Freshwater Aquarium Snails – All You Need To Know | Aquascape Addiction

Freshwater Aquarium Snails – All You Need To Know

Many people decide to get freshwater aquarium snails to accompany their fish, and there is a good reason for it. However it’s not as easy as just picking up the first snails you see and dumping them into the water. Some snails are good, some are bad, and some are just a nuisance.

Freshwater Aquarium Snails – All You Need To Know

Here is everything you need to know about snails and your fish tank so you can make an informed decision about which snails you want, which ones you need, and which ones you should definitely avoid.

Why Would I Want Snails In My Tank?

There are some good reasons as to why you should have a certain few types of snails in your freshwater fish tank (This is our favorite snail (It does not reproduce and it's a great algae eater). Freshwater aquarium snails are often used in order to clean up debris in fish tanks. They like to eat things like old fish food, algae, and even fish faeces. This means that a fish tank with snails has to be cleaned a lot less than one without snails.

Nerite Snail Does Not Reproduce 9.6/10
Assassin Snail Eats Other Pest Snails 9.1/10
Ivory Snail Algae Eater 8.8/10
Ramshorn Snail Algae Eater 8.5/10

Are Snails Good or Bad For Fish Tanks?

There are a few things that you need to know about snails and fish tanks, for instance some snails are better to have in your fish tank than others. Some snails do serve a good productive purpose, those being the ones that you have put in there yourself, but there are also snails that can creep their way into your tank all by themselves, and those are usually unwanted bad ones.

There are even snails that can be bought for your fish tank which aren't ideal for certain situations. Let’s take a look at some of the different snails that you can get.

11 Common Types Of Freshwater Aquarium Snails / Identification

There are quite a few different kinds of freshwater aquarium snails that you can find for purchase. That being said, there are also quite a few different aquarium snails that might just find their way into your fish tank by accident. Some of the most common types of aquarium snails that can be found are ones such as;

  1. The Pond Snail.
  2. The Assassin Snail.
  3. The Trumpet Snail.
  4. The Ramshorn Snail.
  5. The Nerite Snail.
  6. The Rabbit Snail.
  7. The Ivory Snail.
  8. The Japanese Trapdoor Snail.
  9. The Mystery Snail.
  10. The Gold Inca Snail.
  11. Zebra Nerite Snail.

All of these snails are commonly found in aquariums and can usually be bought in pet stores, but not all of them serve the same functions and not all of them are good. Some of these snails will have a detrimental effect on your fish tank and won’t do you or your fish any good.

Let’s take a look at each of these snails a little more in depth in the following sections to find out just which ones you want in your aquarium and which ones you don’t want there.

Recommended Freshwater Aquarium Snails For Your Tank

The Trumpet Snail

Some people don’t like having this snail in their fish tanks because it does multiply quickly; it’s a hermaphrodite and that means it can self-multiply. Moreover they like to hide in the sand or whatever material is in the bottom of the fish tank, so once you have some, it is really hard to get rid of all of them.

However their population levels can be quite easily controlled by removing all but one that you see. However there are more positive aspects to this snail than negative aspects, so in the long run it’s a good choice.

One of the reasons as to why the trumpet snail is great for aquariums is because they eat algae like no tomorrow. If you have been cleaning algae out of your fish tank then this snail will take care of that for you. Another big problem that these snails solve is substrate aeration.

Deadly pockets of anaerobic gasses can build up in the substrate (sand or fine rocks at the base of the tank), and these things can kill fish. Trumpet snails, because they like to burrow in the substrate, aerate it and release or decompose these deadly pockets of gasses so that they won’t kill your fish.

The Assassin Snail

Now as the name implies, these snails do eat other snails, which his actually why many people prefer to have them in their fish tanks. They are great for controlling other unwanted snail populations because they will eat them. You need to be careful when adding this snail to your fish tank because they don’t actually eat algae or clean the tank, but they will take care of other snail problems.

Also, these snails reproduce sexually, meaning that they can’t self-multiply, so their populations are quite easy to control. Many people also like these snails because they look neat too. Keep in mind that you should only get this snail if you need to control the population of other snails.

Buy Assassin Snails

The Ivory Snail

The Ivory Snail is another good community snail to put in a fish tank because they don’t multiply very quickly, they don’t eat aquarium plants, and they don’t eat other snails. Ivory snails are more than happy to eat algae and other leftovers like spare fish food. These snails are great for cleaning fish tanks.

