Why Is My Snail Keep Upside Down?[5 Causes & Solutions]

Well, we all know that it’s definitely not normal for the snails to be upside down all the time. However, the snails have a habit of flipping over much more frequently than you can imagine. Leaving them in that position isn’t a very good idea either. Because in this position they cannot move or eat properly and may even end up being dead. 

I had a few of them which would always stay upside down and it became quite a nuisance of a matter for me until I started looking for answers.

So, in this article, I am going to share what reasons I found why the snails keep going upside down.  In addition, I have shared the ideal diet ideas that I’ve tried feeding my snails and ended up with brilliantly healthy and happy snails. 

5 Reasons For The Snails Being Upside Down

1. The Snail Was Attacked 

I noticed that when I kept plenty of fish in the same aquarium, this condition happened very frequently. Later I figured out it was the other aggressive fishes in my tank that were attacking the snails and causing them to be upside down. 

Since the snails are pretty peaceful creatures they tend to get frightened when they are around predatory fishes and get accidentally knocked over. This causes them to turn upside down. 

You see, this is why choosing the right tankmates is very important. Even some common fishes like goldfish and angelfish can also cause trouble for your snails and even end up eating them as well. Besides, if your snail is ill or diseased it can also show symptoms of hanging upside down as a warning of attention.

2. Your Snail Fell on its Back

Snails love to climb and sometimes they go overboard with it and end up climbing over other objects in the tank like rocks, plants, etc. This can cause the snail to lose its grip and fall from these things on its back. 

Besides, any parasitic infection or disease can cause them to be very weak leading them to float abnormally. When your snail is showing any symptoms of illness along with hanging upside down you have to start treating them as soon as possible.

3. Lack of Food and Bad Water Conditions

The thing is, snails are vigorous eaters and they need enough external food sources to support their growth. When their diet lacks necessary nutrients the snail becomes very weak and cannot stay attached properly to the things they are climbing on. Besides, in search of food they become stressed out and unfortunately, flip upside down.

However, when the tank conditions are poor, the water is dirty and the pH is also wrong along with ammonia nitrite levels, it can cause huge stress to the snails. This later causes the snail to fall while climbing objects.

You see, the bad water parameters create a toxic condition for the snail’s health and these snails flip over very frequently due to weakness. The bad thing is, when the snail is too weak due to lack of food or bad water conditions, it won’t have the strength to get on the right side on its own.

4. The Snail is Sleeping

Snails have a habit of sleeping anytime and anywhere they want. They usually don’t lie down on their shells and sometimes when they are climbing they can fall asleep while hanging upside down. This thing can be considered normal when the snail gets back on its right side once it wakes up. 

Again, they can end up sleeping for a long time, it can be even 3 days in a row. So, you have to keep an eye on them whether they are changing their position after a few days or staying the same. If they keep being upside down, there is something else wrong with them. 

5. The Snail is Floating

This is where the snails make it confusing for us. When they are upside down at the surface of any object, it means they are sleeping. But when they are floating upside down in water it’s just as normal as any of their movements. 

You see, sometimes snails float on the surface upside down and eat the film that’s created on the water surface when there is not much agitation in the tank. Sometimes air can get trapped inside the snail’s shell and make them buoyant causing them to float upside down as well. 

How to Treat Snails That Flipped Upside Down?

1. Get the Right Snail Type

Some snail types stay this upside down way longer than the others such as turbo snails and margarita snails. They have a heavy body so sometimes they fail to maintain the balance and flip over while they are climbing the aquarium walls or any other surface. 

However, there are some snail types, especially Nerite snails and Trochus snails that don’t usually turn over and also fall off very rarely. When the snails can turn on the right side on their own, it’s a lot easier for us to handle. 

Because if you have a lot of snails that are always hanging upside down, turning them to the right position can be time consuming and frustrating as well.

2. Wait For Them To Turn On Their Own

Since we know that snails can turn upside down on their own when they are sleeping, it’s better to wait for them to turn on the right side. But, if they still remain this way for a very long time, you can assist them otherwise they will starve to death. 

Besides, for some species of snails, it’s pretty natural for them to flip upside down and spend some time like that eating food from the surface of the water. 

Teaching them and encouraging them to turn on the right side can go a long way because then you won’t have to always make time to flip them over. However, make sure you let them flip on their own and wait for at least 2 days before helping them to see if they can master this skill. 

Make sure you are providing your snails with the best condition. Try to avoid overcrowding of the tank, especially with aggressive tank mates. Provide enough hiding spots for the snails and refrain from agitating the water without any reason.

3. Help Your Upside Down Snail

Before doing anything, closely observe the snail. Though it’s upside down, if it seems active then it probably will turn on the right side without any assistance. But if the situation seems troublesome then carefully grasp the snail holding its shell. 

Make sure to avoid touching the body because it’s very delicate. Be very cautious and prevent harming the snail’s body at any cost. Properly place it on its right side on the surface of a suitable location of your tank and keep an eye on its behaviors. 

