Skip to Content

How To Get Rid Of Pest Snails in 7 Easy Ways

Ramshorn, Malaysian trumpet, and bladder snails are commonly referred to as nuisance snails in the aquariums since they breed rapidly and are hard to extract once established.

Live aquatic plants or even the bottom of a pet store fish bag can transport them to your aquarium. As a result, some aquarists soak their plants before planting them by dipping them in a bleach solution.

When you add additional fish to your tank, make sure you don’t add any extra water or material from bags. Regardless of the precautions you take, your tank may become infested. Therefore, in this article, we’ll discuss how to get rid of pest snails.

When one snail can quickly multiply into a swarm, it’s critical to keep even one snail from creating a home in the aquarium. Unfortunately, spotting young snails or snail eggs is extremely difficult, and even the most attentive efforts can be thwarted by a single baby snail burrowing in a plant.

Stopping them from reproducing uncontrollably is similarly challenging but not unattainable if you know the cause of snail infestations.

How To Get Rid Of Pest Snails
Pest Snails via Reddit

How To Get Rid Of Pest Snails: An Aquarium Guide

Some individuals don’t appreciate having their fish tank invaded by the snails to the point that they begin to cover the glass surfaces. However, most people aren’t prepared to go full-on hardcore snail eradication.

Even though you might love your fish tank, it’s difficult to justify massive expenditures on products and materials. Therefore, test any of these 7 tried-and-tested strategies to keep the aquarium snail populations in check while keeping things healthy and safe for your fish.

Avoid Overfeeding

You don’t need to feed your fish that much, especially if you have snails in the aquarium. Despite their quick reproduction cycle, they can only produce new pups if well fed.

As a result, feed your fish enough food to be entirely digested within just a few minutes. Fewer meals also mean your fish produce less waste for them to consume.

Furthermore, higher-quality feeds, such as live, freeze-dried, and frozen items, are more conceivable to be consumed fully by the fish in the tank, leaving relatively few residues for snails.

Overfeeding causes uneaten food to rot and may result in ammonia toxicity. Snails can eat some of the uneaten fish food. You can also quickly remove uneaten food with a fishnet.

Keep the Tank Maintained

Algae is going to grow in your aquarium. A little is truly beneficial. However, a lot of it can wreak havoc on your aquarium and possibly endanger your fish.

It also serves as a food source for your snails, allowing them to thrive. To get rid of algae, manually scrape it off the glass, restrict the amount of light in your tank, and avoid overfeeding.

You can’t rely on an algae-eating fish to do the work for you; you’ll have to do it yourself, but it’s not as difficult as you may think. 

Change the Water Regularly

Clean water is perhaps the most crucial aspect of keeping an aquarium healthy. Chemicals from fish excrement, decomposing food, and rotting plant materials can accumulate in the tank and kill the fish.

Your snail population’s expanding bioload will exacerbate the problem. Fix the problem by changing the water regularly. A 15-20% weekly water change is a good objective for a fish tank without live plants.

You can lower this to every other week or even monthly if you have living plants.

How To Get Rid Of Pest Snails 2
How To Get Rid Of Pest Snails? via Reddit

Use Hands or a Device to Remove Snails Manually

Gradually depriving the snails of food may take a long time, so take advantage of any physical opportunity to remove snails. The simplest method is to take them out one at a time with your hands.

You can also utilize a length of siphon hose to draw the snails up into a pail between water changes if the snails are tiny enough. In case you happen to see any snails on the wall of the aquarium while passing by, you may quickly catch them with a snail catcher without making your hands wet.

Using Snail Trap

Malaysian trumpet snails and other species are nocturnal and prefer to hide in the substrate; therefore, gathering them from the tank may not be easy.

In that scenario, use some tasty veggies as bait to attract the snails. Drop a cucumber, carrot, zucchini, or cabbage into the tank overnight, and the vegetable will be loaded with snails by the next morning, ready to be removed.

You can also place the food in a homemade snail trap (like a container having holes in the lid large enough for snails to penetrate but small enough for fish to get through) so that the snails can’t readily escape even when they’re full.

Utilize Snail Predators

If you have a snail-eating fish, then pest snails are in increased demand since they give enrichment and necessary nutrition for the species to demonstrate its innate hunting behaviour.

Snails are a favourite food of nearly all freshwater pufferfish, including the tiniest pea puffer and the colossal Mbu puffer, and the crispy texture of their shells can assist in grinding down the pufferfish’s teeth and keep them from becoming too long.

Clown, yoyo, zebra, and dwarf chain loaches, for example, can pierce their shells and suck out the innards using their sharp snouts.

Larger animals, such as turtles and Oscars, also appreciate molluscs, so save a few for them. Finally, you can also employ a 1-inch carnivorous assassin snail that feeds exclusively on other snails. 

Using Chemicals to Kill Snails

Copper sulfate is the most frequent fish-safe chemical used to kill snails. If you use this, you must carefully follow the instructions on the bottle to ensure that your fish withstand the treatment.

This will almost always result in a major snail die-off, which will pollute your aquarium. If this is the case, you’ll need to spend some time cleaning dead snails and changing the water to keep your fish as well as any live plants healthy.

Chemicals should only be used as a last option after other natural options have been exhausted. 

Final Remarks 

Snails are one unpleasant occupant of an aquarium. Snails, or their eggs, enter aquariums by live plants, aquarium décor carried from one tank to the other mucky, new fish arriving in a bag of water, or transportation on meshes from tank to tank.

One snail is all it takes to start a vast population. These molluscs multiply swiftly, and a tank can quickly become overrun. Learning how to get rid of pest snails is important to the health of an aquarium.

Eliminating snails is not always possible, but you can stop them from becoming a problem by being careful about what you add to the tank.

Any new plant or rock should be washed well before being added to an aquarium, and all equipment used in one tank should be thoroughly cleaned before being used in another.

If you find snails in your tank, there are several ways to get rid of them. It will take a bit of time and effort to get rid of them, but it will all be worth it to have a snail-free tank.