Will Oscar Fish Eat Snails? {What About The Shells?}

Are you wondering if your oscar fish can eat snails?

Are they healthy for oscar fish or harming their health?

In this article, we’ll find out if we can feed our oscar fish snails and if they are a good option.

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Will Oscar Fish Eat Snails

An oscar fish will definitely eat snails in and out of their shells. If it can fit the snail into its mouth, then it’s going to be eaten. Mature oscar fish break snail shells with a crunch and devour what’s inside. Yum!

Do Oscar Fish Eats Snails in The Wild?

Oscar fish don’t usually encounter snails in the wild. If they do, they are sure to test if it fits into their mouths. Oscar fish are not picky eaters and will curiously munch on almost anything.

  • Insects
  • Larvae
  • Shrimp
  • Water plants

These are the main foods they consume in the wild. Since they are native to South America, they will even venture closer to nearby trees and eat anything that drops in the water including nuts.

Oscar fish have a hardy stomach so we can add snails and many other protein packed foods in their diets. Make sure to add plant matter or use pellets and flakes as their staple diet with snails as a snack.

Do I Need To Take The Snails Out Of Their Shells?


No. You don’t need to remove the snails from their shells. You can do so if you are concerned with their digestion or if the oscar fish has not grown yet to full maturity. Otherwise, drop the snails in and listen to the sound oscar fish make when eating them.

Oscar fish will most likely spit out all the shells naturally. You can also crush the snails with the shells if you wish. Some people compare the eating of snails by oscar fish to resemble the way we eat popcorn!

Will Oscar Fish Eat Snails At The Bottom Of My Tank?

Most fishkeepers like to keep snails in the aqaurium. They tend to keep the tank clean. Your oscar fish that is well fed will most likely leave the snails on the gravel or in the substrate alone.

Sometimes the snail may get scooped up and spit out like a toy for an oscar fish that isn’t hungry. Some oscar fish can devour snails larger than 1 inch in diameter. There are no guarantees for these poor snails when oscar fish are around.

Snails that start to drop and slowly sink through the tank will catch the attention of oscar fish. If they are used to feeding pellets or flakes, the gentle sinking sight of snails will draw their curiosity and oscar fish will most likely go for a bite or two or three!

YouTube video

How Many Snails Can I Feed My Oscar Fish?

Snails vary in sizes. Make sure that they can fit into the mouths of your oscar fish. If they are too big, they can be crushed, shells can be removed or you can see if they’ll just leave them alone.

Snails help to clean tanks, but too many snails will contribute to the waste matter. The debris from snails can build up fast, especially if they are being gobbled up by your oscar fish.

Start with 3-5 smaller snails and drop them into the tank. A fishkeeper is an observer. The oscar fish will let us know if they want to eat them or if they aren’t hungry for them.

Are Snails Healthy For Oscar Fish?

Some snails will carry diseases from dirty tanks or substrates. They usually live in aquariums as cleaners. If they are consuming unhealthy bacteria or parasites, they may absorb them and carry diseases. They will pass them on to your hungry oscar fish if consumed.

Keep the substrate clean and water quality ideal for the snails and oscar fish alike. Snails feed on algae and plant matter as well. They not only eat leftover waste and debris, they will also consume any leftover fish food as well.

Snails are a good option for oscar fish as a snack. 70-90% of oscar fish food should come from pellets or flakes that have a balance of plant matter included for these omnivore fish to thrive.

Too many snails may result in oscar fish avoiding their staple food of pellets and flakes designed for their best health.


Oscar fish can definitely eat snails. You can watch videos of them doing so or try it out for yourself. You may get satisfaction from watching oscar fish crunch and munch on the hard shells of snails.

You may also decide to remove the shells of snails making it easier for oscar fish to fit them into their mouths and for the ease of digesting them better. Snails pack protein and will help oscar fish remain hardy and healthy.

Pellets or flakes are their first options and snails can be introduced as a fun snack to crunch, spit out or play around with. Your oscar fish may also avoid them if they are satisified with the amount of food you’re already feeding them.

Too many snails aren’t advised because their staple diet should include more plant matter mixed into their ominvore diets. We hope you are enjoying your oscar fish and their incredible appetites.

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.