I recently bought a little aquarium, which I stocked with live plants to create a sort-of-natural environment.


I haven't stocked the tank with any fish at the moment, but I have noticed some tiny little snails. They must have been attached to the plants and I'm fine with them being there for now. What I am a little concerned about is whether these snails can survive out of the water? I'm currently watching one moving closer and closer to the top of the tank, where there is a small gap to allow air pipes, etc. through.

Is it likely that these snails will venture out of the water, and into my room, and survive to tell the tale?

Can snails found in fish tanks, survive out of water?

Update: snail is breaching the water.

  • 1
    The snails will not survive for long out of water. Hours at the most. When they are not in contact with water they will dry up and die. I can't find a source, I'm afraid. My nerite snails regularly sit slightly above the water line but they are still wet from the water.
    – Henders
    Commented Aug 22, 2017 at 20:57
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    Depends on the snail. Some can survive for days if not weeks out of water, same thing can be said of eggs they lay, but it does depend on the species. I'll just say, snails are generally considered a pest unless they're a non malignant variety like nerites which cannot reproduce in a home aquarium. This is subjective, but I strongly recommend controlling and removing them now, rather than later. They can become a huge problem.
    – Jestep
    Commented Aug 22, 2017 at 22:56
  • @Jestep how would you suggest doing doing this? I intended on getting a couple of loaches when I do stock the tank (soon) and I believe they're quite fond of snails?
    – Cthulhu
    Commented Aug 23, 2017 at 4:01
  • @WasabePeas Don't worry too much about the snails. You typically can't really avoid them and in a well balanced aquarium they're just something more to watch. We'd need a better picture of the snails to identify them. If you don't overfeed your fish the snail population should control itself and stay at a healthy level while also removing excess food and algae for you. I wouldn't try getting rid of them.
    – Mario
    Commented Aug 23, 2017 at 5:02
  • @Mario they're really tiny at the moment so I don't think I'd be able to get a good quality photo. If they get bigger and do start becoming an issue, I'll be sure to post a photo!
    – Cthulhu
    Commented Aug 23, 2017 at 5:06

1 Answer 1


What I've gathered through analysing the comments is that bladder snails (identified as the species in question), along with other species, may go above the waterline but will usually return back into the water on their own accord.

From what I've found elsewhere on the web, they do this to feed or lay eggs, or even just to get out of the water if the quality is particularly poor (more likely if all snails are out of the water as opposed to just the one). Another reason I've found is that quite a few species of aquatic snails use lungs to breathe - and so they are simply going to the surface to do this!

But generally, the snails will return into the water on their own!

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