Why Is My Snail Not Moving? – Here’s What To Do!

The first instinct when you notice a motionless snail is to think it’s dead. But it might not be true. That’s because snails like to stick to one object for a long time. However, if the snail doesn’t show any activity for quite some time, something’s wrong.

However, your aquatic snail might not be moving because it’s asleep or resting. Snails also hide under the shell if the water condition, like temperature, minerals, tank mates, etc., suits them. Nonetheless, there’s also a chance that the snail might have died.

Snails don’t like to attract attention like the other water pets. That’s why it’s important for you to check their well-being more frequently. So, let’s break down the causes that lead the snails to become inactive..

Why Is My Snail Not Moving?

There are multiple reasons why a snail is not moving. So, don’t think it’s dead yet. The snail can be just asleep. Snails like to take a nap during the day and become more active at night. That’s how they work. So, it’s okay to see a motionless snail when the fish are roaming around.

Why Is My Snail Not Moving - Here’s What To Do!

But there’s a catch. If the snail doesn’t show any sign of activity during the night, it indicates something’s wrong. Here is our analysis of this situation.

1. Low Temperature

Snails are cold-blooded. That’s why it’s important to keep the water warm. Otherwise, it’s hard for the snails to survive. The snails will go under the shell if the temperature exceeds 18 degrees Celcius.

They do this to be safe and warm. So, if your snail stops moving, check the water temperature.

2. Distressed

Snails can seal their shell and stay inactive due to stress as well. Living in a tank full of other species can be chaotic. Especially if your community tank contains aggressive fish like clown loach, Bala shark, or Gourami, the snails are under great threat.

Getting picked on can leave the snails in a devastating mental state. As a result, they choose to stay inactive inside the shells and not communicate with their tank mates. This can also happen after the snails fight with other.

3. Lack Of Supplement

Snails are like most other fish when it comes to food. They love to be fed. But what if the aquarium doesn’t contain enough food or supplement for the snails? As we know, snails eat the food left over by other fish and clear the water.

They also munch on algae and other micro-organs. But if you see a snail staying inactive, there might not be enough food for it. As a result, to protect their energy level, the snails start hibernating.

Hibernating is a survival trick to stay alive during harsh circumstances. Through this process, snails can lower their day-to-day required energy level. But snails normally don’t hibernate in an aquarium since there should be plenty of food available.

That’s a major warning for you as an owner. If your aquatic snails start hibernating, they are not getting the necessary supplements.

4. Resting Period

Sometimes the snail might be asleep. And it’s common for snails to be motionless for a long time when resting. In fact, assassin snails love to take a big nap after they get a good meal. It helps them digest the food better.

So, before you get scared, consider the snail is sleeping. Observe the snail’s behavior for 3 to 5 days. As long as the snail is sticking to something, it’s not dead.

5. Ammonia Spike

Snails are more sensitive to water parameters than fish. And an ammonia spike in the water can cause snails to feel threatened. Ammonia is the main element found in fish wastes. So, it’s easy for the water to have more ammonia than required without you doing anything.

But this high percentage of ammonia can cause poisoning in the fish and snails. That might be the reason why the snails have gone under the shell. It’s a way of escaping the horrible water condition around them.

Note: The right amount of ammonia is 20 mg per liter.

How Can I Help My Inactive Snail?

Now you understand what causes your snail to act like it’s dead. But the real question is, what can you do to improve the situation? In other words, how to keep your snails active and happy? We have a brief guide for you. Take a look.

How Can I Help My Inactive Snail

Create A Friendly Environment

Reduce the stress level by ensuring friendly tank mates for the snails. For example, Guppies, Tetras, and Mollies are extremely easy to bond with. Plus, your aquatic snail will also love to have other snail friends. So, try to include more snails in the community.

Adjust The Water Parameter

The most effective way to keep the snail active is by adjusting the water parameter. First, snails react to water Ph levels almost instantly. A high pH level of 7.6 to 8.4 is considered ideal. As for the other parameters, snails thrive in hard water.

You can keep the kH and GH levels between 12 to 18 and 8 to 18, respectively. Also, don’t forget about the temperature. 68 to 84 degrees Fahrenheit helps to keep the snail warm and comfy.

Be aware of tap water though. Don’t use tap water directly into the aquarium. The copper inside such water is harmful to snails.

Clean The Waste

Fish digest food and leave their craps inside the tank water. And these craps contain lots of harmful toxins. Letting it float in the water for a long time will mess with the water parameter.

