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Why Is My Snail Not Moving (Mystery, Nerite, & More)?

Just as dogs are man’s best friend, snails are the aquarium’s best friend. Snails go out of their way to eat organic debris that scatters around the tank and also eats the algae. They contribute to the overall health of an aquarium.

Some species of snails are great to look at and can look very awe-spiring as they crawl about the pebbles in the tank or on the glass sides of the aquarium.

However, they do not always move about like that, there are moments where they just sit around and not move around for days even. Let us go through the details of why they might suddenly stop moving altogether and know what to do in those situations below.

Why is my snail not moving (mystery, nerite, & more)?

A snail can be inactive for many reasons. It could be due to the fact that it is weak or ill, it could be because they are feeling too cold and it is something as simple as a lack of humidity. On the other hand, it could be because of something serious like chemicals found in water.

Some people prefer to keep snails as pets. Because some snails are known as aquarium snails. This is because they are such good pets for aquariums as they keep the balance of an aquarium healthy.


If this was the case where the snail is out of the shell and moving around, that would mean it was still alive. However, if the snail is out of the shell and not moving around then that means it has departed.

If we are careful about it, we can tap the shell, it could make the snail retract. On the other hand, we could just try to pick up the snail.

Unclean water:

The worry is understandable but this is a pretty common thing and new snails almost always do this for the first two or sometimes three days.

Make sure that the water is clean. Also, make sure if the water is not foul-smelling. Wherever we put them we have to make sure if the water is cloudy.


This is another common thing a snail might do due to being weak. When they are weak, they fall off anything they were on and become upside down.

Check if the rock is clean or not, because they might be getting the required food and thus, they are becoming weak.

What is the most common reason for these snails not moving?

Different snails behave and live their lives in different manners. So, it’s never easy to understand what they’re doing and why they’re doing it. Therefore, here’s a list of some of the most common causes why any of the snails listed below is not moving.

Nerite snail:

The most common reason why a nerite snail would never stop moving is due to chemicals present in the water. The water quality of the tank might be of poor quality and get cloudy, thus making the snail stop moving.

Mystery snail:

One of the most common cases a mystery snail would be not moving is because they can be stressed. Or they could be just sleeping after mealtime during the day.

Garden snail:

A few things that might go wrong could make a garden snail not move. It could be too dry, too cold, too wet, too hot or the snail went to dormant stage due to its body doing it biologically. They could also be weak or ill.

Rabbit snail:

A common cause of rabbit snails not moving for a while could be an indicator of their passing away. It could be of age or illness and many other reasons.

Apple snail:

This snail also might stop moving like the nerite snail from above if the water quality of the tank deteriorates and chemicals like ammonia and nitrite are found in water.

Assassin snail:

A variety of snails often after eating a meal they will hibernate for around three days. After they are done with their beauty sleep, they start moving again.

Zebra snail:

If this snail suddenly does not start moving and keeps staying in one place, then a common case would be that the water might be contaminated. 

We need to replace 75 percent of water from the tank and make sure the ammonia and nitrite levels are low.

Turbo snail:

These snails are unique because of where they are originally found, which is the sea of Cortez. The temperature there is on average of 78–86-degree Fahrenheit.

If the snail is not moving then this might be the most common cause. They end up passing in our cold room temperature water. We need to make sure that the temperature is on par with their living conditions.

Is it normal for a snail not to move?

Yes, it is normal for a snail to not move. Some snails sometimes go to hibernation after eating a meal. Some snails hibernate with climate change, and some just sometimes sleep for a long time and that is completely normal.

Furthermore, sometimes snails do not move due to the water quality being bad in the tank. Also, there are times when they just like to hide and then don’t move or come out of the shell at all for long periods. After all, snails are generally shy creatures.

What to do if my snail is not moving?

It is not an uncommon thing for a snail to not move around and be active whilst being in the aquarium. There are serious consequences if the not-moving snail is found out to perish.

To make them more active we have to add more places for the snails to be, as they love being in different places. Also, since snails like being in the dark, turn the lights off to make them move around more.

Furthermore, let us go through some of the things you should be doing when a snail does not move around.

Tap the shell:

Sometimes snails just hibernate. So, in order to quickly know for sure, we can tap gently on their shells to see if they react or topple down to know if they are okay or not.

Give more food:

Make sure to provide them with vegetables, since all snails do not live off algae only. Some will become melancholy due to the stale diet.

Change water:

Due to cloudy water quality or chemicals like nitrite and ammonia found in the water, a snail can stop moving. So, replacing about 75% of the water from the aquarium will fix the issue.

How to know if my snail is departed or sleeping?

In order to see if the snail has perished or is not right in the shell and not just hibernating, we can directly pick up the snail and take a sniff of them to find out.

A passed-away snail emits a very pungent and rotten smell due to the release of ammonia. If they smell of nothing, our little slimy friend is just fine.

How long do snails sleep?

People think snails are quite drowsy creatures sometimes; this is because they usually sleep on and off for a total period of thirteen to fifteen hours. After doing so, however, they will get this sudden burst of energy.

This is where people should rethink their impression of snails. Because after waking up, they will constantly zoom around the aquarium and will eat all the algae they can scope up. Before ultimately repeating the cycle all over again.

Do aquarium snails hibernate?

Yes, snails hibernate. However, it could be for a plethora of reasons. Some species of snails like the Assassin snail after hunting and devouring their prey, go to hibernation for two or three days.

Then there are reasons like they are feeling cold and feel they need to protect themselves from and preserve energy, they will hibernate for periods up to three years even.

However, it is not a common thing for a normal aquarium snail species to do though. That long hibernation is usually seen in other unique species.

Final thoughts

If the snail is not moving, it might just be asleep, hibernating, or just feeling shy. It is not an uncommon thing for a snail to hide in its shell over long periods of time and not move at all. Sometimes, however, it could be due to other more serious issues like the quality of water being bad.