Do Cory Catfish Eat Snails?

Cory catfish occasionally eat tiny snails, but this is not their preferred food. Corys consume crushed snails, immature snails, snail larvae, and eggs because they are small and soft enough to eat. They don’t eat mature, live snails unless the fish can’t find alternative food sources.

Cory catfish and snails make excellent additions to freshwater aquariums. While corys are well-known for being excellent community fish that co-habit peacefully with other species, you might wonder if they will eat snails. Let’s examine the nuances of cory’s snail consumption in more detail.

Will Cory Catfish Eat The Snails In Your Tank?

Cory catfish are not prolific snail-eaters like loaches or gouramis, but they may consume certain types of snails at specific stages of the mollusks life cycle.

Corys are small fish that range from 1 to 4.5 inches in length (depending on the species). Cory catfish usually don’t attempt to eat living, mature snails because the adults are large, and their shells are too hard for the fish to eat comfortably.

Cory catfish do, however, consume dead adult snails with crushed shells, as the fish can digest them more easily.

Cory catfish occasionally eat tiny, soft baby snails, but this generally occurs when the fish don’t have alternative food sources.

As scavengers, corys are most likely to consume snail larvae and eggs, as these provide nutrient-rich, tender, bite-size morsels for the fish.

When cory catfish have an ample supply of their favorite foods, they usually leave the snails in their tank alone, though they might eat snail eggs and larvae when scavenging.

Peppered Cory Catfish

Which Snail Eggs Do Cory Catfish Eat?

Cory catfish eat the eggs of some snail species but not others. In general, corys will eat most types of snail eggs, provided these reproductive structures are soft and small enough for the fish to chew and swallow.

Cory catfish do not usually eat nerite (neritina sp.) and mystery (pomacea sp.) snail eggs. These popular freshwater aquarium snail species produce eggs that are too tough and big for corys to consume.

The fact that mystery snails lay their eggs above the water surface is another reason why corys leave them alone.

Pond snails (species in the lymnaeidae family) lay eggs that cory catfish enjoy eating. The translucent eggs of pond snails are tiny and delicate compared to those of nerite and mystery snails, so corys can consume them easily.

Pond snails mostly lay their eggs on the underside of plant leaves, making them readily accessible to scavenging corys looking for a snack.

How To Feed Snails To Cory Catfish?

If you have an overabundance of adult snails and wish to reduce (or eradicate) their population, feed them to your corys.

The method is simple. All you need to do is squish the snails, so the corys can access the snail meat without penetrating the mollusks’ rock-solid shells. Chopping big snail specimens into little pieces also helps cory catfish to consume them.

Which Fish Eat Snails?

While cory catfish are willing to eat snails in certain circumstances, other freshwater aquarium fish are known to have a more voracious appetite for mollusks.

Pufferfish

There are several popular freshwater species of pufferfish, such as dwarf, Nile, and green-spotted puffers, all of which have a natural fondness for eating snails.

In the wild, pufferfish consume mollusks as one of their primary sources of food. Pufferfish love eating snails so much that they are often used to clear up snail infestations in aquariums.

Loach

Loaches are renowned for their snail-eating proficiency. Most loach species have the characteristic elongated snout, which makes them excel at eating snails because these fish can penetrate the shells to access the snail meat.

Some of the most voracious snail-eating varieties include dwarf, zebra, and yoyo loaches.

Goldfish

Goldfish are one of the most widely-kept freshwater aquarium fish, and they enjoy eating snails.

These fish are usually too small to eat adult snails of larger species like nerite, but goldfish happily consume mature, living snails if the mollusks are small enough to fit into the fishes’ mouths.

In addition, goldfish will consume dead snails that their owners feed them. Goldfish also favor snail eggs as an intermittent delicacy.

Cichlid

Cichilid species are sizable, confident fish that are proficient at consuming snails, whether the mollusks are large or small, living or dead.

Oscars and other common cichlids have generously proportioned mouths and powerful jaws, making it easy for them to devour snails. Indeed, cichilids are so adept at eating snails that you might want to keep them in separate tanks if you wish the mollusks alive.

What Does My Cory Catfish Eat?

Aside from occasionally eating tiny, immature snails and snail eggs, what are the other foods that cory catfish eat as part of their usual diet?

Cory catfish are bottom-dwelling scavengers that eat a varied diet of meat and plant-based foods. These heavy-feeding fish mostly prefer protein-rich foods, but they are not picky (due to their scavenging nature).

To maintain their optimal health, here are some appropriate foods for corys:

  • shrimp pellets,
  • flakes,
  • algae wafers,
  • live and frozen brine shrimp (as an occasional snack).

Live and frozen blackworms and bloodworms are strongly recommended for corys (though not as a daily meal). Cory catfish love eating these nutritious, protein-rich worms, which are highly beneficial for the fish’s health.

Bear in mind that sinking foods are best for corydoras species as the fish spend most of their time at the bottom of the tank.

Observe the cory catfish and their tank-mates during feeding time, to ensure the corys can access sufficient amounts of food. Larger fish in the upper water column often intercept food before it reaches the cory cats at the bottom of the tank, which can lead to corys becoming malnourished or even starving.

Conclusion

Cory catfish are omnivorous, scavenging fish that enjoy a varied diet, but they generally do not eat live, mature aquarium snails. Corys will, however, consume adult snails if you crush and chop the mollusks up.

They are more eager to consume snail eggs and larvae, which are significantly smaller and softer than full-grown snails. Cory catfish have a particular fondness for pond snail eggs, but the fish won’t eat eggs laid by Nerite and mystery snails because these are too hard and large.