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how to get rid of snails in aquarium
snails in aquarium

How to get rid of snails in aquarium some kinds of snails are a pain in the head for most the people such as Pond Snails, Rams Horn Snails, and Trumpet Snails. Although it has an adorable look when you see it outside of your tank a week later it can rapidly fill the tank. So in this article, we will see how we can get rid of these snails and what are harmless snails that you can keep.

Before we see how we can get rid of them let us see where do they come from.

Where the snails come from? 

Usually, they come if you have plants in your tank they grow up on it so if you have a lot of plants in the aquarium then you have a resident snail population in your tank. Also, they can be moved with the fish. From the transport bag, the fish could get the egg of the snails or even grown snails and when you put the fish in the aquarium it’s another way to have a resident snail population in your tank.

Now let us see the best way to how to get rid of snails in fish tank.

The best way to get rid of snails in aquarium:

Although the snails reproduce rapidly and quickly still we can win this war by :

  • Snails eaters :
    This is a common way, all you do is get a fish that eats snails and let it do its job and we will mention below the best snail-eating fish.
  • There is a commercial product that contains copper but it needs care while using it to avoid hurting the fish
  • Physical removing :
    you can remove the snails every time you see one in your tank by your hand or using a net
  • Trap the snails :
    How you can trap them, a very simple trap is to place a large piece of lettuce in the aquarium, clip the sturdy stem end to the aquarium’s side, and leave it overnight. In the morning, remove the leaf. Doing this a few nights in a row may help.
  • If your tank is full of snails then the only solution you have is to remove everything from the gravel to décor, to plants and clean the tank.

This is how you can get rid of snails in your tank but what if you got rid of them already and you want to avoid them from coming back.

How to Get Rid of Snails in Your Fish Tank (youtube)

How to avoid snails in the aquarium :

As we mentioned before, snails come from plants and fish even as eggs or grown snails. So to avoid them you should inspect everything you will put in your tank like plants, fish and decor.

Before you put plants in your aquarium, use a test tank and put the plants inside them for a few weeks, and watch it if any snails showed up 

Use a bleach that can kill snails and water and put all your tank parts inside it before you set it up but this bleach could harm some plants there is no guarantee it won’t have side effects on the plants.

avoid snails in the aquarium
snails in the aquarium

Fish that eat snails in the aquarium :

Like we mentioned before that one of the best ways to get rid of snails is using fish that can eat them so now let we see the most popular fish that can do this job done for you. But keep in mind that you should pick the fish that is compatible with the environment inside your tank and can live with other inhabitants.

  • Betta fish:
    Although this kind is known for their beauty also can dig for snails and attack them. Be careful if you will add this fish to your tank as they are aggressive to other tank mates, so the best way is to keep them if you have a large space in your tank.
  • Yoyo loach:
    This fish-like digging in the sand and looking for snails to eat them and unlike the betta fish, they are peaceful to other fish species. These fish has barbels and hard teeth that help for looking for and eating snails
  • Clown loach:
    This fish highly effective fish that used for getting rid of snails and one of the most recommended eating snails fish that you can use. They are colorful and get along easily with other species.
  • Zebra loach:
    This aggressive species can help you to get rid of snails that prefer to search for food at the bottom of the tank. They just need some stuff in the order you can have them in your tanks such as a temperature between 73 and 79 degrees Fahrenheit, slightly alkali water, and good oxygenation is a must.
  • Goldfish:
    One the most aggressive fish for snails, every species of goldfish will look for snails to attack them, but they will avoid adult snails and snails that don’t fit their mouth. If you have cooler water in your tank. You can add them easily but with warm water and tropical  fish you will not be able to have them in your tan,
  • Cory catfish:
    This kind will focus their attention on small snails and their eggs and also will get rid of the snails that hide in the substrate. They aren’t interested in some snail species and large snails as well.
  • Bala Shark:
    Their name doesn’t relate to their character. Not because they called sharks so they are aggressive, not at all they are peaceful to other species, however, they will eat small creatures in the tank including snails and shrimp. These fish need food three times a day even if they find a snail they will eat. They require a lot of space in the tank.
  • Green spotted puffer:
    This is fish is a large one with long teeth that will not get longer if there are snails in the tank, but how ?.
    This fish likes the taste of the snails and they eat it all including the shell which help to wear down their teeth. The only problem to  keep them is you need a brackish water
Well, We explained how to get rid of snails but we didn’t mention where the snails live. Do they prefer saltwater or freshwater? let us see.


snails in a saltwater aquarium

As we mentioned that snails are a headache in the  aquarium hobbyist’s head, but they kind of useful in the salt water and there are different types of them that live in the marine aquarium we will mention later

In saltwater tanks, snails do different functions. They clean up the tank from detritus like decaying plant matter as they tend to eat it, the organic waste, and uneaten fish food. Some of them feed on algae which is useful to terminate algae growth without damaging them. Besides all this, the look of some snails is beautiful which makes your aquarium looks stunning. Let us now see some of the snails that live in the saltwater.

