What Do Snails Eat? Aquarium care guide – 2020


Snails are one of the best species to keep your aquarium clean. You can add these slow-moving creatures in both freshwater and saltwater aquariums. The snails will help maintain the aquarium by eating dead matters and algae inside the aquarium.

If you are not that knowledgable in caring for snail or any marine life, beginners will find it easy to care for the snails. A popular question you might be thinking to yourself is what do snails eat.

In this guide, you will learn about what to feed snails. You will also learn about the diet of different types of snails that are recommended for both freshwater and saltwater aquariums.



mystery snails


Nerite Snails


Nerite snails belong to the Neritidae family, which consists of more than 200 species. The snails are usually found near brackish waters. 

But some live in freshwater streams and rivers. You can keep these snails in both saltwater and freshwater aquariums.


The snails will grow up to a size of 1 inch if appropriately fed. Different types of nerite snails have other appearances. Common types of nerite snails include the following.


  • Tiger Nerite Snails – Tiger nerite snails have an intense orange colour shell. The snails have jagged stripes that result in a unique appearance.
  • Zebra Nerite Snails – Zebra nerite snails have stripes on the shells that point at the centre of the coil. The strips of the snails are generally yellow and black. The shades of the shell of these snails tend to vary.
  • Olive Nerite Snails – Olive nerite snails a common species kept in most aquariums. Most of them have a simple olive-coloured shell with no particular patterns on the shell. The black colour of the snail’s coil stands out against the olive colour resulting in a striking look in the aquarium.
  • Horned Nerite Snails – Horned nerite snails have a slightly different appearance than the other three types. They have a thick yellow and black colour stripes. You can see a pattern of darn horn stripes along the body.


What to Feed Nerite Snails?


The different types of nerite snails have different appearances, but similar feeding requirements. The primary food source in the aquarium is algae. But you can also feed them other items if algae growth is not adequate inside the tank.


A good substitute of algae inside the aquarium is algae wafers. The wafers will remain at the bottom of the tank until the snail completely devour them. Moreover, you can also feed them green vegetables from the kitchen, such as lettuce and spinach.


Keep in mind that you should feed them wafers and vegetables only if there is no algae growth inside the aquarium. If there is algal growth inside the tank, you should not provide anything to the snail.


Mystery Snails




Mystery snails (Pomacea bridgesii) are a common type of freshwater snail. Also known as spike-topped apple snails, mystery snails are native to rivers and streams of Brazil, Paraguay, Bolivia, and Peru.


Their diet consists of dead, rotting plants in the wild. They also graze on algae growing on sand and rocks. The snails are omnivores and eat a variety of food.


You can find different colours and varieties of mystery snails. Ivory mystery snails have an off-white and creamy colour body and foot with orange spots at the mouth and head.


The snails are great community snails that you can keep with other fish in the aquarium or pond. They don’t multiply as quickly as some other snail species.


Golden Inca mystery snails have a creamy white head and body, along with traces of striking gold and deep yellow colour. They also have orange-coloured dots over the head and mouth.


These snails will be a great addition to an aquarium because of their beautiful colour and unique patterns on their body.


You can keep mystery snails with other non-aggressive fish. 

They have a peaceful and calm temperament similar to most snails. This snail thrives in a freshwater aquatic environment.


An intriguing thing about mystery snails is that their eyes can regrow. The eyestalk does not have any sensory organ. As a result, the eyes will regrow after a few weeks if damaged. They can live for about a year inside the aquarium under the right conditions.


You can keep them in reef aquariums as they don’t eat coral reefs. These snails grow up to a size of one to two inches under the right conditions.


They are scavengers that eat leftover, decaying food and plant matter. The snails also eat soft algae growing inside the tank. The snails are proficient eaters and do an excellent job of cleaning the aquarium.


Mystery snails in the aquarium will eat algae that grow on the glass, rocks, and sand. They keep the aquarium glass, stones, and decorative items inside the tank clean. They have a radula that they use to scrape algae from the surface.


These snails will also eat algae growing on decorations, filter intakes, glass, rocks, and other hard surfaces inside the tank. They will too eat plant leaves such as the Amazon Sword, Anubias Barteri, and Banana plant tubers.


