Nerite Snails


Fish Fanatic
Dec 7, 2006
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Somerset, uk
Common Name(s): Nerite snails: ruby, zebra, bumblebee, racing stripe, hairy and horseshoe to name just a few

Scientific Name: Neritina natalensis, N. funiculata etc

Family: Neritidae

Origin: Tropical waters around the world

Maximum Size: Growth rates very slow but can reach 1 ½ inches

Minimum Tank Size: 3 UK gallon

Life Span: Typically 2-3 years but can be much more

Care: They can adapt to a wide variety of water conditions and those sold in shops should be true freshwater Nerites, yet brackish and saltwater species are also available.

Preferred temperature: 24 – 26

Preferred pH: 7-9 (less than 7 is damaging to the shells)

Feeding: They are excellent algae eaters, especially of diatom algae. They can be offered any algae based food, such as spirulina or plecostamus wafers but this is often not required as in established tanks their should be plenty of algae for them to graze upon.

Breeding: Nerites will not breed in the aquarium as they have a very complex breeding cycle, the eggs requiring brackish water to hatch.

Notes: Very efficient algae eaters.A colourful choice for the aquarium.
Do not keep with loaches or large puffers, as they will be eaten.
Can remain motionless for days
Cannot get back up if they fall on their backs, so a helping hand is needed
Sometimes nerites lay eggs in the aquarium which wont hatch, but are incredibly difficult to remove.

My Nerites:


Bumblebee nerites


Racing stripe nerite


Zebra nerite


A stroke of the brush does not guarantee art from
Jul 16, 2005
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Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire, England
One thing worth mentioning is that nerites may be brackish/marine snails despite being sold as freshwater snails. The brackish water species may survive for months at a time in freshwater aquaria, but often they don't. Most of the freshwater species (perhaps all?) live in fast-flowing waters with lots of oxygen, and these are definitely not a good choice for an overstocked aquarium with poor water quality. The European freshwater nerite (Theodoxus fluviatilis) only occurs in clean waters in the wild, and its absence is a key to increasing levels of water pollution.
  • Neritina natalensis is a true freshwater species. So is Clithon diadema (= C. souleyetana), Neritina sp. "Polka Dot", and Septaria porcellana.
  • Vitta usnea (olive nerite), Puperita pupa (zebra nerite), and Neritina virginea (Virginia nerite) are all brackish/marine snails and will live much longer (and only ever breed) when kept in brackish or marine aquaria. Puperita pupa is a particularly useful snail because it apparently eats blue-green algae, something most other snails ignore.
Cheers, Neale

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