Snails For Betta Tank: Aquarium Assistants & Other Fun Facts

snails for betta tank
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Last Updated: August 25, 2023 by Flora Gibbins

When it comes to keeping a healthy and vibrant betta fish tank, incorporating some snails as tank mates can be a great idea.

Not just for aesthetic purposes! 

Snails play an essential role in balancing the environment and keeping the water quality high.

They eat algae, uneaten fish food, and other detritus that can lower water quality and throw off the delicate ecosystem in your fish tank.

But not just any snail will do. There are certain species of snail that are better suited for male betta and female betta tanks than others. But can snails live with bettas? Read on to find out.

Why Bettas Need Snails

betta fish at the bottom of aquarium

While betta fish are beautiful creatures, they are also messy eaters. They will often leave behind uneaten food, which can quickly pollute the water in their tank.

Pond snails or breeding snails can help clean up this uneaten food, and they will also consume algae and other detritus that can accumulate in the tank. Thus, helping to keep the water clean and clear is important for your betta fish’s health.

In addition, snails can help to aerate the substrate in your tank. As they are constantly burrowing through the gravel or sand in search of food, it keeps the oxygen levels high in the tank and prevents the build-up of harmful gases.

Benefits of Having Snails In A Betta Tank

You can enjoy a lot of benefits by adding snails to your betta tank. These benefits include:

Feeds on the Algae In Your Tank

two snails eat algae in fish tank

One of the main benefits of having snails in your betta aquarium is that they will help clean up the algae that can often build up on the glass and decorations.

Algae can not only make your tank look unsightly, but it can also be harmful to your betta fish if left unchecked. The good news is that snails love to munch on algae, so they are a great addition to your tank if you’re looking for a way to keep the algae under control.

Fun Fact: We have listed the best snails for algae control! Read our post — Best Algae Eaters For Betta Tank: Top Green Matter Ingesters.

Adds Variety to Your Tank

Snails come in different colors and sizes, so they can help to add some visual interest to your tank. Adding a few snails is an excellent option to make your tank stand out.

Provides A Source of Food for Your Fish

Some betta fish bite snails as they will typically eat anything that they can fit into their mouths, including snails. While it’s not necessarily the most humane option, some betta fish owners like to add a few snails to their tanks specifically for their fish to eat.

If you decide to do this…

It’s essential to make sure that you only add a few snails so that your betta fish doesn’t end up overfeeding.

Keeps the Tank Clean

fish tank with snails

Snails are constant grazers, which means that they’re always on the lookout for something to eat. This can be unpleasant if you have live plants in your tank that you don’t want your snails eating, but it’s good news if you’re looking for a way to keep your tank clean.

Snails will eat any leftover food that your fish don’t finish and any other bits of debris floating around in the water. This helps keep your water quality high and reduces the amount of work you’ll have to do to keep your tank clean.

Aerating the Substrate

Aerating the substrate is important in a betta fish tank as it allows oxygen to penetrate the roots of plants and get to the beneficial bacteria that live there.

This process also prevents the formation of anaerobic pockets, which can be harmful to your fish.

Snails are constantly moving around the tank and digging through the substrate, which helps to keep the oxygen levels high which is beneficial for your fish.

How to Introduce Snails As Betta Tank Mates

You have a beautiful betta fish, and you want to do everything you can to make sure that your fish is happy and has a good home. You’ve done your research, and you think that adding some snails to your betta’s tank might be a good idea. But how do you go about introducing snails into a betta’s tank?

There are a few things that you need to consider before you add snails to your betta’s tank.

  • You need to ensure that the snails you add to the tank are healthy. You don’t want to introduce sick or diseased animals into your betta’s tank.
  • Take into consideration the size of your betta’s tank. If you have a very small tank, you might not want to add too many snails.
  • You need to make sure that the water conditions in your tank are good for both bettas and snails. Ensure that the pH levels are where they need to be and that the water is clean.
  • Be careful when adding new animals to any tank. You always want to take things slowly so that you don’t overwhelm your fish or the new animals.
  • If you add more than one snail to the tank, make sure that they are of the same species. You don’t want to mix different species of snails.

Now that you know what to consider before adding snails to your betta’s tank, let’s look at how you can add the snails to the tank.

There are a few different ways that you can go about adding snails to your betta’s tank.

  • You can purchase snails from your local pet store.
  • You can find snails in your backyard or garden.
  • You can order snails online from a reputable dealer.
  • You can get snails from another aquarium owner.

Once you have obtained your snails, it’s time to add them to the tank. An excellent way to do this is to float the sealed bag they came in on top of the tank for about an hour. This will allow the snails to acclimate to the water temperature in your tank.

After an hour has passed, you can open the bag and release the snails into the tank. Make sure that you don’t just dump them all in at once. You want to add a few at a time so that your betta fish doesn’t get overwhelmed.

