Whenever you see a snail in an aquarium, chances are that algae removal is at its peak.
Snails have a docile temperament thus predisposed to danger. Their large shell is, therefore, a defense mechanism and they will curl up inside it whenever they feel threatened. They can also be entertaining to watch but you also have to be very lucky to catch some of the fun.
On rare occasions, the snail will slide from the top of the aquarium glass window by releasing one side of its flat foot and fall right on top of the gravel of the tank.
And since your magnetic algae cleaner will barely get to the corners of the aquarium, snails will leave the nooks and corners spic and span. They are also known for riding the tank of decomposing animals and plants thus retaining high standards when it comes to water quality.
Snails come from a big family a fact that will be very apparent if you continue reading the excerpt below.
As of now, we have about 60,000 species of snails in the globe, some of which are the land snails and others that are aquatic. All snails belong to class Gastropoda, whereas the land snails are known as the Gastropod mollusks. The latter means that they do not have the internal skeleton nor bones. A good number of gastropods are aquatic most of which have been able to adapt to life in the bare land.
Gastropod, therefore, means stomach foot, and this covers the slugs, the cowries, whelks, and the conchs. A surprising fact about the snail is that they don’t have the ability to process emotional information thus they are not predisposed to suffering, this is so because of their simple nervous system.
Types of Nerite Snails
Snails are in different species but they all share the same basic shape, so to differentiate them you will have to look at the markings. Nerite snails, in particular, are available in four different types, first, we have the Zebra Nerite snails that have striped shells that end at the center of the coil. They do have different shades but with two basic colors, black and yellow.
We then have the Olive Nerite snails, which are also olive in color and the only pattern in their shells is the black line. The Tiger nerite snail is not very different from the Zebra nerite only that their orange color is richer. Lastly, we have the horned nerite snails that feature thick black and yellow stripes and on one of the stripes, you will notice a series of dark horns.
Ideal Tank conditions for the Nerite snails
The first most honorable thing that one can do for their nerite snail is to use a very soft substrate for the floor of their tank, preferably fine-grained sandy substrate. To prevent them from scratching their soft wide feet and their tentacles, their top shell also does not have a life of its own and will need nutrients from the food that it feeds on, you could, therefore, incorporate a calcium substrate.
2. Water PH and Temperature
The requirements of setting up a salty and freshwater tank vary, so for the saltwater you will need to get some live rocks that will naturally grow algae for the snails to feed on. And since the snails come from the same class they have to have a thing or two in common, to this end, you will thus provide the same temperature and PH for both the fresh and saltwater tanks.
Ensure that the PH remains at (8.1-8.4), and the water temperatures at (72-78), the freshwater tanks also need a replication of their natural habitat and this you will achieve by integrating pieces of driftwood and rocks. You will also have to ensure that there are plenty of hiding caves so that they can be safe when they go into the long hours of sleep.
3. Tank Hood
Snails are skilled climbers and if you don’t invest in a tight-fitting lid, the nerite will easily make its way out of the tank. They also have a history of coming out to get some fresh air at night, the reason why you should leave some space at the top of your aquarium for the snail to enjoy some fresh air.
A water heater in your nerite tank is necessary to maintain the right water temperatures and so is the filter to help prevent the accumulation of toxins.
Feeding Nerite snails
Nerite snails love their algae and will spend the whole day scavenging for the delicacy in your aquarium, however, algae doesn’t contain the necessary nutrients to keep the snail healthy. You should, therefore, find other suitable supplements such as the algae wafers, shrimp pellets or green vegetables like lettuce, zucchini, or spinach.
You could also provide some fiber to aid your snail’s digestion system, a piece of wood when introduced in the tank should be able to cater to that need.
The snail’s shell
The hard shell on your snails back is not for decoration though it does add to its beauty; the shell should give you a lot of worries because it can cause the snail to die. How you feed your snail will be visible via the shell, if you feed it a lot of food then the shell will grow rapidly and thin out, but if you feed minimum quantities then the shell will retain its dark color.
The shells can also experience episodes of stunted growth and this normally happens when they are not fed enough food or when the snails are exposed to unfavorable water temperatures. Calcium in the snails feed is what will help make the shells strong, so in case you notice holes in your snail’s shells or cracks, it is an indication that the nerite is suffering from calcium deficiency.
Lastly, the shell can also be attacked by parasites, which will negatively impact on the health of your snail, to know if your snail’s shell has been infested check for white spots.
Nerites of all the species of snails do not produce asexually, their reproduction behavior is more like that of a fish, where it lays eggs for the male to fertilize and the new ones are hatched after some period of time. The only problem one can experience when they want to rear the nerite snail is the tank dwellers, whether they are as docile as the nerite or aggressive.