Pest Snail Infestation in Your Aquarium: How to Control It

Snails can be beneficial for the aquarium when they are small in quantity. However, invasive snail species attack plants, reproduce quickly, and can cause unwanted views in your aquarium. In fact, snails can bring a lot of benefits to your aquarium when properly managed.

If you add factors to the aquarium that can balance their numbers, they will find their place in ecological balance and will do the beneficial work they do in nature in your aquarium.

What Causes the Excess of Snails?

Snails, which manage to enter aquariums with their very durable eggs, spoil the pleasure of watching with their rapid reproduction. What you need to do to keep snails, whose populations are rapidly increasing due to overfeeding and rotting plants, under control. You can find more detailed information about pest snails in the rest of our article.

Are too many Snails Bad For a Fish Tank?

How do Snails Affect Water Quality?

The exact diet of snails (i.e. what they eat exactly) varies according to their size and species, but the vast majority are scavengers that eat plants (especially those that have begun to rot), algae, and dead animals. Some are carnivorous animals that hunt, but they only eat smaller animals such as gastropods. An animal that destroys dead animals, algae, and decaying plants sounds really good, right? In fact, a moderate amount of snails will help keep the water quality high and at the same time prevent algae growth in your aquarium. Snails are devoted cleaners who go into all nooks and crannies that the corydoras species don’t care about.

Do Snails Eat Fish Eggs?

Keeping the water quality up in a breeding aquarium is of paramount importance and a snail species will help you. But the problem with scavenger snail species is this; almost all of them love to eat fish eggs. Even species that are completely herbivorous cannot resist delicious fish eggs. But snails have been seen much less often when eating fish spawn and are therefore a good choice as a scavenger for your aquarium.

Do Snails Eat Plants?

Yes, snails eat plants, but most snails do not touch healthy plants. Instead, they prefer dead or rotting plants that do nothing but pollute the water. Because healthy plants tend to release cyanide and other toxic gases that are not well received by many snails. Of course, there are exceptions to this as well, such as pond snail, which can sweep away even healthy plants very quickly and you should never get them into your planted aquarium. The myth that snails eat plants most likely stems from the fact that they settled on dying plants and multiplied rapidly with the food provided by the already dying plant. Snails also love to peel and eat the algae that grow on the leaves of the plant, and this may naturally cause a misunderstanding as if they chew and eat the plant, but they only save your plant from algae.

How to Control Pest Snail Population in the Fish Tank?

  • Reduce feeding to keep snails under control
  • Adding snail-eating fish to the aquarium
  • Hunt snails with lettuce
  • Chemical control for snails
  • Clean every decoration in the aquarium

Even if snails are a great support for your aquarium, their numbers should be kept under control. There are certain types (like the pond snail I mentioned above) that if there are plants in your aquarium, it should be completely destroyed. Snails are particularly prone to breeding in hard alkaline waters, and the aquarist should pay extra attention to the number of snails in aquariums with this feature. Snails need minerals to form their shells and are too soft – too acidic water conditions will cause the shell to dissolve and consequently leave the snail completely unprotected from predators.

Reduce Feeding to Keep Snails Under Control

If you see snail explosion in your aquarium, you may be eating too much of your fish, because leftover food is an excellent source of food for snails. Observe your fish carefully at the feeding time. Has any feed increased after 3-4 minutes? If it has increased, you are feeding your fish a lot and you need to reduce the feed portions. If you want to keep the snail population away, you can get uneaten food from the aquarium after each feeding.

Adding Snail Eating Fish to the Aquarium

One of the reasons why snails breed wildly in the aquarium is that there is no natural predator in the aquarium consuming them. In the wild, snail count varieties are kept in balance by snail-eating species. In every biotope where you can find snails, you can also find creatures that have turned into skilled snail hunters. For example, you come across Clown Loach, a beautiful fish in Asian waters. Add a group of clown loaches to your snail-infested aquarium and watch how the snails skillfully capture the unprotected soft parts and suck the entire animal out of their guard shells. In the oceans, the Pufferfish has developed a completely different tactic; it uses its strong jaw to break up shells to eat the soft part.

What fish eats snails?

By adding snail-eating fish to your aquarium, you can keep snail infestation under control. Clown Loach, Yoyo Loach, Betta Fish, Gourami, Bala Shark, Cory Catfish, Assassin Snail, Green Spotter Puffer species are very successful to take under control snail population.

Hunt Snails With Lettuce

Keep some lettuce in boiling water and place it on the bottom of the aquarium shortly before turning off the aquarium’s lights. You may need to tie something or tuck it under a rock so that the lettuce does not float. Remove lettuce and snails from the aquarium before turning the lights back on in the morning. You can continue to apply this process until you get the snail population under control. If you want to speed up the process, you can use several lettuce pieces at the same time.
Chemical Control for Snails

Various brands of snail-killing chemicals are sold. But we recommend that you use this as a last resort. These compounds are very effective products for killing snails, but if misused, they can kill snails as well as beneficial bacteria and turn a balanced aquarium nitrogen cycle into an extremely unstable and unstable aquarium.

Why Do Snails Climb to The Top of The Tank?

When the oxygen content decreased in the aquarium water, the snails climb towards the top of the tank. Also, a decrease in water quality may be one of the reasons why the snails climb towards the top of the tank.

Sometimes they climb to the top of the tank to lay eggs and to feed with the leftover food.

How Do I Keep Snails Out of My Aquarium?

If you want to set up a clean aquarium, make sure that your plant is snail-free. If you are in doubt, observe the broad-leaf plants and scrape the egg clumps manually, if any. According to some sources, let the plant rest for 10 minutes in a few teaspoons per liter of salt. In this case, the plant can be seriously damaged. With this method, only live snails, if any, will be destroyed. You cannot get rid of the eggs easily. The most effective method is to observe your plant planted for 1 week with the water you will get from the aquarium in a separate container before taking it into the aquarium. If there is a snail egg, it will open and come out during this period and it will be easier to clean.


Snails and fish are a whole in imitation of real nature. Snails play the role of scavenger in negative factors such as death and feed increase in the aquarium. However, having an excessive number of snails can lead to an ammonia increase. When they are seen to be overproduced, they should be intervened. However, their complete destruction may not be good for your aquarium’s health.

🐠𝙃𝙋 Team
🐠𝙃𝙋 Team
We're just like you - aquarium enthusiasts who love aquatic life! We've been caring for and breeding all sorts of freshwater and marine aquarium fishes, plants, and other pretty little creatures for years. We love sharing our knowledge with other fish hobbyists, and this article you have just finished reading is the best proof of that. You can read more about us here.

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