What fish or invertebrates eat snails? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-31-2016, 06:45 PM Thread Starter
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Question What fish or invertebrates eat snails?

More specifically, what fish or invertebrates that would thrive in my Mini M (21L) tank eat snails? Nearing the end of my dry-start I noticed a few small snails, but just didn't feel like hunting and pecking around for them. Now that I've flooded the tank, the rest have come out of the woodwork and I'm thinking my first addition of fauna should be something that would have a field day with the snails. I've heard about Assassin Snails. I'd prefer to stay away from snails for aesthetic reasons. Any ideas?
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-31-2016, 07:00 PM
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Originally Posted by mrnvgtr View Post
More specifically, what fish or invertebrates that would thrive in my Mini M (21L) tank eat snails? Nearing the end of my dry-start I noticed a few small snails, but just didn't feel like hunting and pecking around for them. Now that I've flooded the tank, the rest have come out of the woodwork and I'm thinking my first addition of fauna should be something that would have a field day with the snails. I've heard about Assassin Snails. I'd prefer to stay away from snails for aesthetic reasons. Any ideas?
A lot of loaches will eat snails as well as puffers.

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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-31-2016, 07:56 PM
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I think for your size tank, assassin snails are the best choice, maybe some small loaches.
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-31-2016, 08:55 PM
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A dwarf freshwater puffer would be great! You would just need to move him out before adding any other fish.

Ain't nothin' better than a dwarf puffer to greet you at the door!
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-31-2016, 09:04 PM
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A Betta would eat them, but not to the point of extinction. There would still be some, but they usually get big enough to pick out by hand. But then you would have to resign yourself to keeping a spoiled only child in your tank.
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-31-2016, 09:31 PM
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I think for your size tank, assassin snails are the best choice, maybe some small loaches.
Agreed. You would only need maybe 1-2 Assassin Snails to completely wipe out other snails in a tank that size.
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-01-2016, 04:46 AM Thread Starter
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Of the ones suggested, I like the idea of dwarf puffers or loaches. However, in researching dwarf Puffers, it sounds like they're the ultimate snail killers but that would pretty much limit me to that one species. I think with loaches I have more possibilities with compatible tank mates. Thanks for the ideas!
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-02-2016, 01:59 AM
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Of the ones suggested, I like the idea of dwarf puffers or loaches. However, in researching dwarf Puffers, it sounds like they're the ultimate snail killers but that would pretty much limit me to that one species. I think with loaches I have more possibilities with compatible tank mates. Thanks for the ideas!
Keep in mind most loaches are social fish, and do best in groups. In that small of an aquarium, you may be looking at a species-only setup.
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-02-2016, 07:33 PM
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I really can't recommend loaches in a 21L tank, there's no species that can live in a groups in a tank that small. Assassin snails are definitely the way to go.


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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-03-2016, 10:55 PM Thread Starter
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In my head all this time, I was actually thinking more like dwarf loaches. Agreed that loaches in general get too large for my tank. How about the much smaller dwarf loaches?
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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-04-2016, 12:07 AM Thread Starter
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Actually, I'm finding the Dwarf Chain Loach and Zebra Loach are still quite large for my setup. However, check this out.

Rosy Loach (25 - 30mm)




Panda Loach (50 - 60mm)


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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-04-2016, 12:21 AM
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I wouldn't rule out assassin snails if I were you. It won't take many to wipe out your snail population and afterwards you can always pick them out of the tank.

Just make sure you don't have snails in your filter. I've had that happen before and after I thought they were wiped out they just came right back.
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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-04-2016, 01:02 PM
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I had a couple of dwarf loaches. They didn't eat a single snail as far as I could tell. They did nip at other fish though.

I had much better luck with assassin snails. They cleaned out the pond snails I had and I haven't seen a new one in several weeks at least.

Plus, it's easier to remove assassins if you want (say to have nerites down the road) rather than trying to catch a loach.
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-07-2016, 09:14 PM
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Fish that I've witnessed eating snails in 3 gallon (11L) tanks: Betta splendens, Macropodus opercularis, Gambusia holbrooki, Brachyrhaphis terrabensis. Thrive? I've bred the 1st 3 in 3g tanks. (I consider breeding thriving.)

I notice a troubling trend in modern aquarium keepers, where the measure of welfare seems to be steeped solely in terms of survival: if the fishes live, things are good, if the fishes die, things are bad. It is an inappropriate position to take. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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