How Long Do Zebra Snails Live & What You Can Do To Make It Longer

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Zebra snails, or nerite snails, are fun and colorful creatures to keep in your freshwater or brackish water tank. They don’t live very long, but you can keep your snail healthy and extend its life by providing it with the things it needs.

Nerite snails are simple to care for, but they have their own requirements to stay healthy. If you are new to owning nerite snails or are looking to create a better environment for your existing snails, read on to learn more.

What Is A Zebra Nerite Snail?

Zebra nerite snails are small snails popular in the aquarium hobby. They only grow to one inch in diameter, but their colors are distinctive. They are known for their gold shells marked by large, black stripes.

These are one of the best kinds of snails that you can get if you have an algae problem. They love to eat algae and will quickly rid a tank of the problem.

Another thing that makes these snails popular is that they can live in both freshwater and brackish water environments. If you have a brackish water tank and are struggling to find organisms to add to your tank, nerite snails are a good addition.

Alternatively, if you own a freshwater tank and are simply looking for a snail that won’t breed uncontrollably, nerite snails are your solution. They can only breed in brackish water.

zebra snail

How Long Do Zebra Snails Live?

Nerite snails don’t live for very long with their average lifespan being one year. However, if they are given exceptionally good care, they may live up to two years.

What Tank Conditions Help Zebra Snails Thrive?

Zebra snails thrive in conditions similar to other tropical species. However, because they can live in brackish water environments, they are more adaptable than other species. Here is a general guide to create a suitable tank for nerite snails:

pHAmmoniaNitritesNitratesTemperatureWater HardnessSalinity (For Brackish Tanks)
6.5-8.50ppm 0ppm<40ppm65-85oF 12-18kH1.020-1.028sg
WATER PARAMETERS TO KEEP YOUR NERITE SNAILS HAPPY & HEALTHY

Nerite snails have evolved to have both gills and lungs so that they can breathe outside of water for a short time. Because of this, they do like to climb out of the tank and explore. Keep a lid on your tank to prevent them from escaping, drying up and dying.

What Do Zebra Snails Eat?

Nerite snails love to eat algae and will quickly rid your tank of the fuzzy, green nuisance. Although they love algae, you should still provide them with a supplemental diet.

Here are some good options to feed your snail:

  • Algae wafers
    • Similar to real algae, but it contains essential nutrients
  • Vegetables
    • Kale & spinach are calcium rich
    • Zucchini & carrots are nutritionally-rich

How To Tell If Your Zebra Snail Is Healthy?

Nerite snails are beginner friendly and easy to care for. It is difficult to create an aquarium environment that is so hostile as to kill your snails. Still, you should strive to provide them with the best environment possible to keep them happy and healthy for longer.

Here are some things you’ll notice when your snail is healthy:

  • Constantly eating
  • Active and exploring
  • Fast growth
  • A solid, healthy shell
    • Snails need calcium for a healthy shell: make sure to supplement their food and diet

Here are some things you might notice if your snail is not healthy:

  • Decreased appetite.
    • Algae and food will build up in your tank
  • Inactive, spending long periods of time hidden in their shells
  • They stay small
    • When a snail isn’t healthy, their appetite will decrease, stunting their growth
    • Stunted growth can also be caused by cold water temperatures
  • Shells pockmarked with holes or cracks
    • This is an indication that the snails aren’t getting enough calcium and their shells are degrading
  • White spots on the shell
    • This is an indication of parasites and that your tank needs to be treated

Tips To Help Your Zebra Snail Live As Long As Possible

Here are some of the most important things to pay attention to when providing an ideal environment:

  • Water parameters
  • Tank size
  • Tankmates
  • Food
  • Supplements

Water Parameters

Having the correct water parameters is probably the most important part in keeping your snails healthy.

If your water is not suited for your snails, it can create all kinds of health problems and will shorten the life of your pet. Fortunately, we have provided the above guide on how to keep your aquarium.

Tank Size

Nerite snails stay small, so they are able to live in relatively small spaces. Still, to keep them happiest, you should have at least five gallons for each snail you plan to house. This will prevent them from having to compete for food, and it will also cut-down on waste production.

Tankmates

Because nerite snails are very peaceful creatures, they are ideal tankmates for a lot of organisms.

However, this also leaves them vulnerable to larger, more aggressive species. Because of their personality and size, it’s not recommended to keep them with large, aggressive fish, such as cichlids. Certainly do not keep them with fish that like to eat snails.

The best tankmates to keep with your nerite snails will be peaceful fish and invertebrates like shrimp, tetras, and live bearers.

Bettas can often be good tankmates as well, although some are more aggressive and may pick on your snails. If you choose to house your nerite snail with a betta, simply keep an eye on them and be prepared to separate them if there is too much bullying.

Food

As with any animal, food is vitally important for keeping your nerite snails healthy. While they will happily munch on algae all day, every day, it’s important to give them nutrient-rich snacks. Consult our guide above to see what you should feed your snails.

Supplements

Snails need plenty of calcium to stay healthy and to prevent their shells from breaking down. The easiest way to make sure they’re getting enough calcium is to provide them with supplements.

The best way to do this is to use a fine-grained calcium substrate. Not only does it provide essential nutrients for your snails, but it is also soft on their delicate foot.

Another good way to provide supplements is by feeding them calcium-rich vegetables like kale and spinach.

Conclusion

Nerite snails are simple to take care of, but that doesn’t mean you should slack off on their care. When cared for properly, nerite snails are active, colorful additions to your tank and can live up to a year.

They are hard workers, quickly clearing your tank of annoying algae, and they don’t ask for much in return! Just do your best to give them a good home.

Fortunately, after reading this guide, you know exactly how to do just that.

Want to know what zebra snails eat? Click here. Or find out what mystery snails eat here. You can also find all our guides to snails here.

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Jason Williamson

By Jason Williamson

Jason is a huge animal lover with many pets of his own. He loves sharing all his knowledge of all creatures here and learning more whenever he can.