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Do Snails Eat Algae? They Do. But!

Do snails eat algae? Yes, they do. But how much do they eat and is it harmful to tank fish? Let’s find out the answers here. 

Do snails eat algae

Do snails eat algae in fish tanks? 

Yes, most aquarium snails do eat algae. The majority of aquatic snails are scavengers. They dine on algae, dead plant material, dead fish, and other detritus, which makes them an excellent option to help you keep your tank clean.

There is a tendency to grow algae in the tanks and the overgrowth of algae affects the quality of water and damages the look of the tank. These snails can help to keep the algae growth under control in an aquarium. Snails can play an essential part in maintaining freshwater aquariums as long as you choose the right type. 

Do snails eat algae in ponds?

Yes, they eat algae in ponds. However, it does depend on what type of algae and what type of snail you are going to put in your pond. They can’t eat single-cell algae in a lot of cases. They graze the surfaces including rocks, concrete substrates, and even the algae on the surface layer of plant material. 

However, most pond snails are not aggressive, they are not aggressive feeders. You would need a whole army of snails in your fish pond. If you put lots of snails in your pond, then it increases the nutrients in your pond and ultimately algae growth may increase. So the answer is ‘do pond snails eat algae?’ Yes, but it is not that easy.

Do snails eat algae blooms?

Algal blooms are caused by excess sunlight and excess nutrients together with many other factors. The planktonic algae whose blooms cause green water are too small and free-floating for snails to eat them. Actually, snails can make this problem worse. This is because healthy slime algae prevent planktonic algae. Snails feed on healthy slime algae and a decrease in the slime algae increases the growth of algae bloom. 

On the other hand, there are some clues that snails feed on cyanobacteria. Cyanobacteria is the cause of green-blue algal blooms. However, snails cannot completely eliminate those algal blooms on their own. In conclusion, don’t rely on snails if there is an algal bloom in your tank. You may end up with tragedy if you keep fish with the algal blooms for a long time as they release toxic compounds. 

Do snails eat algae

Do snails eat algae wafers?

Yes, they eat algae wafers.  This food is ideal for bottom dwellers since the wafers quickly sink to the bottom of the tank once dropped in.

Do snails eat brown algae?

Most algae-eating snails do not eat brown algae. There are some snails who eat brown algae too. Nerite snails are the most efficient algae-eating snails for freshwater tanks. They eat many types of algae, including brown algae.

Algae eating snails

Do mystery snails eat algae?

Mystery snails are extremely popular in the aquatic industry due to their stunning colors as well as their practical benefits. They are completely peaceful species that work hard to clean algae off of glass, plants, and decorations. They eat hair algae too and keep your substrate clean and the correct color.

They are freshwater species and very popular for planted tanks and community tanks as they are very adaptable to the current environment. Most aquarists use them in large aquariums for waste management and algae control.  

Do assassin snails eat algae?

Assassin snails are primarily carnivorous and they are well-known for getting rid of aquarium pest snails. They don’t eat algae because they are carnivorous in nature. Although they prefer live pest snails as their main food source, once that is over, you should feed them with high-protein food. They eat algae wafers as it is a  high-protein food.

Do mystery snails eat brown algae?

Mystery snails are considered as good tank cleaners. They eat algae, dead fish, fish leftovers, and decaying plant matter. Unlike most other snail species, they eat brown algae too. Therefore, having a mystery snail in your tank, you can be sure it will eat all algae, including the brown algae. However, as they do not feed on algae only, mystery snails might take longer to clean. 

Do apple snails eat algae?

Apple snails are called “ algae munchers” and can grow up to be the size of a baseball. They will consume most types of algae. However, their favorites are plant algae, substrate algae, and aquarium glass algae and you can find them most commonly at those places. Despite this, they spend most of their time in the bottom of the tank, grazing the substrate for algae, and picking up any pieces of leftover food.

Although their appetite is big, and they are willing to eat most types of algae, it’s still recommended that you feed Mystery Snails a wide range of aquarium-safe vegetation. They have a tendency to eat live plants if they have an insufficient amount of algae and vegetation to munch on.

Do snails eat algae

Do ramshorn snails eat algae?

Ramshorn Snails would be the better choice if your aquarium is busy with plants. Although, the  majority of other algae-eating snails will attack your plants,  will not harm them. They are active algae eaters and also feed on dead plant matter, fish eggs, and leftover food. If you need to keep these snails in your aquarium, you need to adjust the water parameters as they need to be kept in high alkaline waters. More on, make sure your water is at least a 7 on the pH scale as acidic water will dissolve the shells of all snails.

Many aquarists recommend them as they are perfect for cleaning the algae on your plants, the walls of your aquarium, the rocks, and the decorations. It is good to combine them with Nerite snails too. However, as with Nerite Snails, Cichlids, Loaches and other large fish will usually eat all snails, so take necessary actions to prevent them from being eaten by the large fish. 

Do water snails eat algae?

Freshwater snails are gastropod mollusks that live in freshwater. Three are many species under this group. They are found throughout the world in various habitats, ranging from ephemeral pools to the largest lakes, and from small seeps and springs to major rivers. Mystery snails, Ramshorn snails, Rabbit snails, and Nerite snails are some popular water snail species. Most of the water snails eat algae but many are detritivores and some are filter feeders.

