5 Sign Your Nerite Snail Is Dead (& Why They Died)

Last Updated on 2023-10-18

The first thing you might think if you check on your Nerite snail and notice that it isn’t moving is that it’s dead. Nerite snails in aquariums have a sneaky way of frightening their caretakers, which may come as a relief to you. In all seriousness, a snail’s lack of motion might not always indicate its death.

There are many things that could have caused your snail to die, and I’ll guide you through them. So, continue reading!

Key Takeaways:

  • Nerite snails may stop moving for various reasons, but it doesn’t always mean they are dead.
  • Possible reasons for a Nerite snail’s death include old age, poor water quality, starvation, toxic chemicals, and inappropriate water temperature.
  • Sleeping or resting Nerite snails may appear motionless but are not necessarily dead.
  • Observe the shell’s surface, behavior, and overall appearance to assess the health of your Nerite snail.

How Long Does A Nerite Snail Live?

Typically, a Nerite Snail will live for around a year. Some Nerites only live for a week or so after being placed in a tank, whereas others from the same batch can live for two years or more. Transport stress, a drastic change in water conditions, or unhealthy water in the tank are all possible causes of a Nerite snail’s death soon after it is added to a tank. 

It’s a good idea to check the pH, Ammonia, Nitrates, and Hardness of the tank water and the water the snail was brought in before introducing it to the tank. A considerable difference in parameters should be known ahead of time.

What Does A Dead Nerite Snail Look Like?

Lack of MovementIf the snail is not actively crawling around or responding to stimuli, it may be dead.
Rot or Mold GrowthPresence of rot or mold on the shell or in the surrounding area suggests that the snail has been dead for a while.
Foul OdorA foul odor emanating from the snail or if it’s hanging out of its shell indicates it is dead and should be removed.
Open TrapdoorThe trapdoor on the snail’s body will be open when it dies, and it cannot maintain its grip on it.
Unresponsive FootWhen touched, the snail won’t withdraw into its shell, and its body feels limp, indicating possible death.

There are a few telltale symptoms that your nerite snail has passed away, and they are as follows:

  • If the snail is not actively crawling around the tank or responding to a stimulus, it is possible that it has passed away. The absence of movement is the first clue that it may have.
  • Always be on the lookout for any telltale symptoms of rot or mold growing on the shell or in the surrounding area. This indicates that the snail has been dead for a considerable amount of time.
  • The nerite snail has a reputation for producing a foul odor. If your snail is hanging out of its shell or if it has a foul odor, it is dead and should be removed from the tank.
  • When a nerite snail dies, its trap door will be open. Some species of snails have what looks like a miniature door on their bodies called a trapdoor. When they feel threatened or uneasy, they withdraw within their shells and close the trapdoor. This ensures that the source of their fear or unease cannot harm them unless it passes through the opening in the shell. In the event that your Nerite snail is unable to maintain its grip on the trapdoor, it has died.
  • When you touch the foot of your snail, it won’t withdraw into the shell like it normally does. You could try poking the snail with a toothpick or another similar object. If there is no response and the body feels limp, it is likely that the snail is no longer alive.

If you think your snail is dead, you should remove it from its tank as soon as possible and put it in a new container so you can check for the following problems. If your water already looks dirty, take this step to prevent further contamination. Dead snails release ammonia into the aquarium, which can harm the living snails and fish.

How To Save The Shell Of Dead Nerite Snail

It may seem morbid or creepy, but saving the empty shells of deceased pets can be a beautiful reminder of their life. Nerite snails have particularly gorgeous shells, with intricate swirls and designs. So how can one preserve these lovely mementos? 

  • To begin, scrub the shell with a gentle bristle brush under running water to remove any remaining residue.
  • After that, place the shell in a pot of water that contains one cup of vinegar and one tablespoon of salt, and bring the mixture to a boil. This step will eliminate any remaining organic matter and disinfect the shell.
  • After that, you need to let the shell dry out before exhibiting it or putting it away in a dry, cold place.

Keeping the shell of your nerite snail as a memento for the years to come can be a heartwarming experience, but doing so requires a little bit of extra attention and work.

Nerite Snail

Why Did My Nerite Snail Die?

