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Whether you’ve purposely purchased a Nerite or Mystery snail, or you’ve got a few pond snails that hitched a ride on a new plant into your tank, most aquarium keepers have dealt with these adorable invertebrates before.
It’s common knowledge that snails will eat detritus and algae from your tank, but what else will they eat? Will snails eat fish eggs?
Yes, snails will eat fish eggs if given the opportunity, and the snail is large enough.
Snails are opportunistic feeders and will eat almost anything if given a chance. This can be a big problem for those of us trying to breed our fish! So to keep our tanks in harmony, we’ll need to know more about snails and their egg-eating habits.
Can Snails Eat Eggs?
Yes, snails can eat eggs, including fish eggs, other snail eggs, and even hard-boiled chicken eggs if put in the tank!
For most snails, anything is fair game for lunch or dinnertime. Eggs are usually soft, gelatinous, and full of protein, making them the perfect meal for a snail. Eating these eggs won’t harm the snail at all, but for more protective fish parents like cichlids, the egg-eating can actually put the snail in danger!
Fish like Convict Cichlids are excellent parents, and as such, they guard both their eggs and their fry at all times. If a snail tries to eat Convict eggs, they’ll have to face an angry fish to get to them!
On the other hand, some aquarium keepers have larger snails like Apple snails and Nerite snails that they want to intentionally feed protein-packed eggs for nutrition. In this case, hard-boiled egg yolk can be fed to your snails, as well as most other fish in your tank, for a hearty snack.
Are Too Many Snails Bad for a Fish Tank?
Yes, because even a few snails can overpopulate a tank in a short amount of time and out-compete the fish and other invertebrates for food, as well as adding a huge bioload.
Unlike fish who can have long, complicated mating rituals and will sometimes refuse to breed in captivity, snails will reproduce as much as possible, as quickly as possible. If you see one snail in your tank, you’re bound to have more within just a few days.
A few snails aren’t a problem, and can actually help control algae growth on plants and glass, but you’ll want to keep a close eye on how many snails you have and cull them when needed.
If you want to have snails in your tank, but are afraid of a snail outbreak, Nerite snails are a brilliant choice as long as your tank is freshwater. Nerite snails will still lay eggs, but the eggs only hatch in brackish water. Even if an egg or two hatches in the freshwater, the larvae won’t survive.
What Eats Fish Eggs in a Pond?
Snails will eat fish eggs in a pond, but so will birds, other fish, and raccoons.
Since fish tanks are kept indoors, it’s easier to keep an eye on who is eating what, including newly laid fish eggs. It’s not so easy in an outside pond.
Pond snails are extremely common and have been known to eat fish eggs, but they definitely aren’t the only pond resident that enjoys a nice egg snack. Other fish, birds, and raccoons will eat fish eggs if possible, thanks to the protein-rich nature of the eggs.
Do Snails Eat Their Own Eggs?
Yes, snails will eat their own eggs and the eggs of other snails.
As we said before, snails are opportunistic eaters and will gorge themselves on whatever they can find in their habitat, including their own eggs.
Snails are especially likely to eat their own eggs if they are low on calcium, a mineral that snail eggs have an abundance of. Calcium is necessary to keep a snail’s shell hard, so when their calcium is low, no egg is safe in your aquarium.
Will Snails Eat Cory Eggs?
Corydoras, also known as Corys, are some of the friendliest and easiest to keep fish in the hobby. Their relatively small size, agreeable personalities, and tendency to travel in a group have endeared them to many aquarium hobbyists, and breeding Corys is a fairly popular hobby.
Breeding these cute catfish can be difficult when you have a snail, unfortunately. Snails will eat Cory eggs if given the chance.
During spawning, Corys will often lay their eggs on the glass of the tank as well as live plants, which are 2 of the snail’s favorite places to feed. If you want to successfully breed your Corys, try and remove as many snails as possible.
Although, Corys are also known to eat their own eggs! So if you have Cory eggs disappearing from your tank, you might want to consider the parent fish before the snails.
Will snails eat fish fry?
Snails will not eat live fish fry, but they will eat dead fry when they fall to the bottom of the tank.
Will snails eat pleco eggs?
Snails will eat any and all eggs, including pleco eggs.
Are snails good for fry tanks?
As long as the fry has hatched and is freely moving, snails can make splendid companions. As an added perk, snails will clean up any uneaten food that your fry fails to get to, keeping the tank nice and tidy.