7 Reasons Your Snails Keep Coming Out Of The Water

Last Updated on 2023-08-08

Snails add their own special flair to an aquarium, which complements the colorful fish. As a result, many fish keepers now like housing snails among their other aquarium inhabitants. However, aquarists frequently fret about their snails sneaking out of the tank.

One of the most prevalent problems with aquariums is that snails often manage to escape, even from the most well-protected tanks. As soon as a snail is introduced to an aquarium tank, the battle to keep it there begins.

Do snails in captivity ever manage to sneak out of the tank? Keep reading to learn more about the potential causes of snail escapes from aquariums.

Why Do Your Snails Keep Coming Out Of Water?

Certain species of snails are notorious for getting out of their tanks out of pure curiosity. This is one way they discover their surroundings. Aquarium snails, however, need to keep their bodies moist in order to survive, so a prolonged absence from the tank is not a good sign. The best way to ensure the health and happiness of your snails is to provide them with the ideal environment.  With that out of the way, let’s dive into the specific causes of snail escapes from aquariums. 

Aquarium snails try to get out of their tanks for the following reasons:

Tank Conditions Are Poor

Because they spend their entire lives in your aquarium, it is essential that the tank provides a healthy environment for them. Snails cannot survive toxicity in the water. In fact, it can cause them to become sick and diseased. high concentrations of ammonia, nitrates, and nitrites, are all likely to kill snails. And in contrast to fish, snails would actively seek to escape an unfavorable environment rather than attempt to adapt themselves to survive in it.

Temperature & Hardness

When the conditions in the tank are not ideal, snails will make an attempt to get out of there. Therefore, if the water temperature in the aquarium is unstable as a result of a faulty heater, the snails will become anxious and want to escape. The hardness of the water is an additional aspect that should be taken into consideration. The proper quantity of calcium is required for the shell of a snail to develop in a healthy and robust manner.


If your snail has too many tank mates then they’ll begin to feel suffocated. And if they begin to feel crowded inside the tank, snails may attempt to break free and escape.

Aggressive Tankmates

Snails tend to live in quiet communities. If you keep your snails in the same tank with aggressive tank mates, their lives will be made very difficult. The next thing that will happen is that the snails will attempt to escape from the tank.

Not Enough to Eat

The absence of food is yet another factor that may cause snails to try and leave their tank environment. If the algae levels in your tank are too low, for example, and you are unable to feed your snails in a sufficient manner, your snails may try to escape in order to find other sources of food.

Poor Substrate 

Snails are susceptible to injury due to the delicate nature of their underbellies, which makes them particularly vulnerable to rough terrain. In addition, if the decorations in the tank have any sharp or rough edges, the snails run the risk of being injured. In such a type of situation, the snails will make every effort to escape the tank in search of a more comfortable environment.


Snails are predisposed to investigate their surroundings due to their inquisitive nature. They are known to escape the limits of an aquarium in order to explore the great outdoors. This is the primary reason why snails are commonly referred to as master escapists.

If you look for all of the probable reasons why your snails might escape and can’t find any of them, the most likely explanation is that they are simply curious about what is outside.

Why Is Your Snail Staying Out Of The Water?

The snails in an aquarium will die if they are removed from the water for any length of time. A water snail wouldn’t last more than a few hours on dry land. Sometimes snails will leave the water for various reasons, but they always seem to find their way back. 

Here are a few reasons why snails stay out of the water.

To Breathe

A few different kinds of snails really have lungs, which allow them to draw oxygen from the air surrounding them. The snails that rely on their lungs for survival are able to breathe when they are not submerged in water, but this does not mean that they can survive. The reason for this is due to the fact that continuous exposure to air causes the body to become drier.

To Start Laying Eggs

Some snail species venture out of their aquariums (or the water altogether) to reproduce. The best example is apple snails or mystery snails, which are very popular in aquariums. If you maintain these snails long enough, you’ll eventually come across an egg clutch that has become stranded above the water. While these snails must leave the water to reproduce, they never stay out of water for long.

