13 Types Of Aquarium Snails (& How To Look After Them)

Whether you are new to keeping an aquarium or closing in on becoming an expert, everyone needs some help when looking for the right additions to your tank. This article will provide you with 13 of the easiest and most attractive types of aquarium snails for anyone interested in a great algae eliminator. 

We will take a deep dive into the world of mollusks perfect for any tank and give you all the information you need in order to make a knowledgeable decision on which snail is best for you. 

Here we are going to give you a rundown on what these snails eat, the type of environment they thrive best in, and which ones make the most peaceful roommate.

Types Of Aquarium Snails

  • Assassin Snail
  • Mystery Snail
  • Black Devil Snail
  • Apple Snail
  • Tiger Nerite Snails
  • Zebra Nertire Snails
  • Japanese Trapdoor Snails
  • Rabbit Snails
  • Trumpet Snails
  • Ramshorn Snails

What Ones Were Rated The Best?

I polled over 100 people to see what their favorite freshwater snail was! Here are the results!

best freshwater snails ranked
best freshwater snail bar chart

What Are The Different Types Of Aquarium Snail?

Here is a list of 10 great snails for any type of indoor aquarium.  They are all easy to care for and will add an array of color and uniqueness to your tank.

If you are looking for someone to keep your tank clear of algae and debris as well as add a little pizazz, check out these great mollusk options below. 

Assassin Snail

assassin snail care sheet

The Assassin Snail is the perfect snail for anyone who’s tank is overrun with other snails. As you can guess from their name, assassin snails are killers, and their primary target is other snails!

As they are carnivores they will eat things like tiny snails, small dead fish, blood worms, and even fish flakes. 

Although the Assassin Snail will eat other snails, they are actually peaceful apart, so you don’t have to worry about them harming the other snails in your tank!

And you may be thinking that the only reason to keep them in your tank is due to their usefulness, However, this isn’t the case. They’re actually in my opinion also some of the coolest look snails you can add to your tank!

To keep your assassin snail happy just make sure you’re using a sandy substrate as they like to bury themselves in it.

NameAssassin Snails
pH7.0-8.0
Temperature75-80°F
Tank Size30 Gallons
Size1.25″
Lifespan2 Years
Difficulty KeepingEasy

Mystery Snails (Gold Snail)

mystery snail care sheet

Mystery Snails are another great choice for your tank, if you’re interested. However, be warned, they do have large appetites. A Mystery Snail’s diet consists of all types of plant matter, so you need to make sure you’re feeding them enough, or they may end up eating your plants as well.

Unfortunately, there is already a snail called a rabbit snail (As you’re going to find out later). But if there wasn’t this snail would definitely take the name thanks to how much they breed! If you do keep them in your tank, you need to be ready for them to overrun it, as many people (including myself) have found out!

Not interested in baby snails? The good news is their eggs take between 2-3 weeks to hatch. So simply remove the sac of eggs from your tank before the babies are due to arrive.

So if you want a unique and kind of odd-looking snail for your tank, this is your guy. They come in a whole bunch of varieties too ,such as: golden, ivory, chestnut, black, blue, and olive jade.

NameMystery Snails
pH7.0-8.0
Temperature68-82°F
Tank Size10 Gallons
Size2″
Lifespan1-2 Years
Difficulty KeepingEasy

Black Devil Snails (Lava Snail)

The Black Devil Snail, despite its name, is actually a peaceful and gentle creature. It can peacefully coexist with other snails and non-predatory fish. While it generally prefers algae, it is an omnivorous scavenger that will consume leftover fish food, decaying matter, and even plants (so be careful).

Fortunately, if you do plan on keeping black devil snails, as long as you’re giving them enough regular food, they’ll stay away from your plants.

When it comes to tank maintenance, the Black Devil Snail will eat algae but should NOT be relied upon solely to keep the tank clean. Instead, you’ll still need to remove most of the algae by hand.

Black Devil snails have a distinctive black to dark brown coloration and sport long, tapered shells, similar to that of the Malaysian Trumpet Snail. To give them the best environment possible, you should use aquarium sand/aquarium soil as substrate so that they wont harm their sensitive underbellies when traversing the bottom of your tank.

NameBlack Devil Snail
pH7.0-8.5
Temperature71-77°F
Tank Size10 Gallons
Size2-3.5″
Lifespan2-3 Years
Difficulty KeepingEasy

Apple Snails 

apple snail care sheet

Apple snails are similar to mystery snails in the way they look HOWEVER, there is a difference between the two. The big difference is that apple snails are lighter in color, where as mystery snails are a lot darker.

