
The second photo is a variety of Vittina turrita known as "Neritina semiconica" in the trade. Both photos are of true freshwater Nerite species.
These are freebies, of course. Cheers, Neale
Thanks Neale. BobF

Nerite snails and shrimps  10/15/09
In a previous message I asked about the compatibility of Bolivian Rams and Neon Dwarf Rainbows for a 30 gallon aquarium that we're converting from cold water to tropical.
I asked what else we may want to add and Neale suggested shrimps or Nerite snails. However, our water tends to be very soft and I'm wondering if this would be a problem for these critters. Hardness is 50 ppm and alkalinity is under 80. One pH test indicated 6.8 but another test indicated 7.1.
<So, we're talking neutral rather than basic water. Fine for both species of fish, but would tend to harden it a little.>
Our LFS says they mix some crushed coral (or something like that, I think)
with the gravel in their tanks. Is this an adequate solution?
<Can be, but tends to be unpredictable in efficacy. By all means try it and see what happens. A half-cupful, placed in a media bag, should do the trick. Obviously, as it becomes covered with silt and bacteria, it will dissolve less, and so you do need to be removing and thoroughly cleaning this crushed coral under a hot tap, likely monthly.>
if so, how much needs to be added? My concern with this is that the water we add during water changes will be the softer water. Will this be too much of a shock to the fish?
<No, it'll change the pH slowly, as it dissolves. No worse than acclimating fish from the pet shop to your home aquarium.>
We have maintained this aquarium for several years by performing a 40 to 50% water change every 2 weeks. (It seems to require that much in order to vacuum all the gravel completely.) On one hand, we hate to fix something that ain't broke, but I understand the Bolivian Rams may be more sensitive than the types of fish we've kept in the past (goldfish for the past couple of years and Congo and other tetras before that). What would you suggest we do?
<By all means try out the crushed coral route. Me, I prefer to add something to each bucket of water. If you look here:
You'll see there's a Rift Valley salt mix. If you added one-fourth the dose per bucket of water, that should harden the water significantly and in a totally consistent way. You might up the dose to one-half the quoted amount. Either way, this mix adds general hardness (the Epsom salt) and carbonate hardness (the baking soda) and together these create water conditions that will suit the species you're after.>
On another note, we've had trouble finding test kits for hardness and alkalinity. Our LFS doesn't seem to have anything for fresh water, they just have marine test kits. All we found was a 5-in-1 test strip.
<These are adequate for freshwater fishkeeping. It's ball park figures you're after here; precision isn't critical. In terms of water chemistry, a pH test is essential, and a general hardness and/or carbonate hardness (sometimes called alkalinity) test kit are both useful.>
Can you recommend any reputable online aquarium supply dealers where we might find the test kits we need? And what should we look for? (Brands, names, etc.)
<I guess the Tetra Tests are well regarded, but they're all much of a muchness, using very, very basic chemical tests. So get whatever's available and to your budget.>
Thanks, Jeff
<Cheers, Neale.>

Nerite snail   2/5/08 Hello Crew, I just received a Nerite Snail as a belated birthday gift.. My friend had asked for a freshwater snail and was sold this lovely little fellow. I'm trying to figure what species he is though. As you can tell he's in a jar right now, and I tested his water to make sure of it's freshwaterness. I'm trying to figure out if he's one of the ones that rathers freshwater or brackish water. Though this seems to merely be a matter of opinion from what I can tell. Any help would be greatly appreciated though! -Collin <It's almost certainly Neritina natalensis, the most common Nerite currently sold in the UK trade at least. It's a true freshwater species, though it does inhabit mountain streams and the like rather than swamps or lakes, so needs a tank with lots of water movement and plenty of oxygen. Otherwise a nice little algae-eating snail. Cheers, Neale.>

Nerites Snails in Canada?  11/13/07 Hi guys and girls, as always I really appreciate your work and help! <Good> Wondering if you know where I can find Nerites Snails (Freshwater or Saltwater) in Canada? I have tried to get some shipped from the United States, but they will not ship them up here anymore. My LFS have never even heard of them. I once got a shipment from Arizona Gardens, and they cleaned the algae on my glass like nothing else. Thanks so much for your help. Deryck <I saw them at the Big Al's locations in Toronto last year... Are there any locations near you: http://bigalscanada.com/storelocations/storemap.htm Bob Fenner>

Re: Nerites Snails in Canada? Converting FW to BR... not all    11/14/07 Thanks, they had closed down a while ago, but looks like they are reopening! I will give them a shot when they are open for business. <Okay> I still have a few freshwaters Nerites, I have researched and heard they may breed in brackish water. Think I can give it a shot to acclimate them to brackish? <Not if they're totally freshwater species. Please read here: http://www.google.com/search?q=freshwaters+Nerites&rls=com.microsoft:en-us:IE-Address&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&sourceid=ie7&rlz=1I7PCTA The first couple citations> Thanks again for your help. Deryck <Welcome. BobF>

Freshwater barnacle? Dear Crew,                 Last week I added 12 Nerite snail to my freshwater tank. Today I noticed small (1/32") white scales on the substrate and drift wood. They look like mini-barnacles. While I'd like to know what they are, I'd really like to know how to rid my tank of them before they multiply any further. FYI, my 30 gallon aquarium is a planted community tank. Your advice is greatly appreciated. Thanks. Best Regards, John Amico <Not barnacles (which are marine), but likely some other species/phylum... probably a mollusk of some sort. Not harmful... do send along a close-up pic if you can. Bob Fenner>

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