snails in a saltwater aquarium
snails in a saltwater aquarium
  • Turban Snail :
    This snail scratch constantly the algae that grow on the wall of the tank and the rocks so they are known as vegetarian snails. This type also is a peaceful kind, the young snails of this kind live in the bottom until they are big enough to be visible.
  • Nerite Snails :
    Nerite snails are small and one of the most popular saltwater snails as they are actively grazing algae, hair algae, and leftover.
  •  Cerith Snails:
    This kind is small, tiny and they reach 1 inch when they grew, however, they can pursue algae, biofilms, and detritus that found in the smallest rocky crevices. Cerith Snails are also consummate burrowers and will tunnel through the substrate, helping to keep your sand aerated and free of leftover food.
  • Bumblebee Snail:
    It is quite small and reaches ½ inch when fully grown, it likes to dig throughout the substrate looking for meaty items. This snail consider as a reef-safe
  • Nassarius Snails:
    These snails spend most of their time beneath the sand you hardly observe their existence by the breathing siphon that they leave extended to not only take in oxygen but the scent of “fresh” food. these snails are scavengers and not algae eaters.

more info about

snails in freshwater aquarium

Like snails that live in saltwater, there are snails that live in freshwater. Actually, some aquarium hobbyists like to have them on purpose in their aquarium so we will mention the snails that you can have and the bloody savage that you should get rid of.


Tiger nerite snails:
These snails have this sunset orange color on their shell. Also, have dark brown spots. These snails are so active, you can find them everywhere in the tank even if they can reach the submersible filter. You can care of them easily as they are peaceful. They eat algae, leftover food, and dead plants. They can live in different tank sizes, the minimum is 10 gallons and according to temperature, it should be between 72 – 78 F.

Pomacea bridgesii:
These snails have a red, blue, white, or black rounded shell. These snails are easy to take care of and you can eliminate their growth. These snails can give you the good-looking aquarium besides no harm for any of your plants. They can clean up your tank from the leftover food and they just like some algae but they aren’t the best algae eaters. They can live in a 5-gallon tank and in temperature between 68 – 82 F.

  Rabbit snails:
There are many kinds of them, that’s why they have different colors and sizes. They have a conical 1-4 inches shell. They like to dig around the substrate and eat leftover food, algae, and fish waste and they don’t cause any harm to live plants. You can care for them easily and once you have just one male in the tank you guarantee you won’t get babies. They live in temperatures between 74 – 84 F.

These are the peaceful snails that you can have in your tank but what about the savages that you should avoid, let we see.


  •  Bladder snails:
    These snails aren’t big and have a muddy brown round shell with spots. They can fill the tank of babies as they are hermaphroditic and can fertilize themselves. They feed on fish wastes and they can reach the filter to eat its gunk. They don’t cause any harm to living plants but they like to eat algae, fish poop, and other gunks in the tank. So the worst about them is that they grow up so quickly and rapidly and it’s hard to get rid of.
  • Malaysian Trumpet Snails:
    These snails have a long and thin conical shell. It grows very quickly even if there is just one male or female inside the tank, so you can’t get rid of them easily. They can thrive for a long time even if there is no food. In a nutshell, it’s impossible to kill them.
  • pond snails in aquarium:
    There are different species of them that can make a threat to your aquarium. They have a brown shell and they grow up very if you notice that there are snails in your tank and they get bigger quickly so this is a clue that you have pond snails in your tank. They put tons of waste which might cause a problem to the water quality. Their appetite is so huge, once they finished eating the algae they might start with the plants in the tank.

Q & A


How do I get rid of baby snails in my aquarium?

  1. You can use fish safe chemicals which are copper sulfate. But make sure to follow the directions of usage written on the bottle.
  2. Use a snail trap. You can get snail traps online or from pet stores. You can make it by yourself, just place a large piece of lettuce in the aquarium, cut the hard stem end to the aquarium’s side, and leave it overnight. In the morning, remove the leaf and you will find out there are a large number of snails on the underside. Doing this process in a row might reduce them.
  3. You can ask help from fish that eat snails. try Zebra or Dwarf Chain loaches or Clown Loaches.


How do I get rid of trumpet snails in my aquarium?

The best remedies for snails like these are getting snail eaters like what we mentioned in the first question. You can also use the same lettuce trap and you can use chemical coppers but it might be not the best solution as trumpet snails might need more copper which can be toxic for the fish.


Are snails bad for fish tanks?

The answer might be yes and no. Yes, if these snails are the pest kind like bloody snails and pond snails and it would be no if these snails are peaceful and just feed upon the algae and leftover food such as turban snails and Cerith Snails.


Can aquarium snails survive out of water?

The answer would be no. they can live out of the water until their body dries up and then they will die and this process can last for a couple of hours. 

How do you remove fish poop from aquariums?

Simply, you can scoop them out of the tank. This will not end up the problem that cleaning should be like a weekly routine. You can use a Nitrogen cycle that breaks it down into ammonium and nitrate. Also, snails can help, some of the snails fed upon fish waste such as rabbit snails


In this article, we covered a lot of information about snails. How you can get rid of snails from your aquarium. How to avoid them from the beginning and keep your tank clean. We covered the most common fish that can help in cleaning up the tank out of the snail process. What are the snails that prefer saltwater aquariums and the snails that prefer freshwater? We mentioned the most dangerous snails that it is hard to get rid of them from your aquarium. Finally, we covered some of the questions, How do I get rid of trumpet snails in my aquarium? How do I get rid of baby snails in my aquarium?

Are snails bad for fish tanks? Can aquarium snails survive out of water? How do you remove fish poop from aquariums? 
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