Nerite snails are a species of freshwater snail that are frequently maintained as pets. They are a popular choice for aquarium owners. Taking care of them isn’t too difficult, but there are a few things that could ultimately cause them to die.

Old Age

The effects of old age are a major factor in Nerite snails’ death. When snails reach old age, they begin to develop holes in their shells. So the snail may just be getting progressively worse due to old age.

Water with High Ammonia and Nitrates   

If you do not do routine water changes and allow the water in your tank to become contaminated with ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates, your Nerite snails and possibly even some of your fish could die.


There’s a lot more to a snail’s diet than just garbage and algae. If you do not supply the Nerite snails with the appropriate nutrition, there is a chance that they will starve to death. In order for them to be healthy and successful, they require a particular amount of calcium.

Toxic Chemicals Present in the Aquarium Tank

Copper, which is found in many treatments for fish, is poisonous to plants as well as the Nerite snails that live in those aquarium tanks. Because treatments containing copper have the potential to kill your Nerite snails and other fish that are kept in the primary aquarium, any fish that require treatment should be placed in a separate quarantine tank instead of the primary aquarium.

Inappropriate Water Temperature

Warmer water temperatures are required for the survival of nerite snails, which are native to tropical regions. Nerite Snails are unable to endure temperatures of less than 50 degrees Fahrenheit in the surrounding water. The ideal environment for them is an aquarium with temperatures ranging from 60 to 262 degrees Fahrenheit (21 and 27 degrees Celsius).

Here’s a video by Aquarium Genius that’ll help you to see whether your snail Is dead or just sleeping.

Why Is My Nerite Snail Not Moving?

Nerite snails are great for people who are just starting out because they move around in a tank and eat a lot of algae. They are simple to raise and may be housed comfortably, even in modest aquariums. They can, however, stop moving at any time. They are still alive. Here are some things the causes your Nerite snails to stop moving:

Nitrite and/or Ammonia Levels That Are Extremely High

It is usually the presence of pollutants in the water or poor water quality that causes a nerite snail to stop moving. They will become immobile in the presence of elevated levels of nitrite or ammonia. They can actually die from these chemicals! To keep nitrite and ammonia levels low, you’ll need to refresh at least 75% of the water. The maximum for nitrite in the water should be 20mg/L. Make sure there is no chlorine in the water, too.

A High or Low pH Value

In addition to that, the pH level needs to be determined. It needs to be somewhat higher than 8.0. Incorporating sandstone, shells, or limestone into the mix can help raise the level if it is either too low or too high. After that, you should notice that your nerite snail is more active. This holds true for the overwhelming majority of nerite snail species.

Not Enough Food

If you observe that your nerite snail is barely moving, it is possible that it is starving. If you do not provide your snail with food, it may get lethargic and remain in the same location. They, like all other species, have a requirement for fuel in the form of food in order to be able to move around.

The Nerite Snail Is Asleep

Most beginners will assume that a nerite snail that has gone to sleep is already dead. This mistake is common if you don’t know the difference between a sleeping and a dead nerite snail. Because nerite snails can snooze for days at a time in any part of the tank, their dormancy is sometimes mistaken as being the same as death. If your snail hasn’t moved in three days, you might want to give it a little more time before writing it off as dead.

Excessive Concentrations of Other Harmful Substances

Lead, copper, and chloramine are all neurotoxins that can harm nerite snails just as they can to people. The snail may die from exposure to these toxins if they were in the tank. A nerite snail’s general health is negatively impacted before it dies. The nerite snail stops moving and becomes dormant as its health worsens.

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Why Is My New Nerite Snail Not Moving?

If you’ve just added a new nerite snail to your aquarium, you may be wondering why it’s not bustling around like its tank mates. Don’t worry! Nerite snails have a higher standard for the ideal environment in their tank, and as a result, they require more time to acclimate. Making sure there are natural feeds in the tank and obviously maintaining the appropriate temperature of the water are two things that can help ease the transition. 

