Marine Invertebrates

Zebra Snail


  • Scientific name: Neritina Natalensis
  • Common Name: Zebra Snail, Tiger Snail
  • Aquarium size: 20 liters
  • Temperament: Calm
  • Temperature: 20ºC to 28ºC
  • pH: Between 6.5 and 7.5
  • Diet: Vegetarian, seaweed
  • Length: 3 centimeters in diameter


The zebra snail or Neritina natalensis , also called tiger snail, is a cattery mollusk suitable for freshwater or even somewhat brackish aquariums.

This snail
is very easy to care for and maintain , it is recommended for anyone who wants to learn how to handle snails in their aquarium.

As with any type of animal life, you have to know its characteristics to adapt the habitat to your needs.


They measure between 1 and 3 centimeters, are rounded and are provided with an operculum . The operculum is the upper part of the foot of the snail, in the shape of a disk that acts as a cover and serves to hide inside its shell.
They are orange in color that turn light brown, with vertical stripes or streaks that go from black to dark brown, and that start from the base of the snail.

You can find specimens with lighter and darker stripes, some zigzagging, even some zebra snails can be totally one color, without any stripes, black or orange, and some with spots, without stripes.

The foot of the snail is light in color, while the snail itself has dark stripes like its shell.

Distribution and habitat

They are native to the African continent: Kenya, Mozambique, Somalia, South Africa and Tanzania, where it is possible to find them in mangroves and lagoons near the coast, that is why they are able to withstand certain salinity in the aquarium water.

Aquarium conditions

They can be introduced in all types of fresh or brackish water aquariums , with the precaution of not maintaining an excessive population. The ideal is to have a maximum of two snails for every 3 liters of water.

The water temperature has to be between 20ºC to 28ºC, with a pH between 6.5 and 7.5.

They will be perfect in a well-planted aquarium with broad-leaved plants.
The aquarium must be well oxygenated for proper development.


Their main food is the algae that grow in the aquarium, so it is important not to put them in a new aquarium, it is better that it is already mature.

To supplement their diet, and if there is not enough algae in the aquarium,
they should be offered algae-based tablets.

In addition to feeding them, they
need calcium contributions . Some aquarists use the calcium they sell for turtles, others prefer to use egg shells.

In any case, the snails should be removed to an aquarium with clean water, and for a day or a night, they are left to absorb all the calcium they can.

Behavior and compatibility

As it cannot be otherwise, they are very quiet tenants with nocturnal preferences. The plants are not eaten, only the algae in the glass and those in the decoration, also those that are on the surfaces of the leaves.

Sometimes they
can come out above the water limit, it is advisable to have it covered.

They can share space with any type of fish, except those that eat mollusks.


Its reproduction in aquariums is quite difficult. It seems that they need a certain degree of salinity and conditions that are not easy to reproduce, but little is known.

Some snails are hermaphroditic, but the zebra snail is not.
A partner is needed to attempt reproduction, and it is not easy to differentiate the sexes as there is no obvious dimorphism.

What we are sure of is that they lay eggs 1mm in diameter, white in color and hard coated.
They don’t put them all together, but they scatter them as they go.

They have a preference for laying their eggs on the surface of the glass.


It is a very simple snail to keep in the aquarium, ideal to start taking care of mollusks.

The recommended aquarium should be at least 20 liters, more than anything because they have enough food.

As a curiosity,
the zebra snail has a predilection for the Mopani wood root, native to the mangroves.

Zebra snail photos

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