Do nerite snails eat algae?

Nerite snails are one of the most popular algae-eating snails. There is no surprise that these snails are popular due to their beautiful zebra-like shell, and their huge appetite for algae. Nerite Snails are known to eat every type of algae found in a freshwater aquarium. If you have these fellows in your aquarium you don’t need to worry about algae.

They eat even the algae that are harder to eradicate, such as Green Spot Algae and Green Beard Algae. They stay and dwell  most of their time at the bottom of the aquarium, and they can also help clean your substrate. They do require a pH level of 7 or above, in order to thrive and also keep their shells hard. They prefer hard water, as the calcium in hard water helps to keep their shells healthy.

However, they tend to climb out of the tank if you don’t keep it covered. Further, they leave hundreds of small white eggs around your tank, sometimes completely covering your plants and rocks. If you are not intending to breed them, it will be an eyesore. Despite these two problems, Nerite Snails are a great little algae eater, and most aquarists do recommend them.

Do rabbit snails eat algae

The rabbit snail is one of the larger species of algae-eating snails, growing up to 5 inches in length. The good news is you don’t have to worry about your aquarium plants as this species generally does not feed on live aquarium plants. However, they love to feed on Java fern and be careful if you need to keep both in one aquarium. 

Rabbit snails consume decaying plant matter and other detritus in addition to algae and they do reproduce in the home aquarium, but not very quickly.

Do snails eat algae

Do snails need algae?

Although snails feed on aquatic plants, dead plants, dead fish, leftover fish food, vegetable,fruits, other detritus matter, and even commercial foods, algae are still the major food source for snails. However, not all snails eat algae. When shopping for an algae-eating snail, look for snail species that are herbivores or omnivores.

Do aquarium snails help with algae?

Snails play an essential role in maintaining freshwater aquariums. Most snails are scavengers that dine on algae and you can get help from them to clean your aquarium. However, you cannot completely eliminate the algae growing in your tank, but definitely, they can help keep it back. You must be careful when selecting a snail species for your tank, as their feeding behavior and other factors differ from species to species. They can help with algae in your aquarium, as long as you choose the right type.

Can you have snails with algae eaters?

Yes, they can be kept with most other algae eaters. However, there is limited research on the compatibility of snails with other algae eaters individually. Therefore, in the beginning, you must be careful if you need to keep many algae eaters together. On the other hand, snails can be an easy target for big fish like Cichlids. As described, the biggest issue with algae eaters is their uncertain compatibility with other fish within your aquarium.

Having the knowledge and an understanding of which algae eaters live harmoniously with the species of fish in your tank is crucial if you want them to survive. It is better to keep your algae eaters in a separate tank and move them into your main tank temporarily, whenever their algae eating services are required.  

Do snails eat fish poop?

Although snails eat lots of organic matter in a fish tank and help to keep it clean, they do not eat fish poop. It is a misconception that they eat fish poop. Actually, not any fish (or living creature) that will actively search out and eat fish poop. 

Do snails eat dead fish?

Yes, They eat dead fish. They are scavengers and they eat the most easily digestible parts of their meal first. If the fish’s body is still intact it will start with some easy-to-get-at morsels like the fins and eyes. After that, they will consume the rest of the fish’s body. They can eat a dead fish in a few hours, and if you don’t keep an eye on a dead or sick fish for a few hours you probably won’t even see its dead body.

Do snails eat fish eggs?

Yes, if they have an opportunity and the snail is big enough, they will eat fish eggs. They are opportunistic feeders and will eat almost anything if given a chance. They even can eat hard-boiled chicken eggs if put in the tank! Therefore, you cannot keep them in a fish breeding tank. Eggs are usually soft, gelatinous, and full of protein, making them the perfect meal for a snail. Some more protective fish parents like cichlids eat snails in order to protect their eggs

Do snails eat fish food?

Yes, they eat fish food. Snails who are living in a community aquarium with fish and plants do not need to be fed separately. They will eat algae and leftover fish food. However, overfeeding fish can dramatically increase the snail population, so be sure not to overfeed.


Algae are single or multicellular organisms that have no roots, stems or leaves and have primitive methods of reproduction. Algae can live in a wide range of aquatic environments and are a natural component of most aquatic ecosystems. Although algae can look good when kept in small quantities, it’s easy to spread out of control if you don’t keep it in check.

Introducing algae eaters into your freshwater aquarium, as well as making sure your aquarium filtration is up to scratch, can help to prevent your tank’s algae production from becoming an eye sore. There are a few different algae eaters to choose from, including snails, shrimps, and certain algae-consuming fish. They are cheap, they can help to increase the diversification of wildlife in your tank, and they keep your tank clean. 

Snails are popular out of the other species because they are good scavengers yet with a beautiful appearance. They eat the algae, excess fish feed, dead fish, and other detrital matter in your aquarium. Nerite snail, Mystery snail, and Ramshorn snail are among the popular snail types, in recent years.

Credit to : Purely Aquatic

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About Dr.Chamika

Hello, I'm Dr. Chamika. I am a Researcher in Water quality, Aquatic organisms, and Environmental chemistry. I am a passionate fish keeper, with10 years of experience. My mission is to help other aquarists experience the joy of fish keeping.