After a while, if it flips back upside down, it means the snail is dealing with some health issues or maybe the water parameters are not correctly balanced. 

4. Provide The Best Water Quality

Now that we have helped the snail and placed it on its right side, it’s time to check the water quality. You see, when the water quality is low the snails will get stressed out very easily and feel weak and vulnerable. Without regular maintenance in the aquarium, toxins start to build up and cause several health issues for the snails.

I have always felt that keeping the tank clean reduces the maintenance task to half. Make sure to change the water regularly and maintain a temperature of around 70-80 ℉. The snails prefer to live comfortably in neutral water so try to keep the pH level around 7.

Make sure to prevent the water from being acidic as it corrodes the snail shells very quickly and makes them fragile. For regularly maintaining your aquarium very easily, get the best aquarium test kit.

This kit will also help you to measure nitrite, nitrate, and ammonia levels very quickly so that you can adjust the water parameters before it’s too late. 

Make sure the aquarium water has calcium levels high enough to support the shell formation and development. Besides, the presence of calcium also prevents the shell from cracking. 

One of the most important things is to maintain the balance of the parameters such as temperature, pH nitrites, ammonia, etc, and keep them stable. Because frequent fluctuations in the water parameters can end up in many abnormal behaviors of the snails and other aquatic creatures.

5. Feed Your Snails Adequately

Mostly I prefer to feed my snails twice a day but it can vary on the types of snails you have. Because some kinds of snails only require to be fed twice a week. In both cases, the one thing you have to make sure of is they are supplied with all the important nutrients they need.

If your snails feed on the algaes in the tank, make sure to increase the amount of lights in the aquarium so the algae can grow more.

We’ve already discussed that the snails eat the milky film from the surface of the tank water floating upside down. If you don’t want that to happen you can add a water stone in the tank.

Provide them with a calcium rich diet to help build their shells. You can also provide them with calcium supplements especially made for snails. At the end of this section, there is a feeding guide for the snails which has helped to steer clear of their health issues very smoothly. So, don’t forget to check that out.

Last but not least remember that a healthy snail has the following characteristics–

  • It’s Active and keeps on climbing on surfaces
  • It has a solid shell with natural glow
  • A plumpy body without any abnormal growth
  • Eats regularly

A Complete Nutrition Guide For The Snails For Ideal Health 

Feeding snails properly is essential for their health and well-being. Here are the basic steps to feed any kind of snails–

  • Snails eat both fruits and vegetables so you can include both options in their diet.
  • The vegetables can include leafy greens such as kale, spinach, mustard green, broccoli, cabbage, okra, parsley, coriander, lettuce, cucumber, zucchini, carrots, etc.
  • Always pick up the fresh ones cut up the veggies in small pieces and blanch them for a short time.
  • You can include various fruits such as apples, bananas, pears, figs, papaya, oranges, etc.
  • Be sure to cut them up as well into small bite size pieces.
  • Snails need enough calcium rich foods to support their shells so make sure to provide them with cuttlebone or crushed and dried eggshells. Also, you can provide them with calcium supplements specially designed for aquarium snails. 
  • You can let them feed on the algae that grow in the tank.
  • After they have finished eating, always remove the uneaten parts of the food to keep the tank clean and hygienic.
  • It’s better to avoid any kind of processed foods or salty foods as these are not healthy but rather hazardous to the snail’s body. 
  • One of the important things is not to overfeed them because it leads to obesity and major health problems. Try to feed them the right amount keeping their number and size into consideration. 
  • Always monitor their eating habits so that you can detect if there are any abnormalities as soon as possible.  
  • If they are not eating properly the snails may have health issues or are sick from not getting the required nutrients they need. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What Does It Look Like When a Mystery Snail is Dying?

If your snail is not responsive and spreading a foul smell or floating on the surface then this means it’s very sick and has a very low chance of survival. Besides, at this time the shell also starts to get discolored and the snails start to produce excessive mucus which creates a slimy film near the tank wall. 

Can snails walk upside down?

Yes, they can! Some species of snails produce slimy substances that help them hang onto any surface and crawl upside down.

How Long Can a Snail Live Upside Down?

As long as the condition is moist the snail can live upside down for up to 2 weeks even without eating any food. However, it is not okay to let this happen because without eating the snail will be very weak and will get stressed out. 


To prevent your snails from being upside down you have to provide them it better nutrition, and nicely maintain the environment where they live. In spite of that, if the snail continues to be upside down then you have to check the water conditions. 

But if everything is alright and the snail has just accidentally fli[ped down while climbing on any aquarium surface, you can simply flip it back and help it get into the right position. 

Don’t forget to make sure the snail is healthy enough to flip back on its own. For this, follow the diet guide to provide the basic nutritional needs of your snail and monitor their growth all the time. 

Share this article with your other aquarist friends and don’t hesitate to hit the comment button if you have any further queries about your snails being upside down. 

Howard Parker

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