Yes, you can keep snails with bettas. Aquarium snails make excellent tankmates for bettas because they’re generally peaceful, unobtrusive, and help clean up leftover food.
Snails don’t attack bettas, but more aggressive bettas might attack snails. It’s a good idea to try out snails on a case-by-case basis and decide accordingly.
Below we’ll take a look at different types of snails, and their suitability for companionship with betta fish.
Bettas and Snails in a Nutshell
Bettas, as a general rule, get along well with snails. Occasionally, a more aggressive betta fish might try to eat snails though. At the same time, not all snails are equal, and some make poor companions.
In a nutshell, this is our verdict around different snail types:
- Nerite Snails – Good Companions
- Malaysian Trumpet Snails – Good Companions, but breed excessively
- Pond Snails – Great companions if you know what to do with their progeny
- Mystery Snails – Generally good companions
We’ll discuss the specific advantages and disadvantages around keeping each type as a betta tank mate later on.
Nerites Snails and Bettas
Nerite snails have many advantages for betta tanks and freshwater tanks in general.
- They don’t grow too big
- They come in many colors and patterns
- They eat algae and any food your betta doesn’t want to eat
- They don’t reproduce in freshwater. They need brackish water for that.
Nerite snails do require some work to keep 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. While they won’t hatch, so you don’t have to worry about removing them, they are an eyesore. If they start filling enough of the aquarium glass, 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.
Malaysian Trumpet Snails and Bettas
Malaysian trumpet snails, also called turret snails, grow to lengths of 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 need larger aquariums. They come in eight different colors. Like bettas, they can breathe air and water. They don’t eat live plants but will eat dying or dead ones. They have been known to dig up plants. Unfortunately, they’re not good algae eaters, so they need extra food.
So, Can You Put Snails with Betta Fish?
Definitely! Snails make great tankmates for bettas or Siamese fighting fish, as long as they’re the right kind of snails. Good species of snails include nerite snails and rabbit snails.
Some bettas 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 can be problematic because they breed excessively.
What are the Best Snails for Betta Fish?
Bettas don’t care which snails are in their tanks, but nerites are the best because they rarely reproduce in fresh water and stay relatively small. Most other species of snails will reproduce rapidly and take over the tank.
If Snails Keep My Tank Clean, Do I Still Need to Do Water Changes?
Snails 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, don’t rise to dangerous levels.
Do Snails Kill Bettas?
Snails don’t 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 won’t even eat dead fish.
Do Bettas Kill Snails?
Betta fish have been known to attack or kill snails. Bettas, and fish in general, may eat any live foods they can fit 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 won’t survive just on the algae and debris in the tank.
Do Snails Eat Fish Poop?
Sorry – snails don’t generally eat fish poop. They might crawl over poop, but they’re not usually 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 aquarium 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?
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