Snails in Fish Tanks

“Get a snail to clean your tank!”

Next thing you know, you have a snail tank instead of a fish tank. What causes these gastropods to replicate so quickly? How can you avoid an overpopulation of snails in your tank?


It often just takes one snail.

One snail? How does one snail make more baby snails without assistance? Some species of aquatic snails are hermaphrodites, meaning they possess both male and female reproductive parts. These species don’t need any help populating their tank with hundreds of offspring. Other species may require at least two individuals of opposite sexes to get the party started.

Sometimes, snails will hitchhike into a tank on plants or “natural” decor. You may not see those tiny, white-colored eggs at first, and suddenly, snails will “magically” appear in your tank. This is why it is important to quarantine your plants just like your fish and allow decor to soak in chlorinated water for 24 hours before adding to your tank.


Are any snails safe for fish tanks?

Most aquatic snails are very safe in fish tanks, you’ll just end up with a snail tank instead of a fish tank. Most fish will not be interested in eating snails if they get fed tasty food on a regular basis. (This is not a reason to starve your fish in order to get them to eat the snails.)

The following species are better for fish tanks…

Nerita/Nerite Snails

Why are these better for fish tanks? This species has a brackish development stage, so if your tank is only freshwater, they cannot reproduce successfully.

Assassin Snail

These snails like nothing better than to eat developing snails, making them ideal additions to a overrun snail tank. They are carnivorous, so once the live snail snacks are gone, you will need to feed them a meaty diet.


How do I get rid of them?

There is no fish-safe treatment that will kill off your snails. Physical removal and quarantine is the best method of limiting your snail population.

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