After adding them to the tank, you should also observe your betta fish and the snails for the first few days. This will help you make sure that everyone is getting along and that there are no problems.

You’ll soon have a happy betta fish and some helpful snails in your tank if everything goes well!

Different Types of Snails That You Can Keep With Your Betta Fish As Tank Mates

Can betta fish live with snails? Are betta fish and snails excellent tank mates? These are questions most people with aquariums ask. Luckily, many different types of snails can be tank mates.

Some of the most popular snails you can include there are Nerite snails, Mystery snails, and Assassin snails. Each snail species has its own unique set of benefits and drawbacks, so it’s crucial to choose the best snails for your betta fish tank.

Nerite Snails

nerite snail in fish tank

Nerite snails are one of the popular choices for betta tanks as tank mates. They’re relatively small, easy to care for, and don’t reproduce in freshwater.

Nerite snails also have a reputation for being excellent algae eaters. They’ll help keep your tank clean and tidy, and they won’t bother your plants or other decorations.

But due to their origin, they tend to climb out of the tank and may not do well with high temperatures. So you may have to secure the lid of your tank if you want to keep nerite snails.

Here is a YouTube video of how you can take care of Nerite snails.

Mystery Snails

Mystery snails thrive well with betta fish as they also get along well with plants and don’t reproduce in freshwater. They’re a little larger than nerite snails, and they grow to the size of a golf ball.

mystery snail picture

Mystery snails are also excellent algae eaters, but they’re not as effective as nerite snails. However, they make up for it with their beautiful shells. Mystery snail shells come in various colors, including purple, black, magenta, ivory, and even gold. Mystery snails are a great option when you want to add a splash of life color to your tank.

Assassin Snails

Assassin snails are a great choice if you’re looking for an effective way to control snail populations in your tank. These aquarium snails are carnivorous, so they’ll happily feast on other types of snails. But because they’re predators, they may also go after shrimp, fish, and other small invertebrates.

assassin snail image

Keep in mind that pest snails are different from assassin snails.

It’s essential to research before adding assassin snails to your tank. They’re also a bit larger than nerite snails and mystery snails, growing to the size of a ping-pong ball. So you’ll need a larger tank if you want to keep them.

Japanese Trapdoor Snails

japanese trapdoor snail in aquarium

Japanese trapdoor snails are another excellent snail species for betta tanks. They’re relatively large, growing up to two inches in length. These snails are also excellent algae eaters and will help keep your tank clean.

They’re also very good at aerating the substrate and don’t need to be fed as much as other types of snails.

Malaysian Trumpet Snails

trumpet snails with betta fish

With Malaysian trumpet snails, you will not have to worry about toxic gases in your tank as they help aerate the substrate. They also consume uneaten food and help keep the tank clean. These snails are excellent scavengers, but they’re also known to eat plants. So if you have plants in your tank, you may want to avoid these snails.

The Best Plants for A Betta Aquarium with Snails

One thing that betta fish and snails have in common is that they both love plants. When you want to add some greenery to your tank, there are a few great options that your snails will also enjoy.

Some of the best aquarium plants for a betta and snails include:


Anubias is a slow-growing plant that’s perfect for betta tanks. It doesn’t need much light or care, and it can tolerate a wide range of water conditions. Plus, it’s a great source of food for grazing snails.

Java Fern

Having java fern in your tank is a bit like having insurance. It’s an extremely tough plant that can withstand just about anything. So if your betta or snails happen to nibble on it, they won’t do much damage.


Hornwort is another great option for betta tanks. It grows quickly and provides plenty of shelter for betta fish and snails. Plus, it helps to keep the water clean and clear.

Water Sprite

Water sprite is a floating plant that’s perfect for betta tanks. It provides shade and hiding places for bettas, and it also helps keep the water clean and clear. Plus, it’s a great source of food for grazing snails.

Amazon Sword

You’ll need a larger tank if you want to keep Amazon sword plants. But if you have the space, they’re a great addition to any Siamese Fighting Fish tank. They provide plenty of hiding places and shade for bettas, and they’re also a great food source for snails.

How to Feed Snails In A Betta Tank

Feeding snails is relatively easy. They’re not picky eaters, and they’ll happily munch on various foods.

Some of the best food options for snails include:


Algae is a great food option for snails. It’s packed with nutrients that are crucial for their health, and it’s also a great source of fiber. Plus, it’s free-floating, so it’s easy for snails to find and eat.

Blanched Vegetable

Snails need to have a varied diet, and blanched vegetables are a great way to provide them with their nutrients. Some of the best options include zucchini, carrots, and peas.

Snail Pellets

There are a variety of snail pellets available on the market that are specifically designed to meet the nutritional needs of snails. Snail pellets are a great option when looking for an easy way to provide your snails with the nutrients they need.


