Snail Eating Freshwater Fish: Most Effective Aquarium Snail-Eaters

Snails are a significant food source for many fish species, providing meat and shellfish-like nutrients; however, a snail population that is out of control can be a major ecological problem in an aquarium. Not only do they eat the fish, but their droppings can also create breeding grounds for bacteria and debris, which can impair the health of your fish. Some freshwater fish, such as loaches, gouramis, and catfish, can consume snails easily due to their small size.

The Importance of Picking the Right Fish to Control Snail Population

Not all freshwater fish will eat snails, so you must research the particular species you’re considering before purchasing. Once you have determined which fish will eat snails, it’s time to consider both size and type. Some of the best choices are gouramis and loaches, small enough to fit in small aquariums but big enough to eat snails. 

It’s also essential to pick the right freshwater fish for your home aquarium. Aquariums usually require adaptable fish that can live in a wide range of water temperatures, so make sure to choose a fish that is compatible with your aquarium setup.

Freshwater Fish That Eat Snail

The list below includes some of the most common freshwater fish that eat snails.

Yoyo Loach

A yoyo loach can eat snails and help control their population, leading to water pollution and other environmental problems. Additionally, they are a good choice for smaller aquariums as they can fit in tight spaces.


The rainbowfish is another freshwater fish that is great at eating snails. They have a comprehensive diet and eat almost anything, making them ideal for controlling snail populations. Rainbowfishes usually live in warm water environments, so adding one to your tank should also help to control snail numbers there.

Striped Raphael Catfish

The striped Raphael catfish is excellent for those who want to control snail populations but don’t have room for a larger fish. They are small enough to fit in most aquariums and can eat just about anything, making them ideal candidates for controlling snail numbers.


Gouramis make great choices when eating snails as they have a wide range of diet options and can stomach small and large prey items. Additionally, they are usually peaceful fish that will not harass other tankmates.

Clown Loach

The clown loach is another fish that can eat snails and help control their population. They are peaceful fish that can fit in most aquariums, making them an ideal choice for those who want to control snail populations without using a larger fish.

Dwarf Chain Loach

If you have a snail problem in your aquarium and want to try adding dwarf chain loach fish to help regulate the population, be aware that these fish can get out of control and eat other fish as well as slugs and snails. In captivity, they are known to eat slugs and snails, so keep an eye on them if you add them.

Bala Shark

The Bala shark is not often used to control snail populations as they are not well-suited for live food choices, but they make a great choice when controlling them in aquaria. They have giant mouths that can take down large prey items, and their natural environment is freshwater, so you don’t need to worry about whether or not these fish will be able to stomach slug eggs.

Zebra Loach

The zebra loach is another excellent choice for controlling snail populations as they are often used to eating slugs and snails. They are schooling fish that can be kept in most aquariums, making them an affordable way to control snail numbers without buying a large fish.

Cory Catfish

The cory catfish is another fish that can eat slugs and snails. They are a popular choice in home aquariums because they have giant mouths that make them well-suited to eating prey items. They are peaceful fish that can fit most aquaria without causing too much trouble.


Goldfish are not typically used to control snail populations, but they make a great choice when there are no other fish options. Goldfish feed on plant and animal matter, so they can eat slug eggs if necessary.

Green Spotted Puffer

A green spotted puffer can eat snails in your aquarium. In addition, they make an excellent choice for keeping snail populations under control as they have sharp spines on their bodies that can quickly dispatch these pests.

Betta Fish

The betta fish has a reputation for being one of the best live food choices for aquariums, and they are also well-suited to eating slugs and snails. Additionally, they make a great addition to any fish tank as they are often docile and easy to care for.

Alternative Ways to Control Snails

When it comes to snail control, there are many options available. However, it’s essential to test different methods before settling on a particular one. One option is to use a slug and snail bait station. This will help you attract slugs and snails to your area so that you can quickly dispatch them with a pest controller or handheld slug gun.

Another choice is to use liquid pesticide products. These products should be diluted before being used as they can be harmful if not handled correctly. However, these products are often more effective than manual methods and kill both slug snail populations within days or weeks.

Keep It Clean

Keeping your fish tank clean is essential for their overall well-being. Not only will they appreciate it, but snails can also leave behind snail droppings which can contaminate the water in the tank.

Worse still, if you have an algae population thriving due to snail consumption, these critters might ruin everything for your fish – and there’s nothing you can do about it!

So keep a close eye on your tank – and don’t hesitate to get rid of pesky snails when they start behaving abnormally. In addition to all this mess, having too many snails, in general, could impact the health of fish inside their aquariums, plants, and aquatic invertebrates!

The Lettuce Leaf Trick

If you’re trying to figure out how to get rid of snails from your garden, one option is to try the lettuce leaf trick. This method involves planting some lettuce near the area where you want them gone and then slowly moving away any food sources over time.

This will force them into starvation or migration, where most snail populations eventually die off – either due to lack of food or because they’re getting too close to people or other animals.

Pick Them Out

The most effective way to get rid of snail populations is by using manual methods such as sniping them with a shotgun. However, this method is not always practical or safe, so it’s important to consider other options first.

One successful option many people find is using slug pellets – small balls made of lead and clay that quickly kill slug and snail populations. Place these pellets around your aquarium or garden area and wait for the snails to come into contact with them.

How to Keep Snails Out of Your Aquarium

Using Snail Filters

Keeping snails out of your aquarium is essential for fish and snail-free aquariums. One way to do this is by using snail filters. These small, water-proof units keep snails out of the aquarium by trapping them and their eggs. You can also feed freshwater fish to snails to keep them away.

Grow Tissue Culture Plants

Grow tissue culture plants to help control snail population growth. These plants are easy to maintain and can help to restore balance in the ecosystem by attracting and eating snails.

Sterilize Your Plants

Another way to control snail population growth is by sterilizing your plants. This process kills all the snails and their eggs on the plant, which will help reduce populations.

Chemical Treatments

Some people also use chemical treatments to control snail populations. These treatments kill the snails and their eggs but can also adversely affect other aquatic life. Be sure to consult with a professional before using these methods.