Fascinating Fish That Eat Snails You Wouldn't Have Heard Before! | Kidadl


Fascinating Fish That Eat Snails You Wouldn't Have Heard Before!

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When it starts with a few snails here and there, but then, with time, the entire aquarium is filled with snails, it becomes a problematic situation we want to avoid. 

To start with, what causes these snails to creep in? It is most likely that they come along with new aquarium plants or hide along with the gravel you buy for your fish tank. 

Regardless of the mode of entry, a snail infestation must be controlled at all costs. Zebra loaches, which belong to the Botiidae family, are tropical fish that are omnivorous scavengers and focus on eating fungi. They like to be in a group of a minimum of five members and eat smaller freshwater aquarium snails and Malaysian trumpet snails.

Some approaches toward solving snail issues can be:

Limiting the algae growth through regular cleaning of the water tank and changing of the water at the ideal temperature.

There is supposed to be only a limited supply of food, enough for our fish and not an excess that could also be eaten by these invader snails.

Manually removing the snail from the tank is the basic rule we all know about, and this can be done by putting a lettuce leaf on the side edge of the tank, which will attract the snail, after which you can remove it gently.

Ultimately, you can always add snail-eating fish to control and kill the snails. You'll find out which fish can do this the best.

Before getting snail-eating fish, read this article, so it is not a disaster for not only the existing fish in the aquarium but also the new ones. Keep reading the article until the very end to learn more about the fascinating fish that eat snails and how to properly make them a part of your aquarium in the proper way.

Also, if this article excites you, then you must check out other such articles on fish with legs and poisonous fish to get information that is both knowledgeable and fun!

The Best Snail-Eating Fish For Your Aquarium

Yoyo loaches belong to the Botiidae family, and are beautiful fish that enjoy digging in the sand. 

They are peaceful with fish of other species, but they love to eat snails, and the digging process they carry out makes them very effective at their job. They don't need special aquariums, and they can stay comfortably in most standard water conditions with the ideal temperature and aquatic plant settings. They are 2.5 in (6.35 cm) long and require a minimum tank size of 40 gal (181.8 l).

Catfish that inhabit South America, especially the striped Raphael catfish, are found feeding on snails and other invertebrates like shrimp, insects, and others. In terms of size, they are 6 in (15.24 cm) in length, and the minimum tank size required by them is 50 gal (227 l). This fish has a torpedo-shaped body and has the features of dramatic horizontal stripes, hence justifying its name. The cory catfish are not that famous for eating snails, though some of them eat the ones smaller in size. Nevertheless, they do an excellent job of general tank maintenance, and so catfish of all kinds are great for community tanks. Interesting, right? 

Gourami is a treat for the eyes with its blue, silver, and red colors. They are labyrinth fish with a lung-like organ that lets them breathe air. The perk of this is that gouramis are hardy and can thus live in low-oxygen environments. Gouramis love feeding on snails and are quite aggressive toward them, but are mostly friendly toward other fish in the aquarium. They will indeed be a great addition to your fish tank or aquarium.

What's the best aquarium snail eater for a beginner?

Goldfish are natural predators of snails. These pretty goldfish love to feed on them if they can easily fit into their mouths. 

Bigger and more aggressive goldfish even eat the larger snails, sucking them out of their shells to eat them. Hence, for beginners who love the little cuties, these goldfish are perfect because they will help you keep your aquarium snail-free too! In terms of size, a goldfish is about 2-4 in (5.08-10.16 cm) in length. They are quite peaceful and friendly with the other fish in the pond or in the aquarium.

The dwarf chain loach species are tiny fish with a very different look. They generally occupy the bottom of the water column and have delicate barbels that they use to hunt for good. Their community is often found looking for snails and other similar snacks; hence the low-maintenance dwarf chain loach fish is a must for the snails never to be a part of your aquariums. The dwarf chain loach is very small in size, as the word 'dwarf' suggests. It is 2 in (5.08 cm) in length and hence would require a slightly smaller tank or aquarium of just approximately 30 gal (136.3 l) in size.

Freshwater Fish That Eat Snails

Do fish eat snails? Yes, they do! Betta fish are opportunistic feeders in the wild, and snails are absolutely no exception to their diet. Hence, betta fish are suitable to keep snail infestation in check. 

They are generally community fish, but one must think twice before adding them to a tropical tank as different species of betta fish behave differently. Betta might be a good predator for snails in freshwater, but to make them a part of your aquarium, you would have to ensure that they are compatible with the other fish in your tank. They are not considered everyone's cup of tea.

Green spotted puffers have bony plates in their mouths; hence, chewy foods like snails are a must for puffers. What better way to remove the snail infestation than to feed them to puffers who love to eat them, especially when they are young? Common snails are their favorite, but the hard part is that they come with very specific care requirements. Another issue is that they are cute and yet very aggressive killing machines, and hence not suitable for the community of fish at all.

Assassin snails are snails that kill and eat other snails that are found easily in freshwater banks. So, forget about fish that can get rid of snails. Have you heard of snails that can get away from snails? They are likely to breed in the tank, but the population will never be alarming. The assassin snail is tougher than the average pond snail and hence will keep your aquariums snail-free. If the assassin snails do too good of a job and get rid of all the snails in the tank, there is still no need to worry as they also feed on fungal wafers and some water plants. Hence, assassin snails are one of the best invertebrates to be put in a snail-infested tank. The size of assassin snails is 1 in (2.54 cm), and they need approximately 10 gal (45.46 l) of water.

