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Nerite Snail Advice

Christine G

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Hi everyone,

I got a some nerite snails a few months ago for my tank with shrimp. At first they were doing great (eating algae off the glass, algae wafers, burrowing in the gravel etc.). Then they got really lethargic (stopped eating, laying on their sides and not moving their bodies much). We got some new fish and 2 more nerite snails (from a different store) and were putting them through the quarentine trio, so we added the other nerites to see if it would help. Within a week the two new snails were acting the same way. After a couple weeks some were closed up in the shell, but all are alive. Right now we have them in a separate tank with some aquarium salt (1 Tbsp in 5 gallons) but they haven’t moved in a couple days and are not improving. Has anyone else experienced something similar? I have other snails in the original tank (mystery snails, rams horn) and no one else is acting the same way. 

pH = 7.4

Nitrates = 0 ppm

Hardness = 200 ppm

Nitrite = 0 ppm

Ammonia = 0 ppm

KH/Buffer = 80-100 ppm

Water Temperature = 75 F

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There are some potential issues you can explore.

You didn't mention how big your tank is and how many nerites you have. Nerites don't eat commercial foods (it's very rare) so whatever is in your tank is what they eat. On that note, how long was your tank running before you added them- sometimes adding an algae eater in a not yet fully matured tank they also run out of food fast. So how many Nerites and how much food available can make a difference. 

Often when a snail closes up like that there could have been something done recently to the tank that effected them. Have you done anything to change the tank? Since your other snails are acting normal it may not be that- but I might add a Wondershell to the tank and see if that helps- regardless everyone in the snail world will appreciate it. Your other snails eat left over food and detrius so it wouldn't be unusual for them to be fine and Nerites not so much. 


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Thanks for the info! It’s a 16 gal that was running for about 2 months. There were two nerites in it. The second set of two were for two ten gallons. I was worried about not enough algae, but found out the light was way too high in intensity after I took them out and the glass was covered in algae within a day or two. Maybe that still isn’t enough though?

I added a wonder shell to the tank a few weeks before they were acting strange, other than that no changes. One ramshorn was a pleasant surprise addition with some plants a couple weeks later. The water parameters have been steady the whole time. 

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Do you think it might be lack of food? If they can keep up with the algae in the tank I don't mind keeping the light intensity up for them, I mess with the lights to try and find that balance for them. Your nerite to space seems correct- but it really is all about the available food. For example I have 3 in a 20 gallon that is spotless (they are helped by bladder snails) and I have 5 in another 20 gallon because of the OVERABUNDANCE of food. 

Sometimes snails will go dormant if something in the tank changed they didn't like. I hesitate to say it's the wondershell but maybe they didn't like it for some reason. Also know that Nerites are actually NOT freshwater creatures- they live in brackish water- so their lifespans are often not as long as we'd like because we put them in a different environment (this is also why they can't have babies in our tanks). 

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