Most inland saline waters in southern Australia predominantly contain Na+ and Cl– as major ions. The proportions of Ca2+, Mg2+, SO42–, HCO3 – and CO3 2– in these waters somewhat vary and might influence salinity tolerance of freshwater organisms. Here the salinity stress of five ionic compositions to the freshwater snail Physa acuta Draparnaud (Gastropoda: Physidae) was compared: commercial sea salt Ocean Nature (ON), synthetic Ocean Nature (ONS) and three saline water types that are common in southern Australia (ONS but without : SO4 2–, HCO3 – and CO3 2–, : Ca2+, HCO3 – and CO3 2–, : Ca2+, Mg2+), Milli-Q water was used as a negative control. The 96-h LC50 values for all treatments did not differ. However in prolonged sub-lethal exposures, results varied depending on the ionic composition. Growth was negative and shell strength reduced in treatments lacking Ca. Though the content of major cationic elements (Ca, Mg, Na and K) did not differ per unit dry weight of snail across the treatments, the total load of these elements per individual snail varied among treatments. Furthermore, at the sub-lethal salinities tested, 1 and 5 mS cm–1, ionic compositions had more effect on the snail’s growth than salinity. The long-term effects on freshwater animals, especially taxa with calciumbased exoskeletons, from exposure to common saline water types with low calcium concentrations will likely be greater than from exposure to saline waters with an ionic composition similar to seawater.