Nerite Snail Poop | 18 infamous Facts You Never Knew|

Do nerite snails poop that much? And you thought they were supposed to be cleaning the tank. Right?

Many aquarists bring nerite snails to their aquarium because of their appealing look and their ability to clean the tank. But, soon after, they realize their tank is getting dirty more than before.

In this article, we will explain everything you need to know about nerite snails and their poop.

nerite snail

What are nerite snails?

Nerite snails are aquatic snails belonging to the Neritidae family, which comprises over 200 species.

These snails are native to freshwater and brackish water habitats, but some species can also be found in marine intertidal zones.

In the aquarium trade, both freshwater and saltwater nerite snails are available.

Nerite snails are popular because of their ornamental value and cleaning abilities, but they can also be kept for controlling algae or other pests in the aquarium.

Nerites come in many colors, including black, brown, yellow, orange, and green. They have an attractive appearance with distinct spiral shells that vary from 0.75 to over 12 inches.

These are easy to care for creatures that have low demands in the aquarium. Therefore many beginner aquarists tend to keep them in their tanks.

What do nerite snails eat?

Nerites are herbivores that feed on algae and organic particles in the aquarium, including fish waste and leftover food.

In a healthy home aquarium with proper filtration, they can keep it clean from green algae as well as filamentous algae by eating these unwanted microalgal growths.

However, because of their voracious appetites and small size, they will also eat some desirable plants in the tank if given a chance.

They can be pretty aggressive and search for food 24/48 hours per week, depending on conditions such as temperature and lighting levels.

When there is plenty of algae or other plant matter, they will not bother with your live plants.

But if their preferred food is in short supply, they may start to eat some of the leaves and stems.

Nerite snails can also be fed algae-based flake foods or pellets that sink to the bottom, but you should supplement this diet with vegetables such as cucumber and zucchini.

How often do a nerite snail poop? 

Since Nerite snails are voracious eaters that eat all day long, they do poop all day long.

Most aquarists report that these snails often poop every few minutes, all day long.

What color is nerite snail poop?

They produce small speckled white to grayish brown feces that look like salt or sand grains and float on top of the water surface.

This coloration can change due to what they eat. For example, if nerite snails eat green algae a lot, then the poop color will be green most of the time.

Although the color is not that big of a deal, you do have to pay attention to what kind of food they are eating so you know if it’s time for more plant matter in the tank.

What does nerite snail poop look like?

Nerite snail poop looks like tiny grains of salt or sand floating on the surface.

nerite snail

Nerite snail poop is white?

If nerite snail poops are white, it’s because they don’t eat enough green food. Nerite snails are vegetable-eaters. Therefore, they must consume green foods, mainly algae.

Most of the time, white poop is a sign of nutrient deficiency. So, this is a possible cause for concern.

Why does my nerite snail poop so much?

As we said before, nerite snails have a voracious appetite. Therefore, they eat everything they find in the tank.

Hence, they poop often, to be precise, every few minutes. If they are not eating enough food, their feces will be small and less frequent.

Do nerites only eat algae?

Actually, nerite snails have a wide range of diets that include green water algae and filamentous algae, and plant matter such as zucchini or cucumber.

So this is not entirely true.

Nerite snail poop is clear?

If nerite snails eat a lot of plant matter in a small tank and their feces turn cloudy, it means there’s not enough waste for them to feed on because there aren’t enough nutrients in your water column.

In this case, you should add more fish food to the tank and clean their home more often.

Nerite snail poop is brown?

If you notice that nerite snails produce small, dark, speckled feces, it means they don’t have enough algae in the aquarium, or there isn’t enough filtration for them.

In this case, we suggest adding some live plants to the tank or increasing filtration.

How do you clean up nerite snail poop?

Nerite snails produce small speckled white-to grayish-brown feces that look like grains of salt and often float on top of the water.

Fish owners can clean these tiny droppings with a net, but sometimes these poops settle on the bottom of the tank.

In this case, you will have to remove the waste by siphoning it off with a gravel vac.

If you don’t clean it regularly, nerite snail waste can pollute the tank by excreting harmful minerals like Ammonia, Nitrogen, and Nitrate.

