According to a book titled Sea Snails: A Natural History by Joseph Heller, “Nerite Snails are on an evolutionary road to advanced snails.” This phrase gives us more enthusiasm to learn about nerite snails and their eggs.
Perhaps many marine hobbyists can relate to them comprehensively because of the ‘cleanliness’ and ‘mess’ that a nerite snail can create in your tanks with their eating habits and eggs.
There are several unanswered doubts and confusion because of limited available scientific data, along with another reason being the name itself, ‘Nerite,’ which depicts numerous species and subspecies.
Let’s decipher the proven theories regarding the nerite snail, and how often do they lay eggs.
|Scientific Name||Nerita Peloronta|
|Lifespan||2 – 3 Years|
|Colors||Purple, Red, Yellow, White, Brown, Black, & Complex Colors|
|Type||Freshwater (In Aquarium) Fresh and Saline (In the Wild)|
Physiological Adaptation in Nerite Snails
They are classified under the Mollusks group of organisms featured by the presence of hard calcareous shells in most species. The presence of shells in nerites is impressive as it ensures them from harsh environments and predation.
How to Identify Them Based on Morphology and Color?
Nerite snails differed in their sizes ranging from medium(about the size of a cent) to small.
Although their shapes adhere to a cone’s general geometry(roughly winding inverted triangle) in most cases, one peculiar form worth mentioning is the horned nerite snail, which has spikes on the surface.
The shell exhibits a variety of vibrant pigments that are used to categorize them into individual species. For example, the zebra nerite snail has stripes of darkened bands in combo with other colors.
Likewise, the tiger nerite snail has ‘black spots’ distributed over the shell, which is visually similar to tigers. There is no known basis for differentiating them through their eggs.
The black racer nerite snail differs slightly with brown color shells possessing grey, golden, or black dots and has trenches aligned to the aperture from the front towards the backend portion.
Other popular ones are olive nerite snails and red-spotted nerite snails that resemble as their names suggest.
Buying Guidelines for Nerite Snails
While buying a nerite snail for natural tank cleaning or other purposes, ensure that their shells are clean and crack-free.
You can check out the snails and only opt for the active species. It is easy to determine as the lethargic ones are usually seen idle on the floor while the playful ones stick to the glass walls.
Nerite Snails Eggs Care Guidelines
Nerite Snails Favorite Diets
Generally, nerites are detritivores and herbivorous. The naturally grown algae in tanks are their preferred food choice, and commercially available alternatives may not be as delicious as the freshly grown ones.
Vegetables such as cucumbers and carrots can be value-added food for them. Periodic supplementation of calcium blocks (available commercially) is essential for their shell maintenance and growth.
How Do Nerite Snails Reproduce?
NeriteSnails’reproduction follows the dynamism of sexual reproduction. Both male and female gametes are combined inside the female reproductive system to produce the embryo and eggs.
It is a complicated and less-known phenomenon that involves the hatching of nerite snail eggs. Here is a detailed discussion of the known postulates.
How to Check if Nerite Snail Eggs are Fertile?
It is safe to assume that all eggs may be fertile because they are laid after mating. However, if there are apical holes/perforations on the egg capsule, they might not be productive.
The cause is yet to be established but is presumed to be due to predation or egg-shell deformities.
Nerite Snail Eggs Hatching Time
Most egg-laying organisms have a stipulated‘ incubation period’ or hatching time. But, when it comes to nerite snail eggs, the diversity in the species is so broad that current research data is insufficient for a proper conclusion.
Some studies have indicated an estimated average of up to 30 days for juveniles turning into adults. In contrast, one study narrowed it down to 14 days after considering that the egg materials are first dislodged from the egg capsule.
Will Nerite Snail Eggs Hatch in Freshwater?
The possibility of hatching nerite snail eggs in the freshwater tank has baffled many keepers. Experimental data indicates that in a laboratory setup, they do not hatch unless the egg capsule is manually opened.
Nerite snails lay eggs in clusters enclosed by a hard capsule which is occasionally perceived as a single egg. These clumps of eggs wouldn’t hatch outside their natural niches.
The reasons can be hinted at several phenomena associated with their adaptive mechanisms listed below.
Nerite eggs have a unique ability to undergo ‘stasis’ with their developmental process, presumably under “unfavorable environmental parameters.” This period of stasis is highly uneven as they can remain at such for several months observed during the study period. Some researchers have defined this peculiarity as “Hatching Plasticity.”
Pro tip: Stasis refers to slowing down or delaying the metabolism by growing cells/tissues/organs/organisms.
Possible Factors Affecting Encapsulation/Hatching Plasticity
- Temperature– Nerite snails are naturally adapted to unforgiving water habitats, viz., tropical intertidal areas. These are the zones of fluctuating water temperature range of 68°F to 95°F.
- Salinity– This factor is believed to play the most significant contribution to the development of their eggs. Again, it is crucial to mention that high salinity to low salinity is a fundamental feature in the wild.
- Wave Action/Turbulence in Water– This is another theoretical reason why it is almost impossible to hatch nerite snail eggs in an aquarium. The relatively calm water in the tank is far from mimicking the uneven wave action of where they have originally evolved. It is also not practicable to provide them with such amenities at home.
Expert Tip: In Intertidal regions, the wave of water is influenced by seasons and the moon’s gravitational pull.
How do Nerite Snail Eggs Hatch in Freshwater
Hatching in freshwater would be a “once in a blue moon” kind of situation as it is partially true to rule out the possibility in its entirety.
Interestingly, under these circumstances of hatching in freshwater, one of the most developed eggs among the clumps/aggregates/cluster eggs cannibalizes the other siblings present within the capsule and matures into miniature adult veliger followed by hatching.