Like other snails, apple snails are going to spend most of their time, meandering around your tank looking for food. In fact, it’s surprising how often you can lose them in your tank, especially when it’s well planted.

The Apple Snail carries a large spiral shell that is usually greenish-brown and has a dark-colored body, commonly black. Although, some have been seen to have lighter cream bodies.

Like many other snails, these creatures prefer to stay hidden during the day and can be seen moving around the bottom of the tank at night searching for food or a mating partner. 

If you do have apple snails in your tank, remember, it only takes one male and female to breed rapidly. Fortunately, they can only breed above the waterline, so keep an eye out for eggs around here, and remove them before they hatch.

In my opinion, Apple Snails are some of the best snails for beginners thanks to how hardy and easy to take care of they are. 

NameApple Snails
pH6.5-8.0
Temperature64-82°F
Tank Size10 Gallons
Size2-3″
Lifespan3 Years
Difficulty KeepingEasy

Zebra Nerite Snails

nerite snail care sheet

The Zebra Nerite Snail is another sought-after species known for its captivating appearance. Despite their small size, these snails are easily noticeable due to their striking black and yellow stripes. Similar to the tiger nerite, in their pattern.

And just like all other species of nerite snails, they have a taste for algae and play a vital role in maintaining a clean tank. They’ll happily feast on algae growth found on the walls, rocks, plants, and anywhere else in your aquarium. However, just make sure you’re feeding them snail food, and blanched vegetables to ensure they’re getting a balanced diet.

I forgot to mention earlier, but the BIGGEST perk of keeping any nerite Snails is that they require saltwater to reproduce. This means you can keep them in the tank without worrying about them overpopulating it.

The Most Common Types Of Nerite:

  • Zebra nerite snail: The Zebra nerite snail sports a distinctive black and yellow or white pattern on its shell, much like the stripes of a zebra.
  • Tiger nerite snail: With a shell that has orange or red bands on a darker background, the Tiger nerite snail’s design mirrors the coat of a tiger.
  • Olive nerite snail: As you can probably guess, the Olive nerite snail comes with an olive-green shell, sometimes adorned with small black or dark spots.
  • Horned nerite snail: This one’s quite unique. It has a small shell, either black or yellow, with a bunch of ‘horns’ sticking out.
  • Red racer nerite snail: The Red racer nerite snail has a vibrant, red-orange shell with random black spots. Quite flashy!
  • Blue nerite snail: This one breaks the norm with its shell showcasing various shades of blue, often with black or white banding.
  • Gold nerite snail: With a golden shell often decorated with black or brown stripes or spots, the Gold nerite snail is quite the stunner.
NameNerite Snails
pH7.0-8.0
Temperature72-78°F
Tank Size5 Gallons
Size0.75″
Lifespan1-2 Years
Difficulty KeepingEasy

Rabbit Snails (Elephant snail)

rabbit snail care sheet

Originating from Sulawesi, Indonesia, the Rabbit Snail has recently gained popularity thanks to it’s weird and wonderful look. While it’s named rabbit snail because of it’s large antennae’s, in my opinion it definitely looks a lot more like an elephant.

In terms of behavior, Rabbit Snails stand out from many other snail species. Unlike their counterparts, these snails are a lot more active during the day, wandering around the tank, grazing, and exploring their surroundings.

Rabbit snails are also a lot more sociable than other snails, so it’s a good idea to keep them in small groups (however, be warned, they will breed).

When it comes to diet, as omnivores, they’ll most eat any algae buildup and decaying plant matter in the tank, as well as blanched vegetables.

A noteworthy characteristic of the Rabbit Snail is its reproductive method. Instead of laying eggs, rabbit snails carry their babies in their shells and give birth to live offspring. The good news is, while they do breed, they will breed a lot slower than other snails, only producing 1-2 babies every 4-6 weeks.

NameRabbit Snail
pH7.3-8.5
Temperature70-84°F
Tank Size30 Gallons
Size3″
Lifespan3 Years
Difficulty KeepingEasy

Japanese Trapdoor Snails

japanese trapdoor snail care sheet

Japanese Trapdoor Snails are a fantastic addition to any aquarium. Not only are they resilient, but they’re also incredibly peaceful snails that will help keep your tank clean, tidy, and algae free.

Their spiral shells come in various colors, ranging from black and tan to sometimes even turquoise near the ends. With each twist of the spiral, the colors change, which is one of the things I love most about them.

And like most other snails, they are great choices for community tanks, as long as you’re keeping them away from predators which may try to eat them.

