Named after the big boss of the Mario franchise, the King Koopa nerite snail (Neritona juttingae) is worthy of a place in your tank. This freshwater snail won’t antagonize your other tank inhabitants, however. Instead, it will work hard to keep your tank clean of algae, decaying plant matter, and uneaten fish food. In other words, the King Koopa nerite snail is a friend, not an enemy.
Species Name: Neritona juttingae
Common Names: King Koopa nerite snail
Size: 1.2 inches
Lifespan: 1 to 2 years
Native Distribution: Indonesia
Nerite snails are found primarily in the southern hemisphere and the King Koopa nerite snail was originally discovered in the River Musi on Sumatra, an island of Indonesia. Though less colorful than other nerite species, the King Koopa nerite snail is no less formidable against problem algae and all types of cyanobacteria. These snails make excellent additions to the freshwater cleanup crew.
Like many freshwater aquarium snails, the King Koopa nerite snail is relatively hardy and easy to care for. In this guide, you’ll learn everything you need to keep, feed, and breed this unique species.
Anatomy and Appearance
Unlike other popular freshwater snail species like Mystery snails and Japanese trapdoor snails, nerite snails do not have a conical shell. Their shells are globular in shape, often without no umbilicus or aperture. Snails in the Neritidae family have a gill and an operculum which they use to cover the opening of their shell for protection.
The King Koopa nerite snail’s shell has a halfmoon-like shape covered with blunted spikes or horns. Coloration is highly variable, though usually ranges from golden yellow to dark brown. Typically sold as juveniles measuring about ½ inch in diameter, King Koopa nerite snails remain fairly small, growing to maximum size around 1.2 inches. Their lifespan is 1 to 2 years.
Ideal Aquarium Setup
King Koopa nerite snails are freshwater snails, though they are adaptable to brackish environments as well. In fact, nerite snails can only be bred in brackish or marine environments. This makes the King Koopa nerite snail a good choice if you’re looking for an algae-eating snail that won’t reproduce and take over your aquarium. Like other nerites, however, the King Koopa nerite may leave tiny white eggs all over the decorations in your tank.
As scavengers, King Koopa nerite snails tend to thrive in heavily planted tanks that offer plenty of algae and decaying plant matter to feed on. They’re hardy for a wide range of water parameters, though they prefer alkaline water with a pH over 7.0. Like other freshwater snails, King Koopa nerites also require slightly hard water with enough mineral content—especially calcium—to support shell growth.
The recommended tank parameters for King Koopa nerite snails are:
- Temperature: 68°F to 85°F
- pH Level: 7.0 to 8.5
- Water Hardness: 2 to 18 dKH
Because King Koopa nerite snails are fairly small, they can be kept in a tank as small as 5 gallons. Should you plan to keep several nerites, however, it’s wise to upgrade to at least a 10-gallon tank. Nerites can also be kept in larger community tanks, provided there are enough live plants and surface area on which algae can grow to keep them fed.
King Koopa nerite snails aren’t particular about tank decorations, but they will appreciate having places to explore in the tank. Provide a wide variety of plants and decorate with driftwood and rockwork. Tank lighting should be chosen based on the type and number of plants in the tank. In terms of filtration, nerite snails don’t have high requirements for flow but biological filtration is a must to keep ammonia and nitrite levels under control.
Diet and Feeding
Like other freshwater snails, King Koopa nerite snails are scavengers. Not only will they feed on algae from tank surfaces, but they’ll eat decaying plant matter, uneaten fish food, and other detritus in your tank. If the algae in your tank isn’t enough to sustain your snails, supplement their diet with sinking pellets, algae wafers, and blanched vegetables.
For the sake of maintaining water quality, it’s wise to remove uneaten fish food after a few hours. Try to drop it as close to your snail as possible so they find it quickly before it has a chance to break down.
Temperament and Tank Mates
King Koopa nerite snails are peaceful and unlikely to bother any other tank inhabitant. When choosing tank mates for these snails, it’s more important to think about what species might bother your nerites. Large predatory fish like cichlids, for example, might eat your nerites.
These snails get along well with small to medium-sized community fish like tetras, dwarf gouramis, rasboras, barbs, and livebearers. They may also do well in a planted tank with docile cichlids like angelfish or discus. King Koopa nerite snails are compatible with various bottom dwellers like plecos and Corydoras catfish as well, provided there is enough food to go around.
Breeding King Koopa Nerite Snails
Though King Koopa nerite snails live in freshwater habitats as adults, they require brackish or marine environments to breed. This particular species has not been known to breed in captivity, however, so it may not be worth the effort to try.
While King Koopa nerites can’t reproduce in fresh water, they may still release eggs. The eggs are small, hard, and white. You’re most likely to find them adhering to driftwood in the tank. Though nerite snail eggs won’t cause any harm in your tank, they may be noticeable, so consider this before choosing this species for your tank.
Other Interesting Facts
- Higher pH levels over 7.0 are required to keep your King Koopa nerite snail’s shell healthy—low pH increases their risk for shell erosion.
- Keeping your King Koopa nerite snails in more alkaline water will help extend their lifespan, though these snails still only tend to live up to 2 years.
- In a well-established planted tank, King Koopa nerite snails require very little supplemental feeding—they should be able to sustain themselves on algae, biofilm, and decaying plants.