Due to nerite snails being a popular option for both saltwater and freshwater aquariums, a huge number of people within the fishkeeping community have nerite snails in their tanks resulting in a large number of questions about the snails being asked each month.
More recently, we have noticed a number of people reaching out to ask about what they should do if their nerite snail has a cracked shell so we wanted to publish this article to try and help as many of our readers as possible.
A nerite snail with a cracked shell can live out the rest of its life without issue but it does become more vulnerable to fish eating it and bacterial infections causing problems.
Maintaining correct water temperatures with a pH of above 7.1 to prevent further degradation of the damaged shell on the snail can be enough to allow your nerite snail to live without any real issue depending on the extent of the damage.
Ideally, you will want to be investigating the cause of the cracked shell though as if it is due to trauma from one of your fish trying to eat the nerite snail then it is highly likely that the next time the fish tries, it will succeed with the snail now having a weaker shell.
If the cracked shell is due to a lack of nutrients or water parameters due as an unsuitable pH level then you should be able to fix the issue and prevent the damage from becoming worse.
Why Is My Nerite Snails Shell Cracked?
The two most common reasons that the shell of your nerite snail may crack is due to trauma from its tank mates attacking it or due to poor water parameters degrading the shell.
A less common cause of cracked shells in nerite snails is a lack of calcium in their diet with this usually being more common with people new to keeping nerite snails than the more experienced fish keepers.
Most bottom dwelling fish will try to eat nerite snails from time to time but they will usually try to swallow them rather than crack their shells. If you are keeping a saltwater tank with crabs in it then this is the more likely culprit of trauma to a nerite snail’s shell although some fish can do it in rare situations.
The more likely problem is issues with the pH levels in your aquarium though as anything less than a pH level of 7.2 can start to degrade the shell of your nerite snail over time.
Nerite snails do need calcium in their diets to help them maintain a healthy shell and this is commonly overlooked, especially by people new to keeping nerite snails in their tanks.
Although it’s aimed at mystery snails, the exact same principles apply so we would recommend you read our article going over how to top up dietary calcium for mystery snails or our article on using cuttlebones as a calcium source for snails.
Can I Fix My Nerite Snails Cracked Shell?
There is no way to fix a cracked nerite snail shell to make it return to its previous condition but there are a number of temporary fixes that you can try.
Many nerite snails are able to survive with a cracked shell with minimal issues though so we usually don’t recommend that you even try to fix the shell as you may end up making the situation worse or applying pressure to the shell causing your nerite snail to die.
One common way to try and fix a nerite snail’s cracked shell involves boiling an egg and then carefully peeling the shell off the egg to try and keep the membrane intact.
You leave it to dry, get your nerite snail out of its tank, clean the shell and then glue the membrane to the crack and trim it to size and this can help the tissue under the crack calcify.
Although people within the fish keeping community have successfully done this with their own nerite snails with cracks on their shells, it is more difficult than it sounds.
We would usually just recommend that you leave your nerite snail as it is and that you don’t even try to fix the shell and work on any water parameters or dietary problems that may cause further issues with your snail and then just leave it to live on as it is.
Do Nerite Snail Shells Heal Once Cracked?
A nerite snail’s shell will not heal or repair in any way once cracked no matter what you do or try.
We have seen claims on social media that there are certain things that you are able to do to help your nerite snail’s shell heal but this are not correct and once the snail’s shell is cracked, it is cracked forever.
If you do have a crab, fish or some other tank mate that is actively trying to eat your nerite snails by cracking their shells then the snail with the damaged or broken shell will definitely be at a disadvantage moving forward though.
If you have alternative suitable tanks that your nerite snail could live in then we would highly recommend that you try to move the snail away from the predator trying to eat it.
In many cases though, if the damage to the shell is due to natural degradation due to a lack of essential nutrients or poor water parameters, correcting the problem and leaving the snail to live on as it is will be the better option for most people.
That brings our article going over what you should do with a nerite snail that has a cracked shell to an end. We hope that we have been able to help you better understand the potential risks to the snail as well as that in many situations, the snail will be fine as it is and can live on for many years with a cracked shell.