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Freshwater Aquarium Snails

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Aquatic snails can have both aesthetic and practical value for your aquarium.

Aquatic snails can have both aesthetic and practical value for your aquarium.

Aquatic snails are a great addition to any freshwater tank. They work hard to clean the aquarium by feeding on algae, fish waste, and other debris. Snails are pretty to look at too, and you can't have a serious aquarium without them.

Some people think that they are not that important, but the reality is that they are as good as any fish. Not only that, for the most part, snails don't require any special care. They don't need much light or food either. Let's take a look at which species are the best for your freshwater aquarium.

Nerite snails have a healthy appetite for algae.

Nerite snails have a healthy appetite for algae.

Nerite Snails

You have probably seen nerite snails in many aquariums because they are usually the species most people start with. They are easy to take care of, and they're excellent at cleaning the tank of debris. These snails eat algae more than any other species, and they look great too. Their shell has pretty black and yellow stripes, so they also look great as decoration.

The only problem with aquatic snails is that they breed quickly, so many tank owners don't keep them in the same aquarium as the fish. However, nerite snails breed only in brackish water, so your freshwater tank won't get crowded. They live in pH levels of around 7.5 and need a water temperature of 72° to 78° F. Nerite snails live for about two years on average.

Another excellent quality about these snails is that they are very friendly and can live side by side with any fish, plant, or shrimp. Your tank will look prettier with a handful of these black and yellow snails.

Assassin Snails

You must be thinking that ‘assassin snail’ is a weird name for a marine animal, but there's a reason for it. Namely, these snails can't stand other snails in the same tank so they'll kill and eat them. This snail doesn't eat fish waste but other snails, which isn't always a bad thing because you don't have to worry about overpopulation.

If you already have another species that has reproduced too much, stick an assassin snail in the tank and let nature run its course. However, you need to be very careful with these snails because they'll eat almost anything. They are pretty and have elongated shells you can use as decoration after the snail dies. It lives in waters of about 75° to 80° F, and 7.0 to 8.0 pH level. You'll need another assassin snail if you want to breed them.

These snails are pretty and can help maintain a clean aquarium.

These snails are pretty and can help maintain a clean aquarium.

Golden Mystery Snails

If your freshwater tank is populated with bright-colored fish and corals, the golden mystery snail would be perfect for you. It's a friendly species that doesn't attack other snails, fish, or shrimp. Apart from the pretty colors, these snails are unique because they grow more than most other aquarium species. They will eat anything organic, including leftover fish food, algae, and other debris.

Golden mystery snails will do their best to help you clean the tank, and they are very easy to find in most pet stores. When they reproduce, these snails bear live young, so they can't overpopulate that easily. They live in 68° to 82° F water and need pH levels of 7.0 and 7.5. Their lifespan is about a year.

Tiger Nerite Snail

If you're looking for a snail that really stands out and has a fancy shell, then the tiger nerite is what you need. Its dark amber shell has small black stripes that go all the way to the back. Tiger nerite snails are ideal for any freshwater aquarium because they are very peaceful and don't attack other snails, plants, or fish.

The only thing that can you need to keep an eye on is the copper level in the water. Tiger nerites can't cope with high copper levels in the water (they’ll get sick and even die). Other than that, they are effortless to look after. If you use tap water to fill the tank, make sure you add a pH balancing solution to keep the pH levels under control. Other than that, this snail should be a fantastic addition to your aquarium.

Ramshorn snails are good aquarium cleaners, but you do have to look out for overpopulation..

Ramshorn snails are good aquarium cleaners, but you do have to look out for overpopulation..

Ramshorn Snail

Ramshorn snails are not for everyone. Some people like them, but others say that they are not ideal for aquariums. However, we think that this species looks terrific with its soft pink, peach, and blue colors. They are smaller than most aquatic snails and have a compact shell that resembles that of a nautilus. They do tend to reproduce very quickly, so you'll need to monitor their number often because they can overproduce and cause all kinds of problems.

One thing these snails are good at is cleaning aquariums because they eat algae, discarded food, and fish waste. When they reproduce, their eggs are tiny, and they usually lay them somewhere you can't see. It's best that you remove some snails periodically to prevent them from overpopulating. These snails live in waters of 70° to 78° F, and their average lifespan is about one year.

Ivory Snail

Ivory snails are one of the prettiest species. They have white shells and bodies, so they perfectly complement any tank. They stand out well against plants and the standard aquarium decor. Ivory snails have high energy levels, and they are fun to watch when they move around the tank searching for food. They are a peaceful species that don't attack each other or any other living things in the tank.

When the snails get tired, they tend to find a hiding spot and rest. Sometimes, they retract into their shells, and you can see them floating around in the tank. It's a sight you won't see with any other snail species. They eat fish waste, discarded food, and tank debris, keeping your tank clean. Ivory snails grow to about two inches and live one year on average.

Make Your Aquarium Stand Out

Having colorful fish species and beautiful tank decor is one thing, but you can't have a complete ecosystem without adding some freshwater snails. Species like the ivory snail and the tiger nerite look exceedingly pretty, but they also do a lot when it comes to cleaning out the debris from the tank. With the right number of snails, you won't have to clean the aquarium that often and you will have another fun species to observe.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2019 Ben Martin