Betta & nerite snail problem

mantarae88

Member
Hello
So I’ve read many, many times that bettas and nerites can be kept together.
My snails came in today, and they seem to be doing fine.
That is, when my aggressive betta isn’t pestering them. I’m worried about him killing them. I’m kind of let down now because I was looking forward to having nerites in the tank to help with the algae, and they’re pretty too. Every forum and site I’ve read said you can keep bettas with nerites.
My betta approaches them if he sees their “foot” out, stares them down real close/menacingly, then bites them hard and tries to rag doll them. He did this to one of the snails twice already, and the second time was quite a hard strike. The snail fell in behind a decoration, I really hope it’s alright, I can’t see him since he’s under a big nest of plants.
This isn’t like my last betta at all, who was quite passive and calm. This current guy flares up at my fingers constantly, anything new I put in his tank, live food, etc. He bites his own tail off consistently when he’s bored.
I know the snails have shells and can somewhat protect themselves, but I’m scared that he’ll somehow find a way to flip them over and eat them. I didn’t know nerites don’t have a trapdoor like mystery snails do. Seems they can’t protect themselves much once they’re upside down, and looks like they have a hard time righting themselves fast enough. I’m just imagining once they’re upside down my betta will go nuts and gobble them up.
I have a bunch of bushy plants to one side of the tank that they can hide in, but it seems like whenever the betta finds them and sees them moving, he attacks. This betta also ate all my ramshorn/bladder snails, I literally had an infestation (I don’t mind, they clean the tank well) and this dude ate/killed ALL of them.
I can try feeding him more than once a day? Maybe twice a day? So that he won’t be focused so much on the snails?
If it comes to it I guess I’ll go and buy another tank for the snails, since I only have my betta tank. I don’t want them getting killed since I just got them today. A bit disappointed since everyone said they are compatible with bettas. I should’ve known that it probably wouldn’t work though, since my betta is such a meanie. Has anyone else had this problem? Frustrated.
 

Fishproblem

Member
mantarae88 said:
Hello
So I’ve read many, many times that bettas and nerites can be kept together.
My snails came in today, and they seem to be doing fine.
That is, when my aggressive betta isn’t pestering them. I’m worried about him killing them. I’m kind of let down now because I was looking forward to having nerites in the tank to help with the algae, and they’re pretty too. Every forum and site I’ve read said you can keep bettas with nerites.
My betta approaches them if he sees their “foot” out, stares them down real close/menacingly, then bites them hard and tries to rag doll them. He did this to one of the snails twice already, and the second time was quite a hard strike. The snail fell in behind a decoration, I really hope it’s alright, I can’t see him since he’s under a big nest of plants.
This isn’t like my last betta at all, who was quite passive and calm. This current guy flares up at my fingers constantly, anything new I put in his tank, live food, etc. He bites his own tail off consistently when he’s bored.
I know the snails have shells and can somewhat protect themselves, but I’m scared that he’ll somehow find a way to flip them over and eat them. I didn’t know nerites don’t have a trapdoor like mystery snails do. Seems they can’t protect themselves much once they’re upside down, and looks like they have a hard time righting themselves fast enough. I’m just imagining once they’re upside down my betta will go nuts and gobble them up.
I have a bunch of bushy plants to one side of the tank that they can hide in, but it seems like whenever the betta finds them and sees them moving, he attacks. This betta also ate all my ramshorn/bladder snails, I literally had an infestation (I don’t mind, they clean the tank well) and this dude ate/killed ALL of them.
I can try feeding him more than once a day? Maybe twice a day? So that he won’t be focused so much on the snails?
If it comes to it I guess I’ll go and buy another tank for the snails, since I only have my betta tank. I don’t want them getting killed since I just got them today. A bit disappointed since everyone said they are compatible with bettas. I should’ve known that it probably wouldn’t work though, since my betta is such a meanie. Has anyone else had this problem? Frustrated.
Bettas have really broadly varying personalities for such a small animal, and any compatibility advice should be taken with a grain of salt (or many grains of salt, arranged to spell out "*but some bettas are too aggressive for any tank mates at all").

Though 99% of bettas will be fine with snails, it does sound like yours has already figured out how to murder them very effectively. Given his history with the other snails you've had him with, I'd take the nerites out and handle the algae yourself. That shouldn't be too hard, by the way. Decreased light, increased water changes, manual removal - all totally manageable!
 
  • Thread Starter

mantarae88

Member
Fishproblem said:
Bettas have really broadly varying personalities for such a small animal, and any compatibility advice should be taken with a grain of salt (or many grains of salt, arranged to spell out "*but some bettas are too aggressive for any tank mates at all").