Fresh fruits are a great treat for snails. They’re packed with nutrients and fiber, and they’re also a great source of moisture. Just remove any uneaten fruit from the tank, as it can quickly decay and foul the water.

Frozen Foods

You can also give your snails frozen foods, such as bloodworms, brine shrimp, and daphnia. These are a great source of protein and moisture, and they’ll help keep your snails healthy and happy.

How Often Should You Clean A Tank with Snails?

You’ll need to clean your tank more often if you have snails. Snails are constantly grazing, and they can quickly foul the water with their waste.

So how often should you clean a betta tank with snails? It depends on the size of your tank and the number of snails you have.

man cleaning the fish tank

But generally, you should clean your tank at least once a week.

And if your tank starts to look particularly dirty, don’t hesitate to give it a good cleaning. It’s better to clean your tank more often than not clean often enough.

Are There Any Risks of Keeping Snails In A Betta Tank?

Can snails live with betta tanks with no risks? There are a few risks that you should be aware of before you let your betta fish and snails live in your betta tank. The risks involved when you have snails for betta tank include:

Eating Your Plants

If you’re not careful, snails can quickly decimate your plants. So if you have a lot of plants in your tank, or if you’re particularly attached to them, it might be best to avoid adding snails.

Spreading Disease

Snails can carry a variety of diseases and parasites, which they can spread to your betta. So it’s important to quarantine new snails before adding them to your tank.

Reproducing Quickly

Reproducing is one of the most defining characteristics of snails. And if you’re not careful, they can quickly take over your tank.

You should keep an eye on their population and remove excess snails from your tank. Or better still, use a snail type that doesn’t reproduce in freshwater (such as the assassin snail).

Getting Stuck

Snails tend to climb up bettas’ fins and get stuck. This can cause irritation and even infection. Regularly check your betta fish for any snails that might stick in the fins.

Making A Mess

Snails are constantly grazing, and they can quickly foul the water with their waste. So you’ll need to clean your tank more often if you have snails.

Fun Fact: Despite snails’ notoriety for slowness and sluggish movements, these aquatic friends could eventually become aquatic fiends quite fast if not monitored properly! Read our article How To Get Rid Of Snails In Aquarium: 3 Pest Removal Tips for more information.

How to Tell If Your Betta Loves the New Snail Friends

Your goal is to have your betta fish live with snails and have a happy and healthy betta fish, which includes making sure it’s comfortable with its new snail friends. How will you know that your betta fish loves its new snail friends? Here are a few signs to look for:

Relaxing Around Them

Mostly, you’ll just be looking for signs that your betta is relaxed around the new snails. If it’s constantly darting around the tank or trying to hide, that shows it’s not comfortable with them.

On the other hand, if it’s swimming around normally and doesn’t seem bothered by their presence, it’s probably happy with the new addition to the tank.

Keeping An Eye on the Snails

Another good sign that your betta is comfortable with the new snails is if it’s constantly keeping an eye on them. This is usually a sign of curiosity rather than aggression. Therefore, if you see your betta swimming around the snail tank and stopping to watch them now and then, it’s a sign that it likes them.

Sleeping with Them

Bettas typically like to sleep in their little caves or hideaways. So if it’s sleeping out in the open, near the new snails, this is usually a good sign that it’s comfortable with them.

Eating Around the Snails

When you first add snails to your tank, your betta might be hesitant to eat with them. But after a few days, your betta should start to get used to their presence. If it’s swimming around and eating normally, it signifies that it’s happy with the new snail friends.

Ignoring the Snails

In some cases, your betta might completely ignore the new snails. This is usually a good sign, as it means that your betta isn’t bothered by their presence. However, if your betta is ignoring the snails to the point where it’s not eating or swimming around, it might be a sign of illness, and you should take it to the vet.

Related Questions

Is it okay to have just one snail in a betta tank?

Yes, it’s perfectly fine to have just one snail in your betta tank. In fact, many people believe that it’s better to have just one snail, as they can be very active and produce a lot of waste.

Do snails need a filter?

No, snails don’t need a filter. However, they do benefit from having one, as it helps to keep the water clean and provides them with additional aeration.

Can snails live in saltwater?

  1. No, most types of snails cannot live in saltwater. There are a few exceptions, such as the nerite snail, but most snails will not survive in saltwater.

Can snails climb out of the tank?

Yes, some types of snails can climb out of the tank. This is why it’s important to have a lid on your tank.

Final Thoughts

While snails may not be every aquarium hobbyist’s cup of tea, they can benefit your betta tank. They help keep the tank clean and provide a good source of food for your betta.

If you’re thinking of adding a snail or two to your tank, do your research first and choose a compatible type with bettas. Snails can make a great addition to any betta tank with a little bit of care.

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