Nerite Snails with Betta

Betta Fish

A Complete Care Guide for Nerite Snails With Betta Mates

Nerite snails (or Nerites) are snail species with stripes and dark green or black ridges. They are a genus of medium-sized to small sea snails with a gill and operculum from the subfamily Neritinae. These gastropods are known for their spectacular role in cleaning the domestic tank.

By and large, they are peaceful and docile and have a tranquil temperament. They can last for one year or more. However, if you don’t cater for them well, they will die in one week. In contrast, with the favorable environment, food, and care, some can last for more than two years. Some say they are betta friendly snails.

Nerite snails with betta in tank

Furthermore, the most common examples in freshwater tanks are Black Racer, Tiger, Horned, Zebra, etc. The sizes depend on age and type. For instance, an Olive Nerite variety is often small and grows to about ½ inch. On the other hand, the Horned and Zebra varieties can be twice the size of the Olive variety. Because they have different colors, it is inaccurate to say that they have a specific color.

Still on color, they come in nearly black, tan, golden, live green, dark green, dark brown, etc. As an experienced aquarist, I have been breeding the gastropods for several years. Over time, I found that they are easy to manage – something I always look out for before pairing aquatic creatures. Therefore, I will share all I have learned in this care guide; continue reading to learn more…

Why Add Nerite Snails With Betta Tank? 

Yes, bettas are beautiful aquatic creatures (fish). Unfortunately, they always leave behind uneaten food because they are messy eaters. These leftover foods and other debris can pollute the water in the aquarium. One of the reasons you have to add the snails to a betta tank is that the snails play a primary role in balancing the environment and keeping the water quality high.

Betta fish tank with pirate setup

They eat algae, leftover fish food and detritus; all the debris can lower water quality. Once the snails snack on those, the water is safer for your fish to survive in. 

Additionally, the snails can aerate the substrate in your tank. Because they always burrow through the gravel or sand in search of food, that activity keeps the oxygen levels high and averts the buildup of obnoxious gases. Young ones often burrow inside the aquarium for a few days and then take a break. This way, their shells become stronger.

Don’t try to stop them from burrowing because your tank must mimic their natural environment for the snails to thrive. Sand and gravel are common substrates for the aquarium as they help create that habitat for them. 

Lastly, you can use them to enhance the beauty of your aquarium. First, when you have the fish and gastropods moving about in your tank, the activity makes them fascinating to watch. Plus, the snails come in different colors, making your aquarium stunningly beautiful. 

Factors to Consider Before Adding Nerite Snails With Betta

For gastropods to be comfortable in such an aquarium, you have to factor in all this: 

Mimicking Its Habitat

Before adding them to a betta tank, it is worth noting that the snails have learned to live and thrive in various environments they find themselves. For example, saltwater varieties love coastal locales. Since they naturally exist in brackish waters, they are used to rocks, mangroves, and estuaries. Once you manage to mimic or create an environment that looks like the one I have described, you can be sure they will be comfortable. 

Adequate Tank Requirement

 Unfortunately, there is no one-fits-it-all tank requirement. The reason is that tank requirement depends on the capacity and state of the tank. From experience, the right time to add the gastropods to the tank is when you notice an algae outbreak. Remember, snails are going into the tank to clean it up.

Therefore, they will keep the algae outbreak under control. Go for a 20-gallon tank or something way larger. If you have a 10-gallon tank, it has many limitations, such as low water volume, a low surface area, and a slim margin of error for water temperature shifts. While I always recommend one snail per 5-gallon tank, you should apply common sense and don’t overcrowd your tank. Plus, ensure there is air between the lid and the water surface. 

Water Parameters and Temperature

Bettas and Nerites often cohabit and get along because they enjoy the same water parameters and temperatures. Not to mention that they don’t pose a threat to each other. Most times, they need some time to get used to each other. Once that happens, your job becomes easy.

