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How Long Does An Aquarium Snail Live

Nowadays, more and more people choose to keep a snail as their aquarium pet or as a tank mate of their pet fish. Some helpful aquarium snails can eat excess algae to keep the tank clean. However, some aquarium snails are known as pest snails, which reproduce quickly and become a burden.

It’s hard to tell how long can a snail live since there are numerous types of snails in the world. But in general, aquarium snails can live for 2-5 years, and if they are taken good care of, they can live for up to 15 years.


Good aquarium snails

Nerite snail

Lifespan: 1-3 years

There are various nerite snails, such as zebra nerite snail, tiger nerite snails, horned nerite snails and so on. This kind of snail has beautiful shells, colors and patterns, which make them one of the most popular aquarium creatures among aquarists.

Nerite snails are known as snail cleaners that can eat algae, dead fish, dead plants and uneaten fish food. They will also dig into the substrate, which can help remove the dirt under the substrate.

Nerite snail

Mystery snail

Lifespan: about 1 year

Mystery snails are another tank cleaner. Like nerite snails, they eat algae, dead plants and uneaten fish food. But they will not eat dead fish since they are herbivores, and they never eat live plants although they are hungry.

They are easy to care for, you don’t have to worry that they will bother your fish or cause damage to things in your tank. But there is one thing important, you need to buy a lid for your aquarium because they might get out of the tank.

Mystery snail

Rabbit snail

Lifespan: 3 years

With a long head and shell as well as different colors, such as golden, yellow, black and orange, rabbit snails are very popular in freshwater aquariums.

They are much different from the other snails. But there are still some common points: they are algae cleaners and very peaceful creatures. In addition, they move very slowly, which makes them a good assistant when cleaning a fish tank.

Rabbit snail

Ivory snail

Lifespan: about 1 year

Ivory snails are more active at the night, so if you want to observe their behaviors, you’d better do it at the night.

Most of the snails are tank cleaners, so do ivory snails. They will lighten the burden of your filter and help keep your fish tank clean. In addition, they are ideal tank mates for most fish, so if you want to find tank mates for your fish, you can try ivory snails.

Ivory snail

Black devil snail

Lifespan: up to 6 years

As the name implies, black devil snails are totally black, which makes them conspicuous in your tank. They have an extremely long shell that narrows gradually from the head part.

Breeding these snails is not a difficult task, they can find food by themselves since their foods are available in a fish tank. Unlike most snails, black devil snails move fast, which is one of the reasons why they are good tank mates for most fish.

Japanese trapdoor snail

Lifespan: 3-5 years

Japanese trapdoor snails are peaceful and tempered, they can spend the whole day searching for algae, uneaten food and debris, but they won’t eat plants. The shape of their shells is quite charming and unique, you can not find two Japanese trapdoor snails that have the same shell.

Japanese trapdoor snail

Pest aquarium snail

When we say pest aquarium snails, we don’t mean that they will attack your fish or plants in the tank. They are called pest snails since they reproduce quickly and some release toxins, which will burden your tank, occupy the space that your fish need and contaminate the water quality in a short time.

The followings are some pest aquarium snails and their lifespans.

  • Apple snail: 12-16 months
  • Assassin snail: 2-3 years
  • Bladder snail: 6-9 months
  • Trumpet snail: 1-2 years
  • Ramshorn snail: 1-2 years
  • Pond snail: 1-2 years

How to take care of snails

Now we have known the average lifespan of many snails, but they can live much longer in a proper environment. So what should we do to take good care of them?

Here are some suggestions:

  1. Provide them with the proper fish tank: According to the length a snail can reach, choose the best tank for it. Normally, a tank of at least 5 gallons is necessary, but if you pick up snails as the tank mates of your fish, the tank size should be determined by the size of your fish.
  2. Make sure your fish tank is clean: A clean environment is important, not only for fish but also for creatures that live in water.
  3. Feed them with plants and vegetables: They can provide the nutrients that algae, uneaten food or debris do not contain.
  4. Keep them away from salt: Salt is fatal to snails, it will make them feel stressed and might kill your snails.
  5. Keep the water temperature at 65-82℉: Snails need a warm environment to live and thrive.
  6. Change the water regularly: Dirty water contains a lot of toxins which is detrimental to the health of the snails.

Tips for keeping a snail

  1. You can know the age of a snail by counting the rings in its shell, just like counting annual rings to know the age of a tree.
  2. Mystery snails lay eggs out of the water, so prepare a space free from water for them if you want them to reproduce in your tank.
  3. The shell is important for a snail, and you should make sure the water in your tank contains calcium so the snail can grow its shell.
  4. They sleep whenever they want, and it’s not strange to see them sleeping for 2 or more days. So do not think they are dead when they don’t move around.
  5. Most snails carry parasites, so if you keep them with fish, make sure your fish are free from the parasites.


Snails are becoming more and more common in aquariums, they are easy to take care of and peaceful, and some of them can serve as tank cleaners. The lifespan of snails differs from the species, some can live for more than 15 years while some are short-lived. If you want to keep them for a long time, be nice to them and try to treat them attentively.

If you have any questions, you can leave a comment and we are glad to help you!