Why Are My Snails Upside Down In My Aquarium? 6 Reasons Why!

Why are my snails upside down? That’s a question I came about when I was mindlessly scrolling through some forums. Forums are a great place because they are flooded with like-minded people. People who love the same thing as you do!

So, sometimes I go on there and see what people are asking. Sometimes I learn something, sometimes I learn someone else. When scrolling the question: “why are my snails upside down in my aquarium” came up and I thought it would be a great thing to write about so that everyone can benefit from it! 

So, without further ado… Below you’ll find information about why your snails might be upside down, what to do about it, and if your snails are dying or not.

why are my snails upside down in my aquarium?

There are several reasons why your snail might be upside down. The thing to remember is that it can be that there is nothing wrong with your snail! I know this is a question that pops right into your head when you see that your snails are upside down, but don’t worry, this isn’t always the case.

Below I’ll list as many reasons as I can for why they are flipping upside down.

Fish in the tank

Now, this might not be the first thing you think about when you see your snail upside down, but it can be that there are fish in your tank that like snails. These predatory fish sometimes flip the snail over and start nipping as a snack. 

Watch and see if this is the case. You can even put up a camera so that you can see why your snails are upside down. The other thing you can do is google the fish you have and if they are a predator to your snail. Then you can take action accordingly.

Your snail is climbing and falling

Another reason for your snails flipping can be its own “stupidity”. Now, I don’t want to offend you and call your snail stupid ;)… Sometimes snails crawl onto and into rock work (And sometimes they do this upside down). It can happen that while they’re climbing, they fall down and land on the sand upside down. 

What to do about it? Simply flip your snail back over! There is nothing else for you to do.

Your snails can be weak

Have you ever felt weak when you hadn’t been eating as much as you should? (I assume you said yes). The same thing can happen to snails. I see (with some of my friends’ snails) that if they don’t get enough to eat, they get weak and this results in them turning upside down of falling off from rock work and flip upside down. 

With this issue (especially when it is the case with your rock work) you have to also check how clean your rocks are. If they aren’t clean and they don’t have grip, they can fall over. When your rock work is clean, it might be that your snails are weak and you can fix the issue by giving them more food.

How should you do this?

There are a couple of ways actually. You can turn up the light to grow algae faster, feed them algae pellets, or you can also increase nutrients like phosphates and nitrates.

Inadequate water conditions

The conditions of your tank, influence your snails, I think we all agree on that. Therefore, poor tank conditions have negative effects on your snails. The wrong pH, temperature, and hardness can have a negative effect on their stress levels for example. This in turn can lead to the snail having less strength and this makes the snail more likely to fall (when climbing for example).

So, keep an eye on your pH levels, the temperature of your water, and the hardness of your water. Besides that, It is also a good idea to check your chlorine, ammonia, chloramine, nitrite, and copper levels in your water. It might be that something is off-balance and making your snails weaker.

Some of my friends saw that their snails flipped over because the water temperature was too low… They are fragile beings so take good care of them.

Your snail can be sleeping

Snails sleep but do so without a routine (they do not have a routine as humans do). Snails sleep at any time so don’t expect them to keep a schedule with the day and night cycle that your aquarium has. 

Also good to know is the fact that your snail can be sleeping for multiple days. They can sleep anywhere and in every position (so yes, also upside down). 

But, the most important part is that they do not lie on their shells when they’re sleeping. Snails are likely to fall asleep everywhere, so this can be hanging upside down or whatever, but they would never lie on their shells.

Floating snails!

Snails will float for a variety of reasons. Some snails do float because they eat the milky film on the water surface (this happens when a tank has insufficient surface agitation). Other snails who float are likely traveling that way. Other snails float because they try to escape the poor water conditions (check the previous points and make sure that your water is in optimum condition!)

A floating snail is not a big concern. As long as your snail is floating and not upside down on the substrate, there is nothing really worrying going on.

What to do when my snail is upside down?

If you find that your snail is flipping upside down consistently, you should take a look at some of the things mentioned above.

I think the most important thing for you to do is to check the water conditions. Check the pH levels of the water, the temperature, and things like that. Most of the time your snail flips over after climbing on an object. That is nothing to worry about, but when it is too weak because of not enough food or poor water conditions, you have a problem.

So, start by testing the water temperature and water conditions overall. See if everything is normal. Also, check for food. Maybe your snail is hungry. Also, keep an eye out for predatory fish. Google your fish and find out whether or not your fish and snails can live simultaneously in one tank. If this isn’t the case, it is probably a good idea to separate the fish from the snails.

Can snails upright themselves?

Some can and some can’t. That is really the answer that I can give you (because I don’t know which snails you have). The important thing for you to do is to find out what kind of snail you have and what the characteristics of these snails are.

Some snail types are more prone to flipping themselves than others. This is, for example, true for turbo snails. They have top-heavy bodies so it can be normal for them to easily flip over when they are climbing your tank wall.

Is a snail dying when it is upside down?

As you’ve probably discovered by reading the above material, you now know that your snail isn’t dying when it is upside down. There are lots of reasons why your snail might be upside down. The important part here is that you find out why your snail is upside down. Do some tests to find out why your snail is upside down (do water tests, see if they have enough food, look at the pH levels, and things like that).

Discover why your snail is upside down and act accordingly. Most of the time you find a solution that works wonders and helps you greatly in getting your snails upright again!


I hope by now you’ve learned a lot about why your snails are upside down in your aquarium. I hope you are reassured in the fact that your snail is probably not dying because he’s upside down. Just check all the things listed above and find out why your snail is upside down. Most of the time you can find some things to do (and tweak) to make your snails happy, strong, and not falling over again!

I hope you’ve learned a lot today. If you know more reasons why a snail might be upside down, please email me! I’m happy to make this list longer and give everyone the most comprehensive list! So, if you know more, and you would like to contribute to the article, be my guest and make it the best article possible!