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Do Angelfish Eat Snails? (Nerite, Mystery & Others)

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So many times, I’ve encountered unanticipated snails in my tank. In some cases, due to the natural sense it brought the aquarium, I liked it. However, in most parts, I wished to get rid of them. Since I like growing angelfish, I began asking myself the inevitable question; do angelfish eat snails?

Angelfish do not eat snails, because in most cases, they are too big to fit in their mouths. Nevertheless, on some occasions, they might nibble on relatively small ones – that is due to their cichlids’ omnivorous characteristics.

The best way to know how your angelfish will behave is by getting familiar with the different kinds of snails. As you will see later on, each one will react differently around angelfish.

Will Angelfish Eat Snails?

Angelfish are somewhat aggressive. While this isn’t true for every angelfish you find, their aggressive tendencies are well known. As such, they will eat anything they can fit in their mouths. However, angelfish have no real interest in snails, especially in the larger ones.

You may hear some angelfish owners complain that their angelfish ate the antennae of their snails. In other cases, they might nibble on relatively smaller snails. But for the most part, angelfish and snails can live harmoniously in the same tank.

Some snails are an accident, and they can become a problem for your tank. But some people choose to raise snails for one reason or another. Either way, it is essential to get familiar with the snails’ characteristics. This way, you’ll be able to tell how your angelfish will behave among them.

Snails That Angelfish Eat

1. Nerite Snails

These snails are quite popular among aquarium enthusiasts. This is because they consume algae faster and more efficiently than most other creatures.[1] As such, you can trust them to keep your tank clean. They are compatible with both fresh and saltwater.

Unlike their Malaysian counterparts, freshwater tends to stunt the reproduction of these snails. This is perfect for your freshwater angelfish because you don’t have to worry about the snails overrunning your tank. 

Nerite snails can adapt to most aquarium conditions so long as you can meet their voracious appetite for algae. They are friendly, compatible with most fish and shrimp. They also come in exciting colors that are bound to rejuvenate the appearance of your tank.

2. Assassin Snails

These ones reproduce quite quickly, so their numbers could become a threat. That being said, some people love them because of their appearance. They are sometimes called ‘bumblebee snails’ because they have stripes of yellow and brown across their shells. This makes them exciting additions to most tanks, at least in terms of their aesthetic value.

Their other name, Assassin, can be attributed to the fact that they eat smaller snails, what some people call pest snails. If they have the numbers, they can even attack much bigger snails. This makes them appealing to people who want to control the snail population in their tank.

As far as their relationship with angelfish is concerned, there is no definitive answer. Many breeders will tell you that their assassin snails live peacefully with angelfish.

But a few have reported incidents where their snails have been eaten. For the most part, the chances of angelfish eating your assassin snails are low. But it can happen.

As far as breeding is concerned, you need a male and a female. You must also feed them sufficiently. In the right conditions, as mentioned above, they can become a problem. They have no problem with cold or even freezing temperatures. 

3. Golden Inca Snails

Inca snails prefer aquariums with friendly fish. Angelfish are friendly. But they also have aggressive tendencies that could endanger your snails. So you might be better off keeping the Inca snails elsewhere. 

They have an appealing yellow color. Besides their appearance, people love these snails because they eat algae at a rate that exceeds that of most other snails. They will remain active in the day and at night.

So they can be trusted to keep your tank sufficiently clean. In fact, some have argued that they are the best tank cleaners in the world. That being said, they have voracious appetites.

If they eat all the algae in the tank, they might eventually turn to your plants. You need to keep them fed with additional vegetables. Otherwise, they could become a problem. You should know that they produce a significant amount of waste. But they are easy to care for, which is why beginners are encouraged to get them. 

4. Pond Snails

You rarely find people growing Pond snails. They are a nuisance, which is why people panic when they see them in the tank. Pond snails will lay their eggs on everything in your aquarium. 

Their breeding rate is also a problem – they could quickly overrun your angelfish’s habitat. However, they are also the size of peas. So the chances of your angelfish eating them are quite high.

The same goes for ramshorn snails, which have spiral-shaped shells. Their reproduction rate is manageable, and they can live peacefully in aquariums. But angelfish can still eat them if push comes to shove.

Snails That Angelfish Don’t Eat

1. Malaysian Trumpet Snails

These are very common in aquariums. People love them because they remove waste. They are no threat to your living plants. They are inexpensive, easy to care for, and they can be trusted to stick to their food. They are beneficial to most tanks in which they are placed.

First of all, the fact that they love to burrow allows them to aerate the sand and gravel in the tank, releasing pockets of gas. Secondly, they will poop in the sand and gravel, providing fertilization and enabling your plants to stay healthy for more extended periods. Thirdly, they don’t mind dirty water.

That being said, they could become a problem for your angelfish. Even though these snails live for only a year or two, the females can reproduce without the males, and they reproduce quite effectively. 

Unless you take steps to reduce their numbers, they could overrun your tank. Do not count on your angelfish to simply eat them. Angelfish tend to ignore Malaysian Trumpet snails.

2. Mystery Snails

Mystery snails give birth to live snails rather than eggs. You will find them in a lot of fresh water tanks, which is where angelfish live because they eat algae at a decent rate. 

Growing to a maximum size of 2 inches and available in a variety of colors with distinct whorls on their shells, mystery snails tend to escape tanks.[2] So you must remember to close the lid. Otherwise, you might wake up to find them gone. 

It doesn’t take much to keep them alive. In the right conditions, they can get quite large, which makes your angelfish less likely to eat them. 

