Why Do Snails Die in My Aquarium: Causes & Prevention

If you have a spare aquarium and some cash to spare, there is no reason why you can’t have your very own aquarium full of snails. Why? Snails are great aquarium pets because they are cheap, easy to care for, feed on algae and their waste, and love crawling around the tanks, however, instances of snail deaths inside fish tanks are also inevitable.

There is no single answer as to why snails die in an aquarium since there are different internal and external factors that can cause their death such as lack of clean water or chemicals that have been added to the aquarium. Although most types of aquarium snails are hardy, things can still turn the wrong way which can cause death.

What Causes Death of Snails in Aquarium?

Esmplare di lumaca d’acqua dolce con guscio giallo del genere Ampullaria, in acquario

Lack of Clean Water

One of the most common causes of snail death in an aquarium is a lack of clean water. If there is not enough fresh water available to the snails, they will eventually die from dehydration. Even if you are constantly topping up your tank with new water, it’s still important to keep an eye on the health and wellbeing of your snails as even small changes in their environment can result in them dying. Make sure to keep your tank regularly cleaned and change as much water as necessary. If you have a filter, make sure it is properly working and removing all harmful bacteria and algae from the water.


One of the things that can also kill snails in an aquarium is the addition of chemicals. Many people choose to use chemicals such as ammonia or chlorine when cleaning their tanks, but these substances aren’t always good for fish and can be harmful if left on surfaces for a long time. If you do decide to add chemicals to your tank, be sure to read the label first and make sure they are safe for both the plants and the fish.

Insufficient Space

One of the worst things you can do for your snails is to overcrowd them. Not only will this lead to stress and plenty of fighting, but it’s also likely that they’ll die from lack of space and food. If you find that your snail population is growing too large, you can try adding some extra snail cages or planning and buying a larger aquarium.

Water Parameters and Temperature

One of the other key factors that can affect the health and well-being of your snails is the water temperature and parameters. If the water is too hot or cold, it can make it difficult for them to survive. Make sure that your tank’s temperature stays at a comfortable level by using an aquarium heater or setting a thermometer. The recommended temperature for aquarium snails ranges from 65 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit (18 to 27 degrees Celsius). Likewise, make sure that you are keeping your tank filled with clean and fresh water, as problems with the water quality can also endanger your snails.

horns of a small snail. a snail is crawling along the stem of a flower. snail looks out from ambush. the snail goes out to explore. the snail meets the first rays of the sun. curious little snail crawling towards the sun

Food Scarcity

One of the other things that can kill your snails is food scarcity. If you are only providing them with small amounts of food, they may not be able to survive in a tank with a large population. To make sure that your snail populations don’t get too big, try offering them smaller snacks more often instead of one large meal.


One of the biggest dangers to your snail population is aggressive tankmates. Not only can these animals kill your snails, but they may also compete for food and space. If you have fish that are known to be aggressive towards other aquarium creatures, be sure to keep them away from your snail cages or else they could seriously injure or even kill them.

Parasites and Diseases

Another potential danger to your snail population is parasites and diseases. If your tank includes other fish, they may be bringing in harmful organisms that can infect and kill your snails. Likewise, if you have an illness in the aquarium that has spread to the snails, their populations could quickly decline as well. Make sure to keep an eye on the health of all of your aquatic creatures so that any problems can be detected and remedied as soon as possible.

Insufficient Oxygen

One of the most common causes of snail death is insufficient oxygen. If your tank does not have adequate levels of oxygen, it can kill your snails by asphyxiation. To make sure that your snail population isn’t struggling for air, you should check the levels of dissolved oxygen in the water and make any necessary adjustments if needed.


Occasionally, your snail populations may be killed by accident. For example, if one of the snails falls out of its enclosure and into the water, it may be drowned or consumed by a predator. To avoid this kind of tragedy, make sure to keep all of your snail cages well-secured so that they don’t get lost or knocked over accidentally.

Food Contamination

Another common cause of snail death is food contamination. If your tank includes live plants or other animals, it’s important to make sure that the snails have access to a varied diet that doesn’t include any harmful pollutants. Otherwise, they may become sick and die from eating contaminated foods. Make sure to keep all of your feed ingredients well-separated so that you can avoid any potential disasters like this one.

Too Much Light

Too much light can also be deadly to snails. While they can photosynthesize and produce their food, excessive amounts of sunlight can lead to photo-thermal stress injury which is a condition in which the snail’s cells become damaged from exposure to too much heat. If you have high-intensity lighting in your tank, make sure that it isn’t directed directly at the snails so that they don’t suffer from this type of injury.

Salt and Copper Concentration

Another common cause of snail mortality is the presence of high levels of salt in aquarium (acidic water) or copper in their water.. These elements can interfere with the snails’ respiratory system and kill them as a result. It’s important to make sure that your tank doesn’t contain excessive amounts of either element so that your snail populations stay healthy and safe.

Medication for Fish

One final common cause of snail death is the ingestion of medication intended for fish. If your tank includes any live animals other than snails, make sure that they are out of reach before adding any new medications. Otherwise, they may mistake the medicine for food and eat it, leading to serious health complications.


What Are the Signs That a Snail Is Dead?

If you’re looking for the signs that a snail is dead, they will likely be motionless and have stopped eating. If you notice that one or more of your floating snails have stopped swimming, they are likely deceased. Floating snails will often turn halfway around if placed in water and immediately float to the surface once released.

How to Remove a Dead Snail From Your Aquarium

If you notice that one or more of your floating snails are dead, it’s important to remove them from the tank as soon as possible. If you leave them in the water for too long, they may begin to decompose and turn into an unsightly mess.

To remove a dead snail from your aquarium, first, try to gently shake it loose using a chopstick or other small object. If that doesn’t work, you can use the tip of a water droplet to break its shell and then manually remove it by scooping it up with your fingers. If all else fails, you can use a snail removal net or an aquarium vacuum cleaner to remove the dead snail.

How to Improve the Lifespan of Aquarium Snails

To improve the health of your freshwater snails, you should make sure to provide them with a healthy environment and plenty of food. You can also supplement their diet with live plants, calcium, and algae which will help to promote growth and reproduction.

If you experience any problems with your snail population or if they start to die off in large numbers, it’s important to consult a veterinarian or look for another solution. Snails are an important part of a healthy aquarium and should be properly cared for to ensure that they continue to provide entertainment and nutrients for your fish.