Swordtails will eat snails if they have to, but snails aren’t integral parts of their diet. They’ll only eat them if food is scarce or if the snails are tiny and appealing. However, you can still protect the snails easily by taking preventative measures.
If you don’t already know this, swordtails are omnivorous, which means they’ll eat anything given a chance. Unfortunately, they eat plants and animals alike, so there isn’t anything in the tank that’s safe from their teeth.
Having said that, swordtails usually stick to their diet as long as you provide enough food. They’ll only look for alternatives if their food is running low.
If you want to know more about the matter, here’s everything you need to know.
Will Swordtails Eat Snails?
Swordtails are voracious eaters, so yes, there’s a high chance they’ll eat the snails in your tank. That’s mainly because snails are tiny and don’t move around much. So, they’re an easy target, even for small swordtails.
Swordtails will only eat snails when they can’t find enough food, though. Therefore, it’s easy to prevent such a situation from happening.
Will Swordtails Eat All Snails in Your Tank?
If your swordtails are into snails, chances are they’ll only eat the small ones. They’ll hardly try to munch on a large snail. So, as a way of keeping your swordtails from eating snails, you can only get large ones.
Generally, try to choose large snails, but not too large that they’ll fill up your tank and make it hard for your fish to move. Remember that swordtails are active and sometimes tend to swim backward. So they need a large room to live in.
Aside from the size, try to choose peaceful snails that won’t cause issues in the tank. They should also be hardy enough to handle harsh conditions.
Will Swordtails Eat Snails’ Hard Shells?
Chances are, your swordtails won’t be able the eat the hard shells that snails have surrounding their bodies. When they sense trouble, the snails will duck into their shells to stay protected. If they do that, the swordtails won’t get inside and eat them.
They may try to nibble at the shell, but they’ll ditch it when they find that they can’t digest it.
Swordtails may only eat hard shells if the snails are too small because they’ll eat them as a whole.
How to Prevent Swordtails From Eating Snails
You can easily protect the tiny snails in your tank by taking some precautionary measures. Here’s a rundown of necessary steps to take.
Make Sure to Feed the Swordtail Enough
Swordtails are more likely to feed on snails and live plants in the tank when they do not have enough food themselves. That’s why you can easily protect your snails by making sure the swordtails are fed sufficiently.
These fellows need to be fed twice a day, and they love vegetables and algae. So if you make sure to provide them well, the snails will keep their lives intact.
Provide Plants for Hiding
Swordtails won’t eat snails if they can’t find them. If you provide hiding spots in the tank, the snails will stay hidden from the swordtails most of the time, and the risk of being eaten becomes less.
To do that, you can add some plants to your tank. Choose dense plants that snails can hide behind, such as java moss or water sprite. You can also add java fern. But keep in mind that swordtails may nibble on some of these plants. They won’t do significant damage, though.
If you don’t want plants, you can always add decorative props to the tank instead.
Keep the Water Parameters Balanced
Although the water parameters aren’t directly related to your fish’s feeding habits, they can keep the fish calm. If the water is too cold or if the pH is lower than it should be, the fish may get stressed and start feeding on live plants and snails in the tank.
To maintain balanced parameters, make sure the temperature doesn’t exceed 79 F degrees, which is the safe range for swordtails. On top of that, the pH shouldn’t go over 8.5.
You should also track the oxygen and ammonia levels to ensure they don’t go too high or too low.
Separate the Aggressive Swordtails
While peaceful and submissive swordtails won’t do anything to bother your snails, the aggressive ones may do. In this case, the best approach to keep a calm tank is to separate the aggressive ones.
Some swordtails are dominant by nature, and they’ll try to assert their dominance by bothering the other fish in the tank and eating the snails.
To keep a peaceful tank, it’s better to keep them alone or install a tank divider to close their access to the snails.
What Do Swordtails Eat?
Swordtails are omnivorous species, so they eat whatever animals or plants they can get their hands on. Their diet should include a lot of veggies and plenty of protein, and they love algae as well.
Young swordtails can only eat vegetables, but adult ones will need protein-rich meat in their diet.
If you have enough algae for them, it’ll be enough for their main food. You can then add some vegetables a couple of times a week. Most swordtails accept zucchinis, peas, and cucumbers after they’re boiled.
Generally, peas are among the best options for swordtails because they contain a lot of plant fibers.
If you want to feed them meat, you can get them commercial fish food to ensure it’s safe. Fish can’t eat meat unless it’s properly cooked.
Will swordtails eat snails? Given a chance, yes, they would. In fact, they’d attempt to eat any snails and live plants in your tank if the food is scarce. So, to protect your snails, make sure to provide the fish with enough food.
You can also make sure to choose only large snails for your tank. Swordtails will hardly try to challenge a large snail, seeing as they won’t be able to get past the hard shell.