5 Reasons for White Spots On Snail Shell [Solution]

Snails are no doubt an amazing living thing to add to your fish tank. But these harmless creatures require some favorable conditions in the tank, otherwise, their health deteriorates very fast. And one of the most alarming signs of this degradation is white spots on their shells.

High levels of CO2, low levels of calcium, fungal attacks, too much exposure to copper, and the overall bad condition of the aquarium are the 5 prime reasons for the white spots on snail shells. 

But you’re probably wondering and getting a little confused about the treatment process of the snails that are gradually turning clear. And you are right to worry about it. Because if you take the wrong approach the snails won’t be cured. And on top of that, rather than getting better, the snails might even die.

But the good news is, in this article, I am about to discuss all the techniques to get rid of the white spots on snail shells.

So, let’s get this show on the road–

Why Is My Snail Shell Turning White?

White Spot on Snail Shell

1. High Level of CO2

The white spots on your snail shells can be due to high levels of CO2 in the tank water. And this problem usually occurs more with Nerite snails because they are much more susceptible to high CO2 levels.

The good thing is that you will be easily  able to detect this problem by observing the following two factors 

  • If the level of CO2 is high then the snails will be staying mostly near the water surface of your tank.
  • And all the fishes will also be showing unsettling behavior.

2. Low Levels of Calcium

Another reason for the white spots on the shells is the low levels of calcium in the tank water. In this case, the whole shell can turn pale, white, and brittle and eventually break into various places that give the snails an ugly appearance.

Calcium deficiency is very dangerous and affects young snails even more seriously. As a result, It turns the shells very thin that easily break in the later part of their lives.

Yet another interesting fact is high levels of potassium prevent the absorption of calcium. So sometimes your tank may have enough calcium but the excess presence of potassium will stop the snails from absorbing them.

Check the pH level of your tank water. If it’s acidic then this means the tank does not have enough calcium to support the diet of your snails.

However, if the Mystery snails are changing their color and having white spots then this can also be due to a natural cause. The thing is, sometimes the white spots are due to the genetic makeup of Mystery snails that tend to become pale in color with time.

3. Fungal Attack

Again, the white spots can be due to any fungal attack. If the tank has a huge number of live plants then the snails especially Ramshorn snails can be attacked by some fungus. In this case, if the snail is taken out of the water and examined you will find a velvety growth of fungus on their shells.

Aside from these reasons, sometimes if your snails have come across any kind of physical damage by other living creatures in the tank, then it’s very usual for their shells to gradually turn white.

4. Exposure To Copper

Copper is found to be very toxic to snails, so if you have added copper to your tank, the shells will fade away and turn white. You might not be deliberately putting copper but it can enter your tank through tap water, any decorative stones, and other chemical treatments also.

5. Bad Condition of The Aquarium

If the tank condition is not up to the mark then one cannot expect the snails to be healthy and long-living. When the tank is too crowded with fish and other aquatic plants the water tends to get dirty very quickly.

And moreover, in these conditions, the temperature of the aquarium rises, and the snails are not able to feed themselves properly. As a result, the snails fall in stress conditions and result in tiny white dots on their shells. 

Anyways all the discussions aside, sometimes it’s just the age of the snails that is causing the white spots. As a snail gets old its shell starts to fade, erode and break away.

How To Treat White Spots On A Snail Shell Like An Expert

Crushed Coral for Snail Shell Treatment
  • The first rule is to keep changing your water on a regular basis. Try to change at least 25% of the tank water with fresh distilled water every 2 weeks. 
  • Since the snails like hard water try to add stuff like crushed coral and limestones. These are very popular because they not only increase the hardness of water but also add calcium to the tank.
  • To get ahead of the copper issues use a copper testing kit and monitor the copper levels frequently. Whenever the result comes high, change the water.  You can also use activated carbon blocks in your tank that will absorb the copper.
  • Whenever you notice there is white line on snail shells then you have to reduce the level of CO2 in your tank. You can either change the water of your tank or as a permanent solution, it’s better if you can use a CO2 injector (our pick: MR. Aqua Co2 Turbo Diffuser)
  • Next up, you must provide them with a proper calcium-based diet with calcium blocks or cuttlebones. (Our pick: Zoo Med Dr.Turtle Slow-Release Calcium Block)
  • And if the white spots are caused by fungus then you have to apply anti-fungal treatments.  But before the treatment, clean the tank first and remove all the chemical filtration. 
  • Then use a good antifungal treatment for your tank and apply it by following the manufacturer’s instructions. Repeat the dose every day for 5-6 days in a row.
  • Sometimes lack of sunlight can cause the snail shells to fade and turn clear. But however, too much sunlight will also cause discoloration. In this case, you can use some UV lights for a few hours. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is It Normal For A Snail Shell To Turn White?

It’s definitely not normal. And these white spots on the snail shells are an early indication of some other problem that can end up killing them. Sometimes if you have crayfish and snails at the same aquarium then the snails can be physically damaged by the crayfish. but that being said the bottom line is, the white spots mean the conditions of your tank are not good for any of the aquatic living organisms. 

What Type Of Snails Usually Have White Spots On Their Shell?

Nerite snails are the most susceptible ones when it comes to white spots. This is because they are much more sensitive to water conditions than any other kind of snail. However, the other kinds of snails like turbo snails and ramshorn snails can get white spots but that is only if the condition is extreme. The main reason for the white spots is the lack of enough calcium in the tank. 

How Do You Know A Snail Is Dying?

If the snail is dying then the shells will smell rotten and the snail will eventually come out of its shell and stop moving. In this case, you have to quickly get it out of the water before the dead snail contaminates the whole tank water.


If your snail’s shells are turning white, start by testing the water, and according to the water condition you have to take all the necessary measures before it’s too late. 

The white spots may not seem harmful at the beginning but if not treated in time it can be the death of your snails. So, keep an eye on your tank and make sure you are providing the right conditions and your snails will be cured of the white spots in no time. 

I hope in this article you found the information about how to get rid of the white spots on the snail shells. 

Howard Parker

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