How to Recognize a Dead Snail

How to Recognize a Dead Snail


Your snail has probably been motionless and still for a while. Changes in water conditions, sleepiness following a large meal, and hibernation are just a few causes for this. You should, however, also take into account the chance that your snail could have already died.


Old age, parasites, diseases, starvation, poor water quality, abrupt temperature changes, or a cracked shell could be the cause of this. There are certain telltale signals you should watch out for to determine if your snail is alive or dead.


How to Spot a Dead Snail

When a living thing passes away, the corpse begins to decompose and produces large amounts of ammonia.

  1. Look for the Clear Symptoms

First, make sure your snail isn't clinging to the filter, ornaments, or glass. If so, don't worry; a dead snail won't attach to the ground. Its shell will drop and land on its side.

Check to see if the body is dangling freely or if it is slipping out of the shell. If so, pick it up; if it doesn't move after that, it is dead.

When a snail dies, its body usually goes back into its shell and starts to break down. The shell will be uninteresting and light.

If you examine the shell and discover that it is empty or that the body has fallen out, the snail has already died. Look for a shell that has been smashed. If you see one, the snail has most likely died.


  1. Smell the Shell

Water snails are no exception; once they die, all organisms begin to smell terribly. If your snail has been dead for 24 hours, it will begin to smell bad. You cannot mistake this smell for anything else.  When doing the smell test, keep in mind to wear gloves because it will be difficult to remove the smell from your hands.


  1. Examine


Examine the trapdoor snail that is removing algae from the aquarium's glass. Although certain freshwater snails, such as pond and bladder snails, lack trapdoors, the majority do. The trap door will remain closed if a snail is alive but will quickly open once it is dead. Pull the trapdoor open a little bit slowly. Your snail is still alive if you sense it putting up a fight.


  1. Investigate Reactions

You can gently tap on your snail's shell a few times if it hasn't moved for a while. If nothing happens, tickle its tummy. There's nothing to worry about if it retracts its body back into its shell. If not, it is most likely dead.


  1. Execute the light test.

You can see what's inside a snail's shell by holding it up to a light source or flashlight. Your snail is no longer living if you notice that the body has shrunk and that most of the shell is empty.



How to Proceed If You're Still Uncertain


  1. Take the snail out of the tank.

Put your snail in another tank, dish, or container with aquarium water if you think it may be dead but aren't sure. Ensure that the water's conditions are ideal.


If your snail is still alive, it could emerge from its shell to investigate its surroundings. You will still gain since the main tank won't become contaminated even if it doesn't. Until you are certain, keep checking on it and smelling it.


  1. Examine the Housing Situation

Ammonia or nitrite increases in the aquarium can harm snails. Additionally, they are susceptible to abrupt changes in temperature and pH. Make sure to examine each water parameter. Additionally, make sure your snail has access to enough food.


If you have other algae-eating species in the tank together with those aquatic snails that exclusively consume algae, such as Nerite snails, there may be a food deficit. Observe the fish's behavior as well.


Other fish or shrimp could annoy your snail, which would cause it to stay in its shell longer than usual.


  1. Assist the snail in fortifying its shell.

Your snail may be hiding in its shell because it feels weak and exposed. Calcium supplements can aid in bolstering its shell. A cuttlebone is an excellent choice. Don't forget to boil it briefly so that it settles at the bottom. If not, it can float for several days. Calcium blocks and vacation blocks are further choices.




  1. Give it an air bath.

Perhaps your snail is ill and is hiding. An air bath can sometimes solve the issue. There are two methods to do this:


First, make a nest out of a towel that has been dampened, then place the snail in the center. Wait a while to see whether it emerges. If it does, you can allow it to remain outside the tank for around 30 minutes.


Second, place the snail on the cold surface of a dish or plate that has been dampened with just a few drops of water. Place it back in the tank after letting it settle for a time.


For snails with fungal diseases, air baths are very beneficial. It's worth a try because your snail can breathe air, and it won't injure it even if you can't get it to come out of its shell.

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