Zebra Thorn Nerite Snail - Care Guide

Also known as Horned Nerite snails, Zebra Thorn Nerites are named for the thorn-like appendages that protrude from their shells.  Their shells have a gleaming, glossy finish with a beautiful yellow and black spiral pattern, making these little beauties ideal for adding some shine and sophistication to your aquarium.  However, there is much more to these snails than looksks, as they are voracious algae-eaters!    



Nerite snails are extremely popular for their  unique patterns and colors, as well as their practical benefits. They work hard to clean algae off of glass, plants, and decorations, they eat hair algae, and they keep your substrate clean and the correct color. In fact, nerite snails are widely believed to be the single best snail in the aquarium hobby for obliterating algae off of glass, rocks, live plants, driftwood, and other types of decorations. Although they thrive in both freshwater and salt water, they require salt water to reproduce. Thus, they are quite incapable of overpopulating any freshwater aquarium. Nerite Snails are completely peaceful, and therefore safe to keep with any fish, shrimp, live plants, or other snails.  

Zebra Thorn Nerite snails hail from Indonesia, Bali, and the Philippines. They are EXTREMELY tiny – not many of them grow larger than the size of a pea. Their small size and antennae-like appendages definitely add a cute factor to these snails! They are not hermaphroditic snails, so they are made up of male and female snails. Nerite snails are very low-maintenance and rather hardy, making them perfect for beginning aquarium enthusiasts.

Other types of Nerite snails that we sell here at Aquatic Arts include Black Racer Nerites, Sun Thorn Nerites, Tiger Eye Nerites, Tiger Nerites, and Zebra Nerites.



Neritina natalensis



Zebra Thorn Nerite snails are the smallest Nerite snails available, ranging from 1/4 to 1/2 inch in diameter.


Recommended Tank Parameters 

  • pH level range: 6.5 to 8.5
  • Temperature range: 65° to 85° F
  • Water type: kH 12-18; gH 12-18
  • Notes from the owner:
    • With all nerite snails, it's a good idea to make sure the water line in your aquarium isn't too high, as these snails tend to climb up beyond the water line.
    • Nerite snails do not tolerate water with high nitrate levels.
    • Snails are very sensitive to copper, so watch out for copper if you use tap water in your tank. They also need a decent amount of calcium in their water to maintain their shell health, which can be helped by feeding the snails foods rich in calcium (such as kale, spinach, and other greens), by floating a cuttle bone in the water, or by using additives.



Safe: Small, peaceful fish and invertebrates. Good choices are:

  • Other dwarf shrimp
  • Small, peaceful fish
    • Asian Stone Catfish
    • Bettas (female only)
    • Bushynose Plecos
    • Corydora Catfish
    • Danios
    • Guppies
    • Hillstream Loaches
    • Otocinclus (safe to keep with breeding shrimp as well)
    • Ram Cichlids
    • Tetras (small tetras only)
  • Filter Shrimp
    • Vampire Shrimp
    • Singapore Flower Shrimp
  • Snails (all types)
    • Ramshorn Snails
    • Mystery Snails
    • Nerite Snails
    • Sulawesi Snails (aka Rabbit Snails)


Unsafe: Any fish or invertebrate large and/or aggressive enough to eat a dwarf shrimp. Examples:

  • Angelfish
  • Barbs (the aggressive kinds)
  • Catfish (large)
  • Cichlids
  • Crayfish (most types)
  • Discus
  • Pacu
  • Plecos (large)



Nerite Snails are herbivores and are widely known as one of, if not the most, voracious algae-eaters out of any snail.  If there is not enough algae present in the aquarium, their diet can be supplemented with algae wafers or blanched vegetables (such as kale, zucchini, carrots, etc.).



As mentioned, Nerite snails will not breed in pure freshwater. They can successfully be bred only in brackish water (semi-salty water, or water that has more salt water then fresh water, but less than sea water). If you are interested in breeding Nerite snails and you have a tank with brackish water, we suggest using a calcium-rich substrate (such as crushed coral) to support shell growth in the young snails. The water temperature should be kept around 79-80 degrees Fahrenheit to encourage breeding. Successful breeding is more likely with a group of 5 Nerite snails or more, as this makes it more likely that the group will contain both males and females. Once the snails are comfortable in their environment, they will lay eggs that will soon hatch into larvae without shells. The young snails will  develop shells, and after some time may be placed in either a brackish water or freshwater aquarium.


What to Expect from Us

We generally ship young Zebra Thorn Nerite snails that are not yet fully grown. When you receive the snails, they will likely be pea-sized or a little smaller, but they will grow up to 1/4 or 1/2 inch in diameter in a relatively short amount of time. 

All Aquatic Arts brand plants and animals come with a 100% live arrival guarantee, plus free email support directly from the owners! All that we require is that you send us a clear, digital picture of the unopened bag of DOAs, and we will replace them free of charge.



> Purchase Zebra Thorn Nerite Snails from Aquatic Arts <

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