The tank is a cool environment for the fish and other sea animals therein. However, when there is too much build-up of algae, it may need a bit of clearing. That is when the horned nerite snail comes in handy. Without a doubt, it is an important tank addition. It not only keeps the algae to a minimum, but also aids in the vacuuming process of the substrate.
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Appearance of Horned Nerite Snail
Just like the name suggests, the snail has horns on the front part of its shell. These are used for protection against fish that may wish to devour them. The horns are quite sturdy as well and may be used to attack a handler too. Other characteristics of the horned nerite snail include:
- A small size. This gives it the advantage to crawl into small crevices that other sea animals like fish cannot get into. The small size therefore offers it needed safety.
- Boasts of a variety of colors including brown, black, tan and yellow. The horned snail is quite an amazing animal as it develops varied color tints the more it grows.
- There are intricate designs on the snail’s profile. Even the smallest of the species has beautiful colorations spread out its whole body.
Importance of the Horned Nerite Snail
The snail is regarded as an algae cleaner owing to its ability to voraciously feed on all algae, green or brown. As a matter of fact, algae build-up in tanks is a common phenomenon. One way hobbyists deal with this is by introducing the snail into the tank. Good news is; it will never disappoint so long as all the tank conditions favor its survival.
The horned nerite snail is native to South East Asia. In its natural habitat, the snail inhabits brackish waters found in deltas and lower regions of the Asian rivers. The coastal waters are home to the snail too.
For the horned nerite snails to thrive, there are some conditions that needs to be met such as the size of the tank. A medium sized 29 gallon tank would be ideal. In case they are housed with fish and other sea life, the tank can be bigger depending on the number and requirements of the other fish. Water temperatures of the aquarium should be at a constant of 70-80 degrees Fahrenheit.
A water pH of between 6.5 and 8 is necessary if you want to keep your nerite snails healthy. You could be sure of the pH level by using a quality pH test kit. It should be noted that the horned nerite snails are hardy and therefore able to withstand fluctuations in the pH range. This however, does not mean that the water should not be checked regularly to control the pH. Nitrite and ammonia should be set to remain at 0. Simirlay you could have very low nitrates but iff possible, it should be kept at zero.
Add plenty of rocks to the tank as rocks provide good hiding places for the snail. Lighting to be kept to a minimum as snails are hideous animals that prefer dark places. You could consider adding a bit of freshwater plants as snails love to nibble at plants. Plus plants also provide a good cover for them.
Provide a cover for the tank since they are likely to crawl outside the tank once in a while. The nerite snails can survive outside of water for some periods of time. In case they disappear from the tank, a careful look around the tank will reveal them as they rarely move far away from moist environments.
The horned nerite snail feeds on algae in the tank. For a multiple hobbyist with plenty of tanks for fish, three or more nerite snails could be ideal to keep the algae build-up to a minimum. As a matter of fact, the algae is likely to decline with time. At this point in time, the diet could be supplemented using other feeds. Some of the best feeds to keep it healthy include:
- Fresh vegetable cut into small pieces (squash and lettuce)
- Spirulina discs
- Food pellets
- Commercial flakes
In case of leftovers, remove after two or three days so that the water remains fresh and unpolluted. Food leftovers tend to rot, leaving the tank with an unpleasant smell. Leftovers may also lead to pollution of the tank, affecting fish in the process.
During feeding times, the water filter should be turned off so that the snail finds ample time nibbling at food. It feeds well on the substrate. Filters have a tendency of lifting vegetables high up and this may make it difficult for the snail to reach its meal.
The lifespan of the nerite snail is quite short. It can live for a year or less. A hobbyist may therefore wish to breed the snail so that in the event that one dies, there are others to replace it.
In its natural habitat, the nerite snail occupies brackish waters. This is its best environment for breeding too. In captivity therefore, it is extremely difficult for the snail to reproduce. However, there is always the onus to try.
The snail may lay eggs in the tank but these hardly ever hatch. A keen eye can easily spot the eggs that appear as white dots or lines along the hard surfaces of the tank. Keeping three or more could just lead to a miracle, who knows? So there is no harm in trying anyway.
The horned nerite snail is a docile animal that rarely attacks human handlers or other types of sea life. It can therefore survive peacefully with non-aggressive fish in a tank.
The African cichlids are quite aggressive and cannot be suitable companions for the snail. Other peaceful fish types can be housed with the snail. These include neon tetras, zebra fish and green swordtail among others. Care should however, be taken to only stock the snail with small fish that are unlikely to gobble it up.
Last important facts to keep in mind
While the snail is peaceful, it is important to handle it with lots of care to avoid harm in case it is agitated. Using tough gloves during handling may be recommended.
For a huge tank, keeping at least three snails can help clean up the algae build-up effectively. The horned nerite snail should be a worthy consideration for hobbyists thinking of tank cleaners.