Porcelain Limpet Nerite (Septaria porcellana)

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Porcelain Limpet Nerite
Septaria porcellana
Porcelain Limpet Nerite (Septaria porcellana)
Name Porcelain Limpet Nerite
Name Lat. Septaria porcellana
Family Nerites
Family lat. Neritidae
Order Cycloneritids
Order lat. Cycloneritida
Origin Southeast Asia
Habitat Streams, estuaries
Diet Algae, detritus, snail food
pH 7.5-8.0
Behavior Peaceful
Keeping Group
Care Level Difficult
Reproduction Marine larval stages
Breeding None reported
Life Span 2-4 years
Protection No
Metric Units
Size 4 cm
Temperature 24-27 °C
Hardness 5-15 °dH
Aquarium ~ 20 l
US Units
Size 1.6"
Temperature 75-81 °F
Hardness 89-267 ppm
Aquarium ~ 5 gal

Distribution and habitat

The mussel snails are distributed from India via Indonesia and northern Australia to Japan. There they live in coastal streams, estuaries and brackish water. According to their origin, the shell can vary in pattern and coloration.


They need a well-structured aquarium with roots, stones and plants. The substrate of dark sand or gravel should be partially covered with foliage (e.g. sea almond leaves, oak leaves), rotting plant material and mulm

The water quality must be that required for average freshwater fish keeping. No ammonia, ammonium and nitrite should be detectable in the water and the nitrate value should be below 100 mg/l. When using a filter, make sure that only a weak current is created and that no animals can be sucked in. The lighting must correspond to the natural day-night rhythm of the animals.


They feed mainly on algae growth, which they graze from stones, roots, plants and furnishings, but also eat detritus (remains of dead plants and animals). For supplementation and in case of algae deficiency, algae leaves, over-broiled lettuce or sinking dry food for ornamental fish (granules, food tablets) with high vegetable content (spirulina) can be offered, which is usually accepted after habituation. Unaccepted food must be siphoned off after 2-3 hours

Regular and varied feeding promotes health and prevents deficiency symptoms.

Behaviour and compatibility

It is recommended to keep these snails in a group of 5-10 animals. They can be kept well in a nano aquarium, together with small shrimps and other snails. Also a socialization with fish, which do not consider snails as food, is well possible.

Basically, only mutually compatible species with similar demands on water conditions and water temperature should be socialized.

Reproduction and breeding

They are separately sexed. The sexes can hardly be distinguished from each other externally. The sexual organ of the male is located under the right antenna, but is usually not visible because of the close-fitting shell.

After mating, the female sticks egg capsules to various substrates. Each of these capsules contains numerous eggs from which swimmable larvae hatch and live for some time as part of the marine plankton in the sea. As they grow, they then form their shells, switch to a crawling lifestyle, and return to the estuaries

There are no known reports of successful breeding in the aquarium.


Due to the flat shape of the housing, they are not able to turn onto their feet without help from the dorsal position, which is deadly for them. This is especially important to be aware of when placing them in the aquarium. Since the snails can cling very tightly to surfaces, special care must be taken when detaching them so as not to injure the animals.

To build up their shells, they need a sufficient supply of lime. Especially in soft, acidic water, shell damage (holes) can occur due to a lack of lime, which can lead to the death of the snail. Therefore, pay special attention to the calcium concentration in the water and, if necessary, add calcium in the form of limestone, cuttlebone or special preparations from the specialized trade. Foliage (sea almond tree, oak, beech, etc.) not only provides cover, but also promotes the development of microorganisms as they decay, providing a valuable secondary food source. The well-being of the animals should be monitored regularly. Temperature should be checked daily, pH, hardness and nitrate levels at least every 14 days. Regular partial water changes are recommended, even when contaminant levels have not yet reached the upper limit. Sudden changes in water quality should be avoided. Newly introduced animals must be accustomed slowly to the water in the aquarium.

Further literature can be found in your pet store.


Text: Barbara Pachner; Image: Ruinemans Aquarium BV

Source: ENGELMANN & LANGE (2011): Zootierhaltung - Tiere in menschlicher Obhut: Wirbellose, Verlag Harri Deutsch; BITTER (2008), Schnecken-Fibel; Dähne Verlag