The Fish Keeping & Aquarium Guide.

How To Breed Nerite Snails?

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Are you wondering how you can keep your fish tank clean, so you won’t have to clean it every week? Breed Nerite snails!

What are Nerite Snails?

A member of the Neritidae family, nerite snail, or Neritina natalensis is just one of the 200 species from the said family. The neritidae family can find in seashores, streams, rivers, and brackish. Its natural habitat is easy to duplicate in freshwater ranks and even saltwater setups.

If you have a fresh water tank, you need to choose snails from the brackish areas of Eastern Africa. These species can live in freshwater and seawater setups. For purely saltwater species, these are the ones from the Caribbean or Pacific Coast.

Snails are one of the slowest animals you can find (perhaps slower than a turtle – we don’t know for sure). It has a hard and coiled shell with a muscular foot. The foot moves left and right, allowing it to move forward slowly. Each species of snail is different in color and shell markings, and this is their identity. The shape of their shell is also different from one another. All snails come with four sensitive tentacles.

Nerite snails are small and are easy to manage. If rivers have janitor fishes to clean the water, aquariums can have nerite snail to keep the tank clean and fresh for a more extended period.

A healthy nerite snail can grow up to an inch in diameter, and it feeds on algae.

This specie of snail can live in saltwater and freshwater environments. However, staying too long in soft water can also soften their shell. Please keep it in seawater to keep their shells hard. Snails can live on land too or without water for a period, so you can also take it out of the tank from time to time.

If you have a dwarf shrimp in your fish tank, nerite snails can serve as their great company. This snail species loves to move around, finding algae to eat. Algae growth is one of the issues that most aquarium owners have. With a nerite snail in your tank, you no longer have to worry about algae buildup; hence, you not need to clean it periodically.

Had you been wondering why most tanks have snails in it? The main reason – to eat algae and keep the tank clean!

Type of Nerite Snails

Nerite snail is just one of the snails out there, and surprisingly, there are still different types of nerite snails. Here are some of them, and you can choose any for your tank today!

1) Zebra Nerite Snail (Neritina natalensis Zebra)

It ha shell that sporting its golden to yellow, light to brown, and green to yellow color, this snail specie is one colorful tank cleaner to have. It comes with uneven strips that make it very noticeable when placed in a tank of water. Along with the large light ridges on its shell, this is one unique snail specie to have.

An adult zebra nerite snail can grow up to 3 centimeters. It is often mistaken as a Neritina coromandeliana or as Vittina coromandeliana, but a closer look always reveals how different its stripes are from the other two.

2) Tiger Nerite Snail (Neritina turrita)

The Tiger Nerite snail comes with dark amber shades with small markings in black in its shell. The trademarks are likely to tiger stripes. An adult tiger nerite snail can grow up to 1 inch.

3) Olive Nerite Snail (Neritina reclivata)

It is known as the black marble snail. This snail species is also popular among aquarium owners. The smooth and rounded shell of the olive nerite snail is brown to green in color. It is simple and very natural, yet most tank owners find it attractive and add elegance when placed in a tank. It grows less than an inch.

4) Horned Nerite Snail (Neritina Clithon corona)

The Horned Nerite Snail is known for other names such as bumblebee and sunny. You can tell if a snail is a horned snail with its protruding spikes in front of the shell. The spikes are dark in color and look like a horn hence the name ‘horned’. The spikes are breakable, but it doesn’t harm the horned snails even when their horns are broken. This specie also grows less than an inch.

5) Red Racer Nerite Snail (Neritina pulligera, Vittina waigiensis)

The unique groove of this snail on its shell and its gleaming ebony made it one of the most remarkable species of the nerite snail. The groove runs along with its back aperture in a parallel line. Its shell is often gleaning with dark grey or gold or black. It is the fastest species of nerite snail as it can crawl at a speed like no other snails can – hence it is called ‘racer’.
A grown red racer nerite snail can measure up to 1 inch or 3 centimeters.

Gender Difference

Netrite snails are different from other snails; they are not hermaphrodite. However, despite having the same features and with shells that don’t give any clue whether a snail is a male of a female, it is hard to distinguish.
So how can you breed nerite snail? To increase your chance of breeding this species, you should have a different group. A group of 5 to 6 will do and can increase your chance of having a breeding nerite snail.

How to Breed?

Now that you learned how to increase your chance of breeding nerite snails, it is time to understand their breeding process.

Even though snails can live in freshwater, saltwater, and the land, they can only breed in saltwater. If you want to breed a nerite snail successfully, put them in a tank with saltwater or release them in brackish water. They tend to produce successfully when they are in their natural habitat.

If you have prepared a tank or aquarium with saltwater, place a group of nerite snails (5-6 group at least for a higher chance of success). Since you cannot determine whether you are looking at a male or female nerite snail, having multiple groups is your best chance of successfully reproducing.

If your snail found a partner successfully and the mating began, the female snail will start looking for leaves or driftwood where it can lay its eggs. It can even lay eggs on another snail’s shell. The egg capsules are in yellow and turn dark as it develops into a baby snail.

A snail egg capsule can grow up to 1.5mm (length) x 1mm (width) and has an oval shape. A thin membrane protects the egg capsule. Each egg capsule contains up to 68 eggs. The highest content is 106, and the lowest count is 32.

The egg capsule turns to larvae after 96 hours (3 days at least). It develops into baby snails after seven days. Baby snails are small and can be sucked by filters if there is one, so be careful if your tank has a filter. If you are using a sponge filter, then you don’t have to worry about this.

For maximum protection, it is best to place your baby snails to a marine tank. Make sure that the tank has algae or a source of algae to feed the baby snails. Leave them for a month in the marine tank before moving them to your regular freshwater fish tank.


For a healthier tank environment, it is best to have a nerite snail that can protect your tank from algae formation. There are different species of nerite snails with different colors, shapes, and shell markings. You can always choose the best one that can complement your current tank design.

With their exceptional look and talent as tank cleaner, nerite snails are one of the must-haves in your fish tank, regardless of size.

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