Pro Tip: The pre larval stage of snails is called veliger
It is imperative to remember that this is an extraordinary adaptation characterized by a shorter lifespan and small-sized snails upon complete maturity.
Most keepers can be tempted to believe that it is possible to breed nerites nails successfully in tanks or mistake them for progenies of other unknown varieties.
This behavior is observed in the migratory organism, including nerite snails. It is common to see females lay eggs on another male/female shells.
The larvae that hatch often have to attach themselves to another mature snail for long-distance migration. They travel from freshwater to saltwater and vice versa for growth and development.
If you might be wondering how a slow-moving snail can scale such a distance, it is apparent through hitchhiking and tidal action that aids them. Isn’t it interesting!
To undergo metamorphosis, nerite snails have to migrate after a span of the juvenile phase in marine(brackish/saltwater) and maturation stage upstream(freshwater). This completes their developmental life cycle.
What to do if Nerite Snails Lay Eggs in Tank?
The majority of marine enthusiasts must have come across that nerite snail deposits eggs uncontrollably throughout the tank. These excessive egg capsules can create a nuisance, especially when one is concerned about the stain on the glass.
And since they are likely not going to hatch, why keep them! Thus, you can take some steps to ease the burden of nerite snail eggs removal.
- Gender-Selective Keeping– This technique presents a viable yet somewhat haywire kind of solution. It is possible to determine the gender of nerite snails on magnified examination for the presence or absence of skin flap at the base of their antennas.
Males possess ‘extra skin fold’ whereas it is absent in females. This procedure may be complex for a beginner, but there is no harm in trying with a magnifying glass.
- Manual Egg Removal– One can slide down the egg capsules from the surface with a piece of a rectangular block of smooth edge glass/metal. Under any circumstances, if they are deposited on another shell, one shouldn’t try to remove them as it can cause damage to the shell of the host.
- Alternative Surface for Laying– Tank substrates like rocks with small crevices to prevent snails from being stuck and water-tolerant woods such as driftwood can provide them with an additional surface for laying.
- Keeping Fish and Crustacean that Can Eat Nerite Snail– It isn’t difficult to find what eats nerite snail eggs as there are multiple species of fish and shrimp that can prey on them.
Fish such as clown loach, pea puffer, lizard catfish, etc., and crustaceans, including shrimp and crayfish, can forage on the eggs.
These ‘bio control’ shouldn’t be deemed absolute methods because it is impossible to train them to hunt on eggs alone.
But on a positive suggestion, they can be helpful tank mates serving the dual objective of controlling the egg population and satisfying the aesthetic value of your tank.
Tank Setup and Maintenance for Nerite Snails
|Tank Size||5 Gallons|
|Temperature||20 – 30 Degrees Celsius|
|Water Type||12 – 18 gH|
|pH Level||7.5 – 8.5|
Their tanks are relatively simple to construct in routine practices as they can thrive in virtually any other ordinary aquarium.
Interesting Fact: Nerite snail is considered an excellent tank cleaner as they wander through the tank in search of algal bloom on the surface of the glass.
This doesn’t imply that they are freebies to be completely ignored. Some basic thumb-rule can be applied efficiently for tank setup, which are listed briefly.
- The pH of Water– Maintaining a higher pH of 7.5 – 8.5 is a must. Low pH(acidic) is detrimental to their shell quality and longevity.
- Tank Edges– Nerites climb on the glass chamber while foraging for algal layers present on the surface. There is a high probability that they would fall out of the tank. So, one may want to angle the inner edges on top or can cover it entirely with a tank lid.
- Lighting– Preferably, putting white lighting would promote algae growth, which is a source of their food.
- Water Level– Filling up water only up to 2 – 3 inches below the brim of the tank may prevent them from falling, especially when the tank is not fully covered. They are very small and can settle in any tank size as per types of other aquatics in the tank but do not over-crowd the place.
Frequently Asked Questions
Will a single nerite snail lay eggs?
A single nerite snail can lay eggs provided it is a female, and secondly, it had undergone mating before being introduced in the tanks.
How to stop nerite snails from laying eggs?
There are no hard and fast rules to stop them from laying eggs abruptly. But it can be practical if the male and females are housed separately. If one is unsure of the genders, another solution would be to keep them single for a few weeks and observe which individual lays eggs.
Eventually, if it continues to lay, keep them longer and wait for all the eggs to be ousted completely. Next time, avoid housing them concurrently with new members unless one is confident of the sexes.
Can nerite snail eggs hatch in saltwater?
Yes, naturally, they hatch in brackish water. If one considers making the tank saline to facilitate hatching, it might disappoint you as many factors are still involved.
How hard is nerite snail eggs?
The egg capsule composition of nerites is comparable to the shell of a mature snail, i.e., calcareous. Although the capsule is thinner than the latter, it can have maximum rigidity relating to its thickness. Both of them are highly susceptible to acidic pH.
Do shrimp eat nerite snail eggs?
Yes, shrimp scan prey on it and other decaying organic matter.
What do nerite snail eggs look like?
They look like tiny spherical discs in shape and are chalky white. They are not transparent, unlike many marine eggs.
Does nerite snail find it hard to turn upright if they fall on their back?
Keepers raised a particular issue: the nerite snail is dying in the aquarium. The fact is that these species face trouble from turning back straight if they accidentally fall upside down into the water tank. It naturally results in the death of the snail, and hence, it is advised to ensure that they are induced straight into the tank.
Nerite snails are indeed easy to maintain but challenging to breed. Irrespective of its pros and cons, one can opt for a trial and have a first-hand experience of their uniqueness.
If you’re someone who loves aquariums but hates algal blooming in your tanks, nerites can be your best buddies.