How Do Nerite Snails Reproduce: (The Ultimate Guide)

How do Nerite snails reproduce in Aquarium? Nerite snails are a popular choice for freshwater aquariums due to the small snails’ size and ability to consume algae.

However, many aquarium owners may need to become more familiar with the reproductive habits of these intriguing creatures. This article will explore the fascinating world of nerite snail reproduction. Nerite snails are unique in that they can reproduce in both fresh and salt water environments. 

Unlike many other snail species, nerite snails do not lay eggs in the traditional sense. Instead, they deposit small, hard capsules on hard surfaces such as rocks, glass, or driftwood.

These capsules, often called “nerite eggs,” contain the embryos of the snails and can be challenging to remove from aquarium surfaces.

baby nerite snail

Understanding the reproductive behavior of nerite snails is essential for aquarium owners who may find themselves unexpectedly facing an influx of snail populations in snail tanks.

By learning about the reproductive habits of these snails, aquarists can better control and manage their populations in their aquariums. 

Is it Easy to Breed Nerite snails?

Breeding Nerite snails is challenging compared to other freshwater snail species. While they may lay eggs in a home aquarium, the larvae usually need brackish water to develop properly. This can make it difficult for hobbyists to breed Nerite snails successfully in a home setting. 

Mystery Snail Babies

Additionally, the larvae require specific food sources that can be hard to replicate in a home aquarium environment. However, some experienced breeders have had success in breeding Nerite snails by creating separate brackish tanks for the larvae and providing the necessary food sources. 

It’s also worth noting that Nerite snails are known to lay eggs frequently, but the eggs typically do not hatch in freshwater environments. Therefore, while it is not impossible to breed Nerite snails, it may require some extra effort and resources compared to breeding other freshwater snails. 

How Do Nerite Snails Reproduce in Freshwater Aquarium?

Nerite snails reproduce by laying eggs in freshwater or brackish water. The female snails typically lay their eggs on hard surfaces such as rocks, driftwood, or aquarium glass. 

These eggs are very small and usually colorless, making them difficult to spot. After around 2-5 weeks, the eggs will hatch, and the juvenile snails will roam around the aquarium or body of water for food.

Nerite snails are known for their ability to adapt to a wide range of water parameters, and their temperature ranges between 65 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit, which makes them popular choices for home aquariums.

It’s important to note that nerite snails cannot reproduce in fully saltwater environments, so they are typically found in freshwater or brackish water setups. 

Hobbyists may find the appearance of new snails in their aquarium surprising, as they may need to be made aware of the eggs laid by their Nerite snails

How Many Nerite Snails Do You Need?

The number of Nerite snails you need for your aquarium depends on several factors, including:

  • The size of your tank: One snail per 10 gallons of water is a good rule of thumb. So, for a 20-gallon tank, you would need two snails; for a 55-gallon tank, you would need five. 
  • The amount of algae in your tank: If your tank has a lot of algae, you may need more snails to help keep it under control. However, staying within your planted tank is important, as too many snails can compete for food and resources.
  • The type of Nerite snails you get: Some species are more effective algae eaters than others. For example, Zebra Nerite snails are known for their voracious appetites.
  • Whether you want your snails to breed: Nerite snails cannot breed in freshwater, so if you don’t want them to lay eggs, you can get one or two. However, if you want them to breed, you must keep a group of at least 5-6 snails, as it is difficult to tell the males from the females.

Here are some additional things to keep in mind when choosing Nerite snails:

  • Nerite snails are peaceful creatures and will not harm other fish or invertebrates.
  • They are also relatively low-maintenance and do not require any special care.
  • However, they need a tank with a calcium source, such as coral or seashells, as they need calcium to build their shells.

Is That Possible – To Hatch Nerites without Salt?

Unfortunately, it is not possible to hatch nerite snail eggs without salt. Nerite snails have a complex life cycle that requires brackish or saltwater for their larvae to develop and survive. While adult nerites can thrive in freshwater aquariums, their eggs specifically need the specific mineral composition of salt water to hatch and grow.

Here’s why:

  • Egg structure: Each nerite egg contains several dozen developing larvae. These capsules are designed to withstand harsh conditions, including long periods out of the water until they encounter salt water.
  • Larval development: Nerite larvae, or veligers, are free-swimming planktonic organisms. They have specific physiological needs, including tolerance for higher salinity, that freshwater cannot provide.

Seeing nerite eggs in a freshwater tank:

It’s quite common to see nerite eggs laid in freshwater aquariums. The adults can reproduce, but the eggs won’t hatch without the saltwater environment. While you may see the capsules attached to surfaces, they eventually turn white and disintegrate.

Alternatives to hatching nerites:

If you’re interested in having nerite snails in your aquarium, your best options are to:

  • Purchase adult nerite snails: These are readily available in most pet stores and are specifically bred for freshwater environments.
  • Consider other snail species: Many other snail species, like mystery or trumpet snails, can reproduce and thrive in freshwater.

