Will Betta Fish Eat My Snails?

Snails can often make for good tank mates. They keep your tank clean, aren’t picky eaters, and they’re overall peaceful shellfish.

Betta fish will eat anything small enough to fit in their mouth including snails. If you are going to add snails to a betta tank, make sure they are big enough to avoid becoming a target of a betta fish looking for an easy meal.

So, if you’re considering getting a fish tank with snails and a certain type of fish, you’ll want to know if they can live together in serenity.

Are you thinking about getting betta fish with the snails? If yes, you’re probably thinking about whether or not they can live together or will betta fish eat my snails?

The good news is that yes, they can live together!

The bad news is that your bettas can eat your snails. However, fear not! We have gathered several tips on how bettas and snails can live together without harming one another.

So get your fish tank ready!

Will Betta Fish Eat Snails?

While snails are pretty peaceful, bettas tend to have a more aggressive temperament.

Because bettas are higher on the food chain, they will try to eat snails—especially snails with thin eye-stalks because they resemble worms.

However, the good news is that snails have shells that are mainly made for their survival.

What happens most of the time, is that a betta fish will attempt to eat the snail but will dislike the taste of the snail’s shell.

This will lead to the fish spitting out the snail. But, if the snail is small enough, the betta fish will end up eating it.

Another thing to note is that you might find the bettas nibbling at the snail’s eye-stalks if they’re long and thin enough. That is mainly because the bettas sometimes mistake a snail’s eyes for worms.

What will end up happening is that the docile snail will crawl back into its shell to keep itself safe from the betta.

White Betta Fish Over Gravel

How to Stop Betta Fish From Eating Snails?

As we mentioned before, bettas can be pretty aggressive. So, if their needs are not met, they’re more likely to act out by harming their tank mates.

There are two main reasons a betta fish might try and eat a snail:

  • The betta fish mistook the snail’s eyes for worms.
  • The betta fish feels hungry or crowded.

If you’d be grouping snails with bettas, you need to make sure that they have enough space to live comfortably.

A good amount to start with is a five-gallon fish tank. As you increase the number of bettas and snails make sure to do the same with the volume.

Moreover, the bettas won’t feel the need to eat any snails if they’re satiated. So, pay attention to their food schedule to make sure they don’t end up hungry enough to resort to eating the snails!

Lastly, bettas might mistake a snail’s eyes for worms so there are two solutions to that problem.

The less the bettas see the snails, the better. So, make sure to decorate your tank with many plants to give the snails multiple hiding spots.

Another alternative is opting for a species of snail that doesn’t have long eye-stalks. That way, the betta won’t mistake them for worms!

Types of Snails That Get Along With Betta Fish

Types of snails that are compatible with bettas aren’t only defined by the length of their eye-stalks though. There are multiple characteristics of certain types of snails that make them the perfect tank mates for betta fish.

What are those characteristics? Read on to find out!

Assassin Snails

Why do assassin snails have such a scary name? Because, they can act as your tank’s very own assassin!

For further elaboration, assassin snails are a species of snail that eats other snails. So, if you overcompensated with the snails in your tank, assassin snails are a good solution.

Although snails are typically peaceful, assassin snails are on the more aggressive end. This comes at an advantage with bettas because they can actually fend for themselves.

Placing a docile snail in a tank with an aggressive betta is not the best decision you can make. So, assassin snails can make for good tankmates when it comes to bettas.

Nerite Snails

Nerite snails are all shell and no eyes! This comes at a great advantage with bettas. Although they’re quite big for a snail, nerite snails have short eye-stalks that won’t be mistaken for worms.

Moreover, their big shells offer great protection against bettas in case they try to attack the snails.

Nerite snails aren’t only compatible with betta fish but they also keep your tank clean. A nerite snail’s diet consists of algae. What are algae? They’re the organisms responsible for that green gunk you might see in your tank.

Nerite snails take care of that by eating them!

Ramshorn Snails

Although ramshorn snails are docile, they reproduce very quickly. So, when your bettas eat them, they’ll already be reproduced snails to make up for them!

Generally speaking, ramshorn snails are small. This makes them easier to eat. But, because of their ability to reproduce quickly, you won’t need to worry about their population decreasing.

Some snails can actually harm your bettas by giving them diseases once eaten. Ramshorn snails are “designer snails” so you don’t need to worry about that with them.

Another benefit of getting ramshorn snails is that they’re also algae eaters. Therefore, they’ll be keeping your tank clean by dinner!

By Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife [CC BY-SA 2.0]

Snails That Don’t Get Along With Betta Fish

Snails that aren’t compatible with bettas share similar qualities. You’ll want to avoid snails that are big or have long eye-stalks like mystery/apple snails.

Because, larger snails are commonly bullied by betta fish since they feel threatened by the snails. Since snails are docile, they are less likely to react, which can harm them.

Another thing to avoid is snails that aren’t “designer” like pest snails. These snails can spread disease to your bettas once they eat the snail.

This will harm both your snails and bettas as infectious diseases will be spread throughout the tank.

Final Remarks

Although you need to worry about the betta fish eating your snails, the problem is manageable!

All you need to do is keep both your snails’ and bettas’ needs met.

Just opt for smaller fish that reproduce quickly. That’ll give your snails the best fighting chances at surviving the bettas.

So, good luck!