Here are a few reasons why your new Nerite snails are not moving:

  • It’s just adjusting to its new environment. Unlike some snails, nerites are not strong swimmers and prefer to crawl along surfaces instead. It may take a few days for it to feel comfortable enough to start exploring its new home. 
  • In addition, nerites also only move around when they’re searching for food, so make sure you’re providing enough plants and algae for them to munch on. You may also provide green zucchini, lettuce that has been blanched, and algal wafers.
  • They require the presence of nitrifying bacteria. They will not be able to continue living if they do not have them. It is important to keep in mind that putting them in a tank that is brand new is not a smart choice. You will need to place them in a tank that already has mature live plants that have been submerged in water for at least a few days before you can add them.

Once your snail settles in and gets the hang of its new routine, it will be cruising around just like the rest of your underwater crew. Your nerite nails will require anything from a few days to two weeks to become acclimated to their new tank if everything goes smoothly and is done properly. There are situations when this occurs in a shorter amount of time. So sit back, relax, and enjoy watching your slow but steady friend go about its business.

How To Tell If Nerite Snail Is Healthy

As a pet owner, it’s important to make sure our little critters are happy and healthy. So how can we tell if our nerite snail is in tip top shape? 

  1. Examine the surface of the shell to see if there are any obvious holes or flaws. The top layer need to be flawless and undamaged, without any chips or cracks of any kind.
  2. Observe the snail’s behavior. It should be active and moving around the tank rather than remaining stationary. They also should have fully developed tentacles and should move around actively, searching for food and scraping algae off surfaces. Healthy nerite snails will also have a firm, rounded body when picked up rather than appearing limp or bloated.
  3. A healthy nerite snail should have an appetite for algae and vegetables, and its feces should be small dark pellets.

Overall, observing your nerite snail’s appearance and behavior can give you a good indication of its health. However, if you notice any concerning symptoms or changes in their habits, it’s always better to consult with a vet just to be safe.

What to Do With a Dead Snail and How to Dispose of It

In spite of the fact that you could let scavengers like hermit crabs consume the dead Nerite snail if you left it in the aquarium, it is strongly recommended that you remove the snail as soon as possible. The water quality will rapidly deteriorate if the dead snail is allowed to remain in the tank for any length of time beyond its natural lifespan.

There are two different ways to get rid of a snail once it has died.

  1. The first thing you can do is place the snail in a Ziplock bag. Make sure the bag is sealed. Place the snail and the bag in your outdoor garbage can.
  1. Using a penknife, carefully pry open the snail’s shell to remove the dead snail. You should give the shell a thorough cleaning and then set it in the aquarium for the hermit crabs to use as a home. If you have a weak stomach, you should probably avoid going with this second option.


Is My Snail Sleeping Or Dead?

Typically, the snail will resume its normal pattern of tank activity after resting for a few hours. Assume that your snail is sleeping, hibernating, or relaxing if it doesn’t move and stays stuck to the aquarium glass or decorations. A snail that was already dead would just fall off the glass and land on its back on the substrate.

What Happens When a Water Snail Dies?

When an aquarium snail dies, its body begins to shrunken and decompose. A snail’s decomposition quickly releases a large quantity of ammonia. In an aquarium, this might have disastrous consequences. Ammonia is particularly harmful to aquatic organisms; therefore, the death of one snail could lead to the death of another.

Does A Black Nerite Snail Turn White When Dead?

The gradual decline of health brought on by prolonged stress, sudden temperature shifts, and acidic water causes the shells of black snails to turn white. This is also a problem in tanks with inadequate calcium or excessive copper. Snails can become white when they don’t get enough sunshine, too!

Do Nerite Snails Play Dead?

The real way to be sure they’ve passed away usually involves a sniff test or checking if their insides are spilling out. Sometimes, if you’re used to snails that are constantly moving, a Nerite snail that hasn’t moved for a while might look lifeless to you, but it might not be the case.


There are a variety of reasons why nerite snails become immobile. But just because a snail has stopped moving is no indication that it is dead. The snail may be resting or attempting to relocate by floating to the surface. A bloated foot or a deteriorating shell are both indications that a snail is in distress. The snail is likely dead if you find it without its body or if it has already begun to emerge from its shell.

Nerite snails can die from a wide variety of factors. You probably won’t be able to help the creature if you do spot them in time. It’s clear that the dead snail needs to be removed from the tank before it causes any further harm to other aquatic life inside.


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