How to get rid of pest snails

Ridding an Aquarium Of Pest Snails

Looking for how to get rid of pest snails from your aquarium? You suddenly see a bloom of pest snails in your aquarium and are alarmed! You are not sure of how they even got there in the first place yet you know it could be a big problem.

How Did My Fish Tank Become Filled With Snails?

The fastest way in which these “Pest” snails appear in your aquarium is through hitchhiking into the aquarium via live aquarium plants or the snails can even form in your fish tank via the bowel movements of your fish. This particular snail is a detrivore, meaning they flourish on consuming waste as they feed off aquarium debris in the form of decaying plants, left-over food particles, fish feces, dead fish, and algae. So, as you can tell, a dirty tank might be the culprit as to, “Why is my fish tank suddenly full of snails?”.

pest snails

How Do I Remove Pest Snails From an Aquarium?

Now that you know how the pest snails form and grow in an aquarium, the question becomes, “How do I remove pest snails from the fish tank itself?”.

Snail removal in its entirety is not necessary and can seem impossible. The good news about these snails is they really won’t do more harm than good in your aquarium. The more common snail found in aquariums is the Malaysian Trumpet Snail. They don’t have to lay eggs to increase their numbers as they are “livebearers” and laying eggs in order to procreate is off the table for these obtrusive species of water snail.

Aquatic pest snails in fish tank


Their numbers are the main concern and can overwhelm a fish tank in sheer amounts as they reproduce. The key is to control them as they offer some benefits for your aquarium and your fish. They actively clean your tank and oxygenate your water via your fish tank’s substrate. They also consume algae on the tank’s glass and fish tank decorations which is an added bonus. A common misconception about snails is that they will eat and destroy your live aquarium plants, but this only happens when a plant dies and starts to decay.

When to Get Rid Of Snails In An Aquarium

Once the population of aquarium snails blooms out of control, there will be a need to reduce them rather than exterminate them completely. As mentioned prior, poor tank maintenance is more than likely the culprit for snail overpopulation. That being said, to reduce your snail population over time, the best way to rid your tank of overpopulation is to improve your tank cleaning and aquarium maintenance. Owning fish means tank cleaning is also part of the deal.

If you think you are pretty responsible and good at cleaning a tank, yet you are still seeing a large number of snails in your tank, it might be the intervals at which you are performing regular maintenance. Start incorporating more gravel siphons and remove extra waste that forms. You will want to ensure you are removing uneaten food (Are you feeding your fish too much?), any dead fish, and consider the source of your fish diet.

Switching your fish to a cleaner diet might also help, by removing over-nutrient-rich fish food, for example, will reduce the nutrients n the food and thus reducing the snail’s food source, essentially starving the snail population.

aquarium snail infestation


Aquarium fish tank infestations can seem scary at first, but they are beneficial, to a degree.

After the snails reduce in number, you will appreciate the hard work that they do every day, cleaning up your fish tank. As the snail population dwindles over time, you will be left with a few hardy and larger snails that will pick up any extra work in the form of free meals.

Can I Remove All The Snails From A Fish Tank?

Snails can be beneficial, but at times, you may want to exterminate all of them for whatever reason. If this is the case for you, there are some solutions. The first would be to add to the tank, loaches. These additions are peaceful scavenger-type fish that are not only practical but are a fun addition to any aquarium. They spend their hours floating around the tank eating up tiny particles of leftover food that your fish miss. They prefer to be kept in schools except for some species and are much faster at collecting debris than snails. This results in the snail population starving over time and dying.

Another option is the chemical route. Chemical treatments for snails are available but can also take time to completely eradicate snail populations. I tend to avoid adding extra chemicals to my fish tank and am skeptical of purchasing this. Rather, I prefer the more natural route.

If a natural remedy is preferred, you may also consider adding Assasin Snails into your aquatic environment. These snails are yes, snails, but they will destroy passive snail breeds and do not procreate at the rate that the common Malaysian snail breeds at.

Snail Conclusion

Ultimately, the best way to lower or reduce an aquarium snail issue is through better fish tank maintenance. Better tank management is always a good thing. After all fish health in an aquarium is something we always standby.

Wish to learn more about fish tank cleaning and maintenance tricks? Check out some more articles below:

Fish Tank Cleaning

Cycling A Fish Tank

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