While hatching nerite snails without salt is impossible, there are plenty of ways to enjoy these beneficial algae eaters in your freshwater aquarium!

How to Feed Nerite snails larvae?

Feeding larvae Nerite snails can be quite simple. The best food for them is lettuce, cucumber, or zucchini, and it’s important to provide a variety of vegetables to meet their nutritional needs.

To prepare the food for the larvae, it’s recommended to blanch the vegetables by boiling them for a short period and then letting them cool before feeding.

This softens the vegetables and makes it easier for the tiny larvae to eat. Removing any uneaten food from the tank after a few hours is important to prevent it from spoiling the water. 

Additionally, supplementing their diet with algae wafers or specially formulated snail food can help them get all the nutrients they need to thrive.

Remember to observe the larvae closely to ensure they feed and grow actively, and adjust their diet as needed. The larvae Nerite snails can grow into healthy adult snails with proper care and attention. 

Will a Nerite Snail Eat Algae?

Yes, nerite snails are known for their voracious appetite for algae! They are one of the most popular freshwater aquarium snails because of their ability to help control algae growth. They will eat a variety of algae types, including:

  • Soft film algae
  • Soft green algae
  • Soft brown algae
  • Brown diatoms
  • Green spot algae (which other algae eaters typically avoid)

Nerite snails are a great option for aquariums struggling with algae growth. They are effective algae eaters, easy to care for, and relatively inexpensive.

What do Nerite snail eggs look like?

Tiny, white sesame seed lookalikes! Nerite snail eggs stick to hard surfaces like glass, rocks, and decorations in your aquarium.

How did you make your brackish water for Nerites?

Mix aquarium salt with freshwater, gradually raising specific gravity to match the desired brackish range (1.005-1.015 for nerites). Use a hydrometer to monitor and adjust. Remember, acclimate nerites slowly!

What is the size of Nerite baby snails?

Mini marvels! Baby nerites hatch at just a few millimeters, like specks. Depending on the species, they quickly grow, reaching adult sizes between 1/4 to 1 inch.

Can Nerite eggs hatched in fresh water?

Nope! Nerite snail eggs won’t hatch in freshwater. They need brackish or saltwater for their larval stage. You won’t have tiny snail friends, but enjoy their algae-cleaning skills!

Why can’t Nerite snails reproduce in freshwater?

Freshwater lacks key minerals Nerite larvae need for development. So, while they lay eggs, these won’t hatch without brackish or saltwater!

Which freshwater snails don’t reproduce?

Non-reproducing aquatic include Pomacea canaliculata, Marisa cornuarietis, and Physa acuta.

Why are my freshwater Nerite snails dying?

Nerite deaths in freshwater can have many causes: poor water quality, lack of calcium or food, sudden parameter changes, or copper exposure. Test your water, offer algae wafers, and ensure calcium levels are sufficient for healthy shells.

Can Nerite snails change gender?

No, Nerite snails are born male or female and cannot change genders. While some snail species are hermaphroditic, Nerites stick to their assigned shell!

Will two Nerite snails reproduce?

Two Nerites might! They need both sexes, not guaranteed with just two. But even then, nerite snails breeding in captivity is very tricky. Enjoy their algae munching instead!

Can Nerite snails lay eggs without a male?

Nerite snails require male and female individuals to reproduce and lay eggs. They cannot lay eggs without the presence of a male counterpart.

How do zebra nerite snails reproduce?

Zebra Nerite snails reproduce by laying eggs in freshwater. However, they require brackish water for the eggs to hatch successfully, so breeding in a freshwater aquarium is unlikely.

How fast do nerite snails reproduce?

Nerite snail reproduction in captivity is rare. Even if males & females are present, their larvae require specific salty water, making breeding quite challenging. So, while they lay eggs often, baby snails are unlikely.

How often do nerite snails reproduce?

Female Nerites lay eggs frequently, but baby snails are rare! They need brackish water to hatch, making home breeding unlikely. Focus on their algae-eating skills instead!


In conclusion, nerite snails reproduce through sexual reproduction, where one snail releases eggs while another releases sperm to fertilize them. This occurs primarily in saltwater or brackish water habitats, and the female snail will lay its gelatinous eggs on hard surfaces such as rocks, live plants, or aquarium decorations. The eggs can hatch for up to a month, depending on water temperature and other environmental factors. Once hatched, the larvae undergo a planktonic phase before settling onto a suitable surface and developing into juvenile snails.

The reproduction process of nerite snails is essential for their survival as a species. Still, it also poses challenges for aquarium hobbyists who may want to avoid a boom in snail populations in their tanks. Understanding how do nerite snails reproduce is crucial for maintaining their populations in aquariums and preventing an overabundance of snails within the confined space of a fish tank. 

You might also like

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.

Recent Posts

Stay Updated

Get outdoor trends, data, new products, and tips delivered to your inbox.

error: Content is protected !!
Scroll to Top