Controlling snails in your aquarium can be a tricky task. Resorting to snail-killing chemicals is easy, but these chemicals are detrimental to the fish as well as the plants.
To keep snails at bay, you can use fish that feed on snails.
However, it is essential to determine what type of fish you are using.
Unfortunately, most snail-eating fish are not as good when it comes to compatibility. These fish are aggressive and will fight others in the aquarium.
Furthermore, fish that eat snails are likely to eat up other invertebrates.
Which Aquarium Fish Eats Snails?
Let’s take a look at some of the most common snail-eating aquarium fish.
Triggerfish are famous snail eaters, which wreak havoc on other invertebrates too.
Furthermore, they are cranky and will pick a fight will other fish if given a chance. Similar to a Pufferfish, triggerfish have jaws that are designed to break open hard-shelled objects.
However, some kinds of triggerfish aren’t as aggressive. Therefore, make sure you do your research before adding triggerfish to your aquarium.
One of the most popular algae eating fish is blennies.
Besides eating algae, this species of fish is also known for devouring snails.
The blennies won’t eliminate the snails, but will surely make their number come down.
Regardless of whether it is a freshwater pufferfish or a saltwater one, they have beaks that crush open snails.
However, some species of the Pufferfish can be somewhat anti-social, and some of them even need brackish water to survive. As far as the dwarf Pufferfish are concerned, they get along pretty well and leave other fish alone.
However, they tend to nip bigger fish and are prone to bullying.
One problem with saltwater Pufferfish is that along with snails; they even eat up other invertebrates. However, they will get rid of snails pretty fast.
The Cichlids are not known for eating snails, but some of them will rarely eat snails. Of all the species of Cichlid, the ones from Africa are the ones that love munching on snails.
However, this isn’t useful, for African Cichlid tanks rarely have plants, because of a higher PH level.
Furthermore, Cichlids aren’t natural snail eaters, unlike other algae eating fish, won’t reach out to snails themselves.
If you want something to exterminate the snails in your tank completely, Wrasses are the fish for you.
However, these fish can e extremely moody, and might not get along with other fish in their aquarium. Furthermore, they tend to go right after the invertebrates they find tempting.
But one species of Wrasses will eat snails, without doing any damage to other invertebrates. There are multiple types of wrasses out there. Always go for the least problematic one.
This genus of aquarium fish is not only a pretty addition to your fish tank but is a proven snail eater. However, these fish create specific problems.
First of all, they are too big, and some of them can exceed one foot. Usually, these fish are kept in a school setting of sic or more. Therefore, you will need to get a bigger aquarium for them.
In most cases, the standard aquarium for the Clown Loach is 100 gallons or bigger.
If you have a smaller tank, there might be a problem. But if you have an aquarium big enough, the clown loach can be the perfect snail eater you can find.
Clown Loaches are notorious scavengers that will grab anything that comes their way. Yet it is better to give them sinking pellets to make sure they are fed well.
If Clown Loach isn’t the fish for you, consider going for the Yoyo Loach. They are half the size of a Clown Loach and are one of the perfect fish for community tanks.
However, just like their Clown counterparts, they possess a natural taste for snails. Unlike the Clown Loach, for a Yoyo Loach, a 55-gallon tank would do. Just like their Clown cousins, it is better to give them sinking pellets.
If your goal here is to get rid of the snails, might as well skip a few pellets.
But remember, snails are just a component of their diet. Therefore, they need other things as well for nutrition.
Giant goldfish are known for eating snails now and then. In the marketplace, some stores would transfer goldfish to your tank, and remove them once they are done eating the snails.
However, this is not such a realistic idea. But if you want to rid your aquarium of the dreaded snails, you can just add a single goldfish.
Before bringing in a goldfish, consider the size of your fish tank. Some species of goldfish tend to attain a significant size, and keeping them in an average size aquarium can be problematic.
But if you have a fish tank that is big enough, goldfish should be your number one preference. These beautiful creatures add to the beauty of your living space and also keep snails at bay.
Bala Sharks are known for their taste for small aquarium snails, which can be a nuisance. There have been instances where homeowners have added Bala Sharks to their aquariums, and the snails haven’t returned since.
Despite being great snail-eaters, the Bala Shark isn’t, unfortunately, the best fish for your aquarium, because of their size.
As adults, the Bala Sharks can be enormous.
To keep them as pets, you must arrange for an aquarium that is as big as 200 gallons or more. If you are someone with a small aquarium but want to get Bala Sharks, think again.
The Cory Catfish aren’t known for being natural snail-eaters. However, they might munch on a couple of smaller snails. Yet, they are born scavengers and are likely to eat up small snail eggs.
They are perfect for tank cleaning and are one of the best fish for community tanks.
In a search for food, a Cory Catfish might eat a few snail eggs, which is relatively helpful. However, snail eggs can be found in places where Cory Catfish can’t easily reach.
Before you add Cory Catfish to your tank, remember that they are bottom dwellers. To feed them, always go for a sinking pellet. These fish aren’t very good when it comes to competing for food.
Sinking pellets ensure that your Cory Catfish are getting the nutrition they require.
There are conflicting opinions on whether Betta fish eat snails or not. However, in some cases they do. A tour into the Betta’s psychology suggests that Betta fish are opportunistic feeders.
If they think of snails for food, there is nothing that can make them think otherwise.
To be honest, every Betta fish is different, and they will act differently when faced with snails.
Some of them would love to munch on nice gastropods, while might not. Because of their unpredictable nature, keeping them as the solution to your snail problems isn’t the best thing to do.
In some cases, Bettas can prove to be good community fish. However, before adding them to the community tank, think again.
Green Spotted Puffer
Interestingly, the Green Spotted Puffer is the kind of fish to whom snails are incredibly important.
These fish have hard plates in their mouths; they tend to grow if they don’t munch on something hard as a snail’s shell. Snail shells tend to grind these bony plates down, thus keeping them from growing. When they are young, they like to feed on small pond snails.
People who keep these fish as pets specially arrange for snails to feed them. A healthy Green Spotted Puffer would eat as many snails as you want them to, but there are some things that you need to take care of.
Unfortunately, Green Spotted Puffers are aggressive and would pick a fight with anything around them. Furthermore, as they age, they need brackish water to survive.
However, you don’t have to worry about snail infestation in tanks containing Green Spotted Puffers.
Why send a fish to do a snail’s job, when you have a snail that can do it for you. As the name suggests, the assassin snail would love to go after smaller snails.
Furthermore, assassin snails eat other things, too, like algae, fish food, and sinking pellets.
When it comes to eliminating small snails, the assassin snails will do a great job.
They will breed in your aquarium, but won’t reach high number, unlike the smaller pest snails. Refrain from adding these snails to your community tanks, for they are still seen as food by other fish.
These were some of the many agile snail-eating species of fish.
However, before adding any of them to your tank, there is a variety of things you must consider. Before adding a fish to your tank, make sure that fish is friendly and won’t grapple with those around it.
Secondly, you must consider the size of the tank. With adequate planning, you can eliminate snails, and also keep other community members safe.
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