Shopping Cart

Your cart is empty

Continue Shopping

Is My Snail Dead or Sleeping

Snails beautified your aquarium. They help to overcome the algae growth smartly. They are herbivorous except for assassin snails. They have some unique habits like snails are popular due to their low pace and strange sleeping pattern.

Most of the time, snail hibernation confuses aquarists about their lives. They can sleep for extended hours e.g. assassin snails sleep about a week after eating ample food.

The other strange thing is their sleeping posture. They sleep in the same pose the whole time. This motionless sleep sometimes confuses aquarist about is my snail is dead or sleeping? You will learn about the following key points if you read the article till the end.


How to know is my snail dead or sleeping?

Here are a few simple hacks to know about the snail's life. Just read them and apply them to your snail to get rid of the confused mind.


1. Turn off the light

Snails have nocturnal nature; they sleep in light and are active in night mode. If you are confused about your snail's life, turn off the light.

Before turning it off, check the snail's location. After a few hours, check their present location when you turn on the light. Comparing the sites will enable you to make a sound decision about snails' lives.

Aquarium light


[Go for it]

2. Check out the shell

Bring out the suspicious snail from your aquarium and closely examine the snail's shell. If the shell is hollow or the snail's body is squeezed inside, your snail is no more. If you feel that shell is broken or somewhere cracks are present, then your snail is under threat. You have to introduce calcium to your tank for snail’s shell rehabilitation.


3. Check the trapdoor

If you closely look at the rare side of your snail, you will find a trapdoor. While sleeping, snails close the trapdoor for the sake of protection. If the trapdoor is closed, your snail is alive; otherwise, it has passed away.


4. Press to snail

It is another hands-on method to check whether your snail is dead or sleeping. Pull out the feet of the snail. If a snail shows resistance, it's a sign of life.

The other method to check the snail's life is to gently push the snail's surface. If it shows resistance against the applied force, it was sleeping and just woke up after your gentle press.

Press to snail

5. Smell the snail

This method works 100% accurately. On decomposing, all of the organic materials began to rot, producing ammonia gas (NH3) which has a pungent smell. Get your snail out from the aquarium and bring it close to your nose and smell it, if it smells like a rotten egg, then the snail has passed away, and you have to remove it from the aquarium.


6. Check the heartbeat

It works very well but only for younger or thin shell snails. Take a high-intensity light and fall on your suspicious snail. It will allow you to see the vibrating body of the snails. If it is in motion, then the snail is alive. Otherwise, you have to get it out because now it is a dead snail.


7. Get them out of the water

Snails are water creatures and survive for a more extended period when they are in their natural habitat. If you found a snail motionless for a couple of days, bring that one out of the water.

Spread a plastic sheet and put it on that dried sheet. Keep an eye on the snail for about half an hour. If it is alive, it will wake up and move forward in search of water. As it wakes up, put it in your aquarium water. If it shows no sign of motion, then it is dead.


How long can a snail sleep

Snails have a mysterious sleeping pattern. Rather than human beings, they tend to sleep during lighting hours and are active in dark hours. Other than the odd sleeping cycle, usually snails take about 7 power naps within 13 hours. After such power naps, they remain active continuously for 30 hours.

Assassin snails have quite different sleeping behavior. They are predators by nature. Once they eat ample food, they sleep for about a whole week. Some of the snail species remain quiet for 2 to 3 days.


Why do snails sleep for a long time?

Snails can sleep for a more extended period. There are multiple reasons behind this unique sleeping pattern. If you know these reasons, then it will be very easy for you to know very well about their active hours and have a clear mind about your aquarium habitants.

Here are some common reasons for their prolonged sleeping hours.

  1. Overfeeding makes them even slower and sleep more. Like assassin snails can sleep for a whole week once they are full of appetite.
  2. High temperatures pursue them to sleep for extended periods. It can survive within 65 to 85℉. At high temperatures, snails tend to reduce their metabolic system. As a result of a lower metabolic system, they sleep till the environment attains a suitable temperature.
  3. Stress is another cause of their prolonged sleep.

To regulate their sleep cycle keep control over the food, maintain an adequate temperature range in your fish tank, and provide an optimum environment.


Why did my aquarium's snail die?

There are multiple reasons for snail death. Some of the reasons are discussed in the following.


High pH

Snails perform very well at 7.0 pH water. However, the suitable range for the proper snail growth is 6.5 to 7.5. If the water gets more acidic or basic, they tend to die because they are very sensitive creatures.


High ammonia concentration

Snails are susceptible to ammonia, nitrate, and nitrite. Their population density suddenly decreases with an ammonia spike in your aquarium water. There are multiple reasons for an ammonia spike.
  1. Some fish food have ammonia as a component.
  2. When there are some dead snails present in your aquarium, they will produce ammonia on decomposition.
  3. Someone added nitrogenous fertilizers to enhance the vegetation growth in his fish tank.


Natural death

The other reason for snails' mortality is that they have spent their natural life. Wild snails can survive from 2 to 5 years. In rare cases, they can survive up to 13 years. But in the aquarium habitat, their natural life is shortened because of the high temperature. It will give rise to their metabolic activity, and thus the aging process gets high.



1. Is my snail dead if it's floating?

No, you can't say with certainty because they can fill the oxygen in their bodies. Higher the volume will lower the density of snails, and they begin to float on the surface just like a submarine. There is another reason for floating: it wants to move at a high pace or search for new food reserves. Therefore, they love to live on high tides.


2. Are algae enough for snails to survive?

Only algae are not enough for proper growth. They also love to eat other foods like chopped pieces of fresh vegetables. If there is high snail density in your aquarium, adding calcium tablets or some other calcium source in your fish tank is mandatory to avoid calcium deficiency in snails.


3. Can a snail stick to the aquarium's wall while sleeping?

Yes. If you see your snail sticking with the wall or hanging with plant roots, or motionless sitting on the gravel piece, don't be surprised because they have a natural tendency to do it. Their feet release such a liquid which helps them to stick while sleeping.