For temperature, your snails love 75 – 80oF since the fish enjoy 78 – 82oF. Sure, it means they are comfortable with each other. On the other hand, keep the water pH balance between 7.5 and 8.5 because the fish love their water pH between 6.5 and 8.0.


 Well, you will need a heater and thermometer to warm your water and give your Nerite the right temperature they need to enjoy the aquarium. Also, ensure your tank has a lid because your adventurous Nerites may break out of the aquarium and escape. Lastly, you can also use a filter to alter your water flow (current). 

Food source

The snails love algae, uneaten fish food, and dead plant matter. In short, they can starve to death if they don’t eat algae. To keep them going, you can get some algae wafers to feed them every few days. I also discovered that they eat biofilm and slime molds.

The good thing is that they grow on driftwood and décor. As for your Betta, they are carnivores, so ensure you feed them pellets. Still, you can supplement it with flakes, Java ferns, moss balls, bloodworms, Mysis shrimp, and daphnia.  

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

From my experience, here’s how I respond to these FAQs

Do Bettas attack Nerite snails?  

Nerite snail close up of face pink color

Whether your fish can attack your gastropods depends on the fish personality. While many aggressive ones attack everything in their territory, others won’t notice your snails. When I added Nerites to my tank, I noticed that the fish was seldom attacking my snails. Over time, they stopped. I think the logical explanation is that the fish got used to their new tank mates and would later become playmates. 

How do I stop Bettas from attacking my Nerites?

In some isolated instances, the two tank mates don’t get along, irrespective of the time spent together. In that case, add more items (such as plants) to your aquarium. It helps the snails to stay away from the Bettas’ line of sight and distract them too. Alternatively, consider rearranging the tank to make your fish feel they are in a new territory. Afterward, you will notice that the continuous attacks will end. Last but not least, feed your fish well because I observed that they mostly attack their tank mates if they are hungry. Once again, bettas are carnivores, so snails will be on the menu when they are hungry. 

Why are there tiny worms in my tank?

If you have white, tiny, and floating worms around your water column, they are detritus worms. You don’t have to panic because they are not harmful. I was worried sick when I experienced it for the first time. In fact, there were lots of them when my tank was cycling. They kept reproducing and kept feeding on decomposing matter. The moment I introduced my fish, the population reduced considerably. 

Since I Cannot Differentiate Between The Male And Female Nerite Snails, How Do I Overcome The Challenge Of Mistakenly Buying The Females That Always Lay Eggs? I Don’t Like Those Eggs.   

Well, you are not alone because many aquarists dislike the females for laying eggs that are difficult to remove. Since you cannot tell the difference between the males and females, I advise you buy one snail at a time. If an egg appears, remove the female and replace it until you get it right. If possible, you can sell the unwanted female to interested buyers.   

Nerite snail in betta tank up against tank wall


Take the following steps to add Nerite snails to your Betta tank:

  • Remove the fish from the aquarium
  • To add the snails to the tank, gently place them on the water floor or a stable surface
  • Wait for several days before adding the fish again. Doing this makes the bettas not consider the gastropods as intruders.

In the process, you don’t just drop the gastropods into the tank. Dropping them into the tank and letting them float to the bottom to land in various positions can harm them because some unlucky ones may land upside down. In fact, in some uncommon cases, I observed that those that landed upside down died. Therefore, ensure that you place them upright so they can get a great start. 

What’s more, I prefer female bettas to their male variety because the former is less aggressive than the latter. Moving on, Nerites don’t reproduce in freshwater.

Therefore, they won’t overpopulate your tank. Although it is hard to tell the disparity between males and females, the most common way of differentiating between them is that the females lay eggs, but the males don’t. Despite laying eggs, they don’t hatch the eggs. So, use a razor blade to remove the eggs.

I hope you found this care guide useful and helpful. Do you have any questions for me? If so, please don’t hesitate to ask.  I have plenty more articles such as best snails for betta tanks if you are trying to determine the right snail for your setup.

Leave a Comment