Though 99% of bettas will be fine with snails, it does sound like yours has already figured out how to murder them very effectively. Given his history with the other snails you've had him with, I'd take the nerites out and handle the algae yourself. That shouldn't be too hard, by the way. Decreased light, increased water changes, manual removal - all totally manageable!
Thanks for the reply.
I shouldn’t have listened to the “put nerites in with your betta they’re great tank mates” so readily. I don’t think this was a good idea.
The algae isn’t super bad. But there seems to be hair algae growing on a decoration, fuzzy algae on some of the plant leaves, and brown algae near the substrate (bottom of the glass, which I can’t fully reach with the scrubber). I managed to scrub most of the very stuck green algae off the front of the tank, but now there’s the stuff I mentioned plus algae that grows atop the sand.
I do 20-30% water changes weekly. I have java fern, different types of moss, and guppy grass for plants. It’s a 5 gallon tank. Should I try decreasing the lighting? I normally leave it on 10 hours a day as I was trying to get the java fern to grow quicker. Should I bump that down to 8 hours?
I’ve pretty much done all I could regarding manual removal, and the brown algae near the substrate is a bit unsightly.
I have well water that’s quite hard, and it has iron in it. Could that be contributing to the algae growth? I could start using distilled water for water changes but that gets expensive after awhile and I heard that it’s not too healthy for the fish as there’s 0 minerals in it.
I could wait it out a bit too and see if the plants outcompete the algae? Just got the moss and guppy grass today. I’ve heard algae can eventually go away on its own once the plants take all the nutrients.
 

Fishproblem

Member
mantarae88 said:
Thanks for the reply.
I shouldn’t have listened to the “put nerites in with your betta they’re great tank mates” so readily. I don’t think this was a good idea.
The algae isn’t super bad. But there seems to be hair algae growing on a decoration, fuzzy algae on some of the plant leaves, and brown algae near the substrate (bottom of the glass, which I can’t fully reach with the scrubber). I managed to scrub most of the very stuck green algae off the front of the tank, but now there’s the stuff I mentioned plus algae that grows atop the sand.
I do 20-30% water changes weekly. I have java fern, different types of moss, and guppy grass for plants. It’s a 5 gallon tank. Should I try decreasing the lighting? I normally leave it on 10 hours a day as I was trying to get the java fern to grow quicker. Should I bump that down to 8 hours?
I’ve pretty much done all I could regarding manual removal, and the brown algae near the substrate is a bit unsightly.
I have well water that’s quite hard, and it has iron in it. Could that be contributing to the algae growth? I could start using distilled water for water changes but that gets expensive after awhile and I heard that it’s not too healthy for the fish as there’s 0 minerals in it.
I could wait it out a bit too and see if the plants outcompete the algae? Just got the moss and guppy grass today. I’ve heard algae can eventually go away on its own once the plants take all the nutrients.
Eh. The overwhelming majority of the time it's fine. You just have a uniquely homicidal fish.

Up your water changes to 20-30%, 3x a week (easy for a 5 gallon!). If your water comes out of the well nutrient rich, it may be feeding algae. If it's viable, try doing water changes with spring water for a few months to see if that helps. 10 hours is excessive for your plants. 8 would be the most I'd leave the light on. That said, if you have a weak light, it will be great for algae and never get your plants well enough established to out-compete it.

For the brown algae near the substrate, get a razor blade (faster) or an expired gift/credit card (safer) and use it to carefully scrape the algae off down to the substrate. I have to do that for all my tanks every so often (some more frequently than others) but it's quick and easy and keeps things looking lovely.

I would do all of that AFTER blacking out the tank for 4-5 days and then doing a deep clean, vacuuming up all the dead algae and using a toothbrush to remove it from plants and decor before the vacuum. It'll give you a nice reset as you move toward consistent algae management.

All that said, algae happens. We really don't post enough pictures of it in our tanks. :p
 
  • Thread Starter

mantarae88

Member
P
Fishproblem said:
Eh. The overwhelming majority of the time it's fine. You just have a uniquely homicidal fish.

Up your water changes to 20-30%, 3x a week (easy for a 5 gallon!). If your water comes out of the well nutrient rich, it may be feeding algae. If it's viable, try doing water changes with spring water for a few months to see if that helps. 10 hours is excessive for your plants. 8 would be the most I'd leave the light on. That said, if you have a weak light, it will be great for algae and never get your plants well enough established to out-compete it.

For the brown algae near the substrate, get a razor blade (faster) or an expired gift/credit card (safer) and use it to carefully scrape the algae off down to the substrate. I have to do that for all my tanks every so often (some more frequently than others) but it's quick and easy and keeps things looking lovely.

I would do all of that AFTER blacking out the tank for 4-5 days and then doing a deep clean, vacuuming up all the dead algae and using a toothbrush to remove it from plants and decor before the vacuum. It'll give you a nice reset as you move toward consistent algae management.

