Nerite Snail – Species Profile & Facts

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Are you looking to have a saltwater aquarium or a freshwater tank? Whichever it is, be sure nerites snails will make the best cleaners. These beautiful creatures spend most of their time roaming around the tank searching for algae.

If anything, this snail’s algae-eating exploits has made it a tank staple for many aquarists.

Nerite snails come highly recommended for beginners because of how easy it is to care for them. And you can keep them in a smaller tank. Yes, being less than an inch (long), Nerite snails won’t trouble anyone whose is space conscious.

But before you rush to these keep snails, here’s every vital thing you need to know about them:

Nerite Snail Appearance


Nerite Snail

A member of the Netiradae family, the Nerite snail is hardy, roundish, and has variable markings.

In fact, each species in this family features a unique look, meaning you have a variety of different patterns and colours to choose from.

But what’s more interesting is that even the patterns on each individual snail vary from those of another.

In other words, no two Nerite snail patterns are exactly the same. Just like human fingerprints. With this in mind, check out the following examples of Nerite snail species and how they look like:

– Zebra Nerite (Neritina Natalensis)

These little guys normally have mostly dark brown and gold stripes running along their shells. While some zebra nerites feature extra thin stripes, identical to pinstripes, others have thicker stripes that may appear irregular.

Some even spot rows of spots and not stripes. All the same, Zebra Nerites are extremely interesting and striking to look at.

– Tiger Nerite Snails (Vetina Semiconica)

Tiger nerites are simply stunning. They feature a ‘tiger-ish’ orange base colour and a lighter orange strip spiralling around their shells. Also, small dark brown chevrons run along the lighter orange strip. These chevrons look like tire markings.

– Oliver Nerite Snails (Neritina Reclivata)

Just as their name implies, Oliver Nerites are olive green. Some say they look like martini olives. But try to skewer and put them in your drinks and you’ll know they are not!

Even so, their green colour allows them to blend with algae and plants, especially in the wild.

Other examples of Nerite snail species include Horned Nerite snails (have horns), Red Racer Nerite Snails (red base colour with stripes light orange/ dark chevrons), and Checkered Nerite Snail (patterns of black and white spots).

Nerite Snail Tank Requirements



When it comes to tank requirements, it’s imperative to consider the type of snails you’ll be keeping (freshwater Nerite snails or saltwater nerite snails).

Because it is vital to mimic their natural environment if your specific snails are to stay healthy. All the same, avoid rearing too many nerite snails in one tank.

As you may know, all types of snails eat mostly algae, meaning that if the algae numbers in your tank deplete, your beloved snails will starve.

So limit yourself to only one nerite snail per every 5-gallon tank. If yours is a ten-gallon one, a maximum of three nerite snails will do.

Other than that, consider incorporating a filter in your tank. Filters come in handy when it comes to the breaking down of nitrates and ammonia as well as the formation of bacteria.

Nerite snail aquariums should also have driftwood, rocks, and plants. Remember, all snails thrive in hidden and quiet environments.

It’s also important to note that Nerite snails utilize natural sunlight, especially in the wild. So you can supply them with at least 2-3 hours of natural sunlight in captivity.

If your tank is in a space with no access to natural light, artificial light will do. Nerite snails prefer moderate lighting conditions.

Nerite Snail Water Requirements

The following water parameters should suffice for your Nerite snails to stay happy and healthy:

Freshwater Nerite Snails

  • Temperature: 72°-78°F (22°-26°C)
  • Ammonia/ Nitrite: 0
  • Nitrate: <30 ppm
  • pH: 7.0-8.2
  • GH: 5-8 dGH
  • KH: 5-15 dKH

Saltwater (Marine) Nerite Snails

  • Temperature: 72°-78°F (22°-26°C)
  • Ammonia/ Nitrite: 0
  • Nitrate: <20 ppm
  • pH: 8.1-8.4
  • Calcium: 350-450 ppm
  • Magnesium: 1250-1350 ppm
  • KH: 8-12 dKH

Take note that water hardness is vital to these snails overall health. Because nerite snails use calcium drawn from their surrounding water to grow their shells.

If the water is too soft or too acidic, the snails’ shells break down over time. Ultimately, this kills the snails.

Another thing that can kill your snails is using a dirty substrate. An unclean substrate makes your water appear milky and contaminates it.

Nerite Snail Diet & Feeding

Many aquarists consider Nerite snails compulsive eaters because they eat for several hours non-stop before taking a break that can extend to days. During this time, they won’t eat or move.

As such, consider providing your snails with sufficient food. Sufficient enough to ensure they don’t suffer any deficiencies while also not over-feeding them.

An over-fed snail will likely develop infections or overproduce waste (ammonia). Mind you, increased waste production can easily lead to a disease outbreak.

Even more importantly, Nerite snails are herbivores. So other than algae, which is what they prefer, they can also eat certain plants and vegetables like zucchini, spinach, and blanched lettuce.

Nerite Snail Tank Mates

Nerites are quite peaceful creatures. In fact, their non-aggressive nature makes them ideal tank mates for any other non-aggressive species.

So you can keep them together with peaceful ornamental shrimp, community fish, and other snails (except assassins).

It’s best to avoid keeping Nerites together with large, aggressive fish or snail-eating fish as they may quickly turn into dinner.

Nerite Snail Breeding

While many snail species can reproduce asexually, this isn’t the case with Nerites. You, therefore, need both Nerite sexes in one tank for them to breed.

In essence, when a female Nerite and a male one stay together, they eventually mate.

Which is why most people who breed Nerites do it by accident. Once fertilization occurs, your female Nerite will lay eggs either on the plants, on driftwood, or under rocks.

The eggs are usually white in colour and can only hatch in brackish water.

It takes around 2-3 days for the eggs to turn into larvae. And after a week, the larvae become small snails, which is when you can transfer them to a different tank.

Wrapping Up

Nerite snails are a lovely addition to any kind of tank. They don’t require special care and can help maintain the healthy conditions in your aquarium. What else would you want, eh?

Invest in Nerite snails today. Trust, you won’t regret it.

Author Image Fabian
I’m Fabian, aquarium fish breeder and founder of this website. I’ve been keeping fish, since I was a kid. On this blog, I share a lot of information about the aquarium hobby and various fish species that I like. Please leave a comment if you have any question.
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