Yes, you can put snails with bettas. For the most part, bettas and snails are good tank mates, primarily because snails don’t chase bettas or compete vigorously for food.
Snails do not attack bettas, but bettas might attack snails, depending on the betta’s individual personality. Snails are a good choice if your betta lives in a tank of 10 gallons or less.
Do Betta Fish Need Companionship?
You’re enjoying your betta, but wonder if you can put anything else in the tank. Although your betta is great, perhaps he or she is living alone.
It’s debatable whether bettas need any sort of companionship, like snails. They do not need to be with other bettas in order to be healthy and stress-free. They do interact with their owners. Perhaps that is all the companionship they need.
Bettas do seem to get bored. They like exploring their tanks and everything in it, including plants, decorations, and anything else living in it. It seems to help them pleasantly pass the time. In this YouTube video, a charismatic betta named Jacob appears to briefly hug the nerite snail that shares his tank.
Good Snails for Bettas: Nerites
Nerite snails have a lot of positives for betta tanks and freshwater tanks in general.
- They come in a lot of colors and patterns.
- They do not grow too big.
- They eat algae and any food your betta does not want to eat.
- They remove the calcium deposits above the waterline.
- They do not reproduce in freshwater. They need brackish water for that.
Nerite snails do require some work to make them happy and healthy:
- They need extra food with calcium in order to keep their shells from falling apart.
- They prefer a pH of 7.5, which is well in the range of what a betta can tolerate.
- Nerite eggs are incredibly sticky. They will not hatch, so don’t worry about removing them. You may need to scrape them off.
- Nerites will climb out of your tank, so you need a lid. You should really have a lid, anyway, since bettas can jump.
Bad Snails for Betta Owners: Malaysian Trumpet Snails
There really aren’t any bad snail species for bettas, but there certainly are for betta owners. Malaysian trumpet snails, also called turret snails, grow between one and two inches.
These snails are cute with shells resembling ice cream cones, and they help eat algae and any food your betta missed, but they reproduce like crazy. Females don’t even need males to reproduce. If you have just one female Malaysian trumpet snail, your tank will soon become wildly overpopulated.
There are many ways to deal with snail overpopulation in aquariums, but ultimately you have to kill them. This can be distressing, to say the least. Better to just not get them in the first place.
Pond Snails: Little Snails, Big Headaches
Champions at making baby snails, pond snails are very small and require hardly any work to care for. They do a good job cleaning up algae and other debris from your gravel and decorations.
I once had a boyfriend who had a freshwater aquarium. He wanted live plants. He got live plants. Lo and behold, the plants had tiny pond snails. At first, this seemed like a great bonus. The snails helped keep the tank looking clean.
And then there were dozens of them. I put one in my tank that only had fake plants. The snails loved it there, too, and soon we had more snails than we knew what to do with.
We were able to give some away to friends who had tanks, but many died of starvation. I don’t know what ultimately happened to my boyfriend’s tank since we split up before the snail saga came to an end. (The snails had nothing to do with the break up.)
Can Be a Good Snail with Bettas: Mystery Snails
I’ve read and heard many good stories about bettas getting along with mystery snails. I’ve also heard bad stories – but they involved the betta attacking the snail and not the other way around.
Mystery snails have longer antennae than many other types of freshwater snails available in the aquarium hobby. Perhaps the antennae look like worms.
One resourceful YouTube creator placed her super-aggressive female betta in a breeder box for a few days while the mystery snail was introduced to her tank. When the betta was released back into the aquarium, she ignored the mystery snail.
Mystery snails can grow to be two inches, so they should be in larger aquariums. They come in eight different colored varieties. Like bettas, they can breathe air and water. They do not eat live plants but will eat dying ones or dead ones. They have been known to dig up plants. Unfortunately, they are not good algae eaters, so they need extra food.
So, Can You Put Snails with Betta Fish?
Snails make great tankmates for bettas or Siamese fighting fish, as long as they are the right kind of snails. Good species of snails are zebra snails and other nerite snails. Some bettas will get along with mystery snails, while others will attack the snail’s long antennae. Bettas have been known to get along with other snail species, but those species tend to be a problem to keep.
Frequently Asked Questions About Snails with Betta Fish
What are the Best Snails for Betta Fish?
Bettas don’t care about what snails are in their tanks, but nerites are the best because they rarely reproduce in fresh water and stay relatively small. Other species of snails will reproduce rapidly and overtake the tank.
If Snails Keep My Tank Clean, Do I Still Need to Do Water Changes?
Snails do help to keep your tank clean, but they can’t do all of the work. You still need to do regular partial water changes to make sure that chemicals, like ammonia, do not rise to levels dangerous for your betta, your other fish, and your snails.
Do Snails Kill Bettas?
Snails do not kill bettas. If you ever find your snail eating your betta, it’s because your betta died of some other reason than getting attacked by the snail. Some snails like nerites will not eat dead fish.
Do Bettas Kill Snails?
Bettas have been known to attack or kill snails. Bettas, and fish in general, will eat anything they can stick in their mouths, so if the snail is very small, then a betta will try to eat it.
Do You Need to Feed the Snail?
Yes, the snail needs extra food. They need food with calcium so they can keep their shells healthy. Many snails will not survive just on the algae and debris in the tank.
Do Snails Eat Fish Poop?
Sorry – snails do not eat fish poop. They might crawl over poop, but they’re not eating it. Many snails will eat algae, dead plants, old fish food your betta didn’t eat and extra food you give the snails. Snails will eat the food you give your betta.
How Long Do Snails Live?
Depending on the species, snails can live from one to five years.
What Temperature Do Snails Live At?
Most snails do well at around 80 degrees F, or the same temperature your betta is supposed to be living at. You do have a heater for your betta, don’t you?
If you want to learn more about Betta Tank Mates, please visit our collection of articles here.
About the author
Hi, I am Rena.
I grew up in a house surrounded by fish tanks.
I have spent my life caring for and writing about fish.
I have studied journalism and worked for online and print magazines.
You can find the articles I wrote here