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How To Get Rid Of Snails In Fish Tank | Prevention & Removal Guides

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Are your unwelcome guests starting to become a nuisance in the fish tank? Just a few days ago, you saw a snail leisurely having fun in your aquarium, now, there are tons of them invading your pet's privacy. So many questions start rearing up in your mind. How did they become this much? How to get rid of snails in fish tank? One thing is clear that this creature reproduces quickly and it only takes a snail to make large inhabitants.

Don’t get it twisted, having one or two snails in the aquarium isn't really a big deal. They are pretty fascinating to look at and they are good companions for the fish. However, it becomes something to worry about when snail infestation in the aquarium starts making you change the feeding routine. Not only that, cleaning and removing debris every time is getting to be a difficult task. Aquarist with snail infestation knows it not an easy task to do but there are tactics and strategies that can help in eradication these snails. This article will help you to know how to get rid of snails in fish tank effectively.


How do snails get in fish tank?

Well, you might not have put them in your aquarium, but snails find their ways to the fish tank through various means. One is you might have transferred snails or snail egg while you are transferring the live plant or aquarium ornament from one fish tank to the other without cleaning them. Also, you might have scooped up packets of snails’ eggs when new fish were captured. Considering that they are hermaphrodite species, it is very easy for them to reproduce and make big occupiers invading your tank. Either way, there are both natural and chemical methods of getting rid of this species.

Snails in aquarium, good or bad?

Whether we want them in the aquarium or not. We all can admit that snails are good cleaners in the fish tank. They help in making the water clean as they burrowed into the substrate of the water, eating leftover food and cleaning the debris. Moreover, they are scavengers feeding on algae and ensuring to a degree that the water is clean. Having a small quantity of them is generally not a bad thing.

However, having too much of them in the tank might result in an overpopulated tank. Thereby, they compete with the oxygen in the tank and this might pose a problem to your pet’s well- being. Moreover, if they aren't getting enough food, they tend to feed on your precious live plants in the fish tank. Also, you don’t want to see these pesky little things around your home when they find their way out of the tank.

How to get rid of snails in fish tank?

Getting rid of snails in fish tank naturally is an effective yet time- consuming method. However, it is definitely worth it as some chemicals might be dangerous to both plant and fish health. Here are ways you can remove snails from your fish tank:
  1. manual removal

    Just as the name implies, you will have to roll up your sleeves and start picking out the snail one by one. Although this is a safe way of removing them, the successful riddance of this menace is not guaranteed. Moreover, it is also time-consuming and requires a lot of effort.

  2. set aquarium snail trap

  3. The good news is various snail traps are available in pet stores and online. Snails simply crawl inside the baits and they are easily removed.

    Another easy way is to put a cabbage or lettuce leaf inside the fish tank overnight. You will most likely see a host of them underneath the lettuce in the morning and you can easily get them removed. Consistency is the key if you are opting for this method.

  4. stop overfeeding

    If you don't want a snail infestation in your aquarium, you might want to cut down on the excess feeding. Give only the required amount necessary for your fish and monitor the progress. The aim is to reduce the excess food and this will reduce the number of snails.

  5. chemical

    This is a less time consuming, simple and effective way of saying bye to these intruders. Copper sulfate is the most popular chemical that is pretty safe for the fish. However, you will be interested in knowing that this will result in death of the snails. Therefore, you will have to conduct a thorough cleansing of the fish tank to get rid of the dead snails. Don't forget to change the water to ensure the habitat is safe enough for your fish.

  6. introduce snail predators in your fish tank

  7. If you don't mind having another pet, you can consider introducing fish that prey on snails. Fish like a loach, zebrafish, bettas, cichlids and much more will definitely smile at the sight of snails. Be careful when introducing other fishes and see if they will make a good company for your fish.

    Another good option is snails killers that feed on snails. These snails belong to the family of the sarcophagus and they feed on other snails. They don't breed easily, therefore, they might not be invading your aquarium in due time.

  8. thorough cleansing

    Thoroughly cleaning the fish tank can cause stress for your fish, therefore, this should be the last option if any of the above-mentioned solutions are effective. What does it entail? The answer is you will have to clean the whole fish tank, down to the decor, substrate and the gravel. After that, you will start restocking and refilling your the removed item, new water, and fish. This is a good method if you are seeking a 100 percent perfection.

Prevention of snails in fish tank:

Taking preventive measures is the best way to avoid the stress that comes with getting rid of snails. Here are some ways you can avoid snails from entering your fish tank.

Scrutinize every item entering the fish tank

The best way to avoid the invasion of snails is to ensure they never enter in the first place. Scrutinize any live plants, decor, gravel and even new fishes that you might be introducing into the aquarium.

Clean and quarantine new item

Cleaning of any items you might want to put into a fish tank is also important. This includes the decor, live plant, gravel and any ornaments you might want to introduce into the fish tank. Quarantine and inspect properly to see if there are no traces of snail eggs or snail hanging on it.

Pro Tip

One effective way is to soak plants inside salt water for 15 mins, rinsing them in freshwater before putting them in the aquarium. This will help in eliminating any snail eggs that you might see or notice.

Soaking items in solutions before placing in the fish tank

Different solutions are available in pet stores or grocery stores that can help in eliminating snail or snail eggs. They can however not be suitable for certain plants, therefore, be careful when using solutions to get rid of your intruders. They include:
  1. alum

    One to three tablespoon of alum for a gallon of water should be enough. Soak the plants for 2-3 days inside alum. Rinse thoroughly with fresh water before putting them in the aquarium.

  2. Bleach

    For a gallon of water, use a cup and a half of bleach. Prepare a solution and soak plant for 15 minutes. Furthermore, soak in plain water for another 5 minutes and rinse it properly before placing it in the aquarium. This is rather a strong solution, ensure you protect your skin from likely harm with socks.

  3. potassium permanganate

    Add half a tablespoon of Potassium Permanganate to a gallon of water for the solution. Soak the plants for 10-15 minutes, remove and rinse again with dechlorinated water before putting the plant in the water tank.

Video introduction


Don't forget, having a small number of snails is really not something to worry about as they have their advantages. However, you might need to start taking steps in removing them from the fish tank when they grow to a disturbing stage, invading every nooks and cranny of the fish tank.

Whether you want to get them removed or you want to avoid them totally, with the above tactics and techniques, you can ensure the intruders are kept at bay.

These methods are not only easy and cheap, but they are also effective and requires less effort. Except for the manual removal that you might have fun within your leisure time. Monitor the snail infestation in the fish tank and take necessary steps before they get out of hand. You must know that most of these methods will not totally eradicate the snails, however, with time, they would not be much of a problem. Moreover, who knows, they can turn out to be a good companion for you fish and also a great pet for you as well.

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