A jarrarium is a mini ecosystem inside a jar or a vase. It consists of some combination of plants, small animals, and water.  Typical jarrarium animals are invertebrates like snails or shrimps because invertebrates generally require less care to stay alive.

In this article, we’ll recommend some of the easiest to care for snails for jarrariums to get you started on the right foot.

Why Choose Snails?

are snails good for jarrariums


As a beginner jarrarium maintainer snails are a great starting choice. Wait, you don’t know what a jarrarium is and how to make one?! Snails are great additions to your jar ecosystem because don’t require much space and they aren’t as social as shrimps so you don’t have to start with a large number. 

Snails are also a great choice because they feed on algae, which usually grows near the glass and can cloud the view.

Considerations When Choosing Your First Snails

how to choose a snail for jarrarium

BBC Science Focus Magazine

It is important to take into consideration how rapidly the snails reproduce, and how fragile they are. You want a snail that can adapt to a range of conditions and you also need the right amount of reproductive ability so that you don’t overpopulate your jar. 

Another important factor that determines a good snail choice is aggression. Some snails are predators and can hunt for other animals or snails in your jar. This may be fun for an advanced jarrarium owner, but as a beginner, you may want to stick with the more peaceful herbivorous snails.

The Ideal Snails for Jarrariums

We’ll dicusss two main types of snails, aquarium snails and “pest” snails. Aquarium snails are conventional snails that people purchase as pets. They’re interesting to look at and are easy to maintain. They also won’t overpopulate your jar or devour your plants before you notice. 

On the other hand, “pest” snails are considered pests to fish aquarium owners. They are easy to care for but are also hermaphroditic and as a result can populate quickly. You’ll need to keep a good eye on how rapidly they’re reproducing and lower the feeding until you regain control if overpopulation becomes a problem.

Mystery Snail

mystery snail jarrarium

Mystery snails, as the name suggests, are peculiar-looking. They’re a great aesthetic addition to your jar. In addition, they’re good at cleaning up excess vegetation and waste, keeping your substrate well maintained.

These snails feature swaying tentacles and fabulous colors like purple, gold, albino, and many more.

Mystery snails lay their eggs right above the water level in hopes of avoiding predators. They reproduce sexually, unlike most other snails which are hermaphrodites.

Contrary to popular belief, these are not the same as apple snails. Apple snails are invasive for other forms of life in your ecosystem, whereas mystery snails are peaceful and safe to keep other animals or plants in your mini-environment.


  • Diet: algae and dead plant matter
  • Size: 2 inches
  • Lifespan: about 1 year
  • Color: brown, black, purple, blue, white, and gold

Ramshorn Snail

ramshorn snails in jarrariums

Ramshorn snails come in beautiful shades of amber. Their shells are sometimes translucent enough for you to watch the ingestion process inside their bodies. The translucency of their shells decreases as they age. 

Ramshorns efficiently eat up decaying plant matter as they roam around the jar. They’re considered easy to raise since they can adapt to multiple habitats. They have a life expectancy of one year and can reproduce like rabbits if not controlled.


  • Diet: algae and small fish pellets
  • Size: about 1.5 inches
  • Lifespan: about 1 year
  • Color: copper, blue, orange, pink, green

Nerite Snail

best nerite snails jarrariums

This is another aesthetic addition to your jar – Nerite snails are great jar cleaners and very adaptable to a range of conditions. They enjoy feeding on the matter that plants shed, but they don’t eat live plants.

Nerite snails reproduce sexually. The females lay white-shelled eggs for the males to fertilize. This makes their reproductive process more controllable since it takes slightly longer to happen than other asexual snails. 

Nerite snails are also peaceful jar mates, they won’t attack any animals or live plants. Additionally, they come in a number of varieties including:

  • the tiger nerite snail
  • the zebra nerite snail
  • the olive nerite snails
  • the horned nerite snail

All these different color schemes give you plenty of choices – from stripes to dots to other patterns there’s probably a nerite snail ideal for your jarrarium.


  • Diet: algae and plant matter
  • Size: 0.5 to 1 inch
  • Lifespan: about 1 year
  • Color: depending on the species

Bladder Snail

best bladder snails for jarrariums

These snails are gourmet omnivores. They will eat dead fish meat or little insects, but will also eat plant debris and fish pellets. They’re great at adapting to a range of water conditions which makes them quite easy to care for. 

They generously breed as they are hermaphrodites. They will self-fertilize if they don’t find a partner. However, regular sexual breeding is more ideal for them as self-fertilized eggs have a lower chance of survival.


  • Diet: insects and plant matter
  • Size: 0.5 inches
  • Lifespan: about 2 years
  • Color: yellow with hints of black

Pond Snails

jarrarium snails pond snails

Lymnaeidae, or pond snails, are great algae and debris cleaners. They ingest algae, which could be detrimental to your jarrarium if it grows uncontrollably. Pond snails may also eat the plants in your jar if overpopulation becomes an issue.

They’re also quite mobile and like to travel around the jar whilst cleaning. Compared to other invertebrates that may stay in hiding for days at a time, the activity of pond snails may be enticing for some.

Pond snails do well in the reproduction aspect because they’re hermaphrodites, which allows them to self-fertilize.

It’s imperative to keep a close eye on the number of eggs your snails are laying. If you notice around eight eggs in close proximity, this means it’s time to cut down on the feeding a bit to regain some control.


  • Diet: algae and suspended organic particles
  • Size: between 1 and 3 inches
  • Lifespan: 1.5 to 3 years
  • Color: ranges from yellow to dark brown with polka dots


snail terrarium diy


Snails are a great way to introduce a more diverse set of organisms to your jarrarium. The high fertility and easy maintenance provide you a good margin for error as a beginner.

It’s important to note that no snails are bad for your jar. You just need to understand how each kind interacts with the surrounding plants and animals so that all can coexist in harmony.

It’s also important to keep an eye on your jarrarium to quickly notice overpopulation and overgrowth of algae. These can be controlled by altering the amount of light and food you add to your little ecosystem. Comment any jarrarium snail related questions – I’d love to clarify for you!