As omnivores, they’ll mostly eat algae that grows on the side of your tank, and the good news is, they won’t eat live plants, which means they’re safe for planted tanks. To make sure they’re truly getting a balanced diet, make sure you’re supplementing with snail food every once in a while.

NameJapanese Trapdoor Snail
pH7.0-8.0
Temperature68-85°F
Tank Size10 Gallons
Size2″
Lifespan3-10 Years
Difficulty KeepingEasy

Malaysian Trumpet Snails

malaysian trumpet snail care sheet

The Malaysian Trumpet Snail is one of THE MOST popular aquarium snails there are. This is mainly due to the fact, that they’re so cheap and breed so easily. In fact, due to their abundance, a lot of the time, you won’t even need to pay for them, they’ll often be introduced to your tank, when you add live plants.

They’re similar to black devil snails in appearance with their long cone-shaped shell, however, they’re much lighter in color. They typically come in shades of brown, cream, and grey, with some even having little dots sprinkled on them. Despite their small size, Malaysian Trumpet Snails require a decent amount of calcium to maintain a healthy shell.

Feeding Malaysian trumpet snails is pretty simple too, as they’ll mostly eat any algae or decaying plant matter in the tank. Being nocturnal creatures, they spend most of their days burrowing under the substrate, unless they’re hungry then they’ll venture out to scavenge the tank for food.

NameMalaysian Trumpet Snail
pH7.0-8.0
Temperature70-79°F
Tank Size5 Gallons
Size1.5″
Lifespan1 Year
Difficulty KeepingEasy

Ramshorn Snail

ramshorn snail care sheet

The Ramshorn Snail, as its name suggests, gets its moniker from the unique shape of its shell, which as you can guess, looks like a rams horn. The shell comes in a variety of colors but mostly, pinkish red to maroon.

Ramshorn snails are also incredibly adaptable making them great for beginners, you just need to make sure that the pH in the tank never becomes acidic. And like all snails, they’ll slowly meander around the tank looking for food and grazing.

However, be warned while ramshorn snails they typically pose no significant threat to the plants in your tank, they will eat them if there is no other food available. In most cases though, their diet primarily consists of decaying plant matter, algae, and the remnants of fish flakes that settle at the bottom of the aquarium.

One fantastic perk of having Ramshorn Snails in your tank is their knack for keeping algae growth in check, just like most of the other snails on this list!

NameRamshorn Snail
pH7.0-8.0
Temperature70-80°F
Tank Size5 Gallons
Size1″
Lifespan1 Year
Difficulty KeepingEasy

Pond Snails  (Lymnaea)

pond snail care sheet

When it comes to creating the perfect aquarium for Pond snails, keep it simple and add hiding spots with artificial plants and rocks for their happiness. Although they don’t need a heater or filter, it’s best to keep their water clean by doing water changes consistently. 

In the wild, Pond Snails love to eat algae; but they’ll also eat floating plants like water lettuce, water hyacinth, duckweed, and Azolla. When kept in fish tanks, you can minimize this by making sure there’s enough algae, and decaying plant matter in the tank for them.

Pond Snails are peaceful which means they can live with a whole bunch of tank mates. They make great tankmates for fish such as danios, rasboras, and gouramis. However, remember to avoid keeping them with fish that have a tendency to eat snails, such as loaches or certain cichlid species. 

NamePond Snail
pH7.0-8.0
Temperature65-83°F
Tank Size1 Gallon
Size1-3″
Lifespan1 Year
Difficulty KeepingEasy

White Wizard Snail (Neritina natalensis)

The White Wizard snail is a low-maintenance snail but their tank will need to be set up correctly and have regular water changes to keep them happy truly happy. So make sure you’re keeping them in a filtered tank partnered with a sandy substrate to mimic their natural habitat. 

In addition to decaying plant matter, White Wizard snails will eat the leftover food of your fish and shrimp, such as shrimp pellets, shrimp granules and fish flakes. Algae wafers or tablets, and blanched vegetables like carrots and sprouts can also be great options to supplement their diet.

Some of the best tankmates for White Wizard snails include peaceful fish such as Pygmy Cory Catfish, and Otocinclus Catfish. And shrimp that prefer similar water parameters, such as Vampire shrimp, Bamboo Shrimp, Amano Shrimp, Ghost shrimp, Cherry shrimp can also be good companions.

NameWhite Wizard Snail
pH7.0-8.5
Temperature73-79°F
Tank Size5 Gallons
Size2″
Lifespan3-5 Years
Difficulty KeepingEasy

Bladder Snails

bladder snail care sheet

Bladder snails are another snail you may consider, however, it’s important to note, they’re often seen as pest snails by the community.