Their diet tends to consist of the leftover food of your fish and other forms of waste. So you can trust them to keep your fish tank clean. You still need to clean the tank, but the task isn’t as arduous.

3. Apple Snails

If you want snails in your tank, but you are worried that they might become a snack for your angelfish, consider introducing apple snails. They can reach 6 inches in size, which makes them giants in the world of snails. Angelfish cannot eat them.

The fact that they have lungs and gills means that they can survive in water and out of it. You can find them in several colors, which gives you options concerning energizing the appearance of your tank. If your objective is to keep your tank clean, Apple snails can eat rotting vegetation.

But you should also know that some of them even eat healthy plants. They produce plenty of waste. Keep that in mind, before introducing them to your tank. They could create more problems than they solve.

Any individual that has apple snails has to change their water every week. That being said, they do a decent job of eating algae. This makes them useful to some people.

4. Sulawesi Snails

These snails bring the same advantage to the table as the nerite snail. Granted, they are not quite as voracious in the way they eat algae. In fact, that is one purpose for which you shouldn’t necessarily depend on them.

That being said, they are peaceful creatures, unlikely to antagonize the other inhabitants of your tank, which is why angelfish are less likely to eat them. They are also quite slow in the area of reproduction.

5. Ivory Mystery Snail

Ivory mystery snails have white shells with a creamy tinge. They are happy to consume the leftover fish food they find in the tank. They will also eat algae, fish flakes and pellets, and any vegetables you might choose to add to the water.

The fact that they grow to relatively large sizes means that ivory snails won’t be the first choice of food for your angelfish. 

That being said, large fish tend to show aggression towards bigger snails. And if your angelfish have grown to larger sizes than average, this could become a problem for your largest ivory fish. Angelfish do not always attack other creatures because they want to eat them.

Where do Snails Come From?

Some people do not have snails in their tanks. So it always comes as a surprise when they wake up one random morning to find that their tank has a snail or two.

That surprise often turns to shock when, not long after, those few snails multiply rapidly, turning their tank into an unsightly mess. They cannot help but wonder where the snails came from.

You can inadvertently introduce snails to your tank through the live plants you keep adding.[3] Snails produce microscopic eggs. So you won’t notice them when buying the plants. 

The same goes for young snails. They are not microscopic, but they are so small that the chances of you missing their presence are high. If the plants are not the source, you can blame your fish retailer who probably scooped some of the smaller, younger ones along with your fish.

If you have decorations in your tank, they can also accidentally introduce snails to your tank. It doesn’t take much to start a snail infestation. You just need a few tiny eggs to trigger an explosion in the snail population.

Which Snails Are Best For Your Angelfish Aquarium?

Most people will encourage you to get nerite snails. As mentioned above, freshwater stunts their reproduction (including angelfish who live in shoals). So they are unlikely to overrun your tank.[4] They eat so many algae, and you want that in the aquarium. They will keep the water relatively clean.

Apple sails are another useful type. You can get them in a variety of colors, which makes them appealing to people who care about the appearance of their aquarium. They can also reach 6 inches in size, which makes them a complicated meal for aggressive angelfish.

Trumpet snails eat detritus and algae. But their biggest draw is the fact that they can burrow into the gravel and soil, releasing pockets of gas.

What Makes Some Snails Bad For Angelfish Tank?

Many snails grow in fish owners’ tanks without troubles. However, sometimes, they may become an issue to gentle companions, such as angelfish. Snails are a nuisance for several reasons, including:

  • They will block your filters. They don’t do this on purpose. However, some of them just enjoy hiding in there. That can create problems for your entire aquarium.
  • If the snails in your tank die, they will release ammonia that can make the water unsuitable for your fish and shrimp.
  • Some snails reproduce too rapidly, overrunning your tank and creating an imbalance.
  • The best snails will consume algae, which is suitable for the tank. But some of them eat both algae and healthy plants.

Are Snails a Threat to Angelfish?

Some people can’t help but wonder whether or not snails are a danger to their fish. Others think that the notion is ridiculous. But you are discouraged from taking a dismissive attitude to this issue. 

Snails, no matter the size, cannot physically assault your angelfish.

That much should be obvious. However, that only applies to healthy angelfish. If your fish are sick and weakened, they can become prey for snails, especially if the fish are already dying.

There is also the issue of snail killers to consider. Some chemicals are specifically designed to kill snails. But by adding those chemicals to your water, you could also inadvertently harm your fish. You need to keep that in mind the next time you are tempted to eliminate your snail population using straightforward means.

Are There Benefits For Snails in Angelfish Tanks?

As has been mentioned above, snails are not all bad. You need to realize that, because they are scavengers, snails will keep your tank clean by eating algae, leftover fish food, and the like. 

They will also eliminate toxic gasses by aerating your substrate, not to mention eating other smaller, more annoying snails.

Some people add snails to their tanks for their aesthetic value. It makes sense because snails come in so many varieties. Some have surprisingly exotic colors that will add flair to your tank. 

If you are worried about your angelfish eggs and fry – freshwater snails avoid them. So you don’t have to worry about the creatures negatively impacting the breeding habits of your angelfish.

To get the best out of snails, you need to select the right ones.


Snails and angelfish usually coexist without issues. If you are a fan of snails, you shouldn’t worry too much about it. Still, keep in mind that snails tend to flourish and rapidly reproduce in fish tanks.

Nevertheless, in case the snails are a nuisance to you, make sure they are among those that could be consumed by angelfish. Otherwise, you should look for other means to eliminate them once and for all. 


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