Do Cory Catfish Eat Snails? {Can They Coexist?}

Are you wondering if your cory catfish can eat snails? Will snails harm cory catfish? In this article, we’ll find what happens when snails and cory catfish occupy the same space and if cory catfish will eat them.

Do Cory Catfish Eat Snails?

Yes, But Cory catfish will not actively hunt snails. Snails are too large for cory catfish to fit into their mouths, but they’ll eat crushed snails if you serve it to them. They will also dig out dead snail debris in the substrate and consume it.

Some fish keepers have reported that they witness their cory catfish eating snails, but this is uncommon when the snails are alive and in their shells.

Why Would A Cory Catfish Eat Snails?

A snail is not a part of a cory catfish’s diet. The debris they hunt and scavenge in the substrate, gravel or sand, could contain remnants of snails that your cory catfish will devour.

Another possible suggestion for those who say they have seen cory catfish eating snails is that these cories were perhaps starving or fasting. They may have tasted a snail before in its crushed form that you have fed them or from the bits they found in the substrate.

Now that they know the flavor of snails,  they may favor them enough to hunt the smallest of snails down. This is uncommon and most cory catfish do not eat snails.

Do Cory Catfish Eat Snail Eggs?

If you’re worried about an infestation of snails in your tank, keeping a group of cory catfish may help you out. Cory catfish will ingest snail eggs deep in the gravel substrate for no other reason than the fact that they can.

These bottom feeders are built to hunt down there and snail eggs could be on the menu today. If they find them, they will eat them. This, in turn, will help control your snail population. Corydoras (cory catfish) will not eat mystery snail or nerite snail eggs because they are laid above the water.

Can I Keep Snails and Cory Catfish Together?

Cory catfish are peaceful bottom dwellers who will not seek to harm snails. They have mouths that are not large enough to swallow most snail shells. However, there is a problem of competition.

Snails also wish to suck up any edible debris from the substrate, but your cory catfish will starve them. Cory catfish are efficient at hunting for scraps to eat, leaving your snails without a purpose or a proper meal. Snails will decrease in number and your cory catfish will win the battle for the substrate.

Snails and cory catfish enjoy similar water temperature and parameters which makes it easier to keep both of them together if there is enough space and less competition for food.

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Can I Feed Snails To My Cory Catfish?

Your cory catfish may develop a liking to snails if you offer snails to them. Keep in mind that almost all corydoras will look for an easier meal even if the snails are small in size. The best bet is to crush the snails and watch your cory catfish try to suck out the meat from the crushed shells.

Snails can become pests because they can multiply quickly. We like them for cleaning up the tank, but they also produce a lot of ammonia with their own waste. If you crush a snail, be prepared for a sudden gush of ammonia to fill the tank.

It’s best to crush them outside of the tank in a separate bowl of tank water, then placing them back into the tank to reduce the blast of ammonia when crushing them in the tank.

Which Snails Are The Best To Keep With Cory Catfish?

You should not be too concerned about the type of snails if your cory catfish have not been introduced to their meat by you as a snack. If they’ve never eaten them, they’ll probably leave them alone because there’s plenty of food available to them.

If you starve your cory catfish, they may look closer at a small snail and try one out. The same goes for plant matter in your tank. They won’t eat plants when there is algae and leftover debris in addition to the diet you feed them.

The following snails would be best because of their larger size. Your cory catfish won’t harm them.

  • Trumpet Snails
  • Ivory Snails
  • Mystery Snails
  • Nerite Snails
  • Assassin Snails

Which Snails Are Not Good To Keep With Cory Catfish?

Your cory catfish is a peaceful bottom dweller who will limit the amount of food available for snails. This is a good thing to prevent the overpopulation of snails that like to rapidly multiply. Some snails are able to take over tanks faster than others.

These snails in larger numbers could stress out your cory catfish who are trying to do the same thing in the same space as them.

  • Pond Snails
  • Rabbit Snails
  • Ramshorn Snails

How Big Is A Snail Compared To A Cory Catfish?

Sometimes a snail could be larger than a cory catfish. Cories or corydoras grow an average of 1-4 inches. You will notice many cory catfish around the 2 inch mark.

This is also the most common size for snails. Sizes will vary, but when looking at averages, it’s safe to say that two creatures of the same size will not be able to eat each other in an aquarium.

The shell of the snail alone is on average, 1/6 of an inch. This is too large for cory catfish because they don’t the mouths for it. It’s too much effort and desperation is far from setting in. Your aquarium is peaceful and regular feedings prevent the need for trying to attack an average sized snail.


Snails and cory catfish can be kept together because your cories are not looking to eat snails. They can be fed crushed snails if you wish. Snails and cory catfish will compete for the debris and scraps in the substrate. Cory catfish will also help to prevent the overcrowding of snails if they consume their eggs or starve them from the opportunity to clean up the bottom of the tank.

Brian Arial

Brian Arial has kept fish for leisure and worked with fish stores for most of his life. He enjoys writing and caring for aquariums and ponds.

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