Like all snails, they’re going to help keep the aquarium clean by eating algae as well as decaying plant matter in the tank. They’re also cheap compared to other snails, and easy to care for, making them a great choice for beginners.

However bladder snails are known to reproduce incredibly fast. But while bladder snails are known for their reproductive capabilities, their population can be easily managed with proper care.

By controlling the amount of food provided to the tank and removing eggs whenever you see them, you can keep their population under control.

NameBladder Snail
pH7.0-8.0
Temperature64-84°F
Tank Size10 Gallons
Size0.6″
Lifespan1-2 Years
Difficulty KeepingEasy

Pagoda/Horned Armor Snail (Brotia pagodula)

Pagoda snails need a tank that feels like their natural habitat to thrive. They prefer strong water flow and oxygenation, so use a water pump and air pump with an air stone. Also, provide a sandy substrate with rocks for sifting, and avoid decorations that could trap their shells.

While having a mostly plant-based die, your Pagoda Snails can also consume animal matter. So you can feed them a mix of plant matter as well as protein! Don’t shy away from feeding them high-quality fish food either as this will all equate to a balanced diet! 

When you’re choosing tankmates for your Pagoda snails, consider shrimp such as Vampire shrimp, Amano shrimp, Cherry shrimp, Bamboo shrimp, Ghost shrimp, and Snowball shrimp. And of course, keep them away from any tank mates that may try to harm them.

NamePagoda Snail
pH7.0-8.0
Temperature72-82°F
Tank Size5 Gallons
Size1-2″
Lifespan3-5 Years
Difficulty KeepingEasy

What Snails Are Considered Pests?

While snails are often great additions to a fish tank, there are certain species that are considered pests due to their potential to overrun the tank and eat your plants. Here are a few snails that are commonly classified as pests, so think carefully before you add them:

Common Pond Snail (Lymnaea stagnalis)

Common Pond Snails are notorious for their rapid reproduction. They’re fast breeders, laying clusters of eggs that can quickly hatch and populate the tank.

They have a crazy appetite for aquarium plants, and as they’re population increases they’ll often feed on leaves and stems. This can be a big problem for aquarists who strive to maintain lush and healthy plant life in their tanks.

Malaysian Trumpet Snail (Melanoides tuberculata)

Malaysian Trumpet Snails do serve a beneficial role in your aquarium by aerating the substrate when they burrow. However, under certain conditions, their population can also explode. 

These snails reproduce rapidly and can become a nuisance in densely populated tanks. Their burrowing behavior can disrupt the substrate and uproot plants, which may be undesirable for people who are trying to create the perfect aquascape.

Ramshorn Snail (Planorbella duryi)

While ramshorn snails are beautiful snails for your tank, like the other common pest snails they have a reputation for their ability to reproduce rapidly. So if you do want to keep them, make sure you’re removing their eggs from the tank as soon as possible. 

Moreover, while Ramshorn Snails are known to feed on decaying matter, but in the absence of such they’ll start eating live plants.

Mystery Snails (Pomacea bridgesii)

Mystery Snails are loved by many however, their rapid rate of reproduction mean a lot of tanks often end up suffering from an overpopulation problem. They’re  known to lay clusters of eggs above the waterline, which can be challenging to control if left unchecked. 

As their population increases, Mystery Snails can consume significant amounts of plants in the tank, which is definitely not what you want.

Bladder Snail (Physella acuta)

Bladder Snails are highly adaptable snails which thrive in a wide range of water conditions. They reproduce quickly, causing their populations to often become difficult to manage. On top of this, bladder Snails are small, allowing them to hide and lay eggs in hard-to-reach areas. 

They primarily feed on decaying plants but they’ll also consume live plants when alternative food sources are scarce. With this in mind their rapid reproduction and resilience make them a potential pest in most aquariums.

Good Tank Mates For Aquarium Snails

When selecting tank mates for your aquarium snails, it’s important to consider their compatibility in terms of temperament, size, and water parameter requirements. Here are some good tank mates for any snails you choose to pick

Neon Tetras (Paracheirodon innesi)

Neon Tetra Care Sheet

Neon Tetras are small, peaceful fish that can peacefully coexist with snails. Their vibrant blue and red colors create a stunning visual contrast against the snails’ shells, adding a lively and captivating element to the tank. Neon Tetras are schooling fish, so make sure to always keep them in groups of at least six.

Cherry Barbs (Puntius titteya)

Cherry Barb Care Sheet

Cherry Barbs are another great choice for snails. With their bright red coloration and active but peaceful nature, they’re going to create the perfect balance between entertaining, but friendly.

