Horned Nerite Snail Aquarium Care, Feeding and Native Habitat Information
The Horned Nerite Snail is named for its horn like appendages on its shell. The shell of the Horned Nerite Snail is very sturdy, with the horns providing them a defense mechanism against fish trying to eat them, or even human beings during handling. It is an extremely docile creature and does not bother any other inhabitants. The Horned Nerite Snail is quite small, with its average size being approximately 1/2" in diameter. It's small size does not take away from the beauty of this snail and allows it to get into places to eat algae that other larger snails cannot reach. The Horned Nerite has a beautiful black, tan, brown and yellow swirl coloration, that as it grows the color pattern continues to become wider and more pronounced. The coloration and swirl appears in even the smallest specimens. There are other color varieties of the Horned Nerite Snail, some with interesting patterns and different swirl coloration.
In order to reproduce, the Horned Nerite Snail requires brackish water as it has a marine larval stage, with adult snails living for about 1 year under proper conditions. The Horned Nerite Snail originates from Southeast Asia and can be found in the lower regions of rivers or deltas where they meet costal marine waters. Like most freshwater invertebrates available within the aquarium hobby, Horned Nerite Snails should not be kept with aggressive fish species like N.W. Cichlids or African Cichlids as they will quickly become a meal for them.
Horned Nerite snails are highly regarded in the aquarium environment due to the fact that they feed voraciously on various brown and green algae that are commonly found in established freshwater aquarium substrate, rocks, plants and glass. At the same time Horned Nerite Snails will not touch living plants or desirable mosses. If algae populations decline, its appetite can be easily satisfied with algae wafers, Spirulina discs or fresh vegetable pieces. They are as resilient to a wide variety of environmental conditions as they are used to frequent habitat changes, doing well at temperatures ranging from the 50’s to the upper 80’s (F) and in waters of 6.3-8.4 in pH. They do have a reputation for climbing out of an open top aquarium and can survive out of water for some time, thus it is advisable to check for them outside the aquarium from time to time to make sure none have escaped.
The Horned Nerite Snail is a substrate and plant scavenger that will consume algae, debris, and uneaten food from within the aquarium. Even though the Horned Nerite Snail is small in size it has an excellent appetite for algae. They make an excellent tank cleaner that will keep glass spotless and also clean algae off of rocks and plant leaves. Their small size allows them to clean algae off of leaves without causing damage to the plant and allows them to clean smaller plants that would not be able to support the weight of larger snail species. If insufficient food is present, supplement with a quality vegetable based wafer or vegetable based food. They will also readily accept fresh vegetables (squash or lettuce), but if fresh vegetables are used it is important to remove the uneaten vegetable after a few days so that it does not rot.