Can Freshwater Snails Live In Tap Water?

When putting water into your fish tank, you probably do it from the tap. Aquatic animals, such as freshwater snails are fragile creatures, so will the freshwater snails be able to live inside tap water?

As a general rule are freshwater snails able to live in tap water as long as the chlorine levels are not too high. Chlorine levels of 4 ppm, which is considered safe in drinking water, are too low a concentration to kill freshwater snails. The concentration may vary depending on where you live.

There are more than you think inside the water that you get from the tap. We will go through everything to see what is the dangers with tap water for a freshwater snail, and why the snail will survive in the tap water.

What Are the Dangers of Tap Water For a Snail?

When putting water into an aquarium, you do it with tap water. The tap water is containing more substances than you probably think.

The water coming from the tap has to be safe for human consumption and therefore we need to kill the bacteria and other unwanted organisms that could be a danger for us.

Therefore, in the water treatment plant, they add chlorine into the water to kill the microorganisms before sending the water out to the households.

Chlorine is very dangerous in too large amounts. That’s why they remove the chlorine before sending the water into the pipes.

A safe amount of chlorine in the tap water is 4 ppm, according to CDC on their website.

What you also can read on their website is that chlorine in the water is toxic for aquatic life, so why are we putting chlorinated tap water in our fish tanks?

Usually, before you put the water in, you treat the water with a water conditioner that will remove the chlorine (and other dangerous components in the water).

A good water conditioner that I will recommend is the one from Tetra which you could get on Amazon here.

That way the water will be safe for your aquatic life, including your freshwater snails.

Chlorine will also escape from the water so as soon as you open the tap, the chlorine will escape from the water into the air, thus making the concentration lower.

By letting the water sit the chlorine levels will get lower and lower until all chlorine is dissolved into the air.

Chlorine is not a big risk for the freshwater snail. The purpose of chlorine is to kill bacteria in the water before we consume it. The amount of chlorine is too small to harm our gut bacteria and is certainly too small to harm snails or fish.

But to be sure, because the chlorine levels will differ depending on where you live, you should always treat your tap water before putting it into the aquarium or putting any aquatic animal in it.

The acidity of the water

Since freshwater snails have shells containing calcium, the snails are very sensitive to acidic environments.

This could be a danger in the water you put in your fish tank too. But it’s not as big of a problem as the chlorine “problem”.

When you taste the water from the tap, it tastes neutral. Not acidic nor alkaline.

That’s because the water has a very neutral acidic level of 6.5-8.5 due to the EPA guidelines. A level below 7 is acidic and above 7 is alkaline.

Freshwater snails generally like alkaline water (above 7) or neutral water since their shells will dissolve into the water if the water is too acidic.

Since the water in the tap is close to neutral, it should not be any problem for the snails.

Metals in tap water

Your tap water is transported in metal pipes under the ground.

These pipes are releasing a small number of metals into the water. It’s too small of an amount for us to be affected by it but for aquatic animals that are living inside that water, it could be dangerous if the amount is too high for them.

By treating your water with a water conditioner you will remove the metals from the water making the metals a non-problem.

In most places the number of metals inside the water is low. But if there are any problems with the piping or if you get your water from a well, you could kill your freshwater snails, and other inhabitants, by introducing too many heavy metals for them.

Can Freshwater Snails Live In Bottled Water?

What bottled water contains is different from the different brands.

Some bottled water is coming from springs which could be high in minerals that could be dangerous for aquatic life.

The water in the bottles is tested thoroughly in order to have safe amounts of minerals for human consumption, which will generally be safe for aquatic life too.

The regulations differ from place to place so, take a look at what the bottled water contains, how much it contains, and check to see if it’s safe for your aquatic life.

Some bottles of water have different pH. Mostly more alkaline than tap water, which is positive for some species of fish and most freshwater snails.

Some prefer to add bottled water instead of tap water into their fish tanks. That is fine, as long as you know what’s inside the water in the bottle.

If you put bottled water inside your fish tank, I would recommend always use a water conditioner to be sure the water is safe anyways.

You should use bottled water if the tap water where you live is of bad quality. The downside is that filling an aquarium with bottled water will be very expensive in most places.

How to Use Tap Water To Kill Off Snails

In some circumstances, you want to kill off snails. That could be if you add new plants and want to remove any unwanted snails coming into your fish tank.

It could be that you have a snail infestation taking over the fish tank.

If having a snail infestation in your fish tank, you should not put in tap water to kill the snails. It will not work. What will work is to look over your amount of feeding and keep the fish tank clean. A snail infestation is most of the time because there is too much food and debris inside the fish tank.

by removing the amount of food, you will control the number of snails in the fish tank.

But you could use tap water to kill off any snail eggs coming with plants from the store.

When buying aquarium plants you run the risk of having snail eggs coming with it. The eggs could be hard to find while looking at the plants.

To be sure the eggs are removed before putting the plant into your fish tank, you could give the plant a bath in tap water you have added bleach into.

The chlorine levels in tap water are too low to kill off any snail, as I have stated before in this article, but by adding chlorine into the tap water you will get a high enough concentration to kill the snail (eggs).

Simply fill a container with tap water and add 3/4 cup (1.8 dl) of bleach per gallon (3.8 l) of water. Then dip the plants into the solution for a minute.

Then you should wash the plants in another container containing water to remove any bleach residue before planting them into the aquarium.


I have been a fish keeper a big part of my life. During the years I have gathered and searched a lot of information about fish keeping and here, on the website, is where I share that information to help you with your fish keeping. I want to provide the information that I didn't get when I had a question about my fish tank.

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