Do Freshwater Snails Need a Filter: Tips in Keeping Freshwater Snails Without Using Aquarium Filters

Freshwater snail (Bithynia) on ponds bottom

No, most freshwater snails do not need a filter. However, some require them. For example, freshwater snails can live without oxygen, provided they have access to clean water and plenty of food. If you decide to keep your freshwater snail without a filter, be sure to change the water every day and provide them with an appropriate habitat.

Keeping Freshwater Snails Without a Filter

How to Keep Snails in an Unfiltered Tank

As mentioned, if you’re keeping your snail in an unfiltered tank, change the water daily and add fresh food once a week. Freshwater snails need water that meets their drinking and swimming needs, so ensure the water you provide meets those needs. 

Provide bedding material such as moist towels or moss, so they feel comfortable when sleeping on the ground. 

Remember to keep an eye on the amount of waste your snail produces and reduce feeding frequency as needed. Monitoring their water intake and ensuring they get the proper food is also essential. 

If you notice any changes in their behavior or health, consult a veterinarian. In the meantime, a filter is not necessary for these animals, but it makes their lives easier. But ultimately, it’s up to you to decide what’s best for your snail and tank!

Adding Plants 

Freshwater snails need water and plants to live, so providing the correct quantity and quality is essential. When adding plants to a tank without a filter, place the plant in the center of the substrate, so it has room to grow and spread its roots outwards. 

Make sure to water regularly and fertilize as needed, considering the plant’s care instructions. Some plants that are safe for freshwater snails to live with include java fern, peace lilies, water hyacinths, and anthuriums.

Keeping Fish With Snails in an Unfiltered Tank

Much freshwater fish can live peacefully with snails, but some are known to be aggressive predators and should not be included in an unfiltered tank mix. If you’ve never kept fish before, read up on how to care for them first. Fish need space, so keep that in mind when choosing your tank size.

Mystery Snails and Aquarium Filters

Filters for Mystery Snails

If you’re planning on breeding your mystery snail population, you must include a filter in your housing plan! A filter can be bought or made from materials like coconut fiber and sandpaper. 

It’s essential to ask your fish store if they need to use a filter for the snail since each animal needs specific nutrients and water conditions to survive. For example, keeping your snail in an aquarium with other animals keeps its environment clean and nutritious by providing fresh food and water. 

Freshwater snails are notorious for spreading algae and bacteria, which can harm plants and other aquarium inhabitants. However, many experts recommend including a filter in the snail’s housing plan. 

There’s some debate about whether freshwater snails need a filter in the first place, but most experts recommend one for healthy snail populations. 

Keeping Mystery Snails in a Fish Tank

Many people keep mystery snails in their fish tanks as they are believed to benefit the ecosystem. 

Make sure to ask an aquarium expert at your local fish store whether or not these snails would be a good fit for your tank before making the purchase. If everything checks out and you’re sure your snail is getting the water and food it needs, you’re ready to add them to your aquarium.

If you’re thinking of adding a freshwater snail such as mystery snails to your aquarium, it’s essential to be aware of their needs. Freshwater snails are grazers and eat detritus and plant material. As such, they may need a properly functioning filter to live a healthy life. 

Freshwater Snail Care

Freshwater snails are unique creatures that deserve to live in a clean and healthy environment. Make sure to change the water and snail food every two weeks, and keep an eye on the snail’s health to make sure it’s flourishing. Snails are filter feeders, so they need a place to live and eat that has clean water.


Freshwater snails need a habitat to live in. This can be anything from a small snail aquarium to a more extensive water garden. Ensure the area your snail is living in is water-proof and free of dirt or algae. 

If the habitat becomes dirty, add aquatic plants to help provide shade and nutrition. Aquarium filters are not necessary for freshwater snails, but a gravel or sand substrate may be beneficial. Freshwater snails should always have clean water, but water temperature and pH should be comfortable for them.

Habitat Size

The habitat size isn’t significant as long as it has enough room to move around and escape danger. A snail’s natural habitat is in moist areas such as rainforests, marshes, swamps, or freshwater streams. As long as your snail can live in a relatively small space and have access to fresh water, any size of aquarium will do. 

Add soil, plants, and stones to a container to create your freshwater snail habitat. Ensure the substrate is constantly wet, so snails have plenty of moisture to drink and stay healthy. Keep the aquarium lit so they can see well in low-light conditions.