Nerite snails are fairly popular amongst aquarists. They generally help in the average aquarium rather than being a pain like some types of nuisance snails that can occur uninvited. They are extremely efficient at keeping algae levels down. Because of their popularity, they are fairly easy to purchase from most aquarium stockists.
But what if you want to breed your own Nerite snails? Well, that is not as hard as you may think. In this article find out how to breed Nerite snails, how to care for your snails, and some helpful do’s and don’ts regarding this helpful little breed of snail.
How To Breed Nerite Snails
A lot of shops where you buy your snails from will tell you that Nerite snails will not breed in your tank. In general, this information is not entirely true. Nerite snails are more than capable of breeding in your average fish tank. A lot of aquarium snails are Asexual which basically means they are a hermaphrodite. Meaning each snail is blessed in being male and female. So they do not need a partner of the opposite sex to reproduce.
Nerites are different and they do need a partner to reproduce. The female will lay the eggs and the male will come along and fertilize them. If you want your Nerite snails to breed give them plenty of surfaces that they can lay their eggs on. Things such as bogwood and broadleaf plants are perfect.The part that doesn’t happen so easily is the hatching of the eggs that the female has laid.
How To Hatch Nerite Snails Eggs
You would think if the female has laid the eggs and the male has fertilized them then surely they will just hatch into baby snails. Well, this is possible but very unlikely. Nerite snail eggs have to have the perfect water conditions to be able to do this. When in the wild Brackish water is where they will do their breeding. Because of this, you have to mimic their natural habitat and place the eggs in brackish water. Brackish water is when the water is saltier than freshwater but not as salty as saltwater.
Nerite snails can live in both freshwater and saltwater. If your snails have bred in freshwater you will have to climatize the eggs to the new brackish setup. Do this by removing them with some of their freshwater and slowly adding the brackish water over a good few hours.
If all goes well, after 3 days you will have snail larvae, then after about 7 days you will have a fair few baby Nerite snails. When the young snails hatch they are very small and light. This makes them an easy target for being sucked into a filter. Be sure to use a sponge filter when the snails are this small. This will make it almost impossible to be sucked in.
How To Feed Baby Nerite Snails
Once you have your baby snails, you will now have to feed them. Snails, especially Nerite snails absolutely love eating algae. This is a good start but if you want real healthy baby snails you should supplement their diet. If your tank doesn’t have too much algae in it add a few algae wafers to the water. Also, like most snails they love veg. They will happily eat cucumber, spinach and courgette. You really won’t need to much in though. Just a few little scrapes of each. Be sure to disregard any uneaten food after about 48 hours.
How To Keep Nerite Snails From Escaping Once Hatched
Nerite snails are clever little buggers that can live on land as well as in the water. For this reason you will need to know how to keep Nerite snails from escaping from your aquarium. To be honest if you give your snails no reason to escape, the chances are they won’t. By that I mean if you keep all your tank conditions snail friendly they should happily stay in the water. Here are a few things you can do to help them remain in the water.
- Use a lid. This is probably the most obvious way of stopping your Nerite snails from escaping. Simply put a lid on the top of your aquarium. This will stop them from escaping, but it will not stop them from sticking to the underside of the lid. So keep an eye on them when you remove the lid for any reason.
- Check water parameters. Like all living things that live in water, snails need decent water parameters as well. There are many types of Nerite snails available that originate from several different places in the world. For this reason the parameters vary slightly from snail to snail. In general they will be a PH ranging from 7.0 – 8.0 and temperatures between 65F and 85F.
- Use the right substrate. The underside of a snail is called a foot. This is what they use to get about in your aquarium. The foot is rather soft to touch and isn’t too good on sharp materials. Small pebbles and sand are pretty good substrates for your snails due to not having any sharp edges.
- Aggressive fish. Some fish such as loaches and cichlids like to pester snails and even eat them. If you want the happiest snails you don’t want to be putting them in a tank with any type of aggressive fish. This will stress them out and entice them to try and escape.
- Food. Be sure to make sure there is plenty of algae or vegetable matter for your snails to feast on. If they get too hungry they may try moving on in search of a tasty snack.
Hopefully you now know a bit more on how to breed Nerite snails. Apart from the brackish water when hatching they really aren’t too fussy when it comes to breeding. Just keep an eye on the amount you breed. Before you know it you will be inundated with Nerite snails and wont know what to do with them all.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do Nerite snails eat plants?
Luckily, unlike other snails Nerite snails do not eat plants. But they will eat the algae that may be growing on your plants.
How many Nerite snails are needed for algae control?
As a general rule to keep the algae down in your tank it is recommended to have 1 snail for every 5 gallons of water. This isn’t an exact number, but any more than that and it may get a bit over crowded. Any less than that and they may not successfully keep the algae under control.
Can Nerite snails live out of water?
The answer to this is, yes they can. Depending on the species of Nerite they can live out of water for at least a couple of hours at a time.
How long will a Nerite snail live for?
In general a Nerite snail can live up to about 3 years. Obviously depending on water conditions and habitat.
Are Nerite snails a good tank mate?
Yes Nerite snails are a very good tank mate. They are a very placid creature that will mind their own business.