Do Snails Eat Hair Algae? {My Favorite Hair Algae Eater Revealed}

Is your aquarium or pond full of hair algae? Do snails eat hair algae?

Do you want to know the easiest way to get rid of it?

Keep reading this article to find out about snails eating hair algae and how these species can keep your pond or aquarium cleaner.

Do Snails Eat Hair Algae?

Yes. Snails will target the filamentous hair algae coatings. Ramshorn, nerite and Mystery snails are well known hair algae eaters.

Every type of algae found in a fresh water aquarium is known to be consumed by nerite snails, making them my favorite algae eater.

Hair algae is a species of soft filamentous algae found in both fresh and saltwater that grows on everything that doesn’t move.

How Do You Get Rid of Hair Algae?

Overpopulation of hair algae can create a huge mess in your pond or aquarium. Not only will it smother what it grows on, but it also takes up precious oxygen for the other things living in your pond as well.

Luckily, there are numerous ways to get rid of hair algae. There are many ways to combat the growth of hair algae, the easiest being to add fish or other aquatic life that eats algae.

Here are some other things you can do to remove hair algae from your pond or aquarium:

  • Using algae treatments.
  • Lowering the pH of your pond.
  • Barley straw extract, or actual barley straw.
  • Adding more shade or decreasing the light around the water.
  • Aerating the water in your tank or pond.
  • Adding beneficial bacteria.

Is Hair Algae Bad?

No. Algae is caused by a deficiency of the nutrients in the water. It can be caused by a number of these imbalances and if it overgrows, it will become bad for your fish and the water.

Normally, having a little hair algae in your pond or aquarium is actually healthy because it provides food for the smaller aquatic life. But when it’s not kept back by something to eat it, the algae grows all over the pond and essentially ends up suffocating the whole environment.

Though hair algae doesn’t harm your fish directly, it does create an unstable environment for them to live in. Here’s what hair algae does to its aquatic environment, whether it’s a tank or pond:

  • Creates green, slimy-looking water
  • Smothers aquatic plants
  • Uses a lot of oxygen that your fish need

Do Mystery Snails Eat Hair Algae?

Yes. Mystery snails are extremely well-liked for both their beautiful colors and their useful qualities. They put in a lot of effort to remove algae from decorations such as:

  • glass
  • ornaments
  • plants

They will gladly consume hair algae and keep your substrate clean and the right color.

YouTube video

Will Pond Snails Eat Hair Algae?

Yes.  You may not have to add snails to a garden pond, since they’ll more than likely just show up themselves, similar to frogs and turtles.

An important thing to remember is to never just catch snails from the wild. Freshwater snails are carriers of the deadliest parasitic diseases.

They can pass them to you and the fish they live with, so be sure to get your snails from a reputable aquarium or pond supply. If you need to handle them, it’s best to do so with gloves or try not to handle them at all.

What Snails Will Eat Hair Algae?

Snail Species That Eat Algae include:

  • Japanese Trapdoor Snails
  • Wandering Pond Snails
  • Great Pond Snails
  • Dwarf Pond Snails
  • Big Ear Pond Snails

Aquarium Snails that eat algae include:

  • Mystery Snails
  • Margarita Snails
  • Malaysian Trumpet Snails
  • Nerite Snails
  • Ramshorn Snails
  • Zebra and Mexican Turbo Snails

Another important thing to note is that when you’re introducing a new species to the pond, you will have to keep their population controlled as well.

If there are too many snails, they’ll eat all the algae which is good, but then they’ll turn to the decorative aquatic plants that you don’t want to be eaten.

YouTube video

What Snails Eat Green Hair Algae In Saltwater Tanks?

Reef tank snails can be beautiful. On of my favorite is the Turban snail. They are slow moving, eat a variety of algae, and are best kept in aquariums with:

  • diatoms
  • cyanobacteria
  • slime algae
  • hair algae
  • filamentous algae
  • green algae

These snails are ideal for your saltwater aquarium since they leave no waste behind.

Will Hair Algae Go Away on Its Own?

No. The easiest technique to get rid of hair algae on plants that are constantly developing is to:

  • make sure the water is changed
  • get some hair algae eating snails

The hair algae in the water tank is also managed by lowering the quantities of carbon dioxide and light intensity. With regular cleaning, the growth will ultimately stop growing as well.

Will Nerite Snails Eat Hair Algae?

Yes. Is there anything this super snail will not east? I have written this before, but I love Nerite snails for their ability to clean up algae.  Hair algae will be eaten by nerite snails.

I anticipated some algae problems because I had an excess of nutrients. There were lots of organic material left behind.

Before I had moved anything in there, I experienced algae blooms. Once the tank was steady enough for them, I placed a few nerites in. They mowed through through the hair algae like nobody’s business!


While we’ve listed so many algae-eating species, the best clean up crew really comes down to snails and shrimp. Over everything else, snails are the most ravenous eaters of hair algae and are almost certain to eat all of it.

The best clean up crew that eats hair algae can range from fish, all the way down to microscopic organisms in your tank like bacteria. That being set, all bets are with snails. Since algae makes up most, if not all of their diets, they are the best species to eat it up.

All of the species we’ve listed today will not only eat hair algae but other types of filamentous algae as well. A good mix of all of them will undoubtedly clean up any aquarium with an algae problem.


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Hello, I'm Jason. I'm the guy behind I volunteer at my local fish shop and I created this site to offer tips and advice on the fish I care for.