What eats nerite snail poop?

Suppose you expect a clean-up fish that eat leftover food on the bottom of the tank (like plecos) to eat nerite snail poop, then sorry to disappoint you because no fish will eat fish or snail poop in the aquarium.

Bottom feeder fish sometimes nip on fish poop mistakenly, but they spit them up soon after realizing that’s fish waste.

The only way to clean your nerite snail poop is to remove them manually. However, you can add a powerful filter and an air pump to circulate snail waste to the filter media.

This way, you can clean most of the waste through the filter. However, you will still have to siphon or net the remaining poop to keep your tank clean.

Do nerite snails eat poop?

No. Usually, clean-up crew like nerite snails, Amano shrimp, and pleco have plenty of food in aquariums, especially if they are planted ones.

Algae build-up is expected in any healthy aquarium and is the main food for these creatures.

Most of the time, nerite snails and other clean-up crew might nip on some leftover fish poop, but they spit them out because those are not their foods.

Nerites only eat algae and other plant-based food and not their poop.

Do nerite snails eat plants?

Nerite snails are herbivorous, and they prefer eating green algae and plant matter. Therefore they are good to control algae growth.

However, these snails can eat some types of plants, but not all plants are edible for them. For example, they can not eat plants like anubias and java ferns.

Nerite snails can eat plants like elodea, hornwort, or most of the soft green algae found in your tank, but they don’t have teeth to chew through tough plant matter, so it is recommended that you remove any dying leaves from your aquarium if possible.

Do nerite snails eat dead fish?

Nerite snails are not scavengers and they don’t find dead organic matter appetizing at all, which means that there is no need to worry about them eating your dead fish if you have a disease outbreak or quarantine tank.

Is keeping nerite snails to clean your tank worth it?

That depends on your personal preferences. Do you prefer cleaning fish poop rather than scraping algae off your tank and decorations? Is your tank often get algae blooms?

Then keeping some Nerite snails would be worth it.

However, if you think your tank is clean and there aren’t many algae in it, you might want to rethink whether or not keeping nerite snails is worth the extra work.

In this case, we suggest removing them from your aquarium because they produce a lot of waste that can pollute the water column if left unchecked.

After all, a small growth of algae is considered healthy for your fish and other creatures because they produce oxygen via photosynthesis and absorb excess nutrients from the water.

However, if you do not like these slimy things in your aquarium, then nerite snails can do a fantastic job eating all those algae.

How to keep your nerite snail aquarium clean?

As nerite snails are crazy poopers, you will have more cleaning work than keeping other fish to keep your nerite snail aquarium clean.

Usually, a 25% bi-weekly vacuum cleaning is enough for a tank with only one or two nerite snails.

But, if your tank has many snails, you will have to vacuum your tank more often. Some aquarists recommend 25% weekly water changes but, we had more success with a 50% water change weekly.

Nerite snails are very hardy creatures. So, they can bear with 50% water changes just fine.

However, if you have any other fish in your aquarium, then a 25% water change is the more suitable option.

However, you will have to install a strong filtration system to suck up a significant amount of poop to clean your tank.

Otherwise, these fish wastes can pollute the water column and negatively affect other fish because nitrate levels can rise too high.

Make sure that you use a gravel siphon when cleaning because trying to suck up their micro droppings with the vacuum usually clogs it in no time.

Do assassin snails poop this much?

According to some aquarists, one assassin snail can match with one neon tetra in terms of poop. If you consider one snail it is not much. But with a lot of assassin snails means a lot of poop.

Wrapping up

Nerite snails are a great addition to any tank. They will help keep the water clean and clear.

But, if you’re not careful, these little guys can make your aquarium an icky mess with their waste.

If you plan on keeping nerites in your tank, be prepared for more frequent cleaning sessions!

Credit to: More Aquarium Co-Op
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About Dr.Chamika

Hello, I'm Dr. Chamika. I am a Researcher in Water quality, Aquatic organisms, and Environmental chemistry. I am a passionate fish keeper, with10 years of experience. My mission is to help other aquarists experience the joy of fish keeping.