Most cory catfish will not eat snails because their mouths cannot take them in.
However, some species of cory catfish won’t have any difficulty in eating them as they are big in size.
Let’s look at the reasons why cory catfish can’t eat snails and their eating habits.
Why Can’t Cory Catfish Eat Snails?
The reason why cory catfish can’t eat snails is mainly because of their tiny mouths.
Cory fish have an unusually small mouth that will never be able to take snails. Moreover, the hard shells of the snails make them a particularly difficult food item for consumption.
The biology of cory catfish is more designed towards eating algae and organic matter like leftover food.
They also prefer not to eat plants, keeping them only as the last option.
Cory catfish have a strict adherence to the type of food they eat. Any plant that has leaves that are slightly harder will not be eaten by cory catfish.
This is because cory catfish simply wouldn’t be able to consume it.
Cory catfish would rather go for plants with soft leaves and stems. Their small mouths can chew these more easily.
Even if you have a particularly voracious cory catfish, it still won’t be able to eat snails even if it wanted to. After a few attempts, it will simply leave the snails alone.
What Type of Cory Catfish Eat Snails?
There are only a few types of cory catfish that can eat snails.
The bandit cory catfish, along with bronze cory catfish and pepper cory catfish, are known to consume snails whenever they can.
These rare types are those that are quite big in size. The increased size gives them a mouth large enough to feed on snails.
Even albino cory catfish will eat them if they are big in size, but they generally avoid them.
It is not just a matter of eating snails. Cory catfish also have to find them, kill them and then eat them. This whole process is taxing for the majority of the cory catfish species.
What Type of Snails Can Cory Catfish Eat?
Even though there are only a few types of cory catfish that eat snails, not all snails are appealing to them.
Only those snails which are small in size and have a somewhat soft shell can be eaten.
Most of these conditions are found in baby snails as they haven’t reached maturity. Adult snails have the typical hard shell, protecting their bodies.
On the other hand, cory catfish can easily eat those snails that are crushed by fish owners.
Hence, if you want to mix their diet up, make sure you, the cory catfish, can eat the snails.
Also read: What Do Cory Catfish Eat?
The Difference in Sizes of Cory Catfish and Snails
There is a huge difference in sizes between cory catfish and snails. There are more than 165 species of cory catfish, all of them averaging about 2 inches in length.
Some of the smaller species like Pygmy cory catfish grow just up to 1 inch. The larger ones, like the Banded cory catfish, are able to grow up to 4 inches.
Similarly, there are many species of snails, each having its size specifications.
Assuming that you have the Malaysian Trumpet snail, which grows to one and a half inches in length, they will be quite smaller than the large Banded cory catfish.
However, even with such a size difference, the diameter of the snail (one-sixth of an inch) makes it hard for the cory catfish to eat them.
The snail’s diameter may seem insignificant, but it is precisely what protects them from being eaten.
Do Cory Catfish Eat Snail Eggs?
Cory catfish can indeed eat snail eggs, depending on their types.
There have been several reports from fish owners who noticed their cory catfish eating snail eggs.
The eggs, however, all belonged to smaller snail species which makes them an easy-to-eat food item.
Cory catfish will not go for the eggs of Mystery snail or Nerite snails. This is because the eggs of both types of snails are laid on the water surface.
Also read: How to Remove Snail Eggs From Aquarium?
How Can Snails Be Fed to Cory Catfish?
Having a lot of snails in your fish tank can become a problem for you, akin to a pest situation.
Since cory catfish won’t eat snails, you, as the fish owner, will have to reduce the snail population yourself.
One way to deal with your snail problem is to crush them. This allows the cory catfish to easily eat the meat taken from the broken pieces of their shells.
Not only does it provide extra nutrition for your cory catfish, but this will also keep the snail population in your fish tank in check.
Crushing the snails can be done with tweezers or by a rock. However, most people prefer to crush the snails with their hands.
Although the idea seems rather gross, people get used to it after doing it a few times.
What to Do with Snails if Cory Catfish Won’t Eat Them?
Snails are a good source of nutrition for fish, but unfortunately, the biology of cory catfish simply doesn’t allow them to eat them.
Hence, there are several methods you can use to reduce the snail population.
You can remove the snails by yourself, either by picking them up or by using a net. Snails may hide in crevices and caves; hence you need to really look out for such places.
If the snails are hidden somewhere, you can lure them out by putting a cucumber slice in the fish tank.
Once the snails come out of their hiding place in search of food, you can easily remove them.
You can even let the snails attach themselves to the cucumber slice and remove the slice itself. This is preferable for those who don’t want to touch the snails by hand.
Once you have removed snails from your fish tank, you should keep a thorough check on your fish tank.
New snails may be found in a couple of days. If these new ones are many in number, you will have to do another removal procedure.
With this method, you will target the root cause of the problem. The first thing you need to do is to check the fish’s feeding schedule and habits.
If you are giving them excessive amounts of food, chances are, they aren’t eating all of it.
This results in a lot of leftover food sinking to the bottom of the fish tank. You can try lowering the food intake of your fish to make sure every food is being consumed without any wastage.
You should also change the water in your fish tank more frequently. Once done, don’t forget to do a gravel vacuum of the substrate in the tank to make sure all contaminants are sucked out.
Ideally speaking, you want plants to grow more than algae. You can also adjust the CO2 levels in the water to facilitate this process.
Doing all of these measures will cause the snail population to die out since they will run out of food options.
Consider this as the last and the most powerful option. If the snail population in your fish tank is becoming a big nuisance, using a copper treatment will effectively kill all the snails in your fish tank.
The downside is that this will also kill all the shrimps if you have any.
You don’t have to worry about killing the fish since this process doesn’t affect them.
However, because of its effectiveness and other side effects, it should be used as a last resort.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Do cory catfish eat algae?
Generally speaking, cory catfish do not eat algae. Most cory catfish eat food at the bottom of the fish tank, yet they avoid the algae growing on the tank floor or the walls.
What fish eat snails?
The Rainbow Darter fish, the Oranda Goldfish, the Dwarf puffer fish, the Bala Shark, and the Dwarf Gourami are some of the most popular fish that are excellent for eating snails.
Cory catfish are great to have in your fish tank, but you cannot rely on them for eating snails.
Cory catfish are known for keeping your tank clean by eating leftovers from the substrate and eating plant stalks.
In rare cases, they may eat snails, too, provided the snails are either very small or crushed by humans. In such situations, they can happily eat snails.
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