Do You Need to Acclimate Aquarium Snails?

When going to the fish store, you will see there are snails for sale too. They are good to have in your aquarium since they help with cleaning. But when buying them, do you need to acclimate them as you do with the fish?

As a whole, you don’t have to acclimate the snails you buy before putting them into your aquarium. However, you could acclimate them if you are worried the snail will take damage by letting it sit in its transport bag in the aquarium water and slowly add aquarium water into the bag.

You usually don’t have to acclimate the snails, but you will be safer to acclimate the snails as you do with fish in some circumstances. By reading the article, you will know all about acclimatizing your fish tank snails.

Why You Should Acclimate Aquarium Inhabitants

Usually, you want to acclimate your inhabitants to get used to the pH level, KH level, and the level of nitrate you have in your aquarium. The temperature is also an important factor. This is to prevent the newly added inhabitant to get stressed and catch any diseases.

This is really important with fish since they are more sensitive to stress. But snails can feel stress too.

If a creature, snail, fish, or shrimp get stressed they are more prone to catch diseases. When stressed they also have a higher risk of dying.

This risk is higher with fish than it is with snails.

The stress will appear when the inhabitant is shocked with vastly different pH, KH, temperature, and nitrate levels than what it is used to in the fish store.

See it as if you are jumping into cold water, you will get a shock of how cold it is and it’s putting stress on your body which makes you hyperventilate.

It’s the same with the stress when you take a cold bath as it is for the inhabitants into your fish tank.


By acclimating fish you will make them more resistant to diseases because the mucus covering their gills will prevent infections from reaching the fish.

The mucus will go away when the fish is stressed. The mucus’s purpose is to prevent bacteria and viruses and other parasites to get into the fish and infect it.

If the fish is shocked with different temperatures and pH it will get a shock, as if you were jumping into a cold bath. With the stress, the mucus will go away, and the bacteria will infect the fish.

There are a lot of bacteria in the water. A lot of them are good, and not harmful for the fish. But some bacteria or parasites are harmful and are living in the water too.

It’s these harmful creatures that are risking infect the fish and potentially kill it. Also, the stress itself will kill the fish.


As I mentioned before, snails are less sensitive to changes in water than fish are. This means they are not at the same, big, risk as fish to get infections.

The snail will still get stressed but it will crawl into its shell and protect itself making infections less likely to reach the snail.

The most important factor for the snail is the pH of the water. If the pH is too low, it will corrode the shell of the snail, killing the snail.

This is a slow process that is not killing the snail very quickly but it will stress the snail, making it crawl into its shell or trying to escape the aquarium.

If it crawls into its shell, the pH will corrode its shell, slowly killing it.

Also, it will not go after food, making it starve too.

Now, snails are a little more sturdy and less prone to be stressed than fish, making it less important to acclimate your snails.

To not run the risk of your snails getting stressed and potentially die, I would suggest you always acclimate your snails before putting them into the aquarium.

It will not hurt them. It’s a good habit to have.

If you get a rare species of a snail or an expensive snail, I would say it’s crucial to acclimate the snail since otherwise, you have a higher risk, although small but still higher, of them getting stressed and dying.

This will hurt more if the species is rare or expensive.

A lot of snails are also getting into the aquarium via plants as eggs. These eggs are not acclimating before getting in and those snails will grow up in the conditions of your aquarium. This shows how adaptable snails really are.

What You Do To Acclimate Your Fish, Snails, And Shrimps

To acclimate any creature going into your fish tank, you will have the highest chance of them surviving in their new environment due to less stress and fewer diseases.

This goes for both fish, snails, and shrimps where it’s least important for snails to be acclimatized. Shrimps and fish are important to acclimate.

You acclimate the snails, fish, and shrimps the same way.

To acclimate them, you need to make them get used to the temperature, pH, KH, and nitrate levels in your fish tank.

When buying inhabitants for your fish tank, you will get them from the store in a bag to transport them in. Try not to let them be too long inside that bag. It’s very stressful for them, making it harder to acclimate them.

Once home, turn the light off in your fish tank, making the new inhabitant less visible and more secure.

Then, put the bag into the water to slowly change the temperature of the water in the bag to the same temperature as in the fish tank.

Then slowly add some aquarium water into the bag to acclimate the inhabitant to the same water parameters as it is in your fish tank.

Once that is done, you could add the fish, snail, or shrimp into your tank. Be careful not to dump the water in the bag into your fish tank. It will contaminate your water risking your while fish tank to get infections.

If you want to read more about acclimating fish (it’s the same procedure for snails and shrimp too) and how to add them into your aquarium. I have an entire step-by-step article covering all about that. You can read it by going to this link.


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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