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Facts about Aquarium Snails

There are many species of aquarium snails, some are considered beneficial while others are regarded as bothersome pests. Some people purposely introduce snails to their freshwater aquariums after either obtaining them naturally or purchasing them, while others arrive accidentally via plant life and from food sources.

But just what are these mysterious creatures and are they helpful or harmful for aquariums? Here are the answers to those questions and some facts about aquarium snails. What are some common types of aquarium snails?

Ramshorn: This particular snail gets its name from its shape that, surprisingly enough, resembles a ram’s horn. They reproduce rather quickly and also will dine on plant life in the aquarium. Ramshorn snails can be found in black, red and even in interesting checkered patterns.

- Trumpet: These snails sport spiral shells and can usually be found on aquarium walls just below the water line early in the mornings before the lights are on. These live bearing snails will rarely eat plants but prefer to dine on debris within the substrate instead. This makes the Trumpet snail beneficial as they help keep the tank cleaner by maintaining water quality. The Trumpet snail will usually be hidden during the daytime and emerge at night to feed.

- Pond snail: This snail is distinguishable by its football-like shape and is a species of snail that can easily take over an aquarium if left unattended to. They are generally introduced to aquariums with plants or live food and can reproduce at a rapid rate. The Pond snail is also known to have a taste for plants and can quickly devour most aquatic plant life. Another small snail is the malayan live bearing snail

Apple snail: Apple snails are perhaps the most popular of all aquarium snails and can be beneficial, particularly if the aquarist is breeding fish. There are at least four different species of the Apple snail, three of which are voracious plant eaters. If cared for properly under the right conditions, the Apple snail can grow as large as a tennis ball.

How do aquarium snails get there in the first place?

As with the Pond snail, among many other species, snails can appear in aquariums as if by magic but are actually brought into the tank with plant life or from live foods. Unless they are live bearers, their jelly-like eggs are attached and hidden within the leaves of aquatic plants.

What do aquarium snails eat?

The diet of the aquarium snail depends on its species; some eat plants while others prefer fish food and decaying debris that has sunk to the bottom. Many also prefer a diet of algae, which is why certain snails can be beneficial to aquariums as they help maintain water quality.

What type of fish are compatible tank mates with snails?

Good roommates for aquarium snails include Guppies, Neon Tetras, Danios and White Cloud Minnows, to name a few. These fish are all known to be non-aggressive and cohabitate nicely with the snail.

Which fish eat aquarium snails?

Many aquarists experiencing an unwanted bevy of snails will introduce fish that will naturally take care of the overpopulation problem. Loaches, such as the Clown and Skunk Loach will happily devour snails as well as certain species of Catfish like the Dorid or Banjo Catfish. Puffers will also help keep the snail population at a manageable rate. However, these fish tend to be aggressive and aren’t compatible with just any type of fish. Bettas, most Goldfish, Angelfish and most species of Barbs should be avoided if you want to keep the snails in your aquarium safe.
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