Pygmy Corydoras (Corydoras pygmaeus)

pygmy corydoras care sheet

Pygmy Corydoras are peaceful, bottom-dwelling fish that make excellent companions for snails. They’re also some of the best fish for beginners, thanks to how peaceful they are and how easy to look after they are.

Corydoras catfish are social however, so make sure you’re keeping them in groups of 5 or more.

 Amano Shrimp (Caridina multidentata)

aquarium snails

Amano Shrimp are renowned for their algae-eating abilities and peaceful nature. They’re also some of the best algae eaters in the trade, so if you’re dealing with an algae problem, they’re definitely a great choice!

Amano Shrimp are best kept in larger groups, as they feel more secure and exhibit more natural behavior when surrounded by their own kind.

 Dwarf Gouramis (Trichogaster lalius)

Dwarf Gourami Care Sheet

Dwarf Gouramis are colorful and peaceful fish that also do well with snails. And their vibrant hues and graceful swimming patterns enhance the beauty of the tank while providing a peaceful atmosphere. However, if you do want to keep dwarf gouramis with your snails, make sure you’re keeping them in groups of 3 or more, otherwise they’ll be stressed.

Bristlenose Plecos (Ancistrus spp.)

bristlenose pleco care sheet

Bristlenose Plecos are another great tank mate choice for your snails! They’re a lot smaller than other catfish and with their peaceful temperament they’ll help to control algae growth, alongside your snails!

Bad Tank Mates For Aquarium Snail

While many fish and invertebrate can peacefully coexist with aquarium snails, there are some species that are not suitable. Here are some examples:

1. Cichlids

Cichlids, such as African Cichlids or South American Cichlids, are definitely not recommended as tank mates for snails. They’re territorial and aggressive, which can lead to stress and harm to the snails. Cichlids may nip at the snails’ shells or view them as potential food which means they may end up becoming a snack.

2. Barbs with Aggressive Tendencies

Some barb species, such as Tiger Barbs or Rosy Barbs, are more aggressive than others. Which means they may end up harassing your snails, potentially causing injury. Therefore, It’s best to avoid keeping more aggressive barbs with snails to avoid bullying and even eating.

3. Large Predatory Fish

Large predatory fish, like Oscars or Arowanas, should not be housed with snails, either. These fish have a natural instinct to hunt and can often view snails as prey. The snails’ slow movements and exposed position make them vulnerable to predatory attacks, leading to their injury or death.

4. Loaches

Loaches love to eat snails, so they’re definitely a big no-no when it comes to keeping them in a tank with your snails. While they’re great to look at, they’re definitely a terrible choice.

5. Pufferfish

Pufferfish, like Figure Eight Puffers or Green Spotted Puffers, are not recommended as tank mates for snails. Pufferfish have a strong beak-like mouth and a tendency to nip at or attack anything in the tank. Snails’ soft bodies and even shells are particularly vulnerable to their sharp teeth, which can lead to severe damage and death.

FAQ

Here are some frequently asked questions that people have about the different types of aquarium snail.

What Is The Best Snail For An Aquarium?

When it comes to what is the best snail for an aquarium, it really is all personal preference. Rabbit snails are great because of their unique look, and slow breeding, but nerite snails are also great because you know they’re population won’t explode in the tank.

What is The Largest Aquarium Snail?

Most snails will only reach around 2-3inches max in most aquariums. However, the Giant Sulawesi snails can grow to around 4-inches long. 

These snails need plenty of room in the aquarium, so getting an extra-large tank or adding fewer plants and accessories is best. These are hardy creatures and can live in many types of aquatic environments. 

Can Snails Kill Fish?

Aquarium snails cannot kill fish in anyway (not even assassin snails). They will, however, feed off of the dead ones.

You may also notice your snails nibbling on dying or weakfish as well.  That is because they have easy access to the dead skin as these fish will not be moving around. 

Is Snail Poop Bad For An Aquarium?

Snail poop can make your tank quite dirty and will require you to clean it every so often. However, on the other hand, snail poop can also be beneficial to your aquarium. Having a few snails pooping in a tank of plants can actually fertilize these plants, keeping them healthy and alive longer. 

Recap

There are many benefits to having aquarium snails co-existing inside your tank, whether it is with fish, other snails, or even just plants. They are great for keeping algae at bay and cleaning up the tank from leftover food and rotting plant debris.

Snails can add an array of vibrant colors and decorative looks to any aquarium and are relatively easy to care for, not looking for much maintenance or attention.

So if you’re on the fence about getting a snail or not, I hope this article helped your decision making! Have a great day!

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