Buy Ivory Snails

The Nerite Snail

This is a great snail to have in freshwater aquariums because they don’t actually reproduce in freshwater aquariums. Moreover, they spend all of their time in search of algae on hard surfaces and in the substrate of the aquarium. They are some of the best fish tank cleaning snails around.

Buy Nerite Snails

The Mystery Snail

These are great snails to have because they love to feast on everything including uneaten fish food, algae, and other forms of debris found in fish tanks. One thing that needs to be said is that they are good at escaping from fish tanks, so they are only recommended for fish tanks that have a lid on them.

We Recommend The DELUXE Mystery Snail live COMBO PACK from Amazon.
The Gold Inca Snail

Many people like the gold Inca snail because it is a great tank cleaner. They have a huge appetite and they love to eat everything from algae and fish food, to vegetables as well. These are perhaps some of the best snails when it comes to keeping the tank clean. Keep in mind that if these snails don’t find enough food they may begin to eat the live plants that are in the aquarium, but as long as they have enough algae and other food sources that shouldn't be a problem. Also, they don’t multiply very quickly so that’s another bonus.

Bad Aquarium Snails That You Do Not Want In Your Tank

The Pond Snail

This is one of those types of snails that you probably don’t want in your fish tank for a number of reasons. While they may be ideal for outdoor ponds, as the name implies, they are not a type of snail that you want indoors in your tank. This snail is most often found in aquariums after buying new plants that have the snails attached to them.

First of all, these snails are hermaphrodites, which means that they can reproduce by themselves. Therefore, while one pond snail may not be a huge issue, they can multiply very quickly leaving you with dozens of pond snails infesting your fish tank. The largest problem with these snails is not necessarily that they reproduce like bunny rabbits, but the fact that they love to eat.

Once the snails start reaching high numbers they will begin to look for anything to eat. Pond snails, once having multiplied sufficiently, are known to start eating all of the plants in a fish tank. This is definitely not a snail that you want in your fish tank because they just end up eating all of the plants in the tank, so if you find any, remove them as quickly as possible.

The Ramshorn Snail

The only reason that people ever want this snail in their fish tanks is because it is very colorful and looks pretty neat. Other than their neat look there is no real reason to have these things in your fish tank. These snails will eat algae, but they will also eat fish food, meaning that you need to feed your fish more in order to keep them well fed.

That being said, their numbers can be controlled by not over feeding the fish. However, this snail shouldn’t be in your fish tank because they are almost impossible to get rid of once they are there and there are other snails that will do the same job without eating all of the fish food.

The Rabbit Snail

These snails are pretty much useless to have in a freshwater fish tank. First of all, they don’t really clean the tank very well because they don’t eat very much, so if anything they produce more waste than they get rid of. Also, these snails reproduce in fresh water aquariums which means that they can over run it quite quickly and leave you with a big snail infestation.

You might also like this post on getting rid of bristle worms.

How To Care For Freshwater Snails

Snails are indeed a very useful creature to have in any aquarium, especially because they clean up gunk and clean the glass at the same time. However, one thing that many people don’t seem to consider is how to take care of them. Well, thankfully, taking care of freshwater snails is quite easy.

  • Feeding is one of the most important things to keep in mind. Generally speaking, the snails will just eat algae, plant matter in your aquarium, and maybe even some old fish food. If there is not enough food in the tank, simply provide them with some small fish parts or bottom feeder tablets.

  • Another thing to remember is that most freshwater snails require a balanced, neutral, and stable pH level, so be sure to always test and treat the water in your aquarium.

  • Something else to keep in mind is that no matter what, you should never have more than 20 snails in a 1 gallon tank, and that is if there are no fish present.

  • Moreover, most snails require the water temperature to be between 72 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit, so that is always something that needs to be regulated too.

  • Snails need a soft substrate as they have a soft underbelly, so they require soft sands, not gravel.

Final Thoughts

Keep in mind that the types of snails you get will depend on the fish tank, the fish, and the amount of cleaning that the tank needs. For example, some people may want assassin snails (you can buy them here) to control the population of other snails, while some people may not want them because they only have beneficial snails. The choice is really up to you in terms of which freshwater aquarium snails that you need.