Why are my Aquarium Snails Dying?

Why are my Aquarium Snails Dying?

If your aquarium snails are dying, then you should find the cause of this problem. Here are 11 main reasons that can lead to the death of aquarium snails.

Why are my Aquarium Snails Dying? Aquarium snails can die due to mineral concentrations like copper and calcium, changes in water parameters, environmental changes, aging, and change in aquarium temperature. You should take the snail from the aquarium and smell it, the presence of a foul smell confirms that these are dead or otherwise. When aquatic snail dies, decomposition process starts inside their shell and produce a stinky smell.

Why are my Aquarium Snails Dying?

Sometimes snail species pose in this way to show that these are dead and they are not. Some snail species like Mystery snail float on the water surface for a while, indicating that they are no more alive.

Snail shells fill with air, which gives them buoyancy ability. If your snail species are dying, then make some adjustments for the health and long life.

Dead snails quickly decompose and produce ammonia, which gives an irritating smell. You have to learn some tank parameters so that you can easily handle the worse situation. 

Snail is a tiny but smart creature, so do not judge them quickly. Various snail species hibernate or sleep for a while or take several days, so aquarists become confused. Snails float on the water surface to make a new change in their habitat. 

Copper concentration

Copper is the harmful element that affects the aquatic snail’s health directly or indirectly. Copper does not change into any other form, so it accumulates in the body if its level increases in aquarium water.

If you treat the algae for its growth control with chemicals, it makes addition in the water. Snail and other aquatic inhabitants are sensitive to copper concentration. API test is beneficial for a copper level checkup and regulation.

Medication used to treat fish

Suppose you treat the sick fish with some medication like Maracyn for betta fish. This type of drug can harm the aquarium composition like a sponge, the sealant, and the bottom substrate.

These are harmful to your snail and others like shrimps. Copper sulfate is exceptionally toxic to the fish and snail species, and a 0.01% trace amount can harm the snail within 2 hours. 

Unfiltered water

You have to test the aquarium water regularly. If you put the unfiltered soft water, it possible that that iron present in it. This heavy metal toxicity depends on the concentration.

The trace amount of iron is not harmful to your aquatic pet, but an excess amount can lead to severe problems and cause snails’ death. If they can eat it, harm the snail and slug, resulting in death.

Snail Shell Crack

Some snail species with other aquatic inhabitants like Godzilla have calcium deficiency, which leads to shell damage like discoloration or the shell crack and splits.

These repair but takes time in months for healing or repairing. Snail repair with the calcium carbonate help which releases from the secretory glands.

It is helpful for improvement, but it looks like bad scars. Sometimes, damage occurs due to upside-down movement. If you ignore that situation and the flip over not possible, it can cause your aquatic pet’s death.


Some snail species are picky eaters and love to eat excess food like algae and uneaten food. If these are not present in an extra amount, they are starving to death.

You have to provide them the algae wafers, fruits, and vegetables. Nerite snail prefers the algae as a diet source effect by the lack of this source. 

Warm water

Suppose the water temperature becomes high, approximately 81-82 degrees. Snails age fast due to the warm water in the aquarium.

At the start, they are active and energetic for some days or weeks, then their body becomes swell and faces difficulty in retraction.

You can check out by tapping the shell body or pick up the snail. If these retract from their shell body, then indicate that they are alive. Warm water raises their metabolism level and ages rapidly, which leads to death.  

Soft acidic water

Snail like tepid water with essential nutrients and proper parameters. Soft acidic water is harmful to them makes the shell dissolve out. It is a slow process that usually takes 2-4 months but dangerous for your aquatic snail.

Environmental change

Marine water species need relocation, like changing the environment from the bottom to the water surface. If these types of species do not satisfy their needs, then resulting in stress and causing death. 

Snail Mantle separation

In typical situations, the snail mantle arranges appropriately. Mantle separation means the snail shell becomes partially detach from the snail’s body.

In this case, the body looks like they are collapse, and their shell fell out from the body. They become vulnerable to the predator and sensitive to the surrounding and water quality.

What happens when the aquarium snail dies?

When the aquatic species dies, the bacterial process leads to decomposition and nitrogenous gas release like ammonia.

Ammonia causes the smell in the snail shell body, pollutes the aquatic environment, and damages other marine life.

Smell the snail shell

If you suspect that snail is dying, then make the smell test, which indicates snail death or alive. Ammonia production due to decomposition release out a deadly smell which is difficult to bear. Care must need when handling the dead snail because the disease transmission occurs.

Check out the causes of death

Make sure that you check all the cause or snail death signs. Due to death, the snail’s body is going to shrink and then disappear.

When you pick up the dead snail shell, their body falls out or empty. The snail shell color changes and cannot bear its weight and fall out. All of these causes show that snail dead.

If some large snail species die, then take another way to find out, like Mystery and Apple snail. You can pull out the snail trapdoor and if the resistance feels, then shows that these are alive. If you can open up the trapdoor, it means they are dead.

Sometimes the environmental change makes them stress and not move. It also happens when snails are new and not acclimate to the environment.

You have to change the aquarium or make the changes in water parameters. This method makes them curious, and they try to explore the new changes. 

Retract the snail is another option to identify the causes of death. If the snails can move its means, they are alive. If they are not moving after the snail body comes out from the shell, it indicates that these are dead. You have to tap their surface. If they make a response, it means they are alive. If the reaction does not happen due to the dead snail or empty slug, it indicates they are finished.

Usually, snails are sticking to the aquarium wall, plants, or decorations. It means they are taking a break for a moment if they do not adhere to the tank walls or others, also one of the signs of death.

Remove the dead snail from the aquarium

You need to remove the dead snail from the aquarium immediately and make the complete water change.

If you ignore this situation and body fallout from the shell, it is the best chance for the other aquatic inhabitants to diet. If these do not separate, then quickly remove out from the aquarium; otherwise makes a foul smell due to ammonia due to the death of aquarium snails.

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