All that said, algae happens. We really don't post enough pictures of it in our tanks. :p
Ohh I see. I’ll try getting most of the algae off (whatever I deem unsightly anyway) then I’ll reduce the lighting. I just have the little stock LED that came with the tank, is 8 hours still a good length? or less? The plants are all low light, so I guess it doesn’t really matter if it’s less. They grow decent under that led, I just don’t know how long to leave it on for.
I do think the well water is definitely causing some algae, as the algae seemed to become more consistent with water changes. There’s a lot of minerals in my tap water, mainly iron and a ton of calcium. (Every time I change water there’s little white calcium flakes that stick to surfaces and float on the surface. Doesn’t seem to harm the fish, just looks ugly). We don’t treat our water, it’s straight from the ground. I just put water conditioner in before adding.
Can I do distilled instead of spring water? Distilled is more commonly available right near me, and can be purchased in those large water dispenser jugs. Whereas spring water I’d have to buy in smaller bottles/little jugs. Distilled is accessible - is it ok for partial water changes? I think if I used that rather than my tap water then the algae will go down a bit for sure.
As for the snails, I can move them but I don’t have a tank currently ready. There’s 4 of them - would a 3 gallon tank suffice?
Sorry for all the questions. Just thought I’d ask while you’re still around :)
 

Fishproblem

Member
mantarae88 said:
P

Ohh I see. I’ll try getting most of the algae off (whatever I deem unsightly anyway) then I’ll reduce the lighting. I just have the little stock LED that came with the tank, is 8 hours still a good length? or less? The plants are all low light, so I guess it doesn’t really matter if it’s less. They grow decent under that led, I just don’t know how long to leave it on for.
I do think the well water is definitely causing some algae, as the algae seemed to become more consistent with water changes. There’s a lot of minerals in my tap water, mainly iron and a ton of calcium. (Every time I change water there’s little white calcium flakes that stick to surfaces and float on the surface. Doesn’t seem to harm the fish, just looks ugly). We don’t treat our water, it’s straight from the ground. I just put water conditioner in before adding.
Can I do distilled instead of spring water? Distilled is more commonly available right near me, and can be purchased in those large water dispenser jugs. Whereas spring water I’d have to buy in smaller bottles/little jugs. Distilled is accessible - is it ok for partial water changes? I think if I used that rather than my tap water then the algae will go down a bit for sure.
As for the snails, I can move them but I don’t have a tank currently ready. There’s 4 of them - would a 3 gallon tank suffice?
Sorry for all the questions. Just thought I’d ask while you’re still around :)
What's the tank kit? I have a led light off an aqueon kit that grows low/medium light plants and then some.

Distilled is entirely devoid of minerals and should only be used for top offs, not water replacement. If you use distilled only, it'll want for minerals and suck them out of your fish's cells! I'm not 100% on how you'd go about doing it, but I have a hunch you could mix your distilled and well water to get a softer, less algae friendly water this is still fish-safe. You'd need to test for a few different parameters to be sure it's good to use. Perhaps a more chemistry- savvy fishlore denizen can add input there.

I think 3 nerites in a 3 gallon would be fine! Just keep the water clean and feed them :)

Ask away! That's what we're all here for.
 
  • Thread Starter

mantarae88

Member
Fishproblem said:
What's the tank kit? I have a led light off an aqueon kit that grows low/medium light plants and then some.

Distilled is entirely devoid of minerals and should only be used for top offs, not water replacement. If you use distilled only, it'll want for minerals and suck them out of your fish's cells! I'm not 100% on how you'd go about doing it, but I have a hunch you could mix your distilled and well water to get a softer, less algae friendly water this is still fish-safe. You'd need to test for a few different parameters to be sure it's good to use. Perhaps a more chemistry- savvy fishlore denizen can add input there.

I think 3 nerites in a 3 gallon would be fine! Just keep the water clean and feed them :)

Ask away! That's what we're all here for.
It’s a Tetra LED 5 gallon aquarium kit. The kind you can buy at Walmart basically. It seems to grow low light plants fine.
Ahh ok. Kind of what I figured with the distilled. I could try mixing it but I don’t want to mess something up. I’ll see if I can find somewhere that sells large jugs of spring water, but I doubt it. Usually it’s just bottled water or those 2L jugs. If only there was a way that I could soften/demineralize my water a tad so that it isn’t so nutrient rich. People use RO units but those are expensive and have to be hooked up. There’s water softeners but yeah, expensive and have to be installed. Hmmm. For now I’ll lower the light cycle as 10-12 hours a day light is likely causing it too.
Now with the snails, I’ll have to figure something out with those guys, but currently as I’m typing my fish has (seemed) to calm down a bit. Maybe he was just feisty at first because they were new to the tank. I’ll monitor for a couple days and see if he becomes chill or if he’s just going to bully them some more.
When I mentioned before how he ate all the pest snails, I forgot to say how that was awhile ago when I fed him less since I didn’t really know how to properly feed. The snails were not exactly a healthy bunch either (weak shells, lethargic, didn’t grow).
But yeah right now he just seems to stare at them for awhile then backs away slowly. I think he’s confused as to what they are. Still nips them once in awhile tho so will keep monitoring as I don’t fully trust him yet.
 
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