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How Do You Keep Snails From Coming Out Of The Water

People call snails “escape artists” because they find many ways to get out of their tanks. You should therefore exercise extreme caution. Snails do better in water because their odds of surviving in water are higher than in any other environment. So, it’s best to fix the problems that cause snails to escape the aquarium.

Snails don’t need much to be happy. The only way to keep mystery snails from escaping the tank is to give them the right conditions for them to thrive. The following measures can be used to prevent snails from escaping.

Take out Any Hostile Tankmates

Before introducing any more inhabitants to the tank, make sure you have a good idea of which other species can coexist peacefully with your snails. There are a few fish species, as well as the assassin snail that are capable of attacking and killing other kinds of snails. Put fish-eating snails and larger fish in a separate tank from the rest of the aquarium’s inhabitants.

Improve the Water Quality

Have a water test kit, and thermometer on hand to ensure the tank is always at an acceptable level of water. Make sure the water temperature is between 20 and 28 degrees C. The optimal range for water hardness is between 150 and 300 ppm, and the pH range is 6.5 to 7.5. In addition, make that the levels of ammonia, nitrate, and potassium are where they ought to be.

Give Them Enough to Eat

Make sure there’s plenty of food in the tank at all times. Veggies like lettuce, kales, spinach, cabbage, cucumber, and carrots can be added to the tank if there isn’t enough algae and biofilm for the fish to eat. Algae wafers, fish flakes, and pellets are also acceptable forms of nutrition. Make sure they get enough calcium in their diet. If mystery snails don’t get enough calcium, their shells will become paper-thin and brittle.

Prevent Overcrowding

In order to thrive, snails, like fish, require a sizable tank. Therefore, overcrowding the tank is something to be avoided at all costs. Most snails require a tank of at least 5-10 gallons to thrive. Also, a larger, less crowded tank will give your snails more room to move about in. So there’s no need for them to satisfy their natural curiosity by escaping from the tank.

Have a Good Substrate

A proper substrate can also help prevent snail escapes. Injuries to snails can occur when the substrate has rough or sharp edges. If you decide to use gravel in your tank, it is best to use gravel with smooth edges. Additionally, the ornaments for the aquarium should not have any rough edges.

Close the Lid

Be sure that the cover of the aquarium is securely fastened at all times, and close up any other openings that the snail might use to escape.

Snails may get unhappy with their environment for a variety of different reasons and attempt to escape their aquarium. However, their prospects of survival outside of water are minimal, and as a result, you should prevent them from escaping if at all possible.


Can Nerite Snails Survive Out Of Water?

The nerite snail may escape from its habitat due to poor water quality, congestion, or a lack of food. However, since they are naturally inquisitive, you shouldn’t have to worry about them too much. The nerite snail is adapted to spend several days dry. They can survive for a week or longer without water if they have to by retreating within their damp shells. They have a much greater lifespan in particularly humid climates.

Why Do Your Mystery Snails Keep Coming Out Of Water?

When it comes to “escapes,” Mystery Snails are true masters. They’re masters at creating innovative escape plans every time they’re trapped. In order to ensure that no snails are missing from the population, hobbyists should conduct snail counts on a regular basis. Some of the reasons why mystery snails try to escape include adverse water parameters, aggressive tankmates, and overcrowded tanks.

Can Aquarium Snails Live Out Of Water?

Because their bodies dry out so quickly when they are away from the water, snails kept in aquariums do not have the ability to remain dry for long periods of time. If a water snail were to be taken out of its natural environment and placed on land, it would only live for a few hours. A few species of snails leave the water to find food or to lay their eggs, but after they’re done, they immediately head back in. A snail has the ability to live for as long as it is kept moist in its environment.


It’s a good idea to add snails to your aquarium since they will eat any algae that could otherwise grow there. Most of them also require little in the way of maintenance. On the other hand, it is not uncommon for snails to escape their aquarium. Poor water quality and a lack of food can be contributing factors in these cases. But most of the time they just crawl out to look at the world outside the tank. 

It’s important to clean the water and think about the other criteria (discussed above) when you notice your snail attempting to leave its tank. Despite your best efforts, the snail may still opt to emerge, in which case you should relax and give it some time. Then, return them to the aquarium and watch as they swim around.

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