Do Nerite Snails Eat Plants in Aquarium? (The Shocking Fact)

Do nerite snails eat plants in aquarium tanks? When it comes to maintaining a thriving aquarium, one of the main concerns for aquarists is keeping the plant life in healthy condition. 

Many aquarium owners introduce snails into their tanks to help control algae and provide an aesthetic touch. However, the question often arises is whether these snails will feast on their precious plant life.

Nerite snails, popular among hobbyists for their small size and variety of colors, are known for their voracious appetite. But do they feed on aquarium plants as well?

olive nerite snail

This article aims to shed light on the feeding habits of Nerites and whether they are plant-savvy or pose a threat to the aquatic flora.

Understanding the dietary preferences of these snails will help aquarium owners make informed decisions about introducing them and ensure the overall health and well-being of their underwater ecosystem. 

Do Nerite Snails Eat Plants in Aquariums?

Nerite snails are generally considered safe for most planted tanks. They primarily remove algae and are not known to rely on healthy plants.

With their strong shell and ability to clean glass and aquarium walls, they are highly recommended for controlling ramshorn snails and other pest snail species.

Nerite snails like to ship on driftwood and substrate but do not root or damage live plants. However, some tiger nerites or other species of snails could be more inclined to eat plants. Tanks without plants should have a lid with no holes, as Nerites are great climbers and could escape.

Nerite Snails Water Parameters

If you have young fry or shrimp with little shell protection, it would be best to avoid nerite snails. Sometimes, Zebra nerites will lay eggs on hanging tank walls, which can be difficult to remove without damaging the eggs. The eggs will eventually hatch into tiny snails, but they are usually not harmful to plants.

Regarding water conditions, Neritidae snails thrive in tropical freshwater tanks with a pH of around 7.0. They prefer filter water that is gentle and well-oxygenated. Offering them a variety of foods like blanched vegetables such as spinach or green beans will help to keep them healthy and prevent them from consuming live plants.

Nerite Snails Breeding Supplies

Unfortunately, breeding Nerite Snails in captivity is challenging and not recommended for beginners. This is because they require a specific brackish water environment for their larvae to develop, which is very different from the freshwater environment they typically live in.

Additionally, even if you successfully create the right conditions, snails are not guaranteed to breed.

If you’re interested in keeping Nerites, they are excellent algae eaters and can be a valuable addition to your freshwater aquarium. However, if you’re looking to breed them, it’s best to leave it to the experts or consider breeding other types of nerites more suited for freshwater aquariums.

Here are some alternative snail species that are easier to breed in captivity:

  • Mystery Snails (Ampullaria species)
  • Ramshorn Snails (Planorbis corneus)
  • Malaysian Trumpet Snails (Melanoides tuberculata)

These snails all reproduce readily in freshwater aquariums and can help to control algae growth.

Do Nerite Snails Eat Dead Plants?

Nerite Snails are excellent algae eaters and will eat algae wafers, fish food, and even dead plants. They belong to the order of snails called Neritidae, and two popular types are the Zebra Nerite Snail and the Olive Nerite Snail.

These snails are commonly used in aquariums as part of a cleanup crew. They are known for their black stripes and unique patterns on their shells. Nerite Snails are almost exclusively algae eaters, and they can be a guarantee to keep algae growth under control in an aquarium.

You can find them cleaning almost every surface and eating green spot algae. They are also able to reduce algae growth in brackish and marine tanks as well.

However, according to an older thread, Neritidae Snails may not eat dead plant matter. Some aquarists mentioned that their Nerite Snails were not interested in decaying leaves or plant debris.

Nerite Snails are excellent at cleaning up algae, but they might not be the best option if you want to get rid of dead plants in your tank.

If you have a lot of plant matter that needs to be removed, consider other snails or fish better suited for consuming decaying plants, such as certain loaches.

To provide the best experience for your Nerite Snails, ensure you have a well-maintained tank with good water quality. Also, remember that Nerite Snails are sensitive to saltwater and should be kept in freshwater or slightly brackish conditions.

If you have different kinds of snails in your tank, like Nerite and marine snails, keeping them separate is essential as they have different saltwater requirements.

With proper care, Nerites can be a valuable addition to your aquarium because of their attractive appearance and ability to control algae growth.

Do Nerite snails clean plant leaves?

Nerite snails primarily eat algae, including on plant leaves. They won’t harm healthy plants but may munch on decaying or weak leaves. So, yes, they indirectly “clean” by controlling algae!

What will Nerite snails eat?

Nerite snails are algae munchers! They devour various types, even stubborn green spot algae. If algae are scarce, supplement with algae wafers, blanched veggies, or sinking fish food.

Do nerite snails eat aquarium plants?

Will snails eat my plants? No, Neritidae do not eat aquarium plants. They are primarily algae eaters and are not known to cause damage to live plants in aquariums.

Do nerite snails eat live plants?

Nope! Nerite snails are plant-safe algae munchers. They might nibble on dying leaves but leave healthy ones alone. They’re even known to devour tricky green spot algae! So go ahead and add these helpful plant cleaners to your aquarium.

Do nerite snails eat your plants?

Rest easy, plant lovers! Nerite snails prefer munching on algae, leaving healthy plants untouched. They might nibble on decaying leaves, but that’s it. They’re great algae busters, not plant destroyers!

What plants do nerite snails eat?

Nerites primarily eat algae, including diatoms and soft green algae. They may also consume biofilm and decaying plant matter in their environment.

Are snails killing my aquarium plants?

Snails can damage aquarium plants by consuming and grazing on their leaves. However, not all snail species are harmful. Some, like nerite snails, are generally considered safe for plants due to their preference for algae.


So, do nerite snails eat plants? Nerite snails are generally safe to keep in a planted aquarium. While they may nibble on algae and biofilm, they do not typically crush or eat live plants. Some hobbyists have reported their snails grazing on crypt leaves or even Amazon sword plants, but this behavior is rare and usually only occurs when there is a lack of sufficient snail food in the tank. If nerite snails visibly damage plants, it is more likely due to rough handling or the snails mistaking the plant for algae. With a balanced diet and proper care, nerite snails can benefit a planted aquarium.

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About Me

I am the founder of, a devoted wife and mother, and an avid fish enthusiast. My aim is to assist fellow fish lovers worldwide in understanding how to properly care for and breed their pet fish.

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