Cichlids are tropical freshwater fish that are not that well known for snail-eating, but many cichlid species will sometimes eat snails; hence, they can be added to tanks that are not struck by a wide snail infestation but a moderate one. However, as African cichlids are most likely to eat snails, they can be a part of large tanks. They cannot be added to small tanks as they hamper plants in the aquarium due to their pH.

Zebra loach are tropical fish that mainly eat fungi

Tropical Fish That Eat Snails

Zebra loach, belonging to the Botiidae family, are tropical fish that are also omnivorous scavengers and mainly eat fungi. They like to be in a group of five members and eat smaller freshwater aquarium snails and Malaysian trumpet snails. The Zebra loach requires 30 gal (136.3 l) of water and may not be able to help much with the snails, as they will only get rid of the tiny ones. Hence, aquarists must think wisely before adding them to the tank.

Another fish that eats snails and can enhance the beauty of the fish tank is the clown loach. A loach will dive under the substrate in their snail hunting quest and is hence suitable in order to get rid of different types of pest snails from your large water tank.

Do gouramis eat snails?

Gourami primarily feeds on snails, eggs, and hatchlings. These peaceful and friendly fish are quite good at their job, and pest snails make a delightful meal for them.

Despite the wonderful help that gourami is in snail population control, it might not be suitable to accompany all the fish in the aquarium. They tend to bully other fish, causing stress for the weaker fish and hence their death.

The smaller species, such as the dwarf gourami, are peaceful and brightly colored. They will dive into the substrate to find that pest snail and its eggs infecting your tank and eat them with happiness.

How to get rid of snails in a fish tank?

Some snails, such as the Nerite snails, are sold in the store and make beautiful additions to the aquarium. The pest snails increase the tank population unnecessarily and hamper marine plants. To get rid of them, we can take several steps, but as we know, prevention is better than cure. Firstly, let us now take a good look at a few of the ways in which we can prevent the intrusion of these unwelcomed guests into the tanks.

Alum: Soaking two spoons of alum in 1 bucket of water and washing the plants with them can help prevent pest snails from entering the tank and disturbing the fish.

Potassium Permanganate: A saturated solution of half a spoon of potassium permanganate with one bucket of water can be used to soak the plants for 15 minutes, and then they can be thoroughly washed.

If any of the suggestions mentioned earlier backfired or the pea-sized intruders somehow managed to enter the tank, one can still win the battle, although they have the advantage of hiding in the substrate. They can be lured out simply by putting a leafy vegetable clipped to the aquarium's glass, which after a while has to be scooped out and disposed of. Although through this procedure, every snail and their eggs will not be able to be eliminated, the population of the tiny invaders can be controlled.

One must follow the equation that less food is equal to fewer pest snails; reducing the amount of food given to the fish will result in minimal leftovers for the snails. There are also commercial preparations containing copper and other substances to reduce pest snails in the fish tank, but the correct amount needs to be used so that it does not harm the fish.

Another obvious option is adding snail-eating fish to the aquarium, such as goldfish, fish of the Botiidae family, assassin snail, and others who would happily give their right fin for dinner, and the assassin snail might give its shell! According to the tank size, if the right fish is selected, the snails will surely see their endgame. Snails may not be a suitable dinner for all; hence, cautious choices have to be made in selecting snail-eating fish that are also adaptive and peaceful.

Why an out-of-control snail population is a problem?

Snails rapidly multiply because they do not need a mate to reproduce, and hence they can become a problem in the fish tank. You may not know how many snails are present in your tank, as most of them may be burrowed into the gravel.

When the population gets out of control, snails breathe, create waste, and decompose when they die, just like the other fish or animals in the tank, thus causing competition as well as an unwanted presence, hence becoming a nuisance. Moreover, they add to the bioload that is the aquarium now, which not only has to support the development and well-being of your fish but also the ever-growing population of snails.

They are generally tiny; hence a few of them do not make any difference, but once their population is not put under control, problems start to appear. Hence, to conclude, excessive snails must be destroyed through various methods, such as placing fish in the aquarium that eats snails, as this is necessary to safeguard the health of the fish that are a part of the tank.

Did you know?

Assassin snails, or Clea Helena, are known to eat snails and get rid of them, while they do not eat shrimp, and hence the fish are safe in their presence. Unlike other snail-eating fish like loaches, cichlids, and others who tend to eat snails as well as shrimp, Clea Helena is known to kill and eat snails that are considered pests in home aquaria.

Bala sharks are, ironically, quite peaceful fish that do not share the characteristics of other predatory sharks. They eat small creatures in the tank, such as snails, shrimp, and other small fish. They are 12 in (30.48 cm) long and need 120-150 gal (545-682 l) of water; they have a huge appetite and thus need to be fed at least three times a day. In the meantime, they are often seen munching snails, maintaining the cleanliness in the aquarium.

The Spixi snail, which is 1 in (2.54 cm) long and requires 2.5 gal (11.3 l) of water, also eats pest snails and, at times, other Spixi snails too. They are predatory in nature and are hydra-eating as well. They are easily recognizable because of their yellow color and are a great addition to a peaceful fish tank, although they are not that popular and are not mentioned a lot.

Paradise fish are beautifully colored species of gourmands that can munch on small snails, which will add stars to the beauty of your aquarium. Snails rapidly multiply because they do not need a mate to reproduce, and hence they can become a problem in the fish tank.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for fish that eat snails then why not take a look at fish that eat algae or fish that can live with bettas.

The Kidadl Team is made up of people from different walks of life, from different families and backgrounds, each with unique experiences and nuggets of wisdom to share with you. From lino cutting to surfing to children’s mental health, their hobbies and interests range far and wide. They are passionate about turning your everyday moments into memories and bringing you inspiring ideas to have fun with your family.

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