White Spots on Snail Shell - All Reasons Highlighted

White Spots on Snail Shell – All Reasons Highlighted

Snails are fascinating aquarium creatures that come in various shapes, sizes, and colors. They have unique shells that protect them from predators and environmental factors. Some snails have bright and vibrant shells, while others have subtle and elegant patterns. But have you ever noticed “white spots on snail shells” before? 

White spots on snail shells have different causes, depending on the type and condition of the snail. Some possible reasons are calcium deficiency, high levels of CO2, physical damage, fungal infection, or natural factors. However, you can fix only a few of these causes; others require more attention and care to save the snail’s life.

As an aquatic animal lover, I think snails are amazing creatures that deserve our respect and appreciation. However, sometimes, their delicate shells develop white spots that indicate a problem or a change. By understanding the reasons and remedies for white spots on snail shells, we can help our snail friends live a happy and healthy life.

If you are interested in curing your snail’s health issue of unusual white spots, this article is for you. Let’s read the reasons and then find solutions!

Why are there white spots on the snail shell?

White Snail Shell

According to a few Reddit reviews, these crawlers (snails) are often admired for their beauty and diversity. Moreover, their shells represent their lifestyle and personality. Interestingly, some snails have natural white or any other color spots due to genetics, while some spots develop due to a health issue.

Here is the list of all those reasons that can cause white spots on snail shells. Let’s indulge in the following insights to see what I have!

1.Calcium deficiency:

Snails need calcium to build and maintain their shells. In fact, calcium is one of the primary needs of snails to live a healthy life. If the water lacks enough calcium, the snail’s shell develops white spots or pits.

These white spots on the snail shell indicate incomplete or irregular growth. In severe cases, the body also erodes or deteriorates. This makes the snail more prone to injuries and infections.

Important Note:

Calcium deficiency is not only caused by a lack of calcium in water. It also happens when the food they consume does not have enough calcium in it.

2.High CO2 levels:

According to a study by the UK Aquatic Plant Society, if the aquarium water has too much CO2, it becomes more acidic. Now, you should understand that high levels of CO2 affect the snail’s ability to use calcium.

The snail shell also shows signs of wear and tear, such as white spots or cracks. This is more common in snails that are sensitive to CO2, such as nerite snails and mystery snails.

3.Physical damage:

Many snail species, especially the peaceful ones, get injured by sharp objects, aggressive fish, or other snails. This can cause white spots or scars on the shell. Here, their tissue gets damaged or exposed.

Although these spots heal over time, they may also become infected if not treated properly. My heartiest request is to keep the sharp objects, aggressive fish species, and snails in separate tanks. Otherwise, the hostile tank mates will gobble up all of your peaceful snails one by one.

4.Fungal infection:

Sometimes, snails get infected due to fungi and bacteria, such as Saprolegnia, Aeromonas, Pseudomonas, and Vibrio. These fungi and bacteria are the main reasons for white spots or patches on the shell. These spots look fuzzy or cottony on the snail shells and can quickly spread to other body parts.

More importantly, fungal infections weaken the snail’s immune system. They also affect the appetite and activity of the snails. These fungal and bacterial infections are deadly for the snails and can harm other tank mates.

5.High levels of copper:

Snails are susceptible to copper. It is very toxic to them. Copper is present mainly in the water due to tap water, pipes, fertilizers, medications, or decorations.

If the copper levels are too high, the snail’s shell develops white spots or streaks, indicating damage to the shell structure. Not only this, but it also affects the snail’s nervous system and causes paralysis or death.

6.Parasitic infestations:

Do you know snails can get infested by parasites, such as flukes, worms, or mites? Parasitic infections are dangerous, and the first symptom that appears after parasitic infection is white spots appearing over time.

Furthermore, these spots appear due to the parasite’s eggs, waste products, or damage to the shell tissue. Your snail behavior, appetite, and reproduction rate will also change due to parasitic infection.

7.Poor Water Condition:

Another reason why there are white spots on the snail shell is poor water conditions. I have learned that snails need clean and stable water to thrive and maintain their shells.