So, a good initiative is to clean up the waste once every week. Especially if you have a community tank, you have to do it sooner.

The process is simple. Just unplug the water heater and filters first. Next, take out all the fish and decorative objects from the tank.

Use a water vacuum to clean the water. You can put the vacuum’s head on the substrate as well. This will prevent any waste from getting stuck on the aquarium floor.

Include Plants

Adding live plants in the aquarium helps the snails to feel more at home. It enhances the overall beauty of the tank and makes the tank mates happy. So, to make the snails more active, try including their favorite plants.

There are also a lot of veggies that snails love to munch on. For example, zucchini, cucumber, basil leaf, lentil, iceberg, lettuce, and any type of cabbage is an absolute treat for the snails. Giving small pieces of these veggies might encourage the snail to come out of its shell.

Isolate The Snail

Imagine how you would feel if someone suddenly changes your home. It must be stressful. That’s the same withyour  snails as well. Snails have difficulty adjusting to a new aquarium without prior preparation. It’s even harder if the tank already contains a lot of other species.

So, the best way to reduce the stress is by isolating the snail in another tank for a while. Once you bring the snail home, prepare a hospital tank first. The tank should be simple with the exact water parameters. Let the snail adjust to the situation.

Once you think the snail is behaving nicely, shift it to the community tank.

Is Your Aquatic Snail Dead Or Asleep?

The scariest thing a snail can do is stop moving at all. Even though we want the snails to be healthy, they might die in an aquarium. The average lifespan of a snail is around 2 to 3 years. It might die anytime if you have kept a snail for almost three years. And there’s nothing we can do but accept it.

Is Your Aquatic Snail Dead Or Asleep

Now, the question is, how to tell if a snail is dead or just sleeping? Here are the three easy ways to verify it.

  • First, you should check whether the snail attaches to the leaves or the substrates. You might already know this.But snails need to be healthy or alive (at least) to stick themselves to anything. So, even if the snail is motionless, your snail is okay if it’s sticking to the leaves.
  • Next, the snail will float in the water if it isn’t sticking. Now, floating doesn’t necessarily mean the snail is dead. But if the snail is floating for a long time, it’s probably dead.
  • Finally, you would smell a bad odor coming from the tank. It’s due to the decomposed body inside the snail’s shell. So, that’s a clear indication. In that case, try to remove the dead snail as fast as possible.


Want to learn more about snail care? Here, we have a short FAQ section to help you understand your snail pet better.

Why Is My Snail Floating?

Snails don’t always float because they are dead. Sometimes it’s faster to transport themselves from one place to another. The snail traps a bubble inside the shell which makes it float easily.

Such incidents mostly happen when the snail thinks the upper part of the aquarium contains more food. However, a dead snail also floats. So, you should be concerned if the snail is floating for a long period.

What To Do If My Aquatic Snail Dies?

If your snail is dead, the first thing to do is remove it from the tank. It will ensure other tank mates are not affected by the toxins released from the dead snail’s body. Next, it’s time for a water change. Do a thorough cleanup and erase all the toxins and odor.

How Long Can A Snail Remain Still?

It’s common for snails to stay inactive for up to 7 days. It’s more common for assassin snails. They love to take a big break after eating a large meal. However, if the snails become inactive in an aquarium, it might also indicate a bad water parameter, low heat, low food supply, etc.

Another common reason why snails hide in their shells for a long time is heavy lighting. Snails are most active during the night. So, direct lighting may cause the snails to remain still.

Is My Snail Inactive Because It’s Ill?

Yes, snails can become inactive when they suffer from any illness. It’s a survival technique to save more energy. You should check whether the shell is intact or not.

A damaged shell can cause the snails to become still. The best way to mend the broken shell is by adding more calcium to the water. You can also feed veggies rich in calcium, like kale and spinach.


Snails are the most peaceful pet in a community tank. It’s beautiful and hardworking at the same time. Snails keep the water clear for other tank mates. That’s why when a snail stops working and hides under its shell; it can affect the whole community.

Our suggestion is to keep the snail happy. Avoid including aggressive fish varieties than might bully the snail. Finally, examine the water parameter from time to time. Let the snails enjoy some treats as well, like calcium-rich veggies, salad leaves, etc. And, soon, you will notice a significant change in the snail’s behavior.

So, that was all for today. Hope you found the information helpful.

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