Neritina pulligera (Military Helmet Snail, Dusky Nerite) is a species of freshwater snail, a gastropod mollusk in the family Neritidae. This species is widely distributed throughout the Indo-Pacific region. Neritina pulligera is found in fast-flowing freshwater streams and rivers with rocky substrates. Throughout its range this species inhabits rivers and streams in close proximity to the tidal influence of the ocean, and so it can be found in brackish waters as well.
Neritina pulligera is another great algae eating snail which is a great addition to planted tanks. Their shells are black. They have more a military helmet shape than tiger or zebra nerites.
The Military Helmet Snails are not fussy what they eat. Their primary diet is algae but will take anything your offer will be greatly received, algae wafers, blanched vegetables such as courgette and spinach, brussel sprouts, cucumber, fish flakes, shrimp pellets, red peppers and so on. These snails are harmless for healthy plants.
The good news is that Neritina pulligera care is pretty easy and straightforward. The snails are a hardy species and they are adaptable to a range of water conditions. They seem to like water temperature in the tropical community tank range of 22°C – 28°C. And some hobbyists suggest that Neritina pulligera can survive in a wider temperature range. Nerites also prefer water pH on the alkaline side around 7.5 and aquarium water on the hard side with a moderately moving current. As with other fish in a tank, Neritina pulligera care must also include checking for Ammonia spikes and high levels of Nitrate, as Nerites are susceptible. Care must also be taken to avoid any sort of exposure to copper and other medications because this can be fatal to snails. Finally, be mindful that the snails may need Calcium supplements to maintain a healthy shell.
Its also important to remember that Neritina pulligera care also includes how they are put into the tank. Avoid dropping them into the water and letting them float to the bottom to land in various random positions. Lucky Nerites will land upright and be able to quickly get acclimated to their new surroundings. The unlucky snails will land upside down. Nerite Snails have a very difficult time turning themselves over to the upright position. In most cases it’s almost impossible for them right themselves. Nerites left upside down can die that way. Make sure Nerites are placed in the tank in the upright position so they get off to a good start.
The Black Military Helmet Snails are very busy and active eaters. They affix themselves to hard surfaces such as glass, decorations, filter intakes and hard plant leaves. Nerites move easily across these surfaces…eating as they move. Nerite Snails are one of the best algae eating snails around, and their “from-tank” diet can include: soft film algae, soft green algae, soft brown algae, and brown diatoms. They dig down about an inch or so and eat off the glass for hours.
It’s often noted that Nerite Snails will not reproduce in fresh water. Because Nerites need brackish water to reproduce successfully, they will not take over a fresh water tank like many other snails do. This is one of the primary benefits of this snail. That said, Nerite Snail eggs will begin to appear on many hard surfaces of the tank. Nerite Snail eggs look like little white dots and are most noticeable on dark surfaces like HOB filter intakes and dark aquarium heaters, on the glass, or on decorations and ornaments. Nerite Snail eggs are hard and will need to be scraped off to be taken out of the tank. Even though Nerite Snail eggs can be somewhat annoying, the advantages of these types of algae eating snails outweigh other types of snails that do reproduce in fresh water. This makes Nerite Snails a smart choice if you want to add a snail population to your tank.
Black Military Helmet Snails tank mates can include most invertebrates and fish appropriate for a freshwater community tank. Neritina pulligera tank mates should not include any aggressive invertebrates or fish because the snails may get eaten. So avoid loaches, aquarium crayfish, Goldfish and cichlids.