If the water is dirty, polluted, or unstable, it affects the snail shell quality. For example, poor water conditions can lead to Low pH,  high ammonia, and high nitrate.

Fun Fact Time!

Sometimes, the white eggs stick on their shells, and aquarists think it’s a disease or an indication of illness. But it’s not, just sticky eggs!

Read also: Can snails lay eggs without mating?

How do you treat white spots on a snail shell like an expert?

Here are a few tips and tricks that will help you treat white spots on a snail shell like a professional:

  1. To prevent calcium deficiency in the snail’s body, you can add calcium supplements to the water, such as cuttlebone, eggshells, or calcium tablets. You can also offer them food that is rich in calcium and magnesium.
  2. To avoid the high CO2 levels in the tank water, you can monitor the CO2 levels in the water. Moreover, try to use aeration or water changes to lower the CO2 level.
  3. If you want to prevent physical injuries to snail shells, remove any potential hazards from the tank. Also, isolate the injured snail and apply antiseptic or antibiotic products to the wound.
  4. To treat fungal infections on snail shells, use antifungal medications, such as malachite green or methylene blue. Plus, improve the water quality and hygiene to prevent the growth of fungi in the tank.
  5. To prevent high levels of copper in the aquarium of snails, try using a copper test kit to monitor the copper levels in the water constantly. You can also use a copper remover or a water conditioner to lower the copper level.
  6. If you think your snail has a bad odor and suffers from a parasitic infection, use anti-parasitic medications, such as praziquantel, levamisole, etc. More importantly, don’t forget to quarantine the infected snail.
  7. To maintain water conditions, I use a pH, ammonia, and nitrite test kit to measure the pH level, ammonia level, and nitrate level, respectively. You can also use these kits to keep the aquatic creatures happy in their habitat.

Pro Tip:

In my case, I used antibacterial medications, tetracycline or erythromycin, to treat infection on my snail’s shell. And you know what? It worked very well that my snail recovered within four days. You can also use these medications if any other solutions fail to work.


1.Is It Normal For A Snail Shell To Turn White?

No, it is not normal for a snail shell to turn white. If your snail shell starts turning white, it simply means that there is something wrong with the health of your snail.

Don’t ignore these signs of illness, and try to treat your snail with the tips mentioned above. You can also expose your snail to some morning sunlight to cure it, but not too much, as it can fade the shell color.

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

Many types of snails usually have white spots on their shells. This is part of their natural beauty and genetics. Some of those snails include:

  1. Nerite snails: Some Nerite snails, such as the Zebra Nerite, the Tiger Nerite, and the Horned Nerite, have stripes, dots, swirls, and other designs that make up white spots on their shells.
  2. Mystery snails: A few Mystery snails have white spots that are not an illness. For example, the Ivory Mystery snail has a solid white shell, while the Purple Mystery snail has a dark purple shell with white spots.
  3. Apple snails: These snails are similar to Mystery snails and have white spots on their shells due to natural factors or environmental conditions. For example, the Golden Apple snail has a yellow shell with white spots, while the Giant Ramshorn snail has a spiral shell with white bands.

Moreover, here is the list of snails that have natural white shells provided by the organization of the Country of San Mateo. You can check it out!

  1. How Do You Know A Snail Is Dying?

According to the report of one of my Reddit fellows, some signs of a dying snail are:

  • Loss of appetite and weight
  • Lethargy and inactivity
  • Shell erosion and damage
  • Discoloration and infection
  • A foul odor and ammonia spike

To prevent or treat these issues, snail owners should provide adequate care and maintenance for their pets. Watch this informative YouTube video about what to do if your snail dies.


So, these are some of the main reasons for white spots on the snail shell that I tried to cover in this snail-care guide. However, many other factors can also cause white spots. Some of them include age, genetics, or natural variation. Therefore, it is essential to observe your pet snails closely and check for any other symptoms or changes in their behavior.

If you are unsure, consult a veterinarian or an expert immediately. Otherwise, it would be too late to save your favorite snail’s life. If you want to ask a specific question related to the shell health of your snail, let me know in the comments section.

Also, share beautiful and cheerful photos of your snails here; it would be a great moment to enjoy aquatic life together!