What to Feed Ivory Snails?


Mystery snails will be fine eating algae all day long. These snails will actively seek out food all day and all night. 

They will clean all algae growth throughout the aquarium.


If there is not much algae growth inside the aquarium, you should feed them vegetables like zucchini and lettuce. Wash the vegetables before feeding them to the snails to avoid chemical poisoning.


You can also add supplements to keep them healthy. You can try different vegetables to find out the type of food they like.


You should also feed calcium-rich food to the snails. Consider giving them supplements like algae wafers, bottom feeder pellets, and dead fish food.


Japanese Trapdoor Snails


Japanese trapdoor snails (Cipangopaludina japonica) are named after their operculum, 

which is a calcareous trapdoor like structure on the shell.


The operculum helps these snails avoid predators and also survive without water for long periods. They also have a rough plate on the shell that forms a firm seal at the edges, protecting the snail.


The shells of these snails are spiral-shaped. A fascinating thing about the snails is that every Japanese trapdoor snail is unique. The freshwater snails have varied appearances with different designs, patterns, and colours.


What Do Freshwater Snails Eat?


It would help if you fed the Japanese trapdoor snails a variety of vegetables. They love to eat fresh vegetables like blanched spinach and zucchini. Moreover, the snails are also fond of food rich in calcium. Consider feeding them feeder tablets and pellets to enrich their diets.


Assassin Snails


Assassin snails (Clea Helena) are a freshwater snail species that have an aggressive side. They attack and eat other snails, which is why they were given the name assassins. The snails are native to Southeast Asia, particularly Malaysia, Thailand, and Sumatra in Indonesia.


Aquarists keep assassin snails in the tank to maintain control over the population of other snails. They are carnivores and don’t eat plant matter. The lifespan of these snails is about three years.


They generally grow up to a size of about 1.25 inches. Life and length depend on the type of food that they eat and the availability of food inside the tank.


Assassin snails will not disturb plants inside the aquarium. They will also ignore algae, unlike most freshwater snails. Aquarists mostly keep one or two assassins inside the tank to keep the population of the snails under control.


How to Feed to Snails?


As mentioned before, these snails eat other snails which most popularly include the Ramshorn and Trumpet snails. They will also eat shrimp fry and snail eggs. However, they don’t eat their eggs. If you keep these with other fish, they will eat dead fish as well.


You should not have to feed anything if there are lots of snails inside the aquarium. But if you want to keep these snails solely in the aquarium, you should consider providing them brine shrimp. You can also vary the diet by feeding them pellets, flakes, and algae wafers.


Apple Snails


Apple snails (Ampullariidae) are also freshwater snails that are found in tropical and subtropical regions. They are some of the larger snails out there and are located in the various areas including Southwest Asia, North and South America.


They are said to originate from the Amazon River and have spread to other regions. In North America, they are commonly found in Hawaii, Florida, and Southwest Asia.


Most aquarists keep apple snails due to their attractive appearance. The snails reach an average size of about 6 inches.


What Do Apple Snails Eat?


Apple snails are omnivores that feed on different types of food. You should feed them vegetables, pellets, insects, brine shrimp, and dead fish. The snails will also eat algae and other microscopic vegetation that grows on the rocks and tank walls.


It would help if you kept the lid on the aquarium tank. The snails will climb out of the tank seeking food outside of the aquarium.


Malaysian Trumpet Snails


Malaysian Trumpet snails (Melanoides tuberculata) are also known as the red-rimmed Melania. They have a unique appearance with reddish spots that contrasts strikingly with the greenish-brown shell.


You can find Malaysian Trumpet for sale in most online pet stores in great numbers. The snails have a large appetite that makes them the ultimate scavengers and cleaners.


In the wild, Malaysian Trumpet snails are generally found in freshwater rivers and streams in Asia and Africa. These snails have a life span of about two years and grow to about 2.5 centimetres. You can recognize these snails by their long pointed shells that look like ice-cream cones.


What to Feed Malaysian Trumpet Snails?


Malaysian trumpet snails can be fed pellets. You should stop the filter and drop the pellets on the substrate. 

The snails will emerge from the substrate and eat the pellets. 

The snails require supplemental feeding in case there is a large population with no or little food debris inside the tank.


Ramshorn Snails


Ramshorn snails (Planorbidae) are freshwater snails that are also known as Ram’s Horn Snail. The snails can go along with shrimp, fish, and other snails. They are a hardy snail species that can increase in the right aquarium conditions.


The snails are avid cleaners of the aquarium. They will feed on soft algae, dead plant matter, and uneaten food matter. These snails have rubber-like bodies that allow them to move and bend over thin leaves quickly and also hard surfaces inside the aquarium.


What do Ramshorn Snails Eat?


Ramshorn snails are highly active and will move around inside the tank both during the day and night. They are detritivores and eat things that most other snails avoid.


The snails will eat delicate plants, algae, decaying plants and fish matter. They also enjoy eating leaves of stem plants like the anacharis and cambomba. 

The snails will eat almost any organic and nonliving matter, including dead fish, dead leaves, fish waste, fallen pellets, and flakes.


Once a Ramshorn snail finds a food source, other snails will congregate to the area. The snails will continue eating until the food is consumed. They also eat fresh vegetables like spinach leaves, green zucchini, and green lettuce leaves.


You can also feed them blanched vegetables such as cauliflower that will keep the shell healthy and robust. They can also be provided soft fruits and vegetables like squash and cucumbers.


If the aquarium has a large population of snails, you can place the vegetables on a piece of straw and then remove the straw once they have eaten the vegetables.


Black Devil Snails


Black devil snails (Faunus later) are native to islands in the western part of the Indo-Pacific region. These snails have a dark and unique appearance, due to which they are known as black devil snails. The snails have a deep black glossy shell. They can grow to a size of up to three inches.


You can keep the black devil snails with other peaceful fish and snails. They are solitary creatures that tend to spend time alone eating algae inside the tank.


What Do Black Devil Snails Eat?


Black devil snails are not fussy eaters. These snails are omnivores that eat algae, dead, and decaying matter. They are also algae eaters, but you should not expect them to clean the entire tank.


Consider feeding the snails flakes, pellets, frozen food, and Spirulina (algae) wafers. You should also provide calcium supplements to ensure that their shells remain healthy.


Related Questions




Can You Put Snails with Shrimps?


Shrimps like Amano and Ghost shrimps will not eat snails. However, aquarists have witnessed that shrimps hunt and eat fry snails and fish. So, if you prefer breeding snails, you should not keep snails and shrimps in the same tank.


Moreover, you can also keep shrimps in a large tank that is heavily planted. Amano shrimp won’t eat fry if there is more space in the tank. They will be content with eating algae and plants.


What Do Snails Eat and Drink?


Aquatic snails are mostly omnivores. Some snails such as the assassin snails eat other snails. 

But most snails eat algae and decaying matter. 

They also devour fresh vegetables. Aquatic snails don’t drink water. 

But they must be put inside the water; otherwise, they will dry out and die.


 What Do Sea Snails Eat?


Most sea snails are algal grazers in the water. They eat algae on the sediments, reefs, and rocks. It would be best if you made sure that there is adequate algal growth inside the aquarium. If there is no algal growth, you need to feed them supplements including pellets and flakes.


Do Snails Eat Shrimps and Fish in Aquarium?


Snails eat whatever they find inside the aquarium. They are known to eat injured shrimps and fish. However, the snails will not eat live seafood. Some snails like the Assassin snails also eat fry and young fish.


It would be best if you did not keep snails in a tank used for breeding purposes. Fry that comes near the snails will get eaten. It would help if you remembered that snails are not picky eaters. They will eat whatever comes under their mouth.


Final Remarks About What to Feed Aquariums Snails?


Aquarium snails are not picky eaters. Most of them will eat a lot of different food items. You will not have any difficulty in feeding snails. If there is an adequate algae population inside the tank, you may not have to feed your snail anything. Typical snail food that you can provide to supplement their diet includes pellets, flakes, and algae wafers.


Remember that overfeeding and underfeeding is not recommended. It would help if you were careful about how much you feed snails. The amount you should provide depends on the snail’s size and the number of snails in the tank. You should follow the tips mentioned in this guide about what do water snails eat to ensure that they remain healthy and well-fed.


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