skip to content
Skip to content

Welcome to Micro Aquatic Shop! Let's visit our best selling collection Shop Now ➜

Beginners Guide

Fish tank snails - beneficial or harmful?

by Catherine Tran 01 Sep 2023 0 Comments

Fish tank snails are a good addition to your tank. But sometimes you will wonder “I didn't buy snails but why do I have snails in my tank? Where do they come from?" This article will tell you why the appearance of aquarium snails and ways to prevent them from entering the tank.

Small snails or snail eggs that enter the aquarium hide are often found in plants, rocks, and decorations. To prevent them from entering, quarantine newly purchased aquatic plants.

Snails are a beneficial part of the aquarium ecosystem but can be a nuisance in the long run because they reproduce in large numbers in a short time, affecting the fish.

Small snails in the aquarium - what are they?


When setting up the tank, you will get a tank big enough for your fish and maybe a little more space for them to swim freely.

When these small snails enter such a tank, the tank will be overcrowded, causing biological overload and adversely affecting the fish. The snails can breed in large numbers, flooding the tank and you will have a hard time controlling them.

Unfortunately, these little snails will always successfully find their way into the tank. They will hide on decorations, new aquatic plants or rocks. They will appear as young snails or eggs and it will take a while for you to notice because they will burrow into the substrate and only come out when the lights are off.

Some invasive snail species include:

1️⃣Snail Pond.


They are freshwater snails that can grow up to 2.5 - 6.3 cm long. They are dark brown or light brown and are more active at night. They eat algae, decaying plants and fish leftovers. They are hermaphrodites that can reproduce on their own.

2️⃣Snails (not freshwater snails).


To some extent very helpful for the aquarium ecosystem as they will clear algae, dead plants and fish leftovers.

However, they overwhelm the tank for a short time, rendering the fish uninhabitable. This is a very serious pest in your tank that requires quick action before it starts breeding.

What to do if a snail infestation in the aquarium?

Snail infestation is a headache no aquarist wants to go through, but it's hard to avoid. Here are measures to control snails in your aquarium:

New plant quarantine.

Since snails will enter the tank by hiding in plants and decorations, you can isolate the plants in a separate tank, find the snails and eggs, and then remove them. You can use chemicals to kill snails and get rid of them if they are in large quantities.

For stones and other decorations, you can clean them with running water until the snails or eggs are removed. Put them back into the aquarium when you are sure the plants are free of snails or their eggs.

Do not overfeed the fish.

Snails, like the mysterious snail, eat algae and fish leftovers. Feeding your fish food they can consume in less than 5 minutes will ensure there is no leftover food for harmful snails.

You can add yoyo loach to the tank so that they can eat young snails, helping to limit the uncontrolled growth of snails in the tank.


Snail trap.

You can trap harmful snails in a variety of ways, and traps are available at pet stores.

You can use a box with a lid, with a hole just enough for the snail to get in, and then put the cucumber inside to suck the snail in. Make sure the holes are not large enough to fit fish or snails when full.

Snail killer chemicals.

You can also use chemicals to kill invasive snails. However, you need to be careful because they can affect the fish and shrimp in the community tank. Do not use chemicals if there are other types of fish tank snails.

Are snails in an aquarium good?


Snails are great creatures to add to an aquarium because they bring so much colour, eat algae and clean the water. Freshwater snails such as mystery snails, nerite snails and apple snails are worth keeping. However, no one will want snails to invade their aquarium.

The good side of the snail.


Helps aerate the substrate: Most harmful snails will burrow in the substrate. This will help prevent the build-up of gasses that are harmful to the fish environment in the tank.

Tank cleaning: Snails will eat algae, fish leftovers, and rotting plants to aid in the cleaning.

The harm of a snail.

They are fast breeder shiny and will fill the tank in a short time.

They release a lot of biological loads, which means you will have to clean the tank more often.

In large numbers, they will massively eat algae competing with other algae-eating fish and shrimp species.

Most of them will clog the filter, inlet filter and impeller.

Final thought.

Freshwater snails are well worth adding to your tank, but snails need to limit their spawning to keep your community tank healthy.

If you have any questions regarding snails, contact us now!

Micro Aquatic Shop - The Fish Stores Near Me.

Unit 15, 2-8 Daniel Street, Wetherill Park, NSW 2164

Customer support: (02) 8320 3037


Prev Post
Next Post

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.

Someone recently bought a

Thanks for subscribing!

This email has been registered!

Shop the look

Choose Options

Micro Aquatic Shop
Sign up for exclusive updates, new arrivals & insider only discounts

Recently Viewed

Edit Option
Back In Stock Notification
this is just a warning
Shopping Cart
0 items