Snail is known to be a shelled gastropod of the mollusk family. These snails interbreed freely and give birth to many more offspring. Having snails in tanks might be desirable or undesirable depending on the choice of the aquarists, and the type of fish in the tank.
Freshwater fishes that eat snails include; Betta Fish, Bala Fish, Green Spotted Puffer, Goldfish, Clown Loach, Gourami, Cory Catfish, Yoyo Loach. Some eat small snails while some only eat snails in their adult stage. Some will only eat snails when there is nothing better to eat, while some will eat snails at all costs.
Some aquarists introduce these fish as a natural way of getting rid of excess snails in their aquariums. Adding fishes that feed on snails into the tank or aquarium will help you get rid of the surplus population.
However, if your intention is not to control the population of snails in the tank, it might be detrimental to keep these fish in the same container with snails.
Why Do We Have Snails In The Aquarium?
Aquarists keep snails in their fish tanks for several reasons, and these snails perform different functions. There are several benefits attached to having snails in your tank, and these snails include:
- Removal of waste and cleaning of the aquarium: Snails are natural janitors. They tend to clean up both the glass and the bottom of the aquarium. Snails digest waste, rotting leaves, leftover food crumbs, and so on, thereby leaving the aquarium neat. They also feed on organic waste that accumulates. Snails perform a great deal of work in the cleanliness of the aquarium.
- Snail’s meat is nutritious: The snail’s meat is rich in different minerals. It contains copper, phosphorus, vitamins A, B6, B12, K, calcium, iron, zinc, magnesium, and fat. Its high protein value and low-fat value make it a suitable healthy food for fishes, even humans.
- Beautifies the aquarium: Some snails, just like Nerite Snails, are a sight to see. They look beautiful with the pattern on their shells. Having such a beauty in the aquarium beautifies the aquarium. So, here is another benefit of having snails in your aquarium- beauty.
- Aeration of tanks: Snails love burrowing, so in this way, they aerate your substrate, which can mostly keep toxic gasses out of your aquarium. Keeping these gasses from building up in the aquarium is essential as the healthiness of your fishes depends on it. And as much as your aquarium needs snails, it has to be in check because having too many snails can be irritating and frustrating.
Why Do Fish Feed On Snails?
Snails can come into the aquarium through plants. Snail’s eggs are transparent, making them almost invisible. This enables them to thrive without being noticed. Most snails feed on algae. It is bound to have snails in it. Aside from algae, snails feed on leftover crumbs of food that you supply to your fish.
Most fish would love the treat of snails, but the problem is getting past their hard shell. Crushing the shell isn’t a fish-like thing. Only a few of these fishes could do with sucking out the snail from its shell.
This crushing isn’t an easy task, so it is common to only a few fishes that are most time desperate. So, if there was a crushing force exerted on the snails, probably every fish in the aquarium will feed on them.
Most fish feed on snails out of hunger. If you find your fish feeding on your snails, then you might have to reconsider the food you feed them and check if you are feeding them well.
Some other fish feed on snails just for fun. They find it fun to crush the shells of smaller snails and suck in the edibles within the shell. They also engage in these acts if they are scavengers. Scavengers can feed on anything they find their mouth on in the tank.
However, fish can only feed on snails that will fit into their mouth. Consequently, only smaller snails are at the risk of being munched by fishes in the tank. More giant snails are safer because they cannot fit the mouth of the fish.
Type Of Freshwater Snails Suitable For Aquarium
Snails are fascinating, and they are needed to beautify and perform a specific task in the aquarium. There are different types of snails that are sold and kept in different aqua-store. Below are some examples of snails needed for your aquarium.
- Ivory snail: Ivory snail is a freshwater snail. It has an off-white color. Both its shell and body are off-white. They feed on food crumbs not eaten by fishes. They also feed on algae and dead decaying matter.
- Assassin snail: Assassin snail is a type of freshwater snail. As its name implies, it is an assassin for every other snail. It moves about searching for other snails to prey. It is a killer of snails. Some people usually keep this snail in the aquarium to help keep in check the number of snails in the aquarium.
- Rabbit snail: Rabbit snails are a peaceful type of freshwater snail. They are non-aggressive, and they help do the cleaning work of the tank very well. Rabbit snails are slow-moving snails that are fascinating and interesting to watch. They can also reproduce in freshwater.
- Pond snail: Pond snails are this type of snail that often gets into the tank by accident. Most times, they end up as pests. They make way into the pond by attaching themselves to plants and other means. Just like every other plant, they scavenge on debris and decaying matter, including algae. Pond snail becoming a pet or a pest depends on the owner of the aquarium.
Fishes and snails do well together as they work hand in hand. As snails clean up the tank and control the toxicity level in the aquarium, the fishes also provide crumbs for the snails to feed. All of this feels good only if the snail to fish ratio isn’t exceeded. If exceeded, then the snail control measures should be considered immediately.