HomeInvertebratesSnailsHow Did Snails get in My Fish Tank

How Did Snails get in My Fish Tank

One day, I came home from work and saw that one of my fish tanks was cloudy. After taking a closer look, I realized that dozens of tiny snails were swimming around in the tank! How did they get in there? Where did they come from? How do I get rid of them?

At one point or another, aquarium owners all have to deal with the sudden intrusion of these nuisance snails into their fish tanks.

Below are the answers to these questions and some helpful tips for preventing snails from entering your aquarium.

How do Snails get Into a Fish Tank?

how did snails get in my fish tank

Through Live plants

If you have live plants in your tank, it is vital to inspect them regularly for snails. You can remove the snails by hand or use a snail trap.

To prevent snails from entering your tank in the first place, you can put them into a mixture of Alum powder and water to kill the snails. Or, you can quarantine all the live plants for around two weeks before putting them into your new aquarium.

Though Fish food

Another way that snails can enter an aquarium is through fish food. If you are using pellets or flakes, check the packaging for a “made in a facility that also processes snail” label. This label indicates that the food could contain snail eggs, which can hatch and grow into adult snails.

You can purchase aquarium-safe fish food or make your own to avoid this issue.

Water source

You may also want to check your water source for snails. If you have a freshwater tank, snails can hitch a ride on your plants or fish when you add them to the tank.

If you have a saltwater tank, it is still possible for snails to enter the tank. This is because some snail species can tolerate saltwater.


Nuisance snails also enter an aquarium through decorations. If you have any decorations in your tank, inspect them regularly for snails. You can remove the snails by hand or use a snail trap. Furthermore, you can use a bleaching solution to soak those decorations and rinse them before putting them into your aquarium.

To prevent snails from entering your tank in the first place, you can check your decorations before adding them to the tank.

How do you get rid of snails in a fish tank?

how do you get rid of snails in a fish tank

Snails overrunning the fish tank is among the nuisance that aquarists do not want to face. The tricky thing is that these species can be tiny and transparent as they attach themselves to plant leaves.

Fret not; there are a few different methods that you can use to get rid of snails in your fish tank.

Avoid overfeeding your fish

As with most creatures, when snails have an abundance of food, they will reproduce more. So, by avoiding overfeeding your fish, you can help to keep the snail population in check.

Use a trap

You can also try to trap the snails in your fish tank by baiting a container with something they will be attracted to, such as lettuce, cabbage, or fish food.

Once the snails enter the container, they will be unable to get out and eventually die.

Remove them by hand

This is probably the most tedious method, but it can be effective. Simply go through your tank decorations and plants to find them and remove the snails by hand.

Be sure to dispose of them properly, so they don’t end up back in your tank. Also, make sure to wash your hands thoroughly afterward so you don’t contaminate your tank.

Clean your tank regularly

A clean tank is less hospitable to snails, so keep up with your regular tank maintenance. This includes vacuuming the gravel, cleaning the filter, and changing water with proper cleaning equipment.

Introduce snail-eating fish to your tank

If you don’t mind having a few extra fish in your tank, you can add some that will help to keep the snail population under control. Examples include loaches, puffers, and eels.

You can also introduce their natural predators into the environment. These include animals such as frogs and turtles.

Use a chemical treatment

Many chemicals can be used to kill snails, including metaldehyde and copper-based products.

These chemicals can effectively kill snails, but they can also be harmful to other creatures in your fish tank, including your fish. Therefore, it is essential to carefully read the labels of these products and follow the instructions about the dosage and when to inject them.

These treatments should be used as a last resort, as they can also kill other aquatic creatures in your tank.


Although it’s still unknown how the snails got into the tank, this incident provides an opportunity to learn from the event and take measures to prevent a similar occurrence in the future.

If you have a fish tank, it’s important to take steps to ensure that your fish remain safe and healthy. Have you ever had a snail problem in your fish tank? Let us know in the comments below.

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Further Reading
Kevin Mills, the founder of Nationalparkaquarium.org


-- Founder --

I'm Kevin Mills, the founder of Nationalparkaquarium.org, where I share my deep passion for aquariums and aquatic life. With over 20 years of experience in fishkeeping, covering everything from tending to saltwater and freshwater tanks.

Kathleen Wood


-- Interrogator --

Kathleen Wood, a seasoned marine biologist, possesses a wealth of knowledge and experience in her field. Her research on tropical fish biodiversity spans over three decades, and